Thursday, April 27, 2006

'make a scene as strong as it can be, it will make you shine'

From an interview of Sam Golzari and Tony Yalda (they are in the film American Dreamz, which I liked a lot):
Golzari: Something I learned when I was working with Hugh and Dennis: I noticed they were storytellers, first and foremost. There was a scene where Hugh had an idea for Dennis to walk back and start looking at this giant TV screen. It upstaged Hugh, but it made the scene work better. A lot of times as young actors we feel we need to do things to be seen. But you realize that if you can make a scene as strong as it can be, it will make you shine. And that's why those actors have been working for 20 years: They understand that
(from Backstage).

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Sunday, April 23, 2006

SNL Half Gets Online Video

Saturday Night Live is now offering some of their content on the iTunes Store. This is good news; now current sketches, like Lazy Sunday, can be had, legally, online, and everyone who made the sketch gets paid (including actors, I think). The bad news is what all six of the user reviews point out: it is all very, very expensive.

Lazy Sunday, a 2 minute 31 second sketch, costs $1.99. For comparison, Sleeper Cell episodes run between about 50 and 59 minutes and cost $1.99. I believe these SNL sketches are therefore currently the among the most expensive downloadable video on Earth.

There may be all sorts of contractual reasons for this high price, but it seems they may also be trying to price us all into watching the show live. I think they may have missed the point of downloadable shows a little. People download TV shows likely because they don't want to, or can't, watch them live (and so they can watch them later, anywhere they want to).

Since putting shows online costs NBC/Universal next to nothing (hard drive space and a database entry), they are missing out on profits by pricing them this way. NBC made six million dollars profit from the online sale of their shows in the first couple months; and since the shows are produced regardless of the online distribution, the profit from online sales is almost free money.

If they sort out the contracts and improve the pricing everyone can win: NBC/Universal makes more money (and doesn't have to worry as much about falling ratings), the audience gets to see a show they like, when and where they choose (without breaking the law), and the artists who make the show would get some sort of residuals.

I'd be more likely to send a friend a legal version of sketch as a gift, if it were cheaper (and actually could be sent as a gift, like many, many other items on the iTunes store). I think 25 million other TV viewers may feel the same way. Part four of the Small Format and Online Video series of posts:
  1. Confusion Over Small Format Video
  2. Online Video May Affect Production, Distribution and Our Income
  3. TV to Become Small Format Online Video More and More
  4. SNL Half Gets Online Video
  5. Warner Bros. Domestic TV Embraces Small Format/Online Video

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William Shakespeare's 442nd birthday is today

William Shakespeare's 442nd birthday is today (read his plays and sonnets).

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Friday, April 21, 2006

Acting Qs: Conversations with Working Actors

A book, recommended by a friend and written by CD Bonnie Gillespie and others, that is supposed to have good interviews covering the act of actually being a working actor (e.g., working five jobs, having success for a time and then needing to get a real estate license, etc.). I have not read it yet.

this posted by David August at 6:16 AM - 1 comments - links to this post 

Humor: The Seven Stages of Production

  1. Wild Enthusiasm
  2. Total Confusion
  3. Utter Despair
  4. Search for the Guilty
  5. Persecution of the Innocent
  6. Promotion of the Incompetent
  7. Distribution of the Gifts.
(from a friend, who works in production)

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Sunday, April 16, 2006

Everyone is on the Cutting Room Floor

I worked on the music video for the B'z new single. They are a great rock group and are very popular in Japan. My scene didn't make the cut, so you can't see me dance. But I had a lot of fun working on it, and met some great people. I think every actor eventually gets to work on projects they can't be seen in later, and I'm proud to join the group.

You can watch the video online (it's good). It's here:



(more info here).

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Self-Management for Actors: Getting Down to (Show) Business

I've not read this book, but a friend in New York recommends it highly.

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Friday, April 14, 2006

TV to Become Small Format Online Video More and More

Fox signed an extension to its six year agreement with the affiliates allowing the network to make 60% of its primetime schedule available online the day after they air in primetime in year one, while the full 100% primetime slate will be available to alternative platforms by year three. The affiliate body will share in 12.5% of the net revenue derived from the non-linear efforts. The Fox programs will be streamed on its MySpace site and the network is looking into other online outlets as well, including affiliate websites
(from Cynthia Turner's Cynopsis). Part three of the Small Format and Online Video series of posts:
  1. Confusion Over Small Format Video
  2. Online Video May Affect Production, Distribution and Our Income
  3. TV to Become Small Format Online Video More and More
  4. SNL Half Gets Online Video
  5. Warner Bros. Domestic TV Embraces Small Format/Online Video

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Tuesday, April 11, 2006

Casting Calls: Where to Find Auditions/Casting Notices (or Post Them)

The first 2 are the most legitimate and useful.

