It’s hard to get through a political campaign and election without a hiccup here and there. As we see Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump go back to back this season, let’s revisit some of the most famous campaign blunders of all time.Read More
No culture ever vanishes completely… vestiges can be found if one looks hard enough. Recently, however, the Islamic State and a plethora of other terrorist organizations in the Middle East have been on a rampage of destroying culture they deem unfit for or contrary to their mission. I was in the hospital last year when ISIS dynamited the ancient temple complex at Palmyra. Needless so say, it did not help to expedite my recovery.
A culture vastly overlooked by many historians and academics alike is the rich Jewish culture that used to flourish throughout cities in the Middle East, North Africa, and the Balkans. Only seventy years ago, there were still thriving Jewish communities in cities across the Muslim world. Some were very shaken, like in Baghdad, some on the precipice of collapse, like Damascus, and some would soon be completely abandoned, like in Alexandria. Instead of abandonment, there's a new problem facing Jewish heritage sites in the Middle East: the merciless destruction of Jewish culture by terrorist organizations.Read More
Did you know that the American Government in the largest PR firm in the world? Take a look at the “Federal Funding Accountability and Transparency Act of 2006,” the government spends over 2 billion dollars annually on Public Relations, and that number only increases by year.Read More
We need to reanalyze how we understand urban acts of terror, and we also need to rethink the attention given to smaller cities in national strategies for protection and defense. Smaller cities, in a very simple sense, need PR. They tend to be overlooked by national or federal defense agencies, and many governments just assume that they couldn’t possibly exist on any terrorist’s agenda. Nice proves the fallacy of that assumption, and the lethal consequences.Read More
The rain was pouring, and my legs were extremely sore. My friend Gavi and I were staying at a hostel that promised a free drink at a bar down the street. We were exhausted after wandering around aimlessly. The Park du Champ de Mars was closed off for some football game screening, therefore making the Eiffel Tower almost as impossible to get to as Mount Everest. It just wasn’t a very fun day… especially considering that I was supposed to be in the “city of blinding lights.”Read More
#Hashtags are powerful tools. The search for content in the deep pools of media, social sites, and internet marketing is becoming exponentially easier. People use hashtags to help discover recipes, fashion, music and beauty advice in over crowded social sites. Unknown musicians, local foodies and artists are finding ways to break out all through the power of hashtags. From the undisclosed to the undiscovered, hashtags bring news out of the shadows and bring personalities out of the crowds.Read More
It is no secret that printed press is starting to meet its demise as we continually immerse ourselves in this new digital age. The first newspaper was printed in 1704, in Boston. Where and when will the last one be printed?Read More
House Democrats made history this week when they demonstrated a “Sit-In” on the House floor. The main goal of the Dems was to bring legislation to the floor that would expand background checks and ban gun sales to anyone who is on the no-fly watch list. They were hoping to vote on these measures before the House had its summer recess, lasting until July 5th. Speaker Paul Ryan and the rest of the House Republicans did everything in their power to stop the Democrats, and more importantly to delay the vote on gun control.Read More
The main goal for any marketer is to channel marketing activities to get customers interested in their offerings. The emphasis now, is on how they are doing it. Rather than a people-centric focus, growth hackers have transitioned to a techno-centric approach. As growth hacking is rooted in best marketing practices, there is a very high chance that it will stick around. Read on to learn more about what growth hacking is and what you can learn from it as a marketer.Read More
My favorite part about this internship is that I have the ability to speak my mind about everything and anything. Even if it’s not a project I’m directly involved in, my opinion is still heard. But it’s more than just heard... it is taken into consideration when making a decision. Our CEO and Founder, Warren Cohn, makes sure that we are always taking the initiative to do things on our own and make decisions by ourselves. His trust in his interns may seem irresponsible to some; but if you were with us in the office every day it would be apparent why he chooses to give us such freedom. We work together, ask questions, and are constantly sharing ideas on our projects. We have multiple team meetings on a weekly basis to stay connected and well-informed about everything going on in our world at Herald Strategies.Read More
With our society becoming increasingly more about consumerism, it is impossible to go anywhere, online or not, without facing an advertisement. Advertising is a growing business and industry, but it did not start out of nowhere. Exactly how old is is advertising? And where in the world was it created?Read More
Why do certain urbanscapes offer more opportunity for violence and crime than others? This past week at Herald Strategies, we've been trying to get to the heart of this question. Back in February, a close friend and client was assaulted in Brooklyn Bridge Park. Rabbi Aaron L Raskin was approached by teenagers, and punched in the face. He isn't the first victim of violence in the park, and he certainly isn't the last. This past spring, park-goers have been pelted by basketballs, threatened with knives, and in a sort of West-Bank-like situation, assailed with heavy rocks. But the most recent case was the fatal shooting of Michelle Marks. She was walking home from work last Monday night when she was murdered by her boyfriend...Read More
5 Biggest Marketing Mistakes Ever Made
With the new age of advertising, companies will go through big measure to make themselves stand out. However, for some of them, these ideas ended up being huge blunders that had to be sorted out quickly.Read More
First Apartment Checklist: 5 Key Points to Ask Yourself
So you’ve set out on your own and are ready to be your own person. Congratulations! Now that you’ve made the big decision, it’s time to start the formidable search for your first apartment — for which you’ll need a checklist. Before you stress out, remember that millions of people have been through it (and are going through it as we speak). With a little preparation and some help from the experts, you’ll be signing a lease to your very own place in no time. Here are five key points to remember for your first apartment checklist.
