What to Learn from Los Angeles: Production Day

We’ve learned a lot of new things in the last three months from New York. We learned how to start a company, we learned new programming elements of iOS and HTML5. We learned about the publishing industry. We learned about the city. We learned about raising funding. We learned about the tech scene.

And now that we’re back in LA we’re learning something totally new: film production.

I was a teenage actor – it was why I moved from Ventura to Los Angeles at twelve and a half.

From that time until around eighteen I was pampered and paid to do, what I perceive as now from a startup perspective, a lot of waiting around and very little work. And that’s ok. You’ve got to get people who look fifteen and sixteen years old on camera – but when you can you just hire a short, bright eyed twenty-five year old. And that happened a lot the older I got.

The point is that during that time of acting I never really noticed what was happening around me. It was going so smoothly, so fluidly, that I didn’t think about what HARD WORK film production is. It is, in many ways, the ultimate team sport.

And it’s not like I haven’t directed or produced things before. The difference now is that it is actually real. The content you’re getting isn’t for a school play or project or something. This is going out in the market.

So when I set up some time to get exclusive interview and filming time with our first real artist, Mann, I knew that things would be different. They were – mostly in the category of being way harder.

I had written a treatment for a digital short that would feature the startup and Mann in a mocumentary/comedy sketch about startup life and the work we do. I wrote it out, got a director, (my new roommate) and set our shooting date three days later from 9AM until 1 PM to shoot a five minute short with no equipment on hand.

That didn’t work.

Turns out that to shoot a short with moderate movement and five people you need a whole bunch of lights, a PA, Mixer, a dolly for the camera, and someone coordinating the production.

We’re still only a startup company – two programmers, a designer, and an ex-actor turned rapper.

So we are saving the short for when the artist returns from a tour in the Middle East and UK, but we got the exclusive shots we needed for the app done today. We almost burnt down the studio with sparkler candles, had two broken microphones, lost footage scare, and started filming an hour after scheduled time because no one could figure out how to park and get to the building.

I learned the importance of these roles in production: prop person, sound guy, assistant director, and production assistant – none of which we really had.

So, more important than all of that, it’s about team work. It’s about fulfilling as many roles as you humanly can until the project gets done. Sound familiar?

Film production is a lot like a startup. It takes a lot of hard work. It’s inherently entrepreneurial – except degrees more glamorous.

In three days we went from having NOTHING, to having an exclusive interview with an artist who has sold over a million records, a director, three cameras, three lights, a co-producer, and a sound setup. How?

It’s all about connections.

I sent the treatment out, talked with some people, ASKED for space and equipment, and, not surprisingly, was given everything that I asked for. For free! Startups need to do the same thing.

Once I wrote the treatment I started to think of all the people who MIGHT have the things I needed. Then I promptly sent them emails or called every one of them. Less than 50% answered my calls for help – that was all that I needed.

Lesson: Set up strategic partnerships as soon as possible and convince people using pure enthusiasm and excitement. If you do not have passion you should not expect people to help you. When you’re a great idea with great people starting to put together legitimate numbers to convince cash concentrated individuals that you are a great investment – STAY HUMBLE!

Always ask how you can help, what you can do for others, and what they are looking to do and accomplish. Every person you meet is a potential piece to the puzzle you’re trying to finish – never turn down favors.

Bottom line: It’s really great to be back in Los Angeles. I love this city. It allows me to use my skill set precisely. And it has a huge tolerance for eccentricity. That’s extra important.

So, enjoy this video I found about Los Angeles. Let it get you in the spirit of movement, progress, transformation, and energy.


I think the video feels a lot like Final Fantasy VII. A bunch of people keep telling us that getting into the music space is going to be difficult. A little like Cloud going against Shinra. We’ve got pure motives, tenacity, a desperate desire to see real, positive transformation in this world, and not much to lose.

We might be the only ones for the job. I’m ok with that.


Re-Vinyl Announcement

We’re thrilled to announce our product, which we’ve spent the last several months fine-tuning in order to address the biggest pain points in a market sorely in need of disruption.

Positioned at the core of music, we are Re-Vinyl: a mobile application that connects commerce and creation while making digital music an art of promotion.

1. Re-Vinyl is a platform, allowing musicians and related brands to tell and sell their story on their own terms. (Creation)

2. Re-Vinyl is a vehicle, connecting bands to fans and fans to brands, without an intermediary. (Connection)

3. Re-Vinyl is a toolkit, empowering fans to collaboratively remix, purchase, and respond to musical content. (Collaboration)

4. Re-Vinyl is a carrier, circulating this content while promoting musicians and related brands. (Circulation)


We’re all about solutions here – and the music industry needs some big ones. Despite 360 deals and changes in the major label structure (mostly involving downsizing and/or consolidation) there still has yet to emerge a solution to the “music problem” that benefits the artist. That’s what we’re all about. With Re-Vinyl, labels have a new method of distribution, unsigned artists have a voice, indie labels have the ability to capitalize on their social networks, and advertisers get to know more about their target audiences. Everybody wins.

