Please read NATE AND KELLY


NATE and KELLY 100th Anniversary Edition

NATE and KELLY 100th Anniversary Edition


If anything I’ve written has informed or inspired you, please consider reading my novel NATE AND KELLY.

2015 is the 100th anniversary of the PANAMA-PACIFIC INTERNATIONAL EXPOSITION of 1915 in San Francisco, California, the setting for the novel.

It’s dramatic historical fiction about the most fascinating year of the 20th century: 1915.

“Here’s the deal, father. The three of us and mom and Pamela are going to New York City. We are going to start a new advertising business there; the city is good for that. We are all getting a brand new start. It’s time for us to believe that the future will bring prosperity and wonder again.”

Read the reviews. Get the eBook for only $1.00 for Barnes & Noble NOOK, for Amazon Kindle, and for various eBook versions via Smashwords.

TRUMP AND PUTIN ARE BEHIND THE HACK OF THE DNC EMAILS


trump-and-putin

LET’S BE CLEAR ABOUT THIS: TRUMP AND PUTIN ARE BEHIND THE HACK OF THE DNC EMAILS AND THEIR RELEASE JUST PRIOR TO THE DEMOCRATIC NATIONAL CONVENTION.

Stolen emails posted by Wikileaks show DNC officials scoffing at Sanders and his supporters and in one instance, questioning his commitment to his Jewish religion. Some emails also show DNC and White House officials mulling whether to invite guests with controversial backgrounds to Democratic party events.

This is not about being pro- or anti-Hillary or the DNC. This is about a foreign enemy manipulating an American election in collusion with a presidential candidate. This is worse than WATERGATE. The Federal Bureau of Investigation is investigating the hack into the Democratic National Committee.

Donald Trump is now doing the equivalent of what he said he could do. He bragged, “I could stand in the middle of 5th Avenue and shoot somebody and I wouldn’t lose voters.” (http://www.cnn.com/2016/01/23/politics/donald-trump-shoot-somebody-support/) Now he is bringing despot Vladimir Putin and Russia into the American election in order to push Trump toward the presidency, and even with this revelation, Trump will not lose voters. Trump will not lose any supporters because those who should be outraged are too busy with their blind hatred of Hillary Clinton.

Sound far-fetched? Here are some facts behind the DNC email hack, and it should scare you to death.

-THE TRUMP / PUTIN TIMELINE
-HERE IS WHAT HAPPENED NOW
-TRUMP IS IN PUTIN’S POCKET
-TRUMP LAUNDERS MONEY FOR THE RUSSIAN MAFIA
-TRUMP PROTECTS PUTIN’S RUSSIAN INCURSIONS
-TRUMP’S PEOPLE ARE PUTIN’S PEOPLE
-DENIALS BUT NO DOUBT THAT PUTIN STOLE THE EMAILS

Donald Trump has exceeded the damage of Watergate by bringing in a foreign enemy: Vladimir Putin, the aspiring despot with plans to rebuild a new Soviet Union to dominate the world. Trump is in Putin’s pocket.

Aside from Trump’s gushing admiration for the ruler of Russia, which includes Trump’s egocentric response, “A guy calls me a genius and they want me to renounce him? I’m not going to renounce him.” (http://elitedaily.com/news/politics/donald-trump-vladimir-putin-bromance/1527696/), here are some important facts:

THE TRUMP / PUTIN TIMELINE

The DNC emails were hacked more than a month ago by the Russians.

( http://www.nbcnews.com/politics/politics-news/democratic-national-committee-breached-russian-hackers-n592061)
(http://www.reuters.com/a…/us-usa-election-hack-idUSKCN0Z0205)
(https://www.washingtonpost.com/world/national-security/russian-government-hackers-penetrated-dnc-stole-opposition-research-on-trump/2016/06/14/cf006cb4-316e-11e6-8ff7-7b6c1998b7a0_story.html)

Was it a big deal then? Why wasn’t attention paid to it then? Because Trump and Putin worked together to set up this hack and release it to Wikileaks on schedule to make the most impact against the Democrats, thereby helping Trump.

