JACK UZI “Goes Viral!”

Can you imagine that?  “The Adventures of Jack Uzi” going viral?  It would be a real marketing coup for a new company’s virgin outing with an ambitious spy web-series.  I’m not sure how it would work, but in this case, I’d really like to hear people’s ideas of how they’d do it.  In fact, I’m going to put up the money for $100 restaurant gift cards for each of the following:

  • Best promotion idea (that we can afford)
  • Funniest promotional idea
  • Most insane promotional idea.

All you have to do is comment below or, if you’re shy, e-mail the Secret E-mail Address.  Runners-up in each category will get calendars.  You’ve got a month.

Let’s cut out some of the obvious ones:  testimonial quotes like “‘The SHARKNADO of all spy stories!’  –Queen Elizabeth II” and “The Adventures of Jack Uzi has been BANNED in eleven countries!” are really no good because they’re not true…  although I have to admit if somebody can actually make me laugh out loud at an appropriately silly lie, I’ll give out a calendar for that, too.

Meanwhile, here’s one for the history books–four of our lovely young starlets in front of the DIA before it was sold off in the bankruptcy:

A quick pose outside the DIA with four of JACK UZI's youngest stars!

A quick pose outside the DIA with four of JACK UZI’s youngest stars!

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The Days of Jack Uzi

I’ve missed working on the show–and especially with the actual process of working with the actors and with shooting.  I really enjoyed being able to “fill in” some part, where necessary, but the new contract gig gets in the way of that.  That’s one of the reasons I offered to do a calendar in the first place.  It was fun to go back through our efforts, look for good images, and put them together.  There are the twelve images for the month, plus two bonus images to help fill out the calendar.  I haven’t added in any dates yet, not even holidays, but I have taken the time to caption and credit everybody.  I wish that fourteen images could cover the entire cast, but we have a huge cast.  If I have time for it–and I actually get some pre-orders–I have a few ideas for ways to remedy the problem somewhat.  Just go to the web-page and order.  Mind you, I haven’t finalized the choices of images yet because it might interfere with one of my ideas to get more characters into the calendar.

By the way, just so that you can see what one of the ART WAR cards look like, at least in this draft’s state, here’s one of my cards as a sample.

Hopscotch, an ART WAR card by Michael Marcus

This is one of my cards from the first ART WAR game deck.

Production and Collaboration, Little Red Hen Style

This is not the “Sky is Falling” story, but rather the one about a hen which finds some grains of wheat and asks the other animals to help her plant it, but none do except for her own chicks.  The same thing happens when it comes time to cut the grain, grind the flour, and make the bread… only when it comes time to actually eat the bread do the other animals happily volunteer and come around.

Well, in many ways, production on work like JACK UZI relies on everybody doing everything, and with it being more than just a movie, but an episodic series, it’s taking long enough that some of the folks are finding other ways to engage themselves while the metaphorical “bread” bakes.  That’s one of the reasons we’re doing this blog–it provides an anchor for people to come back and hear about the show, and it provides a place where all the actors and behind-the-scenes people can promote (with just a a quick word to me) the various projects they’re doing.  That’s one of the reasons we’ve been doing these profiles.  Have something to promote?  Let us know!

Meanwhile, I’d like to both promote one of my current (still in design phase) projects and invite all of you, cast, crew, or general public, to get involved.  The project is called ART WAR! and it’s a collectible card game, which means that as people buy the decks, you get paid for your participation!  Here’s what you need to do:

  1. Find or make a piece of artwork and convert it to digital (or just work right there on the computer).  If you’ve made a painting, scan it to digital;  if you’ve made a sculpture or some other form of 3-D art, take a digital photo.
  2. Take that digital image, shrink, sample, and/or crop part of the image to 600pixels by 600pixels.
  3. Send me the resulting image, along with its title, year of creation, what the original form of art was (acrylics on canvas, digital photo, clay pottery…), and where the people playing the game can find more of your art.
  4. Repeat this eight more times.

When I get enough art in, I’ll compile the decks, and I’ll tell everyone where to find them.  I need a total of twelve artists;  if I end up with more than twelve artists, artists will be accepted on a first-come-first-published basis, but any remaining artists will be drafted into the next deck, so your work will get out there, and it won’t be wasted!  Right now, I have the six of the twelve I need on the first deck, and it’s all looking really great, so come on out and play with us!

Getting to Know Jack

Today’s profile is that of none other than Jeff Berndt, who plays our hero, Jack Fitch.

Jeff Berndt as Jack Fitch

Jeff Berndt as Jack Fitch

1)  Hi, Jeff! Where was it you caught the “acting bug,” and what keeps you interested in it?

I did my first play in my freshman year at EMU. It was Shakepeare’s Loves’ Labours’ Lost. I didn’t think I had what it took to be an actor, but I tried out on a dare from my friend Mike Rackov. What the hey, the director decided to take a chance on a new kid with no experience. Worst decision ever, ‘cos I was right: I didn’t have what it took to be an actor. Opening night went fine until the final scene, when I totally blanked on a line. Let’s just say that I didn’t recover very well. I felt awful about it, but my fellow actors were very kind to me. The next night we did it all again, but this time there were no mess-ups.

When I was a kid, I never really knew what I wanted to be when I grew up. When you’re an actor, you can try out all kinds of different identities. Sometimes you have to learn new skills like tap dancing or fencing. Every time you do a new show, you meet new people, and they can become lifelong friends. Plus, when you do a really good job, you can make people laugh, cry, cheer, and forget about their own problems for a while. That’s a wonderful thing to be able to do.

2) What has been your most enjoyable acting assignment to date, and why?

It’s cliche, but it’s hard to decide what my favorite role has been. On stage, I’d have to say the role of the Emperor in Amadeus was my favorite. He says some incredibly stupid things, and all the other characters have to pretend he’s just said something profound–sometimes it was really hard to keep from cracking a smile when the house would break out laughing. On screen, I’d have to say it was the role of Erol in the locally produced InZer0 series. (You can see some of the episodes on YouTube.) It was a voice-over character with no on-screen avatar and I was rarely on set with the other actors. As you can imagine, it was quite a learning experience. Of course, I’m having a lot of fun as Jack Fitch, too. I really like the way the character is kind of the opposite of the James Bond type suave, tough-guy spy. He’s trying to balance his role as a clandestine agent with that of a nurturing father to his daughter and of mentor to his students. There’s going to be some interesting character development there. I can’t wait to see how it all comes out.

3) Do you have any particular upcoming plans? Anything you’re looking forward to?

Upcoming plans? Well, when I’m not pretending to be other people.   I’m a technical writer, which is how I pay the bills, but I also have a few creative irons in the fire–I’m shopping a kids’ book around, I’ve got a couple short films written that I’d like to shoot someday, and I’m a partner in a chocolate business called Sweet Steam. We’re only selling face-to-face at the moment, but once we’ve got our license taken care of, we’ll be able to ship our products all over the country!

4) Finally, what kind of ambitions do you have, acting or otherwise? How will you know that you’ve “succeeded?”

As for acting ambitions, I have a few roles I’d love to play onstage, but mainly I want to try new things. I’d love to play a villain someday, for example. In everyday life, well, the main thing is I want to be the best dad I can be. If my sons grow up to be good, kind, strong, happy adults who still occasionally call their mom and me, that’s what I call success.

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Meanwhile, the hour’s getting late.  and the calendars are waiting for your pre-orders to give us a “hand up” so that we can put them out.  Remember, before August, it’s possible to reserve your Special Dates on the calendar, which not only gives you your own sponsored date, but also helps us pay for the project!  Please help us get this started.