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Subject: Too many examples

Date, May 24, 2022

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Undaunted by the lack of enthusiasm with the first SIV example, I decided to create more. It was costing a lot in time and money producing examples that had to be explained. People were more focused on the content than on what the SIV was doing in manipulating the videos. At the time I thought, if I wanted this to work, I could not rely on viewers to get excited. I had to take it to Video Editors.

In 2015, we launched our SIV creator. Using the online creator, Editors could take any video and turn it into a SIV. They could do things like add overlays (Banners or Text that appeared anywhere on the playing video). They could do live editing. They could erase objects they didn’t want you to see on the screen, add hyperlinks over anything you saw in a video, etc. etc. We started with a library of 15 functions that manipulated the playing video and this library grew to more than 50 functions to satisfy ever changing requirements. Eventually, we had to draw a line as the work now was forever explaining how the SIV creator worked and upgrading it to meet different perceived demands.

Next: Custom SIVs

#2bacting #2bstory #siv #inview

Promoting InView: https://2bacting.com/iv/


Subject: An obvious link

Date, May 23, 2022

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Without getting too technical the breakthrough for us in creating what we call Selective Interactive Videos (SIV) came when we considered changing the content of a video using the internet browser controls. Without the viewer doing anything you can jump to any part of a video without the viewer noticing.

The most simple example of this is live editing. Cut out parts of a video you don’t want the viewer to see at any moment during playback. This was amazing and I thought we would be swamped by the rush of people that would deploy the technology. I was so excited when we created our first SIV showing three cards being dealt. Each time the video is played the dealing order of the three cards change without the viewer knowing, just by jumping around the video. The surprising thing was only I got excited by this. When I showed the discovery to the team they were NOT impressed. They just saw a video with someone dealing cards. Like with a magic trick they couldn’t see how the magic was done and really didn’t care.

(We’ve put the first SIV on InView if you want to see it for yourself - https://bit.ly/3MrUe5P )

Next: Too many examples

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Promoting InView: https://2bacting.com/iv/


Subject: The road to SIV

Date, May 22, 2022

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When 2b Acting started, I had no idea that SIV was the destination and would be the tool that would introduce fundamental changes for the company and the creative industry.

The idea came from the need to find words that would best describe what the company was doing to meet its core objective of using technology to create paid opportunities for actors. Prior to SIV, the truth is, we were a little lost. A theatre company that spent more time trying to raise funds to perform plays than we did performing plays. A digital media production company spending more time trying to get people to watch and pay for what we produced than we were producing. To pay bills we got involved in so many different creative projects that it became impossible for anyone to identify anything that supported our goal. Workshops, events, books, magazines, Apps, etc. At one time we had 40 projects on the go keeping us busy but we weren’t going anywhere. Something had to change and it was a breath of fresh air when the idea of SIV landed.

Next: An obvious link

#2bacting #2bstory #siv #inview

Promoting InView: https://2bacting.com/iv/


Subject: What next?

Date, May 21, 2022

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Digital Media has enabled 2b Acting to establish a platform for growth and more importantly deliver on its core objectives.

We had a rocky start filming series 1 of Today and Tomorrow but we went on to create series 2 and 3 in HD. Series 1 got picked up by ITVlocal and was shown on their internet channel to 80,000 plus viewers. Series 2 got shown on Sky channel, Venus TV and series 3 was shown at Hyde Park picture house on the big cinema and is still available to watch on our InView platform.

I am disappointed that we are no longer involved in creative native App store productions but we do still turn out web Apps which are easier to produce at much lower cost. However, SIV is our core.

As creators we now specialise in SIV productions for business and entertainment. SIV is defining a new future for videos and currently our work is focused on getting others to recognise what SIV can really do. There is no point in continuing our push forward if it’s going to take ten years for people to really get behind us. Without mainstream acceptance we will fail to deliver on our primary goal. We want what we do to create paid work opportunities for actors. For that to happen SIV has to be let loose. So, for you to understand 2b Acting I need to say more about SIV.

Next: The road to SIV

#2bacting #2bstory #siv #inview

Promoting InView: https://2bacting.com/iv/


Subject: A digital fusion

Date, May 20, 2022

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Digital media has provided 2b Acting with real flexibility which kept the company alive during the pandemic. It has allowed us to develop SIV and effectively fuse computing with video enabling us to push the boundaries of video productions.

We are the first to produce a 360 Interactive Sitcom, ‘Gym BS’. We are the first to create a human video interface to play a game of chess. We are the first to use SIV to create an interactive motion comic. We are first in so many areas that we are having to slow down to give time for the things we have done to be understood and accepted. Our enemy is time. We know this and this is why I’ve been taken off productions to take time to better explain our work and stop coming up with new stuff. But it is so difficult to stop having ideas.

