Meet the Mayfarers

We’re Back!

Today – after many months on hiatus, the Mayfarers are back!

But this isn’t the new season. For the next few months we’ll have sketches, behind the scenes, and general tomfoolery every week, for the rest of the year.

I’ve written many times before how making this show brought back my love of filming. How we all feel like kids in the sandbox making this.

As someone who had been use to the rigorous world of independent film making – creating a webseries was a revelation. When we started doing this we found ourselves finishing early. We not only “made the day” but we’d find that we had hours and hours of daylight still available. I was used to 20 hour film shooting marathons, so this was a welcome surprise.

So – knowing this – I started writing small sketches. Just little goofy pieces that have nothing to do with the show. And so, as we shot the show over the year – when we finished early, and had an extra hour or two, we’d all just do these little shorts. Fake commercials. Parodies. As long as it was fun, we tried it. There are no rhyme or reason to these. Nor do they tie into the plot of the show at all. They’re just for fun. Same actors, different material.

For me I find it special watching these, in particular – as I can see, on screen, me falling in love with filming once again.

So – with that in mind – take them for what they are. Goofy little behind the scenes vignettes of what we do to have fun – on a shoot where we’re already having the time of our lives.

Lasts updated on October 19th, 2010. Tags: , , , ,
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Where are the Mayfarers?

After a long time – much longer than anyone thought – the Mayfarers are coming back.

Starting this week, we will begin to release new material online. It won’t be new episodes of Season 3 – not just yet – but sketches, behind the scenes, and much more, every week – for the rest of the year.

But then the question: What took so long?

A lot of things.

The plan all along was to release a year’s worth of episodes. “One family. One year.” But along the way, we were all pretty excited about what was going on with the show online so we jumped back into filming last fall – expanding the show far, far beyond the original one year. Throughout fall and spring, we shot many more episodes, more than what’s even online now. My plan was to edit them this summer – and continue the release pattern, barely stopping for a break.

Then, we lost our star, and matriarch of the show – Candace Hopkins, as the summer began.

For me – I had to stop editing. Having her loss be so close to the freshly shot footage was difficult. There were hours and hours and hours of footage to go through. I just couldn’t edit it at the time.

So we all went off to other projects.

Now – months have passed, the show has been dormant. As fall started I slowly started to assemble the footage again. And I found the experience to be far from a sad one.

I found it joyful.

Joyful because there are hours and hours, episodes and episodes of discoveries. There’s still so much of Candace out there – so much for her to still be a part of the show. I found myself laughing during her scenes, and smiling at the good times we all had.

Every editor knows the feeling of knowing an actor even if they don’t see them over a long time. Months can pass, editing a film, but an editor sees the actor on a daily basis on the screen, so much so that they feel they are with them every day. The same holds true in this case. There have been moments when, while editing footage, I think of something I want to email Candace, and switch over to my email, to compose a message. Reality sets in, as it always does.

But it is a testament to how much Candace is still part of the show. How much of her is still left on the screen, to share with her friends, family, and audience at large.

I’ve found the past month or so of editing the new footage to be filled with warm memories. I hope you enjoy them as well.

Lasts updated on October 17th, 2010. Tags: , ,
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The Light of our Show

Candace Hopkins, who played Maggie in the show, has passed away. It seems so unreal, as we were just shooting episodes with her six weeks ago. She has been fighting her battle with cancer for years. I’ve been amazed at her strength and perseverance over her ordeal. But, even more amazing – her enthusiastic embracing of life. The days with her on the set echoed with her infectious laughter and upbeat spirit.

What many people didn’t know was that she has been going through chemo the past few years, and was in such pain. I kept saying to her – “Candace, you don’t have to come to the shoot, seriously! I can write around you.” But she wouldn’t have it. In fact, as the show progressed, she was in the show just as much as before she was sick. Most times, because of her upbeat attitude, it was easy to forget the hell she had been going through. Only brief moments, small signs and hints of pain would show themselves, after a particularly long take standing up for instance. It was at these times I tried to get her to sit down. She said, “I want to be here.” She was enjoying herself so.

