“I’m Like A Shark, I Need To Constantly Be Moving Forward:” A TDQ Q&A Filmmaker With Ryan Colucci

Ryan Colucci

Ryan Colucci (seen here on set behind the camera) didn’t originally account on being in the film industry but when he crunched the numbers he knew it was his destiny. (He was almost an accountant.)

This week’s TDQ Q&A is with writer, producer, director Ryan Colucci. Ryan spoke to us about how he got into show business, how he attacks each film he makes and his upcoming project, “Suburban Cowboy.” Here is this week’s TDQ Q&A with filmmaker Ryan Colucci:

The Daily Quarterly: What made you want to be in show business?

Ryan Colucci: First and foremost, I love the idea that someone can create a world… And other people can take a trip inside that world. I have always wanted to tell stories, I’m not the type of person to regale a room with a tale. I am rather introverted. So, writing/drawing was something I was drawn to as a child because it scratched that itch and was solitary (I was fortunate to be good at sports or I would have been a pretty isolated kid).

Growing up I wanted to be a comic book artist. It felt like that was the best way to share the stories I wanted to tell. As I became a teenager, that desire morphed into telling stories with a much different canvas – film.

However, I come from a fairly blue-collar background in New York where a career in the arts was not realistic, so I went to Villanova University and studied accounting, for no other reason than it was supposedly hard and I was good at it. I spent a year overseas studying economics and political science at Cambridge University – and when I was there I realized I was destined for another life. It was the first time I left the bubble that was my life, and really took stock of it. The books I was consuming in large quantities all had one thing in common – they were about filmmaking. Not the racy, exciting side of Hollywood… but books on lighting and editing and screenwriting. It dawned on me that people actually do this for a living.

So I came back, transferred to film school close to home and eventually got accepted to the Peter Stark Producing MFA Program at USC.

I didn’t completely abandon the comic world though. I’ve put out two graphic novels. In fact, my book Harbor Moon makes a few cameos in Suburban Cowboy because the lead is obsessed with werewolves (shameless self-promotion).

TDQ: Who was your favorite director growing up?

RC: Growing up, I knew nothing about directors and writers and stars. Since I was a child of the 80s, Star Wars basically defined my childhood. So, I’d have to say George Lucas. I also have a really strong connection with the Savage Steve Holland movies of the 80s – Better Off Dead, One Crazy Summer and, less so, How I Got Into College. It wasn’t until high school I realized the same guy directed them all.

TDQ: What was your favorite movie growing up?

RC: “Rad.” It’s a BMX film from 1986 directed by one of the most legendary stuntmen/action directors – Hal Needham. There was a period of a few years in college where I supported my bar tabs bootlegging VHS copies. For those that weren’t alive back then, you didn’t hit record and it was done in a minute. You had to play the whole movie while another VHS deck (in this case multiple decks) recorded it. I never counted, but I have seen the film well over 500 times.

TDQ: What is the best advice you have ever gotten?

RC: Find the best script you can do for the absolute least amount of money – then go make it.

I have a lot of scripts… some that I know aren’t ready and some I love. After shopping each one, realizing the market was shrinking, I would write another that was smaller. Until I eventually wrote one that I could actually just go do on my own.

TDQ: What is the worst advice you have ever gotten?

RC: Sometimes you hear, ‘pick one project and put all of your energy into it.’ I’m not sure I can get behind that idea. I give each of my projects everything I can, but there’s only so much you can do yourself… and then what do you do? Just wait around hoping for a miracle? That never made sense to me. I’m like a shark, I need to constantly be moving forward. Maybe that has hurt me early on, but now I have so much going on and it is amazing.

TDQ: Who are your influences?

RC: I’m influenced in my writing by the people in my life. Luckily, I’m surrounded by colorful characters.

In life I’m influenced by the competitive drive of athletes; Michael Jordan, Larry Bird, Ronnie Lott, Royce Gracie and Gary Gait.

As a filmmaker, I’m influenced by every movie I see – good and bad. Sometimes it is more helpful to watch a handful of bad movies than one good one. That said, the two films that really inspired me to forge this career are Pi by Darren Aronofsky and Brothers McMullen by Ed Burns. These are two films that I saw and thought – films aren’t made in some fantasy land (Brothers McMullen was essentially made in my backyard on Long Island). I love these movies… and I think I can do this.

Ryan Colucci's Suburban Cowboy

A clip from Ryan Colucci’s Suburban Cowboy.

