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Category Archives: Media
In yesterday’s New York Times, the showrunners of several current political TV dramas discuss how the outrageousness of current political reality has affected the plotlines of their shows. Some of them talk about how they had to change the direction of the current season to take into account the real-life headlines that, in some cases, might make a plot twist dated or moot. Reading this, I couldn’t help but feel that there’s another side to this—one that these showrunners might not want to face: that these fictional television series have unwittingly aided and abetted a climate of mistrust for government and the rise of “fake news.”
Fictional TV has always had a side that was “ripped from the headlines.” Famously, the “Law and Order” series would take actual tabloid stories and fictionalize them just enough to pass muster without needing the rights to anyone’s particular story.
In recent years, there has been a spate of series that have one underlying theme—cynicism about our government. This list of shows is long, and includes everything from “Madam Secretary” to “The Good Wife” to “House of Cards” to “Homeland” to “Designated Survivor” to “Scandal”—even to “Game of Thrones.” (more…)
Here is the full text of the kickoff remarks I made this morning at the Minority Independent Producers Summit, a three day conference that has going on since Tuesday night in New York City. This morning’s topic was marketing and distribution and consisted of panel discussions and case studies. The full schedule of events can be found at mipsummit.com. The intention of my remarks was to set the stage for the discussion that followed, and to throw out a few provocations to wake people up.
Before I start, I want to thank the Founding Members of MIPS for organizing this conference. I want to particularly thank Damian Bender for co-curating this morning’s Distribution and Marketing Pod as we’ve taken to calling it. I’m listed as the co-curator, but Damian is the one who did the heavy lifting, so I want to give him a big shout out.
When I was first approached about being on advisory board for a conference about underrepresented/minority producers of movies and television, I had a series of immediate responses swirling around in my head. (more…)
For those of you who are interested in the intersection between technology and storytelling, the Digimart 2006 videos, which were MIA for awhile, are back. Here is one of the panels on the “Future of Theatrical Exhibition,” in which I make an appearance. To see the rest of the videos from the 2006 conference, check out the Digimart Site. And you can check out my previous post about Digimart 2005.
Comments after the break… (more…)
In 2005, I was invited to a conference in Montreal called Digimart, organized by Daniel Langlois and his team at Ex-Centris. It was a very early attempt to deal with the coming convergence of entertainment technologies, and they invited a star-studded array of speakers that represented the cutting edge of that time. I met many incredible people at the event, and even more the following year, when they invited many of us back for a second time. Some of the folks I met are now good friends and collaborators.
Recently it was pointed out to me that the videos of the conference sessions were no longer on line, so I contacted the good folks at La fondation Daniel Langlois, who are now trying to restore access to those videos. They’ve put back the sessions from the 2005 event, and are trying to locate the ones from 2006. Watching these videos, it’s incredible how far ahead of the curve many of the speakers were, and equally incredible how much has changed. You can find all the 2005 videos at the Digimart site. For a quick taste, below is the panel I was on, which was called, “More Digital Cinema Networks – Alternative & Independent Spaces.” I’ll post again if and when the 2006 videos reappear.
Comments after the break… (more…)
During Oscar season last year, as I was catching up on the films I had missed, I started tweeting my reactions to each of the films the moment they were over. It was fun trying to fit something meaningful into 140 characters, and with each tweet, I kept trying to top myself in terms of being clever. Then I got hooked. I started tweeting reviews from festivals… Sundance, then Cannes, then Toronto. Finding just the right combination of words to capture my thoughts was becoming a game. It was like writing a haiku.
About a month ago, I was sitting on an airplane, when suddenly a name popped into my head. Tweeviews. How cute. No wifi was available on this particular flight, so I had to wait until I landed before I could check out whether tweeviews.com was available. Nope, gone. How about movietweeviews.com? Got it. (more…)
Scott Kirsner just informed me that videos of many of the panels at “The Conversation,” held at Columbia University back in March, are now available on line. Below is the video of my apparently controversial opening remarks, which many people interpreted as dashing the hopes and dreams of aspiring filmmmakers everywhere. But listen carefully to what I’m saying. It’s about pragmatism, not pessimism.
The rest of the videos can be found at Scott’s site
You can leave comments after the break (more…)
The following press release was meant to go out this coming September, but apparently a draft was accidentally left in a bar on Madison Avenue, and immediately found its way to the web.
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
September 23, 2010
NEW SONY TELEVISIONS TO BE PROTECTED FROM PROBLEMATIC CONTENT
NBC UNIVERSAL PLATFORM NO LONGER SUPPORTED
Sony Corporation announced today that its new line of LCD televisions, to be introduced later this month, would have built-in protection against what it termed “problematic content.” Sir Howard Stringer, Sony’s Chairman, CEO and President said “Sony’s goal is to create an environment where consumers can trust that what they are getting is worthy of the TV set it is being played upon.” Right out of the box, all content from NBC Universal will be blocked due to what Sony is calling “its instability.”
In a lengthy public memo elaborating on the reasons for the new strategy, Stringer said, “Sony has had a long history of working with NBC. In fact, every TV we’ve ever built could get NBC programming. However, there are the issues of reliability, security and performance, and NBC’s programming fails on all three fronts. NBC’s late night schedule is just one example of why Sony has determined that the network is not a stable platform.”
In reponse to criticism that Sony is creating a “closed” platform, Stringer responded that (more…)
Part one of this story can be found here.
It was August, and after dropping a number of hints that I was unhappy being the children’s waiter, I was finally promoted to the main dining room, but as a busboy. In retrospect, I assume that my locally powerful uncle had something to do with getting me the promotion. In any case, I was glad to be rid of the spoiled brats.
It turned out that bussing the tables in the main dining room was no picnic either. The Granit, like many hotels in the Catskills at that time, was strictly Kosher. Breakfast was always a dairy meal. Lunch would alternate between meat and dairy, and dinner was always meat. One of the most popular items on the lunch menu was borscht. To this day I’ve never tasted it, but at the end of a long day, my shirt sleeves were stained red from carrying the busboxes that were half filled with sloshing leftover borsht. (more…)
In the next few week’s it’s going to be hard to avoid the fact that it has been 40 years since the Woodstock Music & Arts Festival tracked its muddy footprints into history. I’ve been speculating that the 40th anniversary needed to be a big deal because it was likely that by the 50th, there would be no one left who was there. Personally, I didn’t make it to Woodstock. But the summer of 1969 was one of the most important in my life…so much so, that I’ve been considering trying to put it in a screenplay. But given that I have many other obligations, I may have to settle for this blog. (Hey Schamus, when do you find time to write?)
In the winter of 1968-69, I was in my sophmore year of high school and my parents announced to me that we were moving from Chicago, where I had spent my formative years, (more…)