Although the hacking of the DNC was known to officials and cyber security experts a month ago, the timing of the release of the contents of communications within the party is what is causing concern for U.S. authorities.

This is much larger than the irritation and outrage over the content of the DNC emails.

The Trump / Putin criminal action is this century’s cyber equivalent of the Watergate Break-In, in which Republican Richard Nixon and his team of “Plumbers” plotted how to manipulate the 1972 election in order to beat Democratic George McGovern. The fallout from the Watergate Break-In and its cover-up caused great harm to the government and the country. (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Watergate_scandal)

Trump and Putin are well beyond a simple burglary. They now are using cyberspace and an entire government we see as a foreign threat as their break-in, and they crossed international borders to do their theft.

HERE IS WHAT HAPPENED NOW

The Trump / Putin partnership made a deal to release the Russian-hacked DNC emails to WikiLeaks on Friday, 22 July 2016, the weekend before the Democratic party. https://wikileaks.org/dnc-emails/

The Trump / Putin partnership pushed the issue forward with all the media that each controls.

The Trump machine went to work to create divisive headlines making wrong claims about the contents of the emails, knowing no sane person would go through the WikiLeaks site.

As planned, the headlines offered “proof” about conspiracy theories, rigged primaries, dishonest vote counting, and voter suppression. Bernie supporters were enraged as the Democratic National Convention began.

Where were those headlines from? The OBSERVER, with its headlines such as “Wikileaks Proves Primary Was Rigged: DNC Undermined Democracy” (http://observer.com/2016/07/wikileaks-proves-primary-was-rigged-dnc-undermined-democracy/). The OBSERVER is a Trump family owned and operated propaganda rag (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jared_Kushner).

Liar Trump himself — analysts show that at least 80% of whatever Donald Trump says, is a lie http://www.politifact.com/personalities/donald-trump/) — posted on Twitter, “Leaked e-mails of DNC show plans to destroy Bernie Sanders. Mock his heritage and much more. On-line from Wikileakes, really vicious. RIGGED” (https://twitter.com/realDonaldTru…/status/756804886038192128)

As bad as some of the stolen private emails are, the accusation of “rigged” primaries is not proven by them.

Russian propaganda has also gone full throttle for Trump. Putin uses the Russia Today news operation to thrash Hillary Clinton and hail the “courage” of Trump’s “foreign policy,” which is puppetry of Putin.

Putin ordered all Russian-controlled media to stand behind Trump and push the American election to the GOPTeaParty candidate.

Putin has propped up Trump with money since Trump could not access normal capital and debt after his bankruptcies. With Trump’s run for the presidency, suddenly Putin can have control over Trump and the USA because of the hundreds of millions of dollars provided to Trump.

Putin routinely pressures politicians and business people to support Russia-backed policies and to sow discord in Western-aligned states. To suddenly face the possibility of a U.S. President in his pocket is too good of an opportunity to let slip by. And so, he is getting messy. (http://www.slate.com/articles/news_and_politics/cover_story/2016/07/vladimir_putin_has_a_plan_for_destroying_the_west_and_it_looks_a_lot_like.html )

TRUMP IS IN PUTIN’S POCKET

Trump’s famous bankruptcies are not merely embarrassing and not, as Trump wantS his followers to believe, inconsequential. Because he ran companies into bankruptcy, Trump was blacklisted at the major banks in this country. He had to rely on money from Russia since then. He has made numerous trips to Moscow in search of business opportunities and relied on Russian investors for the cash needed to buy properties around the world.

