Written By: Lalo Mata
Published: September 4, 2020
178 Blank Productions
178 Blank Productions is the product of a group of college students ambitious enough to create their path instead of finding one.
With Andrew Nibbi as the CEO and Bryce Stevens handling the duties of being the Creative Director, 178 Blank is getting a mix of knowledge from a big-time East Coast school with Andrew’s education at Syracuse and Bryce’s top-notch film education from one of the nation’s best schools in USC.
USC has brought us names in the film industry such as George Lucas and Will Ferrell and even younger names such as Youtube sensation, Justin Escalona, creator of 1340 Collection.
Much like Justin, the 178 team looks to change the scene with its innovative way of filming short films, music videos, and more by bringing Hollywood to their backyard.
“Bryce and I were really excited by the prospect of breaking down the industry gate that surrounds Hollywood...That’s, in my mind, why we’re here - we can break down the doors simply by having the confidence and determination to do so, and so we have done.” as Andrew adds.
Our young generation has found ways to break down the music industry to bedroom productions and local music videos. What 178 Blank is doing will be a part of a big change in the eyes of the film industry.
Once the idea came to a reality, Bryce decided 178 Blank was the best option for his new production team. 178 Blank originates from his days in high school where he directed a play called 178 Blank Pages, which was about a boy with Tourette’s who would leave a page blank in his notebook for every day he had someone to talk to.
178 Blank also has plans to change not only the world of film but to jumpstart the journey before it even begins for kids across the country. One of the long-term goals for them is to fund high school drama programs across the nation. Another big goal is to become a well-known production team through the states, as Arthur explains.
Arthur Von Wronski is the head of Public Relations Coordinator who has many more skills up his sleeves that contribute to a talented group.
To add to the talent of 178, we were introduced to Brandon Ah Tye, a student at Chapman University and the Director of Business Development. Brandon has been a big part of this team’s journey and has also discussed some of the challenges the team overcomes throughout their films.
“To me, the hardest part about making a short film is staying organized and on target throughout the entire process of pre-production and shooting.”
As a group of young adults, it becomes very important to respect cast/crew members’ time away from the team, but to also stick to a strict schedule that allows them to never stop the flow of creativity,
As we dive deeper into the group’s journey, we asked the rest of the team some questions/concerns that may help other people out there who are interested in similar careers.
Are there specific obstacles that go into finding the right clothes to wear and makeup to use for each set? What are they?
“I feel like as you write a character you get to know and understand them better, almost to the extent that they’re a real person in your mind. Clothes are a very visual way of communicating that concept of a character to an audience. I tend to imagine the clothes that my characters are wearing as I’m writing them, or at least the fashion vibe they’d have.” - Tali, Writing Chair and Script Supervisor
What are some obstacles in finding locations for each set?
“There are a lot of places where it’s illegal to film. Finding sets that are both open to the public and low enough traffic to make reasonable locations is very, very difficult. Finding ones that fit your eye for the film is just another added challenge.” - Kiersten, Community Engagement Manager
What struggles occur in the writing process of the movie?
“So many. It’s hard to structure a story and every draft I ever write feels like it’s missing elements that are essential to a screenplay. Or I feel like I did a bad job with the exposition. Or I feel like my conflict doesn’t have enough tension. At the end of the writing process, my final draft (not that it’s ever really done) doesn’t remotely resemble my original.” - Tali, Writing Chair/ Script Supervisor
Tali brings an amazing amount of creativity to the scene with many other skills that contribute to the team. A person who is always wanting to improve their film work and help push 178 Blank.
Is there any advice you’d give to people who want to join filmmaking?
“Be the person on set or in the production that everyone will want to work with again. This means being flexible with whatever challenges come up and being a problem solver. If you have ideas share them, but at the end of the day, we are a team trying to meet the same goal so rolling with whatever is happening is crucial to making independent films possible within a deadline.” - Ian, Resident Actor
Is it complicated finding people to act? What’s that process like?
“At least so far, we’ve found our actors through local high school theater programs and through people we know that have expressed interest in acting. However, we’d like to start building up a pool of actors we can pull from through our application and through other means besides personal connections.” - Sarah, Marketing Director
“Thanks to Sarah, we were able to accumulate a large following on TikTok. We directed a lot of that traffic to an interest form on our website and have since received over 1300 responses from people interested in getting involved with us, either acting or as crew. When COVID dies down, we hope to tap more into that pool and get as many people on set as we can”. - Bryce
Another amazing part of the production’s website is the opportunity they give to newcomers! With their website, you are able to contact the team on getting your script turned into a film, a dream turned into a reality, and create a relationship with an up and coming team.
How do you guys find the time in everyone’s schedule to shoot the short films?
“With COVID, it actually became a bit easier in a shitty way, as a lot of people lost their jobs (like me). We mostly film during big school breaks, like summer and winter, so scheduling isn’t a major issue, it’s just planning out the day.” - Arthur
How do you narrow down each screenwriting entered in your contest to the final winning piece?
“We’ve been reading entries as they’ve come in and once they’re all submitted, we’ll likely all read them on our own and make notes and then have a meeting to discuss our favorites and then we’ll vote. That’s what we did with the loglines for the first part of the competition, so it’ll be similar, but more strenuous and time-consuming.” - Tali
What is the inspiration behind the short film, “On an Average Day”?
“‘On an Average Day’ came from a desire to create something when everything else felt like it was at a standstill. Virtual learning was not fulfilling my creative itch, so I called up Bryce because I knew he would be down to make something. (It also helps that our home towns are twenty minutes away from each other.) We started brainstorming, which led us to pull from our own relationships and friendships, while also giving us the opportunity to play around with the cinematography. I love it when a film leaves the end open to interpretations, so I was excited to incorporate that element into our project. - Madelyn, Casting Director (LA Branch)
What message do you want people to know when they hear the name “178 Blank”?
“Pursue your dreams. Do what you want. If something is your passion, pursue it! Fuck school, fuck college, fuck what your parents AND what your family thinks. Pursue it, and have fun. Figure out if that’s something you want to do, and if it is, keep going, and if it isn’t, figure out something else.” - Arthur
As we wind down from the questions and look into the future we can look forward to 178 Blank Productions growing bigger and bigger every day as they produce more films and videos.
With leaders such as Bryce and Andrew, 178 is on its way to changing Hollywood for the better. Brandon and Sarah will continue to turn this name into a brand of success with the help of Tali, Arthur, Kiersten, Ian, and Madelyn.
178 Blank Productions will be big within the next few years. As a product of the Bay Area and Northern California, it is exciting for Sactown’s Finest Media to be apart of the journey and to support the team on their way to the top.
Youtube- 178 Blank Productions
Tik Tok- @178Blank