Your First Apartment Checklist: What to Ask Yourself
1. What’s going to be the total cost?
Entering the “adult” world can be tough at first, especially if you’re new at handling your own finances or creating a budget. A lot of things come down to money, and apartments are no exception. There’s a reason cost should be at the top of your first apartment checklist — so really think about your financial situation and be realistic about what you can afford. For some, moving out on your own may take a while. In fact, the practice of rooming with the parental units for a bit post-graduation to save money isn’t that uncommon (Thanks, Mom and Dad!). As you start to browse apartments, here are some other things to keep in mind:
“A few mistakes first renters can make are related to underestimating the cost, not getting their priorities straight, not carefully reading the lease, or not touring the apartment before moving in”, says Yariv Bensira, a real estate expert from Brooklyn, New York.
Bensira recommends taking note about things like security deposits, maintenance fees, or other upfront costs before you commit.
“Make sure you have the right questions in mind when you’re visiting the apartment so you don’t waste your time”.
When you’re ready to take the plunge, you’ll need to think first about how much you can spend on rent and factor in moving costs. Sometimes looking for an apartment means using a realtor, and that involves paying a broker’s fee, which is often 12-15 percent of your annual rent. A realtor or broker can be a useful person during your apartment search because they will be able to show you a variety of apartments in your price range so you can avoid falling in love with a place you can’t afford. With that said, don’t forget to factor in the additional cost if you choose to rent through the realtor — which can easily add hundreds to your monthly rent.
Moving costs can also vary, depending on if you need to hire movers or rent a storage unit in case of temporary situations. This is where research and creativity come in handy. Shop around and see if you can find some deals. Some units run specials that offer a highly reduced price the first month, and charge a regular fee every month thereafter.
Another great option is to bribe your friends, coworkers, or family members with their poison of choice (be it pizza, beer, or something a bit more wholesome) in exchange for helping you move. Having a few willing and able-bodied buddies can be a great way to save on movers, whether you rent a truck or have a friend with a van.
Unaccounted For Costs
Another important tip for budgeting is to factor in extra costs. Are utilities included? If so, are they all included, or is it only heat and hot water, leaving you with the electricity? In the second case, it’s important to factor in changes in your electricity bill, especially in peak hot/cold seasons when your A/C or heater work overtime.
2. What do you know about the management?
Next key time on your first apartment checklist: What’s the management style of your building? Is there a live-in super or landlord? Is the building owned by a property management company? An unfortunate reality is that some renters don’t know who they’re paying rent to once they’ve moved into their new apartment — and that’s not okay. Who will you talk to if there’s an issue about “missing rent”? Always have a written record of who you’ll write rent checks to and who is responsible for giving you a rent receipt.
Getting Maintenance Done
The other reason you need absolute clarity on your management is so you know who to hold responsible for maintenance requests. You should know how to do simple upkeep like unclogging a shower drain, changing light bulbs, hanging pictures, etc, but when your building has bed bugs or you’re out of hot water, you should have a reliable point of contact.
