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BLAST Production Update - Nick Fraser

Posted by Paul Devlin:
We kept our Artist Share Participants (who helped fund BLAST!) updated with these reports. Nick Fraser is the Executive Producer of BLAST! And, as the programmer of BBC’s Storyville, an important figure in the international documentary world. It was great to have his early support to get the project started, and his insight and wisdom to navigate the difficult edit. Without him, BLAST! would not exist.

And he’s fun to listen to. We were making a movie in Antarctica at the same time Werner Herzog was making Encounters at the End of the World.  It’s fascinating to hear Nick’s take on the two films.

BLAST! Trailer


Posted by Paul Devlin:
This outtake from SlamNation takes place at the Slammaster’s meeting at the Portland National Poetry Slam in 1996. These used to be completely democratic meetings, that anyone competing in the National Poetry Slam could participate and vote in.

The quality is rough and the original is lost, but this mini-doc captures a turning point in the poetry slam movement: the birth of the non-profit organization Poetry Slam Inc (PSi). The piece shows that the organization was born out of the fear that some big corporation would trademark the phrase “Poetry Slam” and block the poets from using it for their events. (The reality of copyright law is that “Poetry Slam” had already become part of the common language and could no longer be trademarked for performance poetry events. So the fear was unfounded, and no one, not even PSi, owns the phrase “Poetry Slam.”

For those who have the context and know the players, this is a study of subtle power plays. Participating in the early slam poetry movement was a profound, close-up lesson in politics. The stakes may be lower, but I’m convinced the dynamics are similar to any government or big corporation.

This is the beginning of the end of what I found most fascinating about the ad-hoc national community of slam poetry – that grass-roots anarchy which managed to generate spectacular events like the National Poetry Slam. When Poetry Slam, Inc. became an official non-profit and started referring to by-laws instead of family at meetings like this, something magical about the movement was sacrificed.

SlamNation DVD 
SlamNation Trailer

SlamNation - Let the Be Bee

Posted by Paul Devlin:
Back before everyone had a video camera in their pocket, SlamNation co-producer Tom Poole lent a camera to muMs da Schemer (HBO's Oz) and that gave us fresh, candid footage of his fellow Nuyorican slam team mates, Saul Williams, Jessica Care Moore, and Beau Sia during their journey to the National Poetry Slam.
Here's a little sample of them goofing off and just being themselves, before they became famous.

SlamNation DVD 
SlamNation Trailer

Power Trip: Sandro's Boat

Posted by Paul Devlin:
When you're making a documentary, often you don't know what is going to be important and what you're going to need. So you wind up following all sorts of characters and threads that don't lead anywhere and are dropped from the final movie. But that doesn't mean that part of the journey wasn't worthwhile. 
I still wonder if Sandro ever took his boat around the world.


Posted by Paul Devlin:
Exposition can be deadly to a story and set up in a movie is always a challenge. This is especially so when you’re trying to set up science for a general audience. It took a long time to get it right, but I think we did a decent job with set up in my movie BLAST!.
Of course it helps to have some good tools to work with. This clip has catchy music that establishes a lively pace, and it help to be able to use high-end NASA animations of space, and intriguing lines like “We want to look back in time...”  Best of luck with setting up your movies!

BLAST! Trailer

Slam Poem: Team Austin - "Motor Red"

Posted by Paul Devlin:

Here's the complete version of a classic "group piece" from Team Austin excerpted in SlamNation.

Team Austin had become masters of these ensemble poetry performances, and they were highly favored to win it all at the National Poetry Slam in Portland as a result. Group pieces generally score higher than individual performances. However, Team Austin scored poorly in the finals, and no one is quite sure why. Perhaps there was some backlash against too many group pieces, and the audience wanted to hear more individual voices?

In any case, as can be seen here, Team Austin was great at group pieces, a genre of performance poetry unique to the National Poetry Slam.

SlamNation DVD 
SlamNation Trailer

The Front Man - Digital and DVD Release!

The Front Man is now available on iTunes and on DVD!

