The Teresa Jusino Experience

Create Like An Activist

Tag: producing

Introducing Pomonok Entertainment

 

 

Me circa 1993. So emo. Also a fan of Color Me Badd and Kris Kross.

Bear with me, this story is totally going somewhere.

I first saw the film Schindler’s List when I was about fifteen. In addition to being blown away by the filmmaking and heartbroken by the story, I was also inspired. One of the main takeaways I had was that there was this dude, a business man, who used his company people. He saved lives, because at that moment in history he came to care more about people than he did about making money. That stuck with me.

At that point I had my sights set on acting as a profession, but I was still a writer. I knew that, no matter what, creating stories was going to be my future. Yet, I knew that wasn’t all I wanted to do with my life.

I wanted to be a great artist, entertain, make money and all of that…but I also knew that I wanted to leave the world better than I found it. I knew that art changes the world. That the pen is mightier than the sword. That a good story can change hearts and minds. But I knew I wanted to do something more concrete than that.

Eventually, I tucked the thought away in the back of my mind, revisiting it from time to time to see if it was still there. It always was.

The thought evolved and grew, and it was something I kept very private for a long time. I was embarrassed by it. The idea eventually got so big and so ambitious that I thought, Who the hell am I to think I could do this? I’m not anybody important. You’d need to have a bunch of money, or clout, or both to make this happen, and I don’t know that I’ll ever have either.

Meanwhile, I started to hear about businesses becoming more socially conscious. The (Product) RED line of products came out in the mid-aughts, and several corporations sold red-colored products under that brand in order to raise money and awareness for the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, and they became really popular, raising millions of dollars for the fund.

While there was plenty of valid criticism of the effort, what I took away was: People want to help others. People want to spend money on things they enjoy. People are more enthusiastic about spending money on things they enjoy when they know that money is going to a cause they believe in. 

And I wondered why every company wasn’t donating a portion of their profits to important causes. I wondered why, when they did, it was only one product and not all of them. I thought, this is clearly good business, people are into it, and these companies could be doing so much more good. Why isn’t Apple donating a portion of the proceeds from EVERYTHING they sell if they care so much? Why are they only donating money and not other resources? Why aren’t they doing more to parlay the “awareness” they raise into action with their huge platform?

Hey, I was in my twenties at the time, and hugely idealistic. (Spoiler alert: I still am, despite knowing more about the world.)

Meanwhile, that thought I had when I was in my teens continued to grow and evolve. How can I create stories while also helping others? And then, it occurred to me: a production company. A production company that employs from the homeless community. A production company whose entire reason for existing–other than producing stories people love, of course–is to join the fight to alleviate and end homelessness.

Yet I kept that nugget of an idea to myself for over a decade, because I was scared.

Until now.

My temporary avatar until my official logo is done. Some of my favorite female characters!

I’m starting small, and slowly, but I’m starting. Publicly. Unafraid. Because if not now, when? And if not me, then whom? Right?

Welcome to Year One of Pomonok Entertainment, where nuanced female characters come standard.

Pomonok Entertainment is a production company with a dual mission: create quality, inclusive narrative content (across multiple mediums) while being of service to those experiencing homelessness in Los Angeles.

While we primarily make narrative filmed content, we want to create a variety. That’s why we’re Pomonok Entertainment and not “Pomonok Films” or “Pomonok Studios.” We want to create content that entertains (and maybe even enlightens) you, regardless of medium or genre. And by “we,” I mean me. For now.

In this first year, my goal is to incorporate the mission of alleviating and ending homelessness into each of my projects through methods including, but not limited to: encouraging an ethos of social activism among members of Team Pomonok; organizing group volunteering at partner homeless advocacy organizations; incorporating line items into our budgets for donations to these organizations; donating surplus craft services to food pantries and shelters; and donating a portion of any profits we make to existing organizations that have expertise and experience in working with the homeless community.

Over the course of the coming year, I want to build relationships in the homelessness industry and in the realm of homeless advocacy, to learn how I can best and most efficiently help. I want to learn more about what’s needed by those experiencing homelessness day-to-day, as well as what’s needed at a policy level to combat homelessness at a local and state level.

I also want to build relationships in the entertainment industry, and partner with producers and executives who also prioritize this issue to see if we can work together toward this common mission, share ideas and resources, and maybe even spread this way of thinking to other production companies and studios. The entertainment industry is one of the largest employers in Los Angeles. How could we all best use that to be of service?

And what would happen to our storytelling if we included the voices of this marginalized demographic?

I purposely didn’t want to start a non-profit. I still want to create stories and make my living that way. I still want to help others tell their stories and make their livings. I want to create something that will eventually be self-sustaining. But I know that there’s more that companies can do to better the world that they’re not doing, and I guess I want to create example of how to do those things.

