Let me introduce you to Patrick’s Law

Patrick White has been a bright addition to my Twitter world for quite a while now. When I heard he was working on a new film project, I was immediately interested to find out more. What I didn’t know was that in recent years, he has been through so much that would cause many of us to retreat or affect us in ways that would change our dispositions. Patrick has never shown anything but kindness and positivity online for as long as I have known him but he felt a need to share his true story in hopes of helping others. This is what our new world of Social Media should be for, reaching out to help others with the tools we have learned by going through our own trials.

Knowing Patrick, I’m sure it will be an important project with a hint of fun, learning, and laughter. I included the video interview from his Kickstarter page because I enjoyed watching it and felt he conveys his message perfectly. As an added bonus, Patrick agreed to do a little interview with me. This was truly a delight to do because it allows me to share him with you!

Q: Tell me a little about the film you are working on “Murphy’s Law“. I read that it’s based on your own experiences. Has it helped you cope with the things that have happened? 

Patrick White: Yeah, its loosely based on recent experiences in my life. Most notably losing my mother to cancer this past April. Writing and producing this film has helped me grow as a person to understand that no matter how much it feels like it’s the end of the world. Its not.

Q: Do you believe in luck? Some people think there really is no such thing. Oprah says luck is when being prepared meets opportunity. What is your take on that?

PW: A friend once said something very similar to me, that luck is when opportunity meets preparation and thats when success happens. But at the same time I believe a string of bad things happening can be the other end of the spectrum of luck. So to answer your question, yes I believe in luck.

Q: What do you do to turn yourself around when too many things seem to be going wrong?

PW: My go to response when the world is crashing down around me is to just pretend like you have your life together, and eventually you will. Not everything is going to be great in your life, bad things do happen. Be patient and work hard, good things will come.

Q: If you could go back in time and give yourself advice, what time period would you go to & what advice would you give yourself?

PW: I would go back to my childhood right around my pre teen years, and tell myself to appreciate family a little more. For all of you reading the people you love in your life might not always be around, so let them know how much they mean to you.

Q: You have a Kickstarter campaign for the film. How can people get involved and help you make this film a reality?

PW: They can donate whatever amount they can or if donating just isnt in the cards right now sharing the project with friends who might appreciate it would be extremely helpful to our campaign too! We need all kinds of support for this project to be successful.

Q: What advice would you give to others who are going through similar experiences and feel like they are all alone?

PW: My advice to people going through similar experiences is to let the people who care about you take care of you for a little bit. They want to help, so let them. I felt the weight of my world on my shoulders when my mom was sick and tried to hold it together for every one and it was too much of a burden to bear. Not everything is in your control, emotions are human. Be human and let the ones who love you, love you.

Q: What is one thing you absolutely cannot live without and one thing you wish we could all live without? Feel free to give me a serious or playful answer! 

PW: Oh, this is a fun one. My serious and funny answer would probably have to be cheese. Im a huge foodie and good cheese in anything is usually a big win for me. What I wish we could all live without? I love technology, but I wish we could all do with less of it. Me and my friends always make it a point to not be on our phones frequently when we are together. Everyone being so wrapped up in things going on elsewhere they can never completely just be in that moment. Kind of sad to think about really.

Q: Where can we find you and the film online? 

PW: I am on twitter @PatrickWhite_ and my website www.PatrickWhiteActor.com has all my information and click the Murphy’s Law tab, it will bring you to the Kickstarter page where you can find more on the project!

Allow Aris to Raise your Pulse with his Music

I have been friends with recording artist and performer Aris for a few years now. I enjoy the conversations we have off the record but am honored to be interviewing him so you all can get to know him a bit better! Since the first time I sat down to talk to him, I have found him to be insightful, authentic, and passionate about his work. As a fan of music, I find him to be unique, talented, and genuine as an artist. I believe those of you who read my blog, follow me on Twitter or anywhere in social media will enjoy his music as well. If you live in the NYC area, you may want to catch him at one of his upcoming performances as well!
Q: First, congratulations on the new album, Pulse! Tell me a little about the process of making this album and your process in general when creating new music.

Aris: Thank you Tommy!! I feel like I’m having a baby! I’ve been working on this album for the last year and a half. I started writing it when I finished writing my last album “Twilight Revival”. I set out with the goal to write an album that would celebrate love and life and keep people on their feet dancing.