Actors Access/Breakdown Express
Has the real advantage of being tied in with 'The Breakdowns' and therefore already a part of the work lives of Casting Directors, Agents and Managers. Actors Access is the Talents' site, and Breakdown Express is Casting Directors' and Representatives' site. Browsing the audition notices is free for talent, but self-submitting costs $2 a submission (they are free if you buy/bought a Showfax account [which allows you to access the sides/copy for auditions]). Adding new or additional pictures is less expensive than LA Casting.
LA casting
Has good listings, but I find the interface a little harder to use/more time consuming than Actors Access.
Now Casting
The most pricey of these big three online submission services; there is a monthly fee for self-submissions.
mandy.com
Also for international film and TV production (not just LA and the US, mandy.com includes listing for crew/staff positions as well as audition/casting notices). The ability to search listings is quite good, and it is, I think, completely free (ad supported).
BackStage
The staple in offline audition and acting job notices, the audition listings are now available online (for a fee).
craigslist
Free, and varied (e.g., includes 'adult' projects).

While I think this info is accurate, I could be wrong, and I'm also not vouching for nor endorsing any of these resources; caveat actor (or casting director).

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Sunday, April 09, 2006

Tangent: Catering Counts

I believe three crew members on Andy Barker P.I., the single-camera detective comedy pilot starring Andy Richter (more info), were hit with food poisoning Friday. In this business, like in life, details matter, even small ones.

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Tuesday, April 04, 2006

Online Video May Affect Production, Distribution and Our Income

Sort of a follow up to my previous post about small format video, sites like You Tube, Google Video and myspace (now that it has videos) may signify a shift in the production and distribution of media. Mobisodes are also here to stay, at least in the short term. While I doubt the audience will stop watching television, or going to the movies, other options are starting be viable alternatives.

Below are some excerpted thoughts of writer-producer Rob Long on some of the recent phenomena:
So a few weeks ago, on that lumbering occasionally funny warhorse, Saturday Night Live, Andy Samberg and Chris Parnell made a short digital film... called Lazy Sunday... it was pretty funny.
I saw the clip on You Tube. Some kid somewhere took it off the TV and zapped it on the web, probably with the heading "This Was The Only Funny Thing on SNL Last Night" or something. So that's where I saw it. That's where a lot of people saw it, too, apparently, because it spawned a constellation of responses from all over the country - people - normal people, people NOT in the 212 or 310 area codes - young men, mostly - remember them? They're the ones who aren't watching TV anymore or going to the movies - did their own versions of the sketch using the DV cam and the computer software they've been fiddling around with since Christmas...and it turns out that two guys from Indiana did one and zapped it up to You Tube and called it "Lazy Muncie" and it's pretty funny. I mean, funnier than anything that appears on Saturday Night Live after, say, 11:53pm. Funnier than the last Albert Brooks movie. Funnier than an episode of Joey.
So what does it say if you're Lorne Michaels - the guy who runs Saturday Night Live - or, for that matter, the head of comedy development for pretty much any network - and it turns out there are two funny guys in Muncie who don't really need you to give them permission to make a funny little movie because You Tube is their network and You Tube doesn't have a vice president of comedy development to say, "Yeah, yeah, um, I just don't see where this goes. Can it be about people in their 30's juggling relationships and their careers?"
What does that say about that huge, packed auditorium at the Oscars, filled mostly with people who get paid to say yes. Or no. It means, I think, that in the future, a lot of them are going to be scrambling to get out of their pricey car leases. I mean, maybe I'm delusional, but it's just possible that what You Tube means is that sooner, rather than later, this privileged, pompous, overpaid class of gatekeepers - studio executives, network executives, development executives - is going to get squeezed pretty tight. Of course, that also means that the privileged, pompous, overpaid class of writers and actors is going to get squeezed tight, too.
(from Rob Long - KCRW's Martini Shot Podcast). Part two of the Small Format and Online Video series of posts:
  1. Confusion Over Small Format Video
  2. Online Video May Affect Production, Distribution and Our Income
  3. TV to Become Small Format Online Video More and More
  4. SNL Half Gets Online Video
  5. Warner Bros. Domestic TV Embraces Small Format/Online Video

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Saturday, April 01, 2006

How to Cut Back on Stress

  1. Be passionate - About how your work improves people's lives
  2. Be clear - About precisely how you provide that value
  3. Stay focused - On what customers truly care about
  4. Communicate unceasingly - Your passion, vision and strategy
  5. Stay tuned in - To the rapid and endless changes in today's marketplace
  6. Be kind - If you want your people to be kind
  7. Stop lying - To your people, shareholders, customers and, especially, yourself
  8. Trust others - Which is not the same as telling them what to do (see #7 above)
  9. Give back - To customers, employees, the needy, and the environment [the audience is our customer, agents and publicists are examples of our employees]
  10. Take risks - Brand is a verb, not a noun [our names are our brands]

by Tom Asacker of a clear eye

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