Monday, April 18, 2011

TOMORROW - Ben Stiller, David Cromer re: "The House of Blue Leaves" on Charlie Rose (Charlie Rose)

In THE HOUSE OF BLUE LEAVES, Ben Stiller is Artie Shaughnessy, a zookeeper and wannabe songwriter, who is trying to cope with a schizophrenic wife (Falco), an impatient girlfriend (Leigh) and a visit from the Pope, all while sustaining his dream of hitting it big. THE HOUSE OF BLUE LEAVES is a satirical take on celebrity, religion, and the frequent merging of the two.
Writer John Guare will also be sitting around the table with Stiller and Cromer. The show's short description says "and others," so co-stars Edie Falco and Jennifer Jason Leigh may also be there. For once, I'm posting this a day ahead of time, so you may actually see this in time to tune in tomorrow night.

The House of Blue Leaves' website is here.
Find a station or watch the show online here.

TONIGHT - John Leguizamo on Charlie Rose (Charlie Rose)

Ghetto Klown is the next chapter in John Leguizamo’s hugely popular personal and professional story. It follows in the unabashed, uncensored, and uninhibited tradition of his Mambo Mouth, Spic-O-Rama, Freak, and Sexaholix…a Love Story. In Leguizamo’s trademark style, the piece explodes with energy, leading audiences on a fever-pitch adventure and heating up the stage with vivid accounts of where he’s been and the colorful characters who have populated his life. Leguizamo takes audiences from his adolescent memories in Queens to the early days of his acting career during the outrageous 80s avant-garde theatre scene, and on to the sets of major motion pictures and his roles opposite some of Hollywood’s biggest stars.

Leguizamo explains, “Ghetto Klown is all the things I say to my therapist and my manager, but would NEVER want the general public to know. It’s cheaper than a lawsuit and I get to take a bow at the end. It’s like Wikileaks but with no international manhunt. Yet.”
I've never quite been on the Leguizamo wagon - no reason why, particularly - but perhaps I should be. The show is getting great reviews. He'll be chatting with Charlie Rose tonight (Monday). In case you miss it, you can watch it online tomorrow.

Ghetto Klown's website is here.
Watch the show online here.

Friday, April 8, 2011

4 steps to your professional best | SmartBlog on Leadership

Whatever your line of work...if you want to lead in your field, if you want to stand out, make a difference, earn an excellent reputation and succeed financially, too, then rate your approach to work against the following practices. ...

- Cultivate a burning desire to excel in your field
- Hone your chops
- Develop your own point of view
- Build your body of work
I'm particularly interested in #3. For anyone who reads CSR often, this won't come as a shock. But the author expands on this point in a smart and compelling way, writing,
After you’ve had a good amount of experience, and you’ve learned what the experts in your field have to say, start to ask yourself this very powerful question: "What do I think about all this?" or "If I could flip a magic switch and make everything in my field/company/team different, what would I change?"
I think these are questions we should be asking ourselves on a regular basis, to make sure we're staying true to our personal visions and to help us refocus on our goals. It's easy to let a month or a year slip by without being conscious of where exactly we're headed. I think knowing this is a the 5th step in being your professional best.

Read the full article here.

Pixar's Motto: Going From Suck to Nonsuck (Fast Company)

In a world that is obsessed with preventing errors and perfection, perhaps it's ironic that despite 11 straight blockbuster movies, Pixar cofounder and President Ed Catmull describes Pixar's creative process as "going from suck to nonsuck."

That's because Catmull and Pixar's directors think it's better to fix problems than to prevent errors. "My strategy has always been: be wrong as fast as we can," says Andrew Stanton, Director of Finding Nemo and WALL-E, "Which basically means, we're gonna screw up, let's just admit that. Let's not be afraid of that." We can all work this way more often.
If only all directors / bosses / colleagues / people were so understanding. If only we reminded ourselves of this more often. Imagine....

Read the full article here.

