Sophia Cacciola
sophia@sophiacacciola.com
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Launch Over: Cacciola/Epstein Productions


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Sophia and Michael are Somerville, MA based filmmakers, musicians, and writers

Films: Blood of the Tribades, TEN, Magnetic

Music
Do Not Forsake Me Oh My Darling [Music][Blog][Facebook][Twitter][Youtube] bass/drum duo based on The Prisoner
The Michael J. Epstein Memorial Library [Music][Blog][Facebook][Twitter][Youtube] Indie ensemble
Night Kisses, Darling Pet Munkee, Space Balloons, The Motion Sick


Michael J. Epstein
mje@michaeljepstein.com
[Facebook][Twitter][IMDB]

Opinions expressed here represent my own and not those of my employer.


Tuesday, May 3, 2016

We are stealing energy from the sun! Updated: 974 days of data from our solar-panel system.

(This is not my main reason for writing this, but first of all, if you're interested in looking at the possibility of adding leased solar panels to your home and wish to check out Sungevity, the company we went with, please use this referral link, as it gets both of us some money: http://www.sungevity.com/get-your-iquote?referral-code=387839 - There are also other great companies, so definitely look around!)

My reason for writing this is to encourage people to look into getting solar-panel installations to reduce our reliance on fossil fuels and increase our use of renewable energy, which is just waiting to be taken!


The numbers:
Our no-money-down lease costs $2.40 per day
NStar average price over this time: $0.2042 per kWh 

Our average generation: 15.12189836 kWh / day
Solar value / day: $3.09
Current net: +$0.69 / day
Total Generation: 14728.729 kWh (very close to 75% of our total energy use) = $3007.52 worth of energy

Analysis: Our plan with leasing was that we would likely lose small amounts of money on the lease for up to 5 years. The lease stays fixed, but energy costs are guaranteed (I would argue anyway) to go up. Inflation alone is guaranteed to raise costs. Our generation efficiency is also expected to decline a little, but not as much as costs are projected to go up. This is really surprising that we've done this well already.

Example of a normal "pretty good" month (March 2014)
[Our record month was May 2015 at 727.49kWh]





Solar System Details*
System Size (STC-DC)4.9 kW
System Size (CEC-AC)4.168 kW
Number of Solar Panels20 modules
Panel Dimensions39.1" x 65.0"
Estimated First Year Production4,724 kWh
Roof Details
Roof Pitch42°
Roof Azimuth149°
Annual Shading74%
Sungevity also currently has a generous referral program. If we get people to sign up, we get money. So far, we've already earned $3500 ($3000 cash + $500 Lowes gift card) via this program. By those numbers, if we continue to generate exactly as above, we've already ended up in the positive on the lease (and as I said, I expect we will do much better as years go on - this is actually much better than I would have originally projected). I'm not going door-to-door asking people to sign up or anything, but it's frankly a good, very-low-risk deal I think - why we signed up! So, I certainly would encourage people to check it out. Our link: http://www.sungevity.com/get-your-iquote?referral-code=387839


WHY SOLAR?

In 6th grade, we had a class project that required us to make solar collectors that could store as much heat as possible. We would measure the temperature inside our collectors before and after they spent an hour outside in the sun. We all devised various crazy schemes ranging from painting the cases black to building giant tinfoil reflector dishes to filling our collectors with water or other high-specific-heat materials. It got me really interested in the whole science of using the energy that already surrounds us instead of burning fossil fuels. I waited patiently for 20+ years before home solar collection started to really become financially viable. With state rebates and federal rebates, I got excited to make it happen at our house and we started saving money. Just when we had about enough money to get panels installed, we hit an artistic crossroads. We decided we wanted to make our first feature film, TEN, and we needed to use the money we had saved to make it possible. So, we gave up our solar dream (TEMPORARILY!) and spent all our money making a movie.

A few months pass and I hear about a wave of opportunities to lease solar panels instead of buying them. It turns out that it does reduce your savings/earnings from solar significantly, but it allows the installtion of solar panels with no money down and a fixed-cost monthly lease. We talked to Sungevity, and I worked through the numbers and they looked pretty good for us. We probably wouldn't make a financial killing on the whole thing, but we looked to make a little bit of money over the course of the 20-year lease and their minimum-production guarantees were good enough that even if we somehow never produced any energy, we wouldn't lose very much money.

