A Colorful Celebration: Seattle Jewish Film Festival March 10-18 & April 14-15


A Colorful Celebration: Seattle Jewish Film Festival March 10-18 & April 14-15

SJFF Tix on Sale.jpg

Team Smarthouse client Seattle Jewish Film Festivalpresented by the Stroum Jewish Community Center, is an important part of Seattle’s cultural mosaic, offering a diverse spectrum of films that celebrate Jewish and Israeli life, culture, history, and cinema. 

This year, SJFF salutes Israel's 70th birthday. Almost half of this year’s “isREEL Life”-themed festival showcases a prismatic variety of Israeli films, from student productions to award-winning, internationally acclaimed directors like Eran Riklis. 

Over 21 special guests are slated to attend the screenings, including directors, actors, producers, musicians, and expert speakers that will introduce films and lead post-film discussions. 

The Festival takes place March 10-18 at venues around Seattle and on Mercer Island. SJFF is also extending its reach to the Eastside, April 14-15, at Regal's Cinebarre Issaquah 8, showcasing four additional films.

Seattle’s Opening Night will feature the funny and touching mob caper Maktub by Israeli Director Oded Raz, followed by a delicious Tom Douglas dessert party. Sunday’s Matzoh Momma Brunch Film features Jewish comfort food, klezmer music, the film Land of Milk and Funny, and film subject and comedian Dwight Slade will do a stand-up set.

At the Closing Night Centerpiece on Mercer Island, Emmy-nominated filmmaker and internet pioneer Tiffany Shlain will be honored with SJFF's REEL Difference Award before she presents “Spoken Cinema”—a new, interactive, documentary art form, featuring live narration of her acclaimed films on stage—followed by a closing reception. 

SJFF's new Eastside Opening Night kicks off with the illuminating and entertaining documentary Shalom Bollywood, about Indian-Jewish screen legends, and includes a free popcorn and a beverage for ticketholders. The final Eastside film will be Across the Waters: a gripping story of survival and rescue. 

Tickets and passes are on sale now! Get yours, and join us for colorful celebration of Jewish and Israeli life, culture, and history. 

General admission tickets: $12-$15  |  Special events: $20-$25 | 8-packs of discount tickets: $100-$125  |  Full passes: $200-$225 | Senior tickets available  |  SJFF accepts TeenTix






At this point you probably feel like you’ve heard it ALL when it comes to advice on how to build your brand’s social media audience, but since we do things a little differently at Team Smarthouse, I wanted to share three quick tips that cut through all the “growth-hacking” jargon and “guru wisdom” out there.

This is the very first thing I like to tell Smarthouse clients. The goal of building an audience for your brand vs. the goal of reaching “at least 1 million followers” are two very different things. Setting a goal to build a huge following is a recipe for madness and despair -- and buying followers is not an option I’d ever recommend to ANYONE. In short, it’s better to build a small and loyal audience of fans who will help you spread the word and grow your audience slowly than it is to have thousands of random followers paying zero attention to your message.

Just like IRL, people are going to know if you’re faking it or trying too hard on social media. Finding your authentic voice for social is about your brand -- but it’s also about you. Your brand should reflect the passion of your project, and the core of what it means to you. Use the same voice in your online social posts that you use when talking to friends in person; more followers will connect and engage when they can identify with the personality behind the brand.

Think of every post you make as a conversation with your followers. That doesn’t mean you have to actually include “comment below” in every post, but create posts that will prompt a reaction, whether it’s commenting, liking, or sharing -- and then remember to actually reply and engage with any audience comments, reactions, and shares. Even just a simple “thank you” goes a long way, letting your audience know you’re paying attention and that they’re important to you.

That’s it! Loyalty + Authenticity + Engagement = a strong social audience that will help spread the word about your brand, create buzz for your project or product, and contribute to your success.

Looking to learn more? Drop us a message and we’ll send you a free quote!





What happens when the patriarch of an immigrant family returns to his west Texas home after spending the last 15 years in his native Korea? Find out when you get tickets to Lloyd Suh's critically-acclaimed AMERICAN HWANGAP, at West of Lenin February 1-25! 

Directed by AJ Epstein and featuring a talented cast of local favorites including Michael Cercado, Kathy Hsieh, Mara Palma, Stephen Sumida & Moses Yim, AMERICAN HWANGAP is the funny and moving story of a Korean-American family and their uneasy reunion with the father who left them 15 years ago.

