<![CDATA[Awesome Monkey Productions - AMP Film NEWS]]>Tue, 10 Apr 2018 12:03:24 -0700Weebly<![CDATA[Hollywood Screenwriting and the Reality of Chasing the Dream.]]>Wed, 28 Mar 2018 15:52:54 GMThttp://awesomemonkeypro.com/amp-film-news/hollywood-screenwriting-and-the-reality-of-chasing-the-dreamPictureBob Saenz

If you ever wondered what it's like to write for the big screen or television then let us introduce you to the reality of it all from a talented, working, Hollywood Screenwriter. His insight into the world of writing can make some people push harder for their dream or scare them altogether.  Chances are, if you watched a movie on The Hallmark Channel in the last several years, then you have seen one written by Bob Saenz, Actor, Screenwriter and Producer.  

Bob is no stranger to the ups and downs of the screenwriting world but his insight has helped people face the reality of not only what it takes to write one but what it takes to navigate the extremely competitive world of the Hollywood writer.  The following is an excerpt by Mr. Saenz as he allowed us to share his views with you! Enjoy.

By Bob Saenz
​I'm going to piggyback on my friend William Martell's great post about the business aspects of being a screenwriter. There are some hard truths that anyone wanting to do this should know.
First, you don't get ANY instant gratification at all. Zero. None. It takes everyone years to succeed. The average time it takes from writing a script to the time it gets made (if it ever does) is 8 years.
8. Years. Eric Heiserer wrote "Arrival" 10 years before it got made and he became an overnight success. My film that comes out this year is a script I wrote 18 years ago. The shortest on any of my films?

5 years. Nothing. Happens. Fast.

You have to do more work selling yourself and your writing than you do writing it. You have to do the research. You have to find and query the producers. You have to pay to enter contests. You have to have endless patience for the endless rejection. Studios aren't going to read your script. Netflix, Amazon, Hulu aren't going to read your script. TV and cable networks aren't going to read your scripts. They all only buy from producers who get scripts from agents, managers, known directors, or from the greatest query letter followed by an amazing out of the box script.

Your cop/husband/mafia/drug dealer revenge script isn't going to cut it. Your SciFi outer space extravaganza isn't going to get read. Your dragon princess script goes into the trash. Nobody needs something they can see every day on 290 channels. Turn those ideas on their heads. Make them low budget. Do something out of the box. That's what gets you noticed. Inventive fun, scary, outrageous, thrilling stuff. Written in your unique voice. A voice that takes TIME to find. You're not going to sell your first script. It's folly to think you will. Write a bunch of them. Explore genres. Find your voice. Learn from each script.

There are about 80 thousand screenplays registered each year. 80. Thousand. Hollywood makes 300 or so films for theaters. Another 200 for cable. 300 for streaming services. 800 films a year get distribution. 800 new films a year are available in some way for the public to access. 80 thousand scripts. 800 distributed films. That doesn't count the 80 thousand from the year before and the year before and... you get the picture.

Of the 300 studio films, almost every one are in house films. Sequels, remakes, superhero, best selling novels, best selling graphic novels, freaking video games.... a couple get through that aren't but those are by well known directors and screenwriters. And maybe one a year slips in by a newcomer. One.

The 200 cable movies? Hallmark. Lifetime. Who have strict rules about what can and can't be in their films. New writers can break in here, but you can't ever really write anything but what they want. It can be a stepping stone, but the competition is fierce. You still have to go through producers to get there. HBO. Starz. Showtime. Their original films are brought to them packaged by big production companies and directors, with stars attached.

300 or so movies that go VOD in some way? Most go to writer/directors. Experienced writers get most of the rest. New writers do break through every year, but it's a handful. But they're only "new" because they finally broke through. Most have been struggling for years to be the new writer who gets a break.

Can you be a working screenwriter? Who knows? You never know until you try. And if you want it hard enough to never give up no matter what crap happens, and it will, to do the frigging hard ass work it takes, not only to write a great script but to get it out there, you do have a chance. Just don't expect it quickly.

<![CDATA["Legacy" Short Film Takes In 16 Nominations & 13 Awards.]]>Thu, 01 Mar 2018 13:14:25 GMThttp://awesomemonkeypro.com/amp-film-news/legacy-short-film-takes-in-16-nominations-13-awardsPicture
Anna Casadei's short film, "Legacy" garnishes awards across the nation. The heart wrenching story based on her father has been recognized recently as how good writing "Can pack a punch in just nine minutes," - Colony Short Film Festival.
Anna who wrote and co-produced the short along with her husband Mark who produced/directed the film, have been busy travelling the country promoting the film and its story.
 Anna wrote the script Legacy in hopes of shedding some light from a personal tragedy her family went through. The dramatic short film was shot in 2017 in Calvary Cemetery and Forest Hills Cemetery, both in Utica, NY.