My last album was more of a rock record with dance elements, where this album is primarily a dance album, weaving in rock, soul and world sounds. I set out to right a really universal, uplifting album. The last album was written while I was going through a lot of heartbreak and stresses in life, so the themes were darker. I wanted this album to be a solace, a shinning light. I channeled a lot of 90s pop and dance influences, soul music and eastern soundscapes. There’s a lot of soaring hooks and big choruses, and really emotional vocals.

I set out to keep the lyrics more universal, and for every track to move not only your heart and soul but also your
body. Even the slower tracks are built around solid grooves. I named the album Pulse because our heart and our pulse
are our body’s drum, carrying us through the rhythm of life. In the past I’ve let the songs have more space to fall
into other genres, but this time around I wanted a thematic record that would work great live and on the dance floor,
and I drew elements of inspiration from albums like Madonna’s “Confession on a Dancefloor” and Kelis’ “Fleshtone”.
Q: I know you have a Kickstarter for this album. What goodies are you offering fans who contribute? Where can we find out more about it?

Aris: Yes! I have  3 weeks left on my Kickstarter campaign (ending on February 21st!)

I’m utilizing the platform to help finish funding and distribution of the record, and I’m using it as an album pre-sale.
I’m also offering a variety of special merchandise and experiences for higher pledges.
I’m offering a deluxe digital album with several exclusive bonus tracks, and also offering original pieces of art,
private concerts, songwriting sessions, even home cooked meals, nights on the town, and all access passes for life to
all my live shows.
Every pledge of $20 or more also comes with a “best of” EP, and there’s a bunch more goodies too!
You can join the pre-sale, get a sneak peek of some new music and find out more at:

Q: How important is crowdfunding for today’s artists and have you seen it change in the last few years?

Aris: Crowdfunding is a huge platform for independent artists. Over the last couple of years I’ve seen a lot of artists use sites like Kickstarter and Indiegogo to back their albums, generate buzz and also connect with their fans and offer a special pre-sale experience.

Someone actually  raised $55,492 on Kickstarter to make Potato Salad! It’s hard to grasp that, but it actually happened! In comparison,  my goal to make and distribute my new album “Pulse” is far more modest, and it will last much longer and be more universal than any combination of potatoes and mayonnaise!

For me as an independent artist, I’ve self-funded all my work every step of the way for the last 5 years. In that
time, the music industry has changed so much, and few people actually purchase music. This Kickstarter is a huge help
to me in that it allows me to actually have a budget for recording the album, to do it in a timely fashion, and to be
able to give the recordings value via the pre-sale. It also allows my listeners to be a part of the process from early on.
Q: More Congratulations are in order on your OUTMusic Award nominations, can you tell me a little about why it was important to you and how it felt to be recognized by such an organization?
Aris: When I found out I was nominated in 5 categories at the 9th annual OUTmusic awards, I was beyond thrilled . It was a

huge honor to have the work from my last album “twilight revival” recognized. I was most moved by the nomination for
producer of the year. The organization in the past has honored a lot of prominent LGBT artists, and to me being
nominated felt like the community understood and appreciated what I’m doing. It felt like coming home.
Q: The honor was sort of bitter-sweet. I’ve read that they were charging the artists $100 per ticket but that the 

event was postponed without a new date. We’ve spoken about it but can you tell us a little about that?
Aris: Yes, it was definitely bittersweet. Shortly after the nominees were announced, the artists involved received an email

from the organization telling us we had to purchase $100 “nominee tickets” or else we would not be allowed to walk the
red carpet, to sit with the other nominees or to be featured in the documentary the organization was filming.
Something felt very wrong about paying the highest ticket premium to be in attendance to possibly win an award. It
seemed really lob sided especially since they were selling general admission tickets for $25.
Many artists like myself took the risk because sometimes as independent musicians you have to invest in things hoping
they carry you further. It was money I otherwise would have spent recording new music, but it seemed like it could be
a good promotional opportunity.
It really was a huge shock and very alarming when an email came roughly 24 hours before the event saying it was
postponed until an undetermined date, for reasons not disclosed, and that the organization would NOT be issuing
refunds. This actually wasn’t the first time that the OUTmusic awards were postponed, and there seems to be a trail of
murky business practices in the past, so it’s all very disheartening.
Q: Do you think they took advantage of the artists so that they could afford to hold a different ceremony that they held for bigger names like Deborah Cox? I’m sure the bigger names would not be happy if they knew these circumstances.
Aris: I wish I knew the real motivations of the organization and I wish there was a lot more transparency about how the

