Five Dollar Friday

Hello VSB Nation. Because I haven’t finished the hour long wall slide I usually do after the Steelers lose, I’m going to keep it short tonight.

On behalf of everyone involved with our TV pilot project, I’d like to thank everyone who has contributed so far. Due to your collective efforts and a very generous donation ($5,000!!!) from VSB vet Derek Bellard — won’t reveal his screename, but trust me when I say that each VSB regular would recognize it if I did — we’re up to $7,500. We’re aware that all donations, even the smaller ones, come from people’s hard earned money, and we greatly appreciate the fact that you all have enough faith in us to support the project.

With that being said, we’re still quite a ways from our goal. We have less than two weeks to raise over $12,000. But, although this may seem like a daunting task, we think we may actually be able to make a substantial dent in that number today.

How? Well, we are asking everyone — yes. everyone — who visits here today to go to our Indiegogo page and donate $5. Not $10. Not $20. Not $100. Just five bucks. That’s it.

With our usual daily traffic, we’d make a pretty nice dent if we received $5 from even 5% of the people who will visit the site today. I think we can do a little better than 5% percent, though.

Also, if you know anyone who may not be aware of VSB but would be interested in seeing a project like ours make it to the screen — and has five bucks to spare — please share Five Dollar Friday with them. Facebook, Twitter (with the #fivedollarfriday hashtag), email, word of mouth, and pigeons all work.

And, as a special perk, everyone who takes part in Five Dollar Friday today and today only will receive a PDF version of “Your Degrees Won’t Keep You Warm At Night.” If you’ve already read the book and don’t need another copy, I’m sure you might know someone who would, so regift it to them and tell them you bought it. They won’t know the difference.

Thank you, and happy Five Dollar Friday!

—Damon Young (aka “The Champ”)

Also, a special thanks to the following people who’ve supported the project.

+100
Patrick Charles
Courtney Bethel
+50
Canaan McCaslin
Ajamu Matthews
Mona Al Jneibi
Kimberly Johnson
+20
Kalimah Vereen
Joe Edwards
LaToryria Matthews
Angela Dugan
Sebastian White
Marissa Joy
Shawn Morrow
Jason Lemon
Joel Penigar
John Porche
Marcus Williams
Adrean Mabry
Chandra Hampton
Yvonne Kennedy

Five Things That’ll Happen If You Don’t Support VSB: The Pilot

Please help us keep these men off the pole

Although I’ve been taught that positive reinforcement is the best way to motivate and inspire, I’ve found that for me, personally, the experience of being scared shitless seems to help best. For instance, nightmares about the jailhouse jelly man are the reasons why I decided not to be a drug dealer (Well, that and the fact that you can’t be a hustler and lactose intolerant at the same time. Can’t be an efficient corner boy if you need to take breaks every 30 minutes to find a clean toilet), and the little jackals running around with cigarettes and open packs of dog food every time I go to Target are why I don’t think I have any kids.

Anyway, I’m bringing this up because, while wanting to support us and our project is a noble reason to give, perhaps knowing what would happen if we didn’t receive the necessary support may be a more effective strategy.

With this in mind, here’s five things that’ll likely happen if you don’t support VSB: The Pilot

1. You will die

Now, I realize this is a little misleading. Seeing that all of us are going to pass away someday anyway, you’re going to eventually die and shit whether you support our project or not. But, with all that being said, the fact remains that if you don’t visit our Indiegogo page, you will die. We will too, actually. So, well, support us.

Or die.

2. Lead actors David Hunter Jr. and Leo Breckenridge will be forced to return to their normal jobs (stripping and doing quality control on samples of gluten-free turkey chili passed out at Trader Joe’s, respectively)

Both extremely talented young actors, David and Leo are very much looking forward to being a part of this project. David (who’s playing “Brandon,” the guy loosely based on me), is a Hampton University grad and received his B.A. in Theatre Arts Performance. After graduating, David began performing with the Improv Troupe, “5-6-7-8” at several venues in the DC Metro area including the DC Capitol Fringe Fest and the Improv’s home base, the Washington DC Improv and won several awards for his work.

Since re-locating to Los Angeles, he’s been very busy adding a number of short films, independent feature length films, theatre productions and commercial credits to his resume.

Leo (who’s playing “Andre,” the character loosely based on Panama) began his professional career touring the United States as “Emmett Till” in the critically acclaimed stage production “Anne & Emmett” under the direction of OBIE award winner Robbie McCauley, and then three time TONY award winner Hinton Battle. He went on to play “Duke Ellington” in the award winning film short “U Street.” He more recently made his Los Angeles stage/film debut in the controversial production “TORN: The Willie Lynch Letter.”

Thing is, despite David and Leo’s obvious talents, the adverse economy hasn’t allowed each of them to leave their day jobs yet. This project will do a lot in making that happen, so if you want to keep David off the pole and Leo out of those God-awful Trader Joe’s quality control meetings were they make him sit Indian-style for five hours straight while he samples meat from Youngstown-bred orphan turkeys, support the series.

3. Liz will put a curse on you

I’m still not exactly sure which religion Liz practices (and I’m not sure if she knows either), but I do know that whatever religion it happens to be, it involves curses.