Don’t assume that your potential apartment will be outfitted with the latest appliances and amenities. Ask about laundry facilities, elevators, trash/recycling pick-up and access to communal areas. If these are important to you, you’ll want to consider the added expenses in cities where these are highly-valued luxuries, not everyday amenities.
Is Building a New Home a Better Deal Than Buying an Existing One?
Just the other day, a friend of mine argued that building a new home is more cost efficient than buying an existing property.
Her new home is almost finished, and will be move-in ready in about three weeks — so she’s understandably excited. Plus, she said, she’ll be saving all kinds of money because she built.
While I understood her excitement, I found that part puzzling. Was building a new home really cheaper? Please say it isn’t so.
She went on to explain that her new home came with a warranty on its construction and individual components, which would save her money if her home had any structural defects.
“Plus, I won’t have to replace a roof or an air conditioner for a decade,” she said. Since everything in her new house would be straight from the box, she felt sheltered from many of the surprise costs of home ownership we all complain about.
Why Building Usually Costs More
I wanted to dig deeper, so I reached out to an array of experts on the topic. As I suspected, there is no hard and fast rule. Just like the “rent versus buy” conundrum, the cost of building versus buying depends on a number of factors – some of which aren’t even in our control.
Still, the numbers don’t really lie. According to the National Association of Home Builders, the median price of a new home in the United States was $301,400 in February of 2016, while the median price of an existing home was $212,300.
That disparity can be explained at least partially by the idea that those who build new are often investing in larger and more luxurious homes. The median age of an existing, owner-occupied home in the U.S. is 37 years old, according to the NAHB. Back when such a house was built, around 1979, the median size of a newly constructed home was 1,645 square feet. In 2014, the median-sized new home was up to 2,453 square feet. A home that’s nearly 50% bigger is certainly going to cost more.
However, most experts concur that building new simply costs more on the front end. Here are a few reasons why:
Builder profits: Any new build is going to include some expectation for profit, which is part of the reason building a home costs more than buying an existing one, says founder of Beacon Real Estate, Stephen Maury.
“One contributing factor is the profit margin that a homebuilder will necessarily tack on to their cost of construction,” says Maury. “Sellers of older homes are less concerned with replacement costs than they are with capturing a profit on their investment,” he says. “Also, those homeowners will have benefited from value appreciation in the years since they built or purchased their home.”
More stringent energy policies or building codes: One instance where building new can cost more is when codes and rules have changed over the years, says Maury. “Depending on the age of the existing home, new homes may be required to be built to a more stringent energy code, to withstand higher winds, or at a higher elevation based on new FEMA projections for flood risks.”
Then, there are upgrades that are voluntary. One current trend is building “green,” or environmentally friendly homes, says Andrew Leff, national builder executive for Bank of America. Many newly-built homes come with energy certifications covering everything from roofs to appliance packages, while many existing homes were originally built to lower standards.
Then again, investing in an energy-friendly home could be a better long-term investment, says Leff. “While environmentally-friendly homes may cost more upfront to build, it could save you more money in the long run in terms of energy bills.”
The cost of land: When you buy an existing home, the cost of land comes with it. Buying a new home, on the other hand, generally means hunting down the perfect plot first. And that can be expensive, says Yariv Bensira of real estate firm Hyde Capital and investment management firm Lennox Companies.
“From my experience, if you’re looking to buy or build in a high demand area, the cost of purchasing land and then having to build a new home is more expensive than buying an existing home,” says Bensira. “The cost of the land [by itself] might be comparable to or near the cost of an existing home, so if you add in the building costs, permits, and time involved, you’re looking at a much more expensive proposition.”
Our client, The Closer Movie (TheCloserMovie.com) won 4 awards at the Buffalo-Niagara Film Festival this past Sunday. They won in the following categories:
1. Best Feature Film 2. Best Actor (Patrick Duke Conboy) 3. Best Supporting Actress (Jessica Park ) and 4. Best Director (Eli Hershko). We are extremely proud of the whole cast, crew, actors, and of course Isaac Broyn (IsaacBroyn.com) the executive producer and Eli Hershko (conjured visions.com) the director for this extraordinary work and film.
Its not just us, others are recognizing The Closer Movie and we are attaching some new articles below, which include The Brooklyn Daily Eagle (our hometown paper), Alegemeiner, and The Jewish Standard (Times of Israel).