AMERICAN HWANGAP CAST [Photo credit: Michelle Bates]

AMERICAN HWANGAP CAST [Photo credit: Michelle Bates]

This engaging play tells the story of Min Suk Chun, who some 15 years earlier left his family in a West Texas suburb to return to his native Korea. On the occasion of his 60th birthday (hwangap), a milestone signifying the completion of the Eastern Zodiac and a type of rebirth, he returns to his ex-wife and now adult children as they struggle to reconcile their broken past with the mercurial, verbose and often exasperating patriarch now back at the head of the table. Through a tense birthday weekend filled with humor, heartbreak and half-filled expectations, this American hwangap and its aftermath bears a family not quite whole but still somehow transformed, and not quite happy but still somehow beautiful.

About the Playwright
Lloyd Suh is the author of Charles Francis Chan Jr's Exotic Oriental Murder Mystery, The Wong Kids in the Secret of the Space Chupacabra Go!, Jesus in India, Great Wall Story and others, produced with Ma-Yi, Magic Theatre, Ensemble Studio Theatre, The Play Company, La Mama, Denver Center Theatre Company, ArtsEmerson, The Guthrie Theatre with Mu Performing Arts, East West Players, and internationally at the Cultural Center of the Philippines in Manila, and with PCPA in Seoul, Korea.

CAST: Michael Cercado (Ralph Chun), Kathy Hsieh (Mary Chun), Mara Palma (Esther Chun), Stephen Sumida (Min Suk Chun), and Moses Yim (David Chun)

Directed by AJ Epstein || Produced by West of Lenin || Fremont's Venue for Live Theatre

Dates, showtimes, and advance tickets available here: http://bit.ly/AmericanHwangap 


Driving iTunes Movie Pre-Orders with Facebook Ads


Driving iTunes Movie Pre-Orders with Facebook Ads

If you’re an independent filmmaker with a feature film that’s currently on the festival circuit, you’re probably already planning the marketing campaign for your VOD release. And if you’re not, you should be because hundreds of new movies hit platforms each week, and it’s easy to get lost in the shuffle. 

If you’re serious about making a splash, you need to be serious about your marketing campaign. But, that doesn’t mean you have to spend a fortune on your ads in order to make it work. You do, however, need to be smart about your platforms and your audience targeting.

Each film has a unique set of attributes, which means that each film requires a creative approach to reach its best-fit audience. The following case study (the first in a series) will help illustrate, in practical terms, how an independent filmmaker might approach this data-intensive process.

Case Study #1 — Adele and Everything After

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Adele and Everything After is an award-winning, feature-length documentary from director Melissa Dowler. Following a successful festival run, the film was picked up for distribution by Gravitas Ventures and will make its VOD debut on January 30, 2018. 

Smarthouse Creative was hired to manage the strategy and execution of the marketing campaign for the film’s digital release with a focus on driving iTunes pre-orders. With a limited budget, our goal was to position the film alongside major studio releases (and well-funded “indies”) on the iTunes pre-order charts to increase its visibility and overall title awareness among potential customers. Success during this phase of the campaign would be measured by the film’s rank on the pre-order charts.

Drawing from both the filmmaking team’s audience data and our own understanding of the film’s themes and potential audience affinities, we built a primary audience profile within Facebook’s ad manager and developed ad creative that would likely resonate within this group. 

Step One — Top-Level Demo and Geo-Targeting

After considering a number of factors, including festival screening locations, demonstrated and/or historical interest in independent film (especially documentaries), and relative size of various metropolitan areas, we arrived at the following top-level audience attributes:

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Step Two — Granular Audience Interest Targeting

Once we had determined the general characteristics of our audience, it was time to dive deep into the “interest” categories that would help us precisely target Facebook and Instagram users likely to pre-order the film based on its themes and subject matter.

ADELE - Interest targeting - Case study.jpg

Step Three — Creative and Copy

With our audience targeting set, it was time to build our ads. For this pre-order campaign, we wanted to A/B test a pair of film stills that were already performing well in organic Facebook posts, as well as a teaser trailer. The following screenshots are representative of the ads as they ran on both Facebook and Instagram.

