01 December, 2007

WSC Show #23 - Interview with Liz Friedman

In today's episode we speak to Liz Friedman in front of the picket lines at Fox Studios. Recorded Thursday, 29 November 2007.
Producer/Host: Tanja Barnes
Music: "Ay Mambo" by Falik
available on Magnatune.com

30 November, 2007

Join me tonight! I'm a winner!

Hey there! Tonight is the Winnies! Come join me!

WHO: Online Video creators, producers, compressors and STARS
WHAT: The Winnies Awards Where The Winner is YOU
WHERE: Cinespace, 6356 Hollywood Blvd, Los Angeles, California
WHEN: November 30, 2007 - 7pm
WHY: Because you want to party and you want a trophy!

For more info, visit YouAreTheWinner.org

Just in time for Christmas!

You striking writers and those affected, scrape together $150.00 because this little gizmo makes a great gift and it's something the ConGlom's don't want you to know about.

Presenting... TakeTV...taaa-daaa!

Sansa TakeTV
  • - 4GB and 8GB sizes, $100 and $150 respectively
  • - Supports DivX (including Home Theater profile), XVID, and MPEG-4
  • - Up to 720 x 576 resolution
  • - On sale immediately
  • - Intended for use in downloading shows from one's computer to the TakeTV (which is then physically moved to the TV)

Works with Fanfare online video service
  • - Launching with content from CBS, Jaman, Showtime, Smithsonian Networks, The Weather Channel and TV Guide Broadband, including shows such as CSI, Survivor China, Dexter, and Sleeper Cell
  • - Video downloads will be both ad-supported (free) and paid (not sure how much yet), depending on the wishes of the content creators
  • - Fanfare video will also be playable on Sansa portable media devices
  • - Yes, it's DRMed, and yes, it's proprietary: TrustedFlash, developed by SanDisk
  • - Available in beta today, officially launching in 2008

Ghost Writers Strike!

WSC Show #22 - Interview with Leonard Dick

In today’s episode we talk to Leonard Dick from the picket lines in front of FOX Studios. If you want to learn more about my bloggings about Hulu, click here. Recorded Thursday, 29 November 2007.

Producer/Host: Tanja Barnes
Music: "Ay Mambo" by Falik
available on Magnatune.com

29 November, 2007

Hulu Hulu Hulu

Today I interviewed one of the only writers who's heard of Hulu. The podcast is forthcoming; I'm working on it now.

Hulu is an on-line joint venture with NBC Universal and and Fox News Corporation. It will focus on professional content and as opposed to the user generated content (a fancy term for "amateur") mostly seen on YouTube. I blogged about Hulu a couple of days ago, so if you're not up to speed check it here.

Hulu was supposed to launch the week of Halloween. But, no surprise, it still hasn't launched yet. Could it be -- gasp -- the timing of the launch conflicted with the start of strike and the ConGlom's saying there's no money to be made on the Internet?


You might want to check out this article entitled "NBC pulls YouTube clips ahead of Hulu launch", posted on MSNBC's website dated October 27th.

It's interesting to note that the article has been pulled, so if the above referenced link is dead (perhaps you're using a different web browser than Safari?) then run a search in Google using the search terms "hulu" and "launch". Then click on "cache" to pull up the old cache because, like I said, the article has been pulled.

Here's a juicy quote: "The massive popularity on YouTube of Lazy Sunday, an NBC Saturday Night Live clip, was a watershed in revealing the new medium's ability to circulate video to millions of viewers on the internet."


It's also very interesting that the most recent Hulu blog posting dated November 22 doesn't mention their delayed launch at all. Instead the blog highlights that in addition to some great reality television programming, they've also added thirty new titles their content library, from classic action titles like Remington Steele, Burn Notice, The Starter Wife, and Ghost Hunters. But wait! There's a fuckton more: 15 cable channels including Bravo, E!, FX, SciFi, Sundance and USA.

Hmmm.....indeed. Hrmph!

What’s the future of media consumption?

A few weeks ago, NewTeeVee held a live panel about new media platforms. Speakers included folks from such companies as AOL, MobiTV and Joost. Here's a snippet:
"TV is still more popular than its ever been. It’s easily the world’s most popular application. Everyone watches TV."
The transcripts reveal more about the future of new media. It's worth a read here.

Bumper Stickers!

From the Professional Writers Association of Canada.

Click on image to purchase.

Canada Supports The Strike, Too!

Europe Supports The Strike!

From writersdayofsupport

WSC Show #21 - Interview with Brian Hartt

In today’s episode we talk with Brian Hartt at the picket lines in front of Warner Bros. Studios. Recorded Monday, 26 November 2007.
Producer/Host: Tanja Barnes
Music: "Ay Mambo" by Falik
available on Magnatune.com

28 November, 2007

Podcast Update

Odeo.com, the website that provides the .mp3 players used in this blog is down for a scheduled maintenance. It should be back up sometime after midnight, PST.

This will affect the ability to hear the podcasts here on this blog. Also, our iTunes feed is temporarily affected as well.

We are working on a work around solution, so we appreciate your patience!