“Russians make up a pretty disproportionate cross-section of a lot of our assets,” Trump’s son, Donald Jr., told a real estate conference in 2008. “We see a lot of money pouring in from Russia.” (https://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/inside-trumps-financial-ties-to-russia-and-his-unusual-flattery-of-vladimir-putin/2016/06/17/dbdcaac8-31a6-11e6-8ff7-7b6c1998b7a0_story.html)

Trump cannot find capital in America to keep afloat, so rebuilt his financial empire with capital available through Vladimir Putin. Trump receives lots of investment capital from Putin and his people. (http://talkingpointsmemo.com/edblog/trump-putin-yes-it-s-really-a-thing)

The overwhelming consensus among American political and national security leaders has held that Putin is a pariah who disregards human rights and has violated international norms in seeking to regain influence and territory in the former Soviet bloc—an assessment that continued until Donald Trump stepped in. Now, as Trump must embrace Putin in order to keep his Russian cash-flow, Trump is convincing his followers to toe the Russia line. (https://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/inside-trumps-financial-ties-to-russia-and-his-unusual-flattery-of-vladimir-putin/2016/06/17/dbdcaac8-31a6-11e6-8ff7-7b6c1998b7a0_story.html)

“Donald Trump is like the Kremlin’s favored candidates, only more so. He celebrated the United Kingdom’s exit from the EU. He denounces NATO with feeling. He is also a great admirer of Vladimir Putin. Trump’s devotion to the Russian president has been portrayed as buffoonish enthusiasm for a fellow macho strongman. But Trump’s statements of praise amount to something closer to slavish devotion. In 2007, he praised Putin for ‘rebuilding Russia.’ A year later he added, ‘He does his work well. Much better than our Bush.’ When Putin ripped American exceptionalism in a New York Times op-ed in 2013, Trump called it ‘a masterpiece.’ Despite ample evidence, Trump denies that Putin has assassinated his opponents: ‘In all fairness to Putin, you’re saying he killed people. I haven’t seen that.’ In the event that such killings have transpired, they can be forgiven: ‘At least he’s a leader.’ And not just any old head of state: ‘I will tell you that, in terms of leadership, he’s getting an A.’” (http://www.slate.com/articles/news_and_politics/cover_story/2016/07/vladimir_putin_has_a_plan_for_destroying_the_west_and_it_looks_a_lot_like.html)

Trump’s tax returns could clarify the depth of his connections to and dependence on Russian capital aligned with Putin. That’s why Trump keeps the tax returns secret. Because of his bankruptcies, his debt load has grown dramatically, from $350 million to $630 million. This has not come from U.S. banks, where he is blacklisted. It has come from Putin’s Russia.

An article in the Moscow Times described Trump as the city’s first grand builder since Stalin. He planned to develop the site where Stalin once hoped to construct the Palace of Soviet Congresses. Other builders who proposed such projects were literally slaughtered by the Russian Mafia. (Remember Trump’s reaction to Putin assassinations?) Trump was not.

Putin’s officials claimed that they wanted to do business with Trump because they consider his ‘brand’ that he so viciously works on to be ‘super premium.’ General-turned-politician Alexander Lebed told Putin, “If Trump goes to Moscow, I think America will follow.”

Trump bragged about a meeting where “almost all of the oligarchs were in the room.” (http://www.slate.com/articles/news_and_politics/cover_story/2016/07/vladimir_putin_has_a_plan_for_destroying_the_west_and_it_looks_a_lot_like.html)

TRUMP LAUNDERS MONEY FOR THE RUSSIAN MAFIA

Trump SoHo was developed with convicted felons and financing from questionable sources in Russia and Kazakhstan. Trump raised money from a front company that included criminals Felix H. Sater and Salvatore Lauria among other Russians in New York who were part of the Russian Mafia laundering money by investing in Trump’s properties. Other Trump properties have been funded this way. (http://www.nytimes.com/2016/04/06/us/politics/donald-trump-soho-settlement.html?_r=2)

Trump, of course, has always been involved with the mob in America. (https://www.facebook.com/notes/michael-r-barnard/donald-trump-and-the-mobs-that-control-new-york-city-construction/10153900465867114)

TRUMP PROTECTS PUTIN’S RUSSIAN INCURSIONS

On the Republican Platform, Trump did not care about anything in it except this one issue: Trump suddenly took interest in one plank and fought hard to remove it: a party platform plank about the U.S. assisting Ukraine to fight against Russian military operations! That was the only time Trump cared about the GOP platform, and he had it squashed. (https://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/global-opinions/trump-campaign-guts-gops-anti-russia-stance-on-ukraine