Next: What next?

#2bacting #2bstory #siv #inview

Promoting InView: https://2bacting.com/iv/


Subject: Things change

Date, May 19, 2022

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Sadly, the digital world moves very very quickly. The constant change of mobile phones and the updates to the Apps meant it became impossible to keep up. Plus, the competition in the App market meant it was no longer viable for us to remain and the last of our Apps left the stores in 2019.

Was it the end for 2b Acting in digital media? Again, absolutely not! We put our App knowledge into creating Selective Interactive Videos (SIV) and that has led to some exciting projects like projectorgrams which we showcased using two Comedy Monologue tours which we took around bars in Leeds and Manchester. We had 16 talented actors perform and although the idea did not sell well it proved the technology and it has opened the door to other applications such as our Automated Concierge System (ACS) for hotels and Interactive Public Video (IPV) for interactive advertising/information in public spaces. You know those street video displays...If they let us we can make them communicate with your phone – That’s IPV.

Next: A digital fusion

#2bacting #2bstory #siv #inview

Promoting InView: https://2bacting.com/iv/


Subject: Where is the money?

Date, May 18, 2022

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Where is the money? After the hard work of setting up 2b Acting TV and launching our soap drama Today and Tomorrow we struggled to make it bring in enough money to pay for productions.

Youtube’s launch in December 2005 had gained popularity and with them offering their online videos for free our pay to watch channel became an impossible sell. Plus, more and more companies were picking up cameras crowding the online market. Was it the end for 2b Acting in digital media? Absolutely not! Steve Jobs and his Apple iStore, where you could sell Apps, came on the scene. It wasn’t an easy transfer to Apps as we were not allowed to just use an App to show our productions. The App guideline, at the time, said we had to add something other than just a video on the App, so we combined our videos with a game. In the end we released 30 plus Apps on the App stores bringing in a steady income and also offered an App development service which helped established 2b Acting’s independence. We were finally a stand alone creative company.

Next: Things change

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Promoting InView: https://2bacting.com/iv/


Subject: Filming is hard work

Date, May 17, 2022

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Creating what we found out was one of the first webseries, was not easy. Our early problem was technical stuff which was difficult to navigate, for most advisors came from a broadcasting or movie making background and had no idea that a simple internet production had nothing like the budget, resource or equipment that they expected and instead had to understand that we just wanted to make a lot happen for little or nothing. However, the real challenge was production logistic.

Fortunately, we did the first series of Today and Tomorrow in one location. My home. Yet, securing actors, writing scripts, setting up and taking down lights, sound and camera equipment, directing, capturing and labelling tapes (no digital transfers in those days), editing, compressing then distributing every week for 16 weeks non-stop was an eye opener and a test of how much we were willing to literally bleed (fake blood) for our art.
That said, we did it and went on to create series 2 and 3 and numerous other productions over the years.

Next: Where is the money?

#2bacting #2bstory #siv #inview

Promoting InView: https://2bacting.com/iv/


Subject: Even more to learn

Date, May 16, 2022

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Even more to learn Today we have a simple to use high quality camera on every smart phone so it may be hard to believe how primitive cameras were back in 2006. Websites that supported video had different players for Windows and Macs so we had to compile two files which could be no more than 600 x 400 pixels in size. Really small compared to 4K today.

Most people had dial-up computers so speeds were very slow and videos often froze during play back. It was a nightmare getting the 2b Acting TV channel up and running but we did and started to earn a small income. However, the real learning was in film production. Fortunately for the internet we did not need broadcast quality cameras (which were very expensive) but even Standard Definition (SD) cameras were quiet costly if you didn’t know what you were buying. This was complicated by the change to High Definition (HD) cameras which meant a year after starting we had to buy cameras again. Then we learnt about pre-production, production and post production requirements. Then the difference between plays and screenplays. Then filming styles, formats, lighting, sound, crew, locations and permissions. A lot of red tape just to capture a single frame. All this before we got to casting actors and working on set.

Next: Filming is hard work

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Promoting InView: https://2bacting.com/iv/


Subject: Going digital

Date, May 15, 2022

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We had no idea we were going digital when we decided to pick up a camera back in 2006. When we submitted our first filmed webseries production to a film festival they didn’t have a suitable category as it was not for TV or cinema and so they classed it as digital media.

