Monday, February 28, 2011

Good Theater, Better Lesson on who we are

Thurgood on HBO

I highly recommend an hour and a half of one man theater at its finest. I write this as an actor, a teacher and an American.
Laurence Fishburne’s one-man show Thurgood, based on the life of the late Civil Rights leader and Supreme Court Justice Thurgood Marshallis on HBO. Thurgood is the dramatic retelling of the life of Marshall, the first African American to be appointed to the Supreme Court.It deals with the fight for equality under the law, and Thurgoods personal experiences and memories.
The 90-minute performance was filmed in front of a live audience at the Kennedy Center’s Eisenhower Theater in Washington, D.C. last summer.
Thurgood, according to HBO, “is a compelling present-tense narration revisiting the turning points in his life and career as he remembers them. Recalling childhood stories of his family and home life in Baltimore, to his college days in North Carolina as an aspiring lawyer, Marshall recollects his triumphs over adversity to pursue a successful career in the judicial system fighting for human rights.”
By the way, Laurence Fishburne, who also served as writer of the play, was nominated for the stage’s highest honor, the Tony award, for his performance in Thurgood.

Jane Russell, star of '40s and '50s films, dies

Jane Russell, the dark-haired siren whose sensational debut in the 1943 film "“The Outlaw", filmed in Northern Nevada,” inspired producer Howard Hughes to challenge the power and strict morality of Hollywood's production code. Jane Russell, the voluptuous actress known for her roles in Gentlemen Prefer Blondes and The Outlaw along with her lifelong work as an advocate for adoption, passed away today in Santa Maria, CA. She was 89.

She remained active in charities, Christian groups and singing clubs up until a few weeks prior to here death.

The following is from her IMDB biography (click here for Filmography):

Ernestine Jane Geraldine Russell was born on June 21, 1921 in Bemidji, Minnesota. Her father was an US Army lieutenant and her mother had been a student of drama and an actress with a traveling troupe. Once Mr. Russell was mustered out of the service, the family took up residence in Canada, but moved to California when he found employment there.

The family was well-to-do and although Jane was the only girl among four brothers, her mother saw to it that she took piano lessons. In addition to music, Jane was interested in drama much as her mother had been and participated in high school stage productions. Upon graduation, Jane took a job as a receptionist for a doctor who specialized in foot disorders. Although she had originally planned on being a designer, her father died and she had to go to work to help the family. Jane modeled on the side and was very much sought-after especially because of her figure.

She managed to save enough money to go to drama school, with the urging of her mother. She was ultimately signed by Howard Hughes for his production of The Outlaw (1943) in 1941, the film that was to make Jane famous. The film wasn't a classic by any means, but was geared to show off Jane's ample physical assets. Although the film was made in 1941, it wasn't released until two years later and then only on a limited basis due to the way the film portrayed Jane's assets. It was hard for the flick to pass the censorship board. Finally, the film gained general release in 1946. The film was a smash at the box-office.

Jane didn't make another film until 1946 when she played Joan Kenwood in Young Widow (1946). She had signed a seven year contract with Hughes and it seemed the only films he would put her in were those that displayed Jane in a very flattering light due to her body. Films such as 1951's His Kind of Woman (1951) and The Las Vegas Story (1952) did nothing to showcase her true acting abilities. Probably the pinnacle of her career was in 1953's Gentlemen Prefer Blondes (1953) as Dorothy Shaw, with Marilyn Monroe. This film showed Jane's comedic side very well. Jane did continue to make films throughout the 1950s, but the films were at times not up to par, particularly with Jane's talents being wasted in forgettable movies in order to show off her sexy side. Films such as Gentlemen Marry Brunettes (1955) and The Revolt of Mamie Stover (1956) did do Jane justice and were able to show exactly the fine actress she was.