Legacy is based on the true story of how Anna's father tried to cope with the death of his son. The film focuses on a father's transformation as he tries to come to grips at his son's gravesite on his birthday, centering around a conversation and how an interruption can either destroy the moment or help it all together.

At the end of August of 2017, the film was a wrap, and AMP Films started the submission process at festivals worldwide. They quickly received ten nominations and eight awards that include Best Drama, Best Writer, Best Overall Film, Merits of Achievement in Filmmaking for Editing and Sound Design. To date, Legacy has 16 nominations and 13 wins. "We are proud of our team and what we accomplished with this," said Anna. 

"This has been a very humbling experience to see people connect with this film on a very emotional level. We underestimated the impact this had for some as they have personally dealt with a tragic lost in their family. They feel we hit the emotional nail on the head and appreciated the fact we brought to light what a father might go through." says Mark.

That was one of the main reasons why the film was done. Anna teamed up with www.compassionatefriends.org, a non-for profit grief counseling team nationwide to shed the light on a topic we often don't discuss, a father's grieving process. For the team at AMP Films it wasn't just about the art of of film making but more of the healing from a family who lost something dear to their hearts.

A recent interview with the creators of the project can be seen here from the studios of 96.1FM The Eagle in New York. 

<![CDATA[James Russo Inks Leading Role Deal with AMP Films on Murder Hill!]]>Sun, 19 Mar 2017 01:01:03 GMThttp://awesomemonkeypro.com/amp-film-news/james-russo-inks-leading-role-deal-with-amp-films-on-murder-hillPictureJames Russo
Awesome Monkey Productions horror feature, Murder Hill, lands a leading role deal with actor James Russo.

Russo, a Manhattan-born actor, whose versatile style has not only won him awards in cinema and stage but allowed him to play opposite of some of the biggest names in Hollywood. Russo's award-winning performances started with Extremities with his sadistic torture of actress Farrah Fawcett, winning him a Theater World award. His roles extended with such greats as Eddie Murphy in Beverly Hills Cop to opposite Johnny Depp in The Ninth Gate and Quentin Tarantino's Django Unchained.

Russo, a fan of the horror genre, read the script for Murder Hill, and liked what he saw for this type of project. He also had the chance to work with Director Lance Kawas whom he had worked with before on Paid in FullProducers Mark & Anna Casadei of AMP Films knew Russo was the perfect fit for the role of Uncle Bobby. "Russo has the ability to take this role and run with it. His style, his approach and his talent alone is what is going to make this character pop on screen," said Mark.

Director Lance Kawas couldn't be happier with the deal, "He is a true professional and he is a hell of a lot of fun to work with!" 

Russo is an intense and dependable "tough guy" performer. His first big film break was as a convenience store robber in Fast Times at Ridgemont High. Possessed with a stare that can bring shivers down one's back, he has been quite the accessible villain over the years, memorably portraying a number of gritty psychopaths and gangsters, among other undesirables.

Russo rounds a great cast and is set to star alongside Tom Proctor, Basil Hoffman, and Marilyn Ghigliotti.  His stunt double, James Logan, will also be joining him on set who has worked with for over twenty years.

Although the producers are being tight-lipped on the exact type of character Russo will be playing, they did state that he is the perfect fit for this role and it is an honor to have him.  Murder Hill is set to start filming this year in association with FireRock Bay Pictures. More details coming soon.

<![CDATA[From the Metal Music Scene to the Silver Screen, Jeremy Spencer Invades Central, New York!]]>Wed, 15 Mar 2017 19:27:33 GMThttp://awesomemonkeypro.com/amp-film-news/from-the-metal-music-scene-to-the-silver-screen-jeremy-spencer-invades-central-new-yorkPictureJeremy Spencer of Five Finger Death Punch
When Awesome Monkey's (AMP Films) producers got wind of a musician who wanted a role in the upcoming feature film Murder Hill, they had some doubts. Those doubts quickly faded when they found out it was none other than Jeremy Spencer, the golden boy of percussion from the multi-million selling, hard-rockin' metal band, Five Finger Death Punch (FFDP).
"I got to admit, I had a fanboy moment! I have always admired his skill on a drum set, and his persona on stage is pure amazing to watch," said Mark. No stranger to music themselves, Mark and his wife Anna, screenwriters and producers of Murder Hill, are both musicians and huge fans of FFDP--so much so, that Anna wrote most of the script while  listening to their albums. Mark said, "I would often come home and hear her jamming to the tunes of FFDP while the laptop keyboard smoked away to the beat! It was kind of cool to see."

