If you had said to me two years ago, “Hey Brian, you’re going to be Executive Producer for a film festival.” I would have laughed and responded “That’s a good one, very funny, I’ll use that in my show.” Yet, here I am. “How did I get here?” you may ask, or maybe not, but I’m going to tell you anyway.
In the beginning…
Andy Fox, from the Charleston Air Force Base contacted me through my website in early 2015. He was part of the “Combat Camera” Squadron and had seen some of my stand-up videos when he was online. He asked about my military service and noted that I talked about being in the military in my show. He was also working on a project for the USAF called Veterans in Blue and was wondering if I would like to be the subject of one of his films. I would retain all the rights to the project and there was no charge, this was an ongoing project that highlighted USAF Veterans. I agreed, of course, and we shot the short film at my father’s house. Andy brought a photographer for some still shots and I supplied him with stand-up videos, still pictures, bio, etc.
Several months later Andy sent me the finished product and I was blown away. He had done an incredible job. I was honored to be a part of this series and continue to be. In an effort to push my career forward, I saw this as an incredible promotional tool. The only question was how to utilize it.
I was also shooting my second Web TV Series called BTS on the Road, hosting a radio show, and getting involved with some independent film and Web TV projects. One of the films I had interviewed the filmmaker about on my radio show had won a few awards at some film festivals and it piqued my curiosity. I had never really investigated or been to a film festival and knew very little about them. That’s when I got the idea to submit Veterans in Blue to some festivals to see what would happen.
It took some research, trial and error—mostly error, and hours on film festival sites learning the process. I joined a few festival platforms and starting submitting and really studying what these events were all about. It’s a lot of work, but when I got the first email that said, “Congratulations, your project Veterans in Blue is an official selection,” the hard work was well worth it. That was a festival up in New York and I almost went to it, but I did not want to turn down the gig I had that week.
A few months later, it got accepted to a film gala in North Carolina and I drove to it from some shows I had in Myrtle Beach, SC. This was the first time I had been to a film festival–and I had a film in it. I’ll never forget the experience, the support of the people there for all the filmmakers, and the overall energy of the event. I highly recommend people to attend one, you won’t be sorry.
During all this time, I had been filming another Web TV series called Bengleton Socks and was submitting both my web series and some other shorts I had shot to film festivals all over the place. Both of these series, and some short stories I have written, appear right here on the No Strings Attached-ENews online magazine website.
This is a fantastic online platform and I’m proud to be a part of it. Tamara, Beatrice, the amazing staff, and contributors work very hard to put together a professional, nonpolitical, unique media outlet.
I was looking through NSAEN one day after they had done a complete reboot of the site. It really looked great and I believed this was something that more people needed to see. I had done my best, and still do to share the site on social media, but I thought there could be more.
Then a revelation hit: How about an online film festival, as I had also submitted and been accepted to one of those, using NSAEN online magazine as the platform! I reached out to the Editor-in-Chief, Tamara McClure, who in turn spoke with the owner, Beatrice Davis, and we moved forward with the idea. We then formed an incredibly talented board, had many conference calls, put in countless hours of work, and will bring this event to the public with a LIVE website June 15 and early bird submissions starting July 1.
I really hope to help all of those involved, including the board members, the filmmakers, our charity organization, Cheers to the Warriors, and the general public who will hopefully find out about some great films they did not know existed.