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An Inside Look Into the Dramatic Series Camp Abercorn

July 15th, 2014

Camp Abercorn

I recently had the opportunity to interview Jeffrey Simon who’s the amazing creator of the series entitled “Camp Abercorn.” The show’s premise: What happens when a gay “Eagle Guide” turns 18? One of the many stories in a series about camp staff.

You can enjoy our interesting Q and A and watch the series trailer below, and be sure to check out Jeffrey’s Kickstarter campaign as well.

1. What’s the story behind you wanting to develop “Camp Abercorn” into a web series?

I was a Boy Scout for 16 years. I’m an Eagle Scout, a Vigil honor member of the Order of the Arrow. I spent three summers working on Boy Scout Camp Staff. It was my life.

I learned more from the Boy Scouts than any other institution. From my first leadership position at age twelve as patrol leader to my two years serving as Lodge chief, I learned that running an organization is messy; that not everybody agrees, especially on matters of morality and family values. I learned to voice my opinion strongly while respecting the positions of others. I learned to be self-reliant. I was surrounded by friends—brothers—who taught me when to speak with my heart and when it was best to keep my mouth shut. You could argue that in many ways I learned how to be gay.

I am in awe of what activist organizations like Scouts for Equality and their LGBT allies have done and are still doing to bring change to the BSA. Boycotts and activism can go far to change policy, but no amount of lecturing can change people. What can change people are stories. What can change hearts and minds are stories.

Through Camp Abercorn, I hope to inspire a new generation to take interest in scouting, remind veteran scouts and scouters how special camp is, and prove how the Boy Scouts can remain relevant in a modern America.

2. Who are your core team members involved with this project, and how did you attract them to join you on this journey?

Meg is this incredibly talented artist who can honestly do anything. She’s funny and smart and just makes everything better. We’ve been friends since college and decided a little over a year ago that we wanted to write something together. When we were brainstorming the idea of camp came up. I immediately said, “we’re going to write a show about Boy Scout camp staff.” And that was it.

We wrote a pilot episode and it was pretty solid, but I knew it needed more so I called up Matt.

Sometimes I think it’s just luck. At least I know I got really lucky. Matt Andrews (my Executive Producer) is incredible, and honestly I’d be lost without him.

We were both working together on a stop motion film together a while back and started talking about making something of our own together. WHAT to write took a little longer (there’s an idea for a musical, too), but we both knew we wanted to produce something.

I brought idea of Camp Abercorn to Matt and he loved it. The three of us have been doing this together for the love of it for over a year now.

I may be the face that you see talking about Boy Scouts and all that, but it’s all of our words. All of our ideas.

3. Why did you decide to do a crowdfunding campaign to raise capital for the project?

I like to think of Camp Abercorn as a project for all Boy Scouts. Going to the community both fits the message of the show as well as allows us to have “Final Cut” if you will. This is very important to me considering the sensitive subjects we’re discussing.

Crowdfunding is also the best option because of it’s marketing potential. Every contributor is a guaranteed viewer, so we’d already have an audience once the show airs.

Camp Abercorn Indiegogo campaign

4. What are the core goals for the series?

I want to make a show about camp staff that makes everybody want to work on a camp staff. To me it’s an experience unlike anything in the world. Having quality staff members means having a quality program for our youth and that’s what the Boy Scouts is really about—building men of character.

The obvious answer here is to fix the Boy Scouts membership policies. The BSA has effectively put an expiration date on our youth’s sexual orientation. It’s okay to be gay while you’re young and naive, but once you turn 18 you better straighten out or get out.

But with Camp Abercorn I hope to redirect the conversation away from executives in fancy offices and bring it back to the values of scouts and importance of camp as a place to explore your possibilities in life.

5. What have been your biggest challenges and struggles to date?

Funding. It’s as simple as that. We knew we had a good idea, but also knew that it was going to take a lot of effort to convince the world that we deserved their hard earned cash. That’s why we’ve taken so long to even get to the point of starting our Indiegogo campaign. Having our ducks in a row was so important.

6. How do you manage the project’s work flow?

Everything is about story for us. We spend a ton of time writing before we talk to anybody else.

It all starts with brainstorming sessions. We use only simultaneous editing software since there are three of us in three different places. We start by doing our breakdowns in Trello, then migrate to writing the actual scripts in Google Docs, and eventually to Final Draft for formatting and PDF creation.

