Topics » “Industry”

A Letter to People Who Work @ Companies

Wednesday, November 13th, 2013

Dear People who work at companies,

We write the jokes.  We write your music.  We start the companies that fail, but sometimes succeed.  We produce your reality [television].     WE are the people who take the chances.  We also in most cases have to go it alone.  We ARE the CREATIVE MINORITY.

YET– We, together, have virtually no special representation in government.   We are taxed more.  We don’t have an interest group.

We DO have power though.  We’re the ones that step out of line.  We know how to write the jokes.  We know how to effect your minds through imagery.  When we DO get together you notice things, but just like atheists, we tend to not all pray to the same god (or any god at all).  As the ones who may not even realize our powers of manipulation, those of us who do are often afraid to use them for our own purposes because we think its tacky.  We CREATE things.  Without us– nothing new.  Yes Jesus himself started out this way.

This is the Creative