ADELE - FB ad - Case study.jpg

Step Four — Ad Metrics

Again, with a limited budget, there wasn’t much room for error, especially when it came to audience targeting (and subsequent revisions). What follows is the complete first phase ad metrics as viewed in Facebook’s ad manager.

ADELE - FB ad metrics - Case study.PNG

The still images were running for longer than the teaser trailer, but you’ll note that the overall cost-per-click (CPC) was just $0.20, a remarkable return on investment (ROI), especially for that budget. However, it’s not enough to just have a low CPC when you’re trying to sell movies. The real measure of success, if you’re being honest with yourself (and your clients) is how the film fares on the iTunes charts, where it will be competing with major studio releases and well-known indie films with much better title awareness.

Step Five — Outcomes

In this case, the low CPC (and high number of link clicks — 2486) allowed us to position Adele and Everything After at the #6 position (behind major studio releases, yet in front of titles with much larger title awareness) in the iTunes Movie store:

ADELE - iTunes - Case study.png

Due to the unique nature of each film, there are plenty of variables above that will need to be determined for your specific campaign, but, by following our basic approach, you’ll have the best chance of success (on average, of course).

Click below to tell us about your latest project: http://www.smarthousecreative.com/free-quote/


Creating The Memory of Fish Soundtrack: The Sonic Worlds of Man, Memory, and Nature


Creating The Memory of Fish Soundtrack: The Sonic Worlds of Man, Memory, and Nature

The Memory of Fish, narrated by Lili Taylor, is a documentary portrait of one man and his fight to free a river. It premiered at the Seattle International Film Festival in 2016 and is now available on Amazon Video and DVDiTunes, Google Play, and coming soon to other platforms. This feature documentary, six years in the making, follows the life story of mill worker-turned conservationist Dick Goin, who dedicated his life to restoring Washington State’s Elwha River by battling for the biggest dam removal project in U.S. history. His goal: bring the salmon home. 

Producer/Director Jennifer Galvin, Film Composer Gil Talmi, and Sound Designer Gisela Fulla-Silvestra sat down to talk about their process of merging film, music, and sound for The Memory of Fish at Talmi’s music studio in the Brooklyn Navy Yard.


GIL TALMI: I moved my studio into the Brooklyn Navy Yard almost a decade ago. The space overlooks Manhattan and the East River. The East River is powerful and dirty and Kramer once had a swim in it, which I would personally never do, although the thought usually crosses my mind around mid-August when NY becomes a sweltering schwitz fest.

JENNIFER GALVIN: After working with editor Erin Barnett for a year, who is one of the most talented editors I’ve worked with, getting to the music and sound phase of post-production was very exciting. Gil is a musical mad scientist, and I figured he must really like fish. I absolutely love being in a music studio and I was hopeful the camaraderie would be strong, which it was.

TALMI: For the sound design, Gisela immediately jumped to mind as the natural candidate for the gig. An inspiring and innovative composer and recording artist, I knew she would understand the delicate musicality that the film required both on the music and sound design end. This is not a film where the two need to be in competition with each other, as in so many others films. For this film, all elements needed to share a symbiotic space, as in nature itself.

GISELA FULLA-SILVESTRE: When Gil first approached me to work on this film, I was very excited to work with him. He’s a rare person, talented beyond limits, and generous and light hearted at the same time. And, to work on a story that takes us underwater was even more exciting. When I first talked to Jen, it was very clear how both the underwater world and Dick’s inner psychological reality were so connected, which, to me, made the film very special. So we decided to play a lot with that through sound, creating very sensorial universes. I wanted people to feel the movement of the salmon, their habitat, and create subjective soundscapes to understand Dick’s process, his fight, his ideals, his struggle, his memory.


GALVIN: I remember that Bowie had just died. After our first spotting session, I offered Gil and Gisela a North Star word for the project: Create. That word perked up all of our ears. It felt like a rare charge and opened an interesting conversation: ‘Nobody ever says that anymore: Create. When do people truly ask us on a production job to just go for it, and give the license to do so openly and freely? Yeah, let's do THAT.’ Soon after, Gil and I also made a pact not to provide each other with any inspirational music sources for what this part fable, part biography, part nature film should sound like. Create!

