Category Archives: Writer

George Reinblatt: A Rare Gem in the Canadian Entertainment Industry

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George Reinblatt at Howard Stern’s Birthday in New York

It takes a very rare individual to not only be able to write a successful script for a production, but produce it as well. When it comes to getting a project off the ground and actually bringing it to the stage or screen, the writer is the person who knows the ins and outs of the story they’ve created and feels the most passionately about it, at least initially; so, in an ideal world it makes sense that they’d be the best person to pitch the project to networks and ensure that the world they’ve created comes across accurately once production begins.

Unfortunately for the many writers who want to make it in the highly competitive entertainment industry, the differences between being the writer and the producer on a project call upon two very different personality types. Whereas the writer can retreat into their imagination creating their work without having to interact with other people—the producer has to be able to pitch the heck out of the story getting financiers and network executives on board, and if successful, then they have to communicate and guide everyone involved in the production towards the end goal.

While these individuals are understandably few and far between, Canada’s George Reinblatt is undoubtedly one of them. Over the last decade the unique and multifariously talented producer and writer has transitioned between the two roles with ease, consistently creating successful productions along the way.

To get an idea of the success Reinblatt has had as a producer, just look at the multi-award winning production “Evil Dead: The Musical,” which he wrote as well.

The production, which initially opened at a small theatre in Toronto in 2003, was an instant hit, and by 2006 the show was running as an off-Broadway production in New York where it received extensive international acclaim. After watching the show on opening night in NY, New York Times’ critic Anita Gates wrote that the show had the makings to become the next “Rocky Horror Show.”

“This was really special for me, as it was my show – I wrote the book and lyrics. So it was important for me to be on the producing side to make sure I could have a hand in all aspects of the production — from casting to merchandising to ticketing to even choosing the venue,” explains Reinblatt about producing the initial run of the show.

As the writer of the musical, Reinblatt created a masterpiece on paper, but it was his capacity as a producer that took that hilarious cult world from that which could only be experienced in the imagination and erected it into something audiences could collectively enjoy as he intended it. Prior to going into production with the hit show, Reinblatt reached out to the movie studios and secured the rights to the Evil Dead franchise in order to make the stage production the official stage adaptation of the film trilogy.

“Evil Dead: The Musical” won the Dora Audience Choice Award as Toronto’s Favorite Show, and after having several extended runs, by 2008 it became the longest running Canadian show in Toronto in over two decades.

Over the last year Reinblatt has been working hard producing a slew of comedies for international television networks including the Comedy Central special Jeff Ross Roasts Criminals: Live from Brazos County Jail. 

“It was amazing how much time and effort had to go into this one comedy special,” admits Reinblatt. “I came up with the idea of doing a comedy show in a prison. Jeff Ross thought it was a great idea. Comedy Central thought it was a great idea. But finding a prison willing to let us come in there and roast them, that was the hard part.”

Reinblatt and everyone on board knew they had something special on their hands, and after a year of planning and researching prison life, Reinblatt helped bring the eye-opening special to the screen.

The special, which aired in June, offered audiences more than just a few good laughs as they watched renowned comic Jeff Ross, known to many as ‘The Roastmaster General,’ roast the inmates at Brazos County Jail though. Along with Ross’s satirical jokes, the show included shocking facts about the American prison system making it a valuable source of information as well. Reinblatt’s brilliant idea for the show coupled with his ability to make the project happen as a producer made the release a resounding success.

As a writer on the series The Burn with Jeff Ross, and the popular Comedy Central roast specials of Roseanne, James Franco, Charlie Sheen and Justin Bieber, Reinblatt has worked with Jeff Ross multiple times over the years. He is also known throughout the international entertainment industry for penning the scripts for an impressive list of productions including the series Just for Laughs, George Stroumboulopolos Tonight, The Arsenio Hall Show, the 2012 and 2013 MuchMusic Video Awards and more.

“Different is what I do. I’m always looking for my next project to be different from my last. And jumping from a musical to a prison comedy special to a sketch show is about as different as you can get,” admits Reinblatt.