After The Fuzzy Pink Nightgown (1957) (a flop) in 1957, Jane took a hiatus from films, to dabble a bit in television, returning in 1964 to filmFate Is the Hunter (1964). Unfortunately, the roles were not there anymore as Jane appeared in only four pictures during the entire decade of the sixties. Her last film of the decade was 1967's The Born Losers (1967). After three more years away from the big screen, she returned to make one last film called Darker Than Amber (1970) in 1970. Her last play before the public was in the 1970s when Jane was a spokesperson for Playtex bras. Had Jane not been wasted during the Hughes years, she could have been a bigger actress than what she was allowed to show.

Casting African American Actors

We have 3 parts that need to be filled for the new series that we are working on. We need 2 black actresses and 1 black actor to play these characters. If you are interested in more information, please email me with resume and photos. Please include a full body and a head shot.

The series is 23 episodes long and all cast members will receive a portion of the royalties from DVD sales.

SAG on the ground supporting collective bargaining rights

Screen Actors Guild
Screen Actors Guild member Bradley Whitford (The West Wing), SAG and AFTRA National Board member Gabrielle Carteris (The Event, My Alibi, Beverly Hills, 90210), and AFTRA National Board member Robert Newman in Madison, Wisconsin to rally with other union members in support of Wisconsin workers on Sa

Screen Actors Guild SAG member Bradley Whitford on the ground in his hometown Madison: "United we stand!"

Actor Bradley Whitford speaks to a crowd of 70,000 in Madison, Wisconsin in support of workers' rights. Whitford and others are appalled at Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker's attempt to take away collective bargaining rights from public employees.

Ready for iPad 2?

The new iPad is due to be announced this week.

Increasingly iPads are going along in backpacks, camera bags and other carriers on location or around the studio in the motion picture, television and commercial production industries. The need met is portable, smaller than a laptop but far more flexible and easy to use than smaller keyboard based units.

What is expected in the iPad 2?

Those in the entertainment industry and the arts expect a wider range of video editing, other art applications, interface with tower and laptop computers and improved audio recording, editing and processing.

The new union may be thinner, lighter, faster, have a front facing camera, video chat and conference capable, pre-paid G3 and G4 capable (possibly with AT&T, Verison and a data only carrier), more computer function capable, improved but still limited "Flash", expanded application store and potentially interface with your iPhone for phone-video and instant ap and image sharing.

There are 60,000 iPad aps and over three million aps that run on iPhones and iPads.

Google and other competitors fall far short, with what many say are added steps or slower operating speeds on applications than on an Apple product.

Motorola's new pad has higher resolution on the the screen (but beyond what the eye can see on a surface that size), but does not interact as efficiently as an iPad.

While the iPad is expensive, competing products in the same category generally cost more, often much more.

As for books, Amazon took the upper hand by lowering prices, adding color and improving screen resolution. But, for the most part, all their "pad" does is books and magazines. Meanwhile Amazon Kindle works on iPads, Motorola, Google and even most Microsoft Vista phones and pads.

Of course the question is do you need an iPad?

For most day to day consumers, the answer is you do not need one.  However between smart phones and heavy advertising, little by little we area ll being convinced to go out and spring for yet another electronic device.

Feature Film Casting

Manic Entertainment is currently working on several full features. Various talent needed. This is not an agency of any kind. Please submit headshots and 2-3 lines about you to Casting Director: Dana Ceres, also notate a good contact number and location.

These are paid positions and travel is likely dependent upon character. We need the most ambitious, exciting individuals. You must have something unique about you. Unique features or qualities or voice is always a big sell.

All ages/types accepted. No phone calls please. Feel free to check our imdb resume to see project list.

PROJECT TITLE FOR THIS POSTING is for full feature "MESSES". This film is innovative so your thought process must be as well. It is a crazy full feature. You will be contracted out and pay is up to scale.

To get in touch, please visit the link below, the email contact is on the resume page.

Sean Peden

Dana Ceres
Assistant Director 

Note: this is from Craigslist. It implies union and non-union may audition. Use appropriate precautions.


Quick Release Productions is currently seeking actresses for adult video and website content.

Must be 18 years or older. Experience not necessary but preferred.

Auditions will be held 3/1 - 3/6.