So we create digital media. Why? Aside from showing off our creativity, doing theatre was very expensive. It took us a lot of time to gain funding and when we did, after it was spent on a production and the play ended, we had nothing to show for it. Our first digital media attempt was creating video resources for schools, which again with the support of Thomas Danby College, we did. Problem was our distribution was via DVD and we found selling to schools is a closed shop, only available to those on the educational suppliers list. Getting on the list was not easy and took us too far away from what we enjoyed. It was then I had my light bulb moment. To use the internet as a TV channel and like the TV, start with an ongoing soap drama. The soap would allow us to continually offer opportunities to actors and by selling memberships to watch the channel we would no longer be reliant on funding for our art. Simple. Except, filming is nothing like stage. Once again, I knew nothing.

Next: Even more to learn

#2bacting #2bstory #siv #inview

Promoting InView: https://2bacting.com/iv/


Subject: Other ways to skin a cat

Date, May 14, 2022

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Having a theatre space is not the only way to perform live plays, as we found out when we took projectorgrams to bars. Fortunately, the merge of digital media with theatre happened at the right time and I am excited by what we are planning with our next play, hopefully in 2023.

We would like the next production to be in our own space but having learnt lessons from the COVID shutdowns we are ensuring that all performances can go ahead without a physical space by including online 360 interactive viewing. (See our ‘Talk About’ production on InView to see what 360 stage viewing can look like).

Mixing live stage work with digital media is an important step forward. How did we arrive at that way of thinking? Well. Time to take a walk on the digital side of life.

Next: Going digital

#2bacting #2bstory #siv #inview

Promoting InView: https://2bacting.com/iv/


Subject: Selective Interactive Theatre

Date, May 13, 2022

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I said in an earlier post that ‘The Big Guys’ have a strong hold on who can access and use theatre space in the UK. When you are an experimental company, like 2b Acting, attempting to perform something that cannot guarantee an audience makes booking space difficult.

In 2019, after developing projectorgrams we decided to create Selective Interactive Theatre and invested all we had in hiring a studio space in the center of Leeds (The basement) to create what we see as theatre of the future. I for one am tired of theatre looking identical to how it looked back when Shakespeare wrote and performed plays. We tested the use of mobiles phones as part of our play ‘For the Love of Oranges’, that performed at Seven Arts Theatre in 2017 and so we were excited by the possibility of bringing our future style of plays to life. Sadly, COVID restrictions in 2020 halted our progress. In 2021, we had to give up our studio, although we applied, we were not considered vital enough to the creative industry to receive Arts Council recovery funding. - What does it take?

Next: Other ways to skin a cat

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Promoting InView: https://2bacting.com/iv/


Subject: A lot to learn

Date, May 12, 2022

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A lot to learn. Being creatively different is good, having no clue what you are doing, is bad! That is where I was after 2b Acting’s first stage play “A woman’s choice”, with five performances at Hoxton Hall Theatre in London.

After realising I had a lot to learn, undaunted, I went back to college for another three years to find out about producing. Again, being different worked and I managed to secure a small Art’s Council writer’s development grant and a grant from the Joseph Rowntree Charitable trust to produce a different style of play. It was an issue based verse play. The subject, illegal immigrants. The play was called Pimlico. In collaboration with Thomas Danby College and a professional Director we turned out an amazing production that filled the small studio theatre three nights in a row. That success went on to us producing further plays, ‘The Cleaner’, ‘Full English’, ‘Spike’ and ‘For the Love of Oranges’. All with creative differences that have brought us to where we are today and gave us the tools to take us to where we want to be tomorrow.

Next: Selective Interactive Theatre

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Promoting InView: https://2bacting.com/iv/


Subject: A little support goes a long way

Date, May 11, 2022

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I can’t remember the name of the Hoxton Hall production director at the time but his support in pushing forward with something perceived as different by others is perhaps the reason why 2b Acting is in business today.

Him and his team gave their support by helping with publicity and the difference led to an article in a major newspapers about the play. Over the five performances we got an audience that came out despite the opening night being on the day after 911, when terrorists bombed New York and London went into a virtual lockdown. The highlight I remember most was overhearing two women leaving the theatre expressing how pleased they were to have caught the play. We stood out enough for the director to advise us to continue to do more which, having failed to cover a fraction of the cost of the production with ticket sales, I was not too keen to do again. That’s when a surprised look appeared on his face. Surely, I got funding for the play. Funding? “What’s funding?” I asked having covered all the cost from my own, not so deep, pockets.

Next: A lot to learn

#2bacting #2bstory #siv #inview

Promoting InView: https://2bacting.com/iv/


Subject: No one likes different?