I suppose this is a bit of an experiment. I want to create a workable model where a for-profit company can create concrete, positive change in people’s lives while continuing to do good business. I want to create a blueprint others can apply to their businesses and the companies close to their hearts. Because it shouldn’t just be me.

I don’t want to be unique. I want everyone to do stuff like this, to prioritize in this way.

Eventually, there will be an official logo (currently in progress), and a separate website. There’s already content in the pipeline. But for right now, here are the best ways to keep up and support Team Pomonok:

  • THERE’S A PATREON PAGE. Check it out for more information on specific projects and plans. And if you’re thinking about joining Team Pomonok, there’s an advantage to joining before 5PM Pacific Time on Friday the 5th.
  • Oh, and hey, there’s a FACEBOOK PAGE and a TWITTER, too! You’ll probably want to follow those.
  • There’s a YOUTUBE Channel. It’s not much to look at now, but this is where most of the video content will go, so go ahead and subscribe now so you don’t miss it. I say most of the video content, because…
  • There’s also an INSTAGRAM, and I’ve already got a little something in the way of content that’s coming out tomorrow, which is specifically created for Instagram. So, if you want to experience Pomonok Entertainment’s first little bit of narrative content, you’ll want to follow that feed.
  • Lastly, there’s a MAILING LIST. If you want not only to keep up with Pomonok projects, but be an active member of Team Pomonok and be made aware of ways you can be of service, this is for you!

I’ve made a career writing about other people’s stories. Now, I want to put more focus on creating my own. Join me.

The Incredible Girl Crowdfunding Campaign is LIVE on IndieGoGo!

FINALLY. After over two years of working on this project – and ending up with a pilot script that I’m immensely proud of – Aurora and I are finally ready to start sharing Incredible Girl with the world! And it all starts with the above video!

For more content, as well as to find out how you can help us produce the half-hour pilot of Incredible Girl, click on THIS LINK: http://bit.ly/IncredibleGirl 

If you’re compelled to back the campaign once you’ve visited our IndieGoGo page, please BACK THE CAMPAIGN TODAY! Campaigns that raise 25% of their goal on the first day are statistically more likely to succeed in reaching their goal! Help us be one of those campaigns!

Also, it would just make us really happy and reassure us that we’re not just screaming into the void.  🙂

But seriously, even if you don’t think that the subject matter is your bag, check it out anyway. You may be pleasantly surprised. At its core, Incredible Girl is a story about love and finding your voice. I think those are things you all can get behind, right? 

Whether you can back us or not, remember that sharing is caring! Share the link to the campaign with anyone you know who wants to see more smart, female-led, inclusive, and sex-positive content in the world! http://bit.ly/IncredibleGirl 

And we’ll be releasing fun new content throughout our campaign! So if you’re not already, make sure you’re following Incredible Girl on Facebook, Twitter, Tumblr, Instagram, and on YouTube so you don’t miss a thing!

Stay tuned! The Incredible Girl adventure is just beginning!

(HUGE thanks to Jenny Doll for designing our awesome IG logo, Alec Bernal and Miguel Amodio of Inner Image Media for editing our pitch video, and Kevin Boot for shooting it!)

Nanowrimo-A-Thon! (or, Help Me Help Incredible Girl!)

A scene from the upcoming Incredible Girl teaser!

A scene from the upcoming Incredible Girl teaser!

There are two pretty big needs I have at the moment. Well, two pretty big needs OTHER than more income.

The first big need is to raise money to be able to shoot the Incredible Girl pilot. The team and I have several ideas in motion at the moment in order to accomplish this goal – but every little bit helps, right?

The other big need is my need to write prose fiction.

I’m sure many of you didn’t even know that I did that, and those of you that did have probably forgotten that I did that – or assumed I’d stopped. I haven’t. There’s one story in particular that, if I write no other prose fiction in my life, needs to be out of me and in the shape of a novel.

Given that I have these two big needs, I thought of a way to kill two birds with one stone.

Introducing THE NANOWRIMO-A-THON!

For those of you who don’t know, Nanowrimo is short for National Novel Writing Month, which happens to be the month of November. It’s a non-profit that promotes the written word, and the point of Nanowrimo itself is to take the month of November to finish a 50,000 word (about 200 pgs) novel. You might have missed the key word, so I’ll repeat it: finish. The point is to just keep writing without stopping to second-guess yourself. At the end, you might have written a load of crap…but you would’ve finished something, which is the thing that most people have trouble with. You can edit later. You can realize what’s crap later. The point is simply to finish.

