A behind-the-screen look at the making of a web comedy series.

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How do I describe the past week?

It started well with a meeting with Brooklyn Borough President Marty Markowitz and his people. They helped me find everything I asked for — an upcoming Brooklyn business trade show & PR support — and also upcoming media conferences and future support.

Jason arrived in town and got to work with Sunil discussing social media gaming. I met Niaz, a production coordinator with tons of hustle. We ramped up a shoot for the weekend to film ad spots. At the same time the final pieces of a plan to land Snoop Dogg for an ad spot fell into place.

After that things went rapidly. The shoot didn’t go as planned — but I saw the seeds of our future creative process that will allow me more downtime to coordinate on the backend. I was threatened with arrest while negotiating a filming location — and learned how to negotiate locations in the process. And the Snoop negotiations didn’t pan out —
but I learned how to access talent. There’s no thrill compared to hearing a voice say quietly on the other end of the phone, “I can get this to his people.”

I ended the week exhausted. Laura flew out for the weekend and I got to decompress from the intensity of the hustle. Hooray — I really needed it.

Now I’m back on my feet, and re-focussed on business. It’s time to finish what I came out here to do: make business connections in Brooklyn and launch OUATIB.

Let’s get this done and get back home. NYC is a great place to do business, but it really takes it out of me. I need my wife, garden … and some time off.

Until next time,
Nick

Pls update yr Twitter statuses

Hey gang,

I’m launching an impromptu ground campaign to film a spot with Snoop Dogg. I’ve negotiated my ass off to make this happen. He’s reviewing my material & script now. I have big people in DC & NYC supporting me. The goal of the spot is to legalize marijuana for once and for all.

This can happen. But I need your help.

If you’re on Twitter, please update your status as follows:

Hey @snoopdogg let’s DEREGULATE #apt18 RT

I want him to know that EVERYONE out there is behind this.

We have 24 hours.

If you can get behind this, please share this message with a friend. This spot needs to happen. Weed needs to be legalized.

Together we can light the spark that brings the revolution.

All my best,

Nick Blake
Apartment 18 Productions LLC
http://www.onceuponatimeinbrooklyn.com

Another long day @ #apt18 …

My close friends are noticing that I’m near nervous collapse and are encouraging me to take some down time. So I’m going to do just that. Time for a much-deserved weekend off!

Cool stuff on the radar:

– Theme song is turning out beautiful thanks to the hard work of Alec Stephens III, Bill Bartholomew, Dave Klym & everyone in the Dream Rock crew.

– Jason mKey has been overseeing website updates — coming soon!!

– Denise Doherty has been getting our PR machine in order. She also discovered that Jimmy Fallon is reading Twitter feeds on Sunday night, so we’re strategizing that route.

– We’ve got some social media games in development with Sunil Madhu’s new platform, Hopskoch.com. Sign up today to join the fun!

Good weekend everyone!

Until next time,

Nick

Back in the action.

Three months ago I flew back to Seattle to begin post-production and see what kind of strings I could pull to make OUATIB happen. Filming the first season was nothing short of amazing — we have some awesome stuff to hit you with very shortly.

I’m back in NYC now to finish production, build buzz & launch. It’s a wild ride.

Today I took meetings with cast & crew, grooved to Alec’s Dream Rock version of the OUATIB theme song, reviewed episode & trailer edits with Mengfan, approved Daniel’s “Eighteen of Apartments” branding concept, and negotiated three parties to launch while I’m in town: one party per week for the next three weeks.

This week’s party is in Chelsea. There will be wine and lots of interesting conversation. Sunil has a really cool Twitter gaming platform to show us and there’ll be appearances by the OUATIB crew.

Anyone who donates to Apartment 18 Productions or OUATIB will receive an invite to any and all parties happening over the next few weeks. You can donate via PayPal on either Facebook fan page or at:

http://www.onceuponatimeinbrooklyn.com
http://www.apartment18productions.com

THANKS EVERYONE FOR THE LOVE & SUPPORT.

BTW — In the studio I got to listen to Bill Bartholomew & his Dream Rock sound. He has made Alec Stephens III shine. You gotta hear his new EP, I AM THE THIRD (coming soon).

