‘Troy’s Big Break’ speaks volumes for a community that is often under-represented

Joseph Ausanio is an actor, screenwriter, and creator of the webseries ‘Troy’s Big Break’. Joseph also happens to be deaf but he does NOT allow that to keep him from doing all the things he dreams of and he encourages us all to follow suit. Another thing you should know about Joseph is that he is a gay man who is representing in such a positive way.

The unique thing about ‘Troy’s Big Break’ is there are no spoken lines. Almost all of the dialogue is signed and there are captions for those of us who do not speak sign language. You really have to check it out for yourself! Here is a little about the show and Joseph as only he can tell you:

Q: Can you talk a little about Troy’s Big Break?

Joseph Ausanio: Absolutely! It’s a unique show because it showcases Deaf talent. It’s about a Deaf director who faces different types of life challenges while looking for the perfect actress for his production. Things start to unfold to show what’s going on in his life.

Q: What has the response to the show been so far from the deaf community as well as the hearing community?

Joseph Ausanio: It’s pretty popular with the Rochester, NY folks, because that is where we filmed the show. And the people know us there. Rochester also has a large D/deaf community there and it’s truly a nice thing. The people who watched the show always approach the cast members and let them know that they are fans of the show.  That really means a lot.  I had hearing people messaging me saying that it was so different from the other things they watched because they’re so used to seeing shows with a full hearing cast, but the reception from them has been really positive.

Q: What guest stars would you like to have on the show?

Joseph Ausanio: Ooh, this is a tough one. I’d love to have Marlee Matlin on the show. She’s one of my inspirations. I would LOVE to get Amber Zion on the show. She’s an incredibly gifted Deaf actress and I love her work. I would also love to get Rikki Poynter, who’s a super awesome YouTube vlogger and I love her videos. She’s not afraid to speak out and I have tremendous respect for her for doing that.

I’d also love to see Kelsey Lindhorst’s character faint when she sees Nyle DiMarco show up in an episode. That’d be hilarious. Or even Troy’s mom to go out on a date with him! (Think Sophia Petrillo going on a date with Burt Reynolds in an episode of “The Golden Girls”)

I’m all about showcasing more Deaf talent out there.

Q: Who were some of your idols/role models growing up?

Joseph Ausanio: First, Marlee Matlin, because she inspired me to become an actor growing up. Also, Lucille Ball is one of the greatest comediennes I’ve ever watched. When I first saw her on TV, I couldn’t walk away from the television. She never fails to make me laugh every time I watch “I Love Lucy”. I admire her so much.

Q: Do you think we will see more shows that involve hearing impaired characters like Switched at Birth and your show? 

Joseph Ausanio: I REALLY hope so. I would love to write a TV series for any network that features characters that are D/deaf because I want to support diversity. We have millions of Deaf people in the world and it would be great to do more shows for them.

Q: What would you say to others who are trying hard to make their dreams come true and trying to overcome some obstacle they have no control over?  

Joseph Ausanio: I would say this:

“If you want to make it happen, do it. If you want to travel all over the world, go for it. If you want to make movies, do it.  Don’t wait for things to simply fall in your lap. I learned this life lesson the hard way. Just listen to your heart. If you want to follow your dreams, now is the time.”

Q: What made you decide to create a character who is also gay?

Joseph Ausanio: The reason why I decided to create a gay character was because the LGBT #DeafTalent felt that they weren’t always showcased, so I wanted to showcase them more.

Q: What would you say to those out there who are dealing with issues around coming out? Both in the deaf community and in the hearing community?

Joseph Ausanio: I remember when I came out, it was very scary. I was 19 and in college. I broke up with my ex-girlfriend and I was slowly coming out to a few close friends and then my family members. My family and friends are incredibly supportive and I feel fortunate for that. For the others, I want them to know that they are not alone in this. I can’t speak for other people, because we all have different experiences. I can say that no matter what, you will always get support from the LGBT community and their allies. If they’re scared, I’m here to talk. I want to lend a hand to provide support. We have a big support system. We have a lot of LGBT people and the allies in our Deaf community and we are so incredibly supportive of each other, and the same goes for the hearing community.

Q: What is the best advice you have ever received? Who was it from?

Joseph Ausanio: I had a great pep talk with a dear friend two weeks before he unexpectedly passed away; he was incredibly supportive of my dreams of moving to Los Angeles.  He said, “Seize the day.” He was right.

Q: What is the best advice you have ever given? Are you normally good at taking your own advice?

Joseph Ausanio: I’m bad at taking my own advice, but I try to give great advice to people. I would tell them, “Life is way too short to be unhappy.  Never give up your dreams even through the tough times, when you realize how strong you truly are.  Nothing….nothing is impossible.”

