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Black Magic Design Camera - Trendsetter?

The Blackmagic design camera is changing the face of the film industry once again, particularly with its recent price drop to $1995.  Could be a game changer.


BlackMagic Design Camera - the official website where one can check out Workflow, Tech Specs and more.


Review Article:

The Blackmagic Cinema Camera is unlike any video camera you have ever seen. When it was announced in April of last year, slackjawed videographers marveled at this little camera, made by a little software & post production hardware company, that shoots RAW files at 2.5k resolution for only $3000. It was the kind of product people expected would be filed under either blundered experiment, or the start of something big. Turns out, it's a little of both.


Vimeo comparison - This is an excellent comparison and explanation of the two cameras in a side by side comparison.  Well done Mario.

Vimeo - Blackmagic Camera vs. Canon 5D

Changing Media: Unique Version of Popular Shows

Film and TV Industry Model:  Create a show and then have local iterations of it.  "The Office" created by Ricky Gervais has had 9 different local version.  I don't watch the show except for a few episodes but it certainly has a profitable long life like a cat.  Nine lives so far.  This also has to do with Decentralization which I think is happening in media, overextended government, surge of apps dealing with localization, etc.,   The rise of national cinema and TV where English is no longer preeminent has shattered the American production structure to countries and states where it's more economical in this very bad and declining economy.  I think that will continue.


" The Czech Republic is about to go inside The Office. BBC Worldwide has signed a local production deal with broadcaster Czech Television for a local version of the show that will be produced in-house for channel CT1.The Czech version will be based on the UK show that Gervais created with Stephen Merchant and is the 9th international sale of the format."



Blogs Hawk Page Views - A Stunt

Getting page views for blogs - and increasing advertising - is the key to the financial success of many well-known blogs and websites.   The Huffington Post for one has been called a 'click whore' for their wholesale manipulations of pageviews to make money - and of course not pay their writer/contributors.

In an experiment about how to 'feed the system' into getting page views, Ryan Holliday fabricates a story and allows it to take its own course - with a little guidance from himself.  He discusses how page views feed the media machine - whether it represents the Truth or not.   Holliday notes that it's a racket:

A long time ago, Gen. Smedley Butler defined a racket as something that “is not what it seems to the majority of the people,” where only a small group of insiders know what’s really going on and they operate for the benefit of a few and expense of basically everyone else.

It’s become clear to me that this is the only definition of the online-driven media system of today: a racket.
A racket where investors and media moguls make millions, where individual bloggers driven by pageview bonuses exaggerate and distort the news for their share of the bounty, where promoters using tactics like mine can generate massive publicity for free, and readers–having no idea that this is occurring–click away, think they are receiving “news.”

Another interesting article here on experiments with the Google and Gawker interplay for page views.

Lynda Obst on her New Abnormal in Hollywood

Lynda Obst has been a major Hollywood producer for thirty years.   She's produced such classics as "Sleepless in Seattle", "The Fisher King" and currently the TV show "Hot in Cleveland".    She has written decisively on Hollywood, no more less in her book, "Sleepless in Hollywood: Tales from the New Abnormal in the Movie Business"

She wrote up an excerpt for Salon magazine which you can find here.   Some notable items in her discussion with former Fox mogul Peter Chernin:

“They’re completely broke,” said a studio head, when asked by me (of course) about how different things were these days. He spoke about famous players who regularly came to him begging for favors—a picture, a handout, anything.

“Why?” his very East Coast guest asked incredulously.


His natty guest looked unsympathetic, so I tried to bridge the worlds between us. “Okay,” I said, “the Sudan is a tragedy. This is just sad.”

I recalled his exact words as I sat in bumper-to-bumper traffic. “They have extremely high overheads,” he said to his guest with me listening in. “They have multiple houses, wives, and families to support. They’ve made movies for years, they were on top of the world and had no reason to think it would end. And then suddenly it did. They’ve gone through whatever savings they had. They can’t sell their real estate. Their overhead is as astronomical as their fees used to be. They’ve taken out loans, so they’re highly leveraged. It’s a tragedy.”

And thank you Lynda for pointing out that the Sudan is a tragedy rather than the loss of income for overpaid spoiled actors caught in the crush of their own spending spree lifestyle.


“So,” Peter said as I was about to leave, “the most interesting thing is what a few studio heads said to me privately about two years ago.” He stopped to smile. “None of them from Fox, of course.”

“Of course,” I said. I knew he was about to share something very inside with me.

“They said to me, ‘We don’t even know how to run a P&L right now.’” The look on his face expressed the sheer madness of that statement. “ ‘We don’t know what our P&L looks like because we don’t know what the DVD number is!’ The DVD number used to be half of the entire P&L!”

“What are the implications of that?”

He looked at me incredulously, as if to say, Haven’t you run a studio? Then he said very emphatically, “The implications are— you’re seeing the implications—the implications are, those studios are frozen. The big implication is that those studios are—not necessarily inappropriately—terrified to do anything because they don’t know what the numbers look like.”



As the film industry continues to change, VFX will come more and more into play.  Rather than an expensive traditional film production crew structure, the use of VFX will condense the crew structure, allow more predictable (as a computer based scenario) outcomes and works perfectly well with the focus on "Watch anywhere, anytime platforms" and their lower resolution requirements.


RealScreen West - Article 5 - "Industry Relationships"

RealScreen West - Article 5 - RELATIONSHIP COUNSELING


Moderator - Jody Flynn - Cineflix Productions



Cori Abraham - 495 Productions

Jim Berger - High Noon Entertianment

Chris Coelen

Sally Ann Salsano - - Oxygen

Edward Sabin - Discovery & TLC

Jonathan Murray - Bunim/Murray Productions


Reporter's Note: The RealScreen West 13 conference continues today at the Fairmont Miramar in Santa Monica.  I'm trying a different format.    I've retitled the session up top because I thought that Relationship Counseling might be more like some nauseating Dr. Phil show discussion.  Not interested.



