Continuing to Analyze the Thrillumentary Project

A Little Known Fact

A little known fact that as the days passed both before the shoot and after, I was speaking into a camera lens every night creating the video curriculum for those who had signed up on our eLearning site to track the progress and possibly apply the techniques to their own projects.

Videos Tracking a Process

It was fun making those videos because as I would film them my wife and our young daughter would inevitably make cameo appearances in the background. One day I might release these tapes as a series online. Their prior use could only be viewed by those taking the course.

They Might Come Back

If you have an interest in seeing these tapes please let us know. If enough of you respond we may bring them back again.

Make a Movie with Your Phone


And thus the pursuit continues: make a movie with your phone. Those of us with phones – and as you know there are many – our using them in new ways on a continual basis. So much technology so little time.


One thing that is happening more and more, is the use of a smart phone to create motion pictures. Thrillumentary, the creative experiment, did so. Much of the material that  was filmed did so with a phone.

Add an Editing App

What does this mean to public? It is an indication that you really can just pick up your phone and hit record and be on your way to creating your own motion picture. Just add an editing app and you are all set.

Can a Thrillumentary Be Funny?

First Things First

Before attempting to answer the question whether or not a Thrillumentary can be funny, let’s initially define what a Thrillumentary is. To us, a Thrillumentary is part thriller and part documentary, hence Thrill-Umentary. We are dealing with a genre that in a sense could involve both the serious thrilling storytelling of a thriller, as well as the compelling content of a documentary.

Maybe Develop a New Genre

So that in itself could be transposed into being funny because of the juxtaposition between overly serious thrilling storyline and documentary’s (some would say) less than stellar subdivision known as the clearly not real “reality” of a reality show. Merging the two humorous offspring could be considered a so-called thrilling unreality reality show.

The So-Called Thrilling Unreality Reality Show

The thought process that brought us to our new merged genre known as the “So-Called Thrilling Unreality Reality Show” is just one way of reaching a premise that can potentially produce comedy. Use your imagination and you will be able to come up with many more.

Merging Two Ideas

But for our purposes we need now to convert the idea of an Un-Thrilling Unreality Reality Show Thriller into something comedic. What does this premise suggest to you? For the sake of demonstration we will attempt to do our own merging of the two ideas.

Our Quickly Put Together Premise

We came up with the humorous (not) premise of someone who is in denial, mistakenly thinking they are living the life of a thriller hero on their own, totally not real “reality” show. A character like this might be always telling people how thrilling his life is and then in private tries to set up “real life” thrilling situations to prove to others that he is indeed partaking in a thrilling lifestyle, which clearly it is not (for one thing he still lives in his mother’s basement).

Comedy Born of Premise

The comedy then comes out of him not being thrilling at all but trying to push this idea onto other people, which leads to him accidentally revealing something for all to see that proves otherwise. But even when this happens he attempts to cover it up and continues trying to convince people that he is thrilling and that the show he’s on is “totally spontaneous” and real with no part of it planned out (though he is seen planning it continually).

Maybe Not the Funniest Premise Ever

Hopefully from our quickly written premise you get the idea which is that funny can come out of someone believing one thing and not being that thing at all.

A General Winding Down

Or even more generalized, comedy can be two things that normally wouldn’t be seen together, somehow coexisting as explored in the latest NYC Workshops post that takes a look at creating comedy. If it amuses you, you might want to play around with this stuff and see what you can come up with.

How to Start Making Your Feature Film Quickly

Removing the Barriers of Entry

Thrillumentary is the movie that was made by one person (in conjunction with our video, film web production company), with the only other people being required were actors. Why do this? Because we believe everyone is creative and everyone has a movie in them that needs to be made. And by removing the barriers to entry, we create a doable path. In other words, the less things to worry about the more easily you will have it to pursue your filmmaking goals! But don’t stop there. You can even create your own awards show like we did as seen here, enabling us to give awards to our cast and crew (if you have one).

