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Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Thank you Hrair for this reference



RE: Art Lynch

To whom it may concern;


I have known Art Lynch for well over 12 years in a professional capacity.  Art was the Screen Actors Guild (SAG) elected National Board Member from Nevada and the elected Nevada Branch Council Member during my tenure there as the Nevada Branch's Executive Director and previously while I was a director in SAG's benefits organization (SAG-PPHP).

Art is extremely intelligent and passionate in the work he champions and the individuals he mentors and represents.  As an elected official both on the national stage and locally, Art has demonstrated his communication skills during organizational and public presentations, discussions and debates. 

As a multi faceted personality, he has worked ungodly hours to host an NPR show while teaching at the same time. 

As an actor, organizational representative, radio host and teacher, Art has been able to interact effectively with a broad cross section of individuals with varying backgrounds in age and gender, ethnicity and cultural backgrounds, skills and professional levels, socioeconomic classes, political leanings and disabilities.

Art is very involved in the community he lives in.  He has been instrumental in staging the "Dam Short Film Festival" showcase in Boulder City, Nevada as well as frequently giving tours there as a goodwill ambassador.  We have testified together before the Nevada State Senate to persuade the legislature to enact production incentives to bring more quality work to the Nevada arts community.

Please let me know if I can provide any additional information.

Sincerely
Hrair Messerlian
Statewide Field Coordinator, SEIU Local 1000
CDCR, DMH, DDS, DVA, Special Schools

"Fences" on Broadway and possibly on its way to film

Denzel Washington has given his tentative committment to starring in and possibly playing a larger production role in the film version of "Fence", according to Playbill Magazine.

Washington told reporters before there is a film inked, he will do the stage version first.

The Broadway version is scheduled to begin previews April 14 at the Cort Theatre,.

Fences is the 1987 Pulitzer Prize and Tony-winning play by Wilson — one play in a cycle of ten about the African-American experience in the 20th century.

Fences takes place over eight years from 1957 to 1965. Washington stars as Troy Maxson, a Pittsburgh sanitation worker who once dreamed of a baseball career, but was too old when the major leagues finally admitted black players.

According to production notes, "As he faces off against the racial barrier at work and his own disappointments, Troy also grapples with his son, Cory, over the teenager's hope for a football scholarship and with his wife, Rose (Viola Davis), who confronts Troy over a child he has fathered with another woman."

Playwrite August Wilson has refused prevous offers from Hollywood for a film version of his work, saying he was holding out for an African American director and the right cast. 

Will COMCAST-NBC-Universal be too big for industry to survive


John Wells, the president of the Writers Guild of America, West, didn't outright say that he was opposed to the Comcast-NBC Universal pact, but he sure had serious reservations.

The exec producer behind "ER" and "The West Wing," as well as the current series "Southland," is the highest profile creative type to appear before Congress to testify on the transaction.

"The combined entity being discussed today will control 20% of television viewing hours," he told the Senate Commerce Committee. "Control of both content and distribution provide ample opportunity for abuses of power in the pursuit of corporate self-interest. In this case, we are concerned that bigger won't be better."


What are your thoughts?

The future of how we watch movies


Trends and reflections on "The Business"


digital future, video past; mr. wells goes to washington

MON MAR 29, 2010

Netflix, Redbox, Hulu, iTunes…they're all competing to win the digital horse race.  And, we go on a tour of the video store, that old gray mare they're helping to put out to pasture. Plus, producer John Wellsgoes to Washington to protest the NBC-Comcast merger. Matt Holzman guest hosts.


Cantor Exchange, a planned futures market on potential box office receipts, is being called "unbridled gambling" by the Motion Picture Association of America. They fear that it would be too easy for insiders to hedge against a movie or for one. They also find that the risk factor may undermine the ability to finance legitimate and worthwhile films.

80% of "Avatar"'s market came from 3-D screens. 70% of "Alice" came from 3-D screens. So prices are going to go up because people have shown they are willing to pay more and that, in turn, drives up box-office numbers.

