The Hot Blog Archive for January, 2010

MAD TV Sees The Future

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Apparition's 1 Minute Of Interview Love



LOVE This Guy…

… even if it’s the first time I have ever seen him.

PS. Just reading that there will be no Flash support on the iPad… HUGE problem. If this is the ultimate web browsing experience and it’s missing a widely used and overused element like Flash… well, it’s going to be frustrating and limiting. Why make that choice, Apple?


The IPad: Load & Dump Groundbreaker?

For those of us who are already iPhone addicted, the iPad is the obvious next-gen must-have opportunity. It’s not very complicated. Having a realistic sized screen for movies, television, and reading is a huge step forward. The joke about watching movies on a 2″ inch screen are over.
The big question for Apple, newspapers, and everyone else is whether the major subtext of the story, the wireless Load-and-Dump use of content, is going to take hold as this product and a parade of imitators flood the market. With a max hard drive size of 64g, many of us wouldn’t be able to keep our full music library on the iPad, much less dozens of movies and music and images sized for this pad, etc.
So unless you want to watch Up every day, the expectation will be that you will put the movie (or last season of “30 Rock”) on the iPad until you have watched it and then dump it to create room for what you want to watch next. iTunes really would like you to rent movies.
iWork is another key element. Will iPad become the start of the long anticipated use of programs, like Word and Excel, online instead of as permanently downloaded programs? (One concern I read was that there is no external keyboard or mouse… but the iPad is a Bluetooth device, so won’t those be options, even if Apple wants to keep the “revolutionary” idea of the touch screen up front?) Apple presented 3 new iWorks apps for $9.99 each. In a world in which light users don’t need every bell and whistle. will this become the standard for most software?
My iPhone experience has been greatly colored by apps like MLB’s At Bat, which not only offers up to the minute content about all the games in play in the moment, but has offered radio to all game from all markets for free as part of the $9.99 annual price as well as games in real time, either at 99 cents a pop or for an annual fee… 30something dollars, I seem to recall. The reason I’m not sure is that I didn’t buy it this year. But with MLB on DirecTV at $140 a year or more, blacked out on Saturdays because of Fox’s broadcast deal, $40 for the same games on the iPad is looking pretty attractive as an alternative, while I would rarely even watch highlights on the iPhone’s small screen. The gimmick becomes functional.
Likewise, DirecTV’s Sunday Ticket package in HD has included free iPhone and web access. Suddenly, watching a game on a 9.7″ screen is worth the time, not just a way to sneak a peek at a game you really want to watch instead of being stuck at brunch with the in-laws.
And of course, hotel porn may be the most damaged business model in all of this. Businesspeople are the ones who will spend the money to buy and get 3G web access on the iPad without even considering the cost. Hundreds of millions are spend on “movie” every year. Even if people don’t want to risk keeping porn on the iPad, erased histories will be all the rage.
But let’s look further… I still carry a Blackberry because my iPhone is not up to snuff for e-mail and phone. Am I willing to pay two 3G charges a month to have internet access for both products or do I dump the iPhone… or start using it like an iTouch? Or do I dump the Blackberry with an iPad offering a fuller form of Mac Mail that lives up to the quality of a regular computer experience? (Again… memory is an issue. How much of the memory can be allotted to mail on iPad and will there be a “save” function so priority e-mail can be held onto?)
iPad is not really a new technology. It is an expansion of a technology and an idea… and it seems, a wonderful and useful one at that. It expands the idea of how we use the technology we have available to us. That said, as we saw with the iPhone, most of the early buyers replaced their other cell phones with the new tool. When Mac has brought in “new and improved” products with narrow uses, like the MacBook Air, there was resistance to spending big bucks to not quite fully replace what people already had… in that case, pretty light, intensely functional laptops. Mac has been changing sizes, improving pricing, offering bigger hard drives, etc and every new product is a real consideration, the way that you used to look at the new TVs every few years. But how many laptops or desktops can you use?
We can only consume so much at one time. And the iPhone experience, for most people I know, includes at least half their app downloads being, essentially, unused and uninteresting within months. Functional programs in the content mindset.
What will the iPad replace for users? And will people now, with a realistically functional size for visual interaction, start to really get on the Load & Dump train in a real way, not just buying a la carte, but getting used to the idea that owning and using can be mutually exclusive, but still satisfying ideas?


