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Posts from the ‘filmmaking’ Category

2009: The year we discovered 2001 was eerily prescient in 1968.

Just a quick little space/cinema mash-up today, starting with a cool video from over at New Scientist; Andrew Hamilton and Gavin Polhemus from the University of Colorado, Boulder, took Einstein’s general theory of relativity, and built a computer simulation of what it would look like if you fell into a black hole roughly the size of the one at the center of our galaxy:

Cool stuff on its own, but does it remind you of anything? Specifically the part after you’ve passed the Black Hole’s event horizon and are heading towards the singularity? Perhaps some particularly iconic bit of cinema? Like, say, this sequence:

I’m really not a particularly good scholar of “2001” (I’m on the record as being a bigger fan of Clarks “Childhood’s End”) but it wouldn’t suprise me one whit if the similarities between these two sequences are simply due to trying to graphically represent the same math, just with technology 50 years apart.

My apologies if that’s a little dense for a Friday (BLACK HOLE HUMOUR – HAR HAR HAR), if so – I cordially direct you to “The adorable leopard cubs who are best friends with a baby orangutan”.

And we’re back – with something cool.

I’m back from television-shooting purgatory (mostly) in one piece. Shooting at the CBC is always fascinating, last week (given the unusual surrounding circumstances) especially so.

An unexpected benefit of dropping off the map for a few days, I missed April 1st (a.k.a. “just lie about stuff on the internet day”) one of my most hated holidays (as someone who loves the fine craft of satire, pranks, and the ilk… an entire day of people mistaking “lying” for “satire” irks). Denis McGrath gets how it should be done. Glenn Hauman gets how it should be done (although I’m not sure his commentors do). 1957 BBC Writers got how it should be done. 99% of the internet? Doesn’t.

Not the point, the point (he said by way of wild segue) is that I get to welcome you back with this truly great bit of poster design:

the girlfriend experience

Soderbergh has had some great posters (and I agree with Sean Witzke that the poster for The Limey was a standout) but this? All kinds of fantastic, on all kinds of levels.

So there, back on a high note… what have you all been up to for the last couple of weeks?

(H/T to Sean Witzke via the always beaucoup Kevin Church)

Hey Film and Television Friends, Are You Affected By The New CTF Rulings?

Here’s a great form letter I got today that does a very good job of detailing exactly why the CTF announcement should have everyone working in film and television extremely nervous. I’m trying to find the original author for attribution, although since it’s a “pass it on”, I’m sure they won’t mind my re-post. I left the content as-is, but did some re-formatting. Full post is after the jump, along with my $0.02 at the end. Read more

One last Coraline note…


One last, for now, note on the on-going saga of Coraline’s Box-Office. While (as I predicted) Coraline did overtake “Friday the 13th” this week, it not only wasn’t by the large measure I had expected – but it dropped a whopping 54% to 5.3M, which was significantly more than I expected.

Thankfully BoxOfficeMojo set me straight by pointing out that the film lost over 700 3D screens to the opening of the new Jonas Brothers movie. (Interestingly I notice that the Jonas brothers per-screen average was actually lower than the “Coraline” per screen average last week. Wouldn’t it be a kick if ‘line managed to outlast them?

I promise to not harp on this any further… at least as relates to the importance of box-office openings.

Okay, just one more – Dear “Street Fighter: The Legend of Chun-Li“, I know I said that opening-weekend box-office is generally indicative of nothing. However, that whole “getting bested on your opening weekend by a month-old stop-motion animation which was made with a smaller budget” thing? Not a good indicator.

Even the emperor of segue’s would be stumped with this one…

We must work together to give the following YouTube video the mandatory 6,000 views to get a group of fat hockey fans to strip on the “Ellen” show. We can think of no nobler cause for Puck Daddy to endorse.

(via, where else, Puck Daddy)

CRTC ‘Net Neutrality Hearings – All the Marbles

There are two major CRTC hearings in the works right now that the copyright/internet savvy should be looking to – and Denis McGrath does a nice job of explaining how they interrelate. The one going on right now, among other things, is looking at the viability of some type of governmental support for creating new media content (the same way it mandates support for radio, publishing, and other creative sectors). Users, generally speaking, are hostile to this thought – because they corrolate it with taxes on blank-media or higher internet fees (either of which could indeed be one possible outcome – but is kind of narrow-sited… CanCon regulations for radio and television don’t necessarily make *them* more expensive, those come out of the post-consumer/advertiser net profits of broadcasters, and can’t necessarily be passed on to end users).

The tricky issue (as Denis adroitly points out) is that these two groups (the ISP’s, vs the creative sector) are also going to butt heads in a few weeks time over net neutrality in Canada (the promised followup to the Bell BitTorrent throttling case, (you might recall at that time, I said not to riot in the streets… that the battle for “all the marbles” had not yet been fought).

As far as I’m concerned this is the battle for an epic amount of marbles.

As we know from similar cases in the USA, ISP’s and telco’s really want to be able to determine what goes through their networks and how. The moment, this precedent gets set – the door is open to a radically different internet, where the services of your ISP (including their own telecom, television, movie, video-on-demand, even websites) can be treated fundamentally different than everything else on the internet. How the ISP’s want to use their network is primary over how the users want to use the network. You are no longer paying for a service, you’re paying for whatever content the ISP’s chose to provide, on whatever terms they deem “necessary”.

