Shows, Films, and Creators

Catching Up to the Future: How technology in Minority Report wasn't that far off

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I remember the first time I saw the movie Minority Report.  It was the Summer of 2002,  a time in American  history when we really chased hard after heroes.  We jumped from media headline to media headline, looking for something — anything — to feel a little safer at night even if it meant clinging tightly to make-believe.   And who can blame us? Just ten months before we woke up to horrific images splayed across our television sets.

(A scared new world.)

Terrorists stuck a four-pronged spear in our  softspot, and we were still reeling, and while we pumped ourselves up for this new War on Terrorism, we were gripped by a gung-ho zeitgeist.  George Dubya was our champion and our cheerleader.

But still, we needed more . We needed Hollywood to give us perspective.

That summer, just ten short months after that  awful morning in mid September when our illusions of American impregnability were shattered,  we needed to feel safe.  We needed to feel like there was some way to control the random way violence and fear can infiltrate lives.

Enter Tom Cruise and the notion of Precrime.

(And Steven Spielberg can bring it like no other.)

I  remember sitting in the theatre – smack dab in the center, my popcorn untouched and my Coke flat-lining because I was so taken with Minority Report’s premise and  execution that all I could do was stare at the screen and sink into the story:  Precrime — A way of ensuring that murder is eradicated.  Sounds great.  Sounds… safe.  And yet — not to get all Greek Tragedy on you — there was an inevitable and all-too-human component that could unravel the system.

And unravel it did.  With a banging soundtrack.  And lots and lots of shots of Tom Cruise running.   (Because that’s what he does best. Just saying.)

While the story itself was gripping, and the concept of the Precogs was compelling, I was most enthralled by the opening scene:  I remember being blown away while I watched Tom Cruise manipulating light and space with the wave of his hands.  There was a poignancy to it , a grace I would never expect of him, and I stared open-mouthed as the images whirled like virtual ballerinas.  Tom Cruise was magnificent as he conducted the images in syncopated time while Schubert’s Unfinished Symphony soared in the background.

 

And you know what’s kind of awesome?  Minus the creepy Precogs and the flying cars,  nearly ten years later, this technology is kind of sort of around:

So props to Spielberg for seeing into the future.  And lets hope we can do the same: Despite our fears, I hope we take heed from the way things went down in Minority Report and steer clear of making this dystopian vision of the future our social paradigm.

(*Cough* Patriot Act *Cough*)

Yes, there are very real things to be afraid of – yes, there are monsters who would seek to strike  us while we sleep.  But trying to predict a nebulous future can morph into a self-fulfilling prophecy:  In other words, thinking we know what will happen  can sometimes make it so.

(Yeah, Oprah called.  She wants “The Secret” back.)

And ultimately, as random and chaotic as life can be — and as hard as we try to control our world, and our future, Precrime doesn’t pay.

What a Story

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Kate Bush played an important part in the soundtrack of my childhood. My sister loved her music, and we used to spend a lot of time together listening to her CDs.

But as the years went by, my musical taste changed.  I started listening to  Prodigy and heavy metal bands — music that energized me — instead of more relaxed music.

When my daughter was born, I started to play music from the 80s and 90s.   (I’m doing my best to make sure she doesn’t become a Lady Gaga fan, people.)  And it was then that I rediscovered Kate Bush music and videos.

YouTube replaced CDs, and for my daughter, music will forever start as a visual experience.

Kate Bush was an artist, who knew how to tell deep and meaningful stories, as well as convey experiences, through a seamless blend of lyrics, music, visuals, and choreography.
In this clip, she tells the compelling story of a son’s inability to save his father. Little did I know when I first heard this song that it is based on the story of Peter Reich and his Father Wilhelm Reich, a controversial psychoanalyst, who was jailed in 1957.
This clip is a great example of storytelling. Hope you’ll enjoy it.

Now that's what I call OOOPS

Now that's what I call OOOPS
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I love zombie flicks but this is too much:

“If you encounter this just as you are going to the funeral service to make arrangements for a loved one, it could be upsetting. People of a certain age group could find it particularly challenging.”

More about this here

Blank – Online Graphic Novel Distributed via Twitter and Facebook

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cover-print

When I came across Blank, I was intrigued by the combination of three thing that I love – graphic novels, crime stories, and social media. So I had to interview the creators, Ian Lewinter and Don Richmond.

This is their story:

What is your background?
We are the Brothers of the Silence, creators of Blank – The Graphic Novel. Ian LeWinter is the writer and creative strategist. Don Richmond is the writer/illustrator and creative strategist. We come from a visual media background. We met and 2006 and decided to launch Blank in May 2009 as the first graphic novel in history to launch on Facebook and Twitter.

