Is Harvey really to blame?

Yes, he is. But there’s also a whole lot more at play… I woke this morning and, as in every day leading up to this one, Harvey Weinstein is in the news. And now, as you may know, Roy Price, the head of Amazon Studios, has resigned as a result of a sexual harassment firestorm that’s come out as a result of women in Hollywood finally feeling like they can have their voices heard. Much has now been said on a culture of harassment in Hollywood, and the complicit behavior that goes along with it. BEAUTIFUL GIRLS scribe Scott Rosenberg articulated it clearly in his ‘everybody knew’ letter you might have seen on Deadline. In it, Scott paints the picture of Harvey as ‘a goose laying golden eggs’ that everyone coveted (and therefore kept their mouth’s shut even though they knew what was going on). What I want to address is how the ‘old’, centralized Hollywood model created the inevitability of all of this. When so much power resides in the hands of a few select people – the power to make (or break) a career, the power to greenlight (or kill) a project on a personal whim, the use of implied (or explicit) threat that results in 1000s of voices forced into silence (over decades!) – bad stuff is going to happen. Actors feel like they have to endure unacceptable (and in some cases illegal) behavior lest they not be able to fulfill on their dreams and calling. Writers who give ‘voice’ to so many great and inspiring characters, don’t use their own voices to speak up since... read more

Kiss Your Writers Block Goodbye

3 TIPS FOR BOOSTING CREATIVITY IN 10 MINUTES OR LESS As creators we have all experienced the dreaded Writer’s Block in one-way or another. Whether you’ve caught the bug for a few hours or several days, you know just how debilitating it can be. So next time you’re feeling less-than-creative, blast your writers block with one of these three tips we love to use at Voyage. 1. Meditate Meditation is a wonderful way to clear your mind, which comes in handy when writer’s block strikes. Taking 10 minutes to yourself away from your creative project, technology, and other people can work wonders for the brain. And the best part is, there is no ‘right’ way to meditate! Sitting quietly in a cozy corner of your office for 10 minutes with your electronic devices silenced and out of sight, or counting your breaths for a couple of minutes are great ways to unplug. We love the app Headspace at the Voyage Office and use it to meditate every morning as a team. There’s an awesome 10-day free trial that gives all levels of users wonderful guidance for how reset and find clarity. Each guided meditation is 10 minutes and is a great way to start your day! 2. Do some wacky creative writing When you’ve been working with the same story and characters for months or years, it’s pretty easy to get bogged down by the details. To counteract that obstacle, put down your project and write something totally different. You still get to flex your writing muscles and by focusing on a new story, you will get your creative... read more

It’s Time!

4 Steps To Finally Writing Your Book   So here you are with a great idea for a book. Maybe it’s your own story, a story based on true events, or simply an awesome idea. You may have even been sitting on this story for months or years. Well it’s time to finally do something about it… But where do you start? I’m glad you asked 🙂 Whether you’re working on your tenth book or your first, use these steps to get that story out of your head and on paper. Decide what the book is about  You may be thinking to yourself, “Yeah, obviously.” But you’d be surprised at how difficult this step can actually be. Let’s say you have a compelling life story—but you have so much material (your whole life!) to draw from that it can be overwhelming. It’s important to boil down the main plot points early on in the writing process so as not to get bogged down in the details. It’s also a good idea to decide on the goal length of your book at this stage too. That way, you can more easily outline the book ahead of time (and not end up with a 100,000 word epic-novel based on that one week you spent abroad in college). Set a daily word count goal We’re all busy. We all have things going on that could stop us from writing. But if now is the right time for you, you need to make time for it. Make it part of your daily routine, like brushing your teeth or walking the dog. Even if... read more

