MUSICALS WITH A MESSAGE: A Short Dance-based Web Series
MUSICALS WITH A MESSAGE: A Short Dance-based Web Series
"Breaking News" alerts & angry tweets are unsettling. Taking responsibility where we can, contributing to positive change & participating in the solution feels good. Each 3-4 minute musical will provide viewers with well researched information on relevant issues and offer solutions & helpful tips!
100 Days of Optimism
Inclusion StatementEach short will include a diverse cast from ages 2 to 82. One of my favorite things about dance is the diverse community of artists that it attracts and I will work to bring together a diverse crew as well!
About The Project
Inspired by short videos like "Schoolhouse Rock," viewers will be presented with clear and concise information, witty lyrics, helpful tips and opportunties to make a positive change. I am raising funds for the first two shorts of this mini-web series and would love your support! Each 3-4 minute musical piece will focus on a different relevant topic like climate change, smart phone addiction/digital citizenship, or global health...
Our equation for each video is:
State the problem & facts
Show the cultural & physical manifestations of this issue through movement, camera work, and song
Offer ideas and opportunities for positive change
A solution oriented, peaceful, and fun viewing experience where you have the opportunity to do some good in the end!
The project began in 2016, when I met a talented singer and songwriter, Noni Culotta. After working on a musical scene on a friend's feature film project, we began writing a song about smart phone etiquette based on what we saw on the streets and subways of New York and our own behaviors with our technological devices. For the next year, I pitched the song demo and concept to brands and producers and learned that smart phone companies were not exactly interested in making PSAs encouraging us to put our phones down. It became clear that it is on us to create our own boundaries around our digital lives and our song about cell phone etiquette aims to be a useful guide! Here is a little snippet from my first experimental rehearsal on the piece. Thank you to dancers Avery Andrews, Tony Bordonaro, Summer Gan, and Kacie Boblitt!
After writing the song with Noni, I was inspired to create more short politically and socially relevant pieces. My next song to write was about The Global Gag Rule that was reinstated in 2017. The piece takes place in a pharmacy and the pharmacist, customers, and more break into song and dance and offer tips on how to contact your senator and what to say to promote women's health abroad. We DO NOT suggest screaming into the phone despite your feelings on the topic. :)
The overall library of song and dance creations cover the topics mentioned above as well as:
*An "I Feel Pretty" parody about revising the American Dream and shifting our priorities to kindness and intelligence vs. looks, likes, followers, and press.
*Blockchain & Cryptocurrency (economics through dance).
*The Female Freelancer Fantasy: what it would be like to be on set, edit, or do sound design in female friendly scenarios AND what I WISH I had said when that wasn't the reality.
Last year I was given the opportunity to create a Virtual Reality film about solutions to bullying through the Harmony Institute and Google's Day Dream Initiative. The piece was called "Stand Up" and is currently living in middle schools across the country. This was my first time to create a musical short in the 360 video space and I had the opportunity to co-write the song with some major help from a talented rapper, and a great music producer, Charlie Patierno. Here is a still from the work...
I want to be VERY CLEAR that I am NOT a musician or a lyricist! We will definitely need support with the music production and a large part of your contributions will go towards the songs. Suport will include paying a music producer and talented musicians to ensure that the lyrics are polished, acurate, interesting, and entertaining before we shoot. Most of the pieces will be shot in New York with the exception of a few scenes that will take place in LA.
I feel qualified to take on the responsibility of co-writing, directing, and choreographing these pieces due to my past work experiences. For context, I began my career as an assistant in the film business at Miramax Films. From there I moved to L.A. for an assistant position at Lionsgate Films and after three more years of assisting became an acquisitions executive at Paramount Vantage and eventually a production development executive for a producer at Warner Bros. During this time, I was dancing and teaching on the weekends. Then with some major planning and courage I began focusing on dance and choreography on a more fulltime basis and in 2011 I received Panavision's New Filmmaker grant. I made my first dance-based film, "Einstein's Dance" and I fell in love with the filmmaking process during the experience. One of my side gigs became shooting and editing for dance companies and choreographers as well as capturing and creating my own dance on camera works. If you are curious, please check out my current choreography reel below to see my latest dance creations...
