"An era can be said to end when its basic illusions are exhausted." - Arthur Miller

Thursday, July 08, 2010

Links of the Week

The Best Lego Films
Bleeding Cool has compiled 18 Lego movies that show off the many ways you can tell stories with Legos. They include a brief retelling of Star Wars, Thriller, Spinal Tap, and other movie related re-creations.

How They Make the Old Spice Commercials
Click the link to view an interview with Old Spice's Isaiah Mustafa that stars in those wild Old Spice commercials. He explains how the recent commercial was made. It turns out that it is one continuous shot that can take up to 40 takes to get right, it was filmed on a lake, used a real circular saw, man-made waterfall and more.

RetroN 3 Device for Old School Gaming
If you have $70 you can buy a device that will play NES, SNES, and Genesis games. It comes with two generic wireless controllers but also has slots to use the classic controllers for each system. The perfect system if have old games lying around or need to free up some space.

Studio Movie Math At Its Finest (aka Worst)
Thanks to the multitude of ways that producers, celebs and more can get paid in perpetuity for a film, the studios have developed interesting ways to always show films as losing money. The latest leaked example is from Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix. The film cost around $150 million to make and made nearly a billion in theatres and licensing. Despite that the movie somehow lost $167 million. The link has the accounting sheet that shows in complete lack of detail how the film failed to make any money despite its huge box office and DVD success.

Five Ways to Fix CNN
An interesting article that offers suggestions on how CNN can try to fix its gigantic ratings slide. The network has made a huge effort to try and be neutral on all things to the point that it fires people if they express an opinion that isn't considered kosher (see below). Yet the result of this is they actually have no credibility at all. As Jon Stewart demonstrated last year with his "leave it there" clip, CNN basically lets people make up whatever they want on the air and does nothing to fact check it, to correct the record, or anything else. In other words, they don't bother with any real in depth research and reporting. Their talking heads basically have their teleprompter questions, a headline level understanding of events and a desire to push a particular narrative with their questions and stories. Like all the other networks. Since CNN is not really making an effort to make sure your content is above and beyond the competition, then they might as well join the competition and create programming that is compelling to watch. Or you know, focus on just the facts and do something weird like recognize that as a 24/7 news network, if a story needs more then the slotted 5 minutes to discuss, then have the flexibility to expand it as needed.

CNN Fires 20-year Employee for Tweet
Senior Mideast editor Octavia Nasir was fired by CNN for expressing “Sad to hear of the passing of Sayyed Mohammed Hussein Fadlallah… One of Hezbollah’s giants I respect a lot.” Yeah I know terrorist, so it should be celebrate time. As she explained in her blog though, he was one of the first Mideast leaders to call for a ban of "honor killings" and to push against the abuse of women. Considering how woman are treated in the Mideast and how few leaders step up there to discourage the mistreatment, anyone that makes an effort to change that system for the better deserves an acknowledgment. You can hate the man, you can even hate most of his beliefs, but when they occasionally do something right, it should be recognized if only to try to encourage more of that behavior from others. This demonstrates a real problem with CNN, where they truly believe that reporters should have no opinion on any issue which is a moronic stance and an unattainable goal. Does this mean they should be neutral on pedophiles? Neutral on murder? The key isn't having an opinion; the key is not letting that opinion influence the reporting. There was no evidence of that here. I feel bad for CNN employees as this makes clear that anything that even smells of an unapproved opinion could cost them their jobs.

2010 Emmy Nominations Announced
Today the collected back pat that is the Emmy Award nominations was announced. While the list has the usual safe choices (Tony Shaloub for Monk, Lost, Damages, etc) it also has more than usual list of first time nominees include many for Glee, Friday Night Lights, Parks and Recreation, and more. Overall, I expect the winners will go the usual path of movie stars "slumming it" getting wins over TV regulars, previous winners getting their second or third wins, and the usual safe choices taking home trophies. Hit the link to view all the nominees.

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