Archive for the ‘ Ethan ’ Category

Second Day of Auditions 13 December

Wrapping up the first day of auditions, and looking forward to tomorrow. The Rex Team saw many talented professionals, and lots of fresh, and energetic hopefuls.

Didn’t think we would be rolling as much tape, but there was so much worth while to capture. Thank you all for your enthusiasm for the project, and what youbrought to the audition process.

Most showed on time, and Rex was able to get people in on time and, amazingly, out on time. Hopefully, no one felt rushed. Thank you to new Rexers Tess Whittaker, and Recel Bregaudit for keeping Norvell, Sarah, Emile, and myself on perfect time.

The interviews for crew have been amazing. Generation Rex couldn’t be happier with the turnout and the quality of candidates.

NEWS Release
8 December 2008

Contact For Further Information: Sarah
Phone: 757-644-6708

Rex Motion Media Announces Auditions for Reality Series
Show to be Shot in Hampton Roads Now in Pre-Production

For Immediate Release. Virginia Beach, VA:

Lights! Camera! Tan! Hampton Roads-based REX Motion Media (RMM) announces auditions to be held this Friday for a half-hour reality series to be shot in and around Hampton Roads. The show is now in pre-production.

“We’re seeking fresh, energetic, young talent to cast in this new reality series,” says REX Motion Media President Norvell Rose. “It’s a fun and funny, PG look at the Hampton Roads tanning lifestyle.” Friday auditions take place at the REX Virginia Beach offices, and the company is considering men and women aged 18 – 30.

The crew is being assembled from top local technicians, and principal photography is set to begin January 2 throughout Hampton Roads.

Scheduled auditions will be at 1642 Pleasure House Road, suite 102, in Virginia Beach.

To schedule an audition or for further audition information, call Sarah at REX Motion Media: 757-644-6708.

– 30 –

REX Motion Media Video Profiles

REX On The Move is on the move!

Generation Rexers Norvell Rose, Ethan Marten (hey, that’s me!), Sarah Pope, Emile Husson and the whole A-Team of tech and production crew are now reassembled in their larger space, and beginning the third phase of hiring. Rex is in the process of augmenting with additional shooters and editors (hey, that’s you!).

REX has already created these unique situations:

Graduating more than forty Vpros ™ or Video Professionals ™ thus making them VideoActive ™; and setting up a Chesapeake brokerage with scores of quality video content, and its own internet television channel for real estate. Having launched in March of 2009, we believe it is the first in the United States. Armada Hoffler, Drucker & Falk and NFL Star Bruce Smith used Rex to move into the video age. Even the third largest builder in the United States — Centex — came to Rex.

From a global economic standpoint, we are reversing a trend. Rather than outsourcing, we are creating jobs and the template for Internet Television right here in Hampton Roads, Virginia. This is not a call center or a service outlet. These are real, creative, professional jobs.

e-mail if you are interested in becoming part of the Rex Motion Media team.

Does This Blog Make My Ass Look Fat?

4,446,976! Woo Hoo! That’s right — this little babe in the Technorati woods has only been online for about eight hours, and is already ranked at 4,446,976! Won’t be long before I’m top ten — numero uno. Why looky there — a little change already. Let’s see… WHAT THE…?! 4,446,977! How is that humanly possible?! Sigh. I feel like the national deficit — only bigger. Oh my God, does this blog make my ass look fat? 4,446,978! I need some cheesecake.

(Forgive the typos, edits will come later…)

Photobucket - Video and Image Hosting

Note to self: Next Time, Bring Vitamins. Drink more water!

Life is what you make of it, and Stuart Alson’s New York International Independent Film and Video Festival has been one wild ride. The opportunities for moviemakers are endless!

In the last two days alone, I have developed friendships I know will last a lifetime, with people it will be a pleasure working with throughout that lifetime. How unique an experience to be in situation after situation where you can do business with people whose enthusiasm, artistic integrity and passion are a match to your own. Thank you Stuart and company.

There are big things to announce on the Star Circle Pictures front, but I think it’s only fair that my partners hear it before you .. not much earlier .. but a little! What I can reveal this morning is the formation of a strategic alliance.

The Festival has been setting the attendees up with additional opportunities. Last night, Jonathan and I hit press night for the new Bond film, Casino Royale, with Maxam Productions CEO Max Bartoli. We were joined at the Ziegfeld by 1,300 of my closest friends in the media. You literally couldn’t turn in one direction without having a discussion with a reviewer, which we did .. repetedly. We engaged in conversations and handed out screeners to genuinely interested press. (Lesson learned .. always travel with screeners!)

By the way, Daniel Craig brings first class acting chops to the best Bond script yet written.