UPDATE 11/29/2007 - The problem has been resolved. As you were! :)

Out of the strike: new models for film from Silicon Valley

From Netribution:

"Marc Andreesson, who founded Netscape amongst other ventures, is arguing that the film industry needs to rebuild itself on a model closer to that used by startups in Silicon Valley. Here venture capital companies will normally back talent with a good idea, and leave them running the company with a big share, perhaps over half, of the profits."

Read the article here.

And from Marc Andreeson's blog:
"The writers' strike, and the studios' response to the strike, may radically accelerate a structural shift in the media industry -- a shift of power from studios and conglomerates towards creators and talent."
Read the entire post "Rebuilding Hollywood in Silicon Valley's image" on CNET here.

WSC Show #20 - Interview with Christian Romero

Today we talk to Christian Romero, a member of the Teamsters Local 399 at the picket lines in front of Warner Brothers Studios. Recorded Monday, 28 November 2007.
Producer/Host: Tanja Barnes
Music: "Ay Mambo" by Falik
available on Magnatune.com

HuffPo reports on the WGA Rally in NYC, 11-27-07

From the Huffington Post: A video report on the rally for the Writers Guild in New York City, 11-27-07.

The Top Video Sharing Sites

If you've been listening to the Writers' Strike Chronicles podcast, you'll know that I keep asking peeps: "Do you consume new media? And if so, what are you downloading?"

The number one answer, time and again has been YouTube.

Now if you're a reader to this blog, you'll know I've made every effort to disabuse folks of the notion that YouTube is the only Intertube out there.

Now here's a compilation of the top 50 video sharing sites from Website Magazine.

27 November, 2007

WSC Show #19 - The Horror Writers' Exorcism

Today at high noon, WGA horror writers descended upon Warner Brothers studios to perform an exorcism led by Scott Kosar.
Producer/Host: Tanja Barnes
Music: "Ay Mambo" by Falik
available on Magnatune.com

Stop The Strike and Save Your Family!

Do You Hulu?

Hulu is NBC Universal and News Corporation’s online video joint venture. It will focus on professional content and not take on YouTube directly as a viral video destination.

It is currently in beta and I'm still on the wait-list to participate.

More about Hulu in Valley Wag.

26 November, 2007

Firebrand Launches Today

Firebrand provides a way to watch television commercials on TV, the Internet and mobile phones. The company said that it would show only the "best of the best" of American and international spots. Investors in the company include Microsoft, NBC Universal and GE's Peacock Equity Fund. Adweek Media is a Firebrand partner.

Details at NewTeeVee.com

The Sounds of a Strike

From writersguildeast

As a podcaster covering the strike, I know these sounds really well. They make it a bitch to clean up flubs, "ums" and "you knows" in post. Oh, well. Fight the power, WGA!

The Strike, Your Marriage and You

From kushellivision

WSC #18 - Interview with Jennifer Glickman

In today’s episode, I meet up with strike captain Jennifer Glickman at the picket lines in front of Warner Brothers Studios. Recorded Monday, 26 November 2007.

Producer/Host: Tanja Barnes
Music: "Ay Mambo" by Falik
available on Magnatune.com

Tell the FCC: No More Media Consolidation!

FCC Chairman Kevin Martin has scheduled a December 18th vote on whether or not newspaper/broadcast cross-ownership should be further deregulated.

Common Cause has posted the following response:

The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) is once again considering relaxing media ownership limits. (Learn more about this issue.)

Three years ago we won the fight against media consolidation -- but only after a major public outcry. Now the FCC is at it again, and we need YOU to speak up once more.

Send your message today. The FCC must hear from citizens about how media consolidation affects their lives and their communities. The "official" comment deadline of January 16 has passed, but the FCC is still accepting messages from concerned citizens. Speak out for a better media and democracy today!

Click here to for more information.

Watch Bill Moyers response on Bill Moyers Journal.

GETV on Old and New Media

From Geek TV

25 November, 2007

Hot in Hollywood

in association with THE WRITERS GUILD OF AMERICA, WEST proudly announce "Hollywood Homecoming" to be held on Friday, November 30th from 10AM - 12PM at Sony Studios in Culver City.

And we need your help getting the word out and locating those trailblazers of Hollywood's Golden Age!

"Hollywood Homecoming" is about paying tribute to our veteran writers, directors and stars of yesteryear and honoring the people who helped form and shape the unions we are currently fighting to protect.

What better location than the former site of MGM Studios, home to the classics such as "The Wizard of Oz," "Gone With the Wind," "The Thin Man," and "Ben-Hur?"

Whom do you know? Is Shirley Temple your next door neighbor? Do you go to church with Esther Williams? Are you related to Mickey Rooney? Do you live next door to an Academy Award winning director? Was your grandfather one of the writers on "The Wizard of Oz?" Did your great aunt work as the assistant to David O. Selznick? Does your family have a long history in the biz?

Everyone has a story.

Help us locate these guests.

If you know of someone who would like to attend as a guest or if you have any questions, please e-mail Chad Darnell at HollywoodHomecoming@gmail.com as soon as possible.

For additional updates, please check out HotInHollywood.tv

is a collaboration of performers, writers, and directors that helps raise money for various AIDS related charities in Los Angeles.

