The TIVA-DC Peer Awards

Every year, the Television, Internet, & Video Association of DC holds their Peer Awards Ceremony.  I’ve personally been attending since 2015 as part of DUO Media Productions.  We’ll be back again this year – already looking forward to it! – but we were asked what makes it special.  Why we submit our work?  Why do we make a special point to dress up and go to the annual evening event?

In this video, some of DUO’s team members – myself included – expound on our enthusiasm, and what makes being a media maker in the Washington, DC / Maryland / Virginia region.

Fingers crossed DUO takes home some 2018 Golds!


2018 Reel

In addition to publishing Resistance Rising, I’m approaching my two-year anniversary with DUO Media Productions and Star Wipe Films and I wanted to showcase some of the great work we’ve been producing, and of which I get to contribute. It really is a blast to work with such a fantastic team.

Work included (in order of appearance):

  • Sophia – 72 Hour Film Fest Film (Star Wipe Films)
  • Choices – a short film
  • “After the Fact” : 2015 Gala Video for the Jewish Foundation for Group Homes 
  • Game of CAD, Promo for SOLIDWORKS World – Winner of Gold TIVA Peer Award
  • DUO Pop: Montgomery Parks – Behind the scenes of DUO Media Productions
  • World Benzodiazepine Awareness Day Promo
  • Genre Wars: Resistance Rising – web series
  • DUO Pop: TIVA Peer Awards – Testimonial from DUO Media’s team
  • MCS Pro: Success Stories
  • Montgomery Parks, It’s All Here! Commercial Series
  • Dance For Change: UHS Dance Company
  • SOLIDWORKS Promotional Series
  • Sally Pacholok – Independent Feature Film
  • SOLIDWORKS Draftsight Training Videos
  • Enemy of the Reich: The Noor Inayat Khan Story – Independent Feature Film
  • Collective Church Promo
  • The Great American Wheat Harvest – Documentary Feature Film
  • School Of Creative And Performing Arts (SOCAPA) Virtual Tour
  • SOCAPA Actor Reel: “French Kiss”
  • The Stranger – Independent Short Film

More on DUO Media Productions and Star Wipe Films


Why I Like: Gilmore Girls

GG 2One of the highlights of my young life came in the summer of 2008, when I was working in Marina del Rey, CA and, on my day off, drove to Burbank and took the Warner Brothers VIP Tour.  I wore my ‘Luke’s Diner’ t-shirt, which I still have today.  Needless to say, I’m rather a big fan of Gilmore Girls.  Unlike many of the other fandoms to which I belong, however, there’s something a trifle mysterious and – dare I say – even out of place with this show.  Most of my other escapes are to faraway worlds with the flair of the fantastical; Hogwarts, Gotham City, Pern, Middle Earth, Dragaera, Gallifrey, and so on.  These universes, and the stories that take place within them, have all been well traversed, speaking to me on many different levels.  From adolescence and early adulthood, they have proved to be the tools that would shed light on my innermost identity, shape who I am as a writer/filmmaker/creative and continue to help me understand and trust myself during my darkest hours.   Gilmore Girls was no less instrumental in this process, but I still find myself at a bit of loss to explain why.  To start with, fantasy worlds provide built-in escapism, but Gilmore Girls is a real-world sentimental drama series.  Harry Potter (along with several of the others) place heavy emphasis on what it means to be powerful; Hogwarts has been the place where I go to remember my inner strength and find adventure.

So what drew me – and kept me attached – to Gilmore Girls? 

Continue reading

Year in Review

2015 was a whopper of a year, for reasons both good and bad.  ARock 1On the positive side, this past year included the start of working for DUO Media Productions, participating in the Baltimore 48 Film Festival with Star Wipe Films, who also debuted their short film Apocalypse Rock at the AFI Silver Theatre.  I was only briefly involved with the film (providing a voice-over towards the end of post production), but I’d be a big fan either way.  I joined the team at the TIVA Peer Awards Ceremony, at which film took home several awards, including the Gold for Best Independent Short, Editing, Acting on Camera (fiction), Silver for Production Design and Sound Design.  The Forge Studios (The Rangers, Outlawed Faith) has become a full-time production house, and I’m fortunate to continue to play as part of their extended team. I’m very excited to see what 2016 holds for all of us.

