Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Jake Wilson is The Real Deal

I do not throw words like this around. I mean it, Jake Wilson is the real deal. Jake stars in a web sitcom called The Battery’s Down. The show is a hilarious look into the life of someone making it as an actor living in New York City. But get this: it’s a musical, complete with songs and big dance numbers – and it’s totally indie! Here’s the best part, not only is Wilson the star, but he created the show and writes it as well! Jake and I chatted about what it’s like making your own show for the internet. [something I’m a bit familiar with myself…]

Jake graduated from the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor with a degree in Musical Theatre and says that it was the best program ever and the best decision of his life. He moved to NYC right after graduation, right after Michigan’s senior showcase [which is how he got his agent!]. He loves living in New York even with the financial difficulties that the city brings, but also knows he’d feel that way no matter where he would live doing what he does. Jake had been in NY for a few months auditioning and “getting bored from just working stupid part-time jobs” and wanted to do something to get his name out and be fulfilled creatively. He shot some ideas around with a few friends and eventually settled on the premise that is The Battery’s Down.

Jake’s title on the show is exactly what one would expect from a multi-hyphenate. Right now it stands as: Creator/Writer/Producer/Director/Cinematographer/sometimes Choreographer/Publicist/Production Manager/Actor/ etc…

I hate that actor always comes last. I am an actor above all else and that aspect of it always seems to get thrown by the wayside because of my 87 other responsibilities. I am praying for the day where I can just sit back and simply be a creator/writer/actor.
That is definitely the price of being a multi-hyphenate. At first, you take on more responsibility in the production because you’re just trying to open up more opportunities as a performer, and then people all of a sudden forget that you really are also an actor on the show too! But that is the life of being on an indie production. The Battery’s Down is totally Indie, there are no investors. . The main people Jake has helping him in that area are his friends, and costars on the show Andrew Keenan-Bolger, Adam Wachter, and Jessica Hershberg. Even though the show is indie, the production value is incredibly high. I mean, this is a musical!

Thank you!! We do what we can. There is no budget. The budget is "how can we do this for free?" "who can do us another favor?" "how am I going to pay my rent?" Everything is out of my pocket and I really cannot wait for the day where I get paid to do this!!! [Anyone reading? ;) We are totally open for blatant advertising and product placement] There is no crew, although of recently I do have a great assistant and some interns that help with the logistics of setting up locations etc. It is usually either my friend Michael Kadin Craig or Andrew Keenan-Bolger filming. They both help me with the editing as well, but everything is totally unpaid and done by ourselves via Final Cut. In a perfect world I would LOVE to have things actually set up and have loads of pre-production months in advance, but there is absolutely no time in the real world. With a few exceptions [mainly in the writing area] we begin from scratch on the 2nd of the month and plow forward until about 11pm on the 31st when I am burning the DVD and running late to the release party.
What made you decide to create a web sitcom?

It is absolutely the best way to expose yourself for the smallest amount of money. Plus I have total creative freedom. Where else can someone my age with no real credits say that? How could anyone pass that up? This show is the hardest thing I’ve ever done in my life. I feel that if we don't make the jump to network TV like we have been talking about, there will sadly probably only be one more season of the show. I physically can't do it to myself for that much longer and maintain a normal life, especially on zero budget. That being said, It is the happiest moment of the month when I can relax for one day and watch all of my friends laughing at the DVD showing at the release parties. In the end I am obviously having a blast. I am so lucky to have been able to work with such talented and giving actors and composers. I still can't believe that I can honestly say "Yea, I filmed a scene with Christine Ebersole for MY television show." Like...WHAT?!?
There you go. I told you, Jake Wilson is the real deal, yo! The second season of The Battery’s Down premieres on April First! No joke! Check out the trailer for the second season below, and watch the first season at!

[© MMIX MD TOTAL all rights reserved.]

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

The DUP : March 8, 2009

Crikey! It’s already March? What happened? Daylight Savings, that’s what happened. Now I love having the eveningtimes lit by sunlight just as much as the next guy but damn, its still winter! Now we’re just going to use more heat in the AM until the seasons catch up with us. Thank you, 109th Congress, your stupidity is the gift that keeps on giving.

Without further ado, here’s this weekend’s box office estimates:

5. Paul Blart: Mall Cop : $4.2 mil. This movie is still bringing people into the theaters! And with a budget of $26 mil, its $133 mil cumulative gross is fantastic. This kind of money means there will definitely be a sequel.

4. Slumdog Millionaire : $6.9 mil. I wonder how far this movie is going to go while still in theaters. It’s been doing steady business since it opened back in the fall. And with a $125 mil total gross so far – it shows no sign of stopping. Next weekend will be the big test for this picture, seeing that it lost about 42% of last week’s total. With a $15 budget, it’s gotten it’s money back many times over. Though as I said last week, where did they spend $15 million dollars? It’s like when the Blair Witch Project came out and they told the world that they only made that movie for $50,000 and we were all wondering what the hell they spend fifty grand on?

3. Taken : $7.5 mil. This movie is a hit! It has a total gross of $118 million that makes me wonder what other movie has Liam Neeson been in that would come near making this much money? Wait - he was in Batman Begins. And Love Actually. And Star Wars: The Phantom Menace. And Schlindler’s List. Hmmm… When you read that list you wonder if Neeson feels like Taken should have earned more money by now.

