Neurotic-Records.com http://www.neurotic-records.com Tales from the darker side. Fri, 19 May 2017 17:34:09 +0000 en-US hourly 1 https://wordpress.org/?v=4.7.5 Choosing The Best Professional For IRS Debt Help http://www.neurotic-records.com/choosing-the-best-professional-for-irs-debt-help/ http://www.neurotic-records.com/choosing-the-best-professional-for-irs-debt-help/#respond Sun, 03 Jan 2016 11:09:07 +0000 http://www.neurotic-records.com/?p=43 ctbptWhen seeking for the best person to work for your IRS debt help, it is important not to decide right away so that you can be sure that your payments are going to be worthwhile. Aside from researching and asking recommendations from your loved ones or friends, you also have to make an effort of comparing the credentials of these tax professionals. Basically, tax professionals like public accountants and lawyers are licensed and well experienced; but their training types and expertise are not the same. Just like if you’re a new entrepreneur looking for the right small business opportunity, you need the right tools. If you ask for their credentials, they will always show you their good side and …

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ctbptWhen seeking for the best person to work for your IRS debt help, it is important not to decide right away so that you can be sure that your payments are going to be worthwhile. Aside from researching and asking recommendations from your loved ones or friends, you also have to make an effort of comparing the credentials of these tax professionals. Basically, tax professionals like public accountants and lawyers are licensed and well experienced; but their training types and expertise are not the same. Just like if you’re a new entrepreneur looking for the right small business opportunity, you need the right tools. If you ask for their credentials, they will always show you their good side and …

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Zoetrope Was A Classic Literary Journal http://www.neurotic-records.com/zoetrope-was-a-classic-literary-journal/ http://www.neurotic-records.com/zoetrope-was-a-classic-literary-journal/#respond Thu, 17 Dec 2015 17:41:23 +0000 http://www.neurotic-records.com/?p=14 zwacljLast May 2, a little-known literary quarterly knocked the New Yorker–not to mention a clutch of other magazines–off its perch when it took home the National Magazine Award for best fiction. Published in newsprint, the journal, Zoetrope: All Story, was launched less than five years ago by filmmaker Francis Ford Coppola. In the insular world of New York media, the victory was a shocker, and came with a price.

As it turns Out, Adrienne Brodeur, editor in chief of Zoetrope, has a story with a fairy-tale quality all its own. After prep school and Columbia, the blond, willowy Brodeur moved to San Diego and married young. She worked in local government, rising to chief of staff for the county …

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zwacljLast May 2, a little-known literary quarterly knocked the New Yorker–not to mention a clutch of other magazines–off its perch when it took home the National Magazine Award for best fiction. Published in newsprint, the journal, Zoetrope: All Story, was launched less than five years ago by filmmaker Francis Ford Coppola. In the insular world of New York media, the victory was a shocker, and came with a price.

As it turns Out, Adrienne Brodeur, editor in chief of Zoetrope, has a story with a fairy-tale quality all its own. After prep school and Columbia, the blond, willowy Brodeur moved to San Diego and married young. She worked in local government, rising to chief of staff for the county …

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Do Bloggers Still Actually Write For Newspapers? http://www.neurotic-records.com/do-bloggers-still-actually-write-for-newspapers/ http://www.neurotic-records.com/do-bloggers-still-actually-write-for-newspapers/#respond Sun, 13 Dec 2015 16:18:42 +0000 http://www.neurotic-records.com/?p=6

Changes in the newspaper industry have opened opportunities for writers who can understand the market. Here’s what you must know to break into today’s newspapers.

The daily and weekly newspapers published in 2015 are significantly different from the straight news and plain gray pages of past decades. (There’s even color on the front page of The New York Times!) One thing that hasn’t changed, however, is newspapers’ need for freelancers to help fill their pages.

But not just any freelancers. To get your byline thrown onto porches all around town, you must understand how newspapers have changed in the 2000s and how those changes affect the way you must write for them. You can also try blogging for fun,

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Changes in the newspaper industry have opened opportunities for writers who can understand the market. Here’s what you must know to break into today’s newspapers.

The daily and weekly newspapers published in 2015 are significantly different from the straight news and plain gray pages of past decades. (There’s even color on the front page of The New York Times!) One thing that hasn’t changed, however, is newspapers’ need for freelancers to help fill their pages.

But not just any freelancers. To get your byline thrown onto porches all around town, you must understand how newspapers have changed in the 2000s and how those changes affect the way you must write for them. You can also try blogging for fun, or in order to make money, which is the main topic of IHelpYouBlog.com.

What’s New in Newspapers

wninpThe demand for freelancers at papers like the Chicago Tribune has grown, says Tribune editor Linda Bergstrom. “It’s a good time for people to be looking into newspapers.”

That’s because many newspapers aren’t adding staff, but are branching into new markets. Besides its daily paper, the Chicago Tribune publishes Exito, a newspaper written in Spanish, and two publications for health professionals, Nursing News and Allied Health. It also hires writers for its World Wide Web site.

Along with the new markets have come changes in the readership. America is changing. Fewer babies are being born, the senior population is growing, and cultural differences are more pronounced. As a result, people read different literature. We don’t even watch the same television programs anymore–compared to, for example, the ’60s, when the entire country was captivated by such shows as Andy Griffith, I Love Lucy and The Ed Sullivan Show. “For example, I’ve never seen an episode of Friends,” says Chicago Tribune writing coach Mary Knoblauch.

Jean Gaddy Wilson, executive director of New Directions for News (an organization that studies journalism trends for businesses), says language is also a barrier. According to Wilson, one out of eight people living in the US was born in another country. “Eighty-seven different languages are spoken in the Los Angeles consolidated school district, and in New York, people speak 119 different languages,” says Wilson. “I never say minorities anymore, because by 2032, the so-called minorities will be a majority.”

This increasing diversity makes it harder to find commonalties when you want to draw an analogy in your writing. “News writers in the ’90s must understand what’s unique to their own experience,” Knoblauch says, “and be aware of their own bias and specialized knowledge.”

Before putting fingers to keyboard, think how your writing could appeal to readers who are 20 or 30 years older or younger than yourself. How would someone of a different marital status, culture or race relate to what you’re saying?.

“We have to be more sensitive to different cultures and viewpoints,” says Jean Rudolph, a features editor at my suburban Chicago daily (the Daily Herald). “And we have to accurately reflect that by writing stories about what’s going on with those groups.”

Jo Hansen, a bureau chief for 12 Pioneer Press community weeklies in suburban, Chicago, adds, “If you have, for example, a growing Asian population in your town, you should be writing more about the Asian community.”

Cultural differences aren’t the only differences between this new audience and the audience of 15 years ago. Today’s readers have less leisure time than readers did 15 years ago but more competition for that time.

“They have less intense attention spans. They’re very easily distracted,” says Knoblauch. “(You can’t) give the reader an opportunity to walk away. If they have any excuse to stop reading, they will. If something in your story confuses your readers, you may throw them right out of the story or off the paper.”

Rudolph agrees. ‘We have to be compelling. We have to give them a reason to read us. And if we don’t do that, they’re going to set us down.”

Today’s consumers usually don’t turn to newspapers as their primary news source, so papers must redefine their roles.

In the past, they often reported hard news facts only–“Tuesday morning a fire broke out in the English Channel tunnel.” Today’s papers tend to relate the story behind the story. They give more explanation and detail. They might, for example, highlight some aspect of the fire or take a slightly more personal slant:

Truck drivers trapped by fire on a freight train

in the English Channel tunnel said Tuesday

they thought they were going to die and

sprawled out flat on the club car floor to

avoid the black smoke that came rushing in.

As the form of the newspaper article changes, so does the method of delivering that article to editors and readers. Tribune editors no longer see double-spaced, stapled manuscripts with one-inch margins. Instead, text travels via modem. Specific coding routes stories directly to the assigning editor.

Wilson predicts a convergence of media. She also says that writers will need to be experts in photography and video production. “In today’s world, if you’re going to do much of anything, you had better be able to do both images and writing.”

She urges writers to surf the Internet. “It’s a perfect time for freelancers to go in, examine the animal, and come up with enterprising ways to be part of it.”

Writing for the New Newspaper

Those fundamental changes dramatically affect what–and how–you write. Very rarely do freelancers cover front-page stories–only if they have particular knowledge, expertise or access to specific information.

And most papers aren’t looking for personal essays or columnists. “It’s probably an area that’s cutting back rather than opening up,” says Bergstrom.

Freelance articles that do sell are those that fill gaps between what readers want and what newspaper staffers have time to do.

For example, although I’m a registered dietitian with a masters of science degree in exercise physiology, I’ve never sold a nutrition or exercise piece to the Tribune. Why? Because the Tribune has experienced health writers on staff.

On the other hand, neither the Tribune nor the Daily Herald has enough full-time critics to cover every movie, concert or play they would like to. So opportunities exist for freelancers with critical expertise.

Newspapers want community news and feature stories from writers who live there.

“If you are tapped into your community and can write about its schools, its neighborhoods, its people, then you’re going to be very valuable,” says Bergstrom.

If you’ve got that community connection, you’ll want to brush up on the basic tenets of journalism before sending in your articles.

First, stories must have news value–that is, relevance, proximity, novelty and timeliness. For example, a story about the Peoria High School Marching Band would have limited appeal to Manhattan readers … unless the drum major packed an Uzi.

When I suggested an article on volunteer basketball coaches, Bergstrom didn’t nibble. But she did buy a story about local students who formed a Jane Austen Club. They were the first middle-school students to attend the national convention for the Jane Austen Society of North America. At about the same time, the Austen-based movies Clueless and Emma were released.

Besides news value, editors demand basic professionalism: You must express your ideas clearly. You must be dependable and trustworthy. You must get your facts straight.

Add an Associated Press stylebook and a thorough grammar reference to your library. Morton S. Freeman’s The Wordwatcher’s Guide to Good Writing & Grammar (Writer’s Digest Books) is an excellent resource. Rudolph says, “We have so many people calling and asking `What can I write?’ and `How can I write it? We’re very busy, and we don’t have time to coach or teach writers. We need people who know what they’re doing.”

If you remember the inverted pyramid as the basic structure of newspaper writing, you’re going to have to think again. Word processing and desktop pagination have made the inverted pyramid virtually obsolete. (The inverted pyramid style puts the most important facts first, which allowed editors to trim stories from the bottom.)

Hansen says the Pioneer Press newspapers “sometimes” use the inverted pyramid. And Rudolph says the inverted pyramid “still has its place–probably more in spot news events.”

But Knoblauch strongly opposes it. “It’s gone. Forever and ever. Everywhere in any newspaper.”

Knoblauch says she more often cuts the front of stories. “People do all these interminable scene-setting leads before they get to the point.”

Without the pyramid, Knoblauch suggests following Lewis Carroll’s advice: “Begin at the beginning … and go on till you come to the end: then stop.”

Knoblauch says, “It’s amazing how many people can’t construct a story. They double back and repeat themselves. They get very verbose and off the truck. They throw in everything they learned about the topic, instead of what a reader needs to know and the central idea.” KnoblAuch advises writers, to imitate 20-second promotional ads for shows like 60 Minutes or 20/20.

“You have to figure out ways to grab readers, sink your teeth into their jugulars,” she says, “and not let go until you’re done.”

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Success To What? The Grass Valley Group Story http://www.neurotic-records.com/success-to-what-the-grass-valley-group-story/ http://www.neurotic-records.com/success-to-what-the-grass-valley-group-story/#respond Sun, 06 Dec 2015 11:39:57 +0000 http://www.neurotic-records.com/?p=12 gvgsHow GVG got involved with the movies is a story close to any exhibitor’s heart. “With some of our products, we have long been connected to the post-production side of filmmaking,” explains Beth Bonness, GVG’s director of digital cinema. “Working on the high-definition version of our Profile digital-video server, one of our engineers, who had been reading up on the latest developments in digital-cinema projection, suggested that we develop this technology further and leverage it for this emerging sector.” As it turned out, the person responsible for this insight used to be a projectionist of good old-fashioned 35mm film. As an engineering student, Dr. Jim Clark worked in college theatre booths, running tandem projectors with synchronized-transition, 5,000-foot reels and even …

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gvgsHow GVG got involved with the movies is a story close to any exhibitor’s heart. “With some of our products, we have long been connected to the post-production side of filmmaking,” explains Beth Bonness, GVG’s director of digital cinema. “Working on the high-definition version of our Profile digital-video server, one of our engineers, who had been reading up on the latest developments in digital-cinema projection, suggested that we develop this technology further and leverage it for this emerging sector.” As it turned out, the person responsible for this insight used to be a projectionist of good old-fashioned 35mm film. As an engineering student, Dr. Jim Clark worked in college theatre booths, running tandem projectors with synchronized-transition, 5,000-foot reels and even carbon-arc light sources on some of them. How could he not miss celluloid? “It was a second job for me,” he says, “so it was a fin challenge to show up for a new movie with 30 minutes to spare and get everything spliced together correctly What I miss is running individual reels and synchronizing the transition from one reel to the next.”

Many experiments and technical upgrades later (including digital upgrades), the Emmy Award winning GVG Profile XP Media Platform now accommodates full-length feature films on a single server, with enough storage capacity to run movies of Titanic-size proportions. No more juggling of reels–or even computers, for that matter. While previous digital presentations for multiple screens have featured several servers routing the same signals to different theatres, Jurrasic Park III plays from a single Grass Valley digital-cinema server. The technical key is that up to four channels can be routed to as many theatres in an appropriately networked multiplex.

With an average compressed density of 80 to 100 Gigabytes per film, the GVG Media Platform employs ten hard disks with capacities of 72 Gigabytes each, eight of which can be used for content storage. Coming from the broadcast industry, where a glitch in airing an advertising spot during the Super Bowl or Academy Awards becomes a matter of someone’s life or death, the GVG server offers proven reliability and safety features. “The information is stored across multiple disks in such a way that any one disk can fill without losing data, because the lost data can automatically be recovered from the remaining drives,” assures principal engineer Mike Bruns. “Modem RAID units [Redundant Array of Independent Disks] are so sophisticated that the failed drive can be simply slid out and replaced with a new unit-while the disk system continues to send out data continuously. The new disk is then automatically programmed as the system continues operation. In other words, the system heals itself after the disk replacement. GVG RAIDs run with five disks in a group and redundant power supplies. In cases of multiple RAID drive failure, we tend to automate the recovery if possible.

These disks capture high-resolution digital audio and video that can be accessed in a variety of compression formats. Beth Bonness explains how this “enables exhibitors to program alternative content and advertising all on the same server. While film uses higher-quality compression and those standards are still experimented with, other digital entertainment could already be in place, starting to generate revenue. Our multi-format server will not become obsolete, but can be upgraded as the ultimate cinema presentation standard becomes available. As you retain 90 percent of your investment, it simply becomes a question of a new board and software.”

Jurassic Park III uses MPEG+ compression that is based on the same format that we know from the MPEG2 standard of many consumer applications, including DVD. “For the first time in the release of a major motion picture, very high-quality images can be scaled to varying bit rates and file sizes,” Bruns states. Warning that there is still no compression standard that allows interoperability between competing device manufacturers, the project’s principal engineer explains that the JPIII initiative means an enhanced picture quality with a widely deployed format. “MPEG+ uses the standard MPEG2 toolkit, but removes the constant bit-rate restriction and allows the compression to focus on constant quality instead. More complex scenes use more bits than simple scenes. In a constant bit-rate scenario, less complex scenes get more bits than they need, and complex scenes may not get enough, thus resulting in lower overall quality. Thus, the size of a Constant-Quality MPEG compressed file of a film will depend on the visu al complexity of the various film scenes, not just on the length of the film. Also, since a given quality level can be guaranteed, the specific run of an MPEG+ encoder can optimize quality versus file size for a given application.”

Driving for even more interoperability, all equipment during the Jurassic trial used the emerging Digital Theatre Interim Mastering format (DTIM). “The DTIM standard relates to the resolution and color depth of the digital master that the studio releases,” Bruns explains. “In this particular case, the digital master was 1920 x 1080 deep, but the projector was only 1280 pixels wide. The projector electronics performed the down conversion, and the projector optics expanded the image back to the correct aspect ratio.”

“This interchange format enables one digital master to be played on multiple projectors from different, manufacturers,” says Universal’s Pierce, describing the advantages that make DTIM suitable for digital-cinema field trials. “Designed to be supported within current post-production system architectures, the DTIM sets the resolution of how images are captured off film, and ensures that proper color spaces are defined so that the final product is true to the original material.”

How long this material stays with the cinema operator is more “a question of business model in the relationship between exhibition and distribution than it is one of technology.” Bonness addresses the issue of conditional access diplomatically. “It’s a hotly debated topic with clearly drawn lines. Exhibitors want to retain as much control as possible to let the show go on, when and where, no matter what. On the other side, the studios prefer to authorize each showing individually. As an equipment manufacturer, Grass Valley would like to respond to whatever policy the industry can agree upon and provide the best possible infrastructure.” At the end of the digital engagement, physically speaking, data of the old film will be deleted while preserving the changeover-night tradition of readying the new film while the current program is still playing. Several software applications are already at work, beginning with the simplest level of actually starting the projector, reaching across networking and scheduling ca pabilities on the theatre level, to wide-area booking and delivery interfaces such as the one provided by Hollywood Software. Currently, exhibitors are masters of their multiplex domain, once the print is in-house. Future contracts will most likely include authentication models and address access issues that involve digital watermarking, signal scrambling, self-erasing and other such finely tuned programming code.

There is one thing, however, that everyone can agree on. “The industry does not want a closed, proprietary system,” Bonness continues. “They may want a turn-key system, but they want a choice of qualified manufacturers. Free enterprise and universally accepted standards will make the transition to digital projection possible.” Envisioning the future while drawing from events as they developed in the broadcasting industry, in her opinion, “we are looking at another year or two of experimentation, private demonstrations and full commercial try-outs. More vendors will be competing and offering their latest technology both on the projector and the server sides. In addition, we will see movie plexes where more than one screen is equipped for digital projection, so that exhibitors and distributors gain more experience as they follow the commercial life cycle of a film. Business models will finally be agreed upon. At the same time, interoperability questions will be worked through as quality standards are achieved and costs come down. All this will have to be resolved–and it will be–before we see installations surging to thousands and thousands of screens.”

Remembering what the original Jurassic Park did for the launch of digital sound or Star Wars Episode I for Dolby Surround EX or, further back The Robe for CinemaScope, Beth Bonness rightly foresees a wild card in the release of Star Wars Episode IT. “George Lucas has been known to want to see his film on more than just the existing digital installations.” May “the Force” indeed be with us all.

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Writing Experimental Fiction Is Tricky http://www.neurotic-records.com/writing-experimental-fiction-is-tricky/ http://www.neurotic-records.com/writing-experimental-fiction-is-tricky/#comments Wed, 02 Dec 2015 11:36:25 +0000 http://www.neurotic-records.com/?p=10

wefitSubmitting to editors who claim to want “experimental” fiction can be tricky. One editor may simply be looking for stories that are “fresh and creative; something I haven’t seen before.” Another may mean fiction “way outside the box” and “on the cutting edge”; stories written without restraint and without regard to writing conventions.

Ronald Sukenick, editor of Black Ice, noted for its “edgy” fiction, says “experimental fiction breaks away from the very narrow literary formula commercial writing usually imposes. When you break away from that, you open your fiction to a spectrum of possible styles and forms and release yourself of the taboos that hold those forms in place.”

Sukenick suggests to his writing students at the University of Colorado

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wefitSubmitting to editors who claim to want “experimental” fiction can be tricky. One editor may simply be looking for stories that are “fresh and creative; something I haven’t seen before.” Another may mean fiction “way outside the box” and “on the cutting edge”; stories written without restraint and without regard to writing conventions.

Ronald Sukenick, editor of Black Ice, noted for its “edgy” fiction, says “experimental fiction breaks away from the very narrow literary formula commercial writing usually imposes. When you break away from that, you open your fiction to a spectrum of possible styles and forms and release yourself of the taboos that hold those forms in place.”

Sukenick suggests to his writing students at the University of Colorado

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German Films Get Serious http://www.neurotic-records.com/german-films-get-serious/ http://www.neurotic-records.com/german-films-get-serious/#respond Tue, 01 Dec 2015 14:25:56 +0000 http://www.neurotic-records.com/?p=8 Statistically, the film board counts openings resulting from both new construction and reopenings after upgrade and remodel. Nevertheless, only 108 new screens were added from January to June (236 in 2000, 448 for the full year). In the old Bundeslander of the West, a mere 68 opened (188 in 2000), while the Eastern federal states counted 40 over 48 screens. Of the 4,738 screens, 3,813 are located in old states and 925 in the Neue Bundeslander of the East. Closings remained stable at 153, with a slight shift from West (133 vs. 135 in 2000) to East (20 vs. 18). Broken down by size, only five new multiplexes opened with 44 screens and 10,735 seats as opposed to 13 that …

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Statistically, the film board counts openings resulting from both new construction and reopenings after upgrade and remodel. Nevertheless, only 108 new screens were added from January to June (236 in 2000, 448 for the full year). In the old Bundeslander of the West, a mere 68 opened (188 in 2000), while the Eastern federal states counted 40 over 48 screens. Of the 4,738 screens, 3,813 are located in old states and 925 in the Neue Bundeslander of the East. Closings remained stable at 153, with a slight shift from West (133 vs. 135 in 2000) to East (20 vs. 18). Broken down by size, only five new multiplexes opened with 44 screens and 10,735 seats as opposed to 13 that …

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Finding Those Hidden Blogging Markets http://www.neurotic-records.com/finding-those-hidden-blogging-markets/ http://www.neurotic-records.com/finding-those-hidden-blogging-markets/#respond Mon, 30 Nov 2015 18:35:10 +0000 http://www.neurotic-records.com/?p=17

fthbmI got a call the other day from an editor of a magazine I never knew existed, asking me to give a speech to a whole group of editors of magazines I never knew existed. But this is more a reflection on my ignorance than on these editors or their magazines: Evidently there were enough of them to pull together a convention at a very nice resort in Colorado.

This particular group of editors shepherded the publishing of magazines for fraternities, sororities and other such societies. Turns out, there are quite a few such magazines — which shouldn’t be so surprising, if you think about how many such organizations there are. And they have at least modest budgets. Most have

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fthbmI got a call the other day from an editor of a magazine I never knew existed, asking me to give a speech to a whole group of editors of magazines I never knew existed. But this is more a reflection on my ignorance than on these editors or their magazines: Evidently there were enough of them to pull together a convention at a very nice resort in Colorado.

This particular group of editors shepherded the publishing of magazines for fraternities, sororities and other such societies. Turns out, there are quite a few such magazines — which shouldn’t be so surprising, if you think about how many such organizations there are. And they have at least modest budgets. Most have

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Aussies Go Wild At Film Convention http://www.neurotic-records.com/aussies-go-wild-at-film-convention/ http://www.neurotic-records.com/aussies-go-wild-at-film-convention/#respond Fri, 27 Nov 2015 08:02:59 +0000 http://www.neurotic-records.com/?p=6 agwafWhile the night is all about congratulating distributors on their success, the convention is perhaps more about distributors thanking exhibitors for helping them attain that success and encouraging the partnership to continue. There are always a lot of good-humored digs at colleagues and competitors alike. Said UIP Australian managing director Mike Selwyn during his presentation to exhibitors: “UIP is committed to the whole exhibition industry, even those we think should be committed.” Said BVI managing director Alan Finney–and current MPDAA chair–during his: “No, Monsters Inc. is not a documentary about the MPDAA companies.” Or take this expression of thanks to the awards sponsor and the company Australian managing director of Columbia TriStar Films, Stephen Basil-Jones, regularly has to negotiate terms …

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agwafWhile the night is all about congratulating distributors on their success, the convention is perhaps more about distributors thanking exhibitors for helping them attain that success and encouraging the partnership to continue. There are always a lot of good-humored digs at colleagues and competitors alike. Said UIP Australian managing director Mike Selwyn during his presentation to exhibitors: “UIP is committed to the whole exhibition industry, even those we think should be committed.” Said BVI managing director Alan Finney–and current MPDAA chair–during his: “No, Monsters Inc. is not a documentary about the MPDAA companies.” Or take this expression of thanks to the awards sponsor and the company Australian managing director of Columbia TriStar Films, Stephen Basil-Jones, regularly has to negotiate terms with: “It is important that you kiss the feet that are attached to the legs that are attached to the arse that you have to kiss next week. So thanks to Hoyts.”

This year, the convention attracted over 700 people to the Royal Pines Resort on Queensland’s Gold Coast between August 14 and 18. Each of the major distributors spent several hours presenting trailers, talking about upcoming product, and then screening a feature. Those shown were UIP’s Rat Race, BVI’s The Others, 20th Century Fox’s Legally Blonde (the debut feature from Australian-born Robert Luketic, who was in attendance), Columbia TriStar’s America’s Sweethearts and the independent feature Peter And Vandy.

While there was much excitement about getting a 26-minute sneak preview of The Fellowship of the Rings, there was amusement about the security check and grumbling that everyone had to first sit through the Rush Hour 2 evening screening. The emerging U.S. results had already indicated that the Jackie Chan film will make a lot of money, but that didn’t mean that exhibitors admired what they saw. While cinema is unashamedly a business in these circles, many commented that the film would not be winning any awards for the quality of the filmmaking, the cleverness of the comedy or the values underlying the story. The relationship between box-office returns and the nature of a film is a fascinating thing. One afternoon is reserved for the non-MPDAA distributors to show up to three trailers each and present awards to exhibitors. Best independent country cinema was Mt. Vic Flicks; best independent urban cinema was Dendy Opera Quays and Nova Carlton; best major was Hoyts Fox; and best local cinema campaign went to Gala Twin, Warrawong, for Mullet. Dendy’s Amelie and Footprint Film’s local film The Bank were then screened simultaneously in adjoining cinemas.

For people who think about these things, it is impossible not to come away from the Australian Movie Convention without pondering the effect of mainstream movies on audiences. There were probably 75 trailers shown at this year’s event. Seen en masse, these selling tools pack in a lot of violence and perfectly formed (by Hollywood definitions) longhaired women serving little purpose other than to be ogled. By the fourth day, the experience can somewhat mess with one’s perception of the real world. Once outside the cinema, it would not seem entirely unexpected to see a dozen big-breasted young women in colored lingerie cause a dramatic car accident from which a gang of uninjured men emerge with machine guns.

A Australian films and Australian-born directors had a high profile at this year’s convention, with local films Moulin Rouge and The Dish applauded for earning over A$10 million. At the “Australia On Show” opening night, Eric Bana (Chopper) won Australian star of the year–he said thank you from the set of The Nugget via video–and Phillip Noyce was honored for filmmaking excellence. The Reading Cinema in the Perth suburb of Belmont won the Kodak Marketing Award for Australian films, for its campaign for Moulin Rouge. The night also saw exhibitors Jim Sourris, from AMC Cinemas, and Ken Kirkley receive life membership in the Motion Picture Exhibitors Association of Queensland, which stages the annual event. Noyce spoke extensively about Rabbit-Proof Fence, the first film he has made on Australian soil for over a decade. It is based on the true story of three part-Aboriginal girls, aged eight to 14 years, who were forcibly removed from their families in the 1930s to be trained as domestic servants, then pursued 2,000 kilometers after their escape. These women are part of the so-called “stolen generation,” one of many facets of the black/white relations issues that will not go away in Australia. There is a perception that films with indigenous themes don’t work for audiences and Noyce cleverly invited exhibitors to help him prove otherwise. REP and Ocean Pictures jointly release the film in February 2002.

On the final night, Geoffrey Rush was crowned this year’s international star of the year and Bryan Brown was presented with a lifetime achievement award, giving him a chance to heavily promote Dirty Deeds, which he is currently producing and starring in. Producer Ben Gannon spoke to delegates about a third unfinished Australian film, The Man Who Sued God, during BVI’s presentation. The comedy stars Judy Davis and Billy Connolly, who plays a character immensely frustrated when his insurance company refuses to replace his boat after a bolt of lightning hits it. The title says the rest. Producer David Hannay also said a few words about the children’s film Hildegarde.

Arts Minister Peter McGauran drew applause at the convention for what he called a “clear and unequivocal” confirmation that Australia would not be lifting the parallel importation restrictions on films, as it has over the last three years on books, CDs, business software and computer games. This means it will remain illegal to import videos and DVDs before a film has screened theatrically. These laws were not retained in New Zealand (see “Around the Globe” in this issue), to the detriment of the industry. Shadow Arts Minister Bob McMullan, speaking during the same seminar, said that while he did not doubt McGauran’s sincerity, the issue was at “serious risk” of being revisited because the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) was “obsessed” about it. Indeed, Commissioner Ross Jones told delegates 24 hours earlier that the ACCC wanted restrictions lifted.

Seminars were also held on digital cinema, classification guidelines for films and the current review of the voluntary code of conduct, which is now three years old and has 220 signatories.

I con Distribution held an official launch of its arrival in Australia. Local chief executive Mark Gooder treated about 50 exhibitors and media members to 10 minutes of footage from the first four weeks of the shoot of the Icon/Wheelhouse production We Were Soldiers. A video message was sent from its star, Icon co-owner Mel Gibson, while his business partner Bruce Davey was there in person. Gooder emphasized that Icon would be delivering quality over quantity, from blockbusters to a few specialized releases, and no more than 15 films per year. “As exhibitors, I expect you are asking yourself, ‘Will Icon make any money for me?'” he said. “I bloody hope so.” Acquired to date for Australia are Company Man and The Assumption. The other distribution newcomer is Hoyts, which recently confirmed it will be re-entering the business next year with both international and local film product. The head of the new division is Robert Slaviero, previously of 20th Century Fox Film Distributors. What part Hoyts would play in th e release of the film product of the Nine Network has been much discussed since Australia’s highest-rating broadcaster announced it was moving into film production last November. The companies have ownership links. Hoyts handled several huge hits during the 1980s, including the first two “Crocodile” Dundee films, Dances With Wolves and The Man From Snowy River, but has not been involved in this side of the business for some time. Hoyts Cinemas has 352 Australian screens at 43 sites and is headed by Paul Johnson. It has extensive cinema interests in North and South America.

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WebZine Writing: Still A Possibility? http://www.neurotic-records.com/webzine-writing-still-a-possibility/ http://www.neurotic-records.com/webzine-writing-still-a-possibility/#respond Thu, 26 Nov 2015 04:31:22 +0000 http://www.neurotic-records.com/?p=15

wzwWeb zines — that is, magazines posted on the World Wide Web and accessed via your computer, modem and Web browser — have matured in the past year, becoming fast, alert and ad-heavy. And an opportunity for freelance writers.

Many print magazines publish Web versions and hire freelancers to write Web-only articles. Content providers like Microsoft Network and America Online sub-contract with entrepreneurs to put together online-only publications that require a lot of new writing. And some recent start-ups, backed by excited venture capitalists, are electronic magazines that appear only on the Web.

Web zines want up-to-date reporting (lead time is typically a week or two), reviews, personal opinions and arguments on just about every subject covered in print. Their

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wzwWeb zines — that is, magazines posted on the World Wide Web and accessed via your computer, modem and Web browser — have matured in the past year, becoming fast, alert and ad-heavy. And an opportunity for freelance writers.

Many print magazines publish Web versions and hire freelancers to write Web-only articles. Content providers like Microsoft Network and America Online sub-contract with entrepreneurs to put together online-only publications that require a lot of new writing. And some recent start-ups, backed by excited venture capitalists, are electronic magazines that appear only on the Web.

Web zines want up-to-date reporting (lead time is typically a week or two), reviews, personal opinions and arguments on just about every subject covered in print. Their

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