TDQ: Tell us about your latest movie, “Suburban Cowboy?”

RC: The film is about Jay, a mid-level weed supplier on Long Island. One of his dealers, also his childhood best friend, robs someone to pay Jay back for his last shipment. His friend disappears and the debt is left to our hero – because the person who got robbed was connected to Serbian gangsters in Queens. He sets off to collect the money he has on the street, but when he comes up short Jay is forced to take drastic measures.

It’s a raw, visceral look into a world you live in but probably don’t want to know exists. The story isn’t groundbreaking, but what fascinates me about it is this idea that the guy next door is a criminal. It’s not this stereotypical gangster story where the bad guys are obviously criminals. It’s more true to life, at least in the part of the world I come from.

The person I was working with on the story was actually arrested as I finished the first draft of the script. I rewrote the ending to reflect what was happening in real life. Of course things change based on budget, locations and particularly cast, but the details/specifics of the world are hopefully what makes this unique.

TDQ: Besides directing, you also wrote and produced “Suburban Cowboy.” Does wearing that many hats on one project make it harder to easier for you in the process of getting it completed?

RC: I don’t know if it is easier, but it means I have more control. Since I’m obsessive about the things I’m working on, I also know I will get it done at the level I expect and plan for.

I love every part of the process. I got into filmmaking to make movies. Not to take lunches. Not to try and be cool in LA. Not to walk red carpets. Not to date actresses. I went to producing school and got my MFA from USC for three reasons; it’s the best film school in the world, they were crazy enough to let me in… and I knew that the way for me to become the best filmmaker possible was to understand the process from start to finish. And that meant script, financing, working with studios, etc…

“Suburban Cowboy” was the first project that I got to do exactly how I wanted – meeting every cast and crew member personally before bringing them on. And it turned into a fine-tuned set. In fact, we were so efficient that we only went into over-time on one day and were able to shave a day off our shoot schedule – on what was a micro-budget film, which is pretty rare. I need to give credit to the cast and crew though. Regardless of how many hats I wear, filmmaking is a group effort and I had some people working on the film at reduced rates out of sheer belief in me.

Ryan Colucci

Ryan Colucci: Con man. You know, like comic convention. He has a background in graphic novels. He is starting an animation studio!

TDQ: What project are you working on next?

RC: I’m currently co-directing Orient City, a hand-drawn animated samurai spaghetti western with Zsombor Huszka (who did the animated titles for Suburban Cowboy). We just finished the short film, but dove right into the feature. I recently returned from a few months in Budapest laying out the storyboards.

Up next for me on the live action side is a contained sci-fi thriller called Andover, a project written by Dikran Ornekian and Rylend Grant. You never know what will happen in terms of financing, so I wanted a project that could be done at the same budget level as Suburban Cowboy, but with the ability to stretch that money further (limited locations, small cast). Those guys crushed the script and there is interest in doing it at what can best be described as a non-micro budget. At a certain budget level you lose your ability to take risks creatively and make something different, so we’ll see how fast it can come together. As nice as it would be to take a step up, I don’t want to be on the shelf that long.

TDQ: Where do you see yourself and your career in five years?

RC: On the set of Orient City, the live action version.

Seriously though, there are projects and avenues I want to pursue and I have a very definitive plan in terms of which projects I want to do in which order… but to a large degree that is out of my hands. I can only keep them in the back of my mind as I make decisions and move forward. I want to stay as active as possible, for as long as I’m physically able. We are essentially starting an animation studio, so the goal is to constantly go from one hand-drawn film to the next with Zsombor, while also pursuing live action features and television.

For all of that to happen people have to go watch Suburban Cowboy. It is currently available for rent/purchase digitally; iTunes, Amazon, Google Play, Xbox, Vudu, Dish, DirecTV, OnDemand (Time Warner or Comcast)… If it sounds at all interesting, give us a shot!

Be sure and follow Ryan on Twitter and check out his website.

Erich Mrak Says Goodbye To Summer And Hello To A New Single With “Summer Dealer”

Toronto— You wanted it, and our close, personal Canadian pal Erich Mrak delivered. 

With 2017 past the halfway point, Erich delivers an anthem to celebrate the closure of summer through clouded vocals, and intricate production. Written by Erich, and produced by his in-house producer, Bento, the duo delivers a fresh sounding single for the end of the summer. 

 

Link to “Summer Dealer’ : https://soundcloud.com/erichmrakmusic/summer-dealer-erich-mrak/s-AhtOU.