Re-Vinyl secures a consolidated income stream for the artist through in-app sales.

Re-Vinyl builds a true partnership between the artist and the distributor while crowdsourcing promotion to their fans and social networks.

Re-Vinyl provides a scalable solution to brand advertising and marketing for and through the artist – a one-stop shop for commerce, consumption, and creation.


A Vinyl (our 21st century, web-powered version of a vinyl) is a visceral story told through music and media that is digitally collectible. It brings back elements like liner notes, album artwork, and visualizations centered around a common theme. When’s the last time music offered you that kind of experience? Because Re-Vinyl runs on an Apple device we can coordinate iTunes purchases with our Vinyls so you won’t ever have to make multiple purchases of songs you already own. And when iCloud comes out you will be able to stream your music through our application, in the process gaining a contextual, media rich experience.


A Re-Vinyl is the user’s remixed response to a Vinyl, which can include media pulled from the cloud, stored on the user’s mobile device, or provided by the artist.

A user’s Vinyl collection is stored in the application while his or her Re-Vinyl response is housed, viewed, and shared on our website, the artist’s website, and social networks.


The beauty of Re-Vinyl is that it makes use of the EPUB3 format, a combination of HTML5/CSS and Javascript, so that Vinyls can be read in eReaders such as iBooks and Kindle in addition to our app. Embedding DRM into Vinyls will keep artists’ work secure while enabling cross-platform readability, providing a scalable solution to the “music app.”



Through Re-Vinyl artists can tell and sell their stories with audio tracks, lyrics, music videos, graphics, interviews, and the written word, building an intimate relationship with their fans while giving the market a music experience that it’s never seen before. Concert tickets, merchandise, and live streaming of concert events can also be sold directly from within the context of the musical eperience.

Viral Promotion

Each Vinyl includes a call to action from the artist encouraging fans to tell their story. This personalized response is then exported from the application as a Re-Vinyl to social networks, offering instantaneous, free promotion for the musician.


We are currently working with two artists out of our hometown of Los Angeles: pop/rock singer Derik Nelson and rapper/singer Mann. We are actively seeking deals with top 10 Billboard music artists.

In Conclusion

We’re thrilled to be at the forefront of progress in the entertainment industry. It’s our passion to bring the experience of vinyl to the digital age – to remember what it means to deeply engage with music.

We’re so excited we just had to rap about it!!!

Re-Vinyl is a mobile distribution and promotion platform enabling artists to create immersive, rich media albums. If you would like more information about Re-Vinyl please reach us at founders@re-vinyl.it. If you would like to keep updated on our launch please add your email address to our launch page: re-vinyl.it


                                             Mann’s “Birthday Philosophy”

“Every day is your birthday,” reveals Mann. “You’re constantly reborn, and that’s what my music represents. It’s all uplifting. If you had a bad day yesterday, don’t let it affect you, because today’s your birthday.”

Mann Facebook

So what you find is that West Coast rap these days is basically about people being THEMSELVES!

Mann Twitter

“You know, I love talking to my fans, whether it be on Twitter or whatever – and the ‘Birthday Philosophy’ is PART of all that, because that’s the way I THINK! I believe that every day is your birthday, and that you’re constantly reborn. So that’s what my music represents and why it’s always UPLIFTING!”

“One day, around two years ago, I was walking through a store with my mom when the original Nu Shooz song came on the radio. And, because I really loved it, I was like ‘What is this SONG?!’… And when she told me it was an old song from the Eighties, straightaway I hit-up J.R. (Rotem) and asked him if he wanted to flip it… So he was like ‘Yeah, for sure’ – and made the track… But then, once I got it, I didn’t really know how to ATTACK it!… Until one day I just kinda went in the studio and said ‘I’m not gonna even THINK about making radio record! I’m just gonna go in, be me, and write song about how I FEEL!’… And, because I felt good that day, I wrote a song about feeling like MONEY – which turned out to be ‘Buzzin’!”

My love, tell me what it’s all about
You’ve got somethin’ that I can’t live without
Happiness, is so hard to find
Hey baby, tell me what is on your mind

‘Cause I can’t wait (baby I can’t wait) till you call me on the telephone
I can’t wait (baby I can’t wait) till we’re all alone

You know I love you even when you don’t try
I know that our love will never die
Hey darling when you look into my eye
Please tell me you’ll never have to say goodbye

‘Cause I can’t wait (baby I can’t wait) this is what I’ve been waiting for
I can’t wait (baby I can’t wait) till my love walks in the door
I can’t wait (baby I can’t wait) true love is so hard to find
I found yours, you found mine
I can’t wait (baby I can’t wait) tell me what is on your mind
Got to let you know…

I can’t wait (baby I can’t wait) till you call me on the telephone
I can’t wait (baby I can’t wait) till we’re all alone
Oh oh I can’t wait (baby I can’t wait) true love is so hard to find
I found yours, you found mine
I can’t wait (baby I can’t wait) tell me what is on your mind
No, no, I can’t wait (baby I can’t wait)
No, I can’t wait (baby I can’t wait)
Say it one more time
Oh I can’t wait (baby I can’t wait) this is what I’ve been waiting for
Oh I can’t wait (baby I can’t wait) till my love walks in the door

First Artists

newquill is proud to announce the first two artists whose content will be mixed and marketed through its first mobile application.

We’re happy that both artists are out of our hometown, Los Angeles, and provide a diversity in musical talent, style, and perspective.

You ready? Yeah – this is monumental. The music industry will never be the same. Here we go:

Derik Nelson is a graduate of the University of Southern California with a soulful, liberating sound like John Mayer or Dave Matthews. When he is not solo, Derik performs with the talented four man band that he recorded the album North with. Derik believes that “music is one of the deepest expressions of emotion, and writing and performing original music is as personal and naked as you can get.”

Dijon Shariff – better known as Mann – is a West LA rapper riding the powerful wave of West Coast rap. His sound, much like that of Nate Dogg and Snoop Dogg (both West Coast prodigies), reflects Mann’s Birthday Philosophy. “Every day is your birthday,” says Mann. “You’re constantly reborn, and that’s what my music represents. It’s all uplifting.” Mann just released his debut album, Mann’s World, today.

Our goal when we get back to LA is to get them to do a collabo track. Here’s Derik on some Kanye. We can make it happen.

Welcome to the Good Life? Mang – we’ve been there. And it’s REAL good.

Biophilia by Bjork

The Cosmos is all that is or ever was or ever will be. Our feeblest contemplations of the Cosmos stir us — there is a tingling in the spine, a catch in the voice, a faint sensation of a distant memory, as if we were falling from a great height. We know we are approaching the greatest of mysteries.”  – Carl Sagan

Books are changing. Music is changing. Games are changing. The future is a mystery. A glorious dawn awaits.

Tablets, Batches, and Music: Amazon vs Apple, Grooveshark vs Spotify

So there’s been a lot of exciting news today.

Amazon announced that it will release a rival tablet to the iPad (possibly named Hollywood) in October. Even though it hasn’t been “officially” announced (whatever that means) the Wall Street Journal put out an article about it here so I believe it.

Then I got an email from Apple telling me that they are going to introduce volume app purchases for businesses. This means that any paid app will easily be able to be purchased by entire businesses to turn app sales business to business rather than only business to consumer. That one’s here.

In musicland, Spotify is coming to the US in a  few hours. By the time you read this it will be here. And you can read about it here.

They say it’s the only free music service in the US with all these cool features, but I still use Grooveshark. Doesn’t everybody use Grooveshark?

Here’s a video about spotify: 

Here’s a massive picture of Grooveshark. Giant shark or British accent? Jobs or Besos? You, the consumer, vote with your cash!

newquill theme song

Since our pitch right now is that newquill is like garageband for new media I figured I should use garageband to give an example of what is possible with newquill.


I’m tired of talking

so I’m just gonna blast this telepathically –

I swear my lips aren’t even moving right now.

What kinda ends are adjectives/

I’d rather build bridges/

Forget about the tension/

no more mentioning them inches/

stop counting the minutes/

start thinking – infinite/

we’re living in a renaissance/

you all must remember this/

When I work I do verbs/

When I walk I  lead herds/

by rivers and new worlds/

commitment to words gets you what you deserve/

Go ahead talk about focus/

but I would rather feel it/

You watch all them shows/

but I would rather steal them/

I’m about product/

I’m electric/

shocked ya/

I’m a VC – haha/

not what ya thought, huh/

valuable contributer to the solution/

to a problem within music/

It’s called newquill, use it/

The album is dead/

and long live digital/

Let Malcolm live forever/

on a screen with Denzel/

That’s the power that we have/

we’re talking ’bout eternity/

Time and space are nothing/

when you can control media, see/

here is the future, it’s all about connection/

content isn’t king, though I know that connect is/

Let’s go on a road show/

So Ho to Tokyo/

copyright controlled by

Yoko Ono/






You Choose/


The art is all in you/

You are the artist/

so what are you making?

What are you watching?

It’s all about creation/

You are the artist.

So what are you making?

What are you watching?

Just turn your tablet sideways/

and start your creating