Candace said the most amazing part of watching the show as they were released, was seeing her physical transformation as the show progressed. To see her weight loss, and then see her as she battled cancer. It’s easy to forgot how much time as passed. A running joke with all of the cast members over the years has been the duration of the shoot. (On and off, for two and a half years) I kept saying to everyone, “We’re almost done, we’re almost done! Keep at it!” I think Candace was glad that she was able to finish out shooting the series. I am proud to have had those moments working with her.

I am saddened today. I feel privileged to have worked with her these past few years on the show. And I am inspired by her strength.

She will be missed.

Lasts updated on June 2nd, 2010. Tags: , ,
Posted in blog, Mayfarers | 3 Comments

The Mayfarers will Return

img_1055It’s been a few weeks now since we wrapped up Season 2. Strange to have a Wednesday go by not releasing episodes. But not to worry, “Meet the Mayfarers” will return. Season 3 will be double sized, bigger than season 1 & 2 combined. My initial goal was to release the show every week for a full year, uninterrupted, but in thinking it over, I eventually decided to take a step back, spend time editing all of season 3, and then come back in the fall with another full batch of episodes.

That’s not to say the show, or our site will be taking a break. Starting next month, we’ll have sketches, shorts, and bloopers released on a regular basis. They won’t be episodes, but hopefully they’ll be able to have little bites of the Mayfarers Madness, to hold you over until the full course this fall.

I’ll be posting more details about the summer schedule as the weeks go back. Thanks so much for watching the show!

Lasts updated on May 26th, 2010. Tags: , , ,
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More Mayfarers Madness

We’re shooting new episodes of “Meet the Mayfarers” all weekend.

It’s great being back on set – with all the actors and crew. Everyone knows their characters, and is already “in the groove.” Also – we’re having a few new additional characters as well. So far its been a lot of fun.

The nature of our show’s release pattern is strange. We’ve been laughing about the fact that the episodes we’re shooting today won’t “air” for another year – and that the episode that’s up this week we shot a year and a half ago.

Time flies when you’re having fun.

I’ve been saying for a while now that this weekend is the “final Mayfarers” shoot – and, for the most part, it probably will be. Once you see how the show ends – you’ll see there’s a lot of possibilities for spin offs about individual characters – so, who knows what the future will bring.

But one thing is certain, this will be the last time the family will be back together, shooting our shows in a cottage by the sea…

If there is one certainty…

…it’s that keeping up a blog on a constant basis is tough!

I’ve been focusing a lot of time recently on Twitter. Its a little easier updating 140 characters instead of 1500.

However, I’ll try to be a little more diligent and upload here more often.

As an update on the show- things have been going well. We’re in the middle of Season 2. We’re editing Season 3 right now. We’ve got a lot of surprises in store for that season, including a mini-series set in LA. We’re also gearing up to shoot our last Mayfarers shoot next month.

Lots of exciting things going on.

More info to come!

Lasts updated on March 30th, 2010. Tags:
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Top 12 Tips for Making Films & Web Shows

1. Be honest and open: If actors have to take their clothes off – do it on the first day!

2. Just like in a restaurant, atmosphere trumps all:  If you’re not able to pay top dollar, then pay in set atmosphere – good food, good people, lots of fun. Its like hosting a party. If you make sure everyone is happy and having fun – good results will happen. (however, unlike a party, imbibing a great deal of alcohol does not help)

3. Don’t sweat it. You can’t control if someone likes your work, just if you enjoy it.  Everyone has an opinion. Form your own. One man’s “Best Picture” is another man’s “Pretentious Picture.” Likewise, one man’s “Quotable comedy” is an other’s “Snooze Fest.” Make the project you want to make. You can only please yourself.

