Thursday, May 28, 2009

The Price of Reality Fame

This my friends is nota still shot from "Drag Me To Hell". It's a shot of TV Talent Show and Internet sensation, Susan Boyle, who according to reports today, has flipped her bonet under the strain of her newly found fame. So sad. Also, apparently that couple from "Jon and Kate Plus 8" are headed towards divorce, much to their own shock.

I have never quite understood the Reality TV world, or why people want to do it, because in the end 99% of the people who go on these shows are made to look like a fool. I myself back in 2003 was almost on a Reality Show, but I was going to be playing some sort of charade, so I would be acting as a character, but the thought of walking around with cameras following me for 12 - 16 hours a day, just seemed so odd.

It seems to me there are a few types of people on these shows. A) The Truly Undiscovered Talent, B) The Not-So-Talented, who should remain Undiscovered, C) The person who fell ass backwards into an odd situation (like have six kids at once), D) The washed up Celebrity Has-Been trying to make a quick buck and somehow stay on our collective consciousness.

Group A has the best chance of actually making a career entertaining us, but if you look at the darts thrown at folks like Kelly Clarkson (and her growing and shrinking behind) it's still a rough road. The Other Groups are pretty much doomed for complete and utter degradation. Which to me is so odd. Sure, you are famous, but you're famous because of your failure or your general oddness. And it's not like that failure is celebrated by the producers of these shows. It's exploited.

Let's take Jon and Kate. They have 8 children who will have to through at a very young age the difficulty of a broken home. All because their parents chose to put them on television and exploit the circumstances that the children were the product of sextuplets. Now, a family is being torn appart, and while some are sympathetic, the majority of America is relishing the "Drama" and can't wait to see the fall out. That's just sick.

Susan Boyle was originally praised by the media for getting her desserts at an age most people would have settled for the state of their life as it was. Now that same media is picking her apart like vultures, preying upon the difficulties of a woman, who in all honesty, probably had no idea she'd be this well received, nor this lambasted only weeks later.

I undrestand why Reality Shows are made. People watch them, and they are cheap. Yet, I still hate them, and I think the medium has gone from something that could have been quite interesting (episodic documentary film making) to a complete farce of the human condition with zero redemptive qualities.

Admiring A Rooftop Farm

I found this over on We're obviously not a food blog, but I thought this idea for utilizing unused industrial space for farming was incredibly creative and inspiring. So, check out this link and read about a group who planted a whole farm on the roof of an old Bagel Factory.

Here is the Link!

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

What the....?

I have no words to describe whatever this is supposed to be. I don't know if it's patriotic. I don't know if it's a sad story about someone dying. I don't know what's happening. I do know that this is one amazing piece of crap. But that's just my opinion. Judge for yourself!

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

SAG Screwed Itself

There is right now a lot of hullabaloo over a proposed contract for Primetime TV and Theatrical Release between SAG and AMPTP. The 'sides' or factions that are allied to vote NO and YES are putting out internet videos, writing blogs, holding demonstrations, holding meetings to convince the majority to vote a particular way. We, however, will not see the results of these ballots for a little while. Here are some questions a few people have asked me on the subject.

Will it be ratified? Yes.

Should it be ratified? Not, if you are an actor with a career that precedes 1974 and 9171. For all the others, it's a toss up.

Why will it be ratified? Because everyone is broke. The WGA strike killed income for actors by default from late 2007 through the spring of 2008. A minor window of earning potential opened up between about March of 2008 and June of 2008. Then it closed when SAG failed to do anything about their contract until what will be June of 2009. So, that's (count it) 17 Months of decreased revenue earning potential for SAG working class actors. A year and a half where things have become so bad that A and B list actors are poaching guest starring roles from TV shows, Commericals, and co-starring roles on independent movies, that would have formerly gone to lesser known 'working class actors'.

