Introducing: This Is Art Composer Laura Intravia!

"I'm super excited about the project and really looking forward to working with such super talented people!" - Laura Intravia. Ditto, Laura!

One of the many exciting aspects of working on This Is Art is the ability to assemble a creative team that can perfectly execute mine and Anne’s vision for the show, and have a great time while doing it. Anne and I were ecstatic to recently announce a new addition to the team: Laura Intravia. Laura is the official This Is Art composer, and she will be writing all the original music and scoring for the show. Not only is Laura an exceptionally talented musician, she’s a perfect fit for the This Is Art team, and I’m here to tell you why.

Come with me, if you will, on a journey back in time. It’s the summer of 2008. Laura Intravia, a student at Ithaca college studying vocal performance and competition, has entered the Masquerade talent show/costume contest at Otakon in Baltimore. I am sitting on my couch in Manhattan watching Paprika while this goes on, as many of my friends are busy attending Otakon without me this year, but that’s neither here nor there.

All I can say is this: Laura walks on that stage in her Link costume, and magic happens. And, of course, that magic later appears on YouTube for the rest of the world to see.

Nine months later, Tommy Tallarico discovers the video of Laura’s Flute Link performance on Youtube and invites her to be a part of Video Games Live, touring the world while performing some of the most iconic video games music of our time in front of hundreds of thousands of audience members across 47 cities.

The year is 2009 when Laura joins the VGL tour, which is also the year I snag tickets to see Video Games Live at the Beacon Theater in New York City. I take my seat at the Beacon totally expecting the Warcraft segment to be my favorite, but Flute Link blows me away with her talent and, of course, the unique aspect of her performance. When I leave the theater, it’s the Flute Link segment, plus her unexpected vocal abilities in some of the other segments, that have me raving.

Fast forward to the year 2011. Anne and I are cast in the Beautiful Soup Theater Collective‘s production of Alice Au Pays Des Merveilles at the SoHo Playhouse. Halfway through rehearsals we learn that “Beautiful Soup,” the one musical number of the show, is being written by composer Laura Intravia.

Laura as Flute Link

Laura as Flute Link

I’m sure you all can picture the total nerd freakout I had when I realized that I was going to be singing music written by Flute Link.

I finally met Laura when she came to see Alice. Of course, it’s always nice when you find out that someone of whom you’re a fan is also a totally cool, incredibly nice person; Laura is and was both of those things.

So when Anne and I lost our original composer and were tasked with finding a new composer for the show – and quickly, too! – Laura immediately came to mind for both of us. Working with her during Alice had been great, we were both fans of her work, and she shares so many passions that Anne and I share – passions that went into the making of all the other aspects of This Is Art and deserved a place in its music, too. Besides, Laura’s unique career is the perfect example of an artist using new media to share their art with the world. From the beginning, This Is Art has sought to widen the community of artists in the world of new media, and Laura is definitely an inspirational figure for that community.

We approached Laura about composing for us and she hopped on the project at full speed. Now, as the calendar quickly approaches our production dates in October, we are working with Laura to put together the musical numbers of the show. I have to say, it’s incredibly thrilling to have your work come to life through the eyes of a collaborative artist. Hearing Laura’s musical demos has inspired an exhilarating new excitement in us. More than ever, Anne and I can’t wait to get This Is Art off the page and on its feet. Now, thanks to Laura, the musical piece of the puzzle is solved, and we’re that much closer to making it happen!

We’ll try and keep you posted about musical-related developments as we head into production, without giving too many surprises away! Meanwhile, check back here to learn more about our recent additions to the This Is Art team!

You can find out more about Laura by visiting her website!

 

Emily Floyd
@emilythespoon
@followthisisart
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This Is Art New York Comic Con Meetup: Are You In?

As you may already know, we recently hosted our very own This Is Art Livestream party to celebrate the success of our IndieGoGo campaign and to thank our donors and supporters. You can watch the video and read about how we put it together here.