Until next time,
nick

If a rock stops halfway down the hill…

Lately we’ve had some downtime in our process of unleashing Season One of Once Upon A Time In Brooklyn upon the public. Our one-minute teaser had been released, we’re in the middle of editing our footage into full episodes, and next month Nick comes to visit NYC to hash out the second season and prepare everything for the first launch right after that.

But for now…what? Don’t get me wrong, I have plenty to do with my show going up in the Midtown Theatre Festival in a few weeks, but how do we keep this web-series-shaped ball rolling? Have we hit a small landing where we have to push the boulder over the next hill? Do we have to wait for August to do that? Boy, I hope not!

Can’t wait to get all the promotion underway for Season One, not to mention a kickass launch party we’re going to have. I feel like a kid on December 20th, or as I liked to call it, Christmas Eve Eve Eve Eve Eve.

More soon, my friends. I can’t wait to share it with you.

Until later,
Ben

From stage to screen

Nick is on vacation with his wife in India right now. If you could see me right now, you could see that this is my jealous face.

So Nick wrote to me about playing Coworker Dave in April, and as I announced very clearly at my first and last day of shooting (it wasn’t me, I swear…my character is only in enough scenes to necessitate one day of filming), Once Upon A Time In Brooklyn is my first foray into the world of screen acting, and more recently, screenwriting. I am at home in a theater, and have been since I was about ten. I majored in theater in college, and recently I graduated from Circle In The Square Theater School. It’s not that I thought film and TV wouldn’t be for me, it’s just that my experience on camera has been limited to one On-Camera class about five years ago, and a few shoots as an extra here in New York. I’ll tell you what my favorite part is about working on this web series. It’s that I get to be stupid.

The plays I have written so far, while they definitely have lighter moments, are really about deeply emotional subject matter. I also look a certain way, and often get typecast as the romantic lead, or the rookie cop that cares, or an emotionally-distraught young monarch. Tough life, right? Woe is me. My point is, though, I never get to be the clown. And yes, the grass is always greener, even if the other lawn is covered in weird s–t.

Working on Once Upon A Time In Brooklyn, I get to write ridiculous, silly stuff. Stuff that won’t fly in theater, because a theater audience doesn’t come to laugh at situational comedy (SitCom– get it?). I have notebooks full of dialogue and plotlines that no theater-goer in their right mind would enjoy. Why? It doesn’t fit the medium. The same way you wouldn’t want to watch a 10-minute episode on the internet about a man who steals the lost work of William Shakespeare, and what happens to him when he tries to publish.

And I get to be the clown! I get to play every complete wacko that looks like a normal guy I know. What could be better than that? It’s more refreshing than this summer rain falling right now, and that’s saying something, considering how much I love a warm rainstorm.

Speaking of which, I hope you’re enjoying monsoon season, Nick! Makes for a nice change of pace, I’m sure!

Sometimes, that’s all we need.

Until later,
Ben

The Link You’ve Been Waiting For

Hi everybody.

I’m Ben. I’m taking this bad boy over. Maybe I should tell you a little about myself.

I’ve known Nick since I was about 9 years old. His younger brother was one of my best friends growing up (yes, his younger brother is still with us, just living in an apartment somewhere in New Brunswick), and before Once Upon A Time In Brooklyn, the last time I saw Nick was probably HIS graduation from high school.

Fast forward 15 years later. I would like to say, despite Nick’s statement in the last post, I have actually SPOKEN in the last 15 years, just, unfortunately, not to him! I’ve been working in NYC as a theater producer, actor, and recently, writer. I get a message from Nick, and it goes like this:

“Hey, I haven’t seen you in like 15 years, I’ve been keeping up with your updates on Facebook, looks like everything is going pretty well for you. I’ve started a webisode, and I have the perfect role for you, want to be involved?”

Random, right? I thought hey, if nothing else, it’ll be good to see someone I haven’t seen since we were teenagers. As it turns out, we had a blast. I mean, I know I did, and other people on set were laughing, so they either were having fun or just amusing me..and either way, I’m entertained!

So here we are, working on this fantastic project together called Once Upon A Time In Brooklyn. Speaking of which, have you seen the one minute teaser? It’s really sweet, especially from 0:24 to 0:27.

Check it out here:

Cause it’s only going to be up for a few more weeks, when we release the official TRAILER on July 4th.

We can’t wait to share more of this with you!

Cheers!

Ben

www.OnceUponATimeInBrooklyn.com