Check out the following articles for more info, reviews and coverage of "The Closer":
The Brooklyn Daily Eagle: http://bit.ly/1r0hoGO
The Jewish Standard: http://bit.ly/1U6NoEG
Our client, real estate investor and developer, Yariv Bensira, was recently interviewed as a real estate expert and investing guru in US News and World Report. Yariv is a principal of Hyde Capital, LLC. a real estate investment firm. He is a leading expert and thought-leader in the world or real estate, real estate investing, development and homebuilding.
April 18, 2016, at 9:12 a.m.
As winter blustered through his Cleveland hometown, Steve Novotny may have been a world away, pulling his sailboat up to a dock in sunny Florida on his way to the Bahamas.
Four years ago he plunged into the rental business as a handyman by buying a house that had a decent location but needed huge repairs. "It took all of my savings to buy it," he says. "I actually lived in my truck while I was renting houses out for the first two years."
Now he looks for so-called "handyman specials" – houses with at least three bedrooms that are in nice locations but need repair. He now owns nine houses and the rental income allows him to sail around the country.
Many investors like Novotny are seeking to get into the rental market to create passive income to fuel their lifestyles, and the rental market in the United States is still rising.
Since 2005, the number of households that rent has hiked to 37 percent, a jump of 9 million and the largest increase by decade since 1965, according to a December study by Joint Center for Housing Studies of Harvard University. This is on track to be the "strongest decade of renter growth ever recorded," according to the study, and hikes in rent are outpacing inflation.
Traditionally, investors have looked for quick returns by flipping houses after a swift remodeling. "While flipping can be lucrative, it can also tie up your money if the home doesn't sell immediately," says Corey Brinkman, market vice president of Renters Warehouse, a property management company in St. Louis.
"Plus, it's a one-time benefit once the house sells. Renting out a property can provide income month after month and free up your cash flow to invest in other places," he says.
But investors should enter the market with caution because it is easy to underestimate the costs of repairs and upkeep on your rental unit. "A good rule of thumb is to calculate anywhere from 7 to 15 percent for these unforeseen repairs, depending on the age of the rental property," Brinkman says.
Here is some advice from experts to keep your rental money flowing in the right direction.
Keep your goals in mind. Investors need to know why they are in the rental market and what they want to accomplish financially, says Wendell De Guzman, chief executive of the real estate investment firm, PCI in Chicago.
If the goal is to live passively off the rental income, then investors should know how much income they'll need. The tax rate changes as income becomes passive, says De Guzman, and "your tax rate can be zero percent" because you can deduct the depreciation from your taxable income.
For example, an investor who pays $275,000 for a house would divide it by 27.5 (years) for depreciation and shield $10,000 in income annually.
Put your financial house in order. Knowing your income and expenses will help you get loans and, subsequently, buy more property, De Guzman says. Don't forget to include taxes, insurance, maintenance, management, utilities and the reserves for major repairs, like a new roof.
It also pays to learn financing and talk with mortgage brokers to find programs to buy the property with as little money down as possible. First-time homeowners might buy a four-unit apartment building, get an Federal Housing Administration loan with a 3.5-percent down payment, collect the security deposit and, if you close early enough in the month, use the first month's prorated rent toward the down payment, De Guzman says.
Learn your market's vacancy rates and property ratings. There are areas rated A through F, and they all sell and rent for different rates. Keep your vacancy rate to 5 percent or less, De Guzman says, so you won't be stuck with an unrented property for months at a time.
If you don't want to be a property babysitter, avoid the areas with the lesser ratings. Areas with F ratings often have the most violent crimes in the neighborhood. "It's tough being there. You have to watch your investment like a hawk," he says.
A-rated areas often mean higher sales prices but lead to higher rents and more regular tenants. "You'll have fewer headaches if you're dealing with renters who can afford a more expensive rent. You don't want to be dealing with the bottom-of-the-barrel (properties) if you plan on being an absentee landlord," Novotny says.
Look for real estate with great potential. Properties that tend to do well are near schools, expanding retail or trendy points of interest, local transportation, or surrounding malls, says Daniel Sanchez, commercial associate partner of Partners Trust Commercial in Beverly Hills, California.
Once it's yours, maintain the exterior and keep your costs down with desert landscaping, low-flow toilets and tankless water heaters, he says.