Cover art done by Martin Nombrado.
(https://www.instagram.com/bra.deau/)
Photo’s taken by Sara Knowles & Smvrk. 
(sara.knowles85@gmail.com, https://www.instagram.com/smvrk).

Contact for all inquiries (bookings, management, ect,) :
Erich – ErichMrakMusic@gmail.com
Blayne Stone (Bookings) – Caminojazzclub@gmail.com

You are now musically informed. Go and do likewise. 

France Literally Doesn’t Know What To Do With Itself: Jerry Lewis Has Died At 91

Jerry Lewis

From 1945 to 1946 Jerry Lewis, bottom, teamed up with RECOiL writer/director/actor Brian DiMaio, top, to form a comedy duo called DiMaio and Lewis. Some say the act didn’t work because both members thought they were supposed to be performing the role of the straight man.

Las Vegas—Former comedy partner to Dean Martin and Muscular Dystrophy Association telethon host Jerry Lewis died at his home on Sunday. The big screen funnyman and icon in France was 91.

He teamed with Dean Martin for ten years before an acrimonious split in 1956. Making a name both solo and with Dino, Lewis appeared in such films as “The King of Comedy,” “The Nutty Professor,” “RECOiL” and “Don’t Raise the Bridge, Lower the River.”

On the small screen, Lewis appeared in such TV shows as “Wisely,” “Mad About You” and “The Simpson.”

He is survived by his second wife, SanDee, five sons and an adopted daughter. 

Good Lord, Steve Bartman Just Cannot “Catch” A Break: Poor Bastard Bungles Ring Exchange In Celebration Ceremony

Bartman Ring

As the story goes Bartman reached for the ring early as it was being presented where it fell into an electric space heater which was set to high to compensate for the room’s faulty air conditioner thermostat. The ring shorted out the heater and arcwelded itself into a puddle of melted gold.

Chicago— It was deja vu all over again Monday for infamous Chicago Cubs fan Steve Bartman as the hapless, poor son of a bitch bungled and ultimately dropped a World Series souvenir ring in a ceremony where the team was giving its most hated, controversial fan some love in the form of some bling. 

Witnesses to the incident conferring upon Bartman his own 2016 World Series Championship ring confirmed reports that Bartman juggled the ring as it was being handed to him, ultimately dropping the ring and destroying it, in exactly the same manner that he destroyed the Cubs’ hopes for a pennant in 2003.  

“I wouldn’t have believed it if I didn’t see it myself,” Cubs executive Theo Epstein said. “After all these years, he finally comes back to be with the team after his horrible, detestable actions in the Championship Series back in ’03, and the poor bastard does it all over again, dropping the damn ring like a hot potato. I swear to God, if he had been wearing a set of headphones and that ridiculous turtle neck, it would be like October ’03 all over again. Geez. Poor bastard.”

Sources also confirmed that former Cubs left fielder Moises Alou was in the background at the ceremony. bemoaning the dropping of the ring, and berating Bartman as he jumped up and down in anger. 

Bartman had for years declined invitations from the team to come back and enjoy a live Cubs game in person at Wrigley Field, and did not participate in the World Series parade help last fall, despite being asked to attend. It is unclear if he required an armed escort leaving the ring ceremony, as he did in 2003 after dropping a foul ball after idiotically reaching out and literally snatching the ball from poor innocent Moises Alou’s grasp, and shattering all hopes of a Cubs World Series win 14 long seasons ago.

“We Realized The Potential In The Mobile Adult Entertainment:” A TDQ Q&A With Entrepreneur Rene Pour

Rene Pour: Futurist, Innovator

This week’s TDQ Q&A is with entrepreneur Rene Pour. Rene spoke to us about his influence, what the app design scene is like in his native Slovakia, and his adult virtual reality site, REALITY LOVERS, Here is this week’s NSFW TDQ Q&A with Rene Pour:

The Daily Quarterly: You grew up in Slovakia. What’s the climate like there for entrepreneurs and app designers? 

Rene Pour: My company, operating in the affiliate marketing business, was built up in Slovakia and I am living there, and Reality Lovers is UK based. The climate in Slovakia is like in every other country, you have to deal with the same issues and topics, some of them may be slightly different, but the nature of managing a company and administration is the same as in other EU countries. One of the biggest challenges is finding good developers and people for technical positions.

TDQ: When did you know you wanted to be an entrepreneur?