If you haven't had a chance to catch The Front Man at a festival near you, The Orchard has released The Front Man digitally worldwide!  We are also releasing the DVD on our website at this time!

Thank you so much to everyone for your support on The Front Man!  It was, and continues to be, a truly amazing journey, and we couldn't have done it without you all!



The Front Man: New Screening AND Release Party!!

The Front Man is winding up for the big release! We have 3 exciting things to announce!

First, The Front Man release party will be at the Knitting Factory in Brooklyn on Tuesday, April 14th!  The doors open at 7PM, the film will be screening at 8PM, and after the film the Loaded Poets will perform!  This is a free admission, first come, first serve event which is hosted by The Orchard. We are so excited, and we hope you are able to celebrate with us!

After the release party, on Saturday, April 18th, The Front Man is coming to Chicago!  Join us at CIMMFest (The Chicago International Movies & Music Festival) for a 6:15PM screening on Saturday Night at Logan 3!  Jim Wood, star of The Front Man, will perform before and after the screening!  Buy your tickets now!

And if you haven't had a chance to catch The Front Man at a festival near you, on Tuesday, April 21st, The Orchard will release The Front Man digitally worldwide!  We will also be releasing the DVD on our website at this time!

Thank you so much to everyone for your support on The Front Man! We couldn't have done it without you all!



Making Tax Season Less Taxing for Filmmakers

Next Monday, March 23rd at 7PM, Paul Devlin will be on a panel hosted by the DCTV (87 Lafayette Street, NYC)!


Freelancers, rejoice! Just in time for the dreaded tax season, DCTV will be presenting an informative and calm-inducing panel discussion on tax preparation for independent filmmakers and freelance artists.

From learning about great tax saving deductions, to taxes in the sharing economy, new challenges with Obamacare, and what you need to know about the IRS and how to protect yourself in case of an audit, this well-rounded panel will keep you informed and hopefully put you at ease.


Paul Devlin, Filmmaker is a 5-time Emmy winner and Independent Spirit Award nominee who made the critically-acclaimed feature documentaries SlamNation, Power Trip, BLAST!, and The Front Man. He wrote about the IRS’s battle with documentary filmmakers and his own (mis)adventures in being audited in this Filmmaker article.

Steven Zelin, CPA was born and raised in NYC and has been a licensed CPA for over fifteen years. He has an MBA in Finance and Marketing and a B.S. in Accountancy, is an Adjunct Professor of Accounting at Long Island University, and conducts a seminar every year on The Business of Being an Artist. Steven is active on the Not-for-Profit and Taxation of Individuals committees of the New York State Society of CPAs. He's also known as The Singing CPA, "that really smart tax guy who writes and sings funny stuff."



$10 / DCTV Members

$15 / General

$35 / General + Discounted DCTV Membership!

Buy tickets here!

SlamNation: H. M. Naqvi - "I, Carnivore"

Guest post by H. M. Naqvi:

My Fifteen Minutes: An Anecdotal History of the Golden Era of Slam Poetry


If I remember correctly, I ambled into a smoky, neon-lit joint on the periphery of civilization in the District of Columbia of yore, around the corner from the stretch patrolled by transvestites teetering on heels and desperate johns in slow jalopies. I was new in town, had five fifty in my pocket, and knew nobody. Parking myself on a barstool, I ordered a drink from a stout character sporting dreadlocks. “You ready, baby?” he asked in a stentorian tenor. “Cause it’s show time!”

Two shabby characters took the stage. One delivered an impassioned disquisition on the construction of identity, ontology and Cheeze Whiz. It was primal, electric, theatrical, occasionally meaningful, recalling Vachel Lindsay’s “Congo” or Ginsberg’s “Howl.” There was scattered applause among the malcontents who had assembled. They assembled every Monday evening. The audience, I learned, decided who would proceed to the next round. I had walked unbeknownst into a poetry gong show. By the end of the evening, the applause was louder than a circus. (The bartender, for some reason, would periodically holler, “I don’t need your money!”) The loser was booed off stage. The winner was awarded fifty bucks. Fifty bucks! I thought. What a goddamn boon!

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