Archive for the ‘media’ Category
Another ironic name - Benjamin Todd Jealous, is the president of the N.A.A.C.P.
I’m always delighted to see an actual person’s last name be ironic.
In this NY Time article about people who believe in a “gay cure,” one of the therapists who performs the “anti-gay treatment” is named David Pickup. Mr Pickup is also an officer of the National Association for Research and Therapy of Homosexuality.
Two news items about physical books got my attention today, which leads me to think the future of book publishing is in creating an expendable book that imparts knowledge or a message and then is used for another purpose.
A cookbook that you can eat:
A book of Snoop Dogg’s lyrics that you can smoke:
Why bother with tying the dog on the roof when you can put it on the hood?
Note that this was shot in Michigan…
Kerner Optical, former home of Lucasfilm’s Industrial Light & Magic, has succumbed to the ravages and convulsions of the recession, and the glut of digital special effects houses worldwide, and is now formally closed. They had been struggling to stay out of bankruptcy for the last few years, but it was official when CEO Eric Edmeades tweeted last night:
Sadly, the “model shop” is now closed. #kerneroptical
George Lucas chose to set up ILM on Kerner Boulevard in an industrial area of San Rafael, California, during the making of The Empire Strikes Back in the late 1970′s. The sign outside said Kerner Co, but it may have been the worst kept secret in movie making history.
Besides the incredible innovations in digital image technology, the invention of motion capture, and so many more groundbreaking special effects we now take for granted that were created there by ILM’s wizards, there was also the fabulous Model Shop, which built everything from miniatures to the Death Star to the ship Black Pearl in Pirates of the Caribbean.
When Lucas moved his operation to San Francisco’s Presidio in 2006, and decided to focus on purely digital effects, a group of investors bought the physical and practical effects divisions of ILM and renamed the company Kerner Optical.
Even though they continued to do exceptional work, and even built their own 3D camera rig, it apparently wasn’t enough.
Insiders will continue writing about all that went on there, but for now, check Wikipedia for an idea of some the amazing accomplishments that were achieved there.
Update – Eric tweeted me:
Nice blog piece — it certainly is a sad day. It is worth noting that Kerner 3D Tech is still alive and kicking.
Update – September 30,2011 – Doniphan Blair has written a comprehensive, well researched article in Cinesource Magazine on all the monetary shenanigans behind Kerner’s demise – Kerner Collapse: Hubris, Hustle or Outright Scam?
I am stating the obvious, but I’m still going to say it anyway… This great article by Bethlehem Shoals about the evolution of the song Try a Little Tenderness reminded me about how amazing and fun the internet is, how it has changed the way we learn & discover history, etc. It would have been impossible to deploy this research in this fashion just a decade ago. And its incredible that YouTube has all these different versions of the song:
William Morris Endeavor’s Global head Graham Taylor gave the keynote at the LA Film Festival today. He may have given the one of the more insightful and inspirational overviews of the situation all content creators and artists are facing today with all the old models of distribution crumbling while the media revolution is continuing.
I like to give similar advice, but never as succinctly as he has.
He concludes with:
What’s not boring is making shit happen. We are the inmates taking over the asylum. We Build, Enable and Activate content, financing and distribution. We are in a revolution and now is our time. We finally have a bigger seat at the table.
For most of the past year, I have been advising and old friend, Tom McAlevey, as he & his team get ready to launch a revolutionary internet radio startup called Radical.FM in a few days.
That Tom’s led an interesting life is an understatement. Some highlights include riding his motorcycle around the world, starting what may have been the very first internet radio station in Sweden in 1999 – which he had to abandon when the dot.com boom crashed in the early 2000′s – and driving a dune buggy from Stockholm to Cape Town, which he documented in a film called Adventuress Wanted. He is an innovator and as well as one hellava determined guy.
Radical.FM combines user tailored music radio stations (like Pandora and Slacker) with on-demand playlist functionality (like Rhapsody and Spotify), and adds social networking and personal broadcasting capabilities. For the first time all of these functions will be available in one integrated service. It will initially offer free personal radio services, with full Play-On-Demand functionality for a paid Premium subscription tier.