RP: This was a longer process in my professional life, and as I was working in  telecommunication services and mobile internet services, I found out that there was some space and a possibility within the mobile affiliate network business. I took the chance and started working on it. The basic idea was to do business with a small team of people. However, this changed when we realized the potential in the mobile adult entertainment. To be a good entrepreneur, I think you need to have visions, ideas and a good feeling for business, the mindset of “this is something I know, something I can put together”.

TDQ: What is the best advice you have ever gotten?

RP: “The meaning of life is to be stronger!” If you really take it to heart, being stronger can help you in a lot of situations.

TDQ: What is the worst advice you have ever gotten?

RP: I have never received bad advice.  Even if you think you got a bad piece of advice, you can still learn from it. In the end, any advice is good!

Rene Pour

Rene Pour: Awarded for work in his field.

TDQ: Who are your influences?

RP: I do not have one specific person who influences me, it´s more situation-based. I am inspired by how people face(d) different situations, like Steve Jobs’ active return to Apple or how a young person like the F1 Racing Driver Sebastian Vettel can put so much focus and passion into his work. Another good example is the Austrian owner of Red Bull and his story of how he has built up and manages the Energy Drink Empire. I am more influenced by stories such as these.

TDQ: Tell us about your virtual reality entertainment site “REALITY LOVERS”

RP: RealityLovers.com was launched in May, 2016. I dare to say that the videos we currently produce are top-notch in terms of technology and content. We are continuously improving and adapt to the latest trends and technical possibilities. Recently, we have started shooting from two angles – POV and Voyeur. To make our customers happy, we have weekly updates (two updates per week) with new movies and furthermore, we are launching two more niche-sites with VR content, focusing on MILF and Tranny Lovers. With RealityLovers.com, we want to give our users a completely new feeling of watching porn, they should feel like they are in the middle of action, directly in the scene. To bring users closer to porn-stars and  provide them with more fantasy, entertainment and pleasure  compared to just watching 2D porn. We got into a very interesting, new situation during a porn conference in Berlin, where our female customers were complaining that we have not enough female-focused movies on the site. VR made porn interesting for women and opened a new target group for us! A woman also wants to be made happy by men! With RealityLovers.com, we are offering cutting-edge adult entertainment.

Rene Pour: Reality Lovers

Some technophobes think virtual reality is isolating. The actual reality of virtual reality is that it can bring real people together.

TDQ: How did you get into the VR and porn genre?

RP: The idea behind the company’s involvement in virtual reality was born during the Mobile World Congress in Barcelona in 2014 where the technology had been presented by major mobile industry players.

Our team’s focus on mobile technologies naturally leads us to continuously seek new, innovative products to diversify the portfolio of company services, which is why the business of virtual reality immediately caught our interest. After researching the specific possibilities in the adult entertainment vertical, we were convinced that VR would play an incredibly important role as a new medium and would have an enormous potential due to a deeper connection with people’s hearts and imaginations. We also believed that VR content would not focus solely on video games and conference calls as some people seemed to think. The market in the adult vertical was quite new and open, and we saw a huge opportunity to enter.  

We can say that again, as it already happened in the past, it was porn that moved the needle to bring the VR closer to the masses. Within a few years, the market has evolved to offer an amazing array of high-quality entertainment filmed with the newest VR camera technology. There are several key players on the US and European markets that exclusively produce erotic content in VR, following the goal of putting viewers in the middle of the action instead of behind it and providing immersive, truly emotional experiences.

Reality Lovers went live in May 2016 and within a year accomplished a few milestones including winning a Venus Award for the Most Innovative Product.

TDQ: What project are you working on next?

RP: It´s a secret ;-)! In general, we are focused on producing more and better content, and currently, we are working on our own green room studio, which will enable us to work with the background of the scene. The user can choose the location he/she wants the scene to take place. Further, we are working to move the viewer from the passively watching position deeper into the real virtual reality world. The customer should be able to actively react and make decisions based on the situations in the scene and their body should also be able to feel what is happening there.  

TDQ: Where do you see yourself and Reality Lovers in five years?

RP: I see us following our target to be one of the leading brands for adult VR entertainment. VR and Mixed Reality will be main drivers in the sex industry, giving much bigger possibilities to users, eventually coming close to a more interactive virtual sex experience. With RealityLovers.com, we want to offer our customers maximum quality and the best entertainment, also in combination with active sex tools. Personally, I don´t want to replace normal sex between people, which is simply irreplaceable! However, by diving into the world of virtual sex and their possibilities within, we want to provide more entertainment, pleasure and fulfill the desires of adult online consumers.