TALMI: When we all started working together, there was something very inspiring about sitting right next to this vast city river, the East River, while scoring a film about the Elwha River. Both rivers are very different in nature, but it’s as if the water connected us directly to the source. Our creative process had a wonderful flow to it, building on each other’s ideas in a fun and sinuous dance. Jen is one of those courageous directors who really knows how to bring out the very best in everyone. She gently extracts collaborative ideas rather than impose predisposed ideals. I was excited that the Mother-32 came out just in time to be used as the main instrument in the score. I fell in love with it so completely that I had to buy another one (and am seriously contemplating a third). The Mother scoring Mother Nature… how appropriate is that? I love the richness and roundness of the tones it can produce. I was able to create these resonant atmospheres that don’t sound like they are coming from electronic circuits at all, but rather as if recorded down below on a dark and distant riverbed, or deep within the salmon roe, just as life begins to unfold.

GALVIN: I affectionately named the two Mothers ‘The Magic Clam’; when the two are stacked, they look like a clam. Nature, man, and memory were the main compositional themes. Often times Gil constructed transformative solutions by playing tracks backwards and letting instruments reverberate. I just want to live in those lush, long reverbs.

TALMI: For the juxtaposition of man versus nature, I decided to buy a Mandolin and record it alongside the textures of the analog synths. There is something haunting about the two sonic worlds flowing in and out of each other, sometimes clashing and colliding, and then coming back together again.


GALVIN: Gisela’s process was about water from the start, and she took it literally. She jumped into lakes and streams with condom-covered mics. She made recordings that would enhance the sensations of the Elwha River world and help the audience get inside Dick’s mind. Like an alchemist, she transformed basic natural elements into story gold. Wind blowing, fishing lines whirring, seagulls calling, clocks ticking, water rushing, rain falling, leaves blowing – these were the types of sounds used to bend time and re-imagine the river.

FULLA-SILVESTRE: Yeah, I wanted the water to be all around the audience. I even recorded underwater movement in my tub to get the big salmon tail movements and deep bubble sounds to help you feel like you’re there with them. It was really important to keep the sound raw during the whole film. I didn’t want it to sound super stylized. I had to keep the intimacy because this is a story about the life of someone who lived to fight for a noble cause, but he did it without huge fireworks and big words, and mostly through small actions and persistence in his everyday life.

TALMI: I agree. Both sound and music really had to be very gentle in order to not overshadow or drown out the film’s main character. Except for the opening scene, which is more cinematic, most of the music caters much more to the inner world than the outer, whether it’s Dick or the salmon. It’s a kind of gentle meditation on being.

GALVIN: It’s hard to get people to really feel a river. I think the three of us worked hard to help people understand how and why rivers and fish matter through sound and music, just as much as the film does that through visuals. What does man versus nature sound like? What does memory sound like? And what does memory degradation sound like?

FULLA-SILVESTRE: I feel very grateful to have been able to work with Jen and Gil on a film that lights a fire in people and maybe helps them connect to their own memories of being near water. It’s always a treat to be part of something that you actually believe in. And, to be honest, the three of us had a lot of fun in the process, learned how to meditate, ate way too much dark chocolate, and geeked the ungeekable at Gil’s synth temple.

TALMI: The sound design is so beautifully done that I decided to include some of it on the soundtrack. Trying to determine where music ends and sound begins is like trying to decide whether a river’s mouth is its beginning or its end.

Jennifer Galvin is producer-director at reelblue, LLC – her independent film production and media company based in New York. Learn more at: www.reelblue.net

Gil Talmi is a film composer with a passion for socially conscious films (and modular synths). Learn more at: www.giltalmi.com

Gisela Fulla-Silvestre is a sound designer and music composer, and now also the proud owner of a Mother-32. Lean more at: www.imdb.com/name/nm4965098/

The Memory of Fish soundtrack is available on iTunes, Amazon, Spotify, and Pandora.


15 New Documentary Films You Should See


15 New Documentary Films You Should See

Team Smarthouse had SO MANY great documentary film clients last year! Since the trend is continuing going into 2018, we wanted to put them all together for you in an easily browseable list so you could check them out yourself.

Here’s an (alphabetical) list of 15 new documentaries you should see:

Adele and Everything After
Directed by Melissa Dowler

A feature-length documentary about a woman with a broken heart, and the service dog who saved her. Marty had a heart condition that used to make her faint every day. Adele was one of the world’s first cardiac alert service dogs and she stopped Marty from fainting at all. They were the perfect team. Adele and Everything After will be available to rent or purchase starting January 30, 2017.