Patric Verrone Speaks to the FCC

In doing an Internet search on a related topic, I found this testimony made earlier this fall by Patric Verrone to the FCC. I thought it's worth blogging here.

Testimony of Patric M. Verrone
President, Writers Guild of America, West

Federal Communications Commission
Hearing on Media Ownership Rules
Chicago, Illinois

September 20, 2007

Chairman Martin, commissioners, fellow panelists, and members of the audience. I'm Patric M. Verrone, president of the Writers Guild of America, West.

On behalf of 7,500 television, film, and new media writers, thank you for holding this hearing and allowing public comment on the topic of media consolidation. As you know, this is my second appearance before you and I want to avoid the accusation of just producing another late summer rerun.

So I will resist my instinct to restate the fact that, due to the unparalleled vertical consolidation of TV broadcast networks, movie studios, and cable television stations, the number of distinct voices in mainstream TV programming has dwindled to a handful.

I will also resist repeating that 20 years ago there were 29 dominant entertainment firms sharing 100 billion dollars in annual revenue and today there are six conglomerates sharing 400 billion.

And I will resist suggesting once again our remedy to this concentration of ownership – namely a requirement that at least 25% of non-news and non-reality programming must come from independent sources not owned by any of the four broadcast networks.

I will resist all of that. Instead, I would like to draw your attention to a growing advertising practice that severely affects both our work and our audiences. It’s called product integration. Embedded advertising. Branded entertainment.

Understand that I am not talking about product placement - the practice in which a bottle of water of a recognizable brand merely sits on a kitchen table as a prop. “Product integration” requires that the wacky next door neighbor announce that this week he is a bottled water salesman and extol the crisp refreshing taste of that particular brand of water.

The idea behind “branded entertainment” is to integrate commercials into the storyline so as to create “stealth advertising,” thus fooling the viewer into thinking they are not watching an advertisement. Most Americans, like the proverbial frogs in the slowly boiling water, may not notice how prevalent it has become. Yet Nielsen media research tells us that product integration has occurred more than 4,000 times on network primetime television in 2006.

Once only a mainstay of reality television it has crept steadily into all programming. On NBC’s Emmy-winning The Office, characters spend entire episodes working at Staples. On CBS’s highly rated CSI, characters promote the features of a General Motors Denali. Oreo cookies were a major part of the plot in two episodes of the CW family drama Seventh Heaven. On Smallville, contact lenses prompted a crime fighter to say, “Acuvue to the rescue” proving that even Superman is immune to neither Kryptonite nor product integrations.

NBC has gone so far as to hire a high ranking executive in charge of “strategic marketing and content innovation.” “Content innovation?” I naively thought that that’s what writers did.

We understand why advertisers want to find new ways of presenting their products to a wide audience. The rise of digital video recorders such as TiVo with their ability to allow viewers to fast forward through commercials has advertisers and networks nervous about how to sell their wares in a historically advertisement-supported medium. But there is a huge problem with their doing so without oversight. And it can be stated with a very short and very powerful word.

Integrity. When writers are told we must incorporate a commercial product into the story lines we’ve written, we cease to be creators. We become advertisers ourselves. Actors are subjected to forced endorsement when their character must shill the products without compensation or consultation. Consumers are required to watch commercial messages that are no longer identified as commercial messages. And in our experience people want (and deserve) to be told when they are being sold.

Product integration exploits the emotional connection viewers have with shows and their characters in order to sell merchandise. At the very least, we believe that writers and actors as creators of television should be consulted about potential product integrations as early as possible in the creative process and have the opportunity to refuse integrations if they believe it will harm the integrity of the program.

But to protect viewers (and this is where the FCC comes in), we support disclosure. Disclosure that adequately reveals product integration, is legible, and is held on the screen long enough to be read. The FCC should require a crawl or subtitled “chyron” to run at the bottom of the screen during the integration. The crawl would identify the product, its promoter, and the fact that the writers and actors do not personally endorse its use. This would be no more intrusive than the warnings broadcast on pharmaceutical ads or the phrase “paid advertisement” that appears in magazines or the incessant headlines that underscore all news channel broadcasts or the distracting promotions for what’s coming on next that are now a mainstay of our TV visual field.

To conclude, I will repeat one line from my earlier testimony relevant to these proceedings. “Homogenization is good for milk, but bad for ideas.” I hope you’ll appreciate that I neither mentioned a brand of milk, nor raved about its creamy freshness and wholesome good taste.

Thank you for your attention.

Contact Information:
Jody Frisch
Director of Public Policy & Government Affairs
Writers Guild of America, West
7000 W. Third Street
Los Angeles, CA 90048
LA: 323-782-4576; DC: 202-412-1282

Neal Sacharow
Director of Communications
Writers Guild of America, West
7000 W. Third Street
Los Angeles, CA 90048

Writer Boi WGA

From dazue

WSC Show #17 - Interview with Toni Perling

Today we talk to Toni Perling about reality television programming.

Producer/Host: Tanja Barnes
Music: "Ay Mambo" by Falik
available on Magnatune.com

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