From the standpoint of producer, George Reinblatt knows exactly what story ideas will sit best with audiences, and earlier this year he began producing yet another exciting comedy series. The new 20-episode series Almost Genius, which is slated to begin airing on Country Music Television Canada in 2016, combines popular YouTube videos with some of the best comics in the entertainment industry today. Using highly innovative production technology, the show actually inserts the comics into the YouTube clips using green screen.

Reinblatt says, “It’s going to make people look at their favorite YouTube clips in a whole new way.”

With inimitable creativity, Reinblatt has continually displayed his capacity for producing starkly different projects for both the stage and screen, all of which reveal him as someone who is not only capable of creating captivating stories, but ensuring the production process goes off without a hitch as well.

“I just want the overall experience for the audience to be a great one, so I love being involved in all aspects of a production to ensure that happens,” explains Reinblatt. “Sometimes as a writer, you write something, hand it in, and what happens from there in performance, or editing, or anything else, is completely out of your hands. As a producer you get a say in the overall direction. You may not always get exactly what you want. But your voice is always heard and you can help navigate the direction of the final product.”

 

 

 

Nuh Omar uses his Imagination to Create Powerful Stories

Nuh Omar
Nuh Omar shot by Khawer Jadoon Photography

The clear-plastic cup of water trembled more intensely with every step. The once-extinct Tyrannosaurus reached the pair of SUVs, came face-to-face with their inhabitants and let out a thunderous roar.

Pakistan-born Nuh Omar watched the genre-defining, blockbuster film Jurassic Park in the theater as a five-year-old and knew what he wanted to do for the rest of his life – direct films. Though it wasn’t the first movie he’d seen, it was the first time it really clicked that he was watching the creative work of another person. He immediately set his sights on filmmaking, and continued to develop his talents as a screenwriter in his teens.

Omar’s first feature film as writer and director, tentatively called Untitled Imaginary Friends Project, is set for release in 2017. The film’s groundbreaking plot is about the journey of an imaginary friend, and what happens to imaginary friends when children are finished with them.

“It’s a fun, journey movie, a fantasy drama, inspired by Pixar films and E.T.,” Omar said.

Monster in the Closet, one of Omar’s earlier films, was also inspired by Pixar. Omar wrote and co-directed the live-action fantasy film about a boy fighting a monster in his closet with Rebecca Hodges (Rust, Loves Me Not, The Usual Stuff).

Omar, a toy collector, was overjoyed to see his “toy characters” come to life as humans on-screen.

But Omar’s talents have stretched well beyond the childhood-inspired portion of his deep imagination. He directed Lazy Accident, a THX 1138 and 2001: A Space Odyssey-inspired dark comedy, with Justin Graniero (A.C.O.D.) and Michael Robertson (A Measure of Faith).

“The setup for the punchline was important,” Omar said. “We knew we had to approach the film with the mindset that this was satire.”

Thematic elements have always been Omar’s key to success.

“They are fantastical, surreal and aberrant,” Omar said. “My style takes the real world and mixes in the abnormal as if it was something ordinary.”

Omar’s use of nostalgia is another way the skilled director has hooked his audiences.

“I try to make each one reach out and connect with something in the audience’s past, something we all have in common,” Omar said. “That varies from project to project, but the sense of it remains the same across.”

Omar is undoubtedly a masterful director, but he hasn’t limited his talent to just the silver screen. He also developed a comic book series called I’m Here, which is a 12-issue project about a crypto-journalist named Jonas who tells the stories of urban myths and legends from their perspective.

Thematically, the comic book is about the disappearance of American values told through the eyes of an observer who is merely a part of a larger story arc.

“It’s a scary step,” Omar said. “I’m a comic book fan, but attempting to do one is surreal. It’s a very difficult feeling. I’ve never written a comic script, so the experience was enlightening.”