The loss of long time film critics by "Variety" and other publications is raising ire in the industry, but 80% of people who decide to pick a film say that critics have no impact on the decision. Of those who say they were influenced to see a film, 70% say that influence came from a friend or relative. 25% say the trailer or advertising. Are film critics relevant?

The announcement of the death of the video store is premature. They live on and will continue to do so, but in forms and places that will bare little resemblance to Blockbuster or Hollywood Video.


For this edition os "The Business" from KCRW: click here.


Banner image: City TV, © 2010 Rogers Broadcasting Limited

The fall of CNN?

CNN is in a ratings plung. 

No big surprise, although I prefer the news reporting on CNN to any other single source except ABC. Note I said news reporting.

I have found myself watching CNN less and less, as the network repeats entire blocks of news as if it was  new, increases the never ending talking head pundits saying the same thing and often in ways that are just there to garner ratings or speculation with little base in fact, and has increasingly leaned their reporting against one group in favor of another (to counter FOX, but that is not an excuse for sloppy or slanted journalism). CNN was founded to be a non-bias 24 hour international news organization, using the new power of satellite television. This is documented in the early records of, and the actions of, founder Ted Turner.

Fox is far worse, as it bends actual news to its political agenda, making 2,000 people 10,000, 200,000 into a million and always focusing on attacks on the president and Democrats over substance and actual news. It was stared as a way of making money off the loyalty of an increasingly vocal conservative right, and was never intended by its ownership to be anything but a bias news organization, despite its false slogan of "fair and balanced." This is well documented in research and in statements made by Rupert Murdock and others there as FOX news was born. It was launched for the purpose of attracting that audience and the advertising revenue of those who want to advertise to that audience.

So, my news has been NPR and PBS and New York Times and other internet sources. There is bias in every news source, but at least I can get away from the constantly bantering heads and blatant political bias of CNN and FOX News.

What of MSNBC?  Truth is I find myself watching only when I am in the mood to be entertained or when I am interested in the take of their hosts. Their programming is repeated frequently, and they are not a news organization (although there are reported plans by COMCAST to change that.

The core of the problem lies in our very structure for funding and providing "news".

Commercial based news, with the news being considered a product and not a public service or part of the all important Fourth Estate of government, means that the content has to attract a mass audience, in large numbers an in six minute ratings increments. So talking heads that make people mad, or say what they want to hear, will pull in audience and keep them viewing. Non-bias news reporting seems dull and far less interesting, so ratings drop.

Commercial also means the reality of costs. News reporting, true, accurate and balanced, cost far more money than any other type of programming, including expensive hour long dramas.  You need reporters, producer, fact checkers, editor, travel expenses, technological equipment, camera operators or photographers, local bureaus, local sources and a sense of history. This all cost money, and the more "truth" is an issue the more it costs to find the "truth" or be balanced in your reporting.

If audiences prefer talking heads and controversy...these are far cheeper alternatives to providing accurate coverage of events.

Plus, neutral or balanced tends to drive away those who are bias to one extreme or the other. Being non-bias is perceived as bias for the other side.

Can this be corrected?

On CNN: The founder, Ted Turner, resigned from the board of Time Warner (to whom he sold his broadcast empire) for many reasons. One was that he was not happy with what  AOL-TIME-WARNER was doing with CNN. Turner founded it as an international 24 hour, 7 day a week full news service. He saw the corporation changing that and ignoring the mission statement of the network. Turner was also upset that seasoned reporters were let go because they cost too much, were not young enough, or were the wrong sex. The shifts made for ratings, he felt, watered down an undermined the very integrity of the organisation he built.

Also, the CNN we see and talk about is that is shown in the US. International CNN remains strong, viewed by almost every world leader and fellow news organization in the world.

The New York Times has more on the ratings plunge and other issues related to CNN, MSNBC and FOX News.