DP/30 – A Single Man star Colin Firth

mp3 of the conversation



Sundance Sales Not So Pretty

How slow are things at Sundance… again?
Sharon Waxman is running sales to foreign territories as news.
There are certainly a dozen films that will sell out of Sundance. But the higher profile films you have been hearing about, like the Duplass-made Cyrus and The Runaways and Jack Goes Boating were all brought to Park City by their distributors for publicity, not sales.
When all the hum is about a indie-style thriller in a box and some muscular docs, it may be a good Sundance from a quality standard, but nowhere near a solution to The Indie Distribution Problem.
That dozen that will sell, aside from two or three, will be films selling off to companies from Sony Classics on down the stream to the micro-indies for low six-figure prices. Sell-offs, hoping that magic will happen, a la Sunshine Cleaning. Another 60 will sell… to pure VOD buyers… for less money than the cost of the Sundance trip. You’ll see the rest on YouTube… or more likely, you won’t see them on YouTube, though they will be offered.
But you know, that last part… pretty normal… and YouTube is more than they have had in the past. It’s the theatrical stuff that has dried up like a bull penis in Japan that remains scary. The NYT ran some bad numbers about how expensive films at Sundance are, on average. Very misleading, But still, how many years can people take risks of a few hundred thousand dollars and lose, year after year. How many of these guys will be the next Duplass or Shelton or come from out of that wave of family filmmakers?
At what point does it constrict because the hope for air is so thin?


DP/30 Sundance – IndieVest

IndieVest is a young company that is built around the idea of financing low-budget indies along with a built-in fund for marketing and distribution, assuring a theatrical release for all titles, followed by Home Ent opportunities.
Conceived by former Venture Capitalist Wade Bradley, he teamed with producer Mark Burton to handle the creative side. And Bradley is one of the most comfortable finance guys I have ever met when it comes to staying on the money side. He’s not looking to backdoor a career as a creative. He just wants those numbers to work. I find guys like this, trying to find the next great answer, fascinating.
Their first release, St John of Las Vegas, premiered at CineVegas and is heading into release next month. And given the market, they’ve expanded their portfolio to include acquisitions with the same idea… fund it all when they make the buy.
mp3 of the conversation

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In The Na'vi



As Directed By Roman Polanski?

I can’t say that this image actually offends me. I really like the idea of a one-sheet having LP sleeve age marks on it and the brazen idea of the image. The big hit the group had was Cherry Bomb, as illustrated by the real Joan Jett here…
Still… something about the drippy drool coming off of that cherry is a little creepy… a little literal, no?


All Not Together Now

When I saw this foursome on the SAG Awards (oddly without the present Ms Loren), I was struck by how this group of four women looked as though they had barely ever met. And the movie feels just like that, even though each individual got a wonderful chance to stretch and play.


Gawker Gets Aggressive

They could certainly be accused of trying to undermine the competition, but I was surprised by two Gawker/Defamer pieces this last few days that dug a bit into the business end of HuffPo and Deadline Hollywood Daily.
The first is a look at the effort to funnel some of HuffPo’s recent funding round, as well as donations from major corporations and charities, into a tax exempt “Huffington Post Investigative Fund.” The problem? It’s not clear that the fund is anything other than a tax dodge for Huffington to pay freelancers to do her bidding without paying taxes on the the money.
The author of the piece, John Cook, sees other ironies, but to me, the big joke is that fund hangs its tax-free status on making their reporting available for free to anyone on the web who wishes to reprint it while HuffPo is the top thief of news content that is not meant to be reprinted at no cost.
The other interestingly Smoking Gun-esque piece was Foster Kamer’s piece on Nikki Finke & Co trying to trademark “Toldja.”
He lingers on some past hypocrisy by Nikki. Not I. Too many daily hypocrisies to be parsing it that carefully. I just think it is a hysterically funny notion. Finally, something that could allow Nikki to raise the number of threatened lawsuits (without ever calling the lawyer) per year.