Please reply with your name and contact information for resume submission instructions and consideration for an  audition/interview. 

Note: This is from Craigslist, so use appropriate precaution. "Experience not necessary" is always a red flag to consider.

Biker type needed

Large scale production casting for Major Casino on Vegas Strip needing:
"BIKER" types
aprox 40 yrs of age, bearded, heavy types desired for this character role in an energetic 'party' themed ad campaign!

Talent submitting for this $paid$ job:
***PLEASE PUT THE WORD 'CASINO-BIKER' in the subject line of your email.

***PLEASE ONLY SEND 2-3 photos-SMALL Jpegs ONLY -to be considered for these multiple roles.

***MUST BE 25 yrs of age to work in a Casino ad. Proof will be REQUIRED.

*If selected and invited to this casting, you will be REQUIRED TO ATTEND the CASTING this FRIDAY or SATURDAY, March 4th, 5th 2011

*THE USAGE IS : TWO YEAR non-exclusive, unlimited use in any and all media, excluding broadcast, North America for unlimited time.*Payment will be made by the ad agency thru payroll company Talent Partners. *Shoot day expected 10 hrs + 1 hr lunch. *Job will shot over multiple days, the week of 13 March 2011.

*Rates for Talent will be $400- $600 and meals provided.

*ALSO there will be a LARGE # of extras cast @ a rate of $125/day if you are willing to work as an EXTRA, please specify. 

F-bombs, NHL Hockey, The cost of canceling 3 1/2 Men, Oscar recap,

The Skinny: I'm not sure what the point was of having Anne Hathaway and James Franco host the Oscars to woo younger viewers if the rest of the show is designed to bore them as much as possible. Also, for future reference, the Oscars show is not a platform for the hosting network to parade an executive out there for what was basically a live commercial. Now that the Oscars are done, we can get back to important things, like where Charlie Sheen will rant next. My money's on Al Jazeera English.
The King's Oscar. Sunday night's Oscar show had few surprises. "The King's Speech" won the bulk of the major awards. "The Fighter" got its acting nods in the supporting categories, while "The Social Network" was friended by the academy for best adapted screenplay and best original score. Hosts James Franco and Anne Hathaway didn't embarrass themselves, but they sure weren't given any help by the show's producers. The opening and the first few awards seemed aimed at pushing away the very young viewers ABC and the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences said they wanted to attract. The opening was pointless to those who had not seen the films and offensive for those who had. Oscar coverage and analysis from the Los Angeles TimesNew York TimesVarietyHollywood ReporterTimeDaily Beast and USA Today.
The "F-bomb." Not only did one award winner get bleeped for the dangerous and overused word, but now a key moment in "The Kings Speech" has been removed so the studio can release a Walmart friendly non-R rated version (the only reason for the R rating was the F-word used only once and with key dramatic intent.Two days before the Academy Awards, the Motion Picture Assn. of America announced it has assigned a PG-13 rating to an alternative version of "The King's Speech" in which, a source says, the contentious profanity has been muted out of the film. Those who listened closely head the show's writer and star refer to the change in a less than approving ways.
Runaway Production, only one Oscar Contender filmed entirely in LA. The Focus Features film "The Kids Are All Right" may not walk away with an Academy Award Sunday night, but it does take the prize for being the only film among the 10 best picture nominations that was shot entirely in the city of Los Angeles. In a stark reminder of how few prominent films are still filmed in L.A. these days, nine of the best picture nominees were shot either outside of California  ("The King's Speech," "Black Swan," "127 Hours" and "True Grit") or only partially in Southern California ("Inception" and "The Social Network"). "I've been be doing this for over 30 years and we used to shoot almost everything here," said Ned Shapiro, location manager for "The Kids Are All Right." "Today, to have a film that's shot entirely in the city of L.A. -- it's almost unique."

