MAY 2, 2012 10:15 AM | BY INDIEWIRE Watch: Exclusive Trailer for Broadway Understudy Documentary ‘The Standbys’
Ahead of its world premiere at the Tony Awards Film Series on May 12, Indiewire has the exclusive trailer for Stephanie Rigg’s Broadway understudy expose, “The Standbys.”
“The Standbys” is a story of the actors you don’t see. Those performers who are so talented that huge Broadway productions trust them to stand by backstage as understudies for the lead to carry an entire show. The only catch is that they’re never going to be famous enough names to actually be given that lead role in a production. This documentary film follows three amazingly gifted but undiscovered performers backstage on Broadway through their dramatic ups and downs, struggles and triumphs, onstage performances and private lives. All of them fighting against long odds with the hope that one day all of their hard work will finally earn them a moment in the spotlight to prove what they’re capable of.
Filming took place in New York City and followed three real actors for as they struggled for a spot on the Great White Way. In the course of this short time, they would face powerful life-changing moments in their career. They would meet incredible opportunities, unexpected betrayals, heartbreaks, cruel audiences, and a career path that challenges everyone to face the brutal realities of show business. Through it all, their refusal to quit is measured against that thankless role where night after night they dream of one day getting a chance to show their work to the world.
While “The Standbys” follows three great theater performers and has the backdrop of Broadway, it was important to me for the film to speak to a wide audience who doesn’t follow that world. Ultimately this isn’t just a story about Broadway – it’s about that bigger question all of us wrestle with. Is it worth it to devote your life and career to working tirelessly toward a goal you may never attain? If very few people ever get to appreciate your work and you never receive widespread acknowledgement for all your efforts, would you still follow that path? These three actors represent that passion, that fear, and that same hope in all of us who work a thankless job and chase after that most unlikely dream of greatness in a world that may never know us.
For a few months I’ve been working and crafting a new kind of iOS app that does something pretty insane with music…
SOUND EPIC: The most incredible way to create amazing audio in the palm of your hand. Turn a 3 minute pop song into an hour long electronic symphony masterpiece. Now you can create never before heard symphonies of music in real time on your iOS device. Conjure up your musical creation from any source. Bring in songs from your iPod library, sounds you record using the built-in audio recorder, or use the mind-blowing Live Input mode that turns anything your microphone hears into an EPIC.
* Slow tracks by 2 times or 16 times as much.
* Import DRM free tracks right from your iPod music library.
* Share your creations with the world using built-in SoundCloud uploading
* Bring in music and sounds from other apps or export your creations into other iOS apps using Sonoma’s Audio Copy & Paste.
* Play back tracks in real-time while changing settings.
* Import and export music at your desktop with iTunes File Sharing.
* Sound Epic also lets you create advanced HD audio with even more dynamic polish and crystal clarity.
I cannot stress this enough. You think you know a song, you listened to it thousands of time already but hearing it at a slowed down speed? It opens your brain up. It’s like turning yourself onto drugs and getting high for the first time, the whole world is different, what used to be just normal is now awesome and what was already awesome is psychedelically tectonic plate shifting. The app is free too, so there’s absolutely no excuse to not try Sound Epic. It’s not for everyday use but this app is magic.
Project overview: Writing and directing a 9 month online narrative tie-in with DreamWorks animated film “Monsters vs. Aliens” mixing live action video, CG cartoon characters, and web communities.
After an enormous 9 month engagement, the curtain has finally risen on DreamWorks’ latest animated feature and our unusual project creating a live action story of comic conspiracies and extraterrestrial mayhem to tie-in directly to the animated film. Juggling live action, animation, and comedy all at once proved to be extremely challenging, but I think we acquitted ourselves nicely. Here’s a scene I directed towards the end of the campaign spoofing a certain recent monster flick with the help of the animated cast of “Monster vs. Aliens.”
In this project, we wanted to help encapsulate the offbeat comic sensibility of the characters in the movie and reach out to the 18-25 year old demographic in way few animated films can. Because this movie took a satirical swipe at B-movies and science fiction classics, we needed an ongoing tale that was just a tongue-in-cheek and funny. So we invented a paranoid blogger named “Jeffrey Freedman.” A kook who lives in his mom’s basement and rants about the government using science fiction movies and books to disguise the truth from the American public. One of the videos even had him accusing real scifi enthusiasts at the World Science Fiction convention of being part of the conspiracy.
Freedman eventually became so enraged by the government cover-up that he “crashed the movie premiere” and confronted stars like Reese Witherspoon, Will Arnett, and Hugh Laurie about their role in the conspiracy:
The rest of the tale involving 80s workout tapes, flying dogs, and the New World Order can be found at Jeffrey Freedman’s blog: TopSecretConspiracy.com. The Top Secret Conspiracy project got rave reviews from scifi sites, movie fans, and forums as well as racked up hundreds of thousands of viewers. But the best part of this whole project? When it finally concluded I received a very gracious email praising our fine work from none other than the CEO of Weekly World News journalistic home of Bat boy and the alien who met with Ross Perot. Now that’s an endorsement.
