The Hot Blog Archive for April, 2010

DP/30 – Breaking Upwards filmammker/stars Daryl Wein & Zoe Lister-Jones

mp3 of the interview to come…

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DP/30 – Dancing Across Beyond director Anne Bass

mp3 of the interview to come…

The Kick-Ass Debate

It’s been interesting to read the argument that Kick-Ass is more than the sum of Hit Girl… that she is not the star of the film… that people are getting stuck on the wrong thing in this film.
But are they?
Batman movies are about Batman… but it is The Joker who tends to drive that train, no?
It’s a kind of nasty rhetorical to ask what Kick-Ass would be without the Hit Girl character… but I’m asking. Is there any element of the film that comes close to the intensity – whether you feel good about her character in the context of this story or not – that her character brings? Aren’t we spending a lot of time in the film waiting to see her again… and again?
I think of a movie like AntiChrist and my feeling that if you are putting your emotional energy while watching the film into Him getting smashed in the testicles or Her labia being cut, you’ve probably missed the overall train.
But I’m not so sure that this is that case in Kick-Ass. There are many strong elements besides her, but everything said and not said about her in the film seems to define your relationship about the film.
For me, personally, this is why I wanted so much more out of the other storylines. I wanted any other character to be as challenging as her… because being challenged by her character is engaging.
Your thoughts?


Pervy Parodies

I had no idea that XXX parodies had become such a genre unto itself.
Just so you know, there is no nudity in any of what I’ve laid out here.
Movieline pointed towards this True Blood parody…

Which led me to this Big Lewbowski parody…

Which led me to….

Read the full article »


Review – Kick-Ass

As a movie, Kick-Ass works.
It is a bit episodic, a bit too long, a bit lacking in structural finesse, and uninterested in challenging itself to ask its own internal questions. But if you find it funny to see a cute 12-year-old murder a parade of comic-booky bad guys, it works and works really well.
Matthew Vaughn and Jane Goldman are working inside of the iconography of comics and comic geeks. So while much of the film’s fun is overtly manipulative. But so is almost everything else that audiences enjoy.
There is a much darker, much better movie possible here. That’s the movie that takes what is happening in the story a lot more seriously… a bit more like the truth. But it would play to seven people before winning the Village Voice Critics Poll.
The movie is basically about a kid with a high concept idea, a villain and henchmen that are more out of Batman: The TV Series than out of the good Batman feature films, and a vicious psychopath who is more than willing to sacrifice himself and his daughter in the name of bloody revenge.
The pieces, while they are often mismatched, are compelling, each in their own way.
The big pieces that the film fails to address completely are; 1. How a 12-year-old values life and why splattering people’s brains against walls is not remotely disturbing to her, 2. What the relationship of the apparent teen girl who is Kick-Ass’ love interest is with a 30something drug dealer and pimp, 3. The movie is about a guy without superpowers… but it is key to the film that he gets a form of super power, which is a lack of sensitivity to pain, 4. A clear interest in reconstructing family is not as clear as it should be, and 5. Endless minor leaps of logic, primarily regarding Kick-Ass remaining a target and not being found.
#5 is just one of those movie things. If you want to poke at the film, you can… but you probably are fighting having a good time.
#2 really struck me, because the relationship she had with the bad bad man is quite instructive about who she is. Why was she there? Does she, at the same time she seeks out a gay best friend, have a thing for bad boy cock and coke? The script goes for her being sweet and never answers this pretty obvious question. But for me, the sexually and socially aware version of that character is far more interesting and fits the story better.
The character of Dave Lizewski / Kick-Ass is a na


