Thursday, August 19, 2010

Do you have my back?

Welcome all to my fourth Blag, the verb to blog, where I share with you many trials, tribulations, and nude pics and indecent sex tapes! Speaking of which here is the link to my scandalous nude photoshoot! Oh wait, sorry I forgot, I don't depend on empty hype to get people interested, silly me!

So life is somewhat back to normal and Made in USA was an epic success, honestly I am in a great place in my life right now. I feel this momentum building up just like when I first started doing stand up years ago, like a new era of awesomeness is coming!

Can't you feel it though? Is it just me or is the artistic community in Lebanon coming back to life? I remember when I first started stand up the biggest resounding argument against it was what are you going to become an artist? It was looked down upon, as if it were a way of life for those who fail. Today tens of true artists are emerging and with it the turn around of art as a negative. Also with it, the realization of exactly how much hustle it takes to make anything out of yourself as an artist.

Lebanon, in my opinion, is at the beginning of a new age of artists who will lead the change this country has needed for far too long. I have always believed our salvation lied in our generation, the youth, as we are the only ones who have the ability to truly not factor in the sins of our fathers, so to speak. It saddens me when I see youth following political leaders and channeling their voice through that of others who only mirror personal interests, but more and more are joining the side of true progress, speaking their mind in big and creative ways and Amen to that.

Now on to some big announcements! First of all here is a picture montage of the awesomeness of Made in USA:

Notice the Japanese? I figure what better way to announce my upcoming Middle East tour! It contains the name and date of launch, good times! Click on the picture to see it in a different page on a larger scale if you like :)

Well now that we have gotten the tour out of the way, let's talk about the web series. I am about to share with you a lot of detail of the project so prepare for a lengthy post, I assure you however everything I am writing is important and I am sharing this with you in detail because you, after all, are just as important to the success of this project than anything else.

I announced this in Made in USA, and that was why the Made in USA show was so online centered, if you noticed I did almost all of my promotion exclusively on twitter and facebook, I wanted to make sure the online community was involved because, well, to make this thing happen I need you! And I figure if the show is insanely well done, you'll help me out, and as you always have, support me to the extent that makes me want to tattoo all your names on my manly hairy chest!

When I was in the US I decided to fund a production that would dwarf any TV show filmed in the Middle East and would be a truly incredible unbelievably hilarious comedy show that would not only capture audiences all over the Middle East, but in fact be the first export of our culture to the world. After three years of tireless efforts in the Media Industry in the region I am convinced beyond a shadow of a doubt my vision could not be executed by the pathetic excuse for a media industry we have and all they care about is money, which they claim they never have, and just doing whatever to fill a bracket so they can sell advertisement to gain revenue because, you see, the media industry controls the rating agencies especially in Lebanon. And if you were wondering are the ratings in Lebanon fixed? The answer is YES. 400 homes represent the entire rating structure of Lebanon FAIL. It used to be 138.

How do we know its fixed? Simple, companies who are spending incredible amounts of money on TV campaigns are seeing no noticeable increase in sales or in brand equity. Sponsoring my radio show for a meager amount by comparison has yielded a much more quantifiable result. This distorts the market as companies waste money, products get confusing, and messages can't be delivered to the public, yet the rating agency figures say they are reaching the public, when they are not. How many of you watch TV in Lebanon anymore? Lebanese programming? When was the last time you got excited about a Lebanese show for more than a few episodes? S.L. Chi was for me back when I was in grade school.

So my decision was simple, the money is there, I went about and purchased all the equipment we would need and I can proudly say no one can match the technology we will be using, nor the techniques. Its all talk now, and talk is cheap, but I am trying to give people an idea of what level of production to expect.

Here is what the show is. First of all its a collaboration between Vanguard Productions (my company) and BlackSmith Studios (my childhood friend and the equal of a brother Rabih Haddad's company, whom I made fun of at the show :D). BlackSmith Studios is an incredible 3D animation company, I'm not just saying that, they have been featured in publications all over the globe and it is a fact they are leading 3D animation in the Middle East and have made a huge effect globally. Vanguard Productions is everything you would expect from a company run by me, insane, crazy, passionate, and willing to take on anything.

The concept is simple, starting September we will begin filming. We have written over 60 sketches that vary from downright controversial to incredibly silly, all are hilarious and as always I am trying to deliver a message. We will be filming these. They include video clips for songs we are working on, parodies, as well as acted sketches and the casting for this is massive. We are casting for talent not just actors, anything from artists to musicians to weird talents you would never think of to actors and actresses.

The show will be filmed in front of a live audience of at least 500 people, an epic event, 13 episodes so probably 13 shows, each show will be 25 minutes long and will consist of me doing Stand Up Comedy and subsequently introducing a sketch on the topic of my stand up then playing it and coming back to more of basically stand up and sketches. Very similar to the infamous Chapelle show. We will also be featuring Lebanese artists (bands, photographers, painters, musicians, MC's, poets, etc.....) at the end of every show, as this is true exposure.

