02 February, 2008

I just heard on the radio...

That there's a deal in place between the WGA and the AMPTP. A quick perusal on my blogs rss subscriptions shows another blogger -- that is John Scott Lewinski from Wired magazine reporting the same. See details here.

Ironic I heard it on the radio first. Just sayin'.

Herskovitz Takes A Position

This video features Marshall Herskovitz, president of the Producers Guild of America and co-creator of the webisode quarterlife, speaking at the PGA's annual nominees breakfast calling for the AMPTP and the WGA to come to terms and end the strike.

WSC Show #85 - Reinterview with Ed Horowitz

In today’s episode I meet up and have a moment with Ed Horowitz at the picket lines in front of Fox Studios. Ed was one of the first people to be a guest on this podcast. Recorded Monday, 28 January 2008.

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

01 February, 2008

Miro: An Interview with Nicholas Reville

“There's an opportunity to build a new, open mass medium of online television. We're developing the Miro Internet TV platform so that watching Internet video channels will be as easy as watching TV and broadcasting a channel will be open to everyone. Unlike traditional TV, everyone will have a voice.”, says the co-founder and executive director Nicholas Reville of Participatory Culture Foundation about the future of Internet TV, online video, and their newest project named “Miro”.

Entire article here.

TED Talks David Pogue: A 4-minute medley on the music wars

New York Times tech columnist David Pogue is back with a satirical mini-medley that explains the legal and social history of music and media on the Internet in four minutes.

WSC Show #84 - Reinterview with Naren Shankar

In today’s episode I meet up with Naren Shankar, Executive Producer of CSI. Listeners may recall that Naren stepped up to the mic back in December at the Star Trek Day picketing event at Paramount Studios. Recorded Monday, 28 January 2008.

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

31 January, 2008

Google Makes A Pact

Google's co-founders Larry Page and Sergey Brin, together with Chief Executive Eric Schmidt have promised to stay at Google for 20 years. More information in this article.

Here's a snippet:

By any measure, Google treats employees incredibly well. Is it possible to treat them too well?

Page: My grandfather worked in the auto plants in Flint, Mich. He was an assembly-line worker. During the sit-down strikes he used to carry this long iron pipe with a big chunk of lead on the end when he walked to work.

Schmidt: For what reason?

Page: To protect himself from the company. I still have the hammer. That's two generations ago, and we've come a long way. I don't think any of our employees have to carry such weapons to work. At least I hope they don't. But that's a big change in two generations. It's common sense: Happy people are more productive.

It's worth noting that Google is not a union shop and likely won't be, even as they spread into the media sector. Just sayin'.

AFTRA Launches YouTube Channel

Not only am I a member of SAG, but I also am a member of AFTRA (American Federation of Television and Radio Artists). Therefore, I pay dues to two separate unions to do the same job. If I worked on stage, such as a Broadway play, I'd have to join Equity, yet another actor's union.

You've heard me complain that I feel that an actor's guild or union should be platform agnostic. I've been told that this is impossible because the purview of each separate union addresses the needs of that specific platform.

However, I call bullshit. This tired response is not an answer. It's an excuse. Maybe this serves more successful actors but it doesn't serve somebody like me in the rank and file. As a "background artist" (* see footnote) I receive very little in the way of benefits from paying costly dues to two guilds. In fact, in the over two decades I've been in AFTRA I do not qualify for their health or pension plan and it's only been recently -- as of last year -- that I've qualified for SAG's health and pension.

With all this talk from WGA and SAG needing to unionize the Internet, I see very little benefit for somebody like myself who is a very small time player in this game. And as a paid up dues member to both SAG and AFTRA, I reserve the right to bitch about it here in my blog.

I really want to know how unions can serve all its members -- not just the rich and famous , not just the working class, but also the very low income struggling artist -- in this digital age. When I asked this of Anne-Marie Johnson, Vice President of SAG, at the Fremantle Rally back in November, her response was to tell me how members could serve the union better. Perhaps she didn't hear me correctly because the question was "How can the union serve its members in this digital age." Not the other way around. At any rate, Johnson is a nice, spunky lady and she works really hard in SAG, so I'm not out to give her any grief. I'm just sayin'.

Anyway, if you've heard the podcast I did with Valerie Harper, she had some sharp criticisms about AFTRA. It's worth mentioning that she, like me, belongs to both unions.

It's also worth noting that AFTRA, unlike SAG, has been conspicuously absent in support of the WGA and their struggle and it makes me curious as to why.

(On a side note, Governer Schwarzenegger, an actor and SAG member himself, has also been conspicuously absent on this issue of the strike which I find questionable at best considering that the labor strike not only affects his former career of which he made millions, but it is also hurting one of the state's most important industries which is losing untold millions. I call bullshit here, too. Hey Arnie...do you get residuals?)

Today in my in-box I received notification that AFTRA has launched their own YouTube channel. Go AFTRA! Welcome to New Media. Now, how can you help me?


* "Background Artist" is newspeak for "extra" or "atmosphere". God love the writer who came up with that title because now I can say with pride: "I'm an (working) artist! It's on my tax return!

This Is Nollywood

Nollywood, Nigeria's booming film industry, is the world's third largest producer of feature films. Unlike Hollywood and Bollywood, however, Nollywood movies are made on shoe-string budgets of time and money. An average production takes just 10 days and costs approximately $15,000.