To make matters worse, the economic downturn has forced Studios to pull back on their budgets and spending, which means that if you live in New York or Hollywood, you're watching potential shows you could have worked on, go out to Toronto, Utah, Michigan, North Carolina, etc. Local actors are being used sparingly in these productions, and you my L.A. friends are not getting these shows back.

The Los Angeles actor who is working today is facing a crisis. The crisis that nothing is shooting in town, and the projects being shot are being out-sourced to cheaper cities. So, to stop the bleeding SAG has to start working again on a new contract so Studios will start shooting in town again. However, you've already lost so much. Just when shows were returning to California after at trend in them leaving to go out state or out of the country, your Union's piss poor negotiating strategy is forcing productions back out of California. Guess what? Your paycheck is going right along with it.

If you had a career in the early seventies, and you have been fortunate to collect some residuals from that old work, you will never see a penny from New Media. As the new deal prevents the studio from having to pay you. So, all you Star Trek stars? You'll never see any money from those shows when they Air on (which by the way, they already are).

The sad part here is, now a deal has to be ratified or actors are going to starve. The bad part is that even after almost a year of negotiation. SAG could not get a better deal than the one they basically had in June of last year. One year of lost pay, for a deal you already had a year ago. That, my friends, is the definition of suck.

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Jimmy Kimmel Went Ape Shit

Upfronts are super key for TV Networks. It is the event where they announce their fall season for advertisers and try to convince them how awesome their new Fall Schedule will be. Usually all the stars show up to give the presentation the WOW factor. So, no surprise, ABC would trot out former Comedy Central Schmubb and current Late Night TV Show host, Jimmy Kimmel. However, what was surprising was the fact taht Jimmy pretty much lost his mind, and said this:

In a “Jerry Maguire”-like moment of clarity, Mr. Kimmel said, “Everything you’re going to hear this week is” nonsense… “These new fall shows? We’re going to cancel about 90 percent of them. Maybe more.” To the ABC advertisers, Mr. Kimmel said, “Every year we lie to you and every year you come back for more. You don’t need an upfront. You need therapy. We completely lie to you, and then you pass those lies onto your clients.” [...]In closing, Mr. Kimmel said, “I think all our shows are going to work this year. I really do.” He paused. “I don’t, really.”Before departing the stage, he said: “The important thing to remember is: who cares, it’s not your money.” [NYT Arts Beat]

Um... what the hell, Jimmy? Talk about throwing egg in everyone's faces. This a P.R. night mare for ABC, because even if the comments were meant to be a joke, it's not the kind of joke I'd tell. This is like going to a birthday party for your boss, at his house, and getting up to give him a toast, and then you decide to make a joke about how he's cheating on his wife with the secretary. Sure, it may be true, but you just don't do it.

FOX and NBC: Reading Between the Lines!

A few months ago, comments by Chernoff @ Fox caused a bit of riff in what at the time were stalled AMPTP / SAG negotiations. Basically, Chernoff said that FOX would not air repeats on the network at some point in the future. He also said that they would simply shoot the repeated episodes over to for viewing. This of course freaked out SAG actors already nervous about the poor returns from content on the web.

Now, then you look at a statement from NBC on why they were ordering more episodes on shows than last year. That statement basically said that repeats are now getting less and less ratings. The viewers are not tuning into to watch repeated content and that instead, they would just create more shows and move to a year round slate.

Now, of course, when I say repeates, mean current network primetime shows, not the syndicated stuff that comes on after the local news.

So, if this is true. If more content is going to be ordered and created, and the repeats will be out, how does this affect actors. Well, in the short run, it means more jobs for actors, but without that repeat bonus check, you lose a nice amount of pay for your appearance on a show. So, in the end it will mean less money for actors once again. However, this isn't due to the fact that the network is trying to 'stick it' to actors, and screw everyone over by putting content on the web. It just means that the audience doesn't want to watch repeats anymore. And these days with ratings being examined even more thoroughly, Networks will work quickly to stop the bleeding and keep advertising dollars in house.