Like the Tyrannosaurus in Jurassic Park, Omar learned to thrive in a new, unfamiliar world. The multi-talented director and writer has undoubtedly earned his stripes on the big screen and in the world of comics.

“I hope that someone out there gets to enjoy a story, and become inspired to do something different as I was,” Omar said.

Omar’s forthcoming Untitled Imaginary Friends Project will release in 2017, and will unquestionably break new storytelling ground with its fresh spin on the classic concept of imaginary friends.

Director Jacob Lundgaard Andersen Continues to Amaze

Jacob Lundgaard Andersen
Director Jacob Lundgaard Andersen

Originally from Jutland, the main peninsula of Denmark, Jacob Lundgaard Andersen is a director whose talent knows no bounds. After obtaining his undergraduate degree from the European Film College in Denmark, Andersen went on to be one of 28 directors invited each year to attend the American Film Institute Conservatory program where he received his master’s degree.

Earlier on in his career, Andersen worked with multi-award winning directors Thomas Vinterberg (Submarino, The Hunt, Metallica: The Day That Never Comes), and Nikolaj Arcel (Royal Affair, King’s Game, Truth About Men). While working as Vinterberg’s 2nd AD on the film Submarino, Andersen says, “Through intimate moments driving to and from set and as a collaborator directing his background [Thomas] taught me many valuable things, always wrapped in an anecdote. But what I learned most from just shadowing him was observing how he navigated the obstacles of the production in ways that were least compromising to his vision.”

Submarino, which received 8 awards and has been nominated for 19 others at film festivals around the world, reveals the dark subject matter of a dysfunctional family plagued by loss and substance abuse. The film puts Vinterberg’s fearless approach to cinema on display, a characteristic we also see in Andersen’s films. Andersen also worked alongside Nikolaj Arcel on the historical drama film A Royal Affair, which was nominated for an Oscar for Best Foreign Language Film as well as an Academy Award and several others.

Jacob Lundgaard Andersen first gained international exposure after embarking on the “This is War” World Tour with 30 Seconds to Mars, a rock band fronted by Oscar Award winning actor and multi-talented musician Jared Leto. While on tour with the band, which has received a Billboard Music Award as well as 84 other awards, Andersen worked as a videographer, shooting and editing tour footage of 30 Seconds to Mars while also helping to create several music videos and documentaries.

Jared Leto
Jared Leto on tour with his band 30 Seconds to Mars shot by Jacob Lundgaard Andersen

His successful work on the tour led him to begin working with Grammy Award winning musician Raphael Saadiq on Saadiq’s “Stone Rollin” Tour.

About his work with Saadiq, Andersen says, “I worked as a one-man-production and even though the scope was smaller, the creative responsibility was much greater and ended with me directing two tour-music videos for him. I am still collaborating with Raphael today.”

All of these projects marked the very beginning of Andersen’s career, an incredible feat considering the high profile of the artists with which he collaborated, but not all that surprising when looking at the extraordinary talent Andersen has shown through his work. In 2013 Andersen wrote, directed and produced the music video “As Long As You Watch My Heart” for Danish musician Penny Police. Andersen’s video went into heavy rotation on MTV U, which reaches an audience of 9 million, when Penny Police was chosen as one of several artists to compete for the Freshman Award, an award voted on by viewers that they won. The video was also an Official Selection at the Rahway Film Festival, and garnered Andersen the award for Best Music Video at the 2014 HollyShorts Film Festival in Los Angeles. A stop motion video, “As Long As You Watch My Heart” follows a ball of yarn traveling through nature and space. Andersen created the visually captivating video using animation, miniature models and puppetry.

Jacob Lundgaard Andersen is extremely gifted. Not only is he an incredible director with a unique vision, but he is passionate about learning every aspect of what goes into the creation of a film as well.

He says, “I love movies and every element that goes into making them and as a director you get to be involved with each of the specialized departments and learn everything from technical camera, VFX and sound things to very emotional and human experiences that comes from working with writers, actors and people management in general.”