Taking the Leap

Hence when doing Thrillumentary from concept to script to casting to shooting, we gave students interested in the process a window into our system, hopefully inspiring others to take the leap into feature film-dom.

A Secret Process

We had folks from all over the country tuning in on a weekly basis for approximately 78 weeks to our latest “behind-the-scenes” of making a micro movie. Those taking the 78 episodes “course” were each given a secret code.

The Code Leading to Dream Realization

With this code they would be able to log in, just like an online course, because it was an online course, be it a very LONG course. We used the Thinkific platform to track our journey and connect with students along the way. Of course we did have the edge of having access to video, film and web equipment.

Just Start with No Excuses

At any rate, we learned a lot, some of which we’d like to share with you. The first and most important thing is to start right now. If you don’t have a script write one. If you don’t have filmmaking equipment then find an aspiring director or DP who does. We not only apply this philosophy to our movies but also to starting things like the earlier mentioned awards show. It’s also the approach we used when founding our video, film web production company.

Make the Movie YOU Would Want to See and are Passionate About

Another thing is to stop worrying and obsessing on whether or not you are making a movie that is “commercial.” You don’t want to make a “one glove fits all feature.” No, you want to make a film that has a VERY specific audience.

Finding Shared Passions

Think about what kind of person would enjoy the film the most. Start this thinking even as you write the script. Write your screenplay about something you’re passionate about. Next, search for people who have the same passion for the subject that you do.

Reaching Your Audience

Figure out how to reach them and get their email addresses via having a newsletter. Make them into your “collaborators” in the sense that each week you email them with behind-the-scenes news. This can start even before you have a script! If you do this correctly you’ll have a big audience ready to eventually pay for and view your movie on sites such as Amazon.

Just Do It

But the most important advice is to JUST DO IT. Jump in and don’t stop.

You Have Options

Oh, and another thing, if your film is no budget and you have to beg borrow and steal for things like cameras and locations, it’s okay to bring in more people. You can still be the main force and helm the film! You don’t necessarily have to be the only person working on it! It’s all optional of course!

Important Media Elements

All Forms of Motion and Animation

The original Thrillumentary mission had to do with doing the film experiment for which documentation was done daily in the form of an eCourse, lasting over a year and a half. Now that, that’s been completed successfully, the new goal is to use the power of video and other forms of animation (animated GIFs etc.) to make a difference in marketing.

Animation Can Sometimes Mean More Sales

One form of animation that exists as of this writing, is the animated logo and slogan of This has proven to be an eye catcher and seems to have had a part in increasing engagement with the site visitors.

People Love Quizzes

So now Thrillumentary has joined forces with and (eLearning) to explore all forms of engagement that are possible. One such success story is the interactive quiz on the site.

Tongue Firmly in Cheek

This quiz asks you 10 questions about you and how you are with website companies and then lets you know at the end if you’d be a good fit with USA create. Of course all of this is meant to be tongue in cheek, and it appears it is being taken as such.

The MultiMedia Movie Making Matrix and Methodology

The reason for’s involvement is that ultimately there is an interest among all participants in being able to make projects such that they easily convert into online courses.  This would be similar to the way that Thrillumentary was on making documentation into installments of the MultiMedia Movie Making Matrix and Methodology.


Most solutions coming out of this partnership are more likely than not to be marketing and promotion oriented. This will be done with lessons taken from the website “How to Get New Customers” (


We at Thrillumentary are, well, thrilled to be a part of this collaboration. We think it is very important that marketing evolves as changes in technology occur. Ever day there is a new way to be in touch with potential customers as well as existing ones.

Getting in Touch

If you have any questions regarding all of this feel free to get in touch with us by subscribing to the Newsletter.

Thrillumentary Deemed a Success

Thrillumentary Did What it Was Supposed to Do

After much analysis we’ve returned to our original determination which is that despite the audio and editing not being completed, Thrillumentary did was it was supposed to do. And not only do just we think so, the Stamas Bros do as well. And not only the bros, so does the think tank from USA eLearning.

