Exclusive Comedy Residency Begins Today

Lou with participants of 2018’s Comedy Residency workshop.

Lou with participants of 2018’s Comedy Residency workshop.

Cue the laugh track: MPI’s immersive four-day Comedy Residency starts today! Led by We the Internet TV’s head writer Lou Perez, the workshop follows a typical week at WTI’s studio in Hoboken, New Jersey. 

Six participants will work alongside Lou, pitching, writing, and revising sketches with the opportunity to shoot selected material on the last day. In keeping with We the Internet TV’s “equal opportunity offender” brand, Lou will work with participants to craft non-partisan satire that tackles controversial issues. 

Learn more about the program here and be sure to subscribe to We the Internet TV’s YouTube page. You may just see some of the sketches workshopped this week on the channel soon!


Catch ‘Regulation’ in Vegas

Regulation, an MPI Original short film from writer-director Ryan Patch, will screen at the Anthem Film Festival this Friday morning in Las Vegas, NV. 

The film follows Mia, a young social worker who travels through a small town community to administer behavior-modifying "patches" that guarantee happiness for the wearers. Played by Sunita Mani (Mr. Robot, GLOW), Mia must decide what to do when Kaleigh, a precocious 10-year old girl, refuses to accept the patch.

If you are attending Freedom Fest this week make sure to catch the film! Admission is free to all conference ticket holders. More information is available here.

Propel Your Career Forward in MPI’s Screenwriting Workshops

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The application deadlines for MPI’s screenwriting workshops, Writing the “Calling Card” Short Film and Concept Development, are less than a month out.

Led by our executive vice presidents, Erin O'Connor and Maurice Black, these 13-week "virtual" workshops enable screenwriters to sharpen their skills by workshopping their original scripts in a supportive and high-level setting.

In our Calling Card workshop Erin works with writers to craft producible scripts for short films—which in turn act as important industry calling cards at festivals. A good calling card can attract funding for a feature, help a filmmaker secure agency representation, and generally enable the filmmaker to raise their profile and build industry credibility and connections. Last year’s workshop produced the script for the upcoming MPI Original The Perfect One by Matthew Szewczyk. 

During Concept Development, Maurice advises filmmakers on how to position projects for success. Putting an emphasis on the prep work required to begin scripting, participants focus on writing a compelling pitchable logline, developing a tight one-page synopsis, and outlining. In the 2018 workshop filmmakers Austin and Meredith Bragg developed the forthcoming MPI Original A Piece of Cake.

Learn more about the application process for the Calling Card workshop here and Concept Development here. Ensure your completed application is submitted by August 14th. 


‘We the Internet TV’ Hits YouTube Milestone

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MPI’s comedy news channel We the Internet TV has just surpassed 100,000 subscribers on YouTube! 

Every week our favorite equal-opportunity offenders, helmed by comedian Lou Perez, tackle current events, politics, and culture in satirical sketches, roundtable discussions, and one-on-one interviews.

We the Internet TV has over 226,068 followers/subscribers on YouTube, Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter. With more than 76 million video views to date, the channel has logged over 103 years of watch time.

Check out We the Internet TV’s latest, in which organizing-guru Marie Kondo helps a Republican and a Democrat tidy up their House...of Representatives.

And don’t forget to subscribe to We The Internet TV’s YouTube page here.

Cinematography Workshop Provides Hands-On Experience

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Last month, in MPI’s immersive four-day cinematography workshop, Moving Picturecraft, twelve participants worked alongside acclaimed cinematographers to learn how lighting, camera, and lens technology can create a compelling visual story that evokes a range of emotions from viewers. 

Led by award-winning cinematographer Benjamin Gaskell, MPI filmmakers listened to lectures and studied scene set-ups from working cinematographers Peter Moss (Race), Amy Vincent (Black Snake Moan), and Natasha Braier (Neon Demon). Participants then put the lessons to work, composing, lighting, and filming scenes.

Held at the historic Mole-Richardson Sound Stage in Los Angeles, the workshop provided participants with industry-standard cameras and lighting systems. The chance to do guided work with high-quality equipment allowed participants an unmatched opportunity to experiment and innovate. 

Here is what they had to say about the experience: 

This cinematography workshop was especially wonderful because of the facilities, the equipment, and the industry connections that MPI rolled out for our benefit. It was amazing to have so many talented people brought together through MPI to advance our critically important mission in the world.
By forging personal relationships with like-minded filmmakers, this workshop has not only given me a great education, but also an arsenal of highly skilled future collaborators.
This taught me an enormous amount about what tools are available to a cinematographer and the variety of ways in which they can be used in order to tell a story. It also gave me hands-on experience with many of them and introduced me to a lot of fantastic filmmakers.

Learn more about our cinematography workshop here and keep a lookout for application deadlines to participate in our expected summer 2020 workshop.