Few takers for "Hall Pass." What is the point of having a hall pass if no one wants to come out to play? That's what Warner Bros. had to deal with as its new raunchy romantic comedy, "Hall Pass," underperformed in its opening weekend. Bombing big time was "Drive Angry," Nicolas Cage's latest attempt to make people forget what a good actor he once was. Finishing first was "Gnomeo and Juliet." Box office reports from the Los Angeles Times and Movie City News.
All Charlie all the time. Charlie Sheen is not going quietly into the night. Late last week, CBSand Warner Bros. shut down production on his show, "Two and a Half Men," after he took aim at the show's executive producer, Chuck Lorre, in a radio rant. This week, Sheen takes his tour to TV. He hit NBC's "Today" on Monday morning, and on Tuesday, ABC weighs in with a special "20/20" episode. Most interesting and perhaps sad about this whole affair was that none of Sheen's personal or legal woes or issues with women led CBS and Warner Bros. to pull the plug on the show; it was only when he dared badmouth producers and executives that they said that's enough. As for Sheen, he hopefully realizes that now the issue is not whether he is clean or not, but that he is bashing the brass. Wake me when it's over. The Los Angeles Times and New York Times on the messages the handling of the Sheen situation have sent.
The cost of shutting down "Two and a Half Men." While Charlie Sheen figures out who he'll rant to next, the network and the studio behind "Two and a Half Men," the hit sitcom he stars in, are no doubt crunching numbers to determine what financial hit they will take if the show is indeed over. The network will lose an unknown number of viewers and thus lost revenue on not only this show, but others in advertising. But it is not the network that will take the biggest hit. Warner Bros., which produces the show, has the most to lose if "Two and a Half Men" is over. Currently, CBS pays about $4 million per episode for the show. Warner Bros. uses that money to make the show, pay the cast, etc. But there is always money left over to keep in its pocket. Given that eight episodes won't be made this season, that translates to $32 million in lost license fees, several million of which would have been pure profit. People close to the show say Warner Bros. would lose about $10 million in profits from the four episodes alone Contractually, CBS is on the hook for one more season after this one, so if Sheen's character has indeed drank his whiskey and bedded his last broad, then that is an additional $96 million or so in license fees gone -- assuming that 24 episodes would be made next season. Then there is the rerun money. The cable channel FX pays about $800,000 per episode. That's $3.2 million right there that's gone for the episodes that won't be made this season. If the show is gone for good, then that number jumps to more than $22 million after factoring in the 24 episodes that would have been made next season. The local stations that carry repeats of "Two and a Half Men" collectively pay more than $1 million per episode and Warner Bros. also sells a portion of the ad time in those reruns. So if the show goes away, that is at least an additional $30 million or so gone. What is virtually impossible to put a number on is the long-term loss to Warner Bros. Like "Seinfeld," "Everybody Loves Raymond" and "Cheers," "Two and a Half Men" is going to live in reruns for a very long time. Over the next decade or so the revenue from lost episodes could easily be in the hundreds of millions from reruns both in the U.S. and abroad.
Pass the puck. Versus, the cable sports channel owned by Comcast Corp., is nearing the end of its deal to carry hockey. The NHL, looking to boost its deal from the current $77 million or so it gets from Versus, is hoping to woo other bidders -- including Fox and Turner Broadcasting as well as, of course, ESPN. Details from Sports Business Journal (just look further down the page on the link) and Sports Illustrated. As for NBC's deal, the peacock network -- now also owned by Comcast -- still has an exclusive negotiation window, per my pal John Ourand at Sports Business Journal. Meanwhile Comcast may focus on local affiliate and regional spots, taking a cue from how FOX built its sports programming.
Web video, what Web video? Brian Roberts, chief executive of Comcast Corp., the largest cable and broadband operator, sat down with the Wall Street Journal to shoot the breeze about the threat of online video, fixing NBC and the strength of the advertising market.
Piers pontificates. CNN's new prime-time talker, Piers Morgan, sat down with Broadcasting & Cable to assess his first several weeks on the air. He talked about his sliding ratings, his reputation for being to soft on stars and how he likes to watch himself on TV. Well, at least someone does.
Inside the Los Angeles Times: A further look at the economics of "Two and a Half Men" and what Charlie Sheen's war with CBS and Warner Bros. could mean. A look at ABC's Web efforts for the Oscars. RIP Dodgers great Duke Snyder.
Follow me on Twitter. There's really no other way.

