Saturday, February 27, 2010

Remakes, The Ultimate Nightmare

Thursday was the premier of the new trailer for the remake/re imagining of "Nightmare on Elm Street" from the company Platinum Dunes, who in the past several years have brought us the remakes of classic horror films no one asked for, so far they have chalked up "Texas Chainsaw Massacre" "Friday the 13th", "The Hitcher" and "The Amityville Horror" to their list of franchises that they feel need to be updated. In my personal opinion I have never really had any intention to watch any of these remakes for fear that they would tarnish the memories I have of the originals scaring the cum outta me.

Since the premier of the new trailer for NOES I have watched it at least three times. The reason being that there is something in this film that peaks the interests of mine and reminds me of the attitude I had when I was thirteen years old when I watched the original, even before I saw it when I was a little kid I remember being afraid of this charred and scarred character before even being formally introduced to him thanks to home video.

Since then, I have been intrigued with the story of Freddy Krueger, of course as the years and sequels and ridiculous puns, jokes, comebacks, "Now I'm Playing With Power!" (NOES: Freddy's Dead) have gone by there really hasn't been a real memorable NOES except for the original and a GREAT follow up that took nearly ten years to make with "Wes Cravens New Nightmare"

Why is the new "Nightmare on Elm Street" different for me?

It all comes down to origins of the character and the story..and no I am not proposing a prequel to when Freddy was a custodial engineer (or a janitor if you wanna be a dick about it) at a school in Springwood.

I am talking about the real reasons as to why Wes Craven had done the original. Now the story goes that a group of Cambodian refugees from Hmong tribe to escape Pol Pots Khmer Rouge to seek refuge in the United States. Once they fled they began to have horrific nightmares and refused to sleep, and once succumbing to the exhaustion and eventually falling asleep, the refuges would wake up screaming and would immediately die. The total number of people who had suffered from this and eventually die was three.

These instances would be documented in an article by the LA Times during the early 80's, which were read by Wes Craven and thus the idea of being subject to harm by something created in your dreams enticed him to write "A Nightmare on Elm Street" and from that a franchise was born.

Now, how can a horrible thing that has happened in Cambodia translate into an American horror movie, simple. The movie itself lends itself to the negligence of parents to their calls and cries for help from their kids. Their constant shrugs off of the teens desperate calls for help were merely overlooked as "teenage drama" and Craven captured how parents pay little attention to their children.

Now with this being said it raises the fear of thinking that the world that you are able to create inside of your dreams could in fact harm you and quite possibly lead to your death. And to me thinking that some of the things that I dream about nightly could kill me leads me to the validated fear that my own phobias and scenarios that I can conjure up in my own brain were lethal. And to know that you are your own worst enemy is frightening on its own.

And that's what makes this movie so much different and eccentric than "Friday The 13th". The Voorhees saga of blood and brutality followed the predictable formula of chase hot slutty teens and inflict carnage on a monumental scale. The Friday series never lent itself to any social opinion or commentary of the time and never meant to allow itself to be poignant with its story, if there ever really was one to follow in the series.

Craven had such a great and creative way in allowing the social contexts to become a huge part of his horror genre and much like he did with the post Vietnam War America that was analyzed in "Last House On The Left". NOES was able to make a visceral feeling of dread of what the mind was capable of doing, comparatively the horror films nowadays tend to not make a resounding impression on contemporary society with buckets and buckets of blood as the classics from yore. With the only exception being "The Mist" that was released a few years ago, that was possibly one of the best movies of the year that no one had seen.

The slasher genre was given a new standard with NOES and that is what makes it unique in the horror genre and which is why I have such a high standard and admiration for NOES. Now, the remake or whatever I will only hope to be able to retain that type of origin that propelled the original story several years ago. It can be said for many movies nowadays on whether or not they provoke some sort of commentary on contemporary American society and its even harder as a horror film to be effective and entertaining in its terror while at the same time commenting on modern culture or issues as well.