In our webseries, Anne and I tell the story of creating art through the main characters, D and Cami, and their artistic experiences. The art they create is vastly impacted by the people they meet along the way. That is, after all, a huge part of the artistic process. As such, the idea of community has always been an important one for This Is Art. This was one of the main driving forces behind our Livestream party; we wanted to give our community a chance to interact and share, and – most importantly – to show themselves! We were not disappointed. For me, one of the most exciting parts of the event was watching the chatroom scroll as our community – a vast combination of people of all ages, locations, and demographics – got to know each other. That sense of bringing people together is one aspect of art that is always a favorite of mine.

Of course, bring a community of people together and you’re bound to hear a variety of different opinions and ideas. One such idea arose from the community gathered at the This Is Art Livestream party: the idea of a New York City Comic Con meetup.

Anne and I instantly loved the idea the moment it came up in chat, but in the days that have since passed we’ve discussed it and are now growing even more excited at the prospect of bringing our community together in person, especially during an event that represents an even larger community of which Anne and I consider ourselves a part. We would love the opportunity to organize a meetup for new media fans and creators – in other words, the community we are creating through This Is Art! Anne and I will both be at NYCC all 4 days (we’ve got our press passes and we will be there representing This Is Art, of course!), and we’re confident that we could find a time convenient for everyone (ie, not during the Felicia Day panel).

So here’s where you come in. Friends, family members, fans, new media creators, and new media lovers – sometime between October 13 and October 16, would you be down to attend a New York Comic Con meetup hosted by This Is Art? Let us know! If there’s interest, we will be happy to put it together! Simply comment on this blog post, hit us up on Facebook, or tweet your interest with the hashtag #thisisartnycc to let us know!

 

Emily Floyd
@emilythespoon
@followthisisart
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5 Tips to Help You Commit to Your Art

Photo by Tara Lee www.Tarahleephotography.com

When we’re young, it’s easy to commit to being an artist with wide eyed enthusiasm and charming naiveté. When it comes to actually being an artist, the whole endeavor becomes clouded with distractions.

There are constraints and requirements outside of your artistic career that take up a lot of your time and attention. You must pay rent. You must eat. You must socialize and be able to afford some form of entertainment to keep yourself sane. Sometimes it feel likes you have to maintain a whole second life on top of the first one and that there simply aren’t enough hours in the day. It’s too easy get caught up in the “everything else” of our lives.

This even applies within artistic projects. With a webseries, you are forced to take on multiple areas of responsibility. Very few people have just one position, mostly due to small budgets. It is easy as a producer/writer/designer, to forget entirely that one of the prime reasons you started the project in the first place was to provide yourself with an opportunity to tell a story onscreen as an actor. This is what I call, “Too Many Hats Syndrome.”

In addition to this problem, most people can’t take time off from their lives to spend on creating a new project. You have to do it in the so-called “down time” from your other career. Sometimes when I look at my work schedule, I have to stop and ask, “When, exactly, am I supposed to be pursuing this second career?”

This brings me to the biggest distraction of all. There is a point at which your “day job” becomes your job. Your art is your career, your day job is your fall back. Day jobs are supposed to net you enough gains that you can pursue your dreams when they don’t pay off as well as they should. More often than not, you find yourself spending increasing amounts of time trying to build a resume for a skill set you don’t even like just to pay your bills.

Recently, Bryan Vu, our “webmaster-at-arms” for This Is Art, offered to redesign my personal website. Currently, my website is a wordpress hodge podge of projects, tabs, resumes for performance, resumes for professional positions- overall a giant mess. He wanted to give me something clean that would really represent what I do in a striking and eye catching way. I asked Bryan if he thought I should include a resume for professional office administration positions somewhere on the site.

“What for?” He replied incredulously.

“I should have all my resumes up there, shouldn’t I? In case a perspective employer googles me? I don’t want them to think I’m not serious about office administration or whatever I’m interviewing for.”

“You’re a professional performer and a writer. That’s how you should represent yourself.”