More Windows

It was a quiet story, but as Apple’s iPad and it’s E-Book Store was being discussed as a threat to Amazon’s e-book store and the Kindle, Michael Lewis had a new book come into the marketplace, The Big Short.
And it isn’t available in the Apple store.
And it isn’t available in the Amazon Kindle store.
In fact, according to the Amazon site, the paperback won’t be available until February of next year.
Those publishing MANIACS!!! How dare they mess with the speed of delivery that has become standard in the new millennium!
When the book goes to paperback, pricing will be almost exactly the same as the electronic download… 10 bucks.
A bunch of local TV stations, including NBC and Fox O&Os, are setting up a joint business to push content to all non-broadcast digital delivery formats. (Here is NYT’s reportage.)
Makes great sense.
Just what “transmissions of live newscasts, local sports and other shows” ends up meaning… aside from the local newscasts… is a real question mark. But it is one that local stations have to start considering seriously and preparing for immediately… especially with NAB and MIPTV both happening this week.
A big part of this effort is to maintain control of broadcast spectrum, which is how this group is saying it will deliver the content. There has been a move afoot to give some of that spectrum to wireless companies so they can… wait for it… better broadcast video. But I think there is a bigger idea than that in play.
The next generation of syndication deals pretty much have to include at least the serious consideration of digital delivery rights, however broad or limited. Right now, there is all kinds of unexpected competition with the syndication market, some legal and some not. The future could use some rules.
It’s a double-edged sword for the studios who produce the shows. The benefit is that by giving digital delivery rights to a national syndication conglomerate for, say, a hit sitcom, they can keep prices high or raise prices that were dropping. The downside is that if digital transmission rights are a piece of the syndication deal, the studio can’t – presumably – stream the shows as well, whether on their studio’s individual site or on a group site like Hulu or the nascent Epix.
It’s competition. There are many ways to skin this cat. but skinned it will be. And for local stations, they desperately need to start watching out for themselves and considering what their way of staying in business will be in a post-affiliate universe… because it is coming… it just makes long-view business sense for the networks.
The challenge in evolving from where we are now is to deliver content in every possible delivery format and to raise the overall value of content…or at least not devalue the content. You also have to make it all as easily accessible to consumers as possible. Challenging.

BYOB Wendesday – Tax Day Cometh


PRESS RELEASE – Promotions & Hires At Universal Marketing

Another great hour and 45 minute EXCLUSIVE.
I’ll put my sadness at the state of journalism and corporate publicity aside for the moment to mention that Michael Moses is not only talented, but a mensch.
I also take this as a suggestion that the studio is aware that they need a little new blood in creative services, but that they feel that the strategic skills of the department are not the problem with some of the missteps of the last couple of years.
Date: April 14, 2010 9:56:37 AM PDT
Michael Moses Promoted to Co-President
Maria Pekurovskaya Named Executive Vice President and Head of Creative Advertising
Jackson George Joins Universal as Senior Vice President of Creative Advertising
UNIVERSAL CITY, Calif., April 14 /PRNewswire/ — Universal Pictures President of Marketing Eddie Egan today announced some key promotions and an addition to Universal’s marketing department.
Eleven-year Universal veteran executive Michael Moses will become Co-President of Marketing and report directly to Egan. And in a restructuring of the creative advertising department, Egan announced the promotion of Maria Pekurovskaya to Executive Vice President and Head of Creative Advertising, where she will oversee newly appointed Senior Vice President of Creative Advertising Jackson George and Senior Vice President of Creative Advertising Scott Abraham. Executive Vice President of Creative Advertising Frank Chiocchi will continue to report directly to Egan. Pekurovskaya also reports to Egan.
“Michael is an incredibly gifted strategist,” said Egan. “I trust his instincts and know he has the creative capacity and the experience to help me lead this team.”

Read the full article »