Why did you decide to write a comic book?
Graphic novels are currently, without a doubt, a mega-burgeoning market. Society is poised for a new age in graphic novels. These are exciting times. There are people entering this arena who will amaze and inspire beyond our comprehension. Publishers are recognizing this fact and expanding their labels. Fans are what this market is all about and they are driving the generation of the most creative work seen in decades. We’re going to Comic-Con this week and we can’t wait to see the brilliant projects. We’re like kids in a candy store.

Our schooling was that shared experience everyone has: life. Some brains collect formulas. Some brains collect algorithms. Our brains collect art — whether in words, in visuals, or in sounds. Because of this, our interest in graphic serials began the first moment we touched one. The promise of creating a world in which we can communicate the unique patterns we see in life was and still is the most important discovery we ever made. So graphic novels were a natural medium for us to explore.

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Why did you decide to make it available online?
Our goal was simple: find the most effective means to tell the world about Blank. Whether that means transferring a portion of the rights or keeping them outright makes no difference to us. The medium will dictate. Our responsibility is to the project and to future generations who must know about the Trilogy. The book is being launched on several social media platforms with a new 2-page spread viewable every other day. The pages are always viewable free on the website: JohnBlankMustDie.com. Before the project is over, for us to accomplish our goals, we will have published three graphic novels, negotiated a motion picture deal and produced spin-off books. More

3 Web Shows to Watch

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Black Dawn

An apocalyptic end of the world series by Webserials.

Why watch it? Nice special effects, and refreshing theme for a web show

Why not? actors are not as good as the special effects

FilmFellas

Taking a note from Scoresese masterpiece, FilmFellas is trying to capture the indie movie makers spirit. More

Web Show Production Guide

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NYTVF did this great panel about web show production:

Panelists include my buddy Bill Cammack, FYI CEO Paul Kontonis (who made a very smart business decision to hire Kathryn Velvel Jones as VP of branded and sponsored entertainment), TubeMogul’s CEO Bret Willson and others. I wonder how come blip.tv were not there… Enjoy some good tips.

Morning Smile – A Diary of a Freelance Hitman

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Sometimes there are those shows that just make you smile. Daniel Ravner, an online video addict, who writes a local blog, did one of those . I m a huge crime film fan – look at this short video, so it definitely hit a chord…


Film Noir Parody – Diary of a Freelance Hitman – video powered by Metacafe

TV Challenge Part 2: Mark Cuban, Platforms and Messages

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Mark Cuban wrote a thought provoking post about content and platforms:

…One thing is becoming increasingly clear, while more people are “snacking on Internet video“, the real “meal” continues to be TV….Events look great on HDTVs, whether they are sports, shows or movies. Quick hits and short clips are great for the internet. Sure some people will watch shows that perform better on other platforms on the net. We all use what we have available when its our only choice. Which is why so much video consumption online is in the office. Its our only choice. Replays and breaking news and anything that helps us kill time are what we will use our MIDS, PDAs, and phones for.

The platform is the message from viewers to content providers.

Reading his post made me think about the basics.

TV or TV Set?

In the past, TV and TV set were the same thing. You couldn’t watch TV shows, unless you had a TV set. TV sets where connected to a broadcaster which in turn provided content to TV sets.

Today the situation is different – you can buy TV shows in iTunes, or watch them online. Therefore, TV, at least for me, is a creative definition. The Wire is great TV. Olympics is a great TV event. But I can watch these events and shows on different devices – computers, HDTV sets, iPods, etc.

TV set is still the best way to watch long form content. It is the closest thing to movie theater you can get. Events, movies and high end shows will always look better on that set.

Internet – Distribution or Format?

The internet changed its form over the years. It is true that internet videos are short – as users tend to view them in short breaks in work, and due to the form factor (small screens). But when I connect my laptop to my TV – there is no difference in the experience . Therefore there shouldn’t be any difference in the format. And when online video becomes another part of the EPG, who cares where did the content come from? When AppleTV can deliver both high end movies and low budget indie flicks directly to your TV through the Internet – what is the platform? Is it TV or Internet?

The Missing Link

Like in every vision, the missing link is a business model. In my opinion, if online distribution and monetization would have been profitable enough, we would have seen more direct to internet TV quality shows. As long as the average online video CPM is 12$, nothing will change the current level of Internet originated productions. But I am positive that things will change as ad dollars are going online.

What’s your opinion?

Videoblogging tips from the experts

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Daisy Whitney‘s “new media minute” is a great resource about online video.

I love this episode especially, as it stars key videobloggers (including Kent Nichols from Ask A Ninja, and Steve Garfield), who give their advice for succesful videoblogging.

Enjoy!

[blip.tv ?posts_id=753024&dest=-1]

Why Haven't You Seen The Dark Knight?

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A funny article about this amazing movie can be found here

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