With the movies nowadays we have to be able to see the forest for the trees.

"A Nightmare on Elm Street" is one of the few remakes that I am looking forward to because of not only the legacy that it has but also of the intelligent metaphor and themes that encompassed the story to begin with, as long as they are able to keep that and are able to honor that in this remake, count me in.

Ali Murtaza breaks down Hollywood Directors

Why can't someone like James Cameron create real heartfelt dramas? The answer is quite simply in the arbitrary division of directorial styles commonly used in the industry. There is the technical director and an actors director.

Quite simply put someone like Clint Eastwood, with a background in acting knows, or rather thrives on their collaboration with actors on set. They care more about the performance of the actor than the angle of the shot. It is not that these people are simply more concerned with the emotional range of an actor. In actuality they are more in tuned with it because either like Clint they have been on the other end of the camera, or they have a natural knack for dealing with actors.

On the other hand you have technical directors that know how to set up great shots and sequences that will wow the audience, but when it comes to subtlety of emotion they are at a loss. These directors can create a spectacle to be admired but cannot get the best out of their actors. They are lost in creating their world. Every once in a while they are blessed with the sense to pick great actors and that helps the process, but in the end they live in another dimension of film.

James Cameron can be categorized in the second category first and formats by Titanic, the greatest spectacle of its time. The movie blew box office and every entity that witnessed it. It starred two actors that since have made their mark in the industry. Yet, it failed to get them  an Oscar that year. 11 Academy Awards and not a single one for acting. It is clear that there was something missing in the equation. We know that it wasn't the ability of the stars. It must have been the director.

As if that wasn't enough this year we were witness to the birth of Avatar. Another revolution in film. Cameron does it once again, blows his audience away. The box office is in the billions around the world. The reactions are great. yet not even a single Oscar nomination for acting out of the nine total nominations. What is going on here? Does Cameron not have luck? What is he missing? - Ali Murtaza

Thursday, February 25, 2010

Walmart Buying Vudu Online Movie Service

Online movie and TV service VUDU, the Santa Clara, CA-based digital provider,  has been acquired by Walmart, the retail giant announced today.

VUDU’s technology, which delivers access to movies and TV shows directly through television, allows customers with broadband access and an Internet ready or Blu-ray player to purchase movies without using a computer or cable/satellite service. An article in The New York Times today valued the deal at $100 million and indicated that the two entities have begun informing studios and television manufacturers.

NYT also reports that the integration could also give Walmart the chance to one day sell various products via people’s televisions through VUDU’s technology.

VUDU has licensing agreements with major movie studios in addition to what Walmart calls “dozens of independent and international distributors” that offers some 16,000 movies. Walmart is already the largest seller of DVDs in the U.S.

“The real winner here is the customer,” said Eduardo Castro-Wright, vice chairman for Walmart in a statement. “Combining VUDU’s unique digital technology and service with Walmart’s retail expertise and scale will provide customers with unprecedented access to home entertainment options as they migrate to a digital environment.”

“We are excited about the opportunity to take our company’s vision to the next level,” said Edward Lichty, VUDU executive vice president in a statement. “VUDU’s services and Apps platform will give Walmart a powerful new vehicle to offer customers the content they want in a way that expands the frontier of quality, value and convenience.”

Hollywood movies follow a mathematical formula... DUH!

Psychologist Professor James Cutting and his team from Cornell University in Ithaca, New York, analyzed 150 high-grossing Hollywood released from 1935 to 2005 and discovered the shot lengths in the more recent movies followed the same mathematical that describes the human attention span. The pattern was derived by scientists at the University of Texas in Austin in the 1990s who studied the attention spans of subjects performing hundreds of trials. The team then converted the measurements of their attention spans into wave forms using a mathematical technique known as the Fourier transform.

