Starting the Year by Taking Stock

So, I’ve been off the blog for a couple weeks. It usually happens this time of year. I get whisked down the holiday hole, and for a couple of shining weeks my ambition takes a backseat and I hang out with my wife and various configurations of family and friends. It’s really nice.

Now, it’s the beginning of a whole new year, so let’s take stock of what happened over the last year.

We won the Studio 360 #scaryshorts competition with our short …JACK and I got to talk to Wes Craven, a personal filmmaking hero of mine. It was a project with a quick turnaround, which we were able to accomplish because of the skills and equipment we’ve gathered over the years for the show. It was a thrilling beginning to 2014.

We launched episode 8 of PoPS in the middle of the summer with the shortest time yet between completion and release. I finished it, put up a TRAILER announcing the release in 3 days, put up an awesome 30-second PREVIOUSLY ON the day before, and launched EPISODE 8 the day after. The reactions were overwhelmingly positive and immediate. It was a thrilling week of reading comments and I never expected so many people to think it was the best episode yet. Awesome.

We traveled to GenCon in Indianapolis to attend our Best Series of 2013 screening. Though we only had about 10 people turn up for the screening, it was a lot of fun watching it with them, handing them PoPS buttons and cards afterward, and it turned out to be an absolutely pivotal moment for the production of episode 9. We also just had a fantastic weekend exploring Indianapolis.

Then, Project Greenlight comes back. Just like with …Jack, I come up with a quick script, we go out and shoot WHOOPS over 3 weeknights, and, in a competition with thousands of entries, make it into the top 200. In that same period of time, PoPS gets nominated for Best Indie Series for the Streamy Awards. So Eliza and I spent an insane 3-day weekend driving around shooting a BIO VIDEO for Project Greenlight and a CAMPAIGN VIDEO for our Indiegogo campaign as we set out to raise funds for episode 9 of PoPS. I got those edited and put up just in time to head to LA to attend the Streamy Awards. I love getting the chance to go to LA and roll around in the sunshine, the landscape, and the feeling of being in the beating heart of the entertainment industry. We didn’t win the Streamy for Best Indie Series and I progressed no further in the Project Greenlight competition. It felt like a double smackdown, and I entered a period of time when I didn’t feel much like doing anything creative.

However, our INDIEGOGO CAMPAIGN was a huge success, thanks to the arrival of our largest donor ever. After first seeing PoPS on a whim at the GenCon screening, he donated $6,000 to help us reach our fundraising goal. We shall be seeing him in person pretty soon as we fly him out to actually appear in episode 9. Outstanding.

My annual October nightmarathon this year was a 21-hour endeavor watching all 12 films currently in the FRIDAY THE 13TH FRANCHISE. It was a lot of fun to put together—these always are—and this time we ended up getting featured on several horror blogs and the Friday the 13th-the franchise website. It was a blast.

We spent the last two months of 2014 neck deep in production of episode 9, Eliza spent the last week trying to pay a lot of people out for the first 20 evenings of filming before the end of the tax year, and now we just need to focus on shooting another nine pages of tiny, one-off scenes in a ton of different locations. It looks daunting right now, but as soon as I sit down to hash out the scenes one at a time, it’ll all come into focus.

That’s a look at my video-year. 2014 had a lot of ups and downs. But all of it has given me a pretty good perspective as I head into the last two episodes of the series. Pulling off all 10 episodes of PoPS will be quite an accomplishment. It hasn’t turned into the springboard-to-Hollywood that I always hoped it would be, but it’s brought me so much more success in ways I’d never imagined. And even when I’m down on how hard production gets, it’s nice that the on-set rush of it all coming together still makes it feel imperative.

Thanks for reading, and for another great year.

–Jake

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