How to Produce a Micro-Budget Film

By: Dan Benamor, Voyage Producer  In film, there may be no key creative more marginalized than the screenwriter. Screenwriters are fired and re-hired, rewritten and written out, and generally cede power to the director, producers, studio executives, and so on in the filmmaking process. If you are fortunate enough to sell a screenplay, once you as the writer have signed on the dotted line, you relinquish control. The writer is often on the low end of the totem pole in the film world, but it’s a reality screenwriters usually have to come to terms with. As tough as it may seem sometimes to break through and maintain a creative vision of your script as described above, there is an exception to this rule… You can decide to produce a micro-budget screenplay. Taking this journey will require a screenwriter to utilize skillsets more akin to a producer, and/or (if so desired) a director. But by taking control of your own career in this way, you can guide the process, both creatively and pragmatically (there’s no one to blame but yourself if the film is not made). Micro-budget films can be made for extremely low budgets with the modern state of film technology. Crowdfunding has become a valuable resource to the micro-budget filmmaker, and on the back end of the process, VOD has democratized everything. A case in point here is a film I co-wrote, INITIATION.  The film was released on just about every VOD platform last August. That means that if you are scrolling through VOD titles on ITunes or Amazon or any other VOD platform, you could easily find my film... read more

What is a Screen-Plography?

By Tom Cartier Screenplay + Biography= Screen-Plography. In movie form they’re known as bio-pics, and throughout the history of cinema, Hollywood has always had an insatiable appetite for them. But before going any further, a disclaimer alert… I would never condone anyone trying to sell a film based on someone else’s life without first securing their rights. When shopping a project on the open market, always secure the rights first. However, if you’re just looking to make a big splash as a screenwriter or simply trying to get read, by all means. So long as no money changes hands, and the project is used strictly as a calling card, this can potentially work as a strategy that’s launched many a career. First and foremost, the basic story should be about someone who has done something extraordinary. The origin story of George Washington. Ted Kennedy’s ordeal at Chappaquiddick. The tale of how Francis Ford Coppola created his masterpiece The Godfather against all odds. All three of these ideas are scripts, currently making in-roads in Hollywood for the writers who created them; and all are great examples of what I consider to be Screen-Plographies. The key to it all is composing that perfect mix of personality and story, that flashpoint where truth and fiction collided to evoke something spectacular; a world where the truth actually did become stranger, and more arresting, than fiction. Oftentimes, it’s about telling the story of how a given person achieved fame, changed the world or made history. But just as frequently, it’s about that uncovered gem, that little known chapter in a well-known person’s life that’s absolutely riveting. Being a household name certainly... read more

From Unpublished Author to Hollywood’s A-List

Getting Lucky in Hollywood It’s no secret that Hollywood producers and directors are always on the hunt for the next best movie concept. What’s not so obvious is where they’re looking to find these ideas for their next Blockbuster sweep. Drumroll please…they’re looking at books (even self-published or unpublished ones)! Now, you may be thinking to yourself, “Voyage Media is talking crazy.” But I promise you we’re not! Think about it. A book is already a fully baked idea, complete with an established plotline and solid characters and a built-in audience, whereas a screenplay may be unknown and in various stages of development. Hollywood execs are all about immediate gratification when it comes to looking for their next project because, let’s face it, it’s all about the money. So from a buyer’s perspective, a book holds more weight than a screenplay because it’s more economically viable for them in that moment. Take for instance the self-published book turned Academy award nominated Hollywood adaptation The Martian. Its author Andy Weir found wild success practically overnight after releasing the book chapter-by-chapter online, and then on Amazon’s self-publishing arm where it caught the attention of a producer…and the rest is history. As the movie has begun to gain traction, so has the book, and vice versa. This is another reason Hollywood producers love a book adaptation…the book and the movie provide built-in cross-promotion. They feed off of each other which means more $$$ for everyone involved. After word got out that The Martian was being made into a movie, the book debuted on the New York Times best-seller list at No. 12 in March... read more

Launching Voyage 3.0

The ‘Voyage 3.0 Master Plan.’  We completed Voyage 1.0 and 2.0, which basically consisted of: 1.0  – Provide emerging storytellers with direct access to high level producers 2.0  – Nurture storytellers with quality education and training, and facilitate production of their projects The reason we built 1.0 and 2.0 was to prove the thesis that non-professional storytellers could be made professional with access to quality information and producer-mentorship. We proved the thesis as we were able to produce and distribute 4 projects, finance an additional 3, facilitate deals on over 40, get paid writing assignments to over 30 writers, and facilitate 45 authors in becoming bestsellers. With 3.0, we’re adding the final building blocks of our audacious vision: A thriving community of storytellers and a revolutionary, heart-centered way to create, share, and earn from the transcendent art of film and television storytelling. The cornerstone of Voyage 3.0 is to align our entire family – you and us – in an economic and creative future that has us ‘in it together’.    We’re inspired and deeply moved by a future where storytellers control their own destiny, are creatively fulfilled, and contribute to and benefit from each others’ success. Like United Artists did in 1919, we’re establishing the first modern creator-owned studio, complete with its own production financing that’s not dependent on the outdated and exploitative studio/agency system. Here’s what we aim to accomplish by 2021: Have a thriving community of 1 million creators, that are economically aligned and supportive of one another Produce 34 movies and 12 TV series that come directly from our community and with our own financing... read more

Writer Myopia: What If Your Project Doesn’t Sell?