Date, May 10, 2022

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The actors found the verse play difficult and I was only saved by the fact that this was the first time on stage for half of the cast that were more open to experimenting. They thankfully encouraged the other more seasoned actors to focus. That said, they still gave the poor director a really hard time and so I had to travel from York to London more times than I wanted to keep the production moving.

Then I discovered that the press don’t like things to be different as a verse style play didn’t fit any known genre category when I try to list it in ‘What’s On’ publications. The tech found it strange and nearly everyone I spoke to didn’t understand why I would want to make a verse play at all. The only one that liked it was the Theatre and that’s when I knew that support can make a difference to how you handle being different.

Next: A little support goes a long way

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Promoting InView: https://2bacting.com/iv/


Subject: How little I knew then

Date, May 09, 2022

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Way back in 2001, I lived in York and had to produce a play for a London stage having never produced before. Where to start? This was made difficult as I’d agreed performance dates with the Theatre that gave us just 10 weeks.

From the 2b Acting website I found a Director that lived in Brighton, 150 miles closer to London than York. We then held open auditions to fill roles for a play that I had not yet written (Remember, I had no idea what I was doing), as I wanted to give roles to actors that are usually overlooked by casting directors. Then after writing the play I discovered things like set design, costumes, lighting and sound were needed along with administration duties – Contracts, allowances, pay, getting scripts printed, distributed and tech. Then where and when to rehearse plus working out a rehearsal schedule with the actors was a nightmare (Tip: don’t ask actors when is good for them!). All that and remember, we had to be different. That led to the first time and not the last time that I learnt that no one likes different!

Next: No one likes different?

#2bacting #2bstory #siv #inview

Promoting InView: https://2bacting.com/iv/


Subject: Changing the world through creativity

Date, May 08, 2022

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In our battle against the time it takes for the acting industry, general public and come to think of it the business industry to accept something different we have arrived at the conclusion that doing things differently has to be the center to our core. We have to embed it in everything we touch in order to speed up change. It was this creativity that got us on stage at the start of our journey and is perhaps the reason why we are still in business. Let me explain.

Back in 2001, I was a young playwright with a mission to produce 2b Acting’s first stage production. Back then, no theatre in Leeds or York would allow an unknown company to use its stage. I couldn’t even get rehearsal space. Naively, I approached Hoxton Hall Theatre in London that took a chance on us on the basis that I would be performing a different type of play. Panicking, I said we did verse only plays. I tell you it is not easy writing verse when you have never done it before and to make matters worse I was discovering what producing a verse play actually involved. Believe me, being creative can get you in trouble but it worked.

Next: How little I knew then

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Promoting InView: https://2bacting.com/iv/


Subject: The battle with Time!

Date, May 07, 2022

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In 2009, I thought of the idea of using Apps as a new platform to create new work for actors. The iphone had just been released and iStore had less than 10,000 Apps on it. We released 30 Apps on the iStore and faced the non-stop problem for the first two years of everyone asking us ‘what’s an App?’

It took almost 10 years for Apps to become a household word. 10 years with Apple’s and Microsoft marketing budgets behind it. We couldn’t wait 10 years so we gave up on Apps and the platform is so swamped now that it would be almost impossible to standout from the crowd. It takes so long to communicate a new idea that unless you have very deep pockets time can kill it. We had this same problem with our idea of using the Internet like a TV channel before Youtube was launched and got told then that people would never watch anything on a screen as small as a mobile phone. Time. How do we get people to change faster? That’s perhaps where the real 2b Acting story begins.

Next: Changing the world through creativity

#2bacting #2bstory #siv #inview

Promoting InView: https://2bacting.com/iv/


Subject: Endless possibilities

Date, May 06, 2022

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2b Acting’s success in moving forward with the currently available SIV services paints a rosy picture of endless possibilities. For example:
- Projectorgrams can lead to actors being used as human video interfaces for all sorts of Apps – With millions of Apps that can be converted that’s a lot of work;

- Our Automated Concierge System (ACS) for hotels may see every hotel having its own on-demand interactive entertainment network – New acting roles;
- Interactive Public Videos (IPV) could result in interactive advertising/entertainment services in all public spaces – New acting roles;
- Endless adventure productions like Space Vorilex and Today and Tomorrow Interactive can keep Actors employed indefinitely.
And then there are the top secret stuff that the company have yet to reveal. I won’t say more to keep them away from ‘The Big Guys’. However, for the story to continue there is one major enemy. Time!

Next: The battle with Time!

#2bacting #2bstory #siv #inview

Promoting InView: https://2bacting.com/iv/


Subject: What are we doing?