I’ve never completed Nanowrimo, which has always disappointed me. You know what I have completed? 100 pages of a great webseries. 🙂 And now, I’d like to use one endeavor to help the other.

He’s how it will work:

** 50,000 is about 200 pages. If I can get 50 people to donate $0.50/page ($100 if I finish!), I can potentially raise $5,000 for Incredible Girl (BTW – we’ve budgeted the pilot at about $15,000!) so….

THE GOAL: $5,000

** Email theteresajusinoexperience[at]gmail[dot]com with the amount you’d like to pledge per finished page. Put “NANOWRIMOTHON” in the subject.
** Starting TOMORROW, I write furiously for 30 days. Donors can check my progress at my Nanowrimo page. I’ll also be keeping you updated here!
** Hopefully, throughout November, you will SHARE THE LINK TO THIS BLOG POST to tell others about this endeavor!

** I will alert donors of their final amount, and they can go to THE NEW INCREDIBLE GIRL WEBSITE to make an online donation to Incredible Girl in that amount through our fiscal sponsor, FROM THE HEART PRODUCTIONS via PayPal. These donations are tax-deductible! (If you prefer to write a check, we can make arrangements for that via email)

That’s it! Very simple, and it will help get two original works of art out there – work that I hope will help us look at issues of gender and sexuality in a new light.

So? Wanna help me write a novel and produce a webseries? 😉

INCREDIBLE GIRL DIARY 1: The Road to Now

Aurora and Me (with severe Nervous Face) at the first public reading of an Incredible Girl script. December 2013

Aurora and Me (with severe Nervous Face) at the first public reading of an Incredible Girl script. December 2013

If you’ve been following my blog or social media feeds at all, it’s likely that you’ve heard me talk about being involved in a digital series called Incredible Girl. Now, as our growing production team has started ramping up our pre-production and fundraising efforts, I figured it might be nice to keep you posted by keeping an Incredible Girl production diary!

But before I can keep you posted on where we’re going, I wanted to fill you in on where we’ve been so far.

Me at the Ms. In the Biz launch in 2013, the night I met Aurora. Photo by Michael Jackson for ChileJam!

Me at the Ms. In the Biz launch in 2013, the night I met Aurora. Photo by Michael Jackson for ChileJam!

APRIL 2013

I attended the Ms. In the Biz launch party at the Tropicana Bar at the Roosevelt Hotel where I met lots of wonderful female creators including actress/producer Aurora de Blas. As we chatted, she mentioned that she had recently produced a short film called Incredible Girl, which she’d entered into film festivals. When I went home and watched it, I thought it was really cool – and it also seemed to me like the beginning of something. When I asked her if she had additional plans for it, she said she didn’t, but that she wanted to. She thought it a shame for the festival circuit to be the end of the line for this short film that she’d poured her heart and resources into.

She asked me what I thought it was the beginning of. I messaged her some initial ideas. We wrote back and forth. We agreed to meet up.

And when we met up, after a long, great conversation, she asked me if I’d be interested in writing a web series based on her short film. It would be a paying gig to write something really interesting and thought-provoking and work with an awesome person whose values and work ethic I share. I said yes.

And so it began.

My notes for revisions during my early drafts.

My notes for revisions during my early drafts.

MAY 2013-JULY 2014

I started developing some ideas inspired by the original film. The sexual energy that surges through the film inspired me to bring the world of BDSM into the story. That led to Aurora and I meeting regularly to hash out what the story and characters should be. Our conversations led to the introduction of a religious element in the mix – after all, a great way to examine an extreme lifestyle is by contrasting it with its extreme opposite. We named the “Innocent Girl” of the short film Sarah, and gave her a family, a life, a conflict. The character of “Incredible Girl” stayed Incredible Girl, but this time for a reason, and she, too, was given a life, friends, a conflict. They were each given a love interest (or two, or three!). Aurora and I went through about three drafts of the 10-episode series.

We had the opportunity to read Episode Two of the series at the December 2013 International Academy of Web Television meet-up, and received a wonderful and generous response! The gathered writers and producers seemed to really enjoy the script, and while they had some notes for me, all the notes came from a place of being really interested in the story and wanting to know more about the characters. Of the four scripts read that night, Incredible Girl generated the most conversation. That night was the first night that I really registered that we really have something here. 🙂

And then came Sabrina! 🙂 At the beginning of 2014, Aurora reached out to potential directors, and we met and fell in love with the talented Sabrina Doyle. She had the vision, the storytelling ability, and the personality best suited to work on this project, and after meeting her once and checking out her previous projects, I knew she would be perfect for this story. She’s also been amazing to work with, and despite not having filmed any episodes has already made the series better. After the initial three drafts, the scripts have gone through two more courtesy of Sabrina’s insightful notes and way with a story. Through Sabrina, we’ve added key elements to the characters and story that have made the series as a whole stronger, more specific, and even more daring.

