17 November, 2007
As the host wraps it up, he says "you probably cut off half way through this" and yeah, I almost did because his pre-amble was a little belabored. But then he got my attention with jump parties and asking questions like who moved my cheese (cuz like I read that book) and he wrapped it up pretty well in the end. Worth slogging through. You might learn something here.
In today’s episode I speak to writer Maria Elena Rodriguez on the picket lines at the rally in front of NBC studios. While I was there, I run into comedy writer Marvin Silbermintz of the Tonight Show. Recorded Friday, 16 November 2007.
From the Hollywood Reporter:
NBC has picked up Marshall Herskovitz and Edward Zwick's critically praised Internet and social network series "quarterlife." The network will premiere the show as an hour-long drama series midseason after it concludes its run on the Internet early in 2008 and will also stream it on nbc.com.
Read the entire article here.
16 November, 2007
Yesterday in CNET, Joost announced it was launching new widgets with Coca Cola. Here's a snippet:
Online video start-up Joost, which focuses on ad-supported professional content, made a few headlines (and raised a few eyebrows) for inking some big advertising deals with major corporations before the downloadable software was even open to the public. Until this point, most of those advertisements were traditional video advertisements that popped up before and in between clips on Joost.
That's no longer the case. On Thursday, Joost announced that Coca-Cola's European division has created the first "commercial widget" for the software. Called "Coke Bubbles," the downloadable advertising widget lets you choose a clip on Joost and then send it to fellow Joost users, appended with a note in the form of a "bubble."
Read the entire article here.
In attempt to school folks on alternate sources of new media other than YouTube, I blogged about the internet TV distribution site called Joost.
Today we're going to talk about Metacafe. So now you can add another new media outlet to the list. Metacafe differs slightly from Joost in that it, like YouTube, strives to create an on-line community by implementing social networking concepts and Web 2.0 innovations. It's the kinds of ideas that drive sites MySpace and Facebook and makes them so popular.
Here's what Metacafe is all about, Alfie. Cut and pasted right from their little website:
Metacafe is one of the world's largest video sites, attracting more than 25 million unique viewers each month (comScore Media Metrix). We specialize in short-form original content - from new, emerging talents and established Hollywood heavyweights alike. We're committed to delivering an exceptional entertainment experience, and we do so by engaging and empowering our audience every step of the way.
Since 2003 Metacafe has been one of the top independent online video sites, and we're a leader in the evolution of digital entertainment. The company is headquartered in Palo Alto, California, with offices in Tel Aviv and New York. Metacafe is privately held and investors include Accel Partners, Benchmark Capital, DAG Ventures and Highland Capital Partners.
How is Metacafe different?
Metacafe is not a video sharing and hosting site that allows any and every video to be posted. Instead, Metacafe is a video entertainment site that focuses on:
Short-form - Metacafe specializes in short-form original video - content that is made for the interactive Internet medium. We don't have full-length television episodes or movies chopped into pieces. The average video on our site is just over 90 seconds long. People come to Metacafe looking for an entertainment break in their day - and we deliver.
Entertainment - We're all about entertaining a large audience by featuring only those videos that amaze, inspire and make viewers laugh. This means you won't find hard news stories, personal videos or webcam chatter on Metacafe.
Audience-driven - The Metacafe experience is determined entirely by our community. Videos are user-generated, user-selected, user-reviewed and user-rewarded. At Metacafe, we put the audience in the driver's seat, empowering viewers in a much more meaningful way than other video sites.
Community Auditions - A community review panel of more than 80,000 volunteers takes a first look at each of the thousands of videos submitted to the site every day.
Community Rankings - Our VideoRank™ system identifies and exposes the most popular videos by automatically gauging every interaction each viewer has with a video.
Community Rewards - Our Producer Rewards™ program pays video creators for their best original work, as determined by the viewers.
What does this all add up to? A better entertainment experience. We consistently hear from our viewers that it's easier to find videos they like on our site as compared to others - and that keeps them coming back for more.
Today I joined the picket lines in front of NBC Studios and spoke to writer Steve Chivers. I also spoke to a television-viewing fan Amy Meek who was walking the picket lines with her girlfriends. And finally, we’ll hear a little bit of the audio I was able to capture when presidential candidate John Edwards spoke. Recorded Friday, 16 November 2007.
AMPTP PROMISES TO COME BACK TO THE TABLE
(Breaking news from the WGA - the AMPTP has agreed to come back to the table on November 26th. Now, let's hope they are prepared to make a fair deal. This is progress. Everyone wants to go back to work. Everyone wants fair compensation for their work.)