Here's the timeline of the whole installation, which was a relatively painless process:

I put in for a quote on May 9th. I had a phone consultation on May 15th. After speaking with some people and exploring some other numbers, I signed on May 17th. On May 29th, Boston Solar (contracted by Sungevity) made a first home visit to take photos of our roof, the interior, the electric system, etc. On June 17th, the design plan was complete and ready to submit for permitting. July 9th, I was notified that the City of Somerville provided a permit for the installation. July 15th, the workers came and spent all day installing all the panels (I think it was about 95 degrees that day - ouch!). July 30th, the first inspector came (I think maybe a building inspector?) and then the installers returned to finish something related to electric sometime in there (I can't recall the date). August 5th, the electrical inspector came. I was notified that the installation passed inspection on August 7th. The utility came and upgraded their meters to fit with the system sometime in the next few weeks. They didn't tell us, they just did it. On August 24th, I was given permission to flip the system on, which I did myself. It was kind of fun to get to actually turn the thing on, even if it was just moving two clearly labeled switches from off to on.

I was pretty happy with the ease of the experience. I know there are now multiple companies doing this same thing and I certainly can't give you comparison info, but I encourage everyone to look into solar leasing. It would be great to get our energy generation up and with no-money-down options, it's definitely worth exploring, even if you don't have any money to invest into such a project!

Below is the report from our first week (a little more than a week for the non-graph reports). It's quite interesting to see how big the difference is between a sunny day and a bleak, cloud-covered rainy day.





My hopes with this, regardless of how much it benefits us financially, is that we can work toward generating as much electricity as we use. This also means thinking of ways to cut usage!

We've already switched all of our household lights to ThetaLux LED lights and I hope we take opportunities to further reduce our consumption. Now, if only we could find a way to make our own natural gas (not like that)!



Thursday, April 21, 2016

Michael joins panel for Cambridge Arts Mixer at Danger!Awesome - June 2, 2016 6:30 - 8 PM


Facebook Event
June 2, 2016 6:30 - 8 PM
danger!Awesome underground
645 Massachusetts Avenue
Cambridge, MA

We're excited to share this line-up of panelists:

- Julie Barry from Cambridge Arts Council
- Frank Morris from Cambridge Community Television and NeighborMedia Cambridge
- Lizzie Devane and DiDi Delgado from Cambridge SOUP
- Michael J. Epstein, Somerville, MA-based scientist, filmmaker, writer, and musician
- Micha Goolsby from Art City Cambridge
+ more to come

Hear from members of the arts community, learn about resources (housing, work space, grants, journalism programs) available to you, and sign up to support similar causes!

Free and open to the public!




The Color of Air podcast extensive interview with Sophia and Michael (2nd interview with The Color of Air)

We are very pleased to announce that The Color of Air, a weekly interview podcast hosted by Greg Massi, (Baliset, ex-Kayo Dot, ex-maudlin of the Well), has released a second interview with us (Sophia and Michael), following up our 2014 interview..

The Color of Air Facebook



From: http://colorofair.com/episode-34-michael-j-epstein-sophia-cacciola-part-2

Greg meets up again with Michael J. Epstein and Sophia Cacciola to discuss their newest movie project, Blood Of The Tribades, as well as talking about their growth as filmmakers and storytellers over the course of 3 movies. Also, we discuss the state of the arts scene here in Boston and their decision to leave and seek out new adventures in LA.

Songs Played:
Night Kisses - Fantine’s Journey - Blood Of The Tribades OST
Night Kisses - Extinction Level Event - Magnetic OST
Night Kisses - Where There’s One... - Blood Of The Tribades OST
Night Kisses - Amylee (featuring Allix Mortis) - Magnetic OST

This is a Ret Con Recordings production.
Color Of Air Feem Tune written and performed by Greg Massi
www.colorofair.com
www.retconrecordings.com
colorofairpodcast@gmail.com
facebook.com/colorofairpodcast
@TheColorOfAir

Wednesday, March 30, 2016

Blood of the Tribades wins Best New England Film at the Boston Underground Film Festival - 3/27/2016 Brattle Theatre (World Premiere) - Cambridge, MA

BUFF Bacchus
created by the Whore Church
Blood of the Tribades won Best New England Film at the Boston Underground Film Festival!

The film world premiered to a sold-out crowd at The Brattle Theatre on (vampire) Easter as part of the 18th Boston Underground Film Festival.