Q: What is one thing you absolutely cannot live without and one thing you wish we could all live without?

Joseph Ausanio: I can’t live without my family, who have been my rock.  I wish we could all live without hate and violence;  there is way too much of that in the world right now.

Q: Where can we find you and your show online?

Joseph Ausanio: You can find me on Twitter via @JosephAusanio and you can find Troy’s Big Break’s Twitter page via @TroysBigBreak. We also have a Facebook page of the show. You can also find the full episodes on our YouTube channel at youtube.com/troysbigbreak. All of the episodes are captioned for the D/deaf and hearing audiences.

Q: What’s up next for Joseph Ausanio and Troy’s Big Break?

Joseph Ausanio: I am hoping to do a third season of “Troy’s Big Break”. I have the season premiere’s script written already. I’m planning to chat with my cast & crew to see if they’re game.  I work with the most amazing people – both cast and crew.  They have all taught me a lot.   I wrote a few pilot scripts here and there. I’m always writing new stuff.

I recently wrote a feature screenplay that focuses on a Deaf woman and her struggles with life and love. I’m hoping that it might catch someone’s attention because the story is so powerful. I gave it to an actress I want for that role and she loved the script.  Maybe something will come of it soon.

“The Big O” a Twofer Web Series (Official Press Release)

Oscar Winning Screenwriter, Pamela

Wallace and Mingle Media TV CEO,

Stephanie Piche, Team Up to Produce “The

Big O” a Twofer Web Series / Feature

MMTVN is pleased to announce that CEO, Stephanie Piche, will be teaming up

with Oscar-winning screenwriter, Pamela Wallace, to producer a series based

on a provocative look into women’s sex lives, including the secrets they don’t

tell their best friends.

Online media and interactive web TV network company, Mingle Media TV (MMTVN)

announced today that CEO and Executive Producer, Stephanie Piche and Academy

Award winning screenwriter, Pamela Wallace, are producing a new (twofer) digital

web series and feature entitled “The Big O,” is a sexually focused, psychological

drama aimed at the adult female market with an emphasis on the coveted 18-34-

year-old demographic.

The Big O is a provocative, no-holds-barred look into women’s sex lives, including

the secrets they don’t even tell their best friends. The first season will have a story

arc that blends all ten, ten-minute episodes together which will be released on a

weekly basis as a web series and will also be released as a 100 minute long feature

film for distribution.

The Big O’s lead character is a beautiful female therapist in her early 40′s who helps

women with their complex intimacy issues along with her younger attractive male sex

surrogate colleague who will help the “clients” work through their phobias and

inhibitions. The “clients” are women who have issues ranging from lack of sexual

desire, inability to be emotionally intimate, or inability to have an orgasm and are

complicated by, and sometimes caused by, the men – or occasionally women — in

their lives. All of the characters are relatable to the female audience with the tone of

the episodes being extremely up close and personal, as the “therapist” has frank

and insightful exchanges with her clients one-on-one or two-on-one when the “sex

surrogate” is involved, giving the series a compelling intensity. Despite the

sometimes-sensitive subject matter, the series is imbued with hope and an

empowering approach to women while having those hooks to keep the audience

guessing about what’s going to happen next. It is the plan of the producers to create

several seasons of this series as the story opportunities are endless.

Crowdfunding and Brand Sponsorships

The production duo will be launching an IndieGoGo crowdfunding campaign at Noon

Pacific on Tuesday, May 7th and will offer two types of perks including perks for

brand sponsorship with exposure during the production process utilitizing the existing

social reach of the MMTVN network who has over 12K fans on their Facebook

communities, over 25K Twitter followers and are a YouTube Partner with over 3

million views. The Big O team are looking for brands who want to reach the female

audience from travel and hospitality, ready-to-wear retailers, jewelers, restaurants,

florists, auto manufacturers, home décor, technology, mobile communications as well

as hair and beauty brands. By giving supporters and fans behind the scenes access

to the production from pre to post, The Big O social / transmedia story tellers can

authentically share how the brands tie into the support of making this project possible

from wardrobe, set dressing, to hair and makeup and include CTAs, call-to-action, for

sharing links, discounts, and other benefits to fans.

Why Crowdfund?

Traditionally, a screenwriter would shop a script and sell it – in fact, that is what Ms.