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
November 16, 2007
CONTRACT 2007 NEGOTIATIONS STATEMENT
LOS ANGELES – The Writers Guild of America, West (WGAW) and the Writers Guild of America, East (WGAE) have issued the following statement today:
Leaders from the WGA and the AMPTP have mutually agreed to resume formal negotiations on November 26. No other details or press statements will be issued.
For more information about the Writers Guild of America, West, please visit www.wga.org. For more information about the Writers Guild of America, East, please visit: www.wgaeast.org.
The Writers Guild of America, West (WGAW) and the Writers Guild of America, East (WGAE) represent writers in the motion picture, broadcast, cable, and new media industries in both entertainment and news. The unions conduct numerous programs, seminars, and events throughout the world on issues of interest to, and on behalf of, writers.
(Also, this message just sent to our strike captains:)
The effort and energy and resolve of the strike captains and teams, on the line, in headquarters, on location, and out in the community including the blogosphere has had a tremendous impact, and been instrumental in bringing the companies back to the bargaining table. Congratulations! Of course, going back to the table is an important step; but we must not allow our effort and creativity to wane. The strike must continue and we must continue to increase our impact and message to get the best possible deal for writers and for others who will benefit from our struggle, including actors, directors, drivers, crew, etc.
The Daily Kos is weblog with political analysis on US current events from a liberal perspective. Earlier this fall, on September 4, 2007, the Federal Election Commission announced that it has unanimously resolved two complaints alleging that Internet blog activity is subject to Commission regulation, finding that the activity is exempt from regulation under the media or volunteer exemption. The Daily Kos was one of those blogs filed against in the complaint.
Today on Daily Kos came a blog post I thought was worth cross-posting.
Writers Strike Continues by MissLaura
Fri Nov 16, 2007 at 04:22:34 PM PST
As the second week of the WGA strike comes to a close, United Hollywood has a post explaining when the strike will end. When is that? When it is in the financial interest of the studios for it to do so:
The studios have forecasted how much they will lose, how much they will save, what offer they will come back to the table with and what date that offer will be presented.
This strike comes down to a pro forma income statement, and clearly the majority of studios or at least the most powerful studios have decided that from a financial standpoint, it is not yet time to end this strike.
But we can be making it hurt them. We can make them watch people across the country come to a greater understanding of the way corporations work to amass their own profits by denying their employees a fair share. And Jonathan Tasini has information on how to help:
Anne Sweeney, President, Disney-ABC Television Group: 818-560-1000Kevin Reilly, President, Fox Entertainment: 310-369-1000
The Walt Disney Company, 500 S. Buena Vista Street, Burbank CA 91521
Fox Broadcasting, 10201 West Pico Blvd., Los Angeles, CA 90064
Bruce Rosenblum, President, Warner Bros. Television Group: 818-954-6000Philippe Dauman, President/CEO, Viacom: 212-258-6000
Warner Bros Studios, 3400 Riverside Drive, Burbank, CA 91505
1515 Broadway, New York, NY 10036
Leslie Moonves, President/CEO, CBS Corporation: 212-975-4321Jeff Zucker, President/CEO, NBC Universal: 818-777-1000
CBS, 51 West 52nd St. New York, NY 10019
100 Universal City PlazaUniversal City, CA 91608
And after you've made the calls, SEND THIS LIST TO EVERYONE YOU KNOW!
Points to make:
- Writers are asking for fair compensation when content is streamed or downloaded on the Internet. Right now, writers are getting ZERO. Publishers claims that everything on-line is only promotional are just bogus--they are selling advertising on-line!!!
- The media business is healthy. CEOs brag to Wall Street that they are making money from new media--all the better to raise money and keep the share price going up (which helps CEOs profit from generous stock options they are given) but they are hypocritically crying poverty when it comes to paying writers.
- If you need to, you can use these statistics to show how profitable media companies are and how well the CEOs are being compensated.
Shane did a great new interview with Tonight Show Head Writer Joe Medeiros today. I think he does a great job of covering some new ground in this nearly two week old strike and Shane’s production chops are improving, too. It’s about five minutes long.