After the film, the three amigos .. Jonathan, Max and myself .. headed back to Village East for a dinner with Stuart Alson and Independent Film Quarterly (IFQ) Executive Editor Nicole Holland.. Max sprung for the cab (All class!). Topics of conversation were far ranging .. literally .. from the L.A. Festival to Cannes. Stuart loves filmmakers. He created this festival after having sweated out his own production and going through the trials of getting it shown. He still works hard to get it right. During the Festival, he tends to operate on two hours sleep a night .. if he’s lucky. “I started my own festival so filmmakers could have the opportunity to be seen in major cities,” Stuart says. “I don’t want to be involved in the politics. I don’t want to make the films .. I just want to show them. I want to help filmmakers .. get them screened, get them press coverage, arrange distribution.”

Photobucket - Video and Image Hosting
Far ranging discussions with New York International Independent Film and Video Festival’s Staurt Alson, Star Circle Pictures Producer Ethan Marten and Maxam Productions CEO Max Bartoli
Photobucket - Video and Image Hosting
Photobucket - Video and Image Hosting
Finding common ground with Stuart and Max at the NYIIFVF 2006

He also enjoys meeting people and making friendships. We all agreed; take care of the family, eat well, keep a roof over your head, travel and making a living doing what you love with people you like makes for a wonderful life.

The day before, I was introducing Jonathan to fetching artist rep Francesca Giordano, the beautiful Paola, and World Class Painter Gersain Muriel. We had no trouble finding his Village apartment…until we got off the elevator! Not that it was difficult; we just took a couple of wrong turns in the hallway (note to self; bring sleep along with the vitamins)

Photobucket - Video and Image Hosting
Paola, Francesca, E. and Gersain

Three lovelier people would seem impossible to find if I hadn’t already met so many on this trip. Gersain shared his art and his hospitality, while Francesca translated some things that might have been lost. We shared many laughs, and discussed the very heart of his art and soul.

I asked where this gift first came from, because the Custom Face Pillow truly is a gift. Though Gersain is salt of the Earth .. totally without pretension .. standing before one of his works it is obvious to anyone who can see or feel that you’re standing before greatness.

Gersain himself would probably disagree. Instead, he would more likely point out (as he did) that two or three previously painted images are hidden beneath the oil on the current painting. If he doesn’t like a a sketch or a painting he will tear it apart. Francesca has witnessed people fishing his images out of the trash and piecing them together. Gersain has a talent for finding the beauty in images people would generally tend to overlook or even think ugly. He loves the human form and reveals it in all its glory .. fearlessly exploring the fine line between agony and ecstacy. But he can also find the beauty in a worn, torn and abandoned wing-backed chair.

Many find his work so compelling, he is possibly the youngest artist to have sold his work in a Sotheby’s Auction. His paintings hang in important collections throughout Europe.
Photobucket - Video and Image Hosting

Gersain grew up near Medien, Columbia. He has known tragedy. Two of his brothers were murdered. He could be bitter, but he is filled with love, and a lust for life. Francesca noted that she had never seen a more beautiful and breathtaking place or ever been more scared for her life.

When he was four or five he says, “this woman molded my dinner into little animals. Then she had me draw them on the wall. That woman was my mother.” From that moment he knew he wanted to dedicate his life to “capturing forms.”

At twelve, he told his mother of his vision .. a beautifully dressed woman in colorful robes .. a goddess. His muse. His art. In a ceremony, with candles and prayers .. he married her. His mother wept her joy for his discovery.

Photobucket - Video and Image Hosting
Though this bad boy artist is often be surrounded by beautiful women .. not the least of which are his friends and partners Paola and Francesca .. their greatest gifts eminate from within.

If you have photos from the event — we will be happy to post them.  Please send as j-peg with photo id’s and photo bys where appropriate to

NYIIFV Festival Part Deux

(Excuse me folks if you’re already reading this. I’m still writing editing, but I’m posting so as not to lose any of this.  At this stage, I’m so tired, I have little control over the fingers that could send what little blog there is right now — into the netherworld of unretrievable data.)

Little time for sleep.  My eyes feel like two lead balls, and the effort it’s taking to keep them in the sockets is tremendous!  Not too many others sleep during the festival either.  Though as it winds on — I notice more bobbing heads.  There are many resources to take advantage of, and contacts being made.

The festival is going gangbusters — Star Circle Pictures is proud to be a participant and have SAMARITAN as an official entry.  The NYIIFVF Premiere of “Samaritan” has been a tremendous success.

Photobucket - Video and Image Hosting
Hitting the streets and pounding the pavement…a violent day of hawking “Samaritan” at the New York International Independent Film Festival!

There were some minor glitches in last night’s Premiere; nothing that couldn’t be overcome by a festival staff with a can do attitude — a staff wanting the best outcome for each moviemaker.  It was almost  like a Marx Bros. movie for a moment — which made me, “SAMARITAN” family members Jonathan (Marten if you have been keeping the thread from the previous blog), Tanya (you’re gonna have to read that blog!), Sheri Beyrau, Kathlin Gordon, Russ, and Victoria Smith feel perfectly at home with the Martens.  I keep thinking about the in one door — out the other from “Room Service”.  Really, the only thing we were missing was Margaret Dumont! 

Photobucket - Video and Image Hosting
The 2nd Story Gang reunited:  Ethan, Sheri Beyrau, Russ (newest member), and Kathlin “Goat Mother” Gordon. 

We were originally scheduled for Screen 3 (door #1).  For technical reasons, the festival moved the screening to 5 (door #2), and then another quick tango into Screen 4 (#3!).  Most of my troopers have had years of improv experience under their belts, took the offering, and said yes!  Everyone got up good natured and shuffled off to 4.  The slight delay actually provided a few extra minutes for some key WCBS media caught in traffic to be on time (and for me to do my first stand up in years.  Hey, I think I even got a gig out it!).

The end result was a full and appreciative house, and a fantastic screening attended by Time Warner (many thanks to Jansylvette Rotger, Irina Miloslavski and Gabriel ((Zdravstvuite and Spasiba!)).  They’re editing already.  I wish you some sleep, but I know you won’t get any until after the 16th!

Photobucket - Video and Image Hosting
“My name is Jimmy Carter, and I’m running for Producer.”  Developing the Pitch during the day:  “See the movie Fast Company Writer Adam Penenberg says is ‘remaking moviemaking.'”

Photobucket - Video and Image Hosting
Improving the pitch by night…”Spike Lee says, ‘Better than Katz!’ Orson Welles says, ‘If I made just one film —  just one — it would have been Samaritan!’ ” Perfecting the pitch:  “Borat!  Screen 4 at 6:05.  Follow me!”

Photobucket - Video and Image Hosting
Yo Brooklyn!!  “Samaritan’s” newest fans.  Ben, right, used to go to the Village East Theatres when just a pisher — way back when it was a leading Yiddish Theatre.  My brother, Richard was an usher here almost 40 years ago for original production of  “Man of La Mancha,” starring Richard Killey, before it went to Broadway. 

We were honored to have “El Barrio’ Director Melissa Eidson in attendence along with Editor Lucero Milchorena.  “El Barrio” is one of the movies one must target given so many choices at NYIIFVF.  Tonight, make your way to the Village East Cinemas — 189 Second Ave, corner of 12th St. (Jeez, I don’t even make you open a directory, can I make this any easier for you?) Screen 6 @ 6:10pm.  Now folks, they’re executing the screening of hundreds of movies.  Those screens can change if need be — so confirm “El Barrio” on Screen 6 when you get there.

Also attending “Samaritan” — all the way from Rome — we’re talking 25,000 Euros for the trip folks, Maxam Productions very own namesake and CEO Max Bartoli and Tabitha Bartolini (who handles marketing here in Manhattan).  His movie “Ignotus” set in 13th Century Italia is a festival highlight not to be missed. “Ignotus” is the story of a wounded Knight recalling the most meaningful moments of his life before his enemies find him to finish him off.  And, when all hope is lost….This is an award winning short in multiple categories including Best Acting, Best Short and Best Costuming.  “Ignotus” has been selected for more than 10 international festivals!

Max has a rare passion and integrity  — not only for his own work — but for the work of others.  He not only has earned the respect of his peers, but gives it freely.  He is a true cinefile in the best sense of the word.  No moviemaker has a better friend or champion.  Grazie, mi amici.

Catch “Ignotus” Wednesday, November 15, 8pm at the Village East Cinemas.  I’ll see you there.

Check out Maxam’s multiple projects at their site:

JT Talent & Casting is not only a sponsor President John “JT” Thomas is a larger-than-life personality that belongs infront of the camera.  Only two problems: one, finding a screen large enough to contain his energy.  (JT — drink some chamomile so everyone can keep up); two, he’s an even better personal manager!  He’s been working this festival so hard — Ive had multiple directors come up and ask if he was Stuart Alson!  Et tu JT?  Here’s a quick hint to tell them apart if you’re just off the boat.  Stuart is the guy who is running around making sure NYIIFVF is a great success for the moviemakers.  JT is the guy with the glowing implant on the right side of head (don’t know why they call that blue thing a “tooth” when it’s coming out of your ear, but hey…) running around rangling everyone and making sure NYIIFVF is a great success.  Thanks for rounding up the troops for the premiere JT.

