You Never Know When Your Number’s Up!
MegaBall$ / Oroloro News
June 27th, 2019 — We’ve scheduled an encore reading in Manhattan for July 23rd at a new location. Today we began discussions with a new team member who had noticed how long we’ve been working at moving the project forward. I took a few moments and recalled all the problems we’ve encountered. Like…the original lawyer who provided shoddy work and never deposited investor checks in his escrow. He eventually found the checks but it was an embarrassment to our investors….then the SEC changed funding rules and we had redo our legal work and budget … then after attending Sundance, we again amended everything to increase the budget at the recommendation of successful distributor….one of our investors was ready to come back in but was diagnosed with Parkinson’s…there were many investors that held meetings and made promises only to ghost us (a simple ‘no thanks’ would have sufficed)… then one producing partner’s home caught on fire and he lived in a hotel room for 6 months…then the other producing partner was hit with a bad case of Bell’s Palsey….there were several finders – people with funding contacts – who made big talk, but then demand big up-front payments. This list goes on…inlcuding a helicopter crashing the night of our backer’s reading.
We never remained idle, always reviewing and improving the script (no with recognition from 21 festivals. Admittedly it has been difficult at times to keep from getting discouraged. We remain determined!
June 20, 2019 — Our screenplay reading was a bust. Everything was going swell. Rehearsal started at 2 PM – BUT, at 1:30 PM a helicopter crashed atop a building less than two blocks away causing traffic nightmares. About 1/3 of those who RSVP’d showed up, and none of the potential backers. But, I must say those who did attend laughed quite a bit. It felt good to hear an audience react to the words I’ve so carefully crafted. So, back to the drawing board, and scheduling another reading.
April 29, 2019 — We are preparing to hold a reading of the screenplay for investors and industry people (aka Backer’s Reading) in about a month. Currently we are working out the logistics such as the location, date, cast and arrangements for refreshments. The evening will not come cheap. The expenses will include rental of a space in mid-town Manhattan, stipends for the cast, script copies, programs and one-sheets, and refreshments. But, thanks to the generous support of the names alphabetically listed below, we’ve offset the expenses with donations from:
Maya Avisar, John Batteiger, Andrew Bauer, Sandra Benee, Ellen Berry, Gary Buglass, Peggy Chane, John Cito, Tandy Cronyn, Nancy Damrow, Joanne Dorian, Wayne Keeley, Catherine Kelly, Sara Krieger, Kirk Larsen, Frank Mancuso, Billy Mann, Santo Marabella, Leslie Middlebrook. Dylan Page, Denise Pence, Hardy Phippen, Richard James Porter, Kimberly Prentice, Denise & Mike Reiss, Davida Rothberg, Camille & Ron Savitz, Giacomo Selloni, leslie Shreve, Susanne Stout, Jake Sussman, Susannah Talley, Carol Vigoda and Rick Zahn.
We’re hugely grateful for their encouragement and support!
We will be doing two readings in one day. First, in the afternoon, a rehearsal where friends and supporters will be welcomed, then in the evening for an invited audience of [hopefully] potential investors and industry people, such as producers, sales reps, distributors, et. al.
Wish us luck!
What’s in a name?
When we first considered a title for our film, we played with the titles of the two major lotto games – MegaMillions and Powerball. The result was perfect – it clearly stated it was a comedy: MegaBall$. The name caught on. Wherever we’d meet people and told the the title and tag line, they laughed. They got it! And they remembered it. Now Banquet foods, known for their frozen dinners, has a product called Mega Bowls. How perfect is that?! Who knows, maybe we can get some product placement deal from Banquet by working the product into a scene (and I’ve got the perfect spot marked in my script notes. Here’s their ad:
Los Angeles – April 23, 2017; MegaBall$ makes movement
As a SAG-AFTRA New York Board member [for 10 years] I occasionally travel to Los Angeles for the business of the union, often with very little notice. This April I was given advance notice, which allowed me me to try and make personal plans while there. We stay at the Beverly Hilton Hotel and our meetings are held in the union offices nearby on Wilshire Boulevard. At about the same as getting the notice, or film lawyer and Co-Executive Producer, Corky Kessler, alerted me about a new film finance company he helped form in Los Angeles which is focusing on films that are Section 181 qualified, sending me a link to the story in Variety. Sect. 181 is a part of the 2004 JOBS Act that allows investors to deduct their investment in a qualified film from passive income from certain parts of their federal taxes. Although Sect 181 expired December 31st, 2016, MegaBall$ has been grandfathered in – so accredited investors in our film retain that tax advantage. By the way – it helps that Corky was also involved in actions that led to the forming of Section 181 and considered an expert on the provision.