Date, May 05, 2022

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Last time I said that we are almost in a position to offer a limitless number of paid opportunities to Actors and we are confident that with the roll out of our Selective Interactive Videos (SIV) services to businesses and by creating ongoing productions for our Interactive Viewing platform (InVIew) that this claim can be justified.

So why do I feel so confident that this will happen? Well, let’s take one of our SIV services currently available, Projectorgrams. Projectorgrams are full size projections of an Actor that can be controlled using an App to provide the user with a kinder more human response. Imagine the number of applications where this human video interface could be employed. It is a function we think forms the basis for holograms in the future. And this just one area where SIV can be revolutionary.

Next: Endless possibilities

#2bacting #2bstory #siv #inview

Promoting InView: https://2bacting.com/iv/


Subject: Finding the path

Date, May 04, 2022

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In a previous post I said that 2b Acting started by offering a forum website service that encouraged producers to post job details and gave advice to Actors to help them prepare and apply for roles.
It worked well and became a social platform for sharing. We then got asked to arrange social events for the users of the site. Again, it went well, until at one event I got told that 2b Acting had no right to be giving advice to Actors on how to obtain work as we had no real life experience. We weren’t producers or directors. We accepted the criticism and decided to produce our first stage play at Hoxton Hall Theatre in London and employed 7 Actors, a Director and other support services. We learned a lot from that and over the years have gone on to produce more stage plays; ran workshops; stage events; produce videos; develop Apps; Create SIV, projectorgrams, IPV, ACS and 360 Interactive productions. These activities have given paid acting roles to 200 plus actors, some lasting a day others went on for years. However, it is the potential roles we can now offer that excites us. With the work we are doing we plan on creating a limitless number of paid opportunities.

Next: What are we doing?

#2bacting #2bstory #siv #inview

Promoting InView: https://2bacting.com/iv/


Subject: Making it happen

Date, May 03, 2022

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Someone once told me that a creative business supporting actors in the UK is not possible without public funding or large investors. That is perhaps the reason why only approximately 10% of actors are able to make a living from their profession. Not enough opportunities.

My solution? Create more paid opportunities. Simple. Not really. There are a limited number of stages, performance spaces, TV channels, Cinema Theatres, etc. The traditional places we expect to employ actors are closely guarded by the people I call ‘The Big Guys’. It took a few years at the start for me to realise that trying to turn our website into a self supporting digital media and theatre company would not be possible by following the traditional routes. For this reason, 2b Acting utilises technology to increase the demand for actors not only in entertainment but to use them in businesses so they can be employed in every day companies. The foundation of 2b Acting had been laid.

Next: Finding the path

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Promoting InView: https://2bacting.com/iv/


Subject: Who am I, Why and Wai

Date, May 02, 2022

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The first thing I should share is that I am a Chartered Engineer, MIET with a Honours degree in Electrical and Electronics Engineering and a Masters degree in Power System Engineering. Why then, with this background, did I start a creative business?

Wai (pronounced Why). It’s because of Wai. Wai was a fellow training actor that I met on a BTEC acting class at the then Thomas Danby College in Leeds. I took the class to help develop my play writing skills. Wai was an amazing actor that, after yet another failed to get audition, explained how difficult it was to land good acting jobs, especially when most roles are written for white actors. He complained that East Asians normally are only offered stereotypical roles. He wanted to perform Shakespeare. The funny thing is he did land a role on national TV playing a Chinese take away delivery boy. Anyway, I wouldn’t believe it was as difficult as he claimed so, as there weren’t any UK acting job websites at the time, I created a forum website to help actors find work. And as they say, after that the rest is history.

Next: Making it happen

#2bacting #2bstory #siv #inview

Promoting InView: https://2bacting.com/iv/


Subject: The 2b Acting Story

Date, May 01, 2022

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It is strange to be using social media posts to tell the 2b Acting story but why not? As promised, even though I dislike sharing personal thoughts, I will be taking you on a journey that covers the past, present and future of a digital media and theatre production company that I founded 24 years ago. I really can’t believe the time has gone so quickly, yet as I think of what to say I am beginning to realise that condensing everything into 70 posts will be a significant challenge. A forum website, plays, a webseries, events, apps, video productions, IPV, magazines, books, projectorgrams and now selective interactive videos. A creative company with a single purpose: ‘To provide paid work opportunities for actors.’ I do hope you find the tale interesting, intriguing and as unbelievable as the journey has, and continues to be.

Next: Who am I, Why and Wai

#2bacting #2bstory #siv #inview

Promoting InView: https://2bacting.com/iv/