Photobucket - Video and Image Hosting
Getting down to business with John “JT” Thomas at the NY International Independent Film and Video Festival Premiere of “Samaritan” outside the Village East Cinemas.

Photobucket - Video and Image Hosting
Teaching JT how to cheat out to camera.  He learns quickly!

By the way, if you’re attending the festival you need to get a hold of Renata (I’m not going to tell you to read that other blog any more, but really…okay, just this once — Renata Lorenc).  She’s on the phone cutting deals and securing distribution all day.  It is not uncommon to see her perched on the floor, in a corner, next to the table negotiating on behalf of the entries.  Somebody — surgically remove the cell phone and make sure she eats something!

More to come!

Night Two at NYIIFVF

Photobucket - Video and Image Hosting
The New York International Independent Film & Video Festival

is in full swing.  There are great movies to be seen and a great spirit to match.  Festival Founder, Executive Director, and CEO Stuart Alson has created another fantastic festival. 
Photobucket - Video and Image Hosting

His amiable and adept team have outdone themselves.  Program Director/Film Committee Chief Nicole Holland has assembled an incredible lineup of more than 200 movies, seminars, parties, receptions and other networking opportunities with distributors and worldwide press.  Along with my Award winning Producer Brother, Actors Repertory Theatre Artistic Director Jonathan Marten, we dove into the deep end and drank of its waters.  Mmmmnnn, tastey!
Photobucket - Video and Image Hosting
Festival Director of Marketing Renata Lorenc at the Telephone Bar and Grill.  (Sleep is not an option!)

Festival Director of Marketing Renata Lorenc and Director of Publicity Briege McGaritty hosted a networking luncheon at the Telephone Bar and Grill on Second Avenue full of laughter as well as serious shop talk. 

Photobucket - Video and Image Hosting
Ethan and Briege making plans at NYIIFV Festival 2006

Ms. McGaritty has been called every name she can think of over the years.  “I’ve been called Brie, even Breast (by one fellow whose Freudian slip was showing), but don’t call Briege Brittish.  She’s an Irish Rose through and through!

Marketing Wiz Valerie Nicholas, a former vegan, is sinking her teeth into film success (and the chicken wings!).   Valerie, who prefers her comedy on the edge, was on her best behavior — almost.  Years ago she started out with Champion Cigars, went to work for the Cyber Boxing Zone, and has parlayed that into a film career — this night having exhibited “Out of Ali’s Shadow:   The Larry Holmes Story.”
Photobucket - Video and Image Hosting
“I get all European media,” says Briege as she, Jonathan, and Valerie Nicholas discuss the division of the World Press.

The  house was packed with luminaries, including the former Heavyweight Champion himself.  Holmes, who has been greatly overlooked is finely receiving the respect that has been due. 
Photobucket - Video and Image Hosting
Ethan and Former Heavyweight Champion Larry Holmes at the openning of
“Out of Ali’s Shadow:   The Larry Holmes Story.”  I’m wearing my mouthpiece — just in case.

Writer/Producer Evan Grant brought all the mishpucha to celebrate his six-year-long journey to the big screen. Executive Producer (and writer of Cinerella Man) Mike DeLisa had his family in on the celebration as well. 
Photobucket - Video and Image Hosting
Ethan with “Cinderella Man” Mike DeLisa

Photobucket - Video and Image Hosting
“You may be my friend, but I’ll drop you in 10!”  Clowning with Executive Producer Mike DeLisa, who responds, “Don’t give me that jive — I’ll take you in five!”  The smart money’s on DeLisa.

Photobucket - Video and Image Hosting
From right:  Writer-Director-Producer Evan Grant, Pulitzer Prize Nominated Writer Thomas Hausen, and Little (litterally)
Ol’ Ethan

Legendary trainer and commentator Teddy Atlas lent his talents on screen as well as in person.  For all of Atlas’ accomplishments, and training of champions, he remains humble.  
Photobucket - Video and Image Hosting
Teddy Atlas — a class act — all the way. 

He pays tribute to his late father with the Dr. Theodore Atlas Foundation, awarding scholarships and grants to individuals and organizations.

HBO’s 30-year veteran of all things boxing  Larry Merchant was was on hand as well as Pulitzer Prize Nominee Thomas Hauser, who has been at work creating a romantic comedy!
  Photobucket - Video and Image Hosting
Larry — you were robbed!  There was no way you didn’t win the decision!  What’s next for Team Merchant?