They found that the magnitude of the waves increased as their frequency decreased, a pattern known as pink noise, or 1/f fluctuation, which means that attention spans of the same lengths recurred at regular intervals. The same pattern has been found by Benoit Mandelbrot (the chaos theorist) in the annual flood levels of the Nile, and has been seen by others in air turbulence, and also in music.

Cutting made his discovery by measuring the length of every shot in 150 comedy, drama and action films, and then converted the measurements into waves for every movie. He found that the more recent the films were, the more likely they were to obey the 1/f fluctuation, and this did not just apply to fast action movies. Cutting said the significant thing is that shots of similar lengths recur in a regular pattern through the film.

Cutting believes obeying the 1/f law makes films “resonate with the rhythm of human attention spans,” and this makes them more gripping. Films edited in this way would then tend to be more successful and the style of shooting and editing more likely to be copied. Films of Cutting’s own favorite genre, the Film Noir, do not generally follow the 1/f law, with shot lengths tending to be more random. By contrast The Empire Strikes Back (1980) and the 2005 blockbuster movie Star Wars Episode III (which Cutting considers to be “just dreadful”) both follow 1/f rigidly.

The researchers concluded that over the next few decades film makers may take more care to follow the 1/f law to try to boost audience engagement.


Machinarium, a point-and-click adventure game set in a strangely recognizable robot city, is one of the most beautiful games to hit home computers in a long time. It achieves this with the barest possible technology: colored pencil drawings, ethereal music, and crude pictograph dialogue. The atmosphere is almost filmic, like Metropolis and Jean-Pierre Jeunet filtered through The Triplets Of Belleville, but the gameplay is joyously inspired.

The story of a little robot who must escape from prison, find his girlfriend, and prevent a bomb blast is told through puzzles. Many are single-screen affairs in which everything you need is before your eyes; others have the ’bot wandering the city with an item in hand. As the puzzles reveal plot, animations reveal character. The game is essentially dialogue-free, but you’ll develop an immediate affinity for the hero, based solely on his movement and range of expression. With a shake of the head, he’ll refuse to follow impossible orders. What orders he does follow are undertaken with a sly, self-effacing physicality that belies the rudimentary animation bringing him to life.

When a solution appears maddeningly difficult, there are two ingenious hint systems. One is a simple picture that shows what you should be trying to achieve. This is less a hint than a glimpse into your robot’s thought process. The other is a book that will explicitly spell out how to solve a problem, but you’ll have to beat a little arcade game before accessing it each time.

The only serious limitation here is tied to the game’s Flash chassis. The right-click action has long been a staple of adventure gaming, to cancel actions and deselect items. That isn’t an option in Flash; it only brings up an ugly, intrusive menu. Furthermore, Flash may freeze briefly, causing you to miss frames of animation. But if Flash is what it takes for Amanita’s Jakub Dvorsky to make an uncompromised creative title on his own terms, the hiccups can be called minor.

Saturday, February 20, 2010

Discuss: Getting Audiences to See Long Movies

The six-hour gritty crime drama The Red Riding Trilogy is slowly making its way around to big cities. It's really three movies, based on four novels by David Peace, adapted by Tony Grisoni and directed by Julian Jarrold, James Marsh, and Anand Tucker. Each entry takes place in a different year, 1974, 1980 and 1983, and some characters cross over from one movie to the next. The whole thing played on television in the UK, and as of now I'm still not sure just how the U.S. theatrical release will be handled. Will moviegoers buy one ticket for all three films? Do they sit through all six hours at once, or can they come back on a different day? Certainly the press screening here in my hometown happened all in one six-hour chunk, though I opted to watch the film at home on a screener. (I'm only one-and-a-half movies in at this point, but I like it a great deal so far.)

A few years back, an Italian mini-series called The Best of Youth was released theatrically in the U.S. as a six-hour film. It showed in two parts, and required two separate admissions, and it was a small scale smash-hit, selling out and extending runs. But a year earlier, Lucas Belvaux's three-part The Trilogy (On the Run, An Amazing Couple and After the Life) opened without much of a splash. One of the most highly acclaimed movies of the 1990s, Bela Tarr's seven-hour Satantango (1994), never got its own theatrical release. Those who were lucky enough to see it did so at repertory houses during retrospectives and festivals. Now it's on home video and viewers can watch at their own pace.