money they collected was spent.  It was very disappointing to find out that in place of the awards ceremony, the
organization would be having a “reception for the celebrity artists, such as OUTMusic Award Honoree Deborah Cox and
Monifah Carter, Omar Thomas and superstar recording artist Jonte Moaning as well as many others who journeyed to New
York City for the Awards.” (to quote the official email from OUTmusic)
What’s most upsetting about what happened is, none of the actual nominees were celebrated, and instead the focus was
put on “celebrity” artists the organization hand-selected. Since we really don’t have any transparency about their accounting
practices, we can only speculate that the nominees’ money went to fund this other event.  Also OUTmusic claims non-profit
status, but when looking into their organization, it becomes clear that they may be fudging their taxes and
involved in unethical business practices. I think it’s sad that an organization that frames itself as champions of LGBT
artists would take advantage of the very artists it was supposed to be celebrating. I seem to have been one of the
most out-spoken artists regarding this situation, and it’s also caught the eye of former Village Voice columnist
Michael Musto. Hopefully soon we will all be able to get to the truth about what really happened and why.
Q: What do you think artists can do to avoid being taken advantage of or do you think this is all part of the business and learning process?
Aris: I think the best lesson to be learned is, do NOT pay to play. And do your research! Google is an amazing tool to help

artists understand the validity and reputation of organizations/groups/etc. Before getting involved in something, do
your homework! Also, never lower or diminish your self worth to be included in anything!
Sell up, don’t sell out. Choose your partnerships and associations wisely!
There’s a certain level of investment that comes with the territory of being an artist. Just make sure you are
investing in something that is honorable, effective and beneficial!
Q: What else is coming up for Aris, the artist? Performances? Appearances?
Aris: I’ll be spending the next couple months finalizing my new album and preparing the release of the first single and

video from the album, along with putting together several photo shoots to accompany the release.
I also have some upcoming performances in the next 6 weeks in NYC that I am excited about!
* Friday February 13th at BPM in NYC (time TBA)
* Sunday March 1st at the LGBT expo at the Jacob Javits Center (time TBA)
* Friday March 6th at Triad in NYC (time and additional info soon to be announced)
(Updates regarding these appearances will be posted on my official website at www.aris.fm)
Q: Where can we find you online to keep up with you and your music?
Aris: I’ll be sharing updated about my upcoming album “Pulse” on social media, as well as on Kickstarter.  I also archive

everything on my official website. Connect with me! Share your voice, your feelings and your stories. I read

Falling to Pieces but Finding Balance

Last week I was at the Kickstarter Film Festival in Brooklyn with my friend Dana Jacoviello and we were enjoying the films, food, as well as the surrounding neighborhood when FATE literally jumped in. We were walking through the crowd when we were approached by Cristina Marques about a new film project by Elisabeth Jamison and Chris Connolly called “Falling to Pieces“. The film is a short comedy about the universal theme of grief and it’s effect on us.

I was so thrilled to meet Elisabeth, Chris, and Cristina and honored that they spent so much time with us to discuss the film, social media, life, filmmaking, and so much more. It was truly the highlight of a wonderful night experiencing many different films but very special because I got to see firsthand how passionate they all were about their project. I, of course, had to ask if they would allow me to do a little interview so I could bring the story to all of you.

In researching more on the film, I read Elisabeth’s blog and came across this gem:

“There is something deeply beautiful about the place that we find ourselves when everything else has failed and we can’t pretend anymore.  We know that not only do we not have the answers, we barely have the questions.  It is the place where we give up our excuses and possibly even our responsibility…. We finally get that we are not driving this car and if we were, we’ve driven it off a cliff, so our driving skills are no longer applicable anyway.  We better just pray.”

I do encourage you to visit her blog to read more about the film, more about Elisabeth, and more about her life. I also encourage you to visit the Kickstarter Page for “Falling to Pieces” to give a donation if you can. Check out the perks, I’m sure you will find something interesting at a comfortable level for you to contribute. Trust me, there is something satisfying about helping someone to make a film, especially one that will help so many others. You can also head over to “like” their Facebook Page to find out even more!

Here is an official description of the film:

“When a young widow seeks out her dead husband’s organ recipients, each meeting is more hilariously disastrous than the last.”

I hope you enjoy my interview with Elisabeth as much as I enjoyed doing it!