“The NYIIFV Festival is a great stepping stone,” Valerie explained.  “It has great resources and opportunities for film makers.”  Last year Mike Delisa’s “The Superfight Marciano vs. Ali” won the Festival’s Screen Craft Award. Since the Star Circle Pictures business card  made it into her “Elvis” card case, and not the plain card case —  I know we’re going to be a success!  You rock Valerie…literally!
Photobucket - Video and Image Hosting
Three Icons.  Elvis, Star Circle Pictures, and the hand of a Media Goddess…not necessarily in that order!

Marea Productions and Cannes 2006 selection “El Barrio” Director Melissa Eidson was kindness incarnate.  As my bloodsugar dropped — she slid a plate of fries in my direction!  Many thanks Melissa. 
Photobucket - Video and Image Hosting
El Barrio Director Melissa Eidson is an artist with compassion as deep as her talent.  Her empathy for the human condition is the heart of “Barrio.”

The journey of “Barrio” began in Harlem, where Edison tought and learned from her young students.  She brought her teaching credentials to a Brooklyn school.  The way the public perceived it, “the next stop for a lot of these kids was Riker’s Island,” Eidson said.  “We had these kids doing Shakespeare!” 

After this, was a blur of events and activity including a stay with a cool uncle — a drinking, Priest-philosopher in San Miguel — a tip toTahiti to relax and write poetry, and a baby.

All these experiences and more went into the creation of El Barrio, a story of strength, endurance and ingenuity as seen through the eyes of the people of Mexico City.

“I  have an affinity for these people,”  Eidson  says, “I feel alive with them — they are survivors.”

All photos by Jonathan Marten — even the ones he’s in!  What can I say, he’s amzing.  Okay, I took those, but you were wondering how he did it for a second — weren’t you?  More tomorrow, including the Premiere of Star Circle Pictures’  SAMARITAN.  Good night — I mean good morning!  E.

Its amazing how much preparation can go into a 48-hour shooting schedule. SAMARITAN has been a well-orchestrated, well-executed production from concept to script, right through wrap. Johnny Alonso, who stars as the enigmatic character Victor, reflected from the Toronto set of Blu where he was shooting with Robert Deniro and Orlando Bloom.
Photobucket – Video and Image Hosting

Ethan Marten: Hey Johnny.

Johnny Alonso: Paisan! How’re ya doin Kid?

EM: Feel great? Hows Kelly and the kids?

JA: Everyones happy and healthy, thanks.

EM: We have a screening in Norfolk this weekend at The City Arts Festival. If you werent in such demand —

JA: Im with everyone in spirit! Give everyone a big hug and kiss from me.

EM: Done.

JA: So how do you want to start this thing?

EM: Im gonna give some skinny on why youre such a big star.

JA: I wish.

EM: Paisan youre modest. Here we go

Johnny got his degree in acting from N.Y.U.s Actors Studio. A scout from ABC caught Mr. Alonsos improvisational technique and asked him to audition for a role the studio had not been able to properly cast for the better 2 months.

The result, Johnny landed a 1-year contract role as Seth, a pine valley high school student and Susan Luccis nephew on All My Children, straight out of the Actors Studio.

JA: Not a bad first gig.

EM: Not bad. Not done. From there many gigs have followed: a guest starring role next to Ned Betty and Andre Brauer on Homicide; a 2 episode guest starring contract on Buffy, The Vampire Slayer you worked with Sarah Michelle Gellar right before she left All My Children didnt you?

JA: Yes.

EM: Aaah! SNAKES ON MY BLOG! You landed a contract role next to Samuel L. Jackson in Rules Of Engagement.

JA: A real gentleman.

EM: Then Axe, the bass player/boyfriend to Rachel Leigh Cookes character in Stateside.

JA: Thats when things really picked up. I was cast in a recurring role on the last season of Dawsons Creek —

EM: Jimmy Franco?

JA: A snide junior stockbroker next to Joshua Jackson and Katie Holmes. Originally a 2-episode contract (directed by Joanna Kerns from Growing Pains/Lifetime) became an 8-episode run.

EM: I hear you earned a place in Guinness for this.

JA: I hold the record for the only actor to audition 28 times for a series on the WB before landing a job!

EM: You were the Susan Lucci of Dawsons Creek! I heard you didnt actually get cast. In fact, you were there auditioning so often they thought you were already part of the cast! Meeting Joanna Kerns was fortunate, yes?

JA: Call it fate to have worked with Joanna. She said we’d would work together again one day well, right after Dawsons Creek came to an end, my agent got a call from ABC and Disney. I got the chance to work with the original cast from the series Growing Pains in Growing Pains II Return Of The Seavers as Mickey Chrissys r-n-r, bad new boyfriend.