You're Not In Phase One Anymore

Between the baby and managing the incoming Sundance stuff, a small item missed my awards gaze…
Oscar nominations closed on Saturday.
No wonder things are so delightfully quiet. Campaigns are on hold and Sundance is heading into its “quiet period,” sadly with only one real sale so far.
Baby still cries when he’s hungry though.


Sundance Review – I'm Here

Spike Jonze.
He is one of the great musician filmmakers of all time.
And what I mean by that is that his work, when you open yourself to it, settles on your soul more like a song than a movie. He


PGA Offers An Actual Surprise In Award Season

The Darryl F. Zanuck Producer of the Year Award in Theatrical Motion Pictures
Kathryn Bigelow
Mark Boal
Nicolas Chartier
Greg Shapiro
The Producers Guild of America Producer of the Year Award in Animated Theatrical Motion Pictures
Jonas Rivera
The Producers Guild of America Producer of the Year Award in Documentary Theatrical Motion Pictures
Fisher Stevens
Paula DuPr


The Hot Blog

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It shows how out of it I was in trying to be in it, acknowledging that I was out of it to myself, and then thinking, “Okay, how do I stop being out of it? Well, I get some legitimate illogical narrative ideas” — some novel, you know?

So I decided on three writers that I might be able to option their material and get some producer, or myself as producer, and then get some writer to do a screenplay on it, and maybe make a movie.

And so the three projects were “Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep,” “Naked Lunch” and a collection of Bukowski. Which, in 1975, forget it — I mean, that was nuts. Hollywood would not touch any of that, but I was looking for something commercial, and I thought that all of these things were coming.

There would be no Blade Runner if there was no Ray Bradbury. I couldn’t find Philip K. Dick. His agent didn’t even know where he was. And so I gave up.

I was walking down the street and I ran into Bradbury — he directed a play that I was going to do as an actor, so we know each other, but he yelled “hi” — and I’d forgot who he was.

So at my girlfriend Barbara Hershey’s urging — I was with her at that moment — she said, “Talk to him! That guy really wants to talk to you,” and I said “No, fuck him,” and keep walking.

But then I did, and then I realized who it was, and I thought, “Wait, he’s in that realm, maybe he knows Philip K. Dick.” I said, “You know a guy named—” “Yeah, sure — you want his phone number?”

My friend paid my rent for a year while I wrote, because it turned out we couldn’t get a writer. My friends kept on me about, well, if you can’t get a writer, then you write.”
~ Hampton Fancher

“That was the most disappointing thing to me in how this thing was played. Is that I’m on the phone with you now, after all that’s been said, and the fundamental distinction between what James is dealing with in these other cases is not actually brought to the fore. The fundamental difference is that James Franco didn’t seek to use his position to have sex with anyone. There’s not a case of that. He wasn’t using his position or status to try to solicit a sexual favor from anyone. If he had — if that were what the accusation involved — the show would not have gone on. We would have folded up shop and we would have not completed the show. Because then it would have been the same as Harvey Weinstein, or Les Moonves, or any of these cases that are fundamental to this new paradigm. Did you not notice that? Why did you not notice that? Is that not something notable to say, journalistically? Because nobody could find the voice to say it. I’m not just being rhetorical. Why is it that you and the other critics, none of you could find the voice to say, “You know, it’s not this, it’s that”? Because — let me go on and speak further to this. If you go back to the L.A. Times piece, that’s what it lacked. That’s what they were not able to deliver. The one example in the five that involved an issue of a sexual act was between James and a woman he was dating, who he was not working with. There was no professional dynamic in any capacity.

~ David Simon