An Old Friend Dredges Up The Past

So, I have a friend named Doug Clayton. I have not spoken with him in a while, but he and I have performed together and directed each other. He works for the LA Stage Alliance. He wrote an article that was his take on the "POST SHOW ROUND TABLE" I wrote about months ago. Here it is. He does a nice job summarizing a lot of parts that I left out. So, if you want another take on that incredibly frustrating night, go check it out.

Monday, May 18, 2009

Why So Silent?

Yes, I know, I am a blogger that writes on binges of consistency. I have not posted for a few weeks, and I know that some of you are a little concerned. Let me alleviate your concerns by sharing what I have been up to for the last few weeks. I am sure some of you can relate to how busy your creative / professional life can get at times. So, here's what's happened.

THE NOHO SHOW! The internet series, I write, direct and co-produce aired the final three episodes and we are finally done with our first season. It was a completely rewarding experience to make this project happen and I am very proud of it. Go, check it out at !

THE STARTING ZONE! I make play world of warcraft. I enjoy it and I have a wonderful little batch of friends in a guild, and we are all enjoying it. Many of us (like me) are fairly new to the game and we noticed there was not a whole lot of advice or information for new players on the complexities of starting a new character, so my friend Jesse Kobayashi and I started a podcast called, The Starting Zone. It is now seven episodes in and already we have 15K listeners per podcast. That's pretty remarkable for two guys talking WoW over Skype. Feel free to check out the site at !

DIARY OF AN ANGRY LIFE COACH! As a screen writer and web content developer, I am always creating new ideas. I recently submerged my writing focus on a new web series I plan to shoot this Summer called, "Diary of an Angry Life Coach". We're getting crews and cast together. If you want to be involved and you life in Los Angeles, comment on this site and we'll get in touch. I hope to have a site up and running by this fall with the episodes releasing weekly.

Friday, May 1, 2009

The Hunt for Gollum

What you can watch below is a trailer for a completely 100% volunteer made movie that claims to be 'another chapter' in the Lord of the Rings story. Now, I'm not an LOTR nerd or fan boy. The movie's aren't bad, but I'm not going to a convention and dressing up like Boromir. Anyway, I want to put this up, because everyone volunteered their time to make a very high quality movie in terms of production values. While it obviously steals footage and art design inspiration from the Peter Jackson movies, it shows what passion, commitment and skill can create for FREE! I bet Warner Bros New Line is going to try and sue to get this thing put down, but if you want to go check out "The Hunt For Gollum" it opens May 3rd on the Movie Website.

THE HUNT FOR GOLLUM - FULL Trailer 1 from Independent Online Cinema on Vimeo.

American Idol Makes People Bonkers

People wonder why I do not watch "American Idol". There is a reason. I think people take it way, way too seriously. This a review by Richard Rushfield. Based on the review, my personal image of Mr. Rushfield is basically Perez Hilton mixed with a Jack Russel Terrier with a urinary track infection. After reading, you too, will say the same words that I uttered, "Get a fucking life, Dude." You can't equate a near elimination (not even an elimination) of your favorite contestent with some like, Oh, I don't know... 9/11. I warn you read this with your hands clasped firmly on either side of your head to keep it from exploding with bewilderment.

"We will never know how close “American Idol’s” eighth season came to disaster Wednesday night. Had Adam Lambert been eliminated last night, a grieving nation would have spent all eternity shaking their heads in disbelief, haunted by the specter of what might have been.… In the annals of “Idol” tragedy – grim pages recounting the dark moments of Daughtry, of Hudson, of Grey — tonight could have marked the bleakest chapter yet for our republic. [...]

To take stock — first of all, while we pause, shaken by the almost cataclysm, let us not forget that to avert this disaster, we were forced to make a tragic Sophie’s choice, giving to Angel of Death Seacrest one of the most likable talents ever to grace the Idoldome. The judges’ use of the wild card and the save on Matt will go down, as Kara said, as the judges’ profiles in courage, bestowing a young man of grace, panache and good humor on our nation."