Keep your options open. Consider smaller markets within secondary markets, how well the house was built and how much people are paying rent in the neighborhood. "I want to be in the $800-to-$900 range in the secondary market," says Yariv Bensira, owner of Hyde Capital in Memphis, Tennessee, who came to the country to attend college and now who owns and handles 4,000 units with a private investment fund in Israel.
Before buying, he checks how well the house was framed, who the tenants would be and what he can add to the property to reasonably increase the rent. "You're not going to change the demographic or bring in completely new people. The question is whether the existing tenants can pay a little more for a better product," he says.
Don't be lured by low interest rates. If a property is already 30 years old and would cost the same to build it, then don't buy it, Bensira says. Make sure your home has enough value to get the returns you want when you eventually sell the property.
Renovate the kitchen and bathrooms to get higher rent. Quality granite in the kitchencould save you resurfacing costs, and bring in an extra $50 to $90 per month, Bensira says. Be sure to know how much renovations cost so that you know if you're getting a fair bid.
Screen the tenants. Have an application process and use a service such as National Tenant Network to look for civil and criminal lawsuits, recent collection activity and credit scores above 600, says De Guzman. "Look for people who were down financially, but now are on their way up with a good job and some savings, who have been paying their bills for the past four years," he says.
Our firm, Herald Strategies is currently looking for resumes and to hire experienced campaign fundraisers to work on a few of the campaigns we will be doing this Summer in NYC. Please submit all resumes on our Jobs/Contact page and we will reach out to you.
We are looking for both interns and staffers who have experience with campaign fundraising, to include donor research, planning and organizing fundraising events, maintaining fundraising databases (NGP, ActBlue, etc). If you have worked in this field before, please submit your resume and share your previous experiences with us in detail. Let us know exactly what you were required to do, who the candidate/committee was, how much you raised, how did you raise the money and so on.
Please feel free to share this post with your friends or anyone who you think might be interested in working in this field.
We look forward to reviewing your application.
We're pleased to announce that our firm, Herald Strategies, has been working hard to promote "The Closer" movie, which is a film about the 2008 real estate market boom and bust, and the greed and malicious behaviors that led to the crash and the Great Recession. The film's director, Eli Hershko and executive producer, Isaac Broyn - and many of the main cast members - are currently in Palm Beach for the Palm Beach International Film Festival. The film will be premiering at the film festival on Saturday, April 9th at 1:55pm at the Cinemark Theater in Boca Raton. This is the world premiere and a very exciting time for "The Closer."
Through our efforts and connecting with the nice people at ABC affiliate, WPBF-ABC 25 news in Palm Beach, we were able to get director, Eli Hershko and executive producer, Isaac Broyn an opportunity to discuss the film and the world premiere with morning show host/anchor Stephanie Berzinski. See the link to their interview here: The Closer Movie on WPBF-ABC 25 in Palm Beach.
To learn more about the film or for press inquiries, please visit: TheCloserMovie.com and/or contact Warren H. Cohn at Warren@HeraldStrategies.com.
The Closer is a tale of friendship and betrayal between three friends set against the backdrop of the biggest boom & bust in the subprime real estate market. Our film is inspired by true events and approaches the 2008 housing crisis from a street-level view in low income areas of Brooklyn, NY, and is written from the perspective of developers, lenders, and home buyers. There is love, friendship, pain, hardship, and the testing of friendships and trust...all wrapped into a thrilling ride that will glue you to your seat.
The Closer was written and produced by Writer/Director/Producer Eli Hershko and Brooklyn-based real estate experts & investors turn filmmakers, Isaac Broyn and Victor barnes who witnessed the 2008 housing crisis first-hand and felt compelled to share their incredible and trying experiences.
Directed by: Award winning director Eli Hershko who’s debut film Titled “carl(a) has garnered himthe 2013 Canada International Film Festival Award of Excellence for Feature Film, and 2013 Best original screen play in the Long Island International Film Expo as well as earned him nominations in the best feature and best director categories.