Shane will also be covering tomorrow’s rally at NBC since it’s walking distance for him. There could be video involved, too. It was also just announced that Democratic Presidential Candidate John Edwards will be there…
The WGA just announced that Democratic presidential candidate John Edwards will join striking writers on the poicket line Friday. ” Following his public statement of solidarity with the Writers Guild of America last week, former U.S. Senator John Edwards will join striking writers on the picket line tomorrow to support the WGA in its ongoing fight to secure a fair and reasonable deal.” He will join the picket line at 2 PM at NBC Entertainment, 3000 W. Alameda Avenue in Burbank at the NBC sign on the corner. This absolutely one-ups all previous political activity on the line where Barack Obama’s LA staff and volunteers joined the strikers but not the candidate himself.
This work is licensed under a
Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 Unported License.
15 November, 2007
In today’s episode we talk to was Ted Lang and Marvin Silbermintz, a coupla writers on the Tonight Show with Jay Leno at the picket lines of NBC Studios. Recorded Monday, 12 November 2007.
As I walk the picket lines with the writers, the number one question I ask is: "what type of new media do you consume?". After a bunch of stammering, the number one answer from you striking writers -- our survey says -- "YouTube".
As if YouTube is the end all and be all of new media. As if.
So, class is now in session for alternate media channels on the Internet.
Today we're going to learn about Joost.
Ever heard of it?
Joost is a system for distributing TV shows and other forms of video over the Web using peer-to-peer TV technology, created by Niklas Zennström and Janus Friis (founders of Skype and Kazaa). It boasts over 15,000+ TV shows and 250+ channels. You remember the term "peer-to-peer" or "p2p"? Yeah, that was the same technology that put Napster in the news a few years ago.
Here's the official word about Joost:
"What's Joost? It's free TV, with the choice to watch alone or with friends. Joost is packed with internet tools such as instant messaging and channel chat, allowing people to really share the TV experience. It's a completely secure platform for content owners that respects their rights, while protecting and enhancing their brands. And it's an incredibly flexible way for advertisers to reach a truly global audience, in ways that really work. Joost isn't just video on the internet – it's the next generation of television for viewers, content owners and advertisers everywhere."
Joost is free, supported by highly targeted ads based on people's actual watching habits, their friends' viewing patterns, and information they volunteer. Ad revenue is split between Joost and the content owners. Kinda like network TV was like back in the days of "I Love Lucy".
Your homework tonight: sign-up for Joost, choose your Joost name and create a channel. Play around with the platform. Be sure to socially network and make friends.
As blogged and podcasted previously in the WSC, 15 year-old homeschooler and citizen journalist spent four hours walking the WGA picket lines in front of NBC studios on Monday. Shane also got an interview with hyphenate and strike captain Brian Hartt where they discussed the effect the strike is having on below the line people in the industry.
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 Unported License.
14 November, 2007
It’s day 10 of the Writers’ Strike. In today’s episode of the Writers’ Strike Chronicles, Alicyn and I talk to writer-producer Tom Astle in front of the picket lines at NBC studios. Recorded Monday, 12 November 2007.
A picture paints a thousand words, but what about this photo? Talk about nickle and diming it. I *heart* the fact those are Canadian pennies. Woot!
Just my two cents. Your mileage may vary.
Won't be just any night...
Attention all WGA members. Drown your sorrows tonight at Vice, compliments of Matt Sherman. Here's the dealio as reported in UnitedHollywood:
"Matt Sherman Management has invited all WGA members to enjoy drinks on the house. Wednesday November 14th from 7 pm to 9:30 pm at VICE, 6364 Hollywood Blvd. between Ivar and Cahuenga. Please bring your WGA card for admittance. [Well played, Matt Sherman, well played.]"
To sign up or sign in, click here.
In the coming months, VSR will showcase a range of diverse subjects such as machinima, lifecasting, episodic content, mashups, distributed collaboration, personal storytelling, copyright and licensing as well as reality hacking.
VSR is co-produced by Michael O'Rourke (D7TV.com) and Eddie Codel (Geekentertainment.tv) and is kindly hosted at Dimension 7 Studios in downtown San Francisco. If you are interested in presenting at a future VSR, please contact one of us.Dimension 7(D7)
San Francisco, California 94105
Thursday, November 15, 2007
6:30-7:30 cocktails/refreshments/happy hour
7:30-8:30 Introduction & curated presentations from
>> Michael O'Rourke: D7 TV
D7TV is a production company creating original content for internet television and mobile devices. D7TV will be showcasing its original short content ranging from news to comedy to lifestyle programming and discussing its future plans for creating branded entertainment.
>> Eddie Codel & Irina Slutsky: Geek Entertainment TV
Geek Entertainment TV reports from deep inside the bubble as it re-inflates. Eddie & Irina will give a quick history & overview of GETV and show a few favorite episodes. Irina is organizing The Winnies in LA at the end of the month and will have some announcements.
