July 15, 2008

Lights, Camera, Locals in Action

By Brian Neill, The Bradenton Herald, Fla.

Jul. 15--Mark Ibasfalean is probably best known locally as a stone-crabber and fisherman.

But he's also recently taken on the role of star-maker.

Ibasfalean and his brother, Bryan, have started a business called True Hollywood Screen Test. The enterprise, still in its infancy, allows aspiring actors, singers and reality show contestants to film performances of themselves for placement in a video database that can be viewed by talent scouts.

"For someone who seriously wants to see how someone works and how they act, we give them the ability where they can contact them directly," Mark Ibasfalean said. "We don't want to be an agent, we just want to put the video where they can contact them directly. It's like a video resume instead of a picture resume."

Filming takes place in an 8-foot by 16-foot air-conditioned trailer in front of a green screen that allows virtually any kind of background to be inserted.

Commercials also can be shot in the trailer, Mark Ibasfalean said.

Samples of the screen tests can be seen at the business Web site, TrueHollywood/ScreenTest.com.

The Ibasfaleans have tinkered with cameras for some time, taking footage of fishing trips and strange marine life over the years.

Mark Ibasfalean's wife, fishing charter Capt. Kim Ibasfalean, had a brush with Hollywood in the summer of 2002 when she lucked into taking actor Denzel Washington on a fishing trip while a crew was filming the movie "Out of Time" in the Cortez Fishing Village.

She had also been hired to shuttle crew members to and from the set.

The couple's son also is an aspiring actor and the Ibasfalean family have been chipping away at completing a movie called "Blue-Blooded Terror" about a giant horseshoe crab freed from the depths during an earthquake in the Gulf of Mexico.

"We built a big, giant fiberglass horseshoe crab," Mark Ibasfalean said. "It's a kid's kind of movie, but we might delve into some sci-fi, too."

For now, the Ibasfaleans are offering screen tests for free in hopes of building up the size of their database. They hope to one day get the database large enough to be considered an attractive purchase for an Internet conglomerate.

They have recently been offering free auditions in the parking lot of the Royal Palm 20 cinemas in east Manatee County.

"We'll start charging later, and it will probably be about $5," Mark Ibasfalean said. "We're doing this simply to build a massive Web site with thousands of videos. We want it to be big enough where Sony, Google and Yahoo see this. And then you have commercializing, where local businesses want to put commercials on your Web site or on your trailer simply because you're getting hundreds of thousands of hits."

For more information, call (941) 812-1371.


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