It’s been pointed out elsewhere in the CRTC filings that Bell launched a new video-on-demand service around the same time they started throttling BitTorrent traffic. Is that because the volume of the traffic legitimately was overwhelming (interesting, since streaming video has, by some accounts, been the largest single source of total traffic over much of the internet since 2007)? Or was it because it was a competitor to Bell? Should YouTube be throttled? Should Bell implement similar policies against Skype, is it because of volume? Or is it because of competition to Bell’s traditional landline offerings? I’m not saying any of these are true (or even likely), but the point is that once that door is open you (the end user) will never know.

In all the clutter of the current CRTC new media hearings, the preliminary filing by the CFTPA (Canada’s producer’s association) has been mostly overlooked although Michael Geist got part of it:

while P2P applications are undeniably used for the distribution of unauthorized content (as are email, newsgroups and the web), they also are increasingly serving as the foundation for new business models that will enable independent producers to make full use of broadband as a delivery vehicle for Canadian audio-visual programming. Consequently, the CFTPA is concerned that discriminatory traffic throttling may inhibit the development of new applications that would facilitate the ability of independent producers and other content providers to better monetize their content.

Roll that around on your tongue for a minute. That’s Canada’s content producers association saying that while P2P piracy is bad, it’s not nearly as bad as what the control creators would give up if ISP’s are allowed to treat traffic in anything less than an absolutely neutral manner.

The Geist article above goes on to echo this sentiment from a litany of artist organizations (and, interestingly enough, the CBC… one of the few national broadcasters without a related national ISP unlike Bell and Rogers affiliated broadcasters).

But don’t overlook the whole second half of the CFTPA filing either. This is the half which goes on to ask some difficult questions of ISP’s – such as why (if network volume is such an issue) they continue to offer faster, and faster, connections – while actually delivering less and less in the way of actual service. Why the ISP’s advertise speed rates they can’t possibly achieve given their actual infrastructure. Why Canada is rapidly falling in the rankings of Broadband and wireless penitration, adoption, and cost against almost every other OECD country (out of the 30 OECD countries, Canada’s price per megabit of Internet service ranks a near dead-last 27th).

And again, these are the producers – the ones you would suspect would be the first in line to throw a big “down with BitTorrent” party. Heck, the filing goes out of it’s way to point out a number of Canadian shows who benefited from legal BitTorrent distribution – (and I’m not just pleased to see that because they referenced my own Dead End Days and Cerealized).

This filing (and dozens like it) can look past immediate self-interests to see that:

The CFTPA submits that requiring ISPs to adopt an agnostic approach to traffic
management is critical to ensuring that the Internet remains an open-access platform. Such
an approach encourages innovation in the design and development of new applications and
services and facilitates the delivery of Canadian content – including Canadian audio-visual
content – to Canadians.

In a lot of ways the CRTC hearings to date have some amount of “side-show” to them (not that they aren’t important), but this one is the main event. It will shape the way Canadians produce, distribute, and watch content for years to come – and if that’s not enough to make it worth your while to wade through the odd text-heavy report… then I don’t know what is… but don’t be surprised if you wake up one morning to find your marbles strangely absent.

  • Disclosure: I work with a member company of the CFTPA, and have also been involved with the working group behind this filing.

The 81st Oscars: By the Numbers

Thanks to God   2
Reference to Obama or “Change”   4
Reference to the recession, “tough economic times”   2
Crying   5
Direct cut between Jennifer Aniston and Brad Pitt   2
“I didn’t expect to win…”   1
Someone trips   0
The orchestra cuts off a speech   1
A speech manages to cut off the orchestra   0
Thanking fellow nominees   2
Host joke bombs   0
A Streaker or other unplanned event   0
Fashion disaster   4
Skinny ties   11
Thanks to mother specifically   2
Nominees not there   2
Heath Ledger wins? (Yes or No)   Yes
“In memoriam” without sincere applause   6
Winners talking directly to their kids at home   2
Thanking agent   3
Male wearing a chromatic colour (not black/grey/white)   1
The most callbacks to a single joke   2
Woman wearing something other than a dress   3
Facial stubble   1

Read more

“Corlaine” and the Box-Office-Followup…

Wallpaper courtesy the UGO network

Just thought a quick follow up to last weeks “Coraline” prognostications might be in order to see if I was – in fact – right.

Lo and behold – everything I suggested did indeed come to pass. “Coraline” had the smallest decrease (again) of wide-release holdovers to get up to $53.3M (which, incidentally, outgrosses the total domestic run of “Corpse Bride”). “Friday the 13th” on the other-hand dropped 81% to come in for a total domestic run to date of $55M. I would be surprised if “Coraline” doesn’t overtake “Friday” over the course of the week.

Now again, this is all in a vacumn – and doesn’t have anything to do with profitability, per se. “Friday” cost, something like $19M less than “Coraline” to make… but “Coraline” has (I’d suspect) much more upside on video and DVD sales (as all animation in general, and youth animation in particular does) – so it doesn’t mean much of anything (outside of my initial comment on this article at “Occasional Suerheroine” that trying to correlate “broad appeal” with “opening weekend box-office” is a very sticky wicket.