EM: You spent 1 month on location in New Orleans Co-starring with Kirk Cameron, Ashley Johnson (Chrissy), Joanna Kerns, Traci Gold, Alan Thicke….

JA: It was wild working with a cast that I grew up watching as kid after school. Joanna told me that if I auditioned for her when the show was still running, that I was a dead ringer for the Mickey character she always wanted for the series. How wicked is that! That always getting into trouble character left a lasting impression with the viewers poll as a cool/upbeat story line/change of scene and pace from the usual Seaver issues.

EM: Then the Disney summer special Stuck In The Suburbs the WB series One Tree Hill with the recurring role of Joey D. Again this was a 2 episode deal which extended to 9 episodes! Youre the only actor to segway from Dawsons Creek to One Tree Hill (which took Dawsons Creeks place). How many auditions?

JA: This time — only once — this time!

EM: Okay, lets rattle some off. Other co-starring and Guest Starring credits include F.B.I. Files, The Adventures Of Young Van Helsing, Johnny Come Lately, Night Cry, The Tango Dancer, The Passing the list is getting heavy!

JA: I didnt realize how much I had done in 8 years.

EM: Your odometer must be spinning like crazy?!

JA: Call me Road Warrior.

EM: So how did you first hear about SAMARITAN?

JA: Karen Whitlow- Jones of Atlantic Talent. She mentioned it to me on the set of One Tree Hill.

EM: What were your initial thoughts before the audition?

JA: How badly I wanted to ride my skateboard on the newly paved parking lot outside across from where the auditions were being held. (Laughs).
EM: I remember that skateboard. It had an awesome look — it almost got cast in the lead!

JA: Johnny and the skateboard are a package deal! Really, I saw how serious some of the competition was in the holding area — so I got my game face on, Zenned out, and pulled it all together — the way an actor should.

EM: This is cool. Ill tell you what was going through my head when I first saw you, and you can give youre impressions. You already got the job, and we cant edit around you so go for it! As an actor Im always wondering what the hell theyre thinking on the other side of the table.

JA: You’re the best, Paisan! That’s why we roll the way we do. Actors should know they’re called in basically on looks through a glossy, and maybe what ‘s seen on a resume. But, once you’re there, it’s your attitude, your personality — you’re star quality that puts ink on paper. Plus, you have long hair too, which makes you cool in my book.

EM: Yes. Everyone in the company’s calling me Johnny, Jr. now, which is cool with me. Victor called for a disciplined actor who could be in control of any situation with a Zen-like quality; be any age, and maybe not of this Earth. We needed a subtle intensity that could be both benign and deadly without being campy or boring. You nailed it. So it ends up being a love-fest. You gave your all — and scored a Toronto shoot with Bobby D. and Orlando Bloom (Blu). What’s the difference between a big budget with Bobby and our modest Indie?

JA: There are many differences between a big budget production with name stars and signing to an Independent project like SAMARITAN. First of all — a ton of money, the names, a roster of 100 or more working on set and in the production office — making sure every detail is going as planned. On SAMARITAN we had — what — ten? That included the director — Kimball Carr — efficiently doing the work of 100! When you make your way onto an Indie –everything I just mentioned has now been downsized to actors willing to work for scale and demo footage. The locations are usually donated with limited — very limited — and odd hours for use.

EM: Ten! I dont remember having that many!

JA: Remember, before the money people decided to back up the script, that script too was an independent. And technically it could have been shot with the small budget, but time, locations, set up, man power and power-talent requires cash and thats always been the problem. With new ways of filming, cutting down wasted energy on set ups, dailies, post, money on stock, rentals, and over time – the independent way of filmmaking will eventually become the industry standard. With a decent independent budget, which is always leagues lower than the big budget films, you can now afford a named actor which will help sell your project. Then everyone benefits from it.

EM: So how does all this effect the actor?

JA: As actors that have worked both sides of the celluloid, we generally hunt for well-written scripts. There’s a lot of crap out there. When you find one like SAMARITAN that has been put together with focus, energy, and that certain something — which can lead to great things — some things never found on the big budget films. I can’t stress how important that is to us actors. Hands down, a script any actor on any level would have been willing to work on. I’m just glad I got one of the leads!

EM: You earned it. Can you remember a moment from SAMARITAN where you got to play?

JA: Definitely. In the interrogation scene with J. Michael. I’m a very animated actor — lots of hand and body movement. I had to find something to cool me to make this character work. I broke it down to an actor’s exercise I learned at NYU’s Actor’s Studio. I played with my language and my eye contact. My eye movement and pregnant pauses became my sole movement and expression. It wasn’t easy — Paisan, believe me — but I like how it turned out. Victor became something not of this Earth. I dig it!