This Session was focused on working with the networks and channel executives to get the show sold and working with them once it was sold.   Jodi Flynn, the moderator, has been working in development for over ten years.  Once the show is sold, then the network and a lot of executives are going to have a big say in the project.  "It's not my show," said Jodi.  "It's become our show."


On Keeping Relationships Clear


Jonathan Murray who virtually opened up the reality frontier with his well-known Bunim/Murray Production.  He said, "Once I sell a show, then I make sure to put together a list of what was sold in terms of concept, the intended budget, the parameters so that legal, ad sales, business affairs and anybody else working on the show knows what's going on.  There is nothing worse than trying to make a show that becomes something bigger or different and now I'm losing money on the show.  That can't happen."

Read more... [RealScreen West - Article 5 - "Industry Relationships]
RealScreen West - Article 4 - "Who's Got Game?"


Moderator:  Chachi Senior - CEO Arbadan


Jeff Apploff - President - Apploff Entertainment

David Eilenberg - SVP Unscripted Development - TBS and TNT

Eli Holzman - President - All3Media America

Amy Introcaso-Davis - EVP - Programming - GSN



In this session at RealScreen West, we explore the highly profitable and dynamic sector of broadcast for games.  These games include the popular "Wheel of Fortune", "Jeopardy" and "Family Feud" but also the competitive games like "American Ninja" and more.   The moderator, Chachi Senior, is an experienced producer and pitchman of gameshows and brings up some great points for the panelists.   "Gaming," said Moderator Senior, "is now this generation's first form of entertainment.  When I was a kid, it started with reading, then Television, moving into games like scrabble.   But my daughters, age 11 and 6, are on games at this age along with their phones, then checking their computers and texting their friends.  It's just a new way of thinking about media."   He paused and pulled out his iPad for a quote.  "If Shakespeare were alive, he might've said that 'All the world is not a stage' but 'all the world is a game'."


Senior's first question was an intriguing one because it involved both format and economic model prowess.  "How do you make a show that's DVR-proof in the game format?" DVR is the machine to record shows, allowing the viewer to skip commercials and, therefore, diminish the commercial's value.    The key is interactivity.  The Million Second Quiz show is an upcoming show which engages the viewer and players but always requires them to watch in order to play.


JA:  "Sports engage us because they are immediate live events.  It's a game!  Viewers can make a difference.  Technology is scary but unstoppable so you have to embrace it.  Make it so people HAVE to watch."


Read more... [RealScreen West - Article 4 - "Who's Got Game?]
RealScreen West - Article 3 - Screentime - Broadcast & Digital

This Session deals with the online strategies to create content and audiences.  One participant, Craig Parks, works at Pivot in the Digital and Live Programming.  This channel was started by Jeff Skoll who was one of the founders of Ebay.   Skoll finances Participant media, working on projects with social relevance.   Recently, Pivot wanted to move toward the coveted Millenials by creating Pivot but without making mistakes like Current TV to be preachy but not entertaining.    The Current TV network, created by Al 'Jazeera' Gore, was sold for $500 Million to oil-producing Qatar and its Al Jazeera network.   Pivot is creating an iPhone App so that Pivot is accessible not just as broadcast but an online digital delivery system.

Bryan Gersh of Fishbowl Media said that producers pitching his company are looking at the entire big picture, meaning their shows are broadcast and digital from conception.   A different business model is emerging where 'a producer can put the show on broadcast but own the show and its format online and in international markets.'

Moderator Mark Koops interrupted and asked, "What are the models available on YouTube and how are they changing?"  On this topic, the panelists had differing opinions and were honest about the unpredictability of the future model.

Read more... [RealScreen West - Article 3 - Screentime - Broadcast & Digital]
RealScreen West - Article 2 - Sizzle Reels?



Session 2 - "Sizzle or Fizzle"


Sizzle reels are becoming an essential part of the reality show pitching process because it distills the show into a readily grasped concept.   But what are the variables in a reel to get the concept across and get the sale?

Scott Gurney of Gurney Production who created and produced "Duck Dynasty" advocates a short one minute reel that gets a reaction.  "We don't want to do a reel where you can pick apart the backstory or the secondary characters."  From the agent's point of of view, WME agent Amir Shahkhalili said that talent is now more aware of the tape and its effect.

Jenny Daly was the moderator who reigned in the topics to get pointed, useful answers for the attendees.  She said, "Tapes are broken down into Character driven tapes or format driven tapes.   For characters, they're strong characters, popping off the screen to get what you need to sell."

Darren Campo who is the Senior VP for Production and Programming at truth said,  "What is the behavior that you want to get across?  Playful even at work.   Do you want the viewer to struggle to figure out what the show is about when you only have a few minutes to convey the show's concept?"   The session screened the reel for "Duck Dynasty" which is a ratings juggernaut, eclipsing all other broadcast and cable shows.   The reel emphasized the characters of the Robinson clan with multiple points of view with their unique bearded look.   Scott Gurney said that the reel emphasized their intelligence in their particular field.   "This is a tough sizzle reel because it's different than the show but it showed the potential for the show.   But what is the series?  How do you make a hundred shows in a series?  You just don't sell the sizzle and it's over.  There is a lot more work to it."

Rita Mullin expected answers and planning in the pitch process.  "People come in and pitch, but can't come up with their future episodes.  They don't plan and think ahead."

Read more... [RealScreen West - Article 2 - Sizzle Reels?]
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