That is as quick a summary as I can give. The content of the show will be off the hook, I have absolutely NO restrictions. So expect an incredible experience. The production value will be better than TV, the content will be beyond anything that could be put on TV, and it will all be for free for you to watch at any time on YouTube.

Very soon we will be moving forward to request talent, at the moment we are still preparing the logistics of this project, the scale is enormous, but as our schedule looks right now in 10 - 15 days we will be moving into talent recruitment and shooting literally begins a week or two after.

Ready for the second half of the details? Its going to get financial here, I am about to spell out how I intend to make this not be the end of my career financially as I am putting everything I have into this, I will also explain in more detail how this will change the media industry forever and how one person truly can make a difference, but it takes sacrifice.

We are aiming for 50,000 - 100,000 views per video per week at least. This is ambitious to say the least, online videos especially in Lebanon have not been that successful especially since our connection is the equivalent of the experience of giving birth, much suffering but once the process is complete, much joy. In our case we consider a download sometimes a miracle much like the birth of a baby.

However this is not intended just for Lebanon, we intend to sweep the Middle East with this project. But Lebanon is the core of it all. So we're screwed, right? Wrong. We have been coming up with innovative ways to solve this problem and I can safely say for approximately 85% of the population we have a solution where you will be able to stream our video, in high definition 720P within seconds. You won't have to pause from the second you press play. I can't announce the mechanism behind this yet as we are still in talks with many parties to get this done but I can safely say this will work.

With views happening online we can offer value to advertisers, and yes there will be advertisements in the show, we can do what the whole media industry in Lebanon can't, give facts. I can tell an advertiser EXACTLY how many people watched the episode, on which dates, from which countries, and here is the added bonus, we will conceptualize produce and film the advertisement for free, it is embedded in the advertisement cost. It will be smart, witty, hilarious and entertaining and it will be embedded forever in the video so advertisement for life, and the cost of it all will be ridiculously less than for TV with a MUCH higher exposure that is extremely focused and quantifiable.

We will do the commercials because we want to ensure that even the advertisement is entertaining to our viewers and actually become looked forward to. And if your wondering one of Vanguard Productions' areas of excellence specializes in commercials as well as film, think of us like a Ninja and a Samurai having a baby.

The money from the advertisement will help ensure the longevity of the show as it will go right back into making it bigger and better every season. This isn't your everyday online blog, a few minutes with a handy cam, this is a full on production, a full season 13 episodes per season, thousands of hours of work to produce.

With that money we will be able to assure the scope gets bigger, why is that important? 2 reasons:

  1. Comedy - Finally a show that kicks serious ass, is incredibly funny, can be watched on demand at any time, really makes a difference in society and goes places where no other show goes and although it will have advertisement and/or sponsors they have no say whatsoever in the programming of the show.
  2. Exposure - All the talent we feature, whether in the sketches or at the end of the show, finally a show that getting on will launch your career, put you in the limelight and set the standard. 5 minutes on Conan O'Brien can change your life, that's because of exposure, we will be providing that.
So what happens if advertisers want control? They don't want to get on board? Simple, we don't sell advertisements. The show goes on for free and it ROCKS. Season one is already funded and if the show is a huge success my exposure will increase I will do more show and fund season 2 myself and so on and so forth.

I refuse, completely and entirely, to give in to cheap advertising gimmicks and most importantly to allow the media industry to continue in this manner. I ask you all to join me hand in hand, to support me so we all rise together, a show free of politics religion and full of One Love, focusing on nothing but comedy but being revolutionary in aligning itself with true causes, we will support charities, we will suport and bring into the spotlight injustice wherever it may be, we will give exposure to the true artists of the Middle East and of course Lebanon, no more Rotana bullshit no more whack acts, and we will have one of the greatest adventures together doing it, and above all it will be f-ing hilarious.

This will break the monopoly of advertisements in Lebanon, it will destroy the status quo of shitty programming and recycling game shows from abroad, and it will be the beginning of another revolution, just like what stand up comedy did to the region this will do more. And just so you know, no body is going to be happy about this, existing monopolies will try to crush this, the media industry will try to downplay and stop it, and my reputation will be attacked in the process. The scope of change this will bring will make existing luxuries of many obsolete, and put the so-called "artists" of now out of business as the true era of art comes forth.

Bring it on. I have no affiliations, I bow to no political interests, I don't identify myself by religion, and I answer to no one. Except, for you. My allegiance is to all of you, what you have given me I will not rest until you have seen the extent of my appreciation and I do not take your support lightly, you have given me the ability to live my dream and in return I am taking everything that I have gained from it and putting it on the line to give you back even more. I love you guys, you are my family, and I can't wait to laugh with you guys and create a true feeling of brothers and sisters amongst us all, united through art appreciation and comedy!

So I ask you all, do you have my back?

One Love.