Since I had advance notice and could plan ahead, I asked Corky if he could set up a meeting with the company, Streamline Global Group Films, so I may pitch our film. It turned out Corky was also planning a trip to LA for a lecture he was giving at the New York Film Academy in Burbank. Thanks to the help of an LA friend I was able to find affordable housing and extended my stay after the SAG-AFTRA Board meeting ended on April 23rd. During the week I visited with some friends, visited the Venice Canals, even got a last-minute voice over audition. I was also able to meet with our post production advisor, Allan Schollnick, and with Andrei Zinca of Voxx Studios. Voxx handles dubbing and subtitling among other postproduction services.
At the lecture I met the company CEO, Emily Hunter Salveson, who told me about her company and the team she has assembled. She was aware of our project because Corky had sent her information in advance. Later that evening Corky had assembled a group of friends and clients for a dinner together where I was able to continue our chat with Emily . At the end of the evening she told me she wants MegaBall$ on their slate. We’re very excited over this development, and eagerly await the paperwork to get started!
A side note: I had mentioned to one of the filmmakers at the table, Scott Corfield, who just released his film, Don’t Tell, with an important topic, that I admired serious films and, while I knew we had a good project, it was essentially fluff. Jim Pasternak, a director, producer and teacher (often hired by studios to teach and guide new directors) who had read my script, corrected me. He stated that what we have is a smart comedy and will do very well. Nice way to end the evening.
Though we’ll have Streamline on our side, we still need to continue our search for accredited investors who can use advantage of the tax benefit of MegaBall$. But at least now we have two very qualified people and better explain the advantages of our film to potential investors. The 1-2 punch of Sect 181 and NYS tax credit makes MegaBall$ very attractive by dramatically lowering the investor risk.
Section 181 Grandfathered
The federal film tax incentive known as Section 181 expired December 31st, 2016. The incentive allowed film investors to minimize their risk by deducting their investment against passive income as soon as spending begins (capitalization of the offering).
A bill has been introduced to once again renew but, based on past renewals – and considering how slow Washington moves, and its new administration – we can anticipate many months will pass before the bill comes to a vote; and who knows if it will pass. We can be sure there will be a gap until such time 181 renews where investors cannot deduct their investment as per the incentive.
We at Oroloro Entertainment are happy to report that our comedy feature film MegaBall$ has been grandfathered in, and the tax benefit for investors will not expire. This gives us a very specific advantage over other films not covered by 181, making our project more attractive to prospective investors. Combining the benefits of 181 and state/local incentives, investors can see a substantial reduction in the financial risks of film investment.
For more information on how Sect. 181 can benefit you check with your tax advisor – or, if you wish, send us an email and we will connect you with our lawyer (who was very involved in the drafting of Sect. 181). You may also ‘Google’ “Section 181” to see many legal opinions of the incentive.
We’re very excited to welcome Lin Tucci to our MegaBall$ support team. Lin is a 2015 SAG Award winning actress best known as Anita DeMarco, a series regular on the hit Netflix series, Orange is the New Black (OITNB)
We had the pleasure of first meeting Lin during a SAG-AFTRA event in New York and immediately hit it off, joking and talking about … salami! She is a joy, very funny and endearing.
Lin agreed to read MegaBall$ but warned that it may take some time because she is shooting OITNB, but in a very short time responded, “Bravo, what a great script!…Sooo many things resonate for me….Your characters and storyline are rich in content….Fun and fast!…Your devotion to detail is profoundly admirable”
We agree with Lin, that the role of Rosa and Lin is a perfect fit, “fun, and would be a blast to create.”
#LinTucci #OITNB #MEGABALLS
We’re very pleased to announce that MegaBall$ was a finalist in the comedy division of the 2016 World Series of Screenwriting. Of many hundreds of entries our comedy made it to the Top 10 Comedy Screenplays….a placement to be proud of!
There are so many competitions around the world for screenplays, but few offer subdivisions by genre – something we believe all competitions should offer. After all, how can a comedy compete against a dram against a sci-fi thriller?
We have had very positive comments from other submissions. For example, both Slamdance and the Tribeca Film Institute called the project very commercial and enjoyable. We’re confident that the project will sell – so, off we got after the production funds…and we’ll be attending the Sundance Film Festival in January 2017, promoting and networking….
Our new lawyer and co-executive producer, Hal “Corky” Kessler
Corky is considered one of the leading experts on the Federal Film Tax Incentive known as Sect. 181., and has been involved in the development and production of more than sixteen films, with six more in the works (including MegaBall$). We’re very excited about having Corky part of our award-winning production team!
We’re taking MegaBall$ to Sundance!
After a favorable experience at the Toronto Film Festival (TIFF16), and upon the advice of our film lawyer, we have decided to attend the Sundance Film Festival in January. We believe it is prudent to attend some major festivals before you have a film entered so you may better understand how they work without the pressure of pushing a project being screened.
Our goal for both TIFF and Sundance is to not only gain experience, but to take advantage of any panel discussions AND network…. network …. network. Attending Sundance will afford us another good opportunity to promote the development of our film, MegaBall$, get new followers on social media and possibly connect more people to the project to move it forward.
Sundance has a reputation for its multiple networking events. Our lawyer not only helped arrange accommodations but has lined up four days’ worth of events and panels. So, off we go! The room has been booked, air travel next. Unlike TIFF, we’ve planned this far enough in advance so we may now reach out to an assortment of industry reps to try to schedule some meet & greets. Our 1-sheet went over really well in TIFF, so we’ll have a good supply on hand for Park City.
We recently attended 5 days of the 2016 Toronto Film Festival and would like to share our experience.
Toronto is a great city: good transportation, very clean and people are friendly. It feels like Manhattan with a European flair. The festival is centered downtown in the Entertainment district and almost everything is in walking distance. For those who cannot find accommodations nearby find one near the underground or trolley lines, which are very efficient.
We were able to put together the travel and hotel with loyalty points keeping the trip very affordable. We used the new UP Express, a train which connects Pearson Airport to Union Station. $12 Canadian gets you there in 25 relaxing minutes. Our hotel, the Delta, was in walking distance of Union Station and boasted amazing views. We kept our food costs low by having large breakfasts at the hotel (included in our deal), and by taking advantage of the VIP lounge in the evenings, which offered a variety of food and drink (also included).
We attended TIFF to get the experience of a major festival. I’ve heard it said, and found it to be true, that it’s a good idea to attend a major festival BEFORE you have a film entered. It’ll be a great learning experience to see how the festival runs, and how the industry works within the fest. Our new lawyer, Corky Kessler, thought it would be good to join him and others who were attending, and to sit in on a panel.
TIFF is the largest festival in North America, and with 350 films screened in ten days it’s too large. Considering every day there are multiple premiers, screenings, panels, discussion, events and parties one cannot not physically make them all. There were several films I had hoped to see including The Bleeder (which a friend acted in) and Egon Schiele: Tod und Madchen. I had written to a few friends who I knew were attending. At last minute one told me he had 1 extra ticket for The Bleeder but we had set other plans that day and time. The lines waiting for rush tickets were very long to almost every film, and those with the most buzz were impossible to get into. We focused on the panels, discussions and networking moments to learn as much as we could. Our intent was to learn all we could, network where possible, and to use TIFF as the jumping point of the reboot of our film, MegaBall$.
We were armed with some great looking one-sheets; heavy magazine glossy sheets with our poster on one side (designed by our production designer, Roger Ambrose) and details about the project on the other. We handed out where ever we could, but wished we totally depleted our supply before leaving. The response from those we talked with was very positive. They liked the concept, the 1-sheet, and one person stated our log line was the best he’s ever read.
We were invited to one party hosted by the South African Film Office, but we opted to attend one jointly hosted by SAG-AFTRA and ACTRA. I felt as a board member of SAG-AFTRA I was better suited to meet and greet fellow members and union leaders. Overall a nice event and a need break from promoting our film’s development.
The big lesson we learned a little too late. Don’t expect to randomly meet some person in a festival that will have time to talk about the project you’re developing. Sure, there are many filmmakers willing to talk – and we were happy to do that. But the industry people you want, the financiers, distributors and sales reps are so busy doing business there’s not much time to meet. Their schedule doesn’t allow them to just grab a wine and mingle at some panel. The trick is: once you’ve purchased your industry pass, most festivals release a list of all the industry people attending. You must go down that list and reach out to preset meetings. The further in advance of the festival the better. We were able to secure one meeting in advance, that was a little harried because it started late, and we needed to catch the UP train back to our flight home.
Our lawyer had asked us to sit on one of several livestreamed panels about film that coincided with the festival which was featured on Torontoeco.tv. In addition to the development panel we spoke on, we stayed off camera to listen to all the other panels. This was a good move for heard some good advice, met a lot of good people — all colleagues of our lawyer and who took our project seriously. According to the technician the streamed panels had 150,000 views worldwide.
We enjoyed a little down time as well, to pace ourselves and enjoy the city. I wouldn’t mind returning for a few days to play tourist in the early fall.
The overall lesson – plan far ahead when attending a festival. Try to make appointments to meet industry people long before you get there. Dress comfortable, specially shoes, and be armed with a good 1-sheet and lots of business cards, and pens and a notepad. Make sure your 1-sheet (or business cards) have white-space where people can make notes.
Today we now start doing our follow-up. We are now 506c compliant and seeking accredited investors. Bon chance!