EM: We knew you had it at audition. When you brought your homework onto the set — we were ecstatic. When you saw the scene at the first screening what went through your head? What were you generally thinking when you were watching? Do you think I like these guys I hope they didnt blanking make me look like sh*t?

JA: Dude — positive all around! Your crew worked like any other big budget production I’ve ever been on — in fact — better than some. You guys were totally on point with time — no wasted energy. No waiting around in the trailer for four hours. We’re there to work, to create — without being idle for so long, all your heightened energy is ready to go! that’s where some of your best energy comes from.

EM: How did you approach the character of Victor and his relationship with the Detective?

JA: Victor – where do you begin? If anyone has ever been typecast in their acting career like me rebel with a heart, Mr. Rocknroll, troubled boyfriend type Victor was one character that enabled me to show diversity and acting skills that weren’t tapped yet. This character is really like no other. Ive never read for a character like this before, and I jumped at the possibility of booking it.

How many of my collegues can say they’ve played someone not of this earth with Zen like qualities? Kimball (Director Kimball Carr) really helped me get there. I knew in order to reach that level I had strip down the usual TV/film choices I have in my acting arsenal. Plus, working with seasoned vet J. Michael Hunter put me one on one in the actor’s boxing ring – a challenge. With a good director, script, and talent all around you can get anything accomplished. Im proud of what we captured in those 2 days long nights of shooting. I trusted you, Kimball, Richard and company that it would be there, and it was.

EM: What made the chemisitry?

JA: My producers Ethan E. Marten, Richard S. Marten are from Manhattan,

EM: Dont get formal on me now!

JA: Paisan, cmon!

EM: Oh Johnny you had me at Paisan —

JA: Did you know the human head weighs eight pounds?

EM: I heard that.

JA: Anyway, Actor Humberto Gettys is from Brooklyn, and myself Queens New York, even our “Roc Doc” (Dr. Daniel Cohen) was from the Queens – that made me feel at home. I was familiar with J. Michael’s work and have respect for him not only as an actor but now as a friend. It was fantastic working with Kelley Davis (Mrs. Gredenko) who I’ve known from the audition circuit. Finally getting to see her in action was really something else. This doesn’t usually happen on the big sets. on the big set for the first season of shooting, its strictly business — to see whos being asked to stay or getting replaced, after that its comfortable. the Indie sets have a personal, easy, home-like feel immediately. Its easier to work when everyone is on the same team. Its family – that means a lot.

EM: Well, you are family. Im looking forward to Baltimore September 20 at Gardel’s. I hope you have a couch worthy of a big time actor/producer.

JA: Paisan for you only the best couch will do!

Visit Johnnys site at:

Let’s have a DiaBlog

I’ve been writing most of these thoughts down as much for myself as anyone else, because, hey, I’m not sure anyone really reads my random thoughts or ramblings other than, well, me. Hmnnn.

I am as interested in what you, my imagined reader, has to say. I want your thoughts, your opinions about creating, producing and bringing movies to the market–a diablog, so to speak. I’m approaching the business of the biz from an actor/producer point-of-view. Marketing is also a part of my background. Mostly, I’m a regular sort who would like to do business with friendly, creative people. I was as proud of the way we executed the production of Samaritan as with the finished product. I’d like to share some of that experience with anyone who is interested; and I’d like you to share your production experiences/achievements, as well. If I have developed a friendship or a relationship that can help one of you — I’m more than happy to share it without expecting quid pro quo.

So anyone dreaming of motion picture independence or making a living as an actor, share your questions, as well as your answers. Some of you who have already been invited to participate have more experience. If you are willing to share your experience — I would be grateful.

One request for all who choose to participate. Diversity is welcome; however, I ask that the questions and answers be constructive and respectful in nature, with the intent of mutual growth and support of everyone’s dream of motion picture and creative independence.

Thanks for indulging me.


Marketing Your Indie Movie

This was a letter to a filmmaker’s Blog. There had been a flap concerning the length of Samaritan, and that we were taking advantage of the technical first we had achieved to market our baby. I thought some indie folks were missing the point. If your Indie project screens in the forest, and you’re the only one clapping with one hand…does it make a sound? Anyway, I hope this helps some of you get the word out.


Hello Kraz. I am enjoying your site. I have seen a great deal of debate over the length of “Samaritan.” We are just movie makers wanting to create and needing to get the word out like everyone else. I’m puzzled by the controversy regarding the movie’s length. The first reference to Samaritan in the story that started it all clearly refers to it as a “micro-feature.”