Reading The Paper

I just read this morning’s Wall Street Journal… on the iPad.
The interface should go a long way towards the design concept for virtually any online newspaper, albeit with everyone adding their own bells and whistles, because it feels so much like… reading a newspaper.
For me, the big difference between the online and offline experience, to date, has been how the news presents itself. Having to click thru to get a taste of every small or large story creates, it seems, a different way of hierarchical thinking in the reader. (This also speaks to the aggregation arguments made yesterday.)
On today’s WSJ iPad front cover are 8 story starts, including one that is primarily an image and a brief caption. You can see how little actual content the editors think is necessary for a reader to make a choice of what to read. The longest of the starts is under 70 words.
Another great element of the iPad experience, that should inform the online experience across all platforms for media, is the speed and the full story coming up when you click thru. There are not a bunch of bells, whistles, and ads coming up on every page. Click on any one of the stories and you are looking at less than a 3 second wait for the story to appear. Virtually every story has a nice sized image, often more than one that can be browsed, including charts and graphs. Switching sections is fast and easy and available in multiple ways.
Every page has an ad, modestly placed at the bottom left, ready to pop up at will. How to do ads really is dependent on what kind of paper or magazine you have. On the GQ interface, as it would be with most Conde Nast magazines, it seems to me that the ads are part of the content. That said, I can think of no magazine better suited to the iPad than The New Yorker. Dense and content heavy, the ability to search and restructure would be magnificent. If you are in the mood for Ken Auletta, a second or third Auletta article read at a seating would be great… same with more Sedaris, more Toobin, or more on a subject, like medicine, Africa, or books and movies.
But I digress…
USA Today also has a nice interface, though it is a very different experience than the newspaper experience. It’s much more webby… not that there’s anything wrong with that.
The thing that got me writing this entry was that in reading the virtual paper, I read a story about Carl Icahn getting the unhappy end of a ruling regarding the Trump casinos in Atlantic City… which I would not likely have run into otherwise and which does mean something in FilmLand because of his involvement in Lionsgate. I also read a great front page story on a Black Panther who has been living in exile in Tanzania for 40 years, fleeing the US on a gun charge. Besides being a great story to make a small movie about, the story also closes by making reference to Roman Polanski and his fugitive status. Thus, the question, is Pete O’Neal more, less, or equally worthy of pursuit by American law enforcement?
If I wasn’t reading “a paper,” I would not likely be thinking about either story at all.
It’s not The Web vs Print. There is a different way of consuming information. And I think everyone reading understands that intuitively. But I’m not sure we consider it often enough.
When discussing the iPad as a “game changer,” this is a real consideration. It may be that the tool itself, the iPad, is not The Tool. But it could be a major influencer in how we experience media on the web in the future.
In either case, I am better informed this morning because of the iPad. It did nothing I couldn’t do on any other computing tool. But the imagination of the designers and editors at WSJ were served by the chance to consider a new form and I was well served by them.