Similar problems cropped up in the 1980s for movies like Rainer Werner Fassbinder's Berlin Alexanderplatz (15 hours), Krzysztof Kieslowski's The Decalogue (10 hours), and Claude Lanzmann's 9-1/2 hour documentary Shoah. Some repertory houses came up with interesting ways of packaging these movies in manageable bites, but sometimes requiring more than one ticket. Needless to say, all of these movies seem more suited to DVD.

On the other hand, Gone with the Wind is nearly 4 hours long and is still the (adjusted for inflation) all-time box office champion. No one has ever had one second's hesitation about seeing that movie in a theater, nor any problems about distribution or ticket selling. Likewise, I'm sure plenty of devoted souls have seen the entire stretch of Peter Jackson's The Lord of the Rings in one sitting. So let's hear it, dear readers! How much movie would you be willing to sit through in a theater? What kind of movie would it be? Would you mind subtitles? How much would you pay for tickets? - Jeffrey Anderson

Quentin Tarantino keeps a classic movie theater open; who’ll save the rest of the country’s Indie Theaters?

The New Beverly Cinema in Los Angeles is a great place to see a movie. Not because it is the most comfortable theater or the most state of the art, but because it is operated and attended by people who really love movies. I’ve only been there a few times, but the experiences have been great: seeing Wet Hot American Summer with David Wain in attendance, A Nightmare on Elm Street 3 with Frank Darabont and Chuck Russell, and catching a marathon of three Friday the 13th flicks.

Quentin Tarantino bought the New Beverly when it fell on hard times, but his involvement with the theater has been known in detail only to some of the most dedicated friends and patrons of the business. Now Tarantino and the family that runs the theater are talking about the process of keeping it alive.

THR has a long report on the process that began when Quentin Tarantino offered financial help to Sherman Torgan, once the New Bev’s operator. He started giving the theater $5000 per month to keep it open. But when Sherman Torgan passed away in 2007, the theater faced closure, prompting Tarantino to buy the space outright. “I always considered the New Beverly my charity,” he says, “an investment I never wanted back.”

Tarantino said one thing of his ownership of the New Bev that really sums it up how grand his patronage of the long-running movie house really is:

As long as I’m alive, and as long as I’m rich, the New Beverly will be there, showing double features in 35mm.

Now this is the place where I have to lecture. Did you read this story and think, “wow, that’s awesome”? If so, and you have a local indie house that you don’t visit on a regular basis, what’s wrong with you?

I understand that a great many people don’t have a local theater like the New Beverly to visit, because most have closed. Many others are on the verge of closing. The Plaza in Atlanta has long been threatened with death. The Brattle in Cambridge, MA has had trouble over the years. These are great places. I finally saw Street Trash on the screen thanks to The Plaza, and met David Lynch thanks to The Brattle. Many other similar places provide great film experiences for their audiences, but still have troubles of their own.

I’m not really here to chastise people, but there isn’t a Quentin Tarantino to go around for all these theaters. And not all of them are the Alamo Drafthouse. Some are better than others about promoting their schedules, and some are more inviting than others. But if you knew the sheer amount of work that goes into operating a truly independent theater, you’d know that all are run by people with a deep love for movies. It’s impossible to do the job otherwise. It’s just too much work.

So, please, if you’ve got an indie theater nearby spend some time in the seats. Go once or twice a month, even to a matinee. DVD is great. Netflix and Hulu and On Demand are all wonderful. But movies still belong in theaters, where you can see them in the dark with a crowd. OK, lecture over. - Russ Fischer

Monday, February 15, 2010

I have something to say: No one’s a Cobbler anymore.