Writer/Director/Producer – Eli Hershko
Writer/Executive Producer – Isaac Broyn
Writer – Victor Baranes
Palm Beach International Film Festival – April 9th @ 1:55pm
Buffalo Niagara Film Festival - April 17th @ 1:30pm
Manhattan Film Festival - April 19th @ 9pm
OFFICIAL MOVIE SITE: http://TheCloserMovie.com @TheCloserMovie
95 MINUTES / ENGLISH
The Closer is a passion project of Isaac Broyn and Myself. The movie was self financed and shot over 28 days pulling favors all over town. Isaac and his partner Victor who worked as real estate developers in Brooklyn for over 20 years met me when I was working part time in the field of real estate while shooting films and photographing celebrities for magazine covers. Isaac always wanted to make movies and the 2008 real estate burst gave both of us the impetus to come together on a project that involved a world we all knew very well. Ironically the real estate burst planted the seed to “THE CLOSER” in our minds separately since we didn’t meet till 2010. We both had this very similar idea of what movie we wanted to make on our own. When we finally met in 2010 and realized that our ideas for a movie are practically the same, we knew that fate has brought us together to make this film which combines our knowledge of the real estate world mixed in with the pure desire to make a film so we decided to collaborate.
As developers, Isaac saw the activity from the street. We have all seen and heard the way the banks and Wall Street fueled the collapse through greed and financial schemes, but the truth is that they could only create the market because Wall Street’s greed trickled down to the level of the same people in the industry who were building the buildings and selling the properties. Since no stories have yet been told from the street level, stories of how the activities we read about in the newspaper and heard on the street affected the subprime low income areas like East New York in Brooklyn and the similar areas around the country, we wanted to show this calamity from the street perspective. It is important to understand that greed can make people and institutions do awful things.
Most people don't realize that when you make a film, you are making three different films at the same time. The first is when write it. The second is when you are filming the movie and modify the story along the way. The third time is in the editing room where you put together all the pieces and mostly end up with a different movie you started with.
The Closer was inspired by the true collapse of the real estate market specifically speaking local to our market. We hope it as entertaining as it is educational, and that our experiences can shed light on what happens at the very basic levels, aided by Wall Street’s greed that fueled this craziness.
Eli Hershko - Director/Producer/Writer/Cinematographer
Originally from Israel, Eli graduated from Haifa school of the arts joined the Israeli Defense Force where he served as a photographer and later as a teacher of photography. After his Honorable discharge as a Sergeant he studied at WIZO Art College in Haifa, then graduated from the New York Film Academy Digital Film Program.
Eli has worked as a professional photographer, shooting album and magazine covers for popular artists including: Biggie Smalls, Bjork, Public Enemy, Naughty by Nature, SpaceHog, The Backstreet Boys, Cake, Garbage and Tony Bennett.
In 2012 he finished post production on his first feature film titled “Carla” starring 2012 EMMY nominated actor Mark Margolis and 2013 EMMY nominated actor Lavern Cox of “Orange is the New Black” Netflix Original Series. The film was entered in the 2013 film festival circuits and had won awards. The film was theatrically released in December 2015, and currently it is being distributed on various VOD platforms.
Working under the banner of Conjured Visions Films, Hershko continues to write, produce, direct and shoot TV spots as well as create viral films and web content for various clients and ad agencies.
In July 2014, Principal photography for Hershko’s new feature film titled “The Closer” wrapped, and the film is being entered in the film festival circuit. It is slated to screen nationally and internationally through 2016.
Pre Production has commenced on Hershko newest project titled "Fairy Tale" slated to shoot in the 3rd Q of 2016.
Isaac Broyn - writer, executive producer
For over seventeen years, Isaac Broyn has been involved in the real estate business. He opened his first office in Queens New York in 1998 when he focused on purchasing neglected, multi-family properties and converting them into remarkable homes, inside and out.
Most of Isaac’s properties are focused in Brooklyn, New York, and since 2002, he has been building brand new multi-family homes between six and eight families, as well as multi-unit apartments, penthouses, condominiums, duplexes, and commercial space.
Isaac has gained a tremendous amount of insight in this market, and continues to create tasteful architecture. So much that he has built business and personal friendships with the people and companies who help make his dream possible.
His experiences in real estate and renovating in developing areas of Brooklyn have given him a unique insight into the issues that directly caused the 2008 in the industry. He decided to write a screenplay with his colleagues about those experiences, and The Closer is his inaugural film project. Mr. Broyn was directly involved in the making of The Closer throughout the process, which included being on location every day of filming, working with the actors and on screenplay edits on set. His insights and deep knowledge of the real estate industry were invaluable and this film wouldn’t have come to fruition without this knowledge and his financing and producing of this film.