Wallace has done in the past with 19 screenplays that have been made into movies,

except for this story, she wants to keep this an “Indie” project as its topic is so

sensitive in nature. She has put a lot of work into outlining the story arcs, creating

characters, envisioning the scenes and vetting the “therapy” aspect with script

consultant Dr. Kimberley Taylor, Psy.D clinical psychologist and prominent

relationship therapist, to make sure it is an accurate portrayal of how to work out the

challenges women face. Ms. Wallace is a master storyteller, she’s proven it over and

over and has wanted to create a digital series utilizing transmedia storytelling where

the subject of sex, love and intimacy can be explored without censorship and

constriction of traditional television / cable boundaries. Plus, her idea to create this

series with an overall story arc so all the episodes tie together as a feature for

distribution is brilliant.

The team is in hopes of attracting top “named” talent from the Director to the lead

actress and actor along with the other cast members (they have some amazing

women they want to work with on their short list).

MMTVN’s team hopes to start casting by middle of July, get their location

scouted/secured, have key crew on board and start shooting sometime in August or

early September. They can’t guarantee dates at this point as there are variables

including director and cast schedules still to be named, but they will keep their blog

and IndieGoGo campaign updated on their progress on a weekly basis.

If you’re in Los Angeles and want to work on this project, you can contact them at

their website www.thebigoseries.com.

About Mingle Media TV

MMTVN is an online media and interactive web TV network that executive produces, curates, and

broadcasts live stream talk shows along with entertainment industry event coverage. In addition to

Mingle Media TV, is the Red Carpet Report, an interactive, online media sister outlet and YouTube

partner. MMTVN syndicates all produced content on several video-sharing sites in addition to

YouTube like Daily Motion, AOL Video, and BlipTV. MMTVN has over 12K fans on their Facebook

communities, 25K Twitter followers, and also share content on Pinterest, Google+ and utilize their

social media and search marketing knowledge by SEO tagging of videos and links back to events

they attend. MMTVN has covered the Oscars on the Red Carpet along with Golden Globes,

IPTVFest, HollyShorts, LA Shorts Fest, AOF Fest, Daytime Emmys, Saturn Awards, Streamy

Awards, People’s Choice, NAACP, SAG, plus numerous Web Series Premieres and A-list Celebrity

Fundraisers. For more information, please visit http://www.minglemediatvnetwork.com.

Visit The Big O online at www.theBigOseries.com, follow on Facebook.com/TheBigOSeries or

Twitter @TheBigOSeries or on YouTube.com/TheBigOSeries.

ABOUT Producers

Pamela Wallace

Academy Award winning screenwriter Pamela Wallace, is the creator and one of the producers of

this series. (Pamela won an Academy Award for best original screenplay for “Witness” starring

Harrison Ford, the movie received 8 nominations and won 2 Ocsars, won a Writer’s Guild Award and

Edgar Award from Mystery Writers of America and was also nominated for 7 BAFTA Awards, and 6

Golden Globes). FYI: Pamela has had 19 of her screenplays made into movies, including two out of

her 25 published romance novels being optioned for film. She was also one of the writers on the

award-winning HBO movie “If These Walls Could Talk” (nominated for 4 Primetime Emmy

Awards and 3 Golden Globe Awards) and the writer of the highest rated CBS movies created-todate,

Borrowed Hearts. Pamela also wrote the popular how-to book for aspiring screenwriters

entitled “You Can Write a Movie” available on Amazon.

Stephanie Piche

Executive Producer, Stephanie Piche, is a marketing strategist and new media producer and has

been featured in AdAge.com, the Huffington Post, the NY Times, and Executive Producer of Mingle

Media TV, an online media and digital entertainment company producing and curating live and

scripted web series and YouTube partner. Stephanie has executive produced over 6,000 hours of

LIVE stream web shows and has led over 36 successful new media, commerce and mobile

technology product launches. She’s also a new media industry expert and speaker and has been

recently seen at the Digital Hollywood Conference, Unofficial Google+ Film Festival, Social Media

Club / LA, Web Series Network Summit, New Media Expo, LAWebFest, New Media Film Festival as

well as contributor to RedCarpetReportTV.com, a celebrity entertainment site, MsInTheBiz.com, and

other industry publications. Stephanie is also an active and voting member of the Academy of

Television Arts and Science (ATAS)/Emmys.TV and Film Independent.

Dating in the Middle Ages: A Lesson in Love, Life, & Television

As many of you know, I am a huge fan of great TV shows.  The state of television and television networks has become so unsettling.  Due to the increased competition, networks rarely give a new show a chance to gain an audience.  If you don’t have banner ratings right out of the gate, you are most certainly in trouble. 

This has left the entertainment industry to take chances elsewhere and expand their opportunities.  Web series seem to be the new platform for creative minds to play and entertain.  With the growing popularity of the Internet and the success of Netflix when it comes to movies, it sounds like the natural progression for all forms of visual entertainment. 