As far as the actual filming process goes, we hired a thirty person crew. We had a casting director, held auditions, all of that.

I really respect the different aspects of the filmmaking process and the intricacies of each job. I wouldn’t dream of filming a web series without a qualified makeup artist, for example. Our production is run like any professional shoot. That’s really important in order to get the best work out of our actors and crew.

7. Do you have any tips or insights for producing a web series?

Web series have a bad connotation today. We’re taking the approach of making a show for the internet that’s comparable (as best we can make it) to a network or cable show.

Tips from us? Just go out and make something. But plan it out. Take your time with it. Don’t rush into anything. That’s where we’re coming from at least. It’s been over a year for us and we’re just now starting to fundraise!

8. Where do you see the rapidly evolving web series space in 5 years years from now?

Hopefully we see some better stories. There are a lot of comedy shows, but very few web series pride themselves on their storytelling abilities. Television isn’t going anywhere yet, but it will. There’s already a shift into on-demand. Scheduled programming (apart from live events like sports) aren’t appealing to the incredible busy public.

9. Is there a trailer we can see for Camp Abercorn yet, and when can we expect to see Season 1?

Yes, of course, our trailer is embedded below and on our Indiegogo page. We will also be releasing new videos over the course of the campaign which you can find on Indiegogo or our YouTube channel.

Assuming all goes well with the crowdfunding campaign we’ll get to filming right away this fall. We’ll keep you updated, but be on the lookout early 2015.

We thank Jeffrey for his insightful answers, and wish him and his team all the best going forward. And a special kudos to Matt Andrews who helped to make this interview happen!

Enjoy this interview?! Great! Then subscribe to our blog via email as we will be doing more of these fun interviews in the future with other amazingly talented video creators, filmmakers, actors, writers, directors, animators, and producers.

And if you are a web series, TV, short film or feature film creator or producer and want your story and content featured here, then reach out to us and lets discuss.

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Our 5 Favorite Viral Videos From June 2014

July 11th, 2014

With each passing month, online videos are getting more creative and fun to watch, which bodes well for our Spidvid members on our video production freelancing site. Below are 5 remarkable viral videos from June, 2014. There are likely dozens of others just as deserving as these, so if you have a favorite then I invite you to include the link in the comments below. And here are our top viral videos from May if you crave more awesome viralness to watch.

Dear Kitten

1. Man Fights Off Great White Shark In Sydney Harbour – Close Call with a Great White Shark in Sydney Harbour! Filmed on a GoPro at Manly jump rock. HOLY SH*T! This video now has almost 25 million views since June 11th, but unfortunately it appears that this is fake according to this video.

2. Eyes on the road – What a brilliant way to communicate how risky it is to use mobile phones while driving. This video has almost 26 million views since June 6th!

3. Dear Kitten – Cats everywhere are promising big changes for a taste of wet cat food. What will your cat do? This video has over 13 million views since June 5th!

4. THE SLAP – This producer gathered acquaintances, friends both casual and close, paired them randomly, put them in a void, and asked them to hit each other in the face. This video has over 7 million views since June 23rd!

5. The Empty Car Convoy – A car that can drive and even break for itself. This is perhaps a glimpse into the future of the “smart car” revolution. This video has almost 4 million views since June 25th.

Shameless plug: Create highly entertaining videos like the ones above by connecting with and hiring our talented members to collaborate with. Be sure to get a Spidvid profile and post your project for free or find a project to bid and work on, and if you need any help at all just ask us!

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The Good, the Bad and the Ugly Of Filmmaking

June 13th, 2014

The good the bad and the ugly of filmmaking

Filmmaking is an incredible art form that at times is the most amazing thing to have ever been invented, and at other times you wish you never picked up a camera. Below I break down the good, the bad, and the ugly of filmmaking. Feel free to add anything you can think of under any of these 3 headings with a comment below.