“No one’s a cobbler anymore” he said, “you never hear someone say that today”
“Why would you want to?” she replied.
“I don’t know, just a sign of the times I guess”

This is a line from something I’ve been writing, and before today I did not realize the depth of that statement. Today I read an article informing me that the film Taxi Driver is going to be remade (possibly), and in part by the original director and actor no less. At first I found it difficult to articulate why that information upset me so much, but as I was trying to put my feelings into words, I thought about the above quote. Truth be told there are cobblers in the world, but very few, and due to mass production lines we no longer have use for them. To be a cobbler in the world today is a brave thing, no matter which way you spin it because you’ve said to hell with mass production and the way of the world. You clearly have to like shoes, you have to care about the way they’re put together and know how to keep them new, but lastly, and this is important, you’re aware that there are other people out there that have a pair of shoes they care about and don’t want to see them ruined or have to throw them away.

Is Martin Scorsese a cobbler? He is taking something old and making it new again after all, but is he a cobbler? The answer is No. Cobblers maintain and they stand apart from the status quo in being cobblers. If Scorsese was a cobbler he’d simply be doing a film transfer of the original print to maintain the film as it was originally made and preserve the cinematic qualities from fading. And you would certainly want to keep the leather of the shoe fresh, not slap on an older, decaying leather (older Robert DeNiro). Can it be justified that both are defying the status quo by being “brave enough” to remake a beautiful, classic film? No insult to either the actor or the director in terms of talent, and my goodness, its vast talent, but this remake signals the dominance of the status quo and solidifies the divide of filmmakers.

Many online news sources have comment sections at the bottom of each article and while trying to find as much information as I could about this possible herald of the end times I did not see a single optimistic or positive comment about this news, and believe me, as one to always needs a devil’s advocate for any thought I had, I looked. And reading them I realized that they’re all film related websites. Filmmakers and film junkies visit these sites regularly and comment regularly, but what will the mainstream think? Will the majority of moviegoers under the age of 20 even know this is a remake when they go to see it upon its release? Probably not.

Now I don’t have to see these remakes, I don’t have to pay money to enter the cinaplex and watch, and I won’t, but they’re still there. Other people will see them. One of them things I used to tell my students is that when you make the choice to do one thing, you make the choice NOT to do something else. So what is not being made in order to make these films? What is not being funded? If you look on the indie film blogs you’ll find the answers, they often post notes from filmmakers sharing their experiences with studios and the changes they wanted them to make to their projects in order to even consider just an option for funding. How many films like “Once” or “The Brothers Bloom” or “Wendy and Lucy” or “500 Days of Summer” or “Brick” aren’t being funded? Now some of these films don’t need to be made for a lot of money, and they aren’t, but for the price of just one “Scary Movie” you could make dozens of “Bricks”. You could breed difference and variety like you had a supply of miracle grow.

By now you’ve heard this argument before from someone you know, some filmmaker or fan out there who is bitter or angry, and they have a right to be, but the fact that this argument keeps being made says one thing; there has not been a change. The divide gets bigger and bigger and bigger. And out of bitterness and anger comes passion. Comes drive. These are the silver linings.

With every remake and sequel Hollywood pumps out they tighten their grasp on the market and re-enforce their system. They become less risky, make more cowardly moves, turn their backs on creative progress and keep our imaginations cyclical. But just as there are companies like Nike and Adidis, there are cobblers. There are filmmakers who make films outside of the studio system, or make them within, using studio money, but keep them original and bold. These are the cobblers. These are the filmmakers who make films for fans of originality. For fans of directing, fans of acting, fans of writing, of the lost art of cinematography, of production design and sound, of editing. These are my people. I don’t need to go into all the examples of indie filmmakers who have had the chance to direct a remake or take part in a franchise with a poorly written script or those who have decided to distribute their own films, but there are many. Perhaps one day I will make a film with studio money, or write a sequel to a sci-fi franchise, but if that day comes, I will use new leather, I will make sure the laces are tight, that the stitches are in the seams and that the SOUL is strong. And as long as there is an audience to watch these films and as long as there are peers who support each other in our efforts, I will make these films. I will cobble.