Amplify Her
Directed by Nicole Sorchan & Ian Mackenzie

In Amplify Her, three Electronic Dance Music artists battle demons from their painful pasts to emerge as beacons in the global festival scene. Blondtron, Applecat and Lux Moderna overcome isolation, illness, and gender bias to give life to their creativity. Amplify Her is currently playing in theaters; sign up for their newsletter for info on screenings and release dates.

Big Sonia
Directed by Leah Warshawski & Todd Soliday

In the last store in a defunct shopping mall, 91-year-old Sonia Warshawski – great-grandmother, businesswoman, and Holocaust survivor – runs the tailor shop she’s owned for more than 30 years. But when she’s served an eviction notice, the specter of retirement prompts Sonia to resist her harrowing past as a refugee and witness to genocide. A poignant story of generational trauma and healing, Big Sonia also offers a laugh-out-loud-funny portrait of the power of love to triumph over bigotry, and the power of truth-telling to heal us all. Big Sonia is currently playing in theaters (the Seattle premiere is February 9 at SIFF)! Follow the Facebook page for news about screenings and release dates.  

Directed by Brad Abrahams

Meet the men and women who devote their lives to research, write about, and attempt to find mysterious creatures like Champ the Lake Champlain Lake Monster, Dogmen, Tasmanian Tigers, hairy hominids, and legends of the sea. This documentary film takes an intimate look at a group of true believers who have staked their professional fortunes to the practice of Cryptozoology, or the study of unknown animals. Cryptozoologist is currently in progress! Sign up for their newsletter or follow them on Facebook to stay up-to-date.

Food Evolution
Directed by Scott Hamilton Kennedy

When was the last time you changed your mind? Traveling from Hawaiian papaya groves, to banana farms in Uganda, to the cornfields of Iowa, Food Evolution wrestles with the emotions and the evidence driving one of the most heated arguments of our time. Enlisting experts and icons of the struggle as well as farmers and scientists from around the world, this bold documentary separates the hype from the science to unravel the debate around food. Food Evolution is available for rent or purchase on several streaming platforms.

Gold Balls
Directed by Kate Dandel

Gold Balls is an inspiring family-friendly documentary about five athletes determined to win a national championship in tennis. The catch is, they’re all over age 80! You’ll meet a cranky ex-lawyer, one of Wisconsin’s most eligible bachelors, a romantic naval officer, a 94-year-old comedian, and a charming minister’s son as they barnstorm the country in pursuit of their dream. This engaging documentary will motivate people of every age and stage to pursue their dreams and connect, engage, and share their way to a healthier, happier life. Gold Balls is available on DVD and Amazon Video.

Love and Saucers
Directed by Brad Abrahams

Love and Saucers is the strange story of David Huggins, a 72 year-old Hoboken man who claims to have had a lifetime of encounters with otherworldly beings - including an interspecies romance with an extra-terrestrial woman (with whom he lost his virginity to), and chronicled it all in surreal impressionist paintings. Filmed in an intimate style, the film lets David tell his story, and in turn lets the audience decide what is fact, fiction, and everything in-between. Love and Saucers is available for purchase or rent on DVD and several streaming platforms. 

The Memory of Fish
Directed by Jennifer Galvin & Sachi Cunningham

Narrated by Lili Taylor, The Memory of Fish is a moving documentary portrait of one man, the wild salmon he loves, and his fight to free a river. Dick Goin and his family have been fed by the Elwha River's salmon since migrating to Washington's Olympic Peninsula during the Dust Bowl. Dick has never forgotten his debt to the fish — who have been steadily disappearing. A pulp mill worker and master fisherman turned salmon advocate, Dick uses his memories and persistence to battle for the biggest dam removal project in U.S. history. The Memory of Fish was just released on DVD and Amazon Video, and is coming soon to iTunes (preorder available now) and other platforms.  

On a Knife Edge
Directed by Jeremy Williams

On a Knife Edge is a father-son story about Guy and George Dull Knife that unfolds over the course of George’s coming-of-age journey. Under his father’s guidance, George becomes an activist and organizer, and begins identifying with the role of traditional Lakota warrior, which he views as his family legacy. He commits himself to the fight for social justice, but struggles with adapting the old ways and his father’s expectations to the modern-day realities of growing up on the Pine Ridge Reservation. Told largely through George’s eyes, the film offers a privileged glimpse into the youngest generation of the American Indian Movement, as well as George’s own evolving notions of Native identity, manhood, and duty. On a Knife Edge is available for screenings; apply to host one on the web site, and follow the Facebook page for release news.

She Started It
Directed by Nora Poggi & Insiyah Saeed

Following five women over two years as they pitch VCs, build teams, bring products to market, fail and start again, She Started It takes viewers on a global roller coaster ride from San Francisco to Mississippi, France, and Vietnam. Through intimate, action-driven storytelling, the film explores the cultural roots of female under-representation in entrepreneurship—including pervasive self-doubt, fear of failure, and risk aversion among young women. She Started It just finished up a theatrical tour, but is still available for screenings. Sign up for their newsletter and watch their Facebook page for release news.

Taking Stock
Directed by Ben Stillerman

Taking Stock is a documentary which explores the conflicted connections between business and family, community, and country. The film, directed by Ben Stillerman, follows his father, Clive Stillerman -- a shopkeeper-philosopher from South Africa, and his complicated relationships with his relatives, employees, customers, and friends, as seen through the lens of his family business. Taking Stock just finished a successful Film Festival run and is coming soon to streaming platforms! Sign up for their newsletter and follow on Facebook for news and release dates.

The Uncondemned
Directed by Michele Mitchell & Nick Louvel

The Uncondemned tells the gripping and world-changing story of a group of young international lawyers and activists who fought to make rape a crime of war, and the Rwandan women who came forward to testify and win justice where there had been none. Up until this point, rape had not been prosecuted as a war crime and was committed with impunity. A courtroom thriller and personal human drama, the film beautifully interweaves the stories of the characters in this odyssey, leading to the trial at an international criminal court -- and the results that changed the world of criminal justice forever. The Uncondemned is still available for screenings; sign up for their newsletter or follow on Facebook for news about release dates. (Psst: Check out our podcast episode with Michele too!) 

Verona: The Story of the Everett Massacre
Directed by Denise Ohio

On a fateful November day in 1916, 250 members of the Industrial Workers of the World, known as the Wobblies, aboard the steamship Verona were met at the Everett City Dock by Sheriff Donald McRae and 140 armed deputies. By the time the shooting stopped, four Wobblies were dead and thirty-two wounded, one dying that night. On the dock, one deputy lay dead and seventeen wounded, one who would die the following day. The event would be known as the Everett Massacre. Verona: The story of the Everett Massacre recounts the events leading up to that tragic day. Now available on several streaming platforms, including iTunes, Amazon, Google Play & VUDU.

When They Awake
Directed by P.J. Marcellino + Hermon Farahi

For a century, indigenous voices have been absent in the music industry, their identities obscured, their cultures eclipsed. Today, dozens of award-winning musicians come together to reclaim their roots and reaffirm their cultural identities, while a new generation of kids from remote Arctic communities close the circle, setting off on their own path of musical self-discovery. This film interweaves musical genres from roots to rock, from classical to hip-hop, tackling global indigenous issues and themes of youth empowerment, education, inter-cultural dialogue, and environmental degradation. When They Awake is still screening in theaters and is coming soon to streaming services. Follow them on Facebook for info about release dates.

The Wild
Directed by Mark Titus

Picking up where the 2014 award-winning documentary, The Breach left off, The Wild is a race against time, where the hard-fought-for/hard-won protections for Bristol Bay now seem as fleeting as morning mist. Focused through the lens of Mark Titus’ inherent love for wild salmon, the conflict in Alaska becomes a harbinger to a larger, global question:  How do we reconcile human separation from the natural world that sustains us – and if we can change course - how do we save what remains? How do you save what you love? The Wild will premiere soon! Stay tuned to the the Facebook page for updates.


TAMP Episode 15: THE UNCONDEMNED by Michele Mitchell


TAMP Episode 15: THE UNCONDEMNED by Michele Mitchell

Episode 15: THE UNCONDEMNED by Michele Mitchell

Michele Mitchell (www.filmat11.tv // www.theuncondemned.com
An award-winning investigative reporter on “NOW with Bill Moyers” (PBS), Mitchell began her broadcasting career as political anchor at CNN Headline News, where she specialized in US politics. At PBS, she developed a reputation for discovering overlooked social justice stories before leaving to start her own company. She was the director/producer/writer/co-executive producer of the groundbreaking “Haiti: Where Did the Money Go?” A graduate of Northwestern University, Michele wrote sports for the Chicago Tribune while in college, and then began her career on Capitol Hill. She is the author of three books.