Victor Baranes - Writer, Producer
Victor, immigrated to the United States at age 22 from Israeli, having first served as a Master Engineer in a fighting Jet Squadron in the Israeli Air Force. Having been honorably discharged at the rank of Master Sergeant, Victor pursued his dream of being a professional surfer. As a leader of the sport in Israel, he had won professional sponsorship and moved from Israel to Hawaii to compete. Following a short surfing career, he moved to New York and got started in the real estate business, forming a partnership with Isaac Broyn.
Together they established a real estate development company that generating more than $35 million in revenue per year, employing more than 60 people. Recently, his company expanded into developing low rise condominium building throughout Brooklyn.
As a hands-on, creative entrepreneur Victor is heavily involved in the architecture and design of his projects.
In addition to real estate, Victor develops games and applications for the internet and iPhone, and helped produce THE CLOSER feature film, as his entrée into film making.
Something happened during filming – Eli Hershko (director)
The most important aspect for me when I tell a story is whether or not people believe the characters and the story. I write the script in a vacuum; period. And no matter how hard you work to flesh out a character; you are just one person, one writer trying to capture many voices. Often, when I have my final draft I do a table read in order to “hear” the characters. Later when the movie is cast I do not rehearse the lines. I refused to do so. Instead I would spend time with each "talking Character" over many weeks during pre production period, over lunches or coffee, and we will talk about the motivation of the character and whether the dialogue works or not. I ask the actors if they feel comfortable saying the dialogue I’ve written for them and often I ask them for their own words and ideas. I want them to mesh with the character they portray in the movie and by allowing them to use their own words and improvise, I help make this process easier on them.
Movies are often not filmed chronologically; this is done in order to accommodate locations, schedules and budgets but certain scenes should not be forced to accommodate scheduling. For instance, I now know never to ask my actors to film the final scene of the movie in the first week of shooting. It just doesn't work and I had to learn that the hard way on set where we had to shut down a production day since it didn’t work emotionally for the character... luckily we picked up the day towards the end of production. Once the actors become familiar with the film and the characters, and the “emotional growth” of the character was more chronological, it felt so much more true and real and as such it came across coherently on camera.
For my next feature project titled “Fair Tale” I am going to completely abandon all traditional film making and approach my next project in a very different way. In my quest for the ultimate "live in the moment" which is the Holy Grail for actors and directors alike, I intend to explore that phrase and put it to the test. (Shooting will start towards the end of 2016).
The Funnier Side of Stunts, on a small budget
This is an action drama, and even though it was a shoe-string budget we still needed some action sequences. We have one here that called for the main character of The Closer to get hit by a car, and didn't want to have our lead man really get hit with a car over and over again, so we hired a wonderful stuntman named Paul Mann. On our budget, we had only an hour and half to execute this scene, which was a challenge.
Paul assured me that he’s be alright and that I should not worry about him or the stunt, but having a Jewish mother made me worry anyway. I was asking a person to get hit by a car at 40mph over and over again until the scene is perfect. Nerve wracking!
Two weeks before the scene, Paul saw my anxiety and told me about a new technology; a special protective suit that is soft and rubbery under your clothes, but hardens into armor when it is impacted by a blunt force. Without hesitating I ordered the suit for him, and Paul got hit by the car time and time again until it was right and believable. Out of gratitude I gave him the protective suit as a gift when we finished the shoot.
Ryan F. Johnson
Patrick Duke Conboy
Andrew Scott Francis
Kevin Martinez Rivera
Adam P. Murphy
Jay Wells L'Ecuyer
Andres Emanuel Pina
Timothy C. Floyd
Emilio Ramon Gomez
Brett Roman Williams
Filmmakers & Crew
Isaac Broyn, Executive Producer
Sharon Broyn, Co-Producer
Eli Hershko, Producer
Eytan Millstone, Producer
Kip Baker, Associate Producer
David Spaltro, Consulting Producer
Brie Puneky, Makeup Artist
Ashley K. Thomas, Key Makeup Artist
SECOND UNIT DIRECTORS OR ASSISTANT DIRECTORS
Jay Wells L'Ecuyer, Second Assistant Director
Ruben Rodas, Second Unit Director
Niki Broyn, Set Designer
Rafi Chen, Sound Designer
Paul Mann, Stunt Coordinator
CAMERA AND ELECTRICAL DEPARTMENT
Nikki Broyn, Still Photographer
Mike Gomes, Camera Operator