Thursday, April 7, 2011

How to lead your peers (SmartBlog on Leadership)

Peer leadership is something that is often overlooked in leadership circles because, most often, we focus on what and how leaders lead their followers. This is appropriate, but much of what’s accomplished within an organization is because of people in the middle who get things done. Sometimes it requires leading up — what you do for your boss — but often, it requires what you do with and for your colleagues — leading peers.
I think this is particularly relevant to the entertainment industry simply because so many of the people at the top are nutjobs. Assistants and junior executives in this industry rely on each other, and have loyalty to one another (at least the good ones do), that I don't think is seen in many other businesses. I certainly know that was true during my time at CAA.

And while I had a great boss there, I think the reason for this banding together is usually because the consequences of a mistake were more often than not totally disproportionate to whatever error was made. I guess this is my longwinded way of saying that I agree with this article, but rather than calling it "leading your peers," I see it as the teamwork that's already been built from time in the trenches together. You do what it takes to make sure you and yours get the job done, no?

Read the full article here.

Mellencamp, Stephen King work on a musical (AP)

A new musical dreamed up by rocker John Mellencamp and horror writer Stephen King will make its world debut in Atlanta next year.

The Alliance Theater has announced that it will produce "Ghost Brothers of Darkland County," what it calls "a riveting Southern gothic musical."

King's story is based on the real 1957 deaths of two brothers and a young girl. Mellencamp is in charge of the "roots and blues-tinged score."
I'm totally into this. Hopefully it makes it way beyond the Georgia state lines.

Read the full article here.

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

A Bad Job May Be Worse For Your Wellbeing Than Being Jobless (Psychology Today)

...Recent research by Gallup...shows that American workers who are emotionally disconnected from their work and workplace, rate their lives more poorly than do those who are unemployed. ...

Gallup's findings are consistent with those in a recent Australian study...which found that the unemployed have poorer mental health than the employed, but those with poor or unhappy work environments had worse health than the unemployed.
I could have saved a lot of people a lot of money if only they'd asked me. Yes, being unemployed is stressful but it's NOTHING compared to the feeling that you'd rather eat glass than go to work.

Read the full article here.

The Take-Away From CinemaCon: Studios Demand More, More, More | The Wrap Movies

At every turn, exhibitors were told they were living through a "3D Renaissance," with the studios trotting out the Da Vinci's of the art form George Lucas, Jeffrey Katzenberg and James Cameron to laud the theater owners for building digital basilicas for their films.

But here's the problem: Box office is down. Nearly 20 percent.

Moreover, that conversion cost many attendees hundreds of thousands of dollars.

Instead of acknowledging the worrisome fault lines, studio chiefs and filmmakers are asking for more, more, more from theater owners.
I'd guess the conversion to digital is unavoidable, but is this the right time to be pushing for that kind of investment from theater owners?

Read the full article here.

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

8 Negotiation Lessons From The NFL Lockout (OPEN Forum)

1. Step back and start treating the other person — whether a client, vendor, distributor or even an employee — as a partner, advises Ed Brodow, author of Negotiation Boot Camp. "The reason for most deadlocks is because people are too busy fighting with each other and treating each other like adversaries.” ...

8. Eliminate emotions. Although this can be difficult, try to put your emotions aside when negotiating. "Remember ‘It’s not personal, it’s just business,’” says Brodow. “You need to stay calm and not get carried away. Always be willing to walk away from a negotiation. Remember: a negotiation will not determine the rest of your life. If it doesn’t work out, you will find something else as good or better.”
These and six other words of wisdom when it comes to making a deal. And these lessons will come in handy no matter if you're trying to get a raise, hire an actor, renegotiate your contract, or option that piece of material. And some of them are just good life lessons too.

Read the full article here.

Calorie-Counting Rule to Leave Out Movie Theaters (New York Times)

The federal government on Friday released proposed rules requiring chain restaurants and other businesses that serve food to post calorie counts on menus and menu boards. But after objections from theater chains, the rules give a pass to those box-office snacks — even though a large popcorn and soda can contain as many calories as a typical person needs in a day.

...At some theaters, a large tub of popcorn with butter topping can contain nearly 1,500 calories. A large soda can contain 500 calories. Federal dietary guidelines say that the average person needs about 2,000 calories a day.
The reasoning behind letting movie theaters off the hook with this one is because their primary function isn't serving food. But considering it's a widely known fact that theaters make the vast majority of their profits from concessions, it seems like sense to include them. The overall goal is to help consumers make smarter decisions about food, and hiding the fact that going to the movies will mean you shouldn't eat anything else that day won't help. Thoughts?

