Friday, April 15, 2011

Leoni Navigates Web With Los Americans

Award-winning writer/producer/director Dennis Leoni is set to launch his new web series, Los Americans on May 26, 2011 on Read more details on Los Americans in Latin Heat Online ( and search for “Dennis Leoni Takes on the Web with Los Americans.”

Those of you familiar with Leoni know that his hit series Resurrection Blvd. which premiered on Showtime in 2000, went on to become become the longest running Latino themed dramatic series in the history of American television. Now he brings us the dramatic web series, Los Americans.
Esai Morales

Los Americans has a cast of exceptional actors who have worked for years in television and film. Los Americans is about the Valenzuela family and it stars: Esai Morales (Caprica, Jerico), Raymond Cruz (The Closer, Breaking Bad), Lupe Ontiveros (Southland, Family Guy), and Yvonne de la Rosa (How I Met Your Mother, CSI: Miami).
Raymond Cruz

Lupe Ontiveros

We caught up with the ├╝ber producer recently and asked him about the future of Internet program and how this new venture came to fruition.

Q:  How different is it to develop a web series versus a TV/cable show?
Dennis Leoni:  The difference is financial. Because the budgets on a web series are so much smaller, it reduces the scope—locations, props, and of course, there can be limitations in attracting high-priced talent, unless the writer/director/producer has personal connections to the actors and the script is very attractive. Production values can suffer, so you have to be more creative. It’s also difficult to condense and tell an entire story in 5-10-15 minutes…particularly for a one-hour drama writer like me.

Robert Townsend
Q:  You’re collaborating with Robert Townsend, how did this partnership happen?
DL:  I’ve known Robert for years from our association with The Summit, which is a conference for people of color in the entertainment business that was created by The Black Filmmakers Foundation.  Robert has always been a big fan of Resurrection Blvd. and when One Economy decided they wanted a Latino web series, Robert thought that I would be the best person to create one for them.

Q:  What is the difference between the Los Americans Valenzuela family from that of the Santiago’s on Resurrection Blvd.?
DL:  The Los Americans family and the Resurrection Blvd. family are both modern and fairly well assimilated into U.S. culture, but the family on Los Americans is much more affluent and separated from the Spanish language and the Latino culture than the Resurrection Blvd. family.

Q:  How would you like to see Los Americans marketed to mainstream audiences?
DL:  As a family dealing with problems, the way any family would here in the U.S. they just happen to have a few other unique problems that have been created because of cultural issues.  I do know that the marketing plan includes the mainstream media with television ads; promotion through various organizations, Latino and otherwise; the internet; word of mouth; any and every which way we can grab attention.

Q: Web series are still new to the broadcasting scene, what’s the plan on monetizing? Media sponsors?
DL:  I’m not absolutely certain of the entire marketing and monetizing strategy, but I know that sale to a network is an option that is being explored as well as DVD sales.  Media sponsors would definitely be welcome.

Q.  Who’s handling distribution?
DL: One Economy Corporation and Townsend Entertainment are in charge of distribution with being the Internet channel outlet.

Q: Is there a life for programming on the Internet? If yes, why?
DL: Of course there is life for programming on the Internet.  In fact, it is the future.  Some day your television and computer will be the same device, and people will download and watch TV and films.

Q:  On the best case scenario, what is it you wish for Los Americans?
DL: That a network sees the value of having a Latino family drama on the air and picks us up for broadcast so that millions of people everywhere, Latino and otherwise, can see a show about what real life is like for assimilated Latinos here in the U.S.

Los Americans premieres on (Public Internet Channel), a division of One Economy, May 26, 2011.

Latinowood/Los Americans © 2011

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