The great lengths Andersen has gone to in order to become knowledgeable about every technical aspect of filmmaking in addition to the creative side, has put him leagues ahead of most directors and adds to his ability to bring his vision to life with each project. A perfect example of Andersen’s vast skillset, the films’ Be Here Now and Dustland showcase his creativity as a director, writer, and producer. If you’d like to find out more about Jacob Lundgaard Anderson’s work you can check out his website http://jacoblandersen.com/ and watch his video for Penny Police below!

Q & A with Brazil’s Top Tech Producer Gisele Góes

Gisele Góes
Brazilian Writer and Producer Gisele Góes

Despite her flawless beauty, Gisele Góes is actually the one behind the scenes, or rather screens, computer screens that is. Gisele is an incredibly motivated tech writer and content producer. As one of the lead producers and managers of content for the successful websites TechTudo.com, Globo.com and Socialbakers.com Gisele works tirelessly to bring the online community the most relevant and up-to-date news in the tech industry. She is also one of the creative individuals behind Blogo, an award-winning blogging app for Mac OSX.

Not only is she a talented tech-savvy writer, but Gisele has also begun extending her work as a tech producer into the world of film. To find out more about Gisele’s work in the tech industry, and how she managed to take her skills as a producer from one industry to another, read our interview below!

TTNN: What did you go to school for?

GG: Bachelors in Social Communication, Emphasis in Advertising & Marketing

TTNN: What do you do for TechTudo?

GG: Write articles covering real-time industry news, digital culture, social media, product reviews, ratings (software, hardware), how-to’s, tutorials, featured downloads. Also monitor new sources for topic proposals and make sure to follow the tight deadlines (timing is everything). Without competent and good qualified writers, TechTudo wouldn’t have good and updated content.

TTNN: Why do people use TechTudo/What is the website all about?

GG: TechTudo is the biggest tech website in Brazil and it’s part of Globo (largest media group in Latin America). TechTudo is separated by sessions: News, Articles, Special Articles (interviews, etc), Tutorials & Downloads.

The website covers all news about technology and digital culture making this kind of content accessible to general audience (more than 10 million unique visitors).

TTNN: Have you always wanted to be a writer?

GG: Actually I’ve wanted to be a photographer but writing started to become a good hobby when I created my first blog (Keep Calm and Blog On). After following my work with my blog the staff from TechTudo invited me to write for them and then everything made sense. I found out I could use my passion about photography to pick up cool images or even write about the subject and have fun writing at the same time!  

TTNN: What genre or category does your writing fall into?

GG: I love writing about everything but I like online focused content and approaching subjects like new products/services, games, tech culture, pop culture and entertainment. Even though I enjoy long articles I really love the challenge of trying to be straight but giving the right details to touch the audience. This is actually what prompted me to start working on an ebook about how technology is changing our writing habits.

TTNN: Why have you chosen to work and write in this field specifically?

GG: I’ve always been into tech. When I was little I used to spend a lot of time in the computer, my grandparents would call me out for that and tell my parents “this girl spends too much time on the computer”. I love having access to new information but more than that, I love sharing it with people from all over the world. And that wouldn’t be possible without technology. I’ve lived in 10 different cities in 2 different countries, so I’m fascinated about communication and how it changes from culture to culture. I guess what I’m trying to say is that I love talking to all kinds of people from different places about something that I love and exploring good content everyday that deserves to be shared with the world.  

TTNN: How did you begin working in app development?

 GG: I worked in a Globo.com’s affiliate company that developed apps and tech products. After getting expertise in the process behind the development I started writing for TechTudo about tech related news and studying more about startups and getting more into the field.

I was one of the 18 young talents selected for a summer program in Silicon Valley in 2013 called Startup Dream Team and had workshops about all the steps a startup or entrepreneur needs to follow to start a new business / app / service / product.

TTNN: What is your area of expertise in app development?

GG: Communication, Written production (UX interface), Copyhacking and growth. Everything that involves promoting, increasing the online performance and connecting with an audience and press.  

TTNN: What is the Blogo App all about? 

GG: Blogo is a desktop blogging app for Macs. It simplifies the blogging workflow by getting rid of everything that is not necessary. All the features were carefully thought, selected and designed to make blogging easier and faster. It’s the easiest way to manage multiple blogs and publish content.

TTNN: How did you come up with the idea for Blogo?

GG: Blogo was not my idea. In fact, Blogo was created in 2008 and gained a lot of attention, described by Mashable as a “bad ass blog editor,” but its development halted after a Mac OS update. Five years later, the original creator (Ivan) gathered with two new partners and got the project back on track. Ivan and I were friends already and he knew I was coming back from Silicon Valley and thought I was the perfect fit to give Blogo a “human touch” and take charge of their communication. 

TTNN: As a producer for Socialbakers, what specifically do you do?

GG: Produce and coordinate all the content distribution in Brazil. Pitch Socialbakers to Brazilian media, look for media opportunities and come up with ideas for country specific content, arrange special articles and interviews that increases Socialbakers’ brand performance in Brazilian territory in order to attract more attention from possible clients and public in general.

The Crystal Crypt

After reaching an incredible level of success as a writer and producer in the tech industry, Gisele Góes began extending her skills beyond the tech world. Drawing on her unparalleled ability to raise funds and publicity for projects she believes in, Gisele began applying her talents to the film industry. In addition to being an irreplaceable force in the creation of content and the overall management of TechTudo.com, Globo.com, and Socialbakers.com, she is also currently working as a producer for the films “The Umbrella”, “Crystal Crypt” and “Susannah’s Lesson.”

TTNN: How did you transition from working as a producer in the tech world to producing films?

GG: I’ve always wanted to work with film– that was one of my options while I was in college but I ended up focusing on technology. Today I believe that is possible to work with both. Technology is completely changing the film industry because it empowers the community and independent moviemakers to easily spread the word, and get the support and funding needed to make a project happen.

TTNN: What skills from your background as a tech producer do you use as a producer of films? What are the similarities?

GG: Writing and content distribution mainly; but also my expertise interacting and approaching the community and that’s because independent movies use a lot of crowdfunding to help raise enough money to produce their films.

For a crowdfunding campaign to succeed, it is crucial to understand how to promote the right content to a community in order to generate spontaneous communication, etc. Just like in technology, you have to understand your target and make sure you’re delivering the right content, on the right channel with the perfect approach.

TTNN: What are your strengths as a film producer?

GG: As I said before, technology is changing the film industry completely. Movies like Crystal Crypt had so much support from the community and that has everything to do with their success. I believe that my knowledge with online tools to promote content and experience with content distribution, writing and PR is really useful to help in the movie’s production, as well as when it comes time to pitch them to the media in the best way.

TTNN: What do you like about producing films?

 GG: I’ve always loved movies. I can’t spend a week without watching at least one movie, and it’s amazing being able to be a part of something like that. There’s a lot behind a movie and it combines everything I love– photography, music, writing. It’s fascinating to see all these amazing factors being worked out together and turned into a “piece of art”.

TTNN: What are your favorite kinds of films to produce?

GG: Independent ones. Mostly because they have a big influence from the online community and they’re directly related with technology. As far as genres go, I like Sci-fi (which is the case of Crystal Crypt) but I don’t have a specific genre that I prefer. I think it’s all about quality.

TTNN: How did you get involved with the upcoming films The Umbrella, Crystal Crypt and Susannah’s Lesson?

GG: Shahab Zargari, the director of the film Crystal Crypt, knew me from my work here in Brazil as a writer and he thought I could add a different approach to these projects, that is how it began. He wanted someone with a different perspective that could add a lot and seek different approaches to promote and produce something unique.

TTNN: What do you hope to achieve over the course of your career as a writer and producer?

GG: Of course I want to get involved with awesome projects, but I also want to be able to promote and create great communities around these projects to guarantee their success. Technology keeps empowering us and today funding or raising money is just a matter of getting the right people involved and working together to make great ideas happen.