The Conan Spin Machine On Triple Time

So, if you want to read what Conan’s reps want you to believe, you should skip this right now and read Nikki Finke and Josef Adalian at The Wrap because maybe you find it to be fun to watch grown people get ridden like donkeys at a Tijuana bar. (I hope Ari is wearing a condom.)
The pitch… Fox was gonna happen, it was just taking too long… and TBS wanted Conan so much more.
The reality… the Fox deal was in all kinds of not-gonna-happen… Team Coco had shoved the “everyone wants him!” spin down the throat of a willing media… and rather than have to explain the failure to launch at Fox when every last effort had been made by Peter Rice, TBS offered a chance to get ahead of the story.
It’s the kid who asked the head cheerleader to the prom, wasn’t getting an answer from her but saw her picking a dress that matched the football captain’s tuxedo lining, then got the smart, funny, not-so-popular girl to go with him and told everyone that he wasn’t really into blondes with 36D breasts and a reputation for having an oral fixation.
Conan’s gonna make more money with four nights at TBS than he would in 5 at Fox.
Conan might not have been able to own his show at Fox.
Of course, the single stupidest piece of spin I have read in all of this is, “Bottom line: TBS really, really wanted Conan. Fox wanted him, too, but only if it made sense — the same way CBS really wanted NFL football back almost 20 years.
But CBS didn’t want to pay too big a price back in 1993. It hesitated.
At the time, Rupert Murdoch said he didn’t give a damn about the cost. He wanted the NFL because he needed to build his network.
Now, TBS — and cable — is the upstart. Conan is its NFL.”
Oh fucking please.
The deal should work out fine for TBS and fine for Conan. But there is nothing in the world that suggests that this is anything close to a game changer for TBS. Moreover, Rupert Murdoch LOST MONEY on that first NFL deal… willingly… because it made Fox a must-carry network for the first time and opened the network’s affiliates to non-primetime programming. We have since seen similar deals for ESPN and, indeed, TNT and TBS. TNT did it with Law & Order reruns that became the network’s engine and moved them into the “TNT Knows Drama” mode. And TBS attempted to do it with Sex & The City reruns, overspending to brand themselves as THE comedy network… though that didn’t work out as well.
Of course, going back farther, it was Ted Turner who really broke the ground for this maneuver, taking an unaffiliated local Atlanta channel, WTBS, and making it into The Superstation, with Braves baseball, Hawks basketball, and professional wrestling at its core. And as of 1986, for a period, the MGM film and TV library. Then non-Braves MLB games, including part of the playoff package. WGN, in Chicago, followed suit with the Cubs and a parade of syndicated shows at the core. Cable providers, Major League Baseball, and the NBA wised up after that. No more superstations.
I mean, a guy like Adalian has to know that Steve Koonin runs both TNT and TBS, has successfully built TNT into the cable net with some of the highest rated cable shows in history… and that Tyler Perry’s two sitcoms for TBS – House of Payne and Meet The Browns – are the highest ranked original sitcoms on cable, with audiences of around 3 million for each new episode. And TBS already has MLB, including the American League Championship Series this year.
If the was an NFL for TBS, it was Tyler Perry and it happened a few years ago. And frankly, if I were him today, I would be seriously pissed. Dare I say it, but the lack of respect to him for what he has brought to TBS smells vaguely racist, given the color of his audience vs Conan’s. But as I wrote before, TBS didn’t need a NFL. It is already a well-established network and Conan is not going to bring a single cable or satellite provider on board.
Koonin is getting more serious about expanding TBS the same way he and his team really built up TNT with more original programming as of a few years ago..
And by the way, you know where Koonin came from? Coca-Cola. He’s all about the branding. Snd her’s really made things work for Turner Broadcasting.
Adalian has an interview with him that went up since I read the NFL absurdity. Calm. Smart. Koonin. None of the kinds of claims or hysterics of Adalian’s think piece.
Sorry that this has eaten the day, but I HATE the overhype… especially when it is mean spirited. I guess to make the sale that this is a win for Conan, Fox has to be positioned as the loser. But it’s not sports free agency. If it were, Conan would be the successful college QB who was black who most teams wanted to convert to a wide receiver… and instead of going to a Super Bowl contender that projected him as a #3 receiver, he went to an out-of-contention team where he knew he could actually compete to start at QB. Nothing wrong with that. It’s about not holding out, waiting to see if you fit into the plans of the superior team, potentially missing the more clear role with the lesser team. It’s about knowing what you can do, what you want, and which opportunity you want.
So why does it have to be so angry? Why does Leno have to be buried, in spite of delivering the ratings to NBC since his Tonight Show return? (Conan, normally, had about 3 million Tonight Show viewers… Leno about 4.4 million a night – about 20% down from his pre-imbroglio numbers – since his return, pushing The Tonight Show back ahead of Letterman and Nightline.) Why does Fox have to be positioned as missing the opportunity because they weren’t aggressive enough?
Team Coco and Team Leno is a notion for children, not adults.
I think I am done with this story now.