Jeremy was introduced to the producers through a mutual friend, and they hit it off since day one. Jeremy said, "I was hooked on horror since I was six when I walked in on my parents watching The Exorcist, just as Regan's head was swiveling. I've been hooked from that point on."  Jeremy is not only excited to work with Horror actor Tom Proctor, but he is excited to work with the production team as a whole. "This is going to be a lot of fun, and I know our Five Finger Death Punch fans will dig it!" said Jeremy.

Anna loved the idea of Jeremy coming on board, and she specifically wrote a part for him in the script that mirrors his on-stage bad-ass persona. Anna stated, "If you know his music, his style of playing, and his stage presence, you get a feel how that will relate on-screen." 

The producers are not stopping with Jeremy. They want to feature the music of FFDP in the film. Mark said, "This is a great opportunity to showcase their music and get the feel of the film from that music."

Jeremy loves to give back to his fans. Jeremy has expressed a strong desire to make an appearance at Rome Free Academy for a "Day with Jeremy", schedule permitting. He plans to talk about his experiences as a professional musician and the importance of finding and following your passion in life. Mark stated, "I think every music kid at some point in high school wanted to be a rock star. For Jeremy to step aside from the production and take some time with the kids is truly what his character is all about."

This will be the first appearance for Jeremy in a feature film and no doubt, not his last.

<![CDATA[Two Central New York Actors Head For The Silver Screen!]]>Sun, 26 Feb 2017 01:50:34 GMThttp://awesomemonkeypro.com/amp-film-news/two-central-new-york-aspiring-actors-head-for-the-silver-screenPictureWayne River Sorrell
​Local Rome, New York native, Wayne River Sorrell, never thought he would run into any fellow Romans when he moved to Los Angeles two years ago to pursue his acting career.  Not only did he run into two people from his hometown, but they just happened to be two Hollywood Producers from AMP Films who offered him a role in the feature horror film, Murder Hill, set for theatrical release this fall.  To say the least, he was surprised.

Wayne, a local Roman and graduate of Oriskany High School, left the area two years ago to pursue his acting career. Producers Mark & Anna Casadei, were in Burbank, California just outside Warner Brothers Studios when they requested to see Wayne. Last year when AMP films was shooting the concept trailer for Murder Hill in Rome, NY, Wayne submitted an application.  “Although we couldn’t use him at the time, there was something about him that caught our eye.” Mark said. Anna reviewed his reel and was impressed. Anna and Mark wrote the script for Murder Hill and realized he would be perfect for one of the roles. Mark said, “I can’t tell you how excited I was to be able to grab a local and cast them and the fact I was able to meet him here in Hollywood makes for the perfect setup. I can’t wait to see what he can do with the role.”

Wayne River Sorrell can be seen in the Teen Titans Project, a multitude of short films, and the award-winning horror film The Dark Tapes, set to release later this year. Wayne is set to play the friend of another local Central New Yorker who received a casting slot as well, Eric M. Wilson.

PictureEric M. Wilson
Eric, a native of Ilion, New York, was not only a great find through a mutual friend of the producers but Eric helped fill a vital spot at the last minute when a no-show happened on set. 

Luck is everything and being available at the last minute can make an impression in this business. The co-star of 
Murder Hill, actress Marilyn Ghigliotti, was set to film a scene with another actor at a local diner. When the actor didn’t show, the producers immediately had to find someone qualified.  After a dozen phone calls and a favor, Eric was on his way.  “Eric was new, and although he didn’t have a lot of screen acting experience, he dove into it head-first and tackled the role with enthusiasm.” Anna said. 

Mark was so impressed with Eric that Mark asked him to brush up on his skills. “I loved Eric's spirit and commitment to the project. He gave 110% at the time we needed it the most.” Mark said. “That is what I want to see in an actor.”

Eric has just started his acting career and can be seen in recently completed episode of Quantico. Eric also has a recurring role in Solitude, a television series now available on Amazon. 

<![CDATA[AMP Taps Brynn Lucas for Production Manager on Murder Hill.]]>Thu, 08 Dec 2016 21:44:31 GMThttp://awesomemonkeypro.com/amp-film-news/amp-taps-brynn-lucas-for-production-manager-on-murder-hillPictureBrynn Lucas
Brynn Lucas has joined the team of Awesome Monkey Productions (AMP) on their latest horror feature, Murder Hill. Producer, Mark Casadei, hired Brynn from her impressive resume and years of experience in the industry. Brynn is an executive at FireRock Bay Pictures out of Burbank, California and has produced several films and is an executive producer on The Face of Emmett Till.  Brynn was a natural fit with her experience not only as a production manager but as a writer, producer and actress.  Mark stated, “With that kind of experience already behind her, she will incorporate that skillset as a production manager and truly execute every aspect of a production in detail.”
Production managers are key in managing and executing the entire production. They work closely with all other heads of department to ensure that productions run smoothly, meet deadlines, and stay within budgets. They also act as the eyes and ears of the producer during filming which is vital for the overall success of the film.

