Youngstown Filmmaker to Launch Streaming Service

YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio – The pandemic taught filmmaker Michael Forney an important lesson: Never let outside forces affect your ability to work and make money.

With that in mind, the Youngstown-based TV and stage producer will take control of the sales and distribution of his output by launching a streaming service.

ForneyExtremeTV will go live Dec. 8.

The screen writer and director got his start several years ago as a playwright. He started a company, Michael Anthony Productions, to produce his work.

Forney is best known for his play “Why Me?,” which returned to the DeYor Performing Arts Centre in September.

A sequel to the play, “Why Me Too?,” will premiere Nov. 18 at Ford Family Recital Hall.

His company was poised to expand into TV and film in 2020. Then the pandemic hit.

Like all entertainment producers, his business was brought to a standstill by the state-mandated shutdowns of entertainment venues and bans on gatherings.

“[Before the pandemic,] we were under the assumption that we would be able to partner with streamer platforms, or sell or license our productions to them,” Forney says.

But the pandemic interfered with any licensing plans, and also prevented him from filming fresh episodes.

“My production company was at the mercy of [the pandemic]. We couldn’t create content or make money because of the protocols,” he says. “In that moment, I said that I didn’t ever want to position my company again in a circumstance where we are stuck, with no revenue coming in.”

Initially, ForneyExtremeTV will offer filmed versions of his plays and other productions, including a “The Making of” video on “Why Me?” Forney will continuously add content to the app as he completes it.

To watch ForneyExtremeTV, customers must first download the app onto a phone, laptop or other device. The service will also be available for Roku and other TV services. Information can be found at

Users will be able to view content on a pay-per-view basis. Later, as the amount of content on the site expands, subscriptions will be offered.

Forney’s production company will produce all of the content. An episodic series based on the “Why Me?” plays is in the works and will become available on the FET service.

Once the app goes live, Forney will launch a social media advertising campaign to spread the word nationwide. “It will include a trailer,” he says. “Once they view it, we got them.”

The producer is also looking for a permanent studio where the series and other projects can be shot. Having a studio will negate the need to find locations for shooting and allow for faster production turnaround, he says.

Pictured at top: Michael Forney is shown on the set of one of his productions.

Copyright 2024 The Business Journal, Youngstown, Ohio.