The player is cool. It’s based on an audio mixing board, so you can blend as many Genres as you want, and then assign each Genre a value relative to the others. Since blending can be changed instantly, the result is an endless stream of exactly the kind of music you want to hear at any given moment.
There’s also a separate service for Independent artists called Radical Indie.
It’s gonna be interesting to rid along with them…
For the last few weeks, I’ve had a lot of fun working with RipplFX.
They are adapting illustrated books into animated, interactive apps for iPad & iPhone. They have a very flexible development system which takes original assets, allows them to be animated, etc., and turned into smooth apps.
Being a veteran of the old CD-ROM heyday of the early 1990′s, I find the storybooks RipplFX are creating do everything the old CD-ROMs projects promised, but never delivered. The ability to touch, turn, and angle the iPad screen allows for some extremely interesting storytelling innovations.
They have quite a few projects in the pipeline and I will be writing about them as they become available (or I can discuss them). They are also opening to talking to authors and publishers about adapting titles for them. I hope they do a graphic novel soon.
The two new storybook apps are:
Blimps & Whales – a journey of friendship between sky and sea, which also promotes the protection of our delicate natural world.
Count Broccula – “Eat your vegetables before they eat you!” – where a young boy has a comic adventure while overcoming his fear of eating vegetables, especially broccoli.
You can download them from the App Store.
Here are their video trailers:
Exit Through the Gift Shop, directed by famed street artist Banksy, is up for the Academy Award for Best Documentary.
According to Ambrose Heron in FILMdetail, many new Banksy street art installations are popping up all over Hollywood.
I love Banksy and his art (see my old post). I loved the movie. I love this stunt.
But I strongly feel Josh Fox’s Gasland is a much more important documentary and should win the Oscar. It tells the story of how searching and drilling for natural gas using a destructive method called fracking is polluting the water supply.
Many people are shown setting fire to water coming out of their faucets.
This may soon effect most of the Northeast. Horrifying.
If Gasland wins, the publicity may help stop further fracking.
Ya gotta love where this is going:
Read the whole story at Dr Dre Started Burning Man.
There was not much about Ronald Reagan’s politics that I agreed with. From his days as Governor California, he stood for many of the political beliefs I found and still find abhorrent. But for a moment, I got a glimpse of Reagan as a human being…
In the ’80s, I was a partner in a software for film & TV production business in a hangar at the Santa Monica Airport. The office was funky, the rent was reasonable, and the neighbors great.
Across the runway, there was a fairly trendy restaurant called the DC-3, named for the Douglas DC-3 aircraft that was a staple of WWII & the early airline industry, which had been built there. You can see a DC-3 and more at the Museum of Flying, located at the airport.
My partners & I went over for lunch one day in March, 1989, shortly after Reagan left office. We were regulars and had a good relationship with the staff. As we entered, the hostess told us there was a surprise guest having lunch and escorted us to one of the smaller, alcove, semi-private areas.
As we approached, we saw two Secret Service agents standing guard at the doorway. We then realized who the surprise guest was. We were quite used to seeing agents at the airport, as Reagan always had Air Force One land at the airport when he came to LA (which was frequently). We’d always be alerted that he was coming from the sound of them stomping around to take up positions on the metal roof of the hangar about an hour before he landed. We’d sometimes go out and wave ‘hi’ when we heard them.
As we entered the alcove and were seated, we saw the former president sitting with an aide about 6 feet from us. He was eating lunch and smiled and nodded as we sat down at a table nearby. I don’t recall if there were other diners there as well.
One of my partners was a big fan of his and immediately approached him and scored his autograph on a napkin. My partner looked liked he had received communion directly from the pope. The napkin was his holy treasure.
I just watched. The aide left. Here was the recently most powerful man in the world, simply savoring a quiet lunch. A man I had always disliked immensely & mistrusted.
The waitress brought him a hot-fudge sundae for dessert. He ate it with immense gusto and then… he licked the bowl, clean… like a little kid. And savored it just as much as a kid would. He was beaming as he put down the bowl and wiped his mouth with his napkin.
He noticed we were watching, winked, and quietly said “Please don’t tell Nancy…”
And for those few seconds, all I despised about him disappeared. He became just another, regular guy, enjoying something – and behaving – in a way maybe forbidden by his wife.