4. Get rest. If you have to choose between an extra hour planning shots late at night or extra sleep – choose the sleep – the more sleep you can get the better you can make those decisions, even if they are at the last minute.

5. Focus on what matters. If people are paying attention to the color of the wall in the background, or that the background light doesn’t match, they’re not paying attention to the story or characters, and you’re screwed anyway.

6. Be in the Moment. If you’re thinking about Stanislavsky, Method, or Motivation while you’re acting, then you’re not “being” the character.  The same with writing – if you’re thinking of structure while writing dialogue it won’t feel real. Just get the characters to talk.  When you’re rehearsing, or outlining the story, then use all your learning, but when you’re actually doing it – go with your gut.

7. Embrace failure. The more tripping, stumbling, and outright fall off the cliff crashes you have, the more you’ll learn, and the better you’ll be.

8.Be open.  Editing the film is actually the final draft of your script. Be open to changing everything.

9. Be prolific. The more you write and film, the more times you have to fail, to learn – the more you don’t fall in love with anything, the easier it will be to ruthlessly look at and edit your work.

10. Be a kid. Remember the moment you wanted to be a filmmaker? An actor? A writer? The first time you picked up the camera? Got up on stage? Whatever it is, remember that moment, and always think of it. It’ll get you through the hard parts.

11. Don’t be an asshole. There is no such thing as competition with other filmmakers. Help everyone.  The only person you can be in competition with is yourself. As long as you win that competitive battle, you’ll always get better.

12. Be yourself. If you don’t know who that is – find out. Without knowing that, you’ll never be able to make anything.

Lasts updated on January 18th, 2010. Tags: , , , , , ,
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What is a Webshow Season?

So Season 2 of “Meet the Mayfarers” launches today.

Of course, this being on the web, there’s really no pressing need for “Seasons.” The only time it really matters is if say, a show is launched for a few episodes, then they stop for a long period of time, get new funding or ad sponsorships, and then come back.  But this being the web – there can be all sorts of different approaches.

I set out to show “a year in the life of the family” and I shot a year’s worth of content. So then really, why did break I it up? Shouldn’t Season 2 be “Year 2″ of the family – after they do, or don’t, get the money?

To be honest I’m just trying to test this out.

For my part, I know that I always feel I miss something if I jump into a show late into the game. Even if I know the characters and plot, when I see the number 16 or 20 it always makes me think I should start from episode 1. And then there’s never enough time to watch all the episodes, they keep piling up and soon you find yourself never watching that show. So some web shows I never get around to watching simply because they have episode numbers in the hundreds. I feel as if I will never catch up.

I don’t want this to happen to Mayfarers, so I decided to reboot – and start episode 1 of season 2. My thinking is that it would be easier for new people to jump on seeing “Episode 1″ in the title rather than “Episode 24.” But I could be wrong. This whole online releasing shows thing is overall an experiment.

The other thing I’m trying this season are smaller story arcs. So by the end of the season instead of being on episode 16 again, they will be smaller arcs – it will only go to episode 8 or so, with the rest being three or four part stories.  Again – this is all experimenting. What methods do you like?

In anycase, however you watch it, I hope you check out season 2 of “Meet the Mayfarers.”

And really, if you are totally crammed for time – you don’t need to watch season one. The plot’s simple really. If you haven’t seen the show, all you need to know is that the family is forced to be together for a year to get an inheritance – and my character, the son, had a one night stand with his dead grandfather’s fiancee, on the day he died – which she uses to blackmail him……..


On second thought…that does sound fairly wrong. Maybe you should just watch the Recap.

Lasts updated on January 13th, 2010. Tags: ,
Posted in blog, Mayfarers | 4 Comments

A New Year!

2010 has me reimg_0567ally excited. There’s new shows to release, new shows to shoot, new friends to meet, and experiences to have. 2010 is the year that web video is really going to break out.