THE IMPORTANCE OF DIVERSIFICATION As a writer, you invest huge amounts of time, energy and money into your project (and you should)! But because you spend the bulk of your time writing (often a single project), it can be difficult to dedicate energy to other important areas – such as planning for long-term financial health and wealth management… At Voyage, we aim to look at the life of a creator holistically – it’s not ONLY about sparking the creative fire, honing your craft and developing the most marketable story… It’s also about helping you to create a balanced and fulfilled life – a life from which the best stories and ideas naturally take shape. To give you some context: as a writer, you’re starting with a 1% chance of having someone buy your movie or TV project. Now, this should never stop you from pursuing your dreams… But you want to make sure you’re thinking about other ways of saving and creating wealth, not just from your writing – in other words, you want to save, and diversify your investments of time and money. Here are 3 simple non-writing ways to diversify and have a strategy for a long-term sustainable career that perhaps you didn’t know about: 1. Acorns Sounds funny, but we don’t literally mean invest in the acorns you find on the ground. Acorns is a very high-tech system that allows you to quickly enroll in automatic deposits to a personal savings account where their system will invest it for you based on market trends and super cool algorithms – and you can even select how conservative... read more

My (devious) plan…

I’ve received a lot of questions over the last few months about what exactly we do, how it works, and what the benefits to you are.  With this letter, I intend to articulate exactly how it all works, including what we’ve so far done well and what we need to improve on. Secondly, I want to bullet-point our master plan for the future, which I’ll refer to as “Voyage 3.0”. Finally, I also include an FAQ section at the end so you can get answers to some great questions we’re sometimes asked (and that will be good for you to know). Our humble beginnings… Our vision from the get-go has been to enable emerging writers to have a viable path for their film/TV projects outside the traditional agency and studio system. With Voyage 1.0, we launched our “Get Connected” program, which enabled writers to connect 1-on-1 with film and television producers. Our goal in providing you direct access to producers was to create a viable path to Hollywood for emerging writers and to bypass the traditional agency model. Our community upgrade… Once we had our team in place, it was time to expand. So with Voyage 2.0 we introduced both our “Get Educated” and “Become an Original” programs. The idea with 2.0 was to (1) facilitate a ‘smarter’, more market-savvy community of creators and (2) partner with select creators and produce their projects. We are now a little over four years in to building this vertically-integrated, concept-to-screen company that covers development, packaging, financing and production.  As you can probably ascertain, it’s a big undertaking with a lot of moving... read more

2016: What a Year!

It’s been an incredible year for the Voyage family and we’re so grateful to you for your hard work, dedication and commitment to your craft. You’ve inspired us in unimaginable ways. As we prepare for an even better 2017, here are some highlights we want to celebrate looking back… Our Commitment to Your Success 2016 found us looking within to discover what we could be doing more to benefit you.  In 2017 we’re completely reinventing, which you’ll learn a lot more about in the coming weeks. And you can take a peek at our revitalized commitments here. But we also took a moment to celebrate our astounding victories. And many of you have gone on to achieve wild success with your projects. Here’s a tally: 3 projects have been fully produced and distributed with a 4th headed into production right now and a 5th that’s fully financed. 3 projects have been partially financed Nearly 40 unknown writers/authors have had their material optioned by producers 30 writers have received ongoing paid writing assignments Over 45 authors have become bestselling authors We often get asked about stats and while we tend to avoid them since this is a creative enterprise, we were surprised to learn that 15% of our clients who work with us one-on-one achieve an objective metric of success like the ones listed above. We actually didn’t know it was that high ☺ A Brand New Batch of Originals VALLEY UPRISING (Documentary Feature by Peter Mortimer & Nick Rosen) -Our film won an Emmy this year for Outstanding Graphic Design and Art Direction! The film tracks the history of... read more

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