Trump, pressured by Putin because of his financial ties, already has laid groundwork for dismantling NATO, one of Putin’s expressed goals. Trump sent alarm rippling through Eastern Europe after he said the U.S. would only defend NATO states attacked by Russia if those nations “have fulfilled their obligations to us,” his strongest comments to date on the military alliance’s future if he enters the White House. (http://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2016-07-21/trump-says-u-s-may-not-defend-nato-allies-against-russia-attack-iqvw8gki)

TRUMP’S PEOPLE ARE PUTIN’S PEOPLE

Paul Manafort, campaign manager and top advisor to Trump, was top campaign and communications advisor for Viktor Yanukovych, the pro-Russian Ukrainian Prime Minister, and remains a close Putin ally. Manafort is running Trump’s campaign. (http://lawnewz.com/high-profile/that-time-paul-manafort-was-sued-by-fmr-ukrainian-prime-minister-for-scheming-and-money-laundering/)

Carter Page, one of Trump’s few advisors (“I advise myself. I have a very good brain,” said Trump) spent his entire professional career in investments with Russia. He is a billionaire developer and entertainer with no government experience. What Page has for Trump is deep and continuing financial and employment ties to Gazprom, a monolithic Soviet-era utility company now mostly owned by Putin. Gazprom has such a huge role in the Russian political and economic system that you cannot be involved as Page has been without being wholly in alignment with Putin’s policies. Autocratic leader Putin can put Gazprom out of business at any time because it is so entwined with Putin’s government. Page pushes for Russian money for Trump. (http://www.bloomberg.com/politics/articles/2016-03-30/trump-russia-adviser-carter-page-interview)

DENIALS BUT NO DOUBT THAT PUTIN STOLE THE EMAILS TO BENEFIT TRUMP

VICE published “All Signs Point to Russia Being Behind the DNC Hack” and says, “Digitally exfiltrating and then publishing possibly manipulated documents disguised as freewheeling hacktivism is crossing a big red line and setting a dangerous precedent.” (https://motherboard.vice.com/read/all-signs-point-to-russia-being-behind-the-dnc-hack)

Many cyber experts echo what Bob Gourley, a former chief technology officer for the Defense Intelligence Agency and now the co-founder and partner Cognitio, a cybersecurity consultancy, describes. “The software code that I have seen from the hack had all the telltale signs of being Russian, including code re-used from other attacks,” Gourley said. “This is a really big deal. Some people in the community are saying this is the Russians pretending to be a hacker, then giving that information to Julian Assange is all part of an operation.” Assange founded WikiLeaks, which was the depository Trump and Putin chose for the release of the stolen DNC emails just as the Democratic National Convention began. (http://www.bloomberg.com/view/articles/2016-07-25/cybersecurity-experts-say-russia-hacked-the-democrats and http://www.nbcnews.com/news/us-news/why-experts-think-russia-hacked-dnc-emails-n616486)

The FBI is investigating, and U.S. officials say there is no doubt that the email hack was the work of Putin in an effort to assure the election of Donald Trump. (http://www.thedailybeast.com/articles/2016/07/25/fbi-suspects-russia-hacked-dnc-u-s-officials-say-it-was-to-elect-donald-trump.html)

The New York Times reported, “An unusual question is capturing the attention of cyberspecialists, Russia experts and Democratic Party leaders in Philadelphia: Is Vladimir V. Putin trying to meddle in the American presidential election? Until Friday, that charge, with its eerie suggestion of a Kremlin conspiracy to aid Donald J. Trump, has been only whispered. But the release on Friday of some 20,000 stolen emails from the Democratic National Committee’s computer servers, many of them embarrassing to Democratic leaders, has intensified discussion of the role of Russian intelligence agencies in disrupting the 2016 campaign.” (http://www.nytimes.com/2016/07/25/us/politics/donald-trump-russia-emails.html?smid=fb-nytimes&smtyp=cur)

It all comes down to this: Trump, who has been invoking Richard Nixon with his “law-and-order candidate” proclamation, his claim of “a silent majority” justifying him, and his “secret plan to end the war” on terrorism – each a trademark statement of Richard Nixon, has also stepped up Nixon’s most infamous failure, the Watergate Break-In. Trump is doing it HUGE, of course. He brought in Putin and Russia, and made it a major cybercrime.

Trump’s infamous ugly and offensive caps might as well say, “Make America 1972 Again”.

 

KICKSTARTER steps up for corporate responsibility, becomes new Benefit Corporation


If you follow business issues, particularly corporate entity structure and how the existing incorporation laws require companies to ignore the common good in favor of shareholder profits, then you may have applauded the recent creation of a new corporate entity form: the Benefit Corporation (also referred to as a “B-Corporation”). The popular current corporate structure (referred to as a “C-Corporation”) often comes under fire from all sides of the political spectrum because of the damage done to the economy, environment, and citizens as a result of its traditional focus on short-term profits. See, for example, “Clinton outlines steps to curb U.S. companies’ focus on short-term profits“.

Social funding site KICKSTARTER has just now converted to a Benefit Corporation.

KICKSTARTER

KICKSTARTER

Continue reading

“The gunman is dead.”


ALONE photo by Tiago Aguiar ALONE photo by Tiago Aguiar

“The gunman is dead.”

We hear that so often. There is an aspect to this that confounds understanding of a serious mental and emotional health issue and reveals how ultimately self-absorbed we are.

The image of mass murderers as “suicidal” burns into the minds of each of us, stewing in the pot of fears that we might be the next innocent victims. By making this confusion legitimate in our minds, we fail to address the real issues. We wallow in this false issue, top-of-mind because of our self-absorption.

“Is he going to kill ME?” is a basis for much misunderstanding of suicide risk and suicidal behavior. Continue reading

The new Detroit?


Manhattan from Brooklyn Bridge (c) Michael R. Barnard 2011

Manhattan from Brooklyn Bridge

I have often said that New York City is rapidly becoming an anachronism, so full of itself that it has lost track of humanity, unaware of being displaced logistically by the dispersion of everything that once made it imperative as the center of everything. Continue reading

HOT CAR


I said to myself, for quite some time now, “I gotta do SOMETHING.” Tired of projects failing, hating the junior high cliquishness of crowdfunding, realizing it’s been too many years. I sought the Holy Grail of indie filmmaking: two people, one room, one day.

So, at Thanksgiving time, I took an inventory of what I had:
-A living room where I’m housesitting.
-An old car.
-A creepy old man.
-A couple storylines that had been ‘backstory’ for my failed passion project EVERYBODY SAYS GOODBYE–The Story of a Father and Son.
-Zero dollars.
-Some connections in the acting community in Fresno.
-The upcoming SUNDANCE FILM FESTIVAL.
-A pathetic old computer that almost runs Adobe Creative Suite (I’ve used Adobe since 2001).

The result: HOT CAR. I finished it yesterday (damn pathetic computer!) and am bringing it with me for the fun of it when I head to SUNDANCE tomorrow.

“The worlds of an old man and a young man collide as each faces the end of his own life.”

It’s MATURE (language, nudity, sexual situations) and NSFW.

http://youtu.be/P5zfhD2GSo4

I hope you find it interesting and involving.

Michael

The Present Threat to the Internet


TIGER Photo by Paula Borowska

Photo by Paula Borowska

WHAT IS THE THREAT TO NET NEUTRALITY?

Millions of American citizens have flooded the FCC website with comments to let the agency know our demand for Net Neutrality. Many citizens are intimidated by this wonky and technical issue, knowing they do not fully understand the complex issues or its importance and urgency.

The threats to the Internet are real, and now newly-empowered scurrilous politicians, demagogues, and greedy mega-corporations are mounting huge campaigns to scuttle Net Neutrality so that the corporations can use their power over the Internet for political purposes, for demagoguery, and for profiteering.

Continue reading

How to Start Writing a Screenplay


TYPEWRITER Photo by Florian Klauer

Photo by Florian Klauer


There are a lot of screenwriting gurus. That’s because there are so many people who want to write screenplays and are scared to death about doing it wrong. It seems that, for every 100 people who are afraid of the number of brads that must be in a script (two), the typeface that must be used (Courier 11), the right software (FINAL DRAFT for $$, CELTX for free), and every other element that they think is the key to the magic kingdom of screenwriting success, there are at least a couple gurus who have all the answers.

That’s all good, but it seems to me, from the comments I always hear from people who want to start writing screenplays, the ‘take-away’ is always wrong. The wrong “rules” are assumed to be the most important.
Continue reading

BARNARD’S LAWS


BOOK Photo by Alejandro Escamilla

Photo by Alejandro Escamilla

Barnard’s Law No. 1
The greatest need of man is not food, shelter, or even sex. It’s the need to re-write what another has written.

Barnard’s Law No. 2
It’s not the idea. It’s the execution.

Barnard’s Law No. 3
Dinosaurs never see it coming.

Barnard’s Law No. 4
The responsibility to communicate is upon the communicator, not the listener.

Barnard’s Law No. 5
The job of children is to play. The job of teens is to deceive their parents. The job of adults is to slay their demons.

Barnard’s Law No. 6
Clarity is the soul of communication.

Barnard’s Law No. 7
Life is full of grand plans that suddenly need to be fixed with duct tape, and that’s okay.

Barnard’s Law No. 8
Be succinct. A short PowerPoint slide with just ten bullet points was good enough for God.

Barnard’s Law No. 9
In any group, the majority will misunderstand much of what you’re sure they understand.

Barnard’s Law No. 10
Hysteria breeds where context is ignored. Looking at results of history without knowledge of history leads to poor judgment and prejudice.

Barnard’s Law No. 11
The Internet demands of everyone that they be outraged by everything. It then amplifies it.

Barnard’s Law No. 12
Everyone else’s mess is far worse than our own mess. Roommates, especially.

Barnard’s Law No. 13
Heroes run in the opposite direction than the rest of us.

My Bumpy Road Through “Hollywood” — A Venom in the Blood


BARNARD BUYS VENOM RIGHTS - Daily Variety

BARNARD BUYS VENOM RIGHTS – Daily Variety


Two decades ago, I bought a book.

In producer-speak, that means I acquired the rights via option to make a movie from a book. I knew a TV news reporter, and she had made contact with a reclusive author who wrote a book she thought I might be interested in. Actually, “reclusive” is too weak of a term; we both had determined that the author was in hiding. Contact was difficult and cryptic. Nonetheless, he and I got on the phone, and he figured that I would be someone he’d like to work with to get his book made into a movie, and I liked the deal, too. We sealed the deal without ever meeting.
Continue reading

Do Indies Deserve a Shot in California? [updated]


HOLLYWOOD Photo by Florian Klauer

Photo by Florian Klauer

#DoIndiesDeserveAShot?

Congratulations to our state for AB 1839, the California Film and Television Job Retention and Promotion Act of 2014 that has been sailing through the State legislation process.

For more than a decade, film production in the state has been dropping, and has dropped nearly 50 percent. PAID independent film work seems to have disappeared entirely.
Continue reading

My Bumpy Road Through “Hollywood” — Consumed by a Passion Project


FILMMAKER Magazine

FILMMAKER Magazine

Michael R Barnard photo 500 px

 

How Is a Filmmaker Consumed by a Passion Project?

The following is a guest post from Michael R. Barnard, who is in the final days of an Indiegogo campaign for his film, Everybody Says Goodbye: The Story of a Father and Son.

For many years, I have been chasing a motion picture project that has completely consumed me. It’s called Everybody Says Goodbye: The Story of a Father and Son, and I first began writing the screenplay in 1998. Having come so close to making the movie a few times, I keep referring to this project as “a fish-hook in the eye” because it’s impossible for me to ignore and walk away from.

[read more…]

 

 

My Bumpy Road Through “Hollywood” — The Mean Streets


CITY STREET Photo by Israel Sundseth

Photo by Israel Sundseth

I spent a lot of time on the mean streets of Hollywood. I lived there, worked there, had friends there, I walked them a lot. My screenplay for the feature film EVERYBODY SAYS GOODBYE—The Story of a Father and Son is set there, in 1998.

The sketchy stretch of Santa Monica Boulevard between La Brea Avenue and Vine Street is a little nicer now, but not by much. There has always been a veneer of potential violence.

It’s a little different style-wise, too. Back in the 1990s, if you saw a couple walking hand-in-hand along this stretch, and that couple was of opposite genders, and if each of them were their original gender, then you knew they were scared tourists separated from their tour group. Continue reading

My Bumpy Road Through “Hollywood” — There Was a Recession in 1991


BEAR Photo by Thomas Lefebvre

BEAR Photo by Thomas Lefebvre


(originally published April 22, 2010)

There was a recession in 1991. Not as big as this Great Recession, but big nonetheless. A hallmark of the 1991 recession was that, for the first time ever, a recession had a negative impact on “Hollywood” [Entertainment Weekly, 2/22/91: “How will the recession affect Hollywood?”], [Den of Geek, 8/18/14: “How 1991 nearly broke Hollywood”]. Home video, cable TV, and video games had broadened the “biz” and brought commodity vagaries to the tightly-controlled movie biz. It was also the time of the burgeoning new indie film biz, which blossomed in the late 1980s. And I, of course, was trying to get a movie made. Continue reading

My Bumpy Road Through “Hollywood” — When Prince was king


PRINCE

PRINCE


A friend just now found and sent to me this post from  Prince.org, the Prince fan site that described how I pulled off the production of Prince’s ALPHABET STREET video on impossible notice! It is from the book, Possessed: The Rise and Fall of Prince by Alex Hahn. Funny that I’ve never seen this before.

I remember Prince stopping me in the hall outside his apartment at Paisley Park Studios with a big grin on his face, saying “All the people in Hollywood are freaking out. They say, ‘Prince went and made a garage video!'” He enjoyed that, especially since it was a full three-camera shoot with a complete crew inside his brand-spanking-new mammoth sound stage at Paisley Park Studios.

The video of ALPHABET STREET, which premiered on MTV way back when, seems to be lost online; it’s apparently forbidden from YouTube.

Here’s the story, from Prince’s manager at the time, Alan Leeds:

On the ‘the New P♥wer of L♥vesexy’ thread from March 30, 2012: Continue reading

FCC’s vision for an elite Internet for the 1% leaves common folks in the dust


KEYBOARD AND MOUSE Photo by Rayi Christian Wicaksono

KEYBOARD AND MOUSE Photo by Rayi Christian Wicaksono

FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler yesterday responded to the dismay about the proposal for an elite Internet path in his blog post, “Setting the Record Straight on the FCC’s Open Internet Rules“.

Image

The uncomfortable part of Chairman Wheeler’s discussion is his statement, “The Court of Appeals made it clear that the FCC could stop harmful conduct if it were found to not be ‘commercially reasonable.’” This implies the intractable presumption that the corporate conglomerates should hold sway over the allowed traffic on our Internet, a position to be expected from a former cable and wireless industry lobbyist (Wheeler). Continue reading

The Internet needs to be free. [UPDATED APRIL 23 2014]


FLOCK OF BIRDS Photo by Fré Sonneveld

FLOCK OF BIRDS Photo by Fré Sonneveld

THE INTERNET NEEDS TO BE FREE

Yes, free.

That’s not a statement about pricing, it’s a statement about democracy.

This is what is commonly referred to as “Net Neutrality.”

The following blog post keeps evolving since its original posting in 2010, because the concept of “Net Neutrality” (or the attempt at a more popular term, “The Open Internet“) is vibrant.

UPDATE AS OF APRIL 23, 2014

Breaking news:

I guess it’s time to say goodbye to the many independent online film distribution companies who offer streaming and downloading of independent movies. The F.C.C., in a complete turn-around on the principles of Net Neutrality, just announced that they are abandoning the principle that Internet users should have equal ability to see any content they choose. The F.C.C. plans to allow Comcast, Verizon FiOS, etc., to negotiate separately with each content company – the BIG, WEALTHY, EXCLUSIVE companies like Netflix, Amazon, Disney, Google – to have them pay for good video delivery.

Aside from the democracy of the Internet, that does not look good for the competition of small distributors, nor for indie filmmakers themselves, whose voice will not be allowed on those company’s libraries of titles.

See “F.C.C., in ‘Net Neutrality’ Turnaround, Plans to Allow Fast Lane

This subject is currently getting louder. By the end of March, 2014, it heated up in a war of words.
Continue reading

Equity Crowdfunding is dead for us. What’s next?


DEAD CAR Photo by Kristian Karlsson

DEAD CAR Photo by Kristian Karlsson


If you remember that there once was a glimmer of hope for more sustainable financing for innovative small business (and, for my concern, an indie film industry) through “Equity Crowdfunding” as demanded by the JOBS Act of 2012, the fact is that it’s not going to happen. It’s already far past the Act’s imposed deadlines because the concept is anathema to the entrenched and self-interested bureaucracy.
Continue reading

How to Survive on Set Without Looking Like an Asshole


Nice compilation of things sometimes overlooked.

CALLAM RODYA actor, etc.

Callam Rodya as Roddy with 3rd AD Alex Pitzel slating the shot on the set of "Stalking by Numbers". Callam Rodya as Roddy with 3rd AD Alex Pitzel slating the shot on the set of “Stalking by Numbers”.

When it comes to film work, actors have it the easiest. Don’t argue. You know it’s true.

In case you need a bit more convincing, consider this:

  • We’re the last ones called and the first ones wrapped.
  • There is a team on set whose sole job is to make us look beautiful.
  • They tell us where to stand, where to walk, and what to say, and they even put down little pieces of tape for us and print out our lines on little pocket-sized sheets to make it extra easy.
  • We get to stay warm in the trailer while they’re out there in a snow storm setting up the shot.
  • We usually get paid better.
  • We get all the credit.

Don’t get me wrong, acting is extremely difficult (especially when you…

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Corporate Conglomerates Battle to Regain Gatekeeper Status


CITY Photo by Oleg Chursin

CITY Photo by Oleg Chursin


The merger between Comcast and Time Warner Cable is a powerful situation that has broad negative implications for society and for filmmakers specifically. It’s not simply a business issue, it’s a democracy issue.

The merger between Comcast and Time Warner Cable is another deliberate attack on Net Neutrality.

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List of Filmmaking People and Resources


LEAP Photo by Joshua Earle

LEAP Photo by Joshua Earle


I have begun to build a list of filmmakers and filmmaking resources with a social media presence on Twitter. You are welcome, please, to help build this list. Let’s make it into a resource that can help build the indie feature film industry.

 

Filmmaking

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Crippling Digital Distribution for Indie Filmmakers: the Death of Net Neutrality


BLANK COMPUTER Photo by Alejandro Escamilla

BLANK COMPUTER Photo by Alejandro Escamilla


On my way to Sundance Film Festival 2014, news broke (see “Federal appeals court strikes down rules protecting net neutrality” at http://www.latimes.com/business/technology/la-fi-tn-net-neutrality-federal-appeals-court-20140114,0,2138188.story#ixzz2qlsuWDSC) that made two problems painfully clear, and they will have a huge impact on filmmakers:
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The independent filmmaking industry needs a new relationship with investors [UPDATED]


LONELY INVESTOR Photo by Alejandro Escamilla

LONELY INVESTOR Photo by Alejandro Escamilla


Prolific indie film producer Ted Hope, who spent the past year as Executive Director of the San Francisco Film Society (as of June 2015, a Production Executive at AMAZON STUDIOS), recently posted “Towards A Sustainable Investor Class: Accessing Quality Projects” as a call to build a healthy independent filmmaking industry. As always, he makes an astute and excellent comment about the big picture of indie filmmaking. We engaged in a conversation, and here’s my comment about the industry and investors: Continue reading