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Attention World War II Junkies - "Fury" with Brad Pitt

If you are a World War II film junkie, then you know all the great films about World War II.  "The Great Escape".  "Run Silent, Run Deep."  "In Harm's Way".  "The Dirty Dozen".   "Das Boot".  And of course, "The Kwai".  If you don't know that I mean "The Bridge on the River Kwai", then you are not a World War II film junkie.


"Fury" Directed by David Ayer who did "Training Day" and "End of Watch".  Those were a couple of gritty films.


Here's a sneak peak of a trailer on the UK Daily Mail website.

Plot: (from Wikipedia)

The film is set during the last months of World War II in April 1945. As the Allies make their final push in the European Theater, a battle-hardened U.S. Army sergeant in the 2nd Armored Division named Wardaddy (Brad Pitt) commands aSherman tank called "Fury" and its five-man crew on a deadly mission behind enemy lines. Outnumbered and outgunned, Wardaddy and his men face overwhelming odds in their heroic attempts to strike at the heart of Nazi Germany.[1]



Digital Gamechanger: Jurassic Park

The film "Jurassic Park" has stuck in my mind, not only because my eight year old niece was scared out of her wits with pie-sized eyes staring at the screen, but because the film was so real in its digital applications that the territory of 'making the impossible possible' for future films was forever crossed.

Steven Spielberg and Stan Winston had already begun working on and creating animatronic dinosaurs for Michael Crichton’s world of Jurassic Park. Spielberg had Tippett Studios which was known for their use of stop-motion animation working on the film and ILM (Industrial Light and Magic) was asked to add motion blur to their stop-motion data.

It took Steve Williams, a CG Animator, Mark Dippè, the Co-Visual Effects Supervisor, Stefen Fangmeier, the Senior Graphics Supervisor, and a ton of off-the-clock time, to change Spielberg’s mind and the film industry as a whole. Watch and check out the process of how these three men changed a world of stop-motion animation to a world of digital graphics on a movie who’s graphics still hold up to this day.

Check out the Video:  "Moments That Changed the Movies: Jurassic Park"



Stealing Thunder - My Plot Coming True!

While I wrote my novel "Stealing Thunder" a few years ago, I was ahead of the curve in terms of seeing the competitive fight between China and Japan over the Senkaku Islands as well as the South China Sea i.e., Paracel and Spratley Islands, as a source of friction between China and its various neighbors.  These Neighbors include Vietnam, the Phillipines, Brunei, Indonesia and Malaysia.   The Communist People's Republic of China are now actively and aggressively moving toward sovereignty over these isolated and largely uninhabited islands - which have strategic implications for regional power and vast oil reserves.  Money and Power.

Such is the plot of a novel...

UPDATE:  Vietnamese are now confronting China in their Sovereign Waters.

If you think that the two Communist brothers would not confront each other, then you might want to read about the short but intense war between China and Vietnam. The Sino-Vietnam War. China also has a history of invading Vietnam over centuries.  See Chinese Invasions of Vietnam.


NPR (not entirely credible) but an article on China's installation of an oil rig in Vietnamese economic zone waters.

An excerpt

ROBERT KAPLAN: That's exactly what they're thinking. They're thinking that the Vietnamese essentially cannot fire at these ships, cannot sink these ships, that the Vietnamese are not going to attack the oil rig. The Chinese are also assuming that the United States, while it might issue a strong statement or two, is certainly not going to get into a conflict with China over Vietnam; and neither are oil companies, given that there's just so much more business in China than in Vietnam.
INSKEEP: And is this an occasion where the old saying that possession is nine-tenths of the law applies; the fact that China would be there drilling oil means that in effect, it's going to become Chinese territory?
KAPLAN: Yes. It's just another layer of appropriation of contested sea space. Also, another thing China is doing - remember, President Obama was recently in the area shoring up alliances with Japan, with the Philippines, with Malaysia; and China is essentially saying here, we were not impressed.

Communist China's takeover of an oil rig in Vietnam's Economic zone has caused riots throughout Vietnam with 21 deaths reported to date.

Crowds set fire to industrial parks and factories, hunted down Chinese workers and attacked police during the riots, which have spread from the south to the central part of the country following the start of the protests on Tuesday.

The violence has been sparked by the dispute concerning China stationing an oil rig in an area of the South China Sea claimed by Vietnam. The two nations have been fighting out a maritime battle over sovereignty and that battle has now seemingly come ashore.

Early Thursday morning a 1,000-strong mob stormed a giant Taiwanese steel mill in Ha Tinh province, central Vietnam, where they set buildings ablaze and chased out Chinese employees, according to a Taiwanese diplomat, Huang Chih-peng. He said both the head of the provincial government, and his security chief, were at the mill at the time of the riots, but did not "order tough-enough action".




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]
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"Stealing Thunder" - Novel

Stealing Thunder

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