I definitely cannot do this work without an amazing team and a large part of your donations will go to ensure that our talented cast and crew are paid for their time and contributions. This series of shorts will be as polished and as professional as possible without compromising the depth and mindfulness necessary to address, disect, and offer tangible solutions for each issue. I appreciate your consideration and thank you for reading all the way to the bottom of this page! For more context on my work take a peek here.
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About This Team
Noni Culotta - Singer & Lyricist
Noni Culotta is a singer-songwriter and performer living in NYC and is a major part of our music production team and bringing these songs to life! She has penned tunes for short films, sketches, features and commercials, and once won a trip to Sweden for her original song and video entry to Brooklyn Brewery’s music video contes for her short "Coney Island." Noni is also proudly one half of the comedy-trance driven musical improv duo Guilty Subconscious, whose video #VanLife went viral in late 2017, racking up 5.1 million views!
Erica Mann - Production Coordinator
Erica Mann is a film writer and producer, based in New York. She attended Hofstra University where she received a B.A. in Film Studies and Production with a concentration in Media and Public Relations. Erica has interned for companies such as Viacom, Untitled Entertainment, and PMK.BNC and was the publicity coordinator for film campaigns such as The Hunger Games: Mockingjay Pt. 2 and Divergent: Allegiant. When she is not writing film reviews, she is working on directing, writing, and producing her own content.
Kristin Yancy - Choreography Assistant
Kristin Yancy is a dancer, actor, singer, and choreographer based in Brooklyn, NY. A Comparative Arts graduate of Washington University in St. Louis. Her theater credits include the national touring company of West Side Story (Alicia, u/s Anita), Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat (Josephette), Evita (Dance Captain), and the Drama Award winning Off Broadway hit, Queen of the Night (Nadia). Kristin’s TV appearances include Samantha Bee: Full Frontal, Ryan Heffington’s “Hostage”, narrated by Julianne Moore, and Desigual’s New York Fashion Week presentation, as well as commercials for Chase Bank, Organic Valley, and Target. When she is not freelancing as an independent artist Kristin can be found dancing with Kate Ladenheim’s The People Movers, making strange magic with LubDub Physical Theater Company, and building worlds with her own production company, MinuteZero.
Byron Wu - Audio Engineer, Music Mixer
Byron J. Wu is a electronic music producer, multi-instrumentalist (piano/guitar/keytar), audio engineer and a modern composer for film and multimedia. He has composed music for more than 50 short films, trailers, and commercials. As a DJ and pianist, he has performed in venues such as Carnegie Hall, Terminal 5, and The Lighthouse. As a mixing and mastering engineer, he has more than 8 years of professional work experiences with Protools, Logic and Ableton for production, recording, mixing and mastering. Byron has received a bachelor’s degree from New York University for Music Composition and is currently the director of music and production at Playground Session, co-funded by Quincy Jones.
Mary John Frank - Director, Choreographer, Producer
Mary John began her career as an assistant in the film business. Eventually she moved on to executive production roles at Paramount Vantage and Warner Bros. and was dancing, teaching, and choreographing on the weekends and in her spare time. In 2010 she took the plunge and began to freelance as a dancer, teacher, and choreographer. Since then she has gone on to direct content for New York City Ballet, Condé Nast, Disney, and Google and her films and choreography have been featured on Vogue.com, Nowness, The New York Times, W Magazine, Refinery 29 and The Los Angeles Times. Mary John has an MFA in Dance from the Tisch School of The Arts and in 2017 she was listed as one of 10 of Vimeo's "Groundbreaking Female Filmmakers To Watch." She was a recent finalist in the Tribeca Film Festival and IBM/Watson's 2017 "Storytellers With Watson" competition. She loves this creative team and looks forward to bringing on more fabulous team members once the fundraising goals are met!
THE FUTURE TEAM...
Once we reach our goal we will reach out to potential Cinematographers, a Line Producer, and our Music Producer too. We will be holding auditions for the cast between May and July of 2018 once our financial goals are met!