An Idea Whose Time Has Come

The real goal of Thrillumentary was to study the process that had been developed to enable an individual to be able to do a full length motion picture with no crew and only actors. This means that one person is a writer, director, producer, actor and so forth.

Remote Viewing by Students

The entire year and a half of the experience was documented both in audio and written form which was a class open to the public online. Participation occurred with folks from all over the world including Australia.

You Do as I Do

The idea being that by seeing how the Thrillumentary filmmaker was doing a movie, the viewer of the process could learn how to do it as well.

Thinkific for Phase One

Thinkific was employed as the L.M.S. of choice (Learning Management System), meaning that audio recordings and PDFs were uploaded to later be downloaded by course participants such as the Stamas Bros.

USA eLearning

Some members of the think tank that spawned the project have gone on to start a new entity known as USA eLearning that will be offering services, eBooks and courses to hand picked people from the general public or inside recommendations.

An eBook is Coming

USA eLearning is slated to release an eBook first. The topic will be Internet Guerrilla Marketing. They are also working on a complete eCourse, but as of this writing there is no sense of when the release date will be.

And the Search Continues

What is known is that there is a lot of enthusiasm for this endeavor. Our best of luck to all concerned!

USAcreate Emerges in New York City

It’s big news that the Platinum PIAs event is now going to be called the Awards Show, but that’s not the only story!


Realizing Your Dream

We’re not the first to get wind of this story out but we may be the most passionate. Very exciting news: is emerging. It means that all those who have an American Dream will, via, be able to use marketing online to get closer and closer to realizing that dream. The slogan by sums it all up: “USA Create Your American Dream Online.”

Breaking out the News After Around Eight Months

It’s incredible how quickly time passes but it’s already been around eight months since last we last left a post. We took a much needed rest after being in the thick off creating a movie using our special process. But we had to break the silence to give you the news that is finally here!

We have the Inside Track

We have to admit we had an inside track regarding We know one of the members of the Blogger Coalition that is working with them. You see, has partnerships with various bloggers and blogs to get out a message of positivity and hope for America. And they’re doing it by supporting blogs in ways that include hosting, marketing and other services at no cost. They are doing so because they believe that it is through unified movements like the Blogger Coalition that it becomes possible to get the word out.

The Blogger Coalition

You may know that the founder of manages the Blogger Coalition which consists of over 30 blogs. Some of these blogs are for clients and others are designated for community purposes and in house projects. What you may not have heard about is that the mission of the Coalition is to not only to give visibility to those who are making a difference, but it is also one of the most direct pathways to becoming nominated for a Platinum PIA (the event that is now called The Awards Show)! So much changes in just eight months!

An ArtisticPreneurial Challenge


Filmmakers of Thrillumentaries have a lot to learn from ArtisticPreneurs. I say this as a maker of Thrillumentaries myself who finds himself learning from ArtisticPreneurial wisdom each and every day.

Thrillumentary Filmmakers are ArtisticPreneurs Too

Even though it goes without saying, the filmmakers who make Thrillumentaries are ArtisticPreneurs also. They have to be to keep their productions running smoothly from development clear through to distribution and marketing. The following piece was originally written for the ArtisticPreneur Newsletter and is shown again here with permission.

A Scary Phrase

Do you know what is one of the phrases that ArtisticPreneurs don’t like to hear? Quite simply it is “We are experiencing technical difficulties.” And at present we ARE experiencing a technical difficulty that is not our fault but is instead that of one of our vendors.

It’s All About Your Response

Without describing in detail what kind of technical challenge we are experiencing, it is suffice to say that it is quite a major one in terms of our art and business. And as is the case whenever an ArtisticPreneur comes up against an obstacle, it is more about what she or he does in response to facing a wall than the wall itself.

Do What is Needed

In our case we are captives of a situation of which we ultimately cannot do anything about other than to maintain communication with the person who built the wall and rally for her or him to do away with the obstruction. That’s our strategy and it is the only one that makes sense to us.