Dread Central published this statement from Sophia and wrote:

"Shown to a sold-out audience at Cambridge’s historic movie house The Brattle Theatre, Blood of the Tribades is a superbly atmospheric and stylistic nod to, as the film’s website states, “both the sparse, surrealist, weirdo 70s arthouse Euro vampire films and the theatre-derived British Hammer vampire films.”

photo by Izzy Lee of Q&A

cast at after-party with Award

post-screening shot by Derek Kouyoumjian

directors with the award








March 27, 2016

40 Brattle St., Cambridge MA 02138 

"...the film is a love letter to offbeat lesbian vampire films that offers powerful discourse on self-identity, feminism, and the violence wrought from religious dogma. Immersive, elegantly photographed, and guided by a terrific original score by Night Kisses, Blood of the Tribades urges vampire tradition forward in challenging new directions. (read more)"




Playing with:
DISCO INFERNO
Alice Waddington, 12 min.
A weary hell minion is on a mission to rescue her boss, but the Devil is not ready to get back to her daily routine.

Monday, March 14, 2016

Friday, March 11, 2016

"The Unnaturals" short story published in the anthology Dystopian Express by Hydra Publications


My short Story, "The Unnaturals" has been published in Hydra Publications' anthology Dystopian Express!

It is a prose rewrite of the opening segment of a screenplay that we are writing/developing. In it, I tell the story of citizen Serug 99 as he goes for his weekly "confession" at church, a process that involves uploading all of the week's memories for review by the priest.

Our working synopsis of the film, which we hope to someday get a chance to make:
In a bleak, dystopian society where religion, government, and media have merged, a law-enforcement unit is tasked with hunting down "unnatural" citizens to maintain the full conformity and unity of the citizenry.


The book is for sale as an ebook on Amazon, and a physical book will be available in the next week or so as well. Buy it. Read it. Do it.


I originally met many of the fine folks involved with this at The Imaginarium Convention, which was a great gathering! Check it out! 

Blood of the Tribades Lipsynching: Poison "Talk Dirty to Me" - Thanks to Kickstarter backer Sarah Steinberg Heller!


Poison "Talk Dirty to Me"

Thanks to Kickstarter backer Sarah Steinberg Heller!


starring: Michael J. Epstein, Mary WidowChloé CunhaSeth ChatfieldZach PidgeonKristofer Jenson

Shot on the set of Blood of the Tribades by Sophia Cacciola

Playlist of all lipsyncs for Blood of the Tribades




Playlists of lipsync videos from our previous films Magnetic and TEN



Blood of the Tribades Lipsynching: Depeche Mode "Shake the Disease" - Thanks to Kickstarter backer Kenneth McKlinkski!


still of Sophia from Blood of the Tribades
Depeche Mode "Shake the Disease"

Thanks to Kickstarter backer Kenneth McKlinski! !


starring: Sophia Cacciola

Shot on the set of Blood of the Tribades by Michael Epstein


Playlist of all lipsyncs for Blood of the Tribades




Playlists of lipsync videos from our previous films Magnetic and TEN



Friday, March 4, 2016

MAGNETIC available now exclusively on Steam! 33% off this week!

We are very excited to announce that Magnetic is available now exclusively on Steam for a very low introductory price for rent or purchase!


Boston Hassle's first annual #HassleTelethon on SCATV includes our film, "For the love of metamorphosis" - March 4th at 10am until March 5th at 10am, 2016

Boston Hassle Telethon - GIVE HERE

Boston Hassle’s 1st Annual 24 Hour Telethon AND Performance Marathon!!!

…featuring: Ben Hersey, Id M Theft Able, Sun Rad, Luxardo, LSDV, Mike Simonelli, Casey Crawford, The Trofessor, Coorain Devin, the Firehouse, Neil Horsky, Lankville Daily News, Kevin Driscoll, Comb Man + science experiments, poetry, sketch comedy, presentations, demonstrations, live music, music videos, children’s reading time, magicians, sad pet tricks, puppets, drag AND SO MUCH MORE!!!!
SUPPORT LOCAL, INDEPENDENT, WEIRD