AUGUST 2014-PRESENT

Once the scripts were, for the most part, locked, we started moving on to other production matters – making contacts within the BDSM community both to build our fanbase and seek funding. We’ve started pooling our resources and seeking out sponsors and locations. We’ve shot a trailer that we hope to be releasing soon! We’ve been meeting with additional producing partners, because Aurora and I both know that the scope of what we hope to do with this project is bigger than the two of us can handle on our own, and I think we’ve found some great ones in Lauren Fash and Susan Graham, with whom we met a couple of weeks ago to come up with a plan of attack and next steps.

First step of that plan? Raise the funds needed to produce a kick-ass pilot episode.

Me and Clem Jeffreys in a shot from the Incredible Girl trailer, which is actually Scenes 1 & 2 from the pilot. 2014.

Me and Clem Jeffreys in a shot from the Incredible Girl trailer, which is actually Scenes 1 & 2 from the pilot. 2014.

And that’s where we are! Between now and the beginning of next year, we’re focusing on fundraising – but we’re going to stay away from crowdfunding for the moment, so you don’t have to worry about being bombarded with Kickstarter/IndieGoGo links just yet! We’re hoping to take a more intimate approach to building our fan base and creating this one episode by doing in-person fundraising events and approaching supporters one-on-one.

Our first attempt to do just that is TOMORROW! 🙂

1622043_10152766625482741_3087219765880536867_n

Tomorrow is our first fundraiser, courtesy of Veggie Grill in West Hollywood. If you stop by that location tomorrow between 5-10PM, whether you’re staying or grabbing food to go, and mention Incredible Girl (or our fiscal sponsor, From the Heart Productions), 50% of the proceeds from your order go to our effort. So if you want to help out, PLEASE:

1) RSVP at our Facebook invite to let us know if you’re planning on coming!

2) SPREAD THE WORD by spreading THIS FLYER to anyone you think would support our project and/or go out for a vegetarian dinner. Remember, they have to go to THIS location tomorrow night between 5-10PM in order for it to count.

That’s it! Easy-peasy. What’s more, Aurora and I will be there, and will be handing out Cupcake Dominatrix buttons, so you’ll be able to take home the first-ever bit of Incredible Girl merchandise for free as a Thank You for supporting our cause.

I hope I can count on my Los Angeles peeps to come out tomorrow night! But don’t worry – those of you not in L.A. will have plenty of opportunity to show your support later! Stay tuned to this space for regular installments of my Incredible Girl Diary, as well as future fundraising efforts and events.

And don’t forget to Like the Incredible Girl Facebook page and follow Incredible Girl on Twitter!

RETCON on IndieGoGo!

Logo by the uber-talented Jennifer Lynn (www.jennydoll.com)!

If you have been following my goings-on at all (and really, you must have, otherwise why are you here?), you’ve probably heard about the web series RETCON on which I’m a writer/producer. You can follow the show on Twitter, like our page on Facebook, or sign up for our mailing list at our website!

However, today was an important day for the show. Today was the day where we took our first steps toward actually making RETCON a reality. We launched our IndieGoGo campaign!

Me and RETCON creator/star Miley Yamamoto as we (so-not-nervously at all!) launch our campaign.

We’re trying to raise $30,000 by September 30th, and so I’m asking anyone within view of this post to do two things:

1) SPREAD THE WORD. Send the link to the IndieGoGo campaign to everyone you know! If you’re so inclined, spread the link on our behalf once a day for a week. Just one week. It would be such a help.

2) BACK THE CAMPAIGN. If you like the look of the video (many of the same people involved in producing the video will be involved in producing the show) and want this story to be made, or you just want to support a project I’m working on (ideally, you want both!), please give within the first week if you can. Obviously, your backing will be helpful any time during our 30-day campaign! But giving during the first week will help us build some much-needed momentum that will encourage others to give, too.

What video, you ask? Here it is! Watch, and adore:

Amazingly hot actors, a brilliant crew, a funny script, and SEAN MAHER DEMANDING A LATTE! What’s not to love about this video? 🙂

I moved out to L.A. a year ago this week (more on that later! Can you believe it’s been a year already?!) to write and make things. With your help in making RETCON successful, I’ll have a chance to do just that! I’m really proud to be a part of this project, and I hope that we can all go on this journey together. Thank you for whatever you can do!

www.indiegogo.com/retcon

Powered by WordPress & Theme by Anders Norén