Conan Finds His New Home

The Fox deal was never going to happen. It was obvious from the first time it was floated.
It wasn’t a particularly good idea for Fox, given the pressure that would be on the show, the fight for affiliates, and the inevitable 4th or 5th place ratings in the slot.
Here’s why it makes more sense for everyone on cable.
1. Multiple showings – Conan, like Lopez now and Adult Swim on Cartoon Network, will run twice, showing on each coast at 11p, but also, in the east, at 2 am, and in the west, at 8p… prime time.
Adult Swim, which is a cable monster in O’Brien’s primary demo, runs 4 hours long, from 10p-2a and 2a-6a in the east, 7p-11p and 11p-3a in the west. So even besides time shifting, which is normal for this demo, there is also the opportunity to watch the entirety of both shows/blocks in real time. Ironically, O’Brien will – if the Adult Swim schedule doesn’t change – be up against Fox Animation Domination repeats, Family Guy and King of the Hill.
And by the way… what is the current TBS lead-in to the Lopez Tonight slot that O’Brien is filling? A 3 hour block of – taa dah!!! – Family Guy! (NF/WME blame the lead-in, which will be less than half of what Leno at 10’s numbers were… just a reminder about how fallacious that argument was.)
Also ironic is the fact that Conan and Adult Swim are owned by the same conglomerate – Time-Warner – and have home offices in the same building in Atlanta.
2. Lower Ratings Expectations – Lopez Tonight gets around 1.3 million viewers each night. If Conan can deliver 2 million in the same slot(s) – a little over 2/3 of what O’Brien did at The Tonight Show – he will be a great success for TBS. If he did a 2 for Fox after the affiliates gave up slots, there would be a revolution amongst affiliates that made the NBC fight over the Leno 10p show look timid.
That said, 2 million viewers is not guaranteed. He was doing just under that when he left Late Night on NBC. He should be able to match the number, but you never know.
While I wouldn’t expect O’Brien to help Lopez’s ratings much, I do think Lopez can keep his audience and his job.
Fact is, they are a terrible pairing. 60% of Lopez’s viewers are hispanic and black. What percentage of that audience do you think will watch Conan O’Brian, the whitest man on television? Moreover, tonally, Lopez would be a better fit after Leno and Fallon would be a better fit after O’Brien.
3. No Affiliates To Seduce – Steve Koonin has a big advantage over the networks… no affiliates to coddle. This is yet another reason why I expect the network affiliate system to be dissembled within the next decade.
4. The Only Real Choice – Perhaps there might have been a deal to be made with Comedy Central or the home I once suggested, MSNBC, but given his ratings at NBC, there was no network slot for Conan O’Brien at 11 or 11:30. Just not happening. All that chatter that O’Brien didn’t have a long enough chance to prove himself was laughable spin. He had a lot longer than any network series. And most importantly, he delivered almost exactly what his career numbers would have you expect.
It’s interesting how downplayed one other factoid is… the show will only run 4 nights a week, Monday thru Thursday. So not only is there a very good chance that O’Brien’s numbers will be lower than they were on Late Night, but he will have one less night on the air, virtually assuring, in spite of multiple airings, that his weekly audience will be substantially lower than they were in NBC’s 12:30 slot.
But you know, WME really did it’s job. It smeared Leno effectively, creating false perceptions on both sides of this story that have stuck. And it’s gotten O’Brien as much as $50m in cash for delivering less than he did in the 12:30a slot on NBC. Good agenting!




Spidey Note

I don’t really give a flying f*** who the next Spider-Man is.
But please keep in mind that the studio lied aggressively about the fourth Raimi/Maguire film heading towards a shutdown in order to keep the very real possibility that the project was falling apart from being published. (I’m not accusing everyone there of personally lying with knowledge of the truth… but the claims that the word floating around was false was, indeed, 100% false.)
They were also very aggressive about spinning the Soderbergh exit from Moneyball.
If it was Nikki Finke making the claim and the client was repped by Endeavor, I would assume it was a negotiating tactic. But from HitFix, I am assuming that it came from someone at a high level at Marvel. But that doesn’t mean that it doesn’t put Sony in a harder position to negotiate a 5-picture Spidey deal with a virtual unknown.


What Is Fair Aggregation?