I started to disagree with him before it hit me. “I am a professional performer and a writer!” I realized with renewed fervor. Somewhere along the way I had forgotten to look at myself in the mirror and recognize my success. I don’t intend to be a receptionist for the rest of my life so why insist on telling the world I was one?

Maybe, I told myself, the very thing that is holding me back is the fact that I haven’t let go of the extraneous things in my life that make me feel secure. On Bravo’s Inside the Actor’s Studio, I’ve heard many successful actors claim that they never would have been successful if they had clung to a back up plan. I suppose, if you never commit yourself fully to your artistic aspirations, then you don’t have to fall as far if you fail.

It’s a brave thing to declare yourself an artist, but truly being an artist bears the responsibility of that burden. You will starve, you will pay rent checks late, you won’t always be able to go out with your friends when they ask you, or take luxurious vacations when you desperately need them. Now this is not to say that you have to live with spartan dedication to your craft, but there are things you can do in order to stay focused on your career in its early stages.

#1: Time Management. You will be exhausted all the time. Plan ahead and figure out when you have to get everything done outside of your day job schedule. More importantly, commit to it. If you say you’re going to spend time on your new monologue, or go to a networking event, do it. Additionally, if your day job becomes your job, its time to start looking for a new one.

#2: See Art. Every time I see something I love, it inspires me to continue working on my craft. If you let your artistic mind flatline, then you’ll leave a huge space open for all those distractions to tumble through your front door and bury you. Study the people you love and learn from them.

#3: Journal. Even if you’re not a writer, it’s important to stay self aware. Day jobs eat creative brain cells for breakfast. Journaling or free writing allows you to check in and remember what’s important to you emotionally and artistically. Keep yourself and your heart open. It’s a vulnerable experience, but in that scrutiny and weakness is the beauty and truth you should probably be exploring with your art, whether it manifests in a new idea for a character, or a self depricating stand up routine. You have to be in touch with who you are at your best and at your worst. For an easy start, try Oh Life. It’s an online private journal bank that emails you every night to remind you to write SOMETHING- anything. You simply reply to the email and it stores what you wrote in your private journal. It’s unassuming and you don’t have to risk having your private thoughts discovered or read by anyone else. Take five minutes and get started. That’s all it requires. When? On the subway, drinking coffee, on the toilet if you have to. Get your mind working! Writing a journal will be a constant reminder that you are an amazing, breathing organism with the gift of creation beating soundly in your heart.

#4: “If God calls, pick up the phone.” Lady Gaga said this in an interview and it’s absolutely true. No one is constantly inspired to make art twenty four hours a day. If inspiration strikes, let the adrenaline pump through your veins and get cracking! Don’t put off your ideas. These will be your most productive and most magical moments as an artist, even if it means waking up from a dream and writing down your ideas right then and there.

#5: Declare yourself. Whether it’s on your website or at cocktail party, be who you want to be. Your website is your creative calling card. You can be everything you dream of, even that wild artistic mastermind who only has a chance to emerge after quitting time. When people ask you what you do, tell them, “I’m an artist.” If people judge you, so what? People may never accept your choices in life or who you are, but if you can’t come out of the closet to yourself, then you’ll never succeed.

So, I’ll start. I’m Anne, and I’m an actor. Who are you?

Anne Richmond
@annerichmond
@followthisisart
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The Blip.tv Relaunch

Blip.tv is a very popular site amongst webseries creators. It allows us to distribute our show across many of the popular video platforms online with the click of a button and monetize our product through allowing ads to play before our videos. With their new design, they make themselves even more viewer friendly, incorporating new easy ways to discover shows, either by category or by recommendation of the show you’re currently watching. The new incorporation of the show posters all over the site gives us new opportunities to reach out and grab the attention of possible views. It’s just visually stunning at the end of the day.

If you’re a series creator, this is the perfect time to go over to Blip.tv and check out what they’re providing us with, and if you’re someone interested in learning about webseries for the first time, this is now the perfect discovery tool. Watch this video and hear about the new changes directly from the team at Blip.tv.