Filming Wraps on New MPI Original Comedy Short

Last month we completed production on the MPI Original short film A Piece of Cake. This comedy comes from writing and directing duo Austin and Meredith Bragg, who work as award-winning video producers and editors at Reason TV.

The short originated in a 2018 MPI concept development screenwriting workshop. MPI worked with the Bragg brothers to turn their concept into a completed draft and shortly thereafter, acquired the film for production. 

The film follows a desperate father (Rich Sommer, Mad Men; Glow) who discovers his daughter’s favorite cake decoration is illegal. He descends into a confectionery black market and must make the ultimate parenting choice: break a birthday promise or break the law? 

While the film centers on family dynamics and the outrageous twists and turns that unfold to fulfill the birthday girl’s request, it also shines a light on policy themes such as the overregulation of ordinary actions. 

The Braggs have worked with MPI for many years, participating in our cinematography workshop, screenwriting workshops, and our Business of Film program. They also created original sketches for MPI’s comedy news channel We the Internet TV. Now MPI is proud to enable the Braggs to take their careers to the next level with this compelling calling card short.

“The ability to work with such an accomplished cast and crew was not just an education, but a revelation,” they wrote. “The practical on-set skills and insights we've gained through this process are already having a positive impact on our work. We can't say enough about the talent and energy that MPI has devoted to this production.” 

The film is now in post-production and will screen in festivals next year.

This Fourth of July Celebrate Freedom Through Film

At the Moving Picture Institute we are proud to create and support powerful stories about human freedom—stories that wrestle with the very ideals that America was founded on such as free expression, human rights, and resistance to tyranny. 

This Independence Day we encourage you to take some time out of your planned celebrations and spend it watching a quality film that reflects on the many dimensions of freedom. Maybe it’s the powerful documentary Incarcerating US from MPI filmmaker Regan Hines or 2081, our adaption of Kurt Vonnegut’s short story “Harrison Bergeron.” If you’d prefer to keep it light, check out We the Internet TV’s latest video Marie Kondo: Tidying Up Washington, D.C.

Whatever you watch, we hope you will be entertained and inspired. 


‘We The Internet TV’s’ Mini-Doc Featured in ‘Forbes’

Forbes health contributor Nicole Fisher cites the We the Internet TV mini-doc, How Instagram Hacks Your Brain, in her recent column on the effects of social media on today’s youth. 

Does spending 6-10 hours a day on social media cause anxiety and depression? Could the onslaught of perfectly filtered images and algorithmically contrived pleasure be causing irreversible psychological damage? Rob Montz explores these questions and more in the mini-doc above, arguing that social media apps such as Instagram engineer addiction. 

Watch more videos from We the Internet TV’s mini-documentary series here.

MPI Partnership Creates Golden Opportunities

Former MPI intern Carly Hicks attends the Academy Awards thanks to MPI’s relationship with Academy Gold.

Former MPI intern Carly Hicks attends the Academy Awards thanks to MPI’s relationship with Academy Gold.

Last year MPI launched its partnership with the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences to participate in Academy Gold, a seven-week entertainment industry-wide internship enhancement and mentorship program that gives our interns access to special panels with Academy members, screenings, and countless career advancement opportunities. 

June marked the beginning of this summer’s program with two MPI interns participating. Former MPI intern and 2018 Academy Gold alum Carly Hicks gave us an idea of what they can expect out of this summer:

“MPI’s partnership with the Academy Gold program placed me in the very center of the film industry—from panels of filmmakers, tours of studios, and one-on-one mentorship with an industry veteran and Academy member. The Gold program gave me an inside look at the moving pieces that come together to make the movies and TV we love.”

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

MPI Filmmaker Premieres New Film

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In the spotlight: Rob Smat

Since 2015, filmmaker Rob Smat has participated in MPI programs ranging from an internship to our Mindful Editor seminar to a screenwriting workshop. Today he premieres his first feature film, The Last Whistle. Starring Brad Leland (Friday Night Lights) and Jim O’Heir (Parks and Recreation), the film follows the head coach of a successful Texas high school football team through the chaotic aftermath of his all-star player dying during practice. 

“From my start as a marketing intern at 20th Century Fox, to my participation in workshops and masterclasses, I have been set up to be the best writer, director, editor, and overall filmmaker I can possibly be,” Rob says. “MPI is a talent development machine like no other, and I owe a great part of my first film, The Last Whistle, to what I've learned and gained from the MPI.” 

Coming off a successful festival run, The Last Whistle is now showing in theaters across the US. You can find the full list of theaters and watch the trailer here. The film is also available for download on iTunes

Inspired by Rob’s success? MPI is currently accepting applicants for its 2019 screenwriting workshops. Find more information and apply here