>> Nick Douglas: LookShiny / Goggle Burn:
Nick Douglas is starting a site named Goggle Burn, a VH1 for the web. He'll show his favorite online series to show why movies on the Internet don't have to be "America's Funniest Home Videos."
8:30-9:00 open salon: 5 minutes to show your stuff
9:30-11:00 salon/networking/ambient lounge
"As the industry loses “share of attention” (and revenues) to web video, where does independent film-making fit into all this? Does a union still serve a purpose? Seeing as any video can find its way onto the unlimited shelf space of the internet (and our mail from Netflix), can working with producers willing to fairly compensate writers provide an attractive alternative to union bargaining with studios?"
Check it here.
13 November, 2007
It's day 9 of the Writer’s Strike. In today’s episode, Alicyn and I take to the picket lines in front of NBC studios and meet with writer-producer Matt Ember. Recorded Monday, 12 November 2007.
I’m a little late in getting today’s show up and that’s because I was working on a commercial production today. There I learned that commercial writers aren’t covered under the WGA. (Since I don’t know enough about this, I won’t comment). Perhaps it was impossible to know I was on the job by all the moblog posts I made from the set.
Bill Moyers was on Democracy Now earlier this year when he spoke to 3,500 activists, journalists and concerned citizens gathered in Memphis, Tennessee for the third National Conference on Media Reform. Speakers called for the preservation of a free and open Internet, the end of media consolidation and a more democratic and diverse media system. Moyers opened the conference with a stirring address.
Cue the slider to about 07:15 to begin the coverage of Moyers speech.
"A few huge corporations now dominate the media landscape in America. Almost all the networks carried by most cable systems are owned by one of the major media common conglomerates. Two-thirds of today's newspapers are monopolies.'
"As ownership gets more and more concentrated, fewer and fewer independent sources of information have survived in the marketplace; and those few significant alternatives that do survive, such as PBS and NPR, are undergoing financial and political pressure to reduce critical news content and to shift their focus in a mainstream direction, which means being more attentive to establishment views than to the bleak realities of powerlessness that shape the lives of ordinary people.'
"What does today's media system mean for the notion of an informed public cherished by democratic theory? Quite literally, it means that virtually everything the average person sees or hears, outside of her own personal communications, is determined by the interests of private, unaccountable executives and investors whose primary goal is increasing profits and raising the share prices. More insidiously, this small group of elites determines what ordinary people do not see or hear."
Read the transcript here.
It's also worth checking out this blog post about entitled "Media Solidarity" on the Hullabaloo blog by digby. Here's a snippet:
Atrios and Matt Stoller make a good point about how the press is covering the WGA strike. And it just proves how corporate values rule the media. After all, the strikers in this case are fellow members of the media themselves, and yet they're getting hostile coverage. And likewise, many of the news people who are covering them are in unions too. There can be no reasons other than corporate pressure to explain the hostility or the fact the strike is being virtually blacked out in the local press despite stars and political activists showing up to picket along with ordinary Americans.
12 November, 2007
It's day 8 of the Writers' Strike. Today I took fellow podcaster Alicyn Packard to the picket lines at NBC Studios, where we interviewed Joe Medeiros, a strike captain for the WGA. Joe is also the head writer for the “Tonight Show with Jay Leno”. Following our conversation with Joe is an interview with Shane Stranahan, a 15-year old home schooler and citizen journalist. Last week, we blogged about a podcast that Joe recorded with Shane. Recorded Monday, 12 November 2007.
In many ways it felt like primary school on worker's rights. When Tanja first asked me to get involved with "The Writer's Strike Chronicles" I found myself both excited and a bit frightened. I've been out of school for a few years now and if my brain was once a saturated sponge soaked with knowledge, it now appears to be hard and stiff with bits of food still clinging to it. Even when approaching the writing of this blog, I've felt a bit hesitant. I mean many people reading this are writers damn it! What if my subject tenses are incorrect? What if I use the wrong homophone and look like an idiot?
I also had my reservations about conducting interviews. While I do host another podcast focusing on the careers of alumni from my college (it's called "The Emerson Mobcast" for those of you that are interested) I am certainly no pro. Others may dabble in toy airplanes or comic book collections and I am a journalistic hobbiest. So I had my concerns. I mean, I make cartoon voices for a living...what on earth makes me feel qualified to call myself the "media"!?!