Toronto Film Festival 2016
We’re are in the final stages of prepping to attend the 40th Toronto Film Festival 2016 TIFF16. We’ll be there Sept 10th to the 15th. We’ll be speaking on a panel on Sept 12th, and doing lots of networking and promoting the development and financing of our comedy feature film, MegaBall$. We’ve managed to use hotel points and frequent flier miles to make the trip inexpensive.
We now have a new lawyer/co-exec producer on our team, Hal “Corky”Kessler, ho is very respected in the world of independent film. We’re in the final stages of finishing up a total reboot of our package: new legal, new offering, and new budget. The final work will be Sec 506c compliant. Our budget is now $2 mil, with 400 investor units valued at $5,000 each, and will be effective as of Sept 1, 2017. We’re very pleased with the changes, and we’ve added more team members. Our goal is a Mid-Late Spring 2017 shoot. If you’re at Toronto for #TIFF16 please say hello!…and if you know of any accredited investors, send them our way!
We’ll be on a TIFF16 panel Tuesday, Sept 12th, livestreamed online. There are panels running from 2:30 t0 5:00 PM about Pitching, Dealing with Agents, Development, Funding, International Co-Productions & New Finance Trends, Distribution, and Intellectual Property & the art of contracts. The panels are hosted by our lawyer and co-executive producer, Corky Kessler, and we’re set for the Development Panel at 3:20 PM, along with producer/director James Pasternak, Steven Adam and Chris Helwink. The streaming will be on TorontoEco, a TV show filmed live during the festival at the One King West Hotel Penthouse, and streamed online at http://www.torontoeco.tv/ – tell your friends, share the link! Viewers can not only watch, but post questions during the panels!
We’re very excited about sitting on the panel – and attending the others. It gives us a great opportunity to learn, meet and network with industry professionals, and expose our MegaBall$ to the world watching online!
MaxIt Magazine, an online publication supporting independent film, has written about us: READ MORE
May 13, 2016: The ScreenCraft Screenplay Competition is considered one of the 15 top contests in the world. Last year, MegaBall$ placed in the semi-finals of the 2015 ScreenCraft Comedy Screenplay Contest: of 1260 international entries, we placed in the top 10%.
We finessed the screenplay and reentered. We’re please to share that MegaBall$ is in the quarterfinals of the 2016 ScreenCraft Comedy Screenplay Contest. Stay tuned!
Feb 9, 2016 – We welcome Julie Menin as the new NYC Film Commissioner. NYC is a very film-friendly town, and we look forward to the official support of the industry. We also hope we’ll be walking into Ms. Menin’s office setting up our film permits later this year.
January 26, 2016 – We are sad to learn of the death of friend Abe Vigoda today, and send our best to his daughter, Carol, and her family. Abe is best known for his role as Sal Tessio in The Godfather, and as Detective Phil Fish in Barney Miller. My first reaction on hearing the news was, “Are you sure” – referring to the story in People Magazine years ago erroneously reporting of his death, and ever since then….when Abe’s name was mentioned, someone would invariability reply, “Is he still alive?”
(Pictured here are Marc Baron, Abe Vigoda and Cliff Robertson.) Always a gentleman, and always encouraging those around him. I first met Abe when he joined The Lambs, the historical actors’ club in New York. What many did not know about Abe was that he loved Shakespeare and musical theater, and loved watching live singers. He would often stand around the piano at The Lambs and join in with the singers having a great time.
When he first heard about MegaBall$, and how I thought of him for one of the supporting roles, Abe wanted to learn more, and had asked that rather than read the script, to write him a few pages about the story and about “his” character. After reading the requested material he told me it was okay to tell people he was interested in working on the film. Every so often when we’d talk he’d remind me that he’s not getting younger, and how he was still working.
Sadly, this time the report of his death is true.
January 22, 2016 – We’re proud of our production designer, Roger C. Ambrose, for his recent work regarding the announcement of Fox TV’s new X-Files.
This appeared at LA’s Grove on January 22, 2016, and was featured in The Hollywood Reporter, The Wrap and the LAIst.com…and a video report from FoxTVNews-LA. Congrats, Roger! We’re excited to have Roger as part of our award-winning production team. Our team holds every award except an Oscar: Emmy, Clio, Tony, Drama Desk, Golden Record….the list of awards goes on and on.
Oroloro partner Joe Cirillo was interviewed on WGBB radio Saturday, Aug 22, 2015, for Lou Telano’s StreetWise show. Joe talks about his years as an NYPD police officer, then his career switch to film & televison as an actor, technical advisor, screenwriter, and now as a producer of MEGABALL$.
An independent comedy feature film by Oroloro Entertainment
An independent comedy feature film by Oroloro Entertainment