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Thursday, May 13, 2010

No more "Law and Order", at least the NYC parent version

"Law and Order" cancelled after 20 years...spin offs continue but not all of them. NBC announced today. Law and Order LA takes is't place this fall, another blow to the Big Apple. The show ties "Gunsmoke" in number of seasons but not in number of episodes.

Movies will never be the same

But we are here at the end of something and not the beginning. The traditional model we grew up with is dying. -Roger Ebert

Cannes is underway, the massive press junket and party city. But the heart is the market, for art house and B movies. Internationally the bottom has fallen out and the number of distributors is down. Video on demand and direct to DVR will be there but

A premier at Cannes will cost over five million dollars, but returns itself with critics and publicity.

Roger Ebert wrote in the Chicago Sun Times that this years Cannes is a celebration  of the end of an art, cinema, at least as we know it. The age that began when cameras began to roll and the studios were born is going the way of the digital age, changing everything from what products will sell to how consumers will view the product. The short term result is far lower dollars on return and in most cases, far fewer eyes watching any single product.

What are your thought of how this will impact actors, writers, director and the creative industry?

The Californication of Nevada continues

Agent Exclusivity Agreement for Las Vegas Market

Breakdown services for Las Vegas, agency cooperation on submissions and exclusive contracts for all talent are the provisions in new rules being imposed by the Nevada Coalition of Talent Agnes (NCTA).

See also Agents try to go exclusive, again.

The following is a press release from the Las Vegas Agency Coalition. I have not heard from SAG if the new "contracts" are acceptable for SAG members, but they appear to mirror the SAG Aabbreviated contacts in use. If this plan works, there may be more work for all of us, or it could be an elite few in the market will dominate the work. Remember that agents work for you, but they are also out to keep their doors open and earn profits for themselves and their investors. It is up to you to study, keep your tools sharp and understand the business. Agents currently earn percent on SAG approved revenue, not on all income or non-related income. Keep your eyes and ears peeled and pens at the ready.

Historic Movement Underway in
Las Vegas Entertainment Industry!

LAS VEGAS – It was announced here today that, as a result of last night’s meeting of the Nevada Coalition of Talent Agents (NCTA), Las Vegas is on the verge of making an historic change to the way Talent Agencies operate in Southern Nevada . A transition is taking place, with a target-date of August 1st for completion, that will see the area’s top Talent Agencies joining together to make each of their respective agencies exclusive for their actors.

This change means that each actor will have to choose a single agent to represent them, as opposed to the current system, whereby, often, actors are “registered” with as many as half-a-dozen different agencies.

Performance Capture will impact all actors.

Film, television, Internet even live theater are in the future for the technology used in “Avatar”, “Lord of the Rings” and almost all big budget horror films.

"Frankenstein performances" where different aspects of the character come from multiple "actors" performances, are a reality in many films. Your hand or your body may take an action, with a different actors arm and head, still another’s voice and personality, and potentially a fourth actors face and eyes.

Images captured in 2D and 3D will soon be able to be used with hybrid motion capture to build “Frankenstein” characters. This is already being done with high tech films like “The Mummy” series and “Tron”. As technology advances and becomes more accessible the use may extend to every aspect of animation and “live” filmmaking”.

This technology is moving so rapidly that no one can predict what software; cameras and other tools will be used.

In the not to distant future “virtual reality” technology and projection theater will allow live actors to interact with manufactured characters in real time.

Use in clubs and by samplers in ways similar to what is happening with music.

Already large background, extras or atmosphere scenes use manufactured or reflected technologies to create actors who are not there.

In popular Sim City and other games, characters who are not directly controlled have limited “free will” driven by “robotics” or “AI” (a form of artificial intelligence).

While use in 3D or Virtual reality performances that have yet to become mainstream, the popularity of “Avatar” has accelerated growth in their field and it is only a matter of time before all actors will need to be trained for motion capture, and all actors will find themselves competing for jobs against fabricated or achieved characters.

You can be replaced by Humphrey Bogart or Lauren Bacall.

3D may take up to 25 years to overtake "traditional" film and TV

3-D will eventually be the standard, but we are far from there yet, according to James Cameron, who paid for much of the research and advancements that made his "Avatar" possible. Losing the glasses will help, and that technology is closer than we think. Audiences who prefer 3D will grow older as younger audiences will grow up use to the technology.

When will 3-D overtake conventional 2-D?

Cameron told a conference in South Korea "in less than 25 years."

The following is from the Washington Post:

Viewers will soon not only enjoy films in 3-D theaters but all forms of entertainment, including sports and music shows on TVs and laptops, Cameron said at a technology forum in Seoul.

Cameron directed the 3-D epic "Avatar," which won three Oscars and is the highest grossing film in history, with $2.7 billion in worldwide ticket sales to date. He has also directed other blockbuster films such as "Titanic" and "Terminator."

"Avatar" has proved that 3-D technology is not just a fad but a revolution changing how the audience chooses to consume media and entertainment content, the 56-year-old director said in a speech to the Seoul Digital Forum, an annual technology and media gathering.

"Quite simply, where they had a choice, the audience was selecting for the best possible way to see the movie," he said. "And they saw 3-D as the premium viewing experience."

Cameron likened what he called the "3-D renaissance" to the advent of sound and color in motion pictures. But he said full adoption of the enhanced format will require less time than the 25 years it took for color movies to become standard.

Dreams can be bought: Field of Dreams up for sale

The owners of the "Field of Dreams" movie site near Dyersville Iowa have put the place up for sale.

Don and Becky Lansing say they love the land, which has been in Don Lansing's family for more than a century, but they think its time to give it up.

The "Field of Dreams" is in the middle of a working cornfield.

The movie, based on the book "Shoeloess Joe" written by W.P. Kinsella, and featuring Kevin Costner and James Earl Jones was released in 1989. The site has been a popular tourist destination since.

For sale is a baseball diamond, a two bedroom house, six outbuildings, and a 193-acre parcel of land. The Lansings haven't listed a sale price

The Lansings have maintained the baseball diamond themselves since Universal Studios built it in four days and used it in the movie.

No housing recovery any time soon, #'s misleading

Repossessions of homes are up 45%.

Foreclosures are down in part because of the energy and time needed in processing existing foreclosures.

There is a huge inventory of foreclosed properties on the market, putting a downward trend on housing markets and in effect lowering the value for the banks. People are also walking away for reasons of being so far underwater as much as for the traditional reason for foreclosure, falling behind on mortgage payments.

Jobs being created are part time, temporary or on the lower end of the pay scale. Both industrial and high paid white collar fields are very slow to recover in this unique recession.

So, unless there is a huge spike in employment, the housing crisis may last from two to ten more years, depending on where you live, and may never return to peak values.

Advice for Graduates

Washington (available free upon request, go to Washington Post on the web).

Personal Finance by Michelle Sinetary

Next week my niece is graduating from Bowie State University. I'm so proud of her, especially since she listened to her very smart aunt on many money matters. She didn't take out any student loans (nor did her parents pass on my advice). She paid cash for her used car. She doesn't have any credit card debt. She's great at saving.

I'm just so proud of her (sniff, sniff).

So I was thinking: What one piece of financial advice would you have for a newly minted college graduate? On the flip side, what was the one piece of financial advice that you received in your early adult life that really served you well? That's two questions for this week's Color of Money Question. You can answer one or both. Send your comments to Put "All Grown Up Money Advice" in the subject line.

Psyched Out! by...

The other day I spoke to my daughter’s high school psychology class.  Most of the kids in the class were seniors who are days away from ending their high school career.  But, even with that, they still had finals, Advanced Placement exams and many other things they needed to do – and do very well – before they could begin their summer vacation.  And from the look of things, some of these kids were already checked out and laying on some beach somewhere.
Their teacher had contacted me to specifically come and talk about motivation – I could see why.  It was a legitimate topic that was part of their current class but it had an urgency to it due to the reality of the moment.  These kids wanted to be ANYWHERE but at school!  But whether they wanted to be there or not, those exams were still going to happen and they needed to score well on them.  Some of them really needed to do well since their college plans depended on their final transcripts.
But we all know teenagers, right?  If any of us had the key to motivating a teenager, we’d be bigger than Bill Gates.  On this day, I was the guy who the teacher hoped had at least a decent key to unlocking the inner drive of the American teenager. And hopefully, keep them awake while I did it.

Less is more for retail brick and mortar stores

"Too much choice" is at the heart of huge changes in retail shopping. Stores are cutting back because satisfaction with the final purchase is higher and the vast majority of people have the same basic tastes. Even Walmart is getting rid of 14% of the products they offer. "Less is more" has a plus side for making decisions easier, but a negative in that if you are an odd size, have eclectic taste or want to find something "out of season" (a problem in Nevada because we hit spring and summer so much earlier than the rest of the country, or the customers the large chains buy for).

Less product means wider isles, and a higher percentage of purchases by those who enter the store.

Those with "odd" needs, say big and tall, will have to pay more at specialty stores or go, as many consumers are doing, on-line.

Retailers are looking to be the alternative to on-line, where once on-line was the alternative to brick and mortar.

Anyway you look at it prices will go up and variety of choices down.