Friday, February 12, 2010

Matthew Porterfield on "Putty Hill"

2009 was the summer of my liberation. After three years developing a script I never made and marketing it to a sleeping industry, I declared independence and made a film without permission.

This film, my second feature, Putty Hill, will premiere this month in Berlin as part of the 2010 International Forum for New Cinema. It marks a fresh approach to American regional cinema that stands apart from the romantic, anthropological, and formally conservative examples that have emerged on the art‐house circuit in the last few years. This has little to do with my talent and everything to do with our means of production. Truly collaborative, egalitarian, and economical, the traits of our model appear in stark contrast to the division of labor and totalitarian authorship characteristic of most film productions, even those made on the smallest scale, still beholden to a model developed off the Pacific coast and commodified in the dead shadows of Manhattan.

As a commodity, independent film has failed. Yet, regional cinema, of all the arts, has the greatest potential to achieve something close to objective reality, if such a thing exists. Its ontological value cannot be denied. Yet, in order to reach its potential, regional cinema must be freed from the confines of the old marketplace and made in a manner that honors its subjects, its audience, and their environment as authors and players in a collaborative process of production and distribution.
Perhaps this is nothing new. We’re learning as we go. But, I’ll proceed as if our process is novel in these times, and for the sake of argument, if nothing else, detail the progression of Putty Hill from conception through development and into the early stages of distribution.

Putty Hill was born from the ashes of a full feature script called Metal Gods, which chronicled a week in the lives of a group of marginalized kids in Baltimore City who live and love heavy metal. I wrote it with my collaborator Jordan Mintzer. Determined to make our sophomore effort a memorable one (after our critically‐ acclaimed but relatively hidden first feature, Hamilton), we worked hard on developing a regional story with universal themes. In 2007, we began casting and assembling the ingredients to shoot in the summer of 2009. Money was a big concern – our low budget estimate was $350K ‐‐ and we peddled the project to everyone we knew and many we didn’t, inside and outside the industry.

In September of 2008, the screenplay was accepted to participate in IFP’s Emerging Narrative Program at Independent Film Week. This opportunity provided us with a chance to sit down with independent producers and financiers, and we had many meetings, friendly and informative, which resulted in broad smiles, handshakes and even some business cards. We followed up as best we could, but unquestionably, the most valuable thing that came from the week was a grant in the form of a camera rental from IFP and Panasonic. Going into Putty Hill, when we finally put Metal Gods aside, this was all we had: a camera, $20,000, and 12 days to shoot.Because we couldn’t find financing, our hand was forced, and there wasn’t the time to develop a new feature‐length screenplay. We decided instead, since we had cast, crew, and locations in place from our time spent in pre‐production on Metal Gods, to move forward with a five‐page treatment crafted from the experiences and environments familiar to the team we had in place. I hoped it was a feature, but was hesitant to call it one, having not directed such a brief and open scenario before.

In essence, Putty Hill wasn’t much on paper. It was an outline, a skeleton that my dedicated cast and crew, and the community at large through their unending support, brought to life. Each of us on production, from my students at the university where I teach, to my cinematographer, Jeremy Saulnier, were equally invested and involved in the success of the project. Every actor was non‐ professional; our AC was also the Head Gaffer; one of my producers had never worked in film before, neither had our script‐supervisor; my wife was the costume designer; our editor had never cut a narrative feature; local businesses donated food, services, and equipment; people took off work and didn’t get paid. Writing this, I realize I’m describing the familiar clich├ęs of the low‐budget indie film experience ‐‐ it’s nothing new. Where this project differs from the norm can be seen onscreen, in the product, which honors the contribution of every component member of production. If nothing else, I’m confident of that. Plus, it’s sexy as fuck.

