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Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Timeline highlights of film and digital film-making.

1889: Kodak produces the first commercial transparent film roll.
1895: The Lumiere Brothers publicly screen a film for the first time ever.
1927: "The Jazz Singer" is the first "talkie," or motion picture with sound, to play publicly.
1935: "Becky Sharp" is the first live-action feature film made in Technicolor. The new technology would become broadly popular over the next few years with hits including "The Wizard of Oz" and "Gone With the Wind."
1952: "Bwana Devil" is the first 3-D color feature film, setting off a brief craze using the new technology.
1970: Imax big screen projection is shown publicly for the first time, in Osaka, Japan.
1999: "Star Wars: Episode 1 - The Phantom Menace" is the first movie played on digital projectors.
2002: "Star Wars: Episode II - Attack of the Clones" is the first feature film shot entirely on digital cameras.
2008: "Journey to the Center of the Earth" is the first live-action feature film made and shown in digital 3-D. The next year, the technology moves into the mainstream with "Avatar."
2013: "The Wolf of Wall Street" is the first movie distributed entirely digitally, with no film prints.

Sunday, July 20, 2014

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

The disappearing audience.


elevision is already fighting to keep teenagers and young adults, has always fought for male eyes and has been accused of being conservative to those of different lifestyles.

Motion Pictures, in an age of formula, big budgets and lot of hype appear to be doing the same.

Both now rate their success in 18 to 49 or even 18 to 30 rather than total audience and total viewers (meaning if you are older you need not apply).

And both, if the summer movie trend continues into the fall, are facing their own economic downfall if they do not change fast.

Try lowering costs, including the cost of cable and dish delivered media, the cost of high speed Internet service and of course movie tickets. Maybe then audiences will consider returning.

Look at yourself as a service consumers choose to buy rather than a utility people will just flock to.

Make your programming diverse, not just in race or gender or language, but also in intellectual appeal, subject matter and information content.

Stop looking of the largest profit, the largest box office dollars, the first weekend, most bodies in seats (at the theater or in front of the tube) and start thinking of cumulative loyalty and thus profits cross platform and cross productions.

If a film or show appeals to small numbers, are they quality numbers? Are they a group that is otherwise under-served? Then continue to treat them with respect,  because they will keep coming back for more and you will have a revenue base to build on.

Stop cancelling shows that educated adults, young children, older individuals, or specific groups love and gravitate to and find a way to build upon that loyalty and interest.

Stop pulling from the box office films that do not make huge bangs the opening weekend and filling every screen with films that are suppose to have mass (thus least common denominator or average consumer and not broad based) appeal then saying they fail because theaters are half full (too many screens?).

Start respecting your audiences.

Or be honest about your niche and target it.

And one more thing. Clean up theaters, lower prices, offer amenities (restaurants, bars, child care, valet parking, comfortable seats, best sound and video/film systems, cell phone blockers, employees who are trained to make the experience a good one instead of chewing gum and letting their friends in free), and keep films out there more than one or two weeks (word of mouth and taking into account busy modern schedules  can build loyalty, audience and profits).

Okay that was more than one…but there is so much more when it comes to complaints about how media ranks itself, serves its audience and decides what works and what does not…

More to come…

Art Lynch
Lynch Coaching

Monday, July 14, 2014

Hey! Listen Up!

Listening is the 
number one most important 
communication tool...
So listen up!

Dr Who returns...older, more seasoned, higher production values...

On Actors, Acting and Union




    Being an actor is perhaps one of the most difficult ways to actually make a living. While there are actors who have forged full time careers in theater, commercials and convention work in cities coast to coast, the vast majority of work lies in Hollywood and New York City. 
    It may take one or several hundred non-paid auditions to land one day's work. An actor may work dozens of days a year or none at all.  Then too, there are the expensive classes necessary to keep up their skills; the cost of professional photographs, video and audiotape, of postage and time spent marketing themselves to potential employers. 
    Actor Paul Napier, whose credits include portraying the original Mr. Goodwrench, and who remains active on both the SAG and AFTRA boards of directors, tells of his children being asked by their teacher what their father did for a living. Their response was “audition”. 
    Casting Director and producer Donn Finn says of actors, “They are not acting for a living, they are acting for their craft. What they are doing for a living, besides waiting tables and taking 'day jobs', is auditioning. You might as well call them auditioners”. Finn went on to point out that each actor  "should think of themselves as their own little corporation," and part of the requirements to be a successful corporation is to join and participate in one or more professional actors unions. Finn is a casting partner in the office of Mali Finn Casting and is a professor in the Department of Theatre and Dance at California State University in Fullerton. Recent casting credits include: Eight Mile, Phonebooth, Titanic, LA Confidential, Wonder Boys and The Matrix I,II, and III.
   Longtime SAG Board member Joe Ruskin, whose career includes appearances on the original "Star Trek" and many other television and film projects, states that, “Actors live in fear of rejection each and every day. If they are successful they fear it will end, if they are struggling they fear they will have to do something else for a living and give up a very important part of themselves”.
    The Bureau of Labor Statistics provide this description of the profession of acting:
Acting demands patience and total commitment, because there are often long periods of unemployment between jobs. While under contract, actors are frequently required to work long hours and travel. For stage actors, flawless performances require tedious memorizing of lines and repetitive rehearsals, and in television, actors must deliver a good performance with very little preparation. Actors need stamina to withstand hours under hot lights, heavy costumes and make-up, physically demanding tasks, long, irregular schedules, and the adverse weather and living conditions that may exist on location shoots. And actors face the constant anxiety of intermittent employment and regular rejections when auditioning for work.Yet in spite of these discouragements, the “passion to play,” as Shakespeare called it, still motivates many to make acting a professional career.
     Actors need to consider not only membership in one union, or even all performance unions, but also the overall market place in which they compete. There are estimates of four to as many as ten times that number of qualified non-union actors available in the same talent pool. Many times that number consider themselves “actors” and are free to compete for roles in the overall talent marketing. The standing joke in Los Angeles is that every waiter, store clerk, cop or even doctor is really an actor waiting for their break, writers who have yet to have scripts purchased or producers looking for financing.
   Actors make judgments and can be called on the carpet when they voice their opinions or present their art in ways that many in the public may disagree with. This is the nature of art, to mirror, to reflect, to comment on and to challenge the world around us.
  When on the set the hours are usually long, schedule less than ideal and locations uncomfortable and sometime dangerous. Depending on the production team, actors can be made to feel like cattle or like kings and queens. The environment changes from one job to the next.
   And then there is the lack of work. Mel Gibson, already a star, did not sleep the evening prior to the start of the filming of Lethal Weapon because of apprehension at not having been on a set for well over a year. 
   Actors may classify themselves as a social group, or into smaller sub-sets based on the specifics of how often they perform as actors (full time, part time, occasional, "wanna-be," community theater, hobbyist, has been). 
    Hollywood, and with it Greater Los Angeles, may be looked upon as a company town for the movie and entertainment industries and the 42nd Street / Broadway Great White Way area of New York a part of that city's identity and chemistry.  Actors play a key role in each of these company or trade settlements and how they make their livings effect the social interaction of these communities.
   By virtue of the demands of the craft, of the need to study and to observe, working or long-time actors tend to be educated, articulate and well read, defying a social stereotype presented in contemporary media.
   Acting is a key part of the larger social world of the entertainment industry, mass communications and leisure aspects of society as a whole. 
    Do not forget, if your quest to be an artist, that you are dependant on your fellow artists, on the other trade unionist who work in this industry and on the support of others for your own success and well being.
   Screen Actors Guild National Director of Education, former Performers Alliance founder Todd AmoreYaros. Rule One, which now states that union talent does not work nonunion, once spoke of an still echoes anther statement: that union actors work with, for and are in solidarity with their fellow performers, no mater what stature or place in the industry.
   Keep that in mind.

First published in 1998 by
Art Lynch, UNLV Dissertation

Updated on a regular basis since

Saturday, July 12, 2014

Auditioning for and taking union jobs is theft.

I looked around the waiting room of a SAG commercial casting the other day and, once again, found myself surrounded by non-union actors. Florida is a Right-to-Work (for less) state. One of many. We are outnumbered by at least 4 to 1 by a very savvy and talented pool of non-union actors who know that they can work our contracts, take up valuable staff time and resources, and make their bones without ever having to join.