Brynn adds to the company’s mission goal to put more women behind the camera in key production roles.

<![CDATA[AMP Films Sits Down with Creative Artist Host, Suzan Battah.]]>Wed, 30 Nov 2016 17:16:37 GMThttp://awesomemonkeypro.com/amp-film-news/amp-films-sits-down-with-creative-artist-host-suzan-battah
PictureSuzan Battah
Australian creative artist and director, Suzan Buttah, takes a moment to sit down with Awesome Monkey Productions duo, Anna & Mark Casadei. Suzan Battah is a Creative Artist Strategist who works with creative artists internationally to help unleash their talent to the world. She is an Award Winning Screenwriter and Film Director as well as an Author. The first launch of her new website for creative artists everywhere can be found here: https://suzanbattah.com

​Enjoy and remember, any dream is possible when you take the time to pursue it!

<![CDATA[May 31st, 2016]]>Tue, 31 May 2016 18:46:07 GMThttp://awesomemonkeypro.com/amp-film-news/legacy-film-wraps-up-shooting-and-heads-to-post-production<![CDATA[Lisa Pasqualetti's Talent lands agreement with AMP FILMS.]]>Sun, 15 May 2016 19:54:57 GMThttp://awesomemonkeypro.com/amp-film-news/lisa-pasqualettis-talent-lands-agreement-with-amp-filmsPicture
When you watch a great movie, what you see on screen is life-like. Your senses are fooled from the beautiful decorations to how the complex worlds grab you and help you visualize the scene. That is the talent of the art department on set along with the production designer. For a local Roman native, Lisa Pasqualetti, who now works between New York and Los Angeles, that is her life. 

You may not even know it, but you have watched some of her creations on film already. From the complex scenery on Iron Man 3 to the Dubai Hotel marble lobby on Fast & Furious 7, Lisa was instrumental in creating it all. Naturally, the producers wanted to find out just how scary she can create things for Murder Hill. She has a special talent for making things looked aged and weathered, which is perfect for some of the designs on the film.

For Lisa, it all just happened to come together by chance on a family visit to her hometown. "I was visiting my family when my cousin asked me if I knew anything about this Hollywood production happening here locally?" said Lisa. "Excited to see something of this scale come to my hometown, I decided to contact the company." Production Assistant, Joshua Tillman, knew this was exactly what the producers were looking for and wasted no time in contacting them.

After looking at her resume and discussing their goals, Producers Mark & Anna Casadei agreed to bring her on to the production. "We were excited to see someone of her caliber and talent apply for this production. We love the fact that so much talent is being discovered in this local area that we didn't know existed." Mark said. "I think this is an exciting time for our team and the local community who get to see people they know make an impact on this industry."

So far several people locally have been added to the team for this production. We can't wait to see the scary things Lisa plans to do on set!

<![CDATA[AMP Films Grabs Hometown Vocalist For Murder Hill Production.]]>Tue, 19 Apr 2016 12:53:33 GMThttp://awesomemonkeypro.com/amp-film-news/amp-films-grabs-hometown-vocalist-for-murder-hill-productionPicture Tom Edgar
We often hear about being in the right place at the right time. For a local waiter, Tom Edgar of Teddy's Restaurant in Rome, NY that moment came when his new guests just happened to be seated at his table. Those guest were the owners and operators of Awesome Monkey Productions.
Once the producers, Anna and Mark Casadei, heard Tom say his first words they knew right away. This is the guy. "That deep radio voice is what is needed for a particular part in the film." said Mark.

However, the deal gets even sweeter because Tom is no stranger to the entertainment world. Not only did they run into a guy with a great voice, but his native country of Scotland knows him all too well. Tom was born and raised in Scotland and as a young man was a talented vocalist who garnished not only vocalist of the year but entertainer of the year as well. That's right, the man with the extraordinary voice was just serving tables for a little extra cash and life in the United States. He even had gone onto doing the announcements at sporting events for the Golf Channel. 

Tom said, "This is a great opportunity that I just couldn't pass up." The producers are glad they could bring in a local talent. Their goal is to share this production with the community and Tom is officially the first local talent hired. So this proves that you never know where an opportunity may come along to provide you a shot in a feature film.  Have your best elevator pitch handy!