Watching Sharon Waxman and Michael Wolff bicker about what proper aggregation is on CNN was enough to make me sick. Sharon is looking for credibility and would actually need to learn something about the industry other than how to self-promote to get it and Wolff’s claim – which I believe he believes – that his first duty is to his readers – as though this excuses stealing content – is the kind of rubbish with which heroin dealers and other criminals are most comfortable.
(Ironically, Waxman embeds the CNN appearance, which they allow, and doesn’t ever link to Kurtz’ web page in her ridiculous follow-up blog.)
Movie City News has been in the aggregation business for seven and a half years. We knew what was fair aggregation then and we know what fair aggregation is now. It’s really simple.
Headlines are fair. A very brief – two sentences or less – illustrative pull-quote, not the entire heart of the story, is fair. Link it to the source. Try to find the original reporting, if it is a reported story.
Isn’t that simple? Four little rules.
And after Sharon accused Michael Wolff of stealing – which I agree that he does – when she does almost exactly the same thing, is it some sort of admission of guilt that suddenly – for the first time ever in its history – The Wrap’s front page has not a single link to another outlet nor a single page linked to their front page that credits any other outlet for the content? Why change the methodology all of a sudden? Is this a standard or public relations?
This still doesn’t, however, keep Wrap Staff for taking credit for foreign box office numbers that The Wrap clearly stole from Screen International and their reporter, Jeremy Kay.
Of course, The Wrap philosophy seems to be that if others of note are doing it, it’s fair game. So when Box Office Mojo gets its foreign numbers from media sources without credit, it must be okay for The Wrap to do it. Likewise, Huffington Post’s thieving ways are the basis for her thinking it’s okay for her to do likewise.
It’s really simple. Rules are not based on whether you get enough hits from the aggregator, though ironically Waxman thanks Drudge for his linkage… when, in fact, she does not emulate him, as he doesn’t steal content as she does.
The rule, conceptually is, are you reprinting enough of the originating outlet’s content so that, in most cases, your reader is sated before clicking through to that originating source. If you are giving them enough that they need no more – which is to say, no more than the gist of the story via a well-written headline – you are stealing the originating outlet’s page view, replacing it with your own.
If The Wrap is changing its own rules and will no longer build pages that contain graphs from other outlets with a link below, great. I will be thrilled to publicly applaud the change. But given that it has been, most days, about half of the pages they created, I don’t trust that this will last. But I will keep an eye out.
I learned my lesson about the fairness of aggregation about 15 years ago, when I built a little Miami Dolphins fan site shortly after AOL added www access. I didn’t rewrite the stories of others. I knew that was theft even then. But I did built a site that used my site’s frame and popped in content from online Dolphin content sites like the Sun Sentinel and Miami Herald. Their ads appeared. I had none. But I got a note from the Sun Sentinel pretty quickly. They felt that I was using their web site’s content and essentially, double-branding it with my frame.
And they were right.
I wasn’t happy. I had a few hundred readers. I wasn’t cutting their ads out. Why were they picking on me?
But they were right.
What Michael Wolff said on Reliable Sources suggests why Old Media types don’t get this. They are used to having a world of support available at no cost to them. Their papers pay for it, whether it’s the AP wire or Factiva, etc. Historically, journalists have built stories on other journalists’ stories. But the web changed that dynamic completely, as historically, the work of the journalist whose work you are building on was not available to your reader. So, if the Washington Post was working on a story that started at the Miami Herald, even when there was not a “broke the news” mention, there was the reality that readers in Manhattan didn’t have the alternative choice of reading the Herald… so no harm, no foul.
We now have the choice of reading virtually everything. Brave new world. New rules… for a reason.
And you know, intellectual property is not just “breaking news.” At Movie City News, we have served as an assignment desk for movie journalists for over 7 years. And that’s great. But it becomes aggravating as hell when people scan our front page, take every link that interests them, and repurpose those links as their own found links as though we didn’t exist.
One idiot used to accuse me of thinking we owned the news we found. i don’t and I never did. But if you are giving credit to everyone but us, you are doing us an unkindness… and taking unfair advantage of the work that my staff works hard to do each day. Of course, we have always been kinder to our theoretical competitors than they have been to us. Different entry for a different day.
But I will say, I had a nice man come up to me recently and tell me how he downloaded a DP/30 interview and put it on YouTube in 3 sections to fit YT’s 10 minute limit. He was proud of it and seemed to think I should be honored. And on some level, I was. But at base, the fact that he stole my content and – however innocently – repurposed it in a form that I, as the person creating (and paying for) the content, chose not to offer it in, was horrifying. And scores of my interviews have been similarly “honored.”
Two graphs, 5 headlines, 30 minutes of video… all theft. Sorry, that’s just the reality.
On a side note, Tim Gray wrote a passionate piece in Variety this weekend about the negative attention they have suffered over there lately and the war between The Web and Print. And I have to say, besides the silly cheap shots, I agree with much of what he had to say and feel his pain. He really doesn’t quite get the web, but in an exchange he offers about “bloggers” prioritizing being first over being right, regardless of the cost to the reader, he offers the fact that he does understand the responsibility of being a journalist. (I’m not linking because linking to a blocked site is stupid.)
Finally… the saddest thing about all this backbiting has been the weak swipes from one site to the other about the size of one site, the scope of another, and the importance that always seems to reside with the beholder. I have gotten caught up in this at times… and won’t do so anymore. I will write about the ethical issues, but not about people’s business that I do not know with any factual certainty.
One thing I have learned over all these years on the web is that no matter how much hype the new kids on the block can create, in the end, the rules of business remain the same… ethics remain the same… morals remain the same. These things are not a fad.
And when the major outlets get their legal act together, this will all be codified, by the law, and not by the thieves want to keep on thieving.
Last Word: THIS is the mother of all over-the-top cease and desist letters… so much so that lawyers sent me requests for copies of it for a couple years after it was sent.


The Hot Blog

Quote Unquotesee all »

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