On the personal side, I took a trip to New York to see the fabulous Thrilling Adventure Hour shows; Beyond Belief and POW! Sparks Nevada Live.  I have continued to embrace my draw to cosplay, attending both Awesome Con in Washington, D.C. and Baltimore Comic Con.  I’ve continued to finesse and expand my Tenth Doctor cosplay (which will probably always be my favorite) and I’ve delved into the brainstorming for future characters, including a genderbend take on one of the Miser Brothers and a crossover between Green Lantern and Star Wars based on fanart I saw at Awesome Con by artist ModHero.  Oh, and I finished the first draft of the Genre Wars novel this year, which is currently in the hands of some awesome beta readers.

That novel has been the primary focus and outlet for rather a large majority of my creative energy, and now, in its wake, I find myself at a bit of a loss.  I’m still connected to the project, but not able to actively work on it until the notes return in full and I can begin the next step: revision and rewrite.  Until then, I’m in unfamiliar territory: unable to continue, but also unable to begin something new, so as not to become too deeply involved in another project entirely.  And the truth is that my head is still far too wrapped up in Kabathan and its people to really embrace a new world or characters.  I can multi-task when necessary, but I prefer to work by completely enveloping my concentration into one endeavor.

So, as something of a new venture, I’ve joined forces with friend and colleague H.L. Shelper to start a podcast, which will be a review and discussion over what we consider classics, beloved by us and many audiences of varying demographics.  Release will be a long way off; we’ve only just begun the research and recording, but it’s a creative outlet of a kind I’ve never before explored and between it, working for DUO Media, Star Wipe Films, The Forge and cosplay, I believe I have enough on my plate to stay occupied until Genre Wars circles back into my sights again.

Happy New Year, y’all.  Bring on 2016!!!

… oh, and Star Wars happened.  That was awesome.

Taking Shape

It’s been a hundred years since I’ve given a legitimate update.  But here’s the thing: I’ve been fully engulfed in Genre Wars: Resistance Rising.


I want to start off by saying that it is my delight and privilege to be a part of this project.  From the start it’s been this intangible, but fascinating concept that we’ve been attempting to really grasp and bring into reality.  The process has been amazing for me, personally; the collaboration with Justin and everyone else has been tremendous fun.  The amazing part now is seeing it really start to pick up some traction.  I can see heads turning as the project gains speed and a whole new level of excitement begins as what we’ve been holding onto for so long, we are now really able to start sharing with others.

The last few weeks have been an absolute whirlwind of activity for us.  We put a small featurette together (Genre Wars: Resistance Rising FIRST LOOK), we’ve officially cast over half the characters, the sets are beginning to take shape and the scripts, as Justin has mentioned previously, have nearly reached completion.

But the real highlight was last Saturday.  Picture this:

A calm, quiet morning.
The sun drapes across the green, empty field in soft, golden sheets.
There’s a crunch of tires over gravel as the first car pulls into the driveway.
A Pirate emerges along with a 1920’s Mobster and a Mech warrior.

Here we go.

Even long after the Genre Wars concept had been introduced and developed, the possibilities seemed endless; how many different culture-clashes we could create and the fun we could have with the mismatches.  All great in theory of course, but on June 1st, we really got the chance to see how it would look in reality when we gathered a significant group of willing participants, all in full costume and lined them up next to each other.


As we had hoped and predicted, what we got was magical and transformative.  There is no feeling greater than the moment when something you’ve been brainstorming about, developing in your head and obsessing over suddenly takes real shape.  No matter how many projects I do, that transition from elusive concept to reality never gets old.  And I don’t think it ever will.

Our group consisted of Steampunks, Fantasarians, Mechs, Nenjin (or Kabathan-style ninjas), Mobsters, Pirates, modern-day Mercenaries and Vampians.

GunSlingers_01 Aerial-02-copy BTS-02

It was an all-day affair, but, as the saying goes, time certainly flew by as we were having our fun. Everyone who came out to participate was enthusiastic and committed to being there.  The resulting photos and footage are excellent.  Our two photographers, KC White and Jenna Miller (of Jenna M. Miller Photography) really stepped up to the plate and produced some amazing work.  The photos really shine, and especially because of the make-up artistry of Jessica Mungeon and Felicia Douglas.


This photo/video shoot helped put into perspective what it is we’re trying to do.  Several times during the day, people said to me, “I didn’t realize this was going to be such a big deal,” and, “when is the next shoot going to be?” and, “can I read the scripts?”  This was all rewarding for me, personally, because it meant that what we’ve been working towards is becoming clear to others and the excitement, the interest that Justin and I have had in this story and these characters and this world is starting to rub off onto others.  They can see what we see now.  And it’s awesome.