Charisma can’t be quantified, but there it was, shining. It really was overwhelming. His charm disarmed me momentarily. It was impossible for me not feel affection him… for an instant…
We all laughed and said we would not.
The aide returned and they left.
I went back to thinking about Iran-Contra, Oliver North, what he said at Bitburg, cocaine smuggling of the CIA, the end of the Cold War, and other parts of his legacy.
For a few years, comedian Marc Maron has been doing an extremely funny podcast called WTF where he talks with people involved in comedy in one way or another – comedians, writers, directors – and people like Louis C.K., who are all three.
My respect & admiration for Kevin Smith as a soon-to-be internet media mogul with his Smodcast Network was discussed in a recent post.
Maron did a show with Smith last week and it was superb. Not only funny, but incredibly insightful – about each other and their creativity.
These are two guys that are doing it by themselves, their way – for their fans. They have struggled long and hard in their own ways to be able to be able to work their craft on their own terms.
Here’s Kevin on what he thinks of the media after the ‘too fat to fly’ controversy & bogus reviewers and why he no longer cares:
I realized… how much creative time I’ve wasted fighting a battle of opinion with people that don’t fuckin’ matter…
Most telling was Kevin’s revelation about what he perceives as his career path now:
In the 21st Century we’re finding that the smart money does it from its house… The closer you can get to never having to leave your house – the better… That’s how you win!
The music industry is a mess & the movie business is in turmoil. Here are two jokers from Jersey that are having a great time in this new media world. They are creating content that their fans can enjoy whenever and wherever they want.
Home-brewed internet show business is already a part of today’s entertainment and it will only get bigger – and better.
[If you don't care to listen to this episode on iTunes, you can download it.]
Update – Monday Jan 24, 2011
It was no surprise to hear Smith’s announcement after the Red State premier at Sundance last night that he was going to self-distribute the movie under the Smodcast Pictures banner. Many people immediately jumped on him calling ‘bullshit’ while others applauded.
I think that is a logical progression that evolved naturally given what he has accomplished in the last few years.
As he says, Indie 2.0 (as he terms it) is going back to the past business model when movies went from town-to-town as part of a larger road show. He will have value-adds at every performance (Q & A’s, other Smodcast celebs, artifacts from movies) and – no surprise – ticket prices will be considerably higher. His fans will consider it a great bonus and he will probably succeed.
Anybody can make a movie… What we aim to prove is that anybody can release a movie now as well.
Anybody with almost 2 million Twitter followers should be able to do so. He’s worked hard to develop his audience and now he will reap the rewards. His is a ringmaster of his own circus.
It will also be interesting to see how he reacts when it is pirated.
As YouTube transforms, there will be host of challenges ahead.
It will be fascinating to see the response of the networks & Hollywood. Thus will get ugly, as the old guard fights a turf war with the new kid.
A kid that can purchase them with the cash it has on hand.
What an interesting way to start the year!
According to Geekosystem, Italy’s version of the FCC (Italian Authority for Communications Guarantees) has classified any UGC (user generated content) site as television stations.
The reasoning is that if a site in any way curates their user generated content, even with automatic algorithms, “this amounts to editorial control,” and the site should be held to the same rules that apply to Italy’s broadcast television stations. This would subject these sites to a small tax, would require them to take down videos within 48 hours of the request of anyone who feels they have been slandered, and to not broadcast videos unsuitable for children at certain times of day (whatever that would actually mean for a completely online service).
Most importantly, however, the new resolutions would make YouTube and other sites legally responsible for all of their content.
Wow. Keep in mind that
Last Februrary, four Google employees were arrested and charged with “criminal defamation and a failure to comply with the Italian privacy code” in regards to a clip uploaded to Google video that none of them appeared in, filmed, uploaded, or even found out about until after it had been taken down.
I’m sure there are many people in this country that would like UGC sites and aggregators to be held responsible for all their content. I wonder if this will affect the continuing Viacom/YouTube copyright litigation & appeals in any way.
If it gains any traction, this line of thought might have ramifications in the net neutrality debate, too.
We’ll have to watch this one closely in the coming months.