Sunday, February 27, 2011

Sequels, Remakes, and 3-D Rip-Offs Dominate 2010 RAZZIE® Award “Winners”

The 31st Annual RAZZIE® Awards

 Voting members of The Golden Raspberry Award Foundation have sifted through the cinematic rubble of last year’s Berry Worst Achievements in Film, and come up with the “winners” for The 31st Annual RAZZIE® Awards. Results are announced in satirical ceremonies held at Hollywood’s Barnsdall Gallery Theatre at 7:30pm PST on Saturday, February 26, 2011 — the now traditional Night Before the Oscars®.
Not quite sweeping the ceremony, but still handily leading the pack among this year’s RAZZIE choices is RAZZIE Repeat Offender M. Night Shyamalan’s “re-imagining” of the faux-anime’ TV series THE LAST AIRBENDER into a jumbled, jump-cut mess of a movie that fans of the TV show hated even more than critics did (if that’s even possible!). In addition toWorst Director and Worst Picture, AIRBENDER also “won”Worst Screenplay, a brand-new RAZZIE category for 2010,Worst Eye-Gouging Mis-Use of 3-D, and Worst Supporting ActorJackson Rathbone (who had the misfortune to appear in both AIRBENDER and 2010’s other most-RAZZIE-nominated title,TWILIGHT SAGA: ECLIPSE).
The other big “winner” (if that’s the right term when speaking of these awards) was the bling-obsessed superslick chick flickSEX & THE CITY #2, which took gold-spray-painted statuettes for Worst SequelWorst Screen Ensemble (for its entire cast) and Worst Actress (presented jointly to the film’s four principles, Sarah Jessica ParkerKim CattrallCynthia Nixon and Kristen Davis).
Rounding out the field of this year’s sorriest cinematic losers were King of the Twittering Twits Ashton Kutcher as Worst Actor for both KILLERS and VALENTINE’S DAY, andJessica Alba, finally “winning” a RAZZIE with her fifth nomination. Alba was named Worst Supporting Actress for her “performances” in four films, THE KILLER INSIDE ME,LITTLE FOCKERS, MACHETE and VALENTINE’S DAY.Links to all of the “winners” are on right side of this page.
The RAZZIES® were created in 1980 as a logical antidote to Tinsel Town’s annual glut of self-congratulatory awards byJohn Wilson, author of The Official Razzie Movie Guide andEverything I Know I Learned at the Movies. “Winners” were determined by mailing ballots to 637 voters in 46 U.S. states and 17 foreign countries. Electronic voting and certification of this year’s Final RAZZIE® Ballot was handled Among the sponsors of this year’s awards and The Barnsdall Gallery Theatre is a facility of the City of Los Angeles Department of Cultural Affairs.
Follow RAZZIES on Twitter @razzieawards, andThe Razzie Channel on YouTube.

Why SAG and other unions are in the fight of their life...

The end of unions?

In the wake of sweeping Republican victories across the country, the Grand Old Party is using its moment in the sun to gun down a traditional rival, unions. While economist consider collective bargaining, or the right of groups to form to counter the forces of wealth or corporations, a necessary part of capitalism, conservative Republicans see no such things, saying that the marketplace is best without any chains or limitations.

The concept of workers rights came out of repression, and the economic realization that workers are capital themselves, an asset worthy of protection and inclusion our capitalistic system. In the Internet age, and the age of high profits ad the control of wealth by an increasingly small percentage of the population (just as was the case when modern unions formed, sometimes with blood shed in the process), workers have become numbers and their incomes or benefits, a liability instead of an asset.

Wisconsin is not alone, as Indiana, Ohio and other traditional union states have overnight Republican pushed challenges to the existence of unions and the vital role of unions in a balanced democratic capitalistic society.

Click on "read more" below for more on this story and a link to a story in today's Wall Street Journal.