Fun Trivia: If you watch the opening scene of “Monsters vs. Aliens,” you might spot an homage to Top Secret Conspiracy in the film’s sequence with the Artic Defense station.
Project overview: Writing and directing 8 live action online episodes for Fox’s re-imagining of “Terminator.” This series would stretch 5 months and involve millions of participants from around the world in an intense cinematic experience.
“Terminator: Dark Discovery” behind the scenes video:
It all ended with a very cool honor for all of us involved in “Terminator” from this year’s Webby Awards!
It is my pleasure to inform you that Terminator: Dark Discovery has been selected as an Official Honoree for the Online Guerilla & Innovation category in The 13th Annual Webby Awards.
As a result of the exceptional quality of submissions this year, the Academy has recognized outstanding entries as Official Honorees alongside our Nominees and Winners. The Official Honoree distinction is awarded to the top 15% of all work entered that exhibits remarkable achievement. With nearly 10,000 entries received from all 50 states and over 60 countries, this is an outstanding accomplishment for you and your team.
Project Overview: Creative directing a 3-D virtual world to tie into Activision’s mega popular ‘Guitar Hero’ franchise within Playstation Home.
Coming with the creative for this space last year was a pretty exciting proposition. Guitar Hero is one of the few major gaming franchises that doesn’t revolve around a super soldier blasting stuff in a post apocalyptic future. Instead the style evokes the grunge and grit of a rock concert venue somewhere in America. Coming up with the concept for the Home space was the easier part… “backstage” at the type of venues you play in the game. But the trickier challenge was coming up with gameplay that felt like Guitar Hero without just mimicking the legendary video game mechanics. What resulted was a kind of simon says type rock challenge where players compete against each other to land the longest string of notes in their rock solo. Check out this video:
This is my new unofficial social media work promoting The Dark Knight for this year’s Academy Awards. Why? Because it’s an amazing film and it faces an extremely tough road ahead. It’s a masterpiece and yet it has to challenge 81 years of Academy history that has never once awarded the prize to a film like it.
Created a video to make my case. I’m leveraging my past experience supporting Children of Men but in some ways this campaign will be the complete opposite. There the studio was ignoring the film and audiences had never heard of it and we started the campaign late. Here, the studio thinks they have a shot, audiences know the film, and I’m starting the campaign early. Hopefully some of the online audience will push this thing hard enough to make the long odds of an oscar for the Dark Knight more possible.
Project Overview: Creating unique war torn virtual spaces and games to tie-in with Ubisoft’s new ‘Far Cry 2′ game in the virtual world of Playstation Home.
Creating this space was a pretty long and evolving process that went through quite a few iterations and different hands on its way to release. Happily though, I think the vision of Ubisoft’s gritty, war-torn African country mired in conflict is projected throughout the space.
Here’s the announcement from the official Playstation blog:
Far Cry 2 comes Home today
Posted by Bertrand Helias // Senior Producer, Far Cry 2
Hi All, the Far Cry 2 Space is launching in PlayStation Home’s closed beta as we speak!
The space will invite players to dig deeper into the game’s vast African landscape. Users will have the opportunity to investigate in-game environments, including a bombed-out train station that has been converted into the ad hoc office of Reuben Oluwagembi, a journalist caught in the middle of the propaganda conflict between the warring UFLL and APR factions.
In Reuben’s office, you’ll be able to analyze an interactive map of the game world to strengthen your knowledge of the Far Cry 2 environment to develop your strategy for future missions. Locate guard posts, safe houses to save the progress of your game, weapon shops to buy new weapons, and bus stations to expedite your travel across the expansive land.
Players will have access to Reuben’s files containing various pictures, articles, and dossiers that will delve deeper into the background of The Jackal, as well as that of the other warlords and opposing factions. And finally, multiplayer game of Mancala that uses bullets as game pieces will be fully playable.
Hope you enjoy it and be sure to look out for new features as we’ll be updating the space regularly.
UPDATE: Video of the panel (that’s me on the far right of the frame ):
DIY DAYS SF – The Art and Science of Crowdsourcing
I’ll be part of a panel “The Art & Science of Crowdsourcing” at DIY Days this Sunday.
Lance Weiler, the film director behind The Last Broadcast and Head Trauma, has organized an interesting discussion series across the US that is called “DIY Days” (Do-it-Yourself Days). The series of live conferences / discussions known as DIY DAYS is happening in LA, SF, Boston, NYC and London. According to Lance, their goal is to explore filmmakers and storytellers in this day of shifting film distribution systems. [Read more →]
During development of Playstation Home, our company has created some pretty amazing experiences in this exciting new entertainment medium. I was lucky enough to play a creative director role in all three of the spaces on display in this video from Game Trailers, the main Home Square (US), Warhawk, and Uncharted which was my main focus (because it is my beloved baby). Check it out: