We the Internet TV Launches New Patreon and Merch Store

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Win an Official We the Internet TV T-shirt

We’re excited to announce that MPI’s comedy news channel, We the Internet TV, has launched a new Patreon page. Fans of We the Internet TV will now be able to support their favorite equal-opportunity offenders by signing up to become a monthly patron—and, in return, get access to exclusive content not available anywhere else!

In addition, We the Internet TV has an all-new merchandise store so fans can now shop official swag, including t-shirts, hats, hoodies, and more!

For a limited time only, when you sign up to become a patron, you’ll receive a free official We the Internet TV t-shirt in your color of choice. Don’t miss your chance to become a part of WTI history!

Recap: Masterclass with "Narcos" Co-Creator Chris Brancato

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Learning What Makes a TV Show Successful

Today in New York, Moving Picture Institute filmmakers enjoyed a masterclass conversation with Chris Brancato, the co-creator and principal writer on the critically-acclaimed, Emmy-nominated Netflix series Narcos. He has a very impressive television career, working not only on Narcos but also writing for Hannibal and show running a season of Law & Order: Criminal Intent

Chris shared his insights on succeeding as a television writer, show running, and adapting true stories into narrative series. 

Want to attend our next masterclass? Click here to learn more and apply.

Production Wraps on New MPI Original Short

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New Short from Gringa and Mama Rwanda Producer Coming Soon

Another MPI Original short is on the way! Ryan Patch, co-producer and editor of popular MPI films Gringa and Mama Rwanda, recently wrapped production on Regulation, a dystopian short film that depicts a near-future world where all emotions are flattened and controlled by a computerized transdermal happiness “patch.” 

In this story, a young social worker named Mia (Sunita Mani) has second thoughts about her job administering the emotional-regulation patches when she's confronted with a young girl (Audrey Bennett) who doesn't want one. 

MPI supported the production of this film and also placed an intern on set to assist with camera operation.

Be on the lookout for more updates about Regulation.

“Gringa” headed to Fayetteville Film Fest

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Plus a Can’t-Miss Masterclass from Lana Link

MPI’s original dramedy short, Gringa, will screen at the 2018 Fayetteville Film Fest this weekend as part of the Narrative Shorts: Comedy Block. Gringa, co-written by MPI-supported filmmaker Claudia Murray and MPI’s vice president of talent development, Lana Link, depicts the story of a Cuban-American woman on a frenzied mission to find a rare car part before she and her abuelo leave for a trip to Havana. 

Many idealistic filmmakers tell their investors that they want to tell stories matter and can even fuel change in society. But how many filmmakers have defined what impact means to them? Or have maximized their potential for impact as early as the development stage? To answer these questions, Lana will be hosting a masterclass at the festival on “How to Tell Stories That Make an Impact.”

Check our Events page for more details on this weekend’s screening and masterclass.

We the Internet TV Sketch Nominated for Best Funny Music Video

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“Adele Calls an Uber” One of Three Contenders

We the Internet TV sketch “Adele Calls an Uber” has been selected to screen at this year’s Austin Comedy Short Film Festival—and has also been nominated for Best Funny Music Video! Catch it this weekend at the famous Alamo Drafthouse, and be sure to subscribe to We the Internet TV for other hilarious weekly videos.

Masterclass Dinner with Former Pixar Director Colin Brady

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MPI Filmmakers Learn From The Mastermind Behind Toy Story 2

Recently, select MPI filmmakers joined us for our second exclusive masterclass dinner. This special masterclass featured former Pixar director and animator superstar Colin Brady. Colin’s vast résumé includes co-directing Toy Story 2, directing an animation division on Game of Thrones, and supervising animation divisions on The Hunger Games and Hugo. Fun fact: he also animated the famous cat Thackery Binx in Hocus Pocus. Earlier this year, Colin spoke to our summer intern class at our annual Intern Summit. 

Over the course of the evening, the masterclass attendees discussed their projects with Colin and learned how art fosters originality and originality, in turn, produces the greatest creative capital. Colin also shared lessons from his own career and insights on the power of innovation and creating opportunities for oneself. Here's what one of our filmmakers had to say:

"You're onto something great. I feel very fortunate to have been a part of last night's dinner. Thank you!" – Masterclass attendee

Interested in attending our next masterclass dinner? Click here to apply.

We the Internet TV Goes to Austin Comedy Short Film Festival

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Not One But Two Official Selections!

We the Internet TV sketches “Adele Calls an Uber” and “Shocking Prison Secret” have been officially selected to screen at this year’s Austin Comedy Short Film Festival

The Austin Comedy Short Film Festival screens short comedy films, funny music videos, web series episodes, comedy television pilots, as well as, mockumentary films. These films are created every year by independent filmmakers from around the world, looking to have their creative work screened at the Alamo Drafthouse Cinema Lakeline. 

Visit our Events page for more details about these screenings, and be sure to subscribe to We the Internet TV for other hilarious weekly videos.

"Gringa" Screening this Weekend

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No Better Way to Kick Off Labor Day

This Labor Day weekend, the MPI Original dramedy short, Gringa, will screen at the 13th Annual Broad Humor Film Festival as part of the Shorts #3 block

Gringa, co-written by MPI-supported filmmaker Claudia Murray and MPI’s vice president of talent development, Lana Link, depicts the story of a Cuban-American woman on a frenzied mission to find a rare car part before she and her abuelo leave for a trip to Havana.

Founded in 2006, the Broad Humor Film Festival is world's first and only film festival dedicated to showcasing comedic films written and/or directed by women filmmakers. Find more information about the screening here.

Apply for MPI’s Pilot Screenwriting Workshop

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It's Not Too Late to Apply!

Calling all aspiring TV writers! MPI’s first annual Pilot screenwriting workshop. This new screenwriting workshop will be led by writer-producer Lana Link, MPI’s vice-president of talent development, and focus on the art of writing a marketable pilot for a television series.

Don’t miss your chance to snag a spot in this workshop—apply by Friday, August 24

Cinematography Workshop Recap

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Lights, Camera, Action!

In July, 10 talented creatives joined the Moving Picture Institute in Los Angeles for our second annual cinematography workshop, Moving Picturecraft. During this workshop, filmmakers learned how to use advanced lighting and framing techniques to successfully achieve their artistic intentions and advance their ideas. 

Directed by Ben Gaskell, ASC, and produced by MPI’s director of talent development, Lana Link, the workshop’s key instructors included Adam Caso, ASC (Reindeer Games, 6 Feet Under); Nancy Schreiber, ASC (Miss Virginia, Better Things); Peter Moss, ASC (House of Lies, Ray Donovan); and Adam Frisch, FSF. These industry experts guided students through hands-on assignments and demonstrated how the cinematographer’s processes can make or break a film.

“As a director with over eight years of professional work and I have participated in such prestigious programs like the AFI directing workshop for women. This cinematography workshop offered me an opportunity of professional growth that I hitherto have not received. Thank you!” – Workshop attendee

For more exciting opportunities at the Moving Picture Institute, apply or recommend others for an intern placement.

Masterclass with "15:17 to Paris" Writer Dorothy Blyskal

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MPI Filmmakers Learn from Clint Eastwood's Latest Screenwriter

Recently, select MPI filmmakers joined us for the first of our exclusive masterclass dinner series. This special masterclass featured screenwriter Dorothy Blyskal, best known for writing The 15:17 to Paris, Clint Eastwood’s latest film. Dorothy was recently named one of Variety’s 10 Screenwriters to Watch.

Over the course of the evening, the masterclass attendees learned what it takes to break into the industry as screenwriters, and Dorothy shared her best advice for pitching ideas and seeing a script from conception to fruition. Here's what one of our filmmakers had to say:

“It was helpful to hear someone else's experiences in trying to break into the industry so hopefully I can imitate what worked for her and avoid what didn't. Because of this class I'm much more comfortable with the idea of presenting my own work to people I might know and opening up to them about my goals and ambitions.” – Masterclass attendee

Interested in attending our next masterclass dinner? Click here to apply.

"Gringa" Screening at Cine Miami Fest

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The MPI Original Film's First Miami Screening

Miami fans can show their support for Gringa at Cine Miami Fest this weekend. Gringa, co-written by MPI-supported filmmaker Claudia Murray and MPI’s vice president of talent development, Lana Link, depicts the story of a Cuban-American woman on a frenzied mission to find a rare car part before she and her abuelo leave for a trip to Havana. 

The winner of this film festival is determined by audience votes, and tickets are available for purchase here.

"Gringa" Accepted into 13th Annual Broad Humor Film Festival

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Coming to Venice, CA, Labor Day Weekend

We’re happy to share that MPI Original dramedy short, Gringa, has been selected for screening at the 13th Annual Broad Humor Film Festival, which will take place from August 30th–September 2nd in Venice, California. 

Gringa, co-written by MPI-supported filmmaker Claudia Murray and MPI’s vice president of talent development, Lana Link, depicts the story of a Cuban-American woman on a frenzied mission to find a rare car part before she and her abuelo leave for a trip to Havana. Last weekend, it won Best Short Narrative at the Anthem Freedom Festival in Las Vegas.

Founded in 2006, the Broad Humor Film Festival is world's first and only film festival dedicated to showcasing comedic films written and/or directed by women filmmakers.

"Gringa" and "Moving Violation" to Screen at Anthem Film Festival

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CATCH THEM AT FREEDOMFEST THIS WEEKEND

If you’re in the Las Vegas area or attending FreedomFest this weekend, don’t miss your chance to see our newest MPI Originals, Gringa and Moving Violation, which will screen at the Anthem Film Festival. 

Additionally, the Moving Picture Institute’s vice president of talent development, Lana Link, will join the Anthem Film Festival’s panel on “Out of the Darkness: Fighting Communism in Cuba, Venezuela and North Korea" and “Why Freedom Films Aren’t Free: A Conversation About Freedom-Messaging, Filmmaking, and Financing.”

You can find tickets and the official Festival schedule here

"How Jack Became Black" Now Available on VOD!

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FIND IT ON IN DEMAND, ITUNES, AND AMAZON VIDEO

We’re thrilled to share that the MPI-supported film How Jack Became Black is now available to rent or purchase via iN Demand (check your cable provider's listings), iTunes, and Amazon Video

This documentary, written and directed by MPI filmmaker Eli Steele, examines what it is like to be multiracial in an America dominated by identity politics. 

Born to a black father and a Jewish mother, Steele has long battled the forces of identity politics, from college campuses to places of employment. He believes that dignity individuals superseded the color of their skin -- and he was deeply shaken when his son was denied entrance to a public school for refusing to name his "primary race." 

Why does race still matter so much? Has identity politics, with its promise of redeeming America from the old ethos of white supremacy, delivered a new racial order where skin color, once again, trumps character? And if 20% of Americans will identify as multiracial by 2020, what will this mean to a nation that has been tormented by race throughout its history?
 
To answer these questions, Steele spoke with multiracial Americans, explored racial controversies in the George Zimmerman trial, and attended a conference on white privilege. How Jack Became Black delivers an unvarnished look at race in America from the perspective of a man with no allegiance to a single tribe.

Stay up to date on the latest news for How Jack Became Black by subscribing to the film’s newsletter.

MPI Partners with the Academy for “Academy Gold”

MPI JOINS AMC, HBO, AND OTHERS TO OFFER TRAINING TO FILMMAKERS

We’re proud to announce that we have partnered with the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences to participate in Academy Gold, an entertainment industry-wide internship enhancement and mentorship program for students and young professionals from underrepresented communities. Additional partners this year include the Walt Disney Company, Dolby Laboratories, HBO, IMAX, Lionsgate, Panavision, Paramount Pictures, Sony Pictures, Twentieth Century Fox Film, Universal Pictures, Univision, and Warner Bros.

This year, 108 students from across the United States will participate in Academy Gold. The seven-week summer program will offer participants networking opportunities with Academy members and industry professionals, screenings, studio tours, and educational workshops.

For more information about MPI’s talent development programs, visit our filmmaker opportunities page!

New We the Internet TV Free Speech Mini-Documentary

WATCH THE THIRD INSTALLMENT IN WE THE INTERNET TV’S SILENCE U SERIES

The Moving Picture Institute's comedy news channel We the Internet TV recently released a new short documentary, Silence U Part 3: Can the University of Chicago Solve the Campus Free Speech Crisis? This is the follow-up to our 2016 and 2017 viral hits Silence U: Is the University Killing Free Speech and Open Debate? and Silence U Part 2: What Has Yale Become?

The film examines the University of Chicago’s commitment to protect free speech despite demands from some students and faculty to censor unpopular and provocative voices. Can UC resist the mounting pressure to abandon its commitment to free speech? We the Internet TV’s Rob Montz went to the Chicago campus to find out.

Successful Summer Kick-off at MPI’s 2018 Intern Summit

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“EVERY MPI EVENT THAT I HAVE THE OPPORTUNITY TO PARTICIPATE IN IS LIFE-CHANGING.”

As a production house and talent incubator, the Moving Picture Institute supports filmmakers’ careers at every stage, including in their first Hollywood jobs.

Last month, our spring and summer Hollywood Career Launch Program cohorts joined us in Los Angeles for our second annual Intern Summit. These young filmmakers networked with industry leaders, practiced pitching producers, and learned what it takes to turn their internship experiences into successful careers in entertainment. 

This year’s guest speakers included esteemed animator Colin Brady (Toy Story, Hulk, The Hunger Games, E.T.), MPI filmmaker Claudia Murray (Gringa), MPI filmmaker Nicholas Tucker (Corrections), and several Hollywood Career Launch Program alumni. 

This summer, we placed interns with several notable host production companies, including Madison Wells Media (formerly OddLot Entertainment, known for films like Ender’s Game, Drive, The Way) and Millennium Media (with Tanner Mobley, a former MPI intern-turned-host).

Attendees and the public also enjoyed an MPI Originals shorts showcase, featuring Moving Violation, Gringa, and Corrections.

Interested in our programs for filmmakers? Don't forget to check out our opportunities page for more information!

Spotlight: MPI Filmmaker Tanner Mobley

Part 4 in our Filmmaker "Spotlight" Series

The Moving Picture Institute has supported hundreds of filmmakers via fellowships, internships, masterclasses, and productions since our founding in 2005. This year, we are beginning an interview series that checks in with our filmmakers

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Our “Spotlight” series continues with long-time Moving Picture Institute-supported filmmaker Tanney Mobley, a development executive for Millennium Films and producer of high budget action features such as The Expendables franchise. Tanner graduated from the University of Iowa in 2010 with a degree in Cinema and, with the help of the MPI, relocated to Los Angeles to pursue a career in film development. He has been with Millennium for the past six and a half years and also serves as a judge for the ScreenCraft annual action scriptwriting competition.

Lana Link (MPI): Tanner, thank you for answering our questions today! Can you talk about your role at Millennium and the films you make there?

TM: I work as a Development Executive, which is a fancy way of saying I find and develop different scripts/projects for the company. We have a full service production studio in Bulgaria, and we operate under a foreign pre-sales model. Basically that means we pre-sell our films to the different territories around the world before we actually make the movie. This provides us very little risk, since the film is already paid for before we start shooting. But creatively, it limits the type of projects we can do. Our buyers are mostly interested in high-concept action/thrillers with A-List cast. So that’s what we try to give them. We are the only independent studio in the world with six major franchises: The Expendables, Rambo, Olympus Has Fallen, The Hitman’s Bodyguard, The Mechanic, and most recently the new Hellboy reboot.

MPI: For those who are just starting out in the industry, can you speak to what “development” executives do? What skills do you need?

TM: We find scripts from anywhere we can—agents, managers, producers, friends, waiters, valets, etc. And we read a LOT. Once we find something we like, we try to option the project and put it together. Usually this involves a few rounds of notes with the writer, then sending the script out to directors. After director pitches, we hire a director, incorporate their script notes, and start making offers to cast. When we get a financeable actor on board, the sales guys take the film to the markets and start selling. This is usually where my work stops. But once the film is in post-production, we will review the cuts and give notes on how to improve it.

Skills you need: you must love reading, obviously. And you need to have a good sense of story/structure. But like anything else, it’s all about practice. If you have the patience to sit and read all day, then eventually you start to notice patterns in scripts and learn what works and what doesn’t.

MPI: What should writers keep in mind when they’re trying to get producers’ attention? Are there common errors you see screenwriters repeat, either in their work during the coverage process or in their pitches?

TM: Don’t be afraid to follow up. I get so many submissions that a lot of times scripts can get buried in my inbox. If you send me something and then disappear off the face of the earth, I’ll probably never read it. But if you’re polite and check in occasionally with a reminder, eventually I will get to it.

Common errors: don’t save your best pages for the end of the script. Make sure your first 10 to 25 pages are your strongest, and that they hook the reader somehow. Give me a reason to keep turning the page. If you tell me “Just wait until the twist at the end!” I’ll probably never make it that far.

As far as pitches go, try to relax. Don’t go too fast. Don’t read directly from a paper (notes are ok). Be funny. Even if you’re pitching a Holocaust drama where everybody dies at the end, a bit of humor can go a long way toward easing tension in the room and ingratiating yourself as someone we want to work with. Be open to ideas and collaborative, but don’t be afraid to defend yourself if you see things a different way. 

Make sure your first 10 to 25 pages are your strongest, and that they hook the reader somehow. Give me a reason to keep turning the page.

MPI: Pure ballpark estimate, how many scripts do you think you’ve read in your lifetime? What are your biggest lessons learned from that experience?

TM: I’m probably close to 1,000. You learn a little bit from everything you read. Usually what not to do. For example: taking too long to get into the story, not having a clear direction/arc for your protagonist, focusing too much on the action/plot instead of character, etc. As someone who reads a lot of action scripts, I can tell you we usually just skim the action scenes, because the director and stunt coordinator will do whatever they want with those anyway. Character is always most important. And the decisions your character makes will influence plot.

MPI: We are about to kick off our 2018 summer internship program, with students coming from around the country to work in the entertainment business and get a foot in the door. You are a Moving Picture Institute success story, and you participated in the program yourself when you first came out to LA. Can you talk about that experience?

TM: I did two development internships, and both were very different experiences. One was very fun and collaborative—the company let us attend production meetings, assist in weekend read, etc. The other was very cold: it was basically “Find a cubicle, grab a script from this huge stack, and do coverage all day without making a sound.” Both these experiences were super important, because I got to see how a department should be run and how it shouldn’t be run. 

The stipend provided by MPI allowed me to focus all my energy on succeeding at the internship and not having to worry about how I was going to pay rent, etc. . . . even more important is just learning how to work with people, be a team player, be collaborative, and be confident in your own taste and ideas. 

MPI: How did those placements help you land your next Hollywood job(s)?

TM: Both internships were essential. It’s incredibly difficult for someone not from LA to uproot and move across the country to take an unpaid internship in a totally unfamiliar industry with no connections. The stipend provided by MPI allowed me to focus all my energy on succeeding at the internship and not having to worry about how I was going to pay rent, etc. I was able to pad my resume and show I had previous experience, which is important. But even more important is just learning how to work with people, be a team player, be collaborative, and be confident in your own taste and ideas. 

MPI: Last year, you began hosting Moving Picture Institute interns of your own at Millennium, and you recently hired one for a full-time position! How can interns really stand out when they’re at the bottom of the totem pole?

TM: You basically need to remove the word “no” from your vocabulary. This will help you a lot when you first become an assistant as well. It doesn’t matter if your boss asks you to retrieve a lock of hair from Queen Elizabeth’s puppy. You never say no—at worst, you say “Let me see what I can do.” Then figure out a way to make it happen.

You basically need to remove the word “no” from your vocabulary. . . . You never say no—at worst, you say “Let me see what I can do.” Then figure out a way to make it happen.

No task should be too small. If it’s stocking sodas, cleaning up after a meeting, getting coffee, etc. Do the small things right and do them with enthusiasm. People will notice, and they will give you more responsibility as time goes on.

MPI: You’re also a writer yourself. Can you talk about your writing process and how you make time to write when you have a demanding full-time job in the industry?  

TM: It’s hard to find time to write even if you have a normal job. It’s just such a laborious process. But if you’re passionate about something, you’ll always find a way to make time. This is Hollywood—everyone has an idea for a script. A lot of people have really good ideas for scripts. But until they’re actually on paper, they don’t exist. It’s never hard for me to find time to write because it’s therapeutic. Even if I’ve spent all day trying to fix someone else’s bad script, it’s an easy switch to flip when you start working on your own stuff. If you can’t get excited about your own ideas, then you shouldn’t be writing. 

MPI: Is there anything you learned on your filmmaking and writing journey that you wish you’d known at the beginning? Or something particularly valuable that will inform your next projects?

TM: Know which ideas to focus your energy on. Work on things that you can actually sell. If you spend two years working on a script that only five people will want to see, then what’s the point?

Also, a tough pill to swallow:  concept is often more important than the actual script (at least for my company). We need to be able to pitch the movie in two or three sentences to a buyer from China, Mexico, Germany, Russia, etc.—all in the same day. And they all need to be able to understand it. Focus on universal themes and ideas that will have global appeal. It will go a long way toward making your project commercial and marketable.

MPI: For fun, share a film (or script) that you love that everyone else seems to hate. (Or a film you hate that everyone else loves). 

TM: Grease 2. I think it’s just as good as the first one. I’m yet to find anyone who agrees with me.

MPI: Any final advice for our filmmakers, new interns, and screenwriters?

TM: Find what you like to do, and do it. If you like writing, write every day. Even if it sucks, you will only get better. If you like directing, direct! Don’t wait around for someone to give you a job. Write or find material and start shooting short films. Anyone with an iPhone can shoot a short film today. With technology where it’s at, there’s really no excuse. 

Find what you like to do, and do it. . . . Anyone with an iPhone can shoot a short film today. With technology where it’s at, there’s really no excuse.