Though we’ve been invited to premiere at the Berlinale and SXSW, Putty Hill is unfinished. We’ve amassed over $10K in credit card debt, none of which has gone to compensate our post‐production team for their services. In addition to debts owed, we have large festival and marketing expenses mounting, upwards of $20K.

If our production followed the Pedro Costa model, let’s say, our post and distribution strategy follows the Four Eyed Monsters model, thanks in large part to Kickstarter, a site developed under the influence of the fundraising and marketing strategies originated and implemented by Arin Crumley. In keeping with our objective to focus on the local while reaching the widest audience possible, we’ve mounted two successful fundraising campaigns in Baltimore, Maryland, which have raised over $5K. These, in conjunction with the Kickstarter campaign, have helped us reach our projected goal of $10K in just one week. But that’s less than half of the money we estimate we need to complete Putty Hill and ready it for exhibition.

Ultimately, our methods of working and our limited resources have allowed my team the freedom to stay open to the potential for magic, which only appears when things are left to chance. There are no rules to follow to guarantee the emergence of magic (which, in turn, leads to an audience’s experience of surprise), but there are a list of things to avoid. I won’t go into them here, but you might guess what they are. Or maybe they’re different for each of us. As in life, when we wish to be free, we must be willing to break the rules and work outside the system, even in the face of poverty and obscurity. I make $20K a year, yet I’ll continue to pay my collaborators first. How about you, filmmaker? What do you make?
– Matthew Porterfield

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Pork Chop Night - Storyboards: Part 1

Artist Tara Howe has been providing these amazing Storyboards for Pork Chop Night. Have a look at the first sequence.


Online Video Advertising may soon match TV Advertising

The Present

At the present time, online video viewers are lucky. And I say that as one of them. Most video sites are free, with advertising (both text and video-based) paying the bills and ensuring we get to watch good content without having to pay.

What’s more, the advertising is nowhere near as intrusive or as frequent as it is on traditional television. There’s probably four times as much advertising on TV as there is on the Web, on average.
However, according to AdAge, that could soon be set to change.

The Future

Starting in September, Nielsen intends to unify its data collecting to include both TV and the Web. So the advertising attached to a particular show, whether it be online or off, will be noted. This may not seem important to us, the end consumers, but from February next year it will be.

That is when the data is expected to begin being used for advertising negotiations. And to make the data accurate for this purpose, shows broadcast online would have to show the same ads as when they’re shown on TV. Which will mean a significant ramping up of advertising against online video.

TV Vs. The Web

This is all part of the convergence which is happening between traditional TV and Web TV. More and more consumer electronics are Internet-enabled, and that means people have multiple options for watching TV other than the box in the corner.

Time Warner and Comcast’s ‘TV Everywhere’ is a reaction to that, giving consumers more viewing options while still retaining the ability to squeeze cable subscriptions out of people’s pockets. As TV andonline video meld into one, more advertising is almost guaranteed.

Keeping It Free

That’s not necessarily a bad thing, as advertising is the only way content is going to be made available for free in the future. There are only two options for media companies seeking to make a mint from the Web: a subscription paywall or enough advertising to keep the content free. And I know which one I, and the majority of other people, would choose.


So I say increase the amount of advertising. So long as it coincides with a commitment to keeping the sites free and an increase in the amount of premium content which Web TV viewers are crying out for.

Thursday, February 4, 2010

Integrity and Intelligence in Art & Media


Bill Watterson, the creator of Calvin & Hobbes, recently gave his first interview in 20 years. He explains why he stopped when he did:
"If I had rolled along with the strip's popularity and repeated myself for another five, 10 or 20 years, the people now "grieving" for "Calvin and Hobbes" would be wishing me dead and cursing newspapers for running tedious, ancient strips like mine instead of acquiring fresher, livelier talent. And I'd be agreeing with them.
I think some of the reason "Calvin and Hobbes" still finds an audience today is because I chose not to run the wheels off it.
I've never regretted stopping when I did."