In this TAMP episode, Smarthouse Creative's Brad Wilke talks to Michele Mitchell about her experiences as a journalist, filmmaker, and activist at the intersection of human rights and social justice. Michelle and Brad also discuss the inspiration behind the making of Michelle's new documentary, THE UNCONDEMNED, and her use of social media as a tool to engage, maintain and build her audience.

You can check out Michele's Facebook page here, bit.ly/Filmat11_FB , and follow her on Twitter at, @michelefilmat11.

Visit Michele's current project "THE UNCONDEMNED" here; www.theuncondemned.com.

TAMP music by Dude York.


TAMP Episode 14: Donovan Janus


TAMP Episode 14: Donovan Janus

Donovan Janus (www.17hats.com/) is Founder and CEO of 17hats, a Pasadena, CA-based software system that provides small business owners tools, knowledge, and expertise so that they can stay organized, feel confident, and look professional. Mr. Janus is a lifelong entrepreneur, and he and his team at 17hats share a passion for guiding small business owners on their respective journeys.

In this TAMP episode, Donavan talks with Smarthouse Creative's Rachel Green about developing 17hats and the importance of timing, simplicity and social media in building a brand. He describes marketing tips and various grassroots tools and methods used to identify and connect with an audience, "if you define your ideal client and have a clear message, the selling part really happens by itself." -Donovan Janus.

You can check out Donavan's Facebook page here, bit.ly/17hats_FB/ and follow him on Twitter at, @17hatsHQ.

TAMP music by Dude York.


Team Smarthouse's Holiday Movie Watch List


Team Smarthouse's Holiday Movie Watch List

It’s Thanksgiving week (already!?!?) and Team Smarthouse is here for the start of holiday film watching season! We've put together a list of films on our annual holiday watch lists:


Planes, Trains and Automobiles (1987)
“Those aren’t pillows!” Rachel watches this with her family every year! It's the perfect holiday bonding experience. 

Home for the Holidays (1995)
We are ALL Holly Hunter trapped in our parents house for an excruciating Thanksgiving.  

Pieces of April (2003)
Charming indie-film magic, starring Katie Holmes who is definitely NOT playing the same character she played in Dawson’s Creek.

Master of None "Thanksgiving" (2017)
We know this isn’t a film, but we need to throw in Master of None Season 2, Episode 8, “Thanksgiving” because it’s PERFECT in every way.


It’s A Wonderful Life (1946)
Maybe it’s cliché to say you love this Frank Capra heartstring-tugger, but Amie watches this every year and still cries every single time Mr. Gower yells at George. And during the “lasso the moon” scene. And, honestly, AT EVERYTHING.

‘Twas the Night Before Christmas (1974)
The lesson we learned from this animated classic: if you send an insulting letter to Santa, he’s definitely gonna skip your house Christmas morning. (Ryan still has this recorded on VHS with the original ads!)

Christmas Evil (1980)
Brad’s a big fan of this bad 80’s Christmas horror movie. Pop this thing in your DVD player and MST3K away with friends and family!

Gremlins (1984)
Few movies master the art of horror-comedy, but Gremlins NAILS IT. Heads up: if all you remember is how cute Gizmo is, you’ve forgotten the part where Phoebe Cates’ character tells the story about her dad.

Scrooged (1988)
Somehow this still seems like a fresh take on A Christmas Carol … even though it’s almost 30 years old. Cranky Bill Murray FOREVER!

Die Hard (1988)
Ain't no party like a Nakatomi Plaza party because a Nakatomi Plaza party don't stop until ALL the machine guns go off.

Batman Returns (1992)
“You know, mistletoe can be deadly if you eat it.”
“But a kiss can be even deadlier ... if you mean it.”

Michelle Pfeiffer was, is, and will always be, the most amazing Catwoman EVER.

While You Were Sleeping (1995)
In which Sandra Bullock is somehow adorable even though she lies to an entire family for the whole movie, and Bill Pullman plays the PERFECT man.

Krampus (2015)
Be careful what you wish for … especially if it involves summoning an ancient demon who will punish your entire family.