So what’s next?

There will be more shoots, both conceptual ones like this, and of the full cast once the roles have all been officially filled.  There will be more interviews; second looks, third looks and a teaser trailer.  And a poster.  And a full-scale map of Kabathan.  And, eventually, t-shirts!

What are we doing?  We’re bringing something tangible into the world and we’re at the point now where we can finally start really sharing it with others.

It just doesn’t get better than that.

Group Shot 01

An Ode to Young Justice

No exaggeration – the ending of Cartoon Network’s Young Justice left me as a complete and utter mess.  I have been in mourning ever since Saturday, due to the loss of the series as a whole but, if I’m being honest, largely due to the fate of my most favorite character from both seasons.
In regards to the show’s premature end, the writing has been on the wall for some time.  Cartoon Network has never really been behind this series – or its counterpart, Green Lantern – the way that it has other new shows.  They are all too excited to bring back Teen Titans in YJ’s place and are not at all shy about it.  Furthermore, the network never bothered to update its graphics; every time there was a promotional spot for Young Justice: Invasion, there would be graphics and often 5-10 second clips from season one.  This clearly told me that they weren’t bothering to change the graphics, to update them and keep it current, because they didn’t see the point; the show wouldn’t be around long enough for it to matter.
This show was fantastic in every sense of the word and deserved several more, uninterrupted seasons.  The animation was beautiful, the writing was excellent, and it was a show that didn’t have to “dumb itself down” so that it was “suitable for kids.”  It reminded me of Harry Potter in many ways; it just worked in its own right and both kids and adults liked it.  It had created a huge fan-base in such a short time and we, the fans, stuck by it, no matter how hard Cartoon Network tried to get us to forget about it.  I knew several families that would watch the show together.  It, quite literally, offered something for everyone and that is still SO rare.  It was quality television and a respectable representation of DC Comics.
It’s saddens me because like with Greg Weisman’s show, Gargoyles, the show never seemed to get the press or respect it deserved.  What Greg and Brandon Vietti created here, with Young Justice was something special and, as I say, was worth investing in.
In the final episode, Endgame, we lost Wally West.  There had been rumors about this ending for several weeks, but I had sincerely hoped they would turn out to be false.  Wally became my favorite character without even my realizing it.  I got interested in the show for Robin/Dick Grayson and the new/old school spin on his character, and I still absolutely love him.  Wally, however, was the real surprise and, I would say gift of the series for me.  I knew nothing about Kid Flash, Wally West, Impulse or any of the Flash legacy/canon.  I knew a smattering about Barry Allen, but mostly in the abstract and what I’d seen in the more recent re-boots of the Justice League cartoons and animated films.  I liked the Flash, but didn’t even really know he had a sidekick.  As Wally was presented on YJ, however, he was a distinct personality with some of the best lines in the series (between both seasons) and, over the course of the first season, went through some major character development.  Again, not knowing the comic-book lore, I cannot compare YJ’s take to the original source, but I, personally, fell in love with Wally on the show and it devastated me when the second season, Invasion, left him out so completely.  His death at the conclusion of Endgame was like a kick in the teeth.  We hardly saw him at all in Invasion and for what?  Only to lose him in the end?  I applaud the decision that they wanted he and Artemis to retire from the hero-life, but it just seemed so cruel to kill him off like that.  He was, in my opinion, one of the best characters in the show.  I would have much rather seen Connor/Superboy get the axe because it would have played better into the storyline between he and M’gann.  Note: Supermartian shippers would have my head for that statement, but I stand by it; the writing would have made more sense and wouldn’t have felt as arbitrary or stuck-in for shock value.
So, with the loss of the series at large, never getting to see what happened in that awful time-jump from season one to two and watching Wally sacrifice himself, I have been an emotional wreck.  I have decided that Wally isn’t, in fact, dead, but hanging out somewhere with the likes of Jason Todd, or off somewhere that isn’t the New 52, and is waiting to be reborn, back into the comics in an even better way.
Greg’s novel, Rain of the Ghosts, will be published December 3rd, 2013 and is available for pre-order on  Color me stoked.  As I said, I was a fan of Gargoyles and I could absolutely see his style and influence in Young Justice, so I am thoroughly excited to read his book.
In the meantime, I am still mourning the aforementioned losses and searching for ways to cope.  Below is one of those ways.
So this is for Wally…and the entire Young Justice family.  May we see them again someday.
For Wally
For Wally by unusualsidekick on