Digital Filmmaker: “Star Circle Pictures based in Virginia Beach, Virginia has just wrapped production on a micro feature called Samaritan, the third venture for Star Circle, which represents the next chapter in the firm’s evolution. The project was shot for the express purpose of demonstrating the company’s belief in cost efficiency, faster production flow and good quality.
(End quote)

Has Star Circle Pictures pioneered a new phrase as well? I don’t think so,[actually, it appears we did!] but it is clear, Star Circle never referred to Samaritan as a full length feature. Hopefully, that will help mitigate if not stop the misapprehension.

You made an astute observation:

“Heres an indie producer whos learned his lesson well. This techie interview will probably get him more exposure (at least in indie circles) than all the PR about the movie itself.”

Though Digital Filmmaker is doing a follow up story on the movie — the hard news for their audience was the completion of the first movie to use the Panasonic AG-HVX200.

We believe movies need an audience. Something movie makers need to understand is that in order to obtain that audience, they need to be aware your movie exists. On many levels it is very difficult for an artist to “market” his/her work. Some find the marketing aspect distasteful. You believe everyone should understand that you’re a serious artist who has put blood, sweat and tears into making it, and that should be enough. To a certain degree, this is understandable, but its not a healthy attitude for the life of your motion picture. Some just know how to make the movie, and hope sheer love and passion for the project might rub off on others. I am so proud of my team and its efforts, and am willing to find the angles that will bring my movies to light and thereby light up screens. It is more important to us the independent movie making community when we have launched and even completed a picture. Not as much so for your own local media, much less a national media. To them, we’re one of maybe 1,500 indies a year. [I believe Sundance had 1,700 submissions this past year.] To top it off, unless you come from a major market or at least out of state the fact that you’re a local is usually a hindrance to getting serious coverage. Don’t fight this. Understand it, and work with it. If you’re talking to the Digital Filmmaker and other national media forums understand what that editor knows his core audience is first and foremost interested in. If you’re talking to your local media understand what makes your story news to them, too. Knowing the seven criteria for news will help each movie maker get the word out on his or her film as much as the movie itself. I’m not a proponent of this reality — just a realist.

Here they are, courtesy of Jack Driscoll: Timeliness, Importance, High General Interest to Public, Relevance, Involves Public’s Right to Know, Involves Public’s Need to Know, Whether Story Informs, Educates, Guides or Entertains Reader.

Best of Luck [broken legs] to all our Movie Making Family. May your efforts be rewarding and rewarded.


Flashback: The Morning After with Digital Filmmaker Magazine

Found this letter written to Roger Richards of Digital Filmmaker Magazine the morning we wrapped (January 18, 2006) Samaritan. His was the first published article about our production – the first movie, according to Panasonic, completed with the HVX and P2 card technology.

Okay, here I am — fresh (or not so fresh) from the trenches of Glorious
Sleep Depravity and the Bleeding Edge of motion picture technology! Star
Circle Pictures has just wrapped our well-crafted Samaritan. Before the
revelry, allow me to thank you for yesterday’s uplifting conversation. I
was operating on my thirty-third hour when I finally dozed off in a chair.
My phone was charging on my lap and I finally remembered to bring the AC
charger out to keep the laptop from beating me to sleep. I felt like a techno-cowboy — my cell phone charging in my right holster and my laptop in my left.

Anyway, a series of frustrating calls with local media representatives who
didn’t ‘know what the big deal was about a camera,’ and hey, ‘didn’t we do a
story on your last movie?!’ had finally done what thirty-three hours straight on and
off set couldn’t – sent me into a catatonic state of unconsciousness. If I
was dreaming – I was too tired to remember anything except the buzzing,
vibrating sensations that follow knowing, “I’m not going to be able to hold my
eyes open or my head up much longer, and no I’m not in the car, so it’s all
right to give in.” Ahhh sleep.

When my eyes drew open I saw that I had missed your call…. Well, you know the rest. You lifted my spirits, and it was great news to deliver to my Star Circle Pictures partners (my brother Richard Marten and Kimball Carr), cast and crew – every one of whom had been busting their backs to make Samaritan. (And, when I say busting their backs – I mean it. We had “The Rock Doc” — Dr. Daniel Cohen on set giving chiropractic treatments to the cast and crew.) Anyway, we shot more than 80 set ups in two days, and wrapped this morning in Virginia Beach’s 2nd Precinct at 6:45am.

The Panasonic AG HVX 200 was lovingly packed and immediately shipped back home to Chicago’s Zacuto Rentals.

Now that I have enjoyed some extended sleep – let me once again say, thanks to you and Digital Filmmaker Magazine! Oh, and please send our appreciation to Norm at the Virginian-Pilot for hooking us up. He was very gracious.

I look forward to speaking with you soon. Remain Happy, and Healthy.