Q: Falling to Pieces is a film about the universal theme of loss. What have you learned about others and how they handle loss so far?

EJ: It is super cliché but everyone handles grief differently. That being said, the universals seem to be that it comes in waves and that when you are going through it, you feel like only those who have experienced it themselves understand…

Q: Have you found that the film resonates with people and helps them open up to you?  

EJ: We have had wonderful feedback particularly from those who have gone through losing someone they loved. One person told me it hit close to home. Another said she could have used this film when both her husband and daughter died within a span of a year and a half.  Another who lost her father recently said on her FB page, “Our family, like many of yours, has had our share of grief in recent months and I am definitely excited to see a funny twist to a sad topic!”

Q: The idea to make the film a dramedy rather than a straight up drama is something I think will make it even more relatable. Do you find that comedy helps in dealing with stress, depression, and sadness?

EJ: Laughter is a true healing tool. It changes our body chemistry.  And when you get down to it, there is nothing more powerful than love, friendship, & laughter (maybe with a little wine thrown in).

Q: In your opinion, what is the biggest challenge facing Indie artists and projects today? Has it gotten easier as time has gone on and people have become more familiar with crowd-funding? 

EJ: The joy of community is amazing. The ease in which to crowd-fund is astounding.  You don’t have to snail mail letters and hope your distant uncle writes you a check, he can jump on KS and do it seamlessly and you can watch it in real time.  So it levels the playing field & gives you instant feedback in terms of if your project and message resonates. It creates community in the EXACT moment we have all begun to lose that feeling… of being able to ask your neighbor for a cup of sugar or to watch your kids. The internet is great for information but not always for creating real community. More people feel lonely than ever before… Crowdfunding is different.  There is nothing more touching than having a stranger or your friend or family member believe in you and/or your project so much that they donate money to it.  It is incredibly humbling.  The last few weeks have filled us with such gratitude and awe.  Every donation (big or small) is a little miracle in and of itself.

That being said… that just means that there are MORE indie films out there. ;)

Q: The entertainment industry has changed so much in recent years. With these changes, fans and audience members are able to voice their opinions in ways they never have before. Do you think filmmakers enjoy the same privilege by being more accessible to their audience? 

EJ: I’m not sure whether it is good or bad, but we certainly can get feedback instantaneously.

Q: Where can we find out more about the film online?  

EJ: Facebook and KS link will keep being updated with announcements of cast and crew.

Q: What have you learned about yourself through the process of making this film?

EJ: I’ve learned that my dream of always collaborating & creating art with my very talented friends was a good one:  A really good one.  This is home.

Also … there is never enough time or money. ;)  

Ryan Seslow is Simply Making Art that speaks to us

This piece is by Leon Reid IV for the Installment

I have known Ryan Seslow for as long as I have been active on social media and have been a fan of his artwork since day one. Ryan’s work is innovative, thought provoking, and timely. His passion for art is evident and I am sure the students he teaches have benefited greatly from having him touch their lives, as have all who know him.

Whenever Ryan shares his work or projects with me, I feel lucky. I have actually learned a bit about art from him myself. When he came to me with his latest project, Technophemera, he explained he had partnered with Leon Reid IV and that they were also doing a Kickstarter campaign to help fund it. I was more than excited to share it with all of you, so luckily he agreed to do a little interview with me.
Technophemera is a technology inspired installation by street artists Leon Reid IV and Ryan Seslow which highlights the speed of technology’s evolution. With new digital devices produced every minute, technology both reinvents itself and renders obsolete at an exponential rate.
Check out our interview and then head over to the Kickstarter page, I think you will love the perks. Who wouldn’t want to own a piece of this art!