This Is Nollywood tells the story of the Nigerian film industry—a revolution enabling Africans with few resources to tell African stories to African audiences. Despite all odds, Nigerian directors produce between 500 and 1,000 movies a year. The disks sell wildly all over the continent—Nollywood actors have become stars from Ghana to Zambia.

WSC Show #83 - New Media with Stephanie Smith

In today’s episode I meet up with Stephanie Smith to talk about her project that was made specifically with new media in mind. Recorded Monday, 28 January 2008.

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

30 January, 2008

EFF Wants Your Help Fighting Telecom Spying Immunity

The Electronic Frontier Foundation and People For the American Way are initiating the fight against amnesty for telecommunications companies which have illegally spied on Americans over the past six years. They’re asking for bloggers and podcasters to speak out against the proposed immunity legislation.

Here's a snippet from the “Stop The Spying” initiative:
The Bush administration has, [over the past six years,] authorized the National Security Agency (NSA) to conduct dragnet surveillance on our domestic telecommunications networks,…with no warrants or other meaningful oversight.

…[C]ongressional leadership handed the president even more authority to violate your rights by passing the so-called “Protect America Act” in August 2007. Now the Administration wants to make its power grab permanent and prevent any court from stopping the illegal spying. Proposed immunity legislation could let telephone companies off the hook for their role in the program and block lawsuits like EFF’s case against AT&T.

A majority of likely voters reject immunity for the phone companies, and Congress cannot be allowed to cave. Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid has promised to retool the new spying law, but he appears to be willing to ignore your rights once again and allow warrantless domestic spying to continue.

Won't you join me? All the details here.

Google Won't Become a Media Company

David Eun, the head of Google's content partnerships, insists that the Internet behemoth won't be a competitor to traditional media. Producing content is "not our business," he says. "Journalists, news bureaus -- that's not what we do."

Entire interview available here.

29 January, 2008

WSC Show #82 - WGA/SAG Unity: Interviews with Alan Rosenberg and Valerie Harper

In today’s episode I head out to represent as a member of SAG at the WGA-SAG Unity picketing event in front of Fox Studios. Featured is Alan Rosenberg, the President of SAG and Valerie Harper who sits on the Board of Directors for SAG. Following their interviews, we’ll hear speeches made by Alan Rosenberg, Zachary Quinto from Heroes, Susannah Grant member of the WGA negotiating committee, Susan Savage from SAG (who organized the rally), actor Larry Miller, and Anne-Marie Johnson, Vice President of SAG. Recorded Monday, 28 January 2008.
Producer/Host: Tanja Barnes
Music: "Ay Mambo" by Falik
available on

Will It Blend Takes On The Writers’ Strike

Tom Dickson of the Will It Blend video podcast isn’t letting the Writers’ Strike slow him down. One more reason why a video podcast about a kitchen gadget is one of the top twenty channels on YouTube.

WSC Show #81 - Interviews with Michael Perry, William Hasley, and David Rodwin

In today’s episode we'll conclude a series of interviews recorded last week at the King Day picketing event in front of Paramount Studios. Here we talk to Michael Perry, William Hasley and David Rodwin. Recorded Tuesday, 22 January 2008.

Hosts: Tanja Barnes, Bill Funt
Music: "Ay Mambo" by Falik
available on

28 January, 2008

Help Wanted: RSS Feed Support

Any of my listeners or readers know how to encode an RSS or XML feed? I can't rely on Odeo and need to D.Y.I. for the podcast. But I also require expertise to do it.

Please shoot me an e-mail if you can help or leave a comment below.

Leave the AMPTP alone!

Ha! An awesome recommendation by a reader of this blog who goes by the alt "Winning Scripts", this video parodies the "Leave Britney Alone!" video. Thanks for sharing, Winning Scripts! Keep'em coming, my friend. Cheers!

WSC Show #80 - Interviews with Lissa Levin, Dan Guntzelman, Ron Moskovitz and Bobby Gaylor

In today’s episode we continue a series of interviews to ask some writers on the line about their feelings regarding the terms of the tentative agreement between the DGA and the AMPTP. Featured are Lissa Levin, Dan Guntzelman, Ron Moskovitz and Bobby Gaylor. Recorded Tuesday, 22 January 2008.

Hosts: Tanja Barnes, Bill Funt
Music: "Ay Mambo" by Falik
available on

27 January, 2008

Indie vs Studio

A Mac vs PC parody. This series of short films pokes fun at Hollywood and the studio filmmaking process. More info at Dobler's Pen Productions.

Indie vs Studio 1: Funding

Indie vs Studio 2: Synergy

Indie vs Studio 3: Crew

Indie vs Studio 4: Awards

Strike Wars

A favored submission in th FairDeal4Writers Contest. Huh-sterical!

WSC Show #79 - Interviews with Eric Weinberg, David Wyatt, and David Kebo

In today’s episode we head out to Paramount Studios to ask some writers on the line about their feelings regarding the terms of the tentative agreement between the DGA and the AMPTP. Featured: Eric Weinberg, David Wyatt and Dave Kebo. Recorded Tuesday, 22 January 2008.

Hosts: Tanja Barnes, Bill Funt
Music: "Ay Mambo" by Falik
available on

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