2. Madea Goes to Jail : $8.8 mil. Oddly, this week’s gross for Madea is a sign that it’s beginning to slow down. Yes, it’s version of slowing down is landing at number two. With a total gross of $76 million, I’m sure no one over at Tyler Perry Studios is complaining.

1. Watchmen : $55.6 mil. As expected, Watchmen took first place. After the numbers started coming in for Friday night, many people were expecting this movie to do about $75 mil, but movies like this are interesting. It’s audience is similar to the audience for tween movies in that here is the largest amount of interest on opening day. All of the Comic-Con peeps could not wait until Saturday to go, so this movie’s biggest night would be Friday. It may seem like I’m splitting hairs, but let me assure you, that with a $20 million difference, the studio is doing the exact same thing. Another obstacle this picture had to overcome was its running time. At 2:40 before trailers, theatres simply can’t have as many showings as they could if it were only two hours. Now, the remedy would normally be to put more prints on more screens, but at 3600 screens they already have. I definitely have to congratulate Warner’s for leaving no stone unturned. Way to go!

And that’s the weekend!

[© MMIX MD TOTAL all rights reserved.]

Monday, March 9, 2009

At 100!

Break out the Strawberry Bubblicious and the Korbel Extra Dry because this is the 100th feature to appear on Soccerboy In LA!!! We’ve come a long way in eight short months. It all started early one Friday morning when I wrote to a friend living in Scotland saying what was going on in LA at that moment. It made me so happy to write it, I decided to make it the first feature of this magazine.

Living in LA and working in the entertainment industry is an amazing journey in and of itself but writing these features, and making Everybody’s Stupid has brought a new level of awareness of what’s going on around me. All of a sudden you realize that LA is a very cool city. Yes, swimming pools, movie stars, bars and trolley cars are around for sure but there’s so much more. I had no idea that the French Dip was invented in LA nor that Philippe’s is still open for business. Or that there’s a traveling taco truck selling Korean BBQ style tacos! [I have GOT to get there!] And our museums are phenomenal! And it’s all at your fingertips!

We just made it to the halfway point of season one of MD TOTAL’s flagship series, Everybody’s Stupid. Believe it or not, that show has been in the master plan since day one of this magazine. It’s getting some serious recognition, and even more love from people every day. It’s a joy to make, and its especially fulfilling to help people laugh during times like these.

I’m going to leave you with a picture to give you a little perspective on how far we’ve come in 100 features. It’s a shot of the first Everybody’s Stupid print ad, which ran at The Coffee Bean and Tea Leaf. I’ve watched myself on TV and on a movie screen but there simply aren’t words to describe what it felt like to see this print ad. We’ve come a long way.

This is just the beginning.

[© MMIX MD TOTAL all rights reserved.]

Sunday, March 1, 2009

The Roundup : 2.28.09

Well, well, well. I bet you thought we were all done here at the Dup, but no. We just took a much-needed bit of time away. It’s been an interesting year at the box office so far, no? No one expected Paul Blart to be the hit it has been except you and me. We’re aware that right now, people are looking to movies to raise their spirits. I happen to believe that’s onbe of the reasons Slumdog Millionaire won the Best Picture Oscar this year. Times are tough - seriously tough – and what better way is there to escape the stress of your life for two hours than a movie?

Here's this weekend's box-office estimates:

5. He’s Just Not that Into You : $5.9 mil. I gotta give it up, this movie is still making money! It has to be the most successful (if not the only) movie who’s idea started from a single line of dialogue from a television show. If I remember correctly, this movie was made at a fraction of the cost of what all these actors salaries would normally command, so I wonder what exactly the number is for it to actually be a success. Between Aniston, Barrymore, Connelly, Johannson, the budget would normally have been $50 mil RIGHT THERE. I have to give it up to everyone involved, they managed to make a romantic comedy that appeals to the times. Word.

4. Taken : $9.9 mil. This movie is doing just fine. I also have to give it up to Luc Besson for his ability (and humility) to just be a writer on a feature. I think that is the most interesting aspect of their story.

3. Slumdog Millionaire : $12.2 mil. Now everybody has already heard of Slumdog by this weekend. Hell, even PCD just released a version of the Oscar winning song, “Jai Ho.” WHAT? Give it a listen, and you’ll be saying the same thing. Going into this weekend, Slumdog had already crossed the $100 million mark having been on about 1500 screens. With their Oscar in hand, the producers decided to expand to about 2950 screens and managed to triple the gross of their previous highest weekend. Way to go! This movie is great fun, and I definitely loved watching it, but I have to ask one question. If it cost $15 million to make, where did all the money go? Let’s get real, were they rolling cigars with $100 bills? Seriously.

2. Jonas Brothers: the 3D Concert Experience : $12.7 mil. The Jonas Brothers now have the second highest opening for a concert film EVER. Maybe it’s time for more people to take them seriously?

1. Tyler Perry’s Madea Goes to Jail : $16.5 mil. Madea actually opened last weekend, and scored the Lionsgate’s highest opening weekend in the company’s history, and holds it’s place for a second week. Why? Because Tyler Perry is making movies for a ridiculously under-serviced audience. AND, all his movies have one thing in common. His name is always the first two words in the title of every movie. That, my friends, is what we call branding. And it works!

Now that awards season is over (sorry Hulu awards, I gotta keep it real.) let’s all go to the movies!

And that’s the weekend!

[© MMIX MD TOTAL all rights reserved.]