Q: Tell me a little about how you came up with the concept for Technophemera?
RS: Im fascinated by how quickly technology has sped up, and how ephemeral it is. Look at how fast hardware devices are outdated. We are attached to them, and share so much intimacy with them (business and personal) but then we are seduced by the next new shiny thing, and it is in that moment when we decide that we want that next new device that we forget all about our previous one, and I find this curious, and the more that I think about it, and participate, I expand upon what I think I understand behaviorally speaking, but I still desire what is coming next… I coined the term “Technophemera” as a result of this, and reached out to my good friend Leon Reid IV to collaborate on the development of the term and how we could best communicate it to the public. Generating casts of outdated hardware in cement is the perfect medium as it is dormant, visually recongnizable, and also permanent, unlike the actual devices themselves
Q: Do you think we are a little too impatient and rush into the “next best thing” these days, especially in the area of technology?
RS: Yes and No, because we first need to define who we are in relationship to how we understand technology and what it does for us as individuals. Until we do that, we are operating from default, by what we “think” it means and what it “should” do for us. Advertising can be very seductive, especially when it is synthesized with human emotions! It is hard not to buy into this. Im still trying to process the speed at which our mobile devices last. 1.5 years tops, then it glitches….and when our patterns are disrupted, it seems to disrupt the way we are used to behaving. Its actually kind of funny.
Q: What does ART and being an artist mean to you? 
RS: This is a question that I keep redefining more and more as I get older. Creating and understanding the meaning of Art is incredibly personal. Yes, it is a platform that heeds the freedom of self-expression, but Art is also something that we must define in images, objects, experiences and feelings. We need to have experiences, and think about them, and then process and react to them. through the awareness of this process we can cultivate the words and means to express who we are in relationship to them. Being an artist is who I am. I express myself in various forms. Sometimes it is objectively, and sometimes it is non representationally. We can always choose who we want to be from the inside out and live that truth in the physical world.
Q: Do you think schools put enough importance and attention on art and art programs?
RS: Sadly, I dont. I cant speak for the whole world on this, but as a teacher here in NY, I have seen mostly loss and deteriorating programs over the years. It is my intention to bring awareness about art and the creative human potential in general. Im an optimist so when I hear and see the word “NO” I say the opposite on the inside and act from that. Change starts with us, and it starts from with in.
Q: You have always made a statement with your art. What has been your most difficult project/statement to date?
RS: I love making art. A lot of my work is about the subject of simply making art. Not every project and series needs to be conceptual or specifically asking people to react. I love making art for the process and subject of making things. We are all so incredibly effected by what we see, think and feel, all of this lives inside of us. Sometimes ideas are very clear and I will know what to do, but other times its not that way. I feel really grateful for the opportunities I have been given, and the ones I continue to create for myself and others. I cant say I have really had a difficult project because I believe that we can never fail. We can only produce results and move forward from there.
Q: Do you believe everyone is capable of creating some form of art?
RS: Yes, 100%, but for some reason a lot of people do not feel this way. Art can be individually defined, we do not need the approval of anyone to live the truth we define. Maybe thats too much power for some, but we are all born with the same potential for creative output. I really believe this. We can learn.
Q: Do you think Social Media has helped artists to be discovered and to get their work out there or do you think it has created more competition?
RS: Social media has been a tremendous resource for me, 100% and I value the relationships I have made. I have made friends in several other countries which have resulted in opportunities like exhibitions, curated events, educational programs, live streams and social meet ups. I think social media is in its infancy, its really a metaphor for how interconnected we all are as human beings. Just as the internet is a reflection and metaphor for the interconnectedness of all human thought, information, and potential (good and bad!)
Q: The rewards for contributing to the Kickstarter campaign are pretty awesome! It’s like you are offering people parts of the project itself. How has the reaction been?
RS: YES! That is exactly right. Backers will receive unique works of art developed for the project. Backers become participants.
Q: Involving students in the project is a pretty great idea. As a teacher, what have you learned from your students?
RS: Tommy, I have learned, and continue to learn so much from my students. I just finished my 10th year of college level teaching so I have had quite a few students over those years! I have learned more than anything else, we all want the same thing, love and attention. We want to be heard, and want to express who we are. I love being a medium to give people that platform.
Q: Where can we find you, Ryan Seslow online?
RS: Im all over social media as @ryanseslow or Ryan Seslow. My site hub is Ryanseslow.com
Q: Where can we find out more about Technophemera and contribute to the project?
RS: Simply follow this link, all the info you will need is right here, We have 14 days left on our kickstarter campaign! -https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/leonreid/technophemera 

Zach Braff Starts Kickstarter Movie Campaign for Follow Up to ‘Garden State’

Zach Braff Starts Kickstarter Movie Campaign for Follow Up to ‘Garden State’ (via NewsLook)

Following the successful ‘Veronica Mars’ Kickstarter movie campaign, Zach Braff is enlisting the help of fans to help him fund his ‘Garden State’ follow-up, ‘Wish I Was Here,’ which he plans to make with his brother. Though he’s well on his way to making his two million dollar goal, not everyone thinks…

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