4. Panama and I will organize a fund-raiser/BBQ for VSB Nation in the last week of October, when the weather is still nice enough to have an outdoor event. Except by organize a fundraiser/BBQ for VSB Nation I mean “pretend like we’re really inviting you all to D.C. for a fundraiser/party, when we’re really just gathering you all in one place so we can rob you.”

It would behoove you (and your pockets, wallets, and pride) to believe me.

5. Tyler Perry will remake “Love Jones.” (And “Boomerang.” And “Breakin’ 2: Electric Boogaloo.” And “The Passion of The Christ.” And “Citizen Kane.” And Kim Kardashian and Ray J’s sex tape.)

Look, we’ve already seen how hysterical people got at the mere suggestion that Tyler Perry was going to remake “Love Jones,” but trust me when I tell you that if VSB: The Pilot doesn’t happen, you WILL see Madea and Darius Lovehall (played by Chris Brown) on the same screen. I can’t go into exactly why it’s going to happen — or how I know this will happen — but it will, and you can’t say you weren’t warned by me first.

Scared shitless yet? Good. Now go and unscare yourself, or I’ll track down the jailhouse jelly man and have him guest post this week.

—Damon Young (aka “The Champ”)

***If you haven’t already, check out “Signs He Just Might Hate Women” — my latest at Ebony.com, and “Very Smart Brotha Gives Very Smart Dating Advice to a Very Single Mom (Part II)” over at Black and Married With Kids***

And for those folks in the DMV, this Saturday, October 6 is another edition of Reminisce, our all 90s everything hip-hop/r&b/dancehall party at Liv Nightclub in Washington, DC. It’s free before 11pm with RSVP (http://reminiscedc.eventbrite.com) and there’s an open bar from 930-1030pm with no dress code. Come to party, leave to remember. Reminisce. Peep the flyer and FB invite: http://www.facebook.com/events/325601340869364/

VSB: The Series

Hello everybody,

Today, in conjunction with Solo Journey Productions (an LA-based production company made up of Andrea (Andi) Thornton – an avid VSB reader and regular – and founder Earl Bolden), we’re embarking on a journey, and we’d love for everyone to join us on the ride. This is the official launch of the first phase of our VSB: The Series project.

What exactly is VSB: The Series? Well, with the three videos we’ve dropped so far — short clips that debuted on VSB with no introduction or explanation — we’ve givien you all a small glimpse into some of the work we’ve created. Each were vastly different with no real connection to the others, short of the lead characters of Brandon and Andre, two individuals loosely based on The Champ and I. (And by “loosely based” I mean…well, you’ll see what I mean). Damon and Andrea have spent dozens of hours scripting episode upon episode of a prospective show based upon the lives of two full-time bloggers/authors and the relationship pitfalls they undergo along the way. Basically, “relationship experts” who, for whatever reason, fail to exhibit that expertise in their own relationship lives.

Initially, the goal was to create a webseries, much like the entire internet seems to be doing right now. But, that just didn’t feel right. See, we’re not trying to stop at the ‘net. We’re looking bigger. We collectively decided to shoot for the moon and create a television pilot.

Yes. A pilot. We decided to shoot for the moon, because even if you miss, you’re still amongst the stars. And, for this analogy to work, let’s collectively disregard the fact that the moon is actually closer than any star.

Anyway, we’ve crafted a well-written and soon to be well-produced project in hopes of being one of the bastions of hope on television we all claim to want so badly. Since our inception, VSB has managed to accomplish so much and influence so much in this online game that I find myself surprised at times. I also find myself extremely appreciative of the individuals who have helped us achieve goals we didn’t even know that we had.

It’s this belief in us, in Damon and I, and what we bring to the table, that makes us believe doing this is not only possible, but inevitable. We’re writers. Writers write. Artists are. Singers sing.

VSBs VSB.

And, we appreciate you for that confidence and inspiration.

Now comes the fun part. We are attempting to raise $20,000 to shoot, produce, and edit this pilot. That is our goal. Some of that money obviously will come from the pockets of Damon and I. Some will come from the pockets and support of family and friends. But, since neither of us have cousins with NBA contracts, we’re going to need your help. We have a significantly sized community at VSB. If we could get everybody to chip in at least $5, well, we’d run this town like ‘Ye, Ri, and Z. Or ‘Yeriz. That was doper in my head than it turned out.

If you have more to give, please by all means, donate as much as you are willing and able to donate. I’d personally come do a jig for everybody that donated. And, I’d at the very least call everybody personally to thank them.

Luckily we came up with a list of incentives that won’t require me to do that, though I may still do a dancing jig video if we achieve our goal. We’ve created an Indiegogo account with a video of Andrea and I explaining some of this in more depth.

Point is, we need your help. VSB is nothing without its community and, regardless of what we do, that won’t change. This pilot is an extension of our community. If the running back wins MVP, he has to thank his line and take his line out to dinner.

Help us take you out to dinner!

Thanks again for the support you’ve given and what you will give. You could have been anywhere in the world, but you’re here with us, and we appreciate you for that.

See you in Paris.

-VSB P (for the entire VSB squad and Solo Journey Productions)

Again, check out ourIndiegogo page for a video and more explanationof what we’re going to accomplish with the funds that are donated and where we intend to take the project!