Congratulations guys! We cannot wait to start distributing our show!

Anne Richmond
@annerichmond
@followthisisart
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The 10 Best Sites About Webseries

A successful webseries isn’t just about good content. It’s about learning the territory.

As we developed the script for This is Art, and now as we march through preproduction and fundraising, I have been doing my best to keep up with industry news, watch as many other web shows as possible, and engage in meaningful dialogue with other webseries creators. The following is a list of sites that I check almost daily in order to improve my knowledge of new media entertainment.

News

Tubefilter aims to be the leading authority on web television and webseries. They were the creative minds behind The Streamy Awards (think of it as the Oscars of web tv) and the IAWTV (International Academy of Web Television). They post articles daily about developments in the industry, previews for new shows, and they cover major distribution deals as well.

Slebisodes not only provides news and reviews, but also amasses a broad list of webseries for you to browse.

 

 

Gigaom has a lot of great articles not just about webseries but about new media entertainment news in general in their NewTeeVee section.

 

Discovery

Koldcast is an online webseries channel that features several shows and even sponsors some of them. It’s just a great collection of shows with a lot of variety.

 

Blip.tv is a site that webseries creators use to distribute their shows across multiple platforms. They also feature episodes on the front page as well. This is a great tool if you’re creating webisodes, vlogs, or video podcasts. It can be helpful to see how others are using it.

Digital Chick TV was created by writer/director Daryn Strauss, who seeks to amass a reliable database of the finest online video content available for a female audience. The site breaks down its featured shows into a broad spectrum categories, from comedy to experimental, so you can easily find shows that might be similar to yours or explore genres you haven’t looked into yet.

Dialogue

Dialogik Digital is a boutique digital marketing consultancy for entertainment properties. They have several notable clients including Tubefilter (mentioned above), Anyone But Me (an award winning webseries), and the IAWTV. They also publish a blog that shares their PR strategies and news about their clients. I think it’s generous and very much in keeping with the spirit of this industry that they share their “how-to’s” with the rest of the community.

Celebrate the Web was created by Kim Evey and Jenni Powell in 2010 as a way for web content creators and their supporters to start a dialogue about the current state and the potential future of web tv. They mostly hold events on the west coast, but they also ran a pilot contest online that gave creators around the world an opportunity to win money to put towards producing their show. It’s got a serious “by the people, for the people” vibe that I really dig.

BigScreen LittleScreen is a monthly meetup series sponsored by Digitas, Tubefilter, 10ton, Focal Press, AskLocal/Zami.com, and Mo Video Mojo and hosted by Matthew Semel and Paul Kontonis. Every month, they present a group of videos and post viewing, you get a chance to do Q and A with the creators. There’s always great company, good conversation, and many opportunities for networking. I check their meetup page to sign up for the events because there’s limited capacity. If you are in NYC, definitely start attending. They also recently announced that there will be an LA version starting up soon.

“The New York Webseries” Facebook Group is a site I check daily without fail. You have to be a series creator/writer in order to join the group, but people post questions, suggestions, and show links every single day. It’s a very active hub and an extremely welcoming/supportive community. This is, of course, geographically focused, but if you’re a NY series creator, you’d be shooting yourself in the foot if you didn’t join the dialogue.

Those are my best 10 resources for the webseries industry. If you have more suggestions, please feel free to add them in the comments below!

-Anne Richmond

@annerichmond
@followthisisart
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What’s a Digital Spotlight?

This is our first Digital Spotlight vlog for This Is Art, a new comedy webseries about young artists struggling to stay afloat in NYC.

In this vlog, This Is Art Creators/Writers Emily Floyd and Anne Richmond discuss the second part of their project; an online database that will connect new media artists from around the world, give them a voice, and tell their story.

 

Email your submissions for Digital Spotlight consideration to thisisartwebseries [at] gmail [dot] com.
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