But something about the energy down at those picket lines made me think differently. With the advent of new media and the changing role digital technology plays in our lives, many things are being redefined, including media. This is truly a monumental time in the history of the entertainment industry and yet the mainstream news media doesn't seem agree. So perhaps it is up to the "average Joe's" to get the scoop on what's really going down at the picket lines.
I did a quick search on www.dictionary.com to define the term "citizen journalism". Here's what I found.
"Citizen Journalism: the collection, analysis, reporting, or disseminating of news and information outside of traditional professional journalism organizations."
Just think, prior to the web, I would have had to actually get up and find the dictionary! ;o)
So maybe, just maybe, now IS the time for people like me to help get the word out. Perhaps just by acting as a conduit for people to tell their stories, I might be able to help disseminate information to the public. At any rate, it sure is good to be soaking in new information.
Nikki Finke has got a DHD exclusive!
Read all about it: Glimmer Of Hope That Agents Bringing WGA & AMPTP Back In Touch
11 November, 2007
The problem with YouTube is the fact that the videos are (apparently) not downloadable. What if you want to rip a vid to your iPod? There's no portability with YouTube! And because you can't Tivo YouTube's content, you'll have to sneak furtive glances at your computer screen when you're supposed to be temping (at least until the strike is over). I'm just sayin'.
Well now, there's a list, from the book Googlepedia by Michael Miller, that lets you download and watch YouTube videos on your own schedule (cue: Alleluia!):
- dlThis Video Grabber
- GooTube FLV Retriever
- Ripzor YouTube
- TechCrunch YouTube Video Download Tool
- YouTube Downloader
If you need to convert your downloaded .FLV videos to another format try one these Web-based transcoding services: Ares Tube, Mux, Vixy and -- my personal flava flav -- Zamzar.
Information on WGA Picket Line Locations for Monday, November 12
SAG encourages guild members to, on your own time, to walk any picket line that has been set up by the WGA to show your solidarity. If you are not working (or are on break or lunch) and want to come out to support the WGA picket line, please come to one of the following locations. When you arrive at the location, look for the designated Screen Actors Guild staff member.
- Please stay at studio locations, and do not join picketers at on-location sites. Screen Actors Guild is not condoning or participating in disruption and/or attempts to shut down location shoots.
- It is critical that SAG picket signs not be displayed at any locations other than the appropriate sites at the studios and networks.
- If you are contracted to work on a television series or motion picture that continues to produce while the WGA is on strike, you are obligated by your personal service agreement and the “No Strike” clause in our collective bargaining agreements to go to work. You can continue to audition for work and accept new work if you choose to do so.
- Screen Actors Guild members should not perform the duties covered by WGA contracts. Simply stated, you should not write anything normally written by striking WGA writers.
- Finally, and most importantly, we must support our fellow SAG members on every set even if they have to cross a picket line to get to work. They are simply following the advice of their union and honoring their contract. It is not reasonable to expect SAG cast members to risk the potentially enormous personal liability that may flow from refusing to work in the absence of a SAG strike. Please note, the WGA contract includes a similar “No Strike” clause and writers would be bound to the same rules as you are if another union were striking.
In Los Angeles:
PARAMOUNT STUDIOS / RALEIGH STUDIOS HOLLYWOOD
5555 Melrose Avenue & 5300 Melrose Ave
Los Angeles, CA 90038
Meeting Point: Windsor Gate
Parking Option: Streets south of Melrose
WARNER BROS. STUDIOS
4000 Warner Boulevard
Burbank, CA 91522
Meeting Place: Gate 2-3 on Olive
Parking Option: Street parking around studio
IMPORTANT NOTE: We have also set up a toll-free Screen Actors Guild WGA strike information hot-line number for questions regarding work rules and picket line locations. Through this hotline number, you can get up-to-the-minute information on work rules, picket line locations and help with other questions.
Screen Actors Guild WGA Strike Information Hotline: 1-877-724-7875.
For information on previous communications regarding Screen Actors Guild members and the WGA strike or for a copy of the National Board resolution in support of WGA, go to www.sag.org.
wgaamerica wraps up Day 5 of the Writers Strike rally with this video featuring Tom Morello from Rage Against the Machine, Jesse Jackson, Seth MacFarlane, Dennis Haybert and WGA president Patric Verrone.
BTW, I read that although the WGA claims that 4,000 strikers attended the rally the LAPD estimates it was closer to 5,000.
Norman Lear gave a brief speech in a show of support for the writers at last Friday's protest rally. Then, I talk to screenwriter Ron Moskovitz. Recorded Friday, 9 November 2007.