On March 4th at 10am until March 5th at 10am you can tune into the Boston Hassle & BRAIN Arts Organization’s 1st Annual 24 Hour Performance Marathon Telethon! This will feature performers from every walk of life, performing for you SCATV Channel 3 and streamed SCATV’s website and also special interviews with performers on BostonFreeRadio.com, even via ROKU!
This is serving as a launch for BRAIN Arts non-profit’s Membership Program, all funds raised at this event will be put directly toward the opening of their own performance space in the Boston area. Their initial fundraising goal for this initiative is $5000. Will you help us make it happen?
From the BRAIN Arts press release:
A take off on the likes of the WGBH Auction and Jerry Lewis’ telethons of yore (not to mention Weird Al’s spoofing of such in his film, UHF), our telethon will gather together a huge swath of performers, entertainers, local figures, eccentrics, artists, and musicians to create a 24 hour stream of human creativity that will leave viewers shocked and filled with wonder, with a distinct impression of the state of creativity, and performance in the Somerville, and Boston areas, and further, that state of such in New England as a whole.
Performances will include: comedy, magic, impersonation, music, drag shows, performance art, demonstrations, live science experiments, political visits, sketch comedy, juggling, non-profit group presentations, storytelling, dancing, re-creations, animations, short films, video art, cooking demonstrations, monologues, children’s reading time, puppetry, and more!
Specific performers will include the likes of: Sadie Dupuis (of Speedy Ortiz), Ben Hersey, Id M Theft Able, Sun Rad, children’s reading time w/ Jef Czekaj, Luxardo,, LSDV, Mike Simonelli, Casey Crawford, The Trofessor, Coorain Devin, the Firehouse, Neil Horsky, Lankville Daily News, Canary Bros., Kevin Driscoll, Comb Man, Cotton Candy, Listening Woman, Casey Crawford, Serengeti, Rob Noyes + MANY MORE
Friday, March 4th – Saturday, March 5th, 2016

Wednesday, February 17, 2016

Here's why we're leaving Boston for L.A.

Source: unknown
UPDATE: We're quite humbled that our little note to our friends about moving has sparked a lot of discussion and coverage of that discussion.

Boston Mayor Marty Walsh has written a response for the Boston Globe!

I also expounded on what I mean by infrastructure here.

Original post:
Facebook
Medium version

Print/Web Media:
Cambridge Day
Vanyaland
Boston Magazine syndication
Universal Hub

Radio:
Citywide Blackout 2/18/16 (listen to the archive)
WBZ 1030AM 2/21/16
RadioBDC 3/8/16 - Six Songs with Adam 12 (listen to the archive)

It is with many mixed emotions that Sophia and I wish to let you all know that we are moving to Los Angeles by September of this year. We are infinitely grateful to all of you here who have worked with us, supported us, and done anything to help the arts community thrive and grow. In a sense, we couldn’t even consider leaving if not for what we’ve gained from this support. There are many complex reasons for our decision associated with our health and well-being, but perhaps the most notable is that we feel like we’ve hit a sort of creative ceiling here. We really hope to find ways to continue working with you all, and we hope to find ways to spend extended periods in the area for creative projects as well. We plan to rent our house (let us know if you’re looking for a single family in Porter Square), and we ideally hope to find flexible, remote work (let us know if you’re hiring) that will allow us to have some ability to have several “home bases” available.

Now some harsh reality as we see it regarding the state of creative work for us in the Boston area. I don’t write this with any bitterness intended. I see a lot of people saying things close to what I say below, but it often comes without a concrete consequence attached. I’m presenting this in the context of our decision.

We’ve spent the last few years thinking of ways to build the industries that we need in order to keep growing here. We couldn’t think of anything better than to be part of making something magical here, generating ways for creatives to make a living. We worked very hard on this in a variety of ways. I spent time helping to found the non-profit Somerville Makers and Artists ( http://s-m-artspace.org/), with the goal of obtaining a building to make a space for a strong, commercially subsidized creative community. Specifically, for our part, we planned to create an affordable film studio to allow filmmakers in the area stretch their creations beyond their budgets. A big opportunity came up with the former Powder House School building in Somerville. Despite a strong proposal presented to the city, when held up against other plans, we lost the bid for what was likely the only building that will come up in the near future that could work for this project (unless someone wants to donate $10 million). Ultimately, the city selection group opted for a condo project instead of an arts hub. (Artisan’s Asylum also was involved in a competing bid for the space, and was outranked, as we were, by several condo projects.) This was a really strong statement that Somerville (where I am on the arts council board — and the arts council itself has done tremendous and valuable work for this community for a long time) and Boston have not yet been able to put their money where their mouths are in terms of ensuring that arts can survive here. The cities love the benefits of the “cool factor” from the presence of amazing artists and arts projects ( https://www.lonelyplanet.com/…/somerville-rockin-the-boston… ), but are willing to ride on the breaking backs of creatives working without substantial compensation. I don’t blame the city really. It’s always easy to overlook arts in favor of just about everything else, and if you take any public-opinion poll, a tremendous percentage of people think arts has no positive impact on their community. You ask for subsidies for artists and you can just wait for the employment equivalent of the‪#‎AllLivesMatter‬ dummies to shout about teachers or other people who play an important role in society. No one wants to open their eyes to see the tremendous financial and cultural contribution of the arts, which does not come with anything close to commensurate financial reward.