You can only imagine how thrilled I was to be introduced to Devin Mills, the creator and writer of a genius web series called  Dating in the Middle Ages. I actually had the good fortune of making her acquaintance through an introduction by Jeff Rago to Brian Rodda, who is a consultant in the media industry specializing in web series development and promotion.  As many of you know, Jeff Rago has his own web series called, In Bed With. Its an interview series where the guests arrive in their PJ’s and are interviewed in bed with Mr. Rago and Melissa June Rawley. 

Dating in the Middle ages struck a chord with me immediately. It has elements of Alley McBeal, Glee, Sex and the City,  and Absolutely Fabulous all rolled into one satisfying experience.  The series revolves around Devin’s character, Samantha Collins, a historical romance writer who has just ended a 15 year marriage and has been thrown back into the dating scene.  Her professional life is not much better, she seems to be blocked in her writing but has continuous daydreams about life in the Middle Ages.

There is something for everyone here, from comedy to musical numbers, and lots of satire when it comes to the current state of dating.  There is a scene where Samantha is transformed into a Lady Gaga type performer as she sings an ode to her ideal guy.  Then she is put through a humiliating meeting with a matchmaker who seems more interested in creating a whole new Samantha to “sell” than in finding her the right match. 

I had the absolute pleasure of speaking to Devin Mills and Brian Rodda on the phone about the series, the current state of entertainment and television, and the creative process of working on Dating in the Middle ages.  Devin told me that one of her inspirations for the series comes from the reality show, Millionaire Matchmaker but it is also based on her own life. 

I asked her about the benefits of web series as opposed to network TV.  She sited the ability to take more chances as one of the top advantages and pointed out that a show like Seinfeld would have never made it in the current climate.  That show did not find its ground until a few seasons in.  The current state of network television would never allow for that kind of waiting period for popularity and ratings.  She also said that actors are willing to take more chances these days in order to get parts and in most cases are willing to sacrifice big money for the opportunity to work with quality scripts.  One such actor is Mr. John Schneider, most notably from The Dukes of Hazzard.  He has signed on to play Samantha’s love interest Jake Hagerty.  He also recently worked on a series called 10,000 days, which is a Mad Max type web series.

From a business standpoint, both Devin and Brian told me that the world of web series will be taken more seriously once there is an accurate way to tabulate ratings.  If those ratings prove to be significant, it will only be a matter of time before the entertainment world realizes the potential of this medium.  There may be a less traditional way to advertize with these types of series by using product placement for sponsors or by using 15 second adds at the beginning of the episodes.  The changing environment of marketing will play a large part in that as well.  

Brian Rodda is ready to explore the marketing potential by using iTunes to make episodes and music videos from the show available to fans.  They are also using a site called IndieGogo to raise money to offset production costs.  If you are interested, you can go here http://www.indiegogo.com/Dating-In-The-Middle-Ages .  There you can become part of the action by donating and in return receive some swag gifts as a token of appreciation. 

If you go to http://www.datinginthemiddleages.com  you can watch episodes of the show, read about the characters, and read Samantha’s blog.  Devin writes the blog staying true to the character of Samantha so you can keep up with her activities in between episodes.  She also tweets as Samantha at @writerscollins and John Schneider tweets as Jake at @jakehagerty.  Head over to Facebook and like their page too http://www.facebook.com/datinginthemiddleages .  John is going to be back as Samantha’s love interest and he will even show off  his musical talents in future episodes.  We will also be introduced to Samantha’s mother and daughter and those relationships will be explored, plus there will be more dating drama.

I encourage you to check out the series for yourself and find out why it already has a dedicated fan base with fans all over the world.  As Brian said, “Devin represents a new wave of woman in the industry.  Women who include Felicia Day and IJustine to name a few.”  In the past, the entertainment industry has been unforgiving to women over 25 but this series is out to show that experience can more than compensate for youth. 

Another plus to this web series and Devin is that she works with the United Pegasus Foundation to help save mature female horses from slaughter.  Urine from pregnant mares is used to make a drug to help women with menopause.  These mares are kept pregnant constantly until they are too old and then they are slaughtered because they are too old to be adopted.  You can help by going here: www.unitedpegasus.com

Now for the fun part of this post, Devin has agreed to give some gifts away to a few fans as long as you answer a few questions correctly.  After you go to http://www.datinginthemiddleages.com and watch the episodes, answer the following questions:

1. What was the waiter’s name from the French restaurant in Episode 2?

2. Who is Samantha’s ideal man in Episode 3?

3. What is Samantha’s dog’s name in Episode 4?

The first 3 people to answer all four questions correctly will receive a prize.  You can send your answers to: ContestsatTeeco71com@gmail.com

by Tommy Geraci (Teeco71)