Monday, November 30, 2009

Surprised Kitten

I hope you had a Happy Thanksgiving!


Friday, November 20, 2009

New Look for Blog

To go along with my own weight loss this year, I am also making some tweaks to the blog. You should expect to see some gateway links to other blogs and places of interest. In addition, I will have a direct link to the production blog as well.


Monday, November 16, 2009

What is Film Part II- So, what's in it for me?

In my last post I talked about the conference What is Film and the major themes of creativity, shocks to the system and new ( or is it newly discovered) ways of distribution and content generation for new portals- mainly the internet. And of course, the new maxim is that if you are a writer, you must also be a producer of your own material and work to get that published/produced/distributed- a new way of thinking for those who have been trying to sell their work for option or who have had their work option, only to see it languish in line of other excellent work.

So what is in it for filmmakers, writers, actors and crew ? Quite possibly less opportunity to get into directly into the studios- after all, these are tangled multi- national corporations. It also means that the so-called 'stupid money'- independent financing- is not readily available, and so many project will require a sober prospectus, just like opening a store or a gallery. It may also mean taking out a SBA loan just as for a store!

What's in it for Portland? It means that the creative community here, which does tend to secret ourselves in our homes, wrapped in blankets while writing, must venture out and talk to each other more, and possibly try to collarbrate more with each other. Artists must also start to take their time seriously- which means while we all must work day jobs, to not allow those day jobs to distract their art and not let easy derision distract from their work as well.

What's it in for me (aka Edie S): All of the above, plus the idea of a multi- platform roll out for both my documentary and my play being workshopped right now. Multi platforms for me spell multi- work, but this is he significant way that films and theater work is promoted right now- through all channels that could command attention and notice for my works in progress.

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Thursday, November 12, 2009

On What is Film Conference: Nov 6-7

Last week I attended the "What is Film?" conference that what put on by the University of Oregon in Portland. This was the kick off of their new concentration, Cinema Studies, that will available starting this upcoming year.

Between the creative writing talks of the The Zabels ( Bryce and Jackie) and the industry examination papers, there emerged a common consensus: The filmed entertainment business, barely 100 years old, is in self destructive, self changing mode yet again. And again, the driver is both change in technology and change in access in technology. Here is what I found most interesting, and here are the connections I made during that conference:

1) The access and scope of internet, of legal and illegal access to films, and ways to best capitalize on growing access to film material on the internet. My feeling is the same as it was 7 years with the music industry: Don't hype pirates up to much, but add supplementary material and special features that only legal downloads would have. This is being done to an extent by both Fox and Disney/ABC. As for feature films, I have seen pirated films in Europe on a laptop- lemme tell you, I was willing to pay for quality of image and sound, which is key to keeping feature film audiences.

2) Speaking of which, the whole revival of 3-D, super jumbo screens and such is extremely similiar to what studios did with the advent of TV in the late 40s and onwards into the 1950s. Big budget, big explosions and plenty of special effects on special screens with special glasses are what drives the box office in the summer- just as in the 1950s, with Cinerama, improved coloration and special effects, 3-d technology, and increased amenities at the cinemas themselves ( Ben Hur, The Ten Commandants, Cleopatra). The hugeness of the movies subsided in the 60s and 70s, with big films but with lots of medium films put out by the studios. Then Spielberg and Lucas hit the industry with a one-two punch of their reinvention of the Saturday serial, TV got cable and new funding for smaller films on tv, and now once again there is the emphasis on technology, special effects and amenities at the cinemas.

3) Speaking of TV, a rather interesting presentation was made by Jennifer Holt titled It's Not Film, It's TV. This confirmed a bit of what I thought was going on with some of the major studios and their holdings in the big broadcast companies. My spin on what Ms. Holt was saying is that instead of the Saturday serials and Wednesday romances at the movies we get the same type of movies on TV, only in direct weekly format and significantly better story lines. It's the TV films and series driving the feature films, not the other way around, although the prestige is in feature films. Check out the Star Trek reboot: director J.J.Abrams was already proven director and producer not of films- but of TV serials. The lead for Spock, Zachary Quinto, makes his lead debut based on his work on-a tv series. The rest of the cast is well known for excellent character work on TV productions both here and in Australia/New Zealand. The film has plenty of tie ins from programming that Abrams was involved in, such as Fringe and Lost.

4) Speaking of Star Trek, Eileen Meehan made an interesting presentation about National Entertainments, Viacom, Paramount and CBS, and how separate companies are really tied to each other, in terms of cross promotional ties and platforms. Quite thought provoking.

All of this points to the fact that if you wish to create a film of any genre, you also have to be a producer and you must have an audience already in place. This has been done since the invention of the film industry, but it is more blatant now!

More Tomorrow.

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Wednesday, November 4, 2009

This Time Last Year

Drinking Champagne with Christine and Kevin and rushing out into the street of the Stepford neighborhood to talk to people.

Despite the tidy image, people are still struggling. Boy oh boy. And yet, by god, we might get healthcare, and may do a sensible withdrawal from an expensive and ill thought out war, an dmay finally start some new industries in this country.

It's a good time to be young and alive in this country. It really is.

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