Read the full article here.

Why should writers work for no pay? (LA Times)

The core of Huffington's justification for not paying is that the Huffington Post is a showcase for writers, and that exposure there leads to paying gigs and greater visibility. Huffington merely — and generously, by her estimation — provides the stage. Mario Ruiz, the Huffington Post's spokesman, claims that contributors are happy to write for free because they "want to be heard by the largest possible audience and understand the value that that kind of visibility can bring."
I can actually see both sides of this argument and it's not an easy one to solve. On the one hand, writing for free is like an internship in any other business. You get practice, make connections, and are then sent into the world better armed to get a job and create your career. On the other hand, interns (and unpaid writers) are often taken advantage of. They don't feel like they can say no when asked to do a non-work related task for fear of burning a bridge. And is a writer who just sold their first spec to di Bonaventura really going to say no to a free polish or two? It's easy to say writers who think the Huffington Post is using them should stop working with the site. It's also easy to say that people deserve to be paid for their work. Like I said, this one's not an easy fix. What do you think?

Read the full article here.

Monday, April 4, 2011

Modern Marvel (New York Times)

Similarly Marvel, which has produced comics in various forms since 1939, is a company that teems with talent while it is confined by its traditions and is enjoying a hard-fought moment in the spotlight while it grapples with larger difficulties afflicting the publishing world. ...

While its movie business thrives, its print business is contracting, and those responsible for creating its comics — a seemingly seat-of-the-pants enterprise — are more cognizant than ever of their place within a larger corporate structure. ...
Changes in the publishing industry continue to affect every part of the film industry - even the tentpoles. While I'm the first to say Hollywood needs to stop relying on comics for ideas, I definitely don't want them to go away. That said, I also don't want to see "Marvel on Ice" - an idea that was floated in this article as a companion to "Disney on Ice." There are limits, people.

Read the full article here.

"Big Content" [Movies & Music] Is Strangling American Innovation (Harvard Business Review)

One of the greatest threats to the US's ability to innovate lies within: specifically, with the music and movie business. These Big Content businesses are attempting to protect themselves from change so aggressively that they risk damaging America's position as a world leader in innovation. ...

Example after example abounds of this attitude; whether it was the VCR which was "to the American film producer and the American public as the Boston strangler is to the woman home alone" as famed movie industry lobbyist Jack Valenti put it at a congressional hearing, or MP3 technology, which they tried to sue out of existence.
Great piece on how our industry very well might be hurting the innovations we'll need to continue to prosper and succeed in this business.

Read the full article here.

The week behind and the week ahead

My apologies for last week's absence. I was unfortunate enough to catch whatever it is that's going around and spent most of my time sleeping. Probably sounds nice to those of you grinding away at your desks, but then remember how it feels to be sick and how boring it is after about a day.

This week, I am taking part in a "Reading Deprivation" experiment, which means I'm not to read anything for the next seven days. I'm pretty sure I'm going to go out of my mind, but it's supposed to be cleansing and good for creativity. We'll see...

Anywho, I've pre-posted a bunch of stuff so you'll still get a couple articles a day from the Call Sheet Report, but you have my apologies in advance if I miss something that's a game-changer. I'll be sure to post it the following week.

See you on the other side!

Friday, March 25, 2011

How to Know When It Is Time to Leave a Job (by me @ Suite 101)

Feeling like your job is almost worst than catching the Bubonic plague is actually the easiest way to know you need to begin job hunting. But sometimes there are other, more subtle signs that you need to be heading to greener pastures. Such as...

* You're Never Going to Get Promoted
* You're Discouraged from Taking on Additional Responsibilities
* You Don't Agree with the Direction of the Company
Hopefully you won't find it too obnoxious that I'm posting articles that I wrote. I promise only to do so when they're relevant (or at least not completely off-topic), and I hope you enjoy them. Of course, your feedback is always welcome! And those of you who know me well, you can have fun trying to guess which companies I talk about in the article.

Read the full article here.