Video from “The Conversation”

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

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A Press Release From the Not-Too-Distant Future

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 Continue reading “A Press Release From the Not-Too-Distant Future”

The Hierarchy of Contemporary Communication

I’m constantly amazed at how many people have such a hard time catching on to the various forms of available communication, and don’t realize what is appropriate usage for each of them. There are ways of reaching out to people that require very little research to find out an address, and those are the places least likely to get a response. On the other hand, one can easily abuse having access to someone’s cell phone number or email address. For what it’s worth, here is my assessment of the priority given to the various forms of communication…

1. The Telephone: Yes, you read that right. The phone is still the best way to reach out to someone with urgency. I went to a conference recently where they put up a slide that said, “You can’t get milk from a cow by sending an email.” If you need an urgent answer, pick up the phone. Continue reading “The Hierarchy of Contemporary Communication”

40 Years ago… Part 2

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. Continue reading “40 Years ago… Part 2”

It was 40 years ago today…

Granit Hotel & Country Club, Kerhonkson NY

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 sophomore year of high school and my parents announced to me that we were moving from Chicago, where I had spent my formative years, Continue reading “It was 40 years ago today…”

Podcast: The Brand Show

While I was at the PGA “Produced By” Conference in L.A. (which I’ll write more about shortly), I was interviewed for a podcast called “The Brand Show” which is described as being about “the growing connection between storytelling and branding.” If you are curious about the subject, my interview is below. You can find others at the Two West web site.
UPDATE: Unfortunately the Brand Show podcasts are no longer available.

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PGA Event Video

On March 25th, I participated in an event sponsored by the Producers Guild that was called, “Independent Filmmaking in the Digital World: A Conversation with Ira Deutchman.” The PGA has kindly provided the video so I can share it. It’s divided into four parts, assuming you can last that long. Let me know your thoughts. 

UPDATE: Unfortunately this video is no longer available.

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Confessions of an Old Media Junkie

Screen shot of Times ReaderIn the last few months, it seems to have become common wisdom that traditional print media is in its death throes. According to every expert, all media is moving to the web. Yet you wouldn’t know it by looking at me.  As somebody who works in the media, I’ve always considered that part of my job is to know what is going on the world…especially and specifically in the world of pop culture. On a daily basis, I read the New York Times, Daily Variety and Hollywood Reporter. Every week, I read New York Magazine, The New Yorker, Newsweek, Weekly Variety, Entertainment Weekly, Screen International, Video Business and The New York Observer. And I also subscribe to Film Comment and several monthly tech magazines.   I figure that single-handedly, I’ve killed a large number of trees in my lifetime. Continue reading “Confessions of an Old Media Junkie”