A Quote from “Shark Tank”

As Robert on “Shark Tank” says “Poopoo will happen.” And what we’re going through is definitely poopoo.

Focus on Being Productive

Of course there is also the option to scream out and chastise the perpetrator but this is counterproductive in terms of resolving the circumstance. So instead we are waiting it out and planning our solution.


The problem has been fixed. It took 3 days. It’s such a relief. But why is this our topic for this week? The reason is that it is a living example of the importance for ArtisticPreneurs to bounce back from difficult situations.
We used this cliche earlier but what we do with an obstruction is more important than the obstruction itself. There’s usually a work around for any situation in the arts and business, the two domains of ArtisticPreneurs.

John Yianni Stamas Speaks About Blog Coverage of the Thrillumentary Project


If you would like to get blog coverage publicity for your own DocuMystery or Thrillumentary please read this article and at the bottom of it you’ll find out how to do so.

Exciting News Regarding Movie Process!

The Manhattan Magician blogged on the Movie Process website about the procedure that was undertaken to produce a film. That film is Thrillumentary! Here’s an excerpt:

“The Manhattan Magician’s idea was simple. He would do 3 steps a day until he had a finished film using the Multi Media Movie Making Matrix and Methodology. Things went swimmingly. He would do 3 steps and then his students would do 3 steps. He would do another 3 steps and again his students would follow his lead doing those same 3 steps on their movie projects.”

Additional Blog Coverage by DocuMystery!

The prestigious DocuMystery blog also did a post about us! DocuMystery explores the Filmmaking Methodology for “Thrillumentary” as well as speaks about the inspiration that the original 1968 version of Night of the Living Dead had on Manhattan Magician. In the DocuMystery piece they speak of an in-person interview they had with Judith O’Dea who played the lead role of Barbara in the motion picture. Here is a bit regarding the topics that Ms. O’Dea covered in that interview.

“Ms. O’Dea had lots to say about a number of different topics that included how to break into the industry as an actor, why “Night of the Living Dead” has remained popular for so long, as well as of course some of the filmmaking process strategies that were implemented on “Dead.”

The Platinum PIAs Connection to Thrillumentary

An interesting connection exists in terms of the making of “Thrillumentary” and the Platinum PIAs Community Awards Show for ArtisticPreneurs. turns out that part of “Thrillumentary” was shot at the PIAs back in 2017. This is acknowledged by Lights Camera Read’s Yianni Stamas.

“It’s hard to believe that the Platinum PIAs Community Awards Show for ArtisticPreneurs are tomorrow! Wow, this came quickly.”

Do You Have a Creative Project that is Relevant to the ArtisticPreneur Mission?

So what have we learned from this coverage? Good projects get noticed! So if you have a creative project for which you’d like to get the word out and that you think is relevant to the ArtisticPreneur community, you can do what we did which was to contact the ArtisticPreneur website! acts as a kind of publicist for other sites that are a part of the ArtisticPreneur Movement.

The “Thrillumentary” Educational Journey and How “Night of the Living Dead” Inspired it

Judith O'Dea, star of the original 1968 version of "Night of the Living Dead" that inspired the movie process experiment "Thrillumentary"

Judith O’Dea (pictured) as Barbra Blair in the original 1968 version of “Night of the Living Dead.” Our in person speaking with Ms. O’Dea about the movie’s low budget filmmaking approach is what inspired the development of “Thrillumentary.”

If you wish to contact us after reading this post, we encourage you to do so through Lights Camera Read.

Lights Camera Read and the Inspiration for “Thrillumentary”

And speaking of Lights Camera Read, we did an in person video interview for Lights Camera Read (and its New York Public Library workshops) of Judith O’Dea (pictured). O’Dea played Barbra Blair in the original 1969 version of “Night of the Living Dead” which notably was an extreme low budget movie. While conducting the interview of Ms. O’Dea we became fascinated as she told us about the low budget filmmaking techniques used to make the feature film. This inspiration eventually lead to us taking on the movie process experiment known as “Thrillumentary.”

