Sunday, April 23, 2006

 

SNL Half Gets Online Video

Saturday Night Live is now offering some of their content on the iTunes Store. This is good news; now current sketches, like Lazy Sunday, can be had, legally, online, and everyone who made the sketch gets paid (including actors, I think). The bad news is what all six of the user reviews point out: it is all very, very expensive.

Lazy Sunday, a 2 minute 31 second sketch, costs $1.99. For comparison, Sleeper Cell episodes run between about 50 and 59 minutes and cost $1.99. I believe these SNL sketches are therefore currently the among the most expensive downloadable video on Earth.

There may be all sorts of contractual reasons for this high price, but it seems they may also be trying to price us all into watching the show live. I think they may have missed the point of downloadable shows a little. People download TV shows likely because they don't want to, or can't, watch them live (and so they can watch them later, anywhere they want to).

Since putting shows online costs NBC/Universal next to nothing (hard drive space and a database entry), they are missing out on profits by pricing them this way. NBC made six million dollars profit from the online sale of their shows in the first couple months; and since the shows are produced regardless of the online distribution, the profit from online sales is almost free money.

If they sort out the contracts and improve the pricing everyone can win: NBC/Universal makes more money (and doesn't have to worry as much about falling ratings), the audience gets to see a show they like, when and where they choose (without breaking the law), and the artists who make the show would get some sort of residuals.

I'd be more likely to send a friend a legal version of sketch as a gift, if it were cheaper (and actually could be sent as a gift, like many, many other items on the iTunes store). I think 25 million other TV viewers may feel the same way. Part four of the Small Format and Online Video series of posts:
  1. Confusion Over Small Format Video
  2. Online Video May Affect Production, Distribution and Our Income
  3. TV to Become Small Format Online Video More and More
  4. SNL Half Gets Online Video
  5. Warner Bros. Domestic TV Embraces Small Format/Online Video

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William Shakespeare's 442nd birthday is today

William Shakespeare's 442nd birthday is today (read his plays and sonnets).

Tuesday, April 18, 2006

 

No Pulitzer for Drama This Year

Friday, April 14, 2006

 

TV to Become Small Format Online Video More and More

Fox signed an extension to its six year agreement with the affiliates allowing the network to make 60% of its primetime schedule available online the day after they air in primetime in year one, while the full 100% primetime slate will be available to alternative platforms by year three. The affiliate body will share in 12.5% of the net revenue derived from the non-linear efforts. The Fox programs will be streamed on its MySpace site and the network is looking into other online outlets as well, including affiliate websites
(from Cynthia Turner's Cynopsis). Part three of the Small Format and Online Video series of posts:
  1. Confusion Over Small Format Video
  2. Online Video May Affect Production, Distribution and Our Income
  3. TV to Become Small Format Online Video More and More
  4. SNL Half Gets Online Video
  5. Warner Bros. Domestic TV Embraces Small Format/Online Video

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How Words Sell: A Blind Man's New Words Get New Results

One day, there was a blind man sitting on the steps of a building
with a hat by his feet and a sign that read:
"I am blind, please help."
A creative publicist was walking by and stopped to observe.
He saw that the blind man had only a few coins in his hat.
He dropped in more coins and, without asking for permission,
took the sign and rewrote it.
He returned the sign to the blind man and left.
That afternoon the publicist returned to the blind man and noticed
that his hat was full of bills and coins.
The blind man recognized his footsteps and asked
if it was he who had rewritten his sign
and wanted to know what he had written on it.
The publicist responded: "Nothing that was not true. I just wrote the
message a little differently." He smiled and went on his way.
The new sign read: "Today is Spring and I cannot see it."
Learning what to say changes everything.
(from Goals-2-Go, via Kim Klaver). What do our auditons say? Our headshots?

Thursday, April 13, 2006

 

Free Class: Acting Studio Chicago

Sunday, April 23rd, 1-4pm

Kurt Naebig gives an impassioned introduction to Michael Shurtleff's 12 Guideposts....an incredibly practical, visceral way to approach your work. If you are thinking about taking a class.....call for a reservation and come check us out...this free class is a great way to meet us!
Acting Studio Chicago
10 W. Hubbard St., Suite 2E
Chicago, IL 60610-7576
[google map]
312-527-4566

I went to one of these a while back. Though Kurt Naebig was not teaching it then, it was very good.

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Tuesday, April 11, 2006

 

Advice: Be Excellent, Always

Be excellent, always. Never rest. Do your homework, learn your lines, hit your marks, and be there for your other actors. That's how you stand out, I promise.
-Seth Green, in BackStage interview

Thursday, April 06, 2006

 

The Book: An Actor's Guide to Chicago

I am selling my copy of The Book: An Actor's Guide to Chicago - Third Edition for $7.89 (that's more than $7 off: new it cost about $15). If you are acting in Chicago, and don't have a copy of this book, I'd recommend getting one, even if I weren't selling mine (though you really don't need to buy a new one every year).

May 11 update: I've sold my copy, thanks.

Tuesday, April 04, 2006

 

Online Video May Affect Production, Distribution and Our Income

Sort of a follow up to my previous post about small format video, sites like You Tube, Google Video and myspace (now that it has videos) may signify a shift in the production and distribution of media. Mobisodes are also here to stay, at least in the short term. While I doubt the audience will stop watching television, or going to the movies, other options are starting be viable alternatives.

Below are some excerpted thoughts of writer-producer Rob Long on some of the recent phenomena:
So a few weeks ago, on that lumbering occasionally funny warhorse, Saturday Night Live, Andy Samberg and Chris Parnell made a short digital film... called Lazy Sunday... it was pretty funny.
I saw the clip on You Tube. Some kid somewhere took it off the TV and zapped it on the web, probably with the heading "This Was The Only Funny Thing on SNL Last Night" or something. So that's where I saw it. That's where a lot of people saw it, too, apparently, because it spawned a constellation of responses from all over the country - people - normal people, people NOT in the 212 or 310 area codes - young men, mostly - remember them? They're the ones who aren't watching TV anymore or going to the movies - did their own versions of the sketch using the DV cam and the computer software they've been fiddling around with since Christmas...and it turns out that two guys from Indiana did one and zapped it up to You Tube and called it "Lazy Muncie" and it's pretty funny. I mean, funnier than anything that appears on Saturday Night Live after, say, 11:53pm. Funnier than the last Albert Brooks movie. Funnier than an episode of Joey.
So what does it say if you're Lorne Michaels - the guy who runs Saturday Night Live - or, for that matter, the head of comedy development for pretty much any network - and it turns out there are two funny guys in Muncie who don't really need you to give them permission to make a funny little movie because You Tube is their network and You Tube doesn't have a vice president of comedy development to say, "Yeah, yeah, um, I just don't see where this goes. Can it be about people in their 30's juggling relationships and their careers?"
What does that say about that huge, packed auditorium at the Oscars, filled mostly with people who get paid to say yes. Or no. It means, I think, that in the future, a lot of them are going to be scrambling to get out of their pricey car leases. I mean, maybe I'm delusional, but it's just possible that what You Tube means is that sooner, rather than later, this privileged, pompous, overpaid class of gatekeepers - studio executives, network executives, development executives - is going to get squeezed pretty tight. Of course, that also means that the privileged, pompous, overpaid class of writers and actors is going to get squeezed tight, too.
(from Rob Long - KCRW's Martini Shot Podcast). Part two of the Small Format and Online Video series of posts:
  1. Confusion Over Small Format Video
  2. Online Video May Affect Production, Distribution and Our Income
  3. TV to Become Small Format Online Video More and More
  4. SNL Half Gets Online Video
  5. Warner Bros. Domestic TV Embraces Small Format/Online Video

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Sunday, April 02, 2006

 

Midwest Independent Film Festival April 4th

The Midwest Independent Film Festival takes place Tuesday, April 4th at 6 p.m. at the Landmark Century Centre Cinema, 2828 North Clark Street [Google Map].

Saturday, April 01, 2006

 

Good Quote:

One thing I've learned is that it is important to surround yourself with the kind of people you aspire to be. If you hang around with deadbeats and pessimists, you'll end up with a negative view of the world.
- Tom Kelley

 

Stress and the Actor

It was actually my grandmother who pointed out to me that being an actor is stressful; I had not consciously realized it before she pointed it out. The human body experiences performing in an off-broadway play almost exactly as it experiences a minor car accident (Michael Gellman, who among other things teaches at the Second City Training Center in Chicago). Here is a list of "How to Cut Back on Stress."

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