This week I’m in the final stages of editing Season 2 of “Meet the Mayfarers.” I’m excited to launch the new episodes. I hope you’ll join us for the ride. Here’s a pic of the Mayfarers clan, from a future episode.

Thanks for all your support!

Lasts updated on January 5th, 2010. Tags: ,
Posted in blog, Mayfarers | No Comments

The Importance of Fun

We’re two days behind schedule, the pig’s guts are rotting, and we haven’t slept in two weeks. I was directing a feature horror film, and I was miserable. Cut from that set to the set of “Meet the Mayfarers.”All of us are Dancing next to people dressed in mascot outfits – particularly a Bunny Rabbit and a Parrot suit. And we are laughing hysterically.

Standing there on that original set, blood on my jacket, sheep’s guts oozing out of the cooler and onto my hands, I realized something profound: I’m not having fun. So what, you say? Is anything suppose to be fun? Making a film is, by its very definition – a difficult experience. You’re up before sunrise, working through the day, and lucky if you fall asleep before midnight, then do it all again.

There’s a difference, and that’s passion.

So I’m sitting there with a film I’m not passionate about and then I see what people are doing online. There was a lot to be impressed about. Within a few months, some of the channels received more views than any of my filmmaker friends. But more important than any of this – they were all having fun. Or looked like they were anyway.

I sat down, and realized what was wrong. I wasn’t having fun.  For me the happiest moments, of both childhood and high school were having friends come over, and “make a movie.” Of course some, (many) of these are laughably bad. But they were fun to do. We’d make ‘em, have a blast shooting them, and had a laugh watch them. The perfect way to spend an afternoon.

But somewhere along the line, when I started making features it didn’t become fun. At first I thought, this is what it is to be professional, and truth be told, there is a lot of work, from scheduling, to figuring shots, to dealing with on set divas. But fun and professional are not mutually exclusive. Fun doesn’t have to be lazy and professional doesn’t have to be bland. And on that horror film set, a crew member said to me, “Not every project can be fun” But I disagree. We can’t control many things on set, but we can have fun.

I remember sitting in one of countless screenwriting courses, and the teacher kept saying that writing “shouldn’t be fun.” She said that writing should “make your head bleed.” On one level, I understood what she was saying – that writing is rewriting, and to make the script work you need to keep rewriting it. But I think she’s wrong. Time and again, the scenes that I’ve had the most fun writing, the scenes where  I’m so into the scene and I’m writing one character talking to another and I’m “in the zone” are invariably, so much better than the scenes that I’ll slave over for months, or years even. I see that it my colleagues scripts as well – when the passion isn’t there, it isn’t on the page. That doesn’t mean one should “toss off a script” with no rewriting, nor does it mean neglecting and shortchanging the very difficult architecture like importance of structuring a script.

But still – it needs to be fun. Writing – filmmaking – it should be fun.

At the end of the day, in filmmaking, as in life, there are no guarantees. Try as you might, you can’t be sure certain a film will sell, you can’t be certain people will latch onto it, you can’t even be certain that the scene you’re shooting won’t eventually be cut from the final film. But you can control your enjoyment. This career is too difficult not to have fun.

I love this web Internet space because the cost of projects have gone down, but the possibilities are limitless, and there’s no excuse not to have fun. I think it shows on the screen.

For me, that’s what “Meet the Mayfarers” is. A chance to reclaim the “fun” of filmmaking. A chance to bring the level of fun I had as a kid, making movies with friends in my backyard, but hopefully with a more professional sensibility. Whatever becomes of the show, it totally rekindled my love for the fun of making movies. And I’ll be forever grateful for that.

I can’t wait to shoot more episodes, to shoot more series, and then use this passion to do more features. In many ways, I feel like a kid again, and that’s important.

I hope you enjoy the show, and I hope that passion and fun plays through your computer monitor and gives you a smile.

It did for me.

Lasts updated on January 1st, 2010. Tags:
Posted in blog, Thoughts | 2 Comments

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