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Variety is reporting that Don Cheadle‘s Crescendo Productions has signed a two-year deal with Overture Films as of Tuesday. Crescendo’s upcoming projects include a documentary titled “Darfur Now” and a Miles Davis biopic. Cheadle’s partners Lenore Zerman and Kay Liberman, will work closely with Overture CEO Chris McGurk and chief operating officer Danny Rosett.

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Congrats goes out to both BET and Keyshia Cole! According to reports last Tuesday night, BET premiered the first two episodes of the third season of ‘Keyshia Cole: The Way It Is’ but i don’t think that BET could expected the new season to start of not  only becoming the network’s #1 original series season premiere telecast for this year, the second episode scored the best ratings in the history of the network for an original program.

If you missed the first two episodes, you can catch them at BET.com

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As I wrote in my last post, I am producing a music video for the song “It’s All About You,” starring the powerhouse duo of Alexander Sack and Leota Penney. We spent long, grueling, invigorating and exciting hours shooting this weekend. For all of you who are considering getting involved in the movie or music video business, here are a few more things to know. 

5. Know your role: As a producer I had a hands-on role in the video every step of the way (creating the story, choosing the locations, hiring actors, etc…). However, during production there is so much happening and so many people that it’s hard not to step on people’s toes. There were so many times that I wanted to micro-manage and put in my two cents, but I couldn’t. It’s important to know your role, who you can give orders to and who you take orders from.  

4. Feed your crew well: On a film set mealtime does not only provide nourishment, but it is also one of the only times that the crew gets to take a break from their work. I heard a story about one production that fed the crew spicy burritos for lunch. The burritos caused the cast and crew to make numerous and frantic trips to the bathroom. On a set the food needs to be plentiful, high quality and kind to the digestive system! 

3. Dress comfy: Have you ever noticed in those behind the scenes documentaries that the directors are usually wearing an old t-shirt, jeans and a baseball hat? Being comfortable on a set is far more important than being glamorous. Of course, I am not recommending dressing like a slob, but I also would avoid heels, skirts or anything that limits your movement and comfort. 

2. Be nice: Films are a perfect example of teamwork. Every person has an important job, that’s why there are hundreds of names in the credits. The best way to make the team run smoothly, always say please, thank you and show your appreciation.  

1. Be Flexible:  I don’t mean physically flexible, although yoga is a good way to keep your mind and body refreshed. I mean mentally and creatively flexible. Creative endeavors require that you see the big picture and be willing to modify your plans in the interest of making the best possible product. A line that you loved might sound cheesy coming out of an actor’s mouth. You must be able to let go of that line if it means saving the scene.  

The video is now in editing. Keep checking my blogs for info on the release date! 
 


Sonja Mereu

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According to Billboard.com, Timbaland along with his Mosley Media Group is teaming with Effie T. Brown‘s Duly Noted Inc. to produce a film titled “Vinyl.” The film is about five young women facing life-altering decisions about their relationships with members of a rock band. The film will begin shooting in the spring 09. The film will be written and directed by Richard Zelniker, Effie T. Brown, Marcus Spence and Monique Idlett-Mosley will handle production.

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According to AOL Blackvoices Erykah Badu will star along side Mos Def in the indie film titled, ‘Bobby Zero’. The film will be produced by Effie Brown’s an LA based production company Duly Noted. In the film Mos Def will play a down-on-his-luck social satirist romantic who gives up his artistic aspirations to work at an advertising agency. His girlfriend (played by Erykah) hit rock bottom after years of struggling as a couple. To make ends meet, Bobby goes corporate with the advertising job and is confronted by his past beliefs, stepping outside the box and discovering that there the world is not what he expected. Peter Dinklage and Clifton Collins also star in the film.

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I am producing a music video for a song called “It’s All About You,” written by Tom Bernath and Alexander Sack. The incredible Alexander and Leota Penney perform it. You probably haven’t heard of these artists YET, but if this video and the surrounding promotion go as planned you will soon. On this project I have learned a lot about producing a film. For all of you who are considering getting involved in the movie or music video business, there are a lot of things to know. 

5. Always hype the money people: At first I told our financier that I wanted the money, and he said No Problem! Well, there actually was a problem. Out of nowhere he decided he had no interest in financing the project anymore. Since I don’t give up, the director and I kept reworking the script and making improvements. On a whim I called the financier and told him that I loved the project and was going to do the video either way. To my surprise he called me back 5 minutes later and said he would fund half of it. I continued to hype him up over the next week, and eventually got all the money I needed. 

4. Hiring actresses is hard: We auditioned a few actresses, and although the choice was obvious the nice side of me wanted to hire them all. How could I disappoint all these sweet, young girls? Casting requires a strong resolve and a cold heart! 

3. Work with what you have: The song talks about driving a Mercedes and eating in fancy restaurants. We couldn’t afford those things, so we designed our story around things we already had. We have access to a gorgeous theater and my house has a picturesque backyard, so those became sets. You may not even know you have so many resources until you have to get creative! 

2. Find a director that you can work with: Some directors, no matter how talented, are impossible to collaborate with. Luckily, my college friend David Chiu is an incredible director and a really cool guy. Our collaboration as producer/director has been artistically satisfying and fun. I can guarantee it’s not always like that. 

1. Keep in touch with all your contacts: Everybody is working for FREE. Make sure you stay on good terms with all the industry people you meet, because you never know when you’ll need to call in a favor.  

The video shoots this weekend – look for part 2 next week.
 


Sonja Mereu

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It’s been a busy six months for Ms. Anne Hathaway. She co-starred in Get Smart with Steve Carell and Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson. She starred in the critically acclaimed Rachel Getting Married and less acclaimed Passengers (both came out in October). AND, her personal life kind of fell apart on her when he broke up with her fiancé Raffaello Follieri just days before he was arrested for wire-fraud-conspiracy and money-laundering charges. Through her obvious ups and downs she has maintained like a pro and never ceased to flash her gorgeous smile. Anne Hathaway turned 26 today. She’s a fellow Scorpio girl born in New York in 1982, but that’s only part of why I am a fan. Here are some other reasons to join Hathaway’s fan club:  

5. Her Classiness: Anne, or Annie as her friends call her, is always dressed with style and class. She always comes across intelligent yet unaffected in interviews. Plus, she clearly knows class; she did play a princess opposite Julie Andrews after all! 

4. Devil Wears Prada: This movie is great and entertaining just because of the fashion, but Hathaway and her evil boss (played by Meryl Streep) make the movie special. Hathaway is the perfect naive angel to Streep’s devil in Prada. 

3. The way that she handled her fiancés troubles: When many young actresses fall apart, Anne stays strong, and appears wise beyond her years. Through the breakup of her engagement and her ex’s subsequent arrest Hathaway came across unscathed. She was simultaneously sympathetic to his troubles yet also strong and independent enough to, at least in the media, make a clean break.   

2. Brokeback Mountain: Hathaway had to age 30 years over the course of the movie. She also had to convince the audience that she could be an interesting and strong woman who also (somewhat) knowingly stayed with a man who was really in love with another man. Anne is the only one of the four primary actors who did NOT get an Oscar nomination for the film, but she definitely deserved the same recognition as her co-stars. 

1. Rachel Getting MarriedOwen Gleiberman described Hathaway’s performance as Kym, a recovering addict, as a “revelation.” This film, which is shot very much like those wedding videos we all know so well, is personal, moving and a pleasure to watch, much of that due to how Anne brought her character to life. 
 


Sonja Mereu