The DocuMystery known as Thrillumentary

To begin, the Thrillumentary project is perhaps best known as as being a 2016-2017 documystery experiment. An experiment done to explore the making of a feature film that is primarily filmed with a cell phone, with no crew and a budget under $500.00.

Thrillumentary Was Partially Facilitated by a SUNY and a CUNY

State University of New York Empire State College stepped in during the phase following the development process of the DocuMystery Methodology. SUNY Empire State College students were initially going to be filling the positions of a small film crew that would shoot the piece if the screenplay got the green light. Although at this point in the production nothing had been yet spent yet, there was still the thought that some funding might be raised.

The “Thrillumentary” project during this check point in the chronology had a focus on the all-important aspect for fillmmakers today which is to “Create An Audience.” In fact, the primary filmmaker of “Thrillumentary” was asked to speak at an event entitled “Funding For Artists” that was being held on May 19, 2016 at 325 Hudson St in NY. At this event, one of the key topics covered included “How to Build and Audience,” a very important component.

During this stage of the evolution of “Thrillumentary” it was thought that the project might initially be done as an Empire State College web series. But that was soon to change.

Table Read and Platinum PIAs Inclusion

A work-in-progress cast was assembled on February 6, 2017. A table read was done by the actors. The plan was to have members of the ensemble appear “in character” at the 8th Annual Platinum PIAs Awards for ArtisticPreneurs. Also, the filmmaker was now receiving college credit in regards to “Thrillumentary.” He had integrated Thrillumentary into being a part of a Baruch College class he was taking in pursuit of getting a Masters in Arts Management.

Lights Camera Read was Involved

Helping to promote Thrillumentary was the nonprofit sponsored organization Lights Camera Read who announced the table-read in their blog. Lights Camera Read, since 2010, has been producing the annual awards show, the Platinum PIAs.

Movie Process Documents the Process

By the time April, 2017 had arrived, Thrillumentary was in production. As the blog entry of Movie Process attests, at this point Thrillumentary was being shot primarily with a cell phone using a “selfie” approach. Some of the actors were being filmed with a digital camcorder providing a different “look.”

The lead actor was filming himself, a fact which made sense in the context of the Thrillumentary plotline because he is communicating with others by speaking and gazing into his mobile throughout the motion picture.

The Movie Process article went on to say that the key to “no budget” is for the filmmaker to draw upon tapping existing resources. In other words, use what you have. Write your script around locations and props you have easy access to.

But the thing that really makes the “Thrillumentary” Movie Process unique, is that the three-steps-a-day approach that the film used was simultaneously being documented on the Art Gush website. Art Gush, which had been documenting the process on their website since August, 2016. Weekly installments were being produced in the form of courses. It should be noted that during this period, Art Gush was then an educational membership site featuring weekly “How To” videos but is currently transitioning into being an eBook-only provider.

The Blog “Artist Steps” Endorses the Art Gush Documentation Process

A blog entry on the “Artist Steps” blog details the three-steps-a-day approach that is being documented by Art Gush of the Thrillumentary endeavor. Art Gush tracks the methodology.

In Conclusion

Thrillumentary was a whirlwind project from its start in August, 2016 to its early end toward the latter portion of 2017. If nothing else, the filmmaking process of Thrillumentary proved that a feature length movie could be pulled off by working only three steps a day, seven days a week.

Some have asked what has happened to the video documentation that was done by Art Gush. It has been archived offline because Art Gush is now reinventing itself as an eBook publisher. They are completely changing their topic focus and will soon be making eBooks available as instant downloads for small businesses and ArtisticPreneurs who want to get more customers, clients and fans. We wish Art Gush well on this fresh venture.

As we stated in the opening of this article, if you wish to get hold of us you can do so through Lights Camera Read.

And finally in closing we wish to give a special thanks to Judith O’Dea, star of the original 1968 version of “Night of the Living Dead,” for generously giving of her time to talk with us and ultimately inspiring us to take on the “Thrillumentary” project.