The good:

  • You have the opportunity to tell the stories you are passionate about and want to see told
  • You get to create something original and release it into the world
  • You get to collaborate with amazing individuals on your projects
  • You can enjoy your surroundings while on set, especially if you’re shooting with beautiful scenery around you.
  • You can have your film screened at film festivals which can be helpful for getting potential distribution deals, and important audience feedback

The bad:

  • Have you ever ingested some bad food while on set? Greasy pizza that gives you heartburn would certainly fall into this category
  • Shoots can put anyone in a bad mood, especially when onlookers are lurking around trying to get a glimpse of greatness
  • If you’re bad at pitching executive producers for investment dollars then your project could be in limbo for quite some time
  • You can get into some bad situations throughout the challenging filmmaking process. I mean who genuinely likes doing re-shoots
  • At times you will experience a touch of bad luck. If you’re shooting outside and the weatherman calls for lots of sun that will surely make you happy, but what happens if the wind picks up and the unexpected thunderstorm clouds roll in? Be ready for anything and everything because anything that can go wrong will go wrong

The ugly:

  • Writing scripts is tough, and re-writing stories many times over can be a very frustrating and time consuming process
  • There’s a lot of pressure on you to make sure the film turns out as it appeared in the script, but execution is difficult to pull off at the best of times
  • Sometimes working with your team members will manufacture conflict, expose work flow inefficiencies, and sometimes failures are inevitable
  • Shoots can run for 12 hours or more, and who really likes waking up at 5am to be ready to go for a 7:30am start at sunrise?!
  • Many of the prominent film festivals have submission fees, and come with other costs such as travel, lodging, and entertainment. And how about those hidden fees you didn’t see coming which smack you in the face, better leave some extra room on your credit card just in case
  • If you’ve ever tried using some defective gear on shoots it can be quite maddening. For one, make sure all your batteries are fully charged and ready to go
  • Making money in filmmaking is very hard. Many films never make a penny, and if you do earn some cash chances are that most of it has to be returned to your investors so they can at least recoup their investment

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Paid Project: Editor Needed For a Feature Film

June 6th, 2014

A Short History Of Drugs In the Valley

Are you a talented film editor who’s looking for a fresh and exciting project to work on? Then perhaps “A Short History of Drugs In the Valley” would interest you.

The details and an on set photo are below, and you can find the project on Spidvid here if you want to contact the creator (FlowFeel Films), or go ahead and place your bid.

A Short History Of Drugs In the Valley - Car

FlowFeel Films needs a talented editor for their third major project.

This is a dark feature film which is part Clerks, and part Big Lebowski. This story is a slick ride through history and time. Vinny, Castro, Duke, and Bunny are caught up in a deal gone bad. Local radio personality Dr. Dick Diamond omnisciently narrates as the gang tries to wiggle out of a mess much bigger than they ever imagined.

View A Short History of Drugs In the Valley on Spidvid.

If you have a video or film project that you need to attract talent and build a team for, then post your project on Spidvid now.

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Our 5 Favorite Viral Videos From May 2014

June 4th, 2014

With each passing month, online videos are getting more creative and fun to watch, which bodes well for our Spidvid members on our video production freelancing site. Below are 5 remarkable viral videos from May, 2014. There are likely dozens of others just as deserving as these, so if you have a favorite then I invite you to include the link in the comments below. And here are our top viral videos from April if you crave more awesome viralness to watch.

Tiny Hamster Eat Burrito

1. Look Up – A spoken word film for an online generation. ‘Look Up’ is a lesson taught to us through a love story, in a world where we continue to find ways to make it easier for us to connect with one another, but always results in us spending more time alone. This video has an astounding 41 million views since being uploaded!

2. The Dream: all in or nothing ft. Messi, Alves, Suárez, Özil, RVP and more — FIFA World Cup – Stepping on to the biggest stage in world football means your wildest dreams or worst nightmares can become a reality. Leo Messi and all players going to battle in Brazil have a choice to make — all in or nothing. This video has over 31 million views since May 24th, so here’s some early proof that people are really excited about the World Cup this summer!

3. AMAZING STREET HACK – An amazing smartphone app turns common people into powerful hackers and hidden cameras record their reaction as they unwillingly hack a street of Los Angeles. You won’t believe what they do when the police show up! This video has almost 13 million views since May 16th.

4. Tiny Hamsters Eating Tiny Burritos – Sometimes love is best expressed through tiny food. This video has over 7 million views to date.

5. #ViolenceIsViolence: Domestic abuse advert Mankind – 40% of domestic violence is against men in the UK. Violence is violence, no matter who it’s aimed at. This video has almost 7 million views since May 22nd.

Shameless plug: Create highly entertaining videos like the ones above by connecting with and hiring our talented members to collaborate with. Be sure to get a Spidvid profile and post your project for free or find a project to bid and work on, and if you need any help at all just ask us!

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