Unfortunately, we just haven’t been able to find the support necessary to create the financial infrastructure that would allow us to continue working with an upward trajectory, and as much as new arts programs are touted, we just don’t envision a serious movement to make creative work viable within the context of skyrocketing costs of living in this area. Every year, more and more of our friends give up and move outside the city because they can no longer afford the rent. Boston, as a community and as an institution, fails to support startup and mid-level arts groups. Read more:

http://www.bostonglobe.com/opinion/editorials/2016/01/29/state-and-city-must-lead-arts-funding/408q7o80hcvR0wIXpSJqOL/story.html

http://www.tbf.org/~/media/TBFOrg/Files/Reports/Arts%20Report_Jan%207%202016.pdf

http://artery.wbur.org/2016/02/16/boston-arts-julie-hennrikus

This deficit means that the city fails to attract the types of infrastructure that result in creative workers getting paid fair wages. For our needs, that means that there are very few record labels, booking agencies, feature-film production houses, film distribution companies, etc. We personally just can’t rely on crowdfunding and accumulating debt forever, and we can’t work under those financial restrictions to do better than we are now. We are just killing ourselves to pull off anything serious on tiny budgets. The true cost of this failure to value creative work is that people like us are significantly burdened by staying, and we are driven to leave. We’d prefer to stay, but it’s self-sabotaging to wait for sociopolitical miracles.

I spoke on a panel several years ago about the symbiosis between arts-focused media and the growth of creative scenes and communities. In a way, the media must invent the narrative that places value on the work. The death of local venues and local media (http://www.mikeandsophia.com/2013/03/the-loss-of-boston-phoenix-is-terrible.html ) has been devastating in Boston over the past few years. This seriously perpetuates the cycles that caused their demise in the first place, and helps to bring about a situation where it’s difficult to imagine Boston becoming a burgeoning center for creative work.

For us, we’ve been very lucky financially. I’ve worked as a professor for over ten years, which allowed us to buy a house at a lull in real-estate value. However, the cost of living is continuing to rise, and while we have a fixed mortgage, our property taxes have nearly doubled in the past ten years, our health care costs have quadrupled, and our salaries have barely increased over that time. Despite being in a good income bracket, it has been challenging for us to keep up, and we’re just barely scraping by every month with no signs of improving opportunities.

We love it here, and we love the artists, friends, and supporters in this community, but without the financial piece, we just feel like we have to go elsewhere in search of opportunities. Life is short, and we don’t want to continue down a complacent, low-risk, low-reward path. There is no doubt that nothing will be easy anywhere else, but even if money and projects are hard to come by in L.A., there are at least more possibilities for what we’re seeking to accomplish because supporting industry is present. And with that industry comes an entire financial infrastructure in which at least some art has value.

I’ve not emphasized it much, but we’re also excited to live without winter for a while. Cold weather is particularly challenging for me, and being in Boston is a struggle every year from about November to March.

All this said, we very sincerely hope that geography is just a small divide and that we can continue to share our lives with all of you in the Boston area because you really do mean everything to us.

We’ve still got a few months left in the area, so if you’ve got any projects you’d like us to be a part of, let us know, and we’ll see if we can make them work. (As we develop our various reels and resumes, we’re especially open to acting gigs.) We also plan to do some anthology work and a few other small projects before we head out, and we hope to involve many of you.

Given our modern age, you’ll probably hardly even notice that we’re gone as we continue to talk about reptoids, to teach the controversy, and to start fights on the internet.

Football season will never be over.

Wednesday, February 3, 2016

Sophia and Michael video interviews by Fallon's Daily Toast, SaGaTalk, and Indie Rising!

We've recently had the great chance to do a string of interviews about our film and music endeavors. If you want to know more about what makes us tick and what we're ticking about, here you go!

And check out: Fallon's Daily Toast, SaGa Talk, and Indie Rising!



SaGaTalk - S1.Ep3 - Cacciola Epstein Productions from Sari Gagnon on Vimeo.

Tuesday, February 2, 2016

Sophia Cacciola and Michael J. Epstein for Joint Overlord of Planet Earth as we battle Vermin Supreme and Captain Titus!

Our enemy, the clown
There are a lot of small minds fighting for the tiny, meaningless position of President of the United States. Witchworks Films has been documented a much more important battle - the battle for Overlord of Planet Earth.

You can learn more about all of the candidates: http://www.witchworksfilms.com/?page_id=339

And here is our campaign:


https://www.facebook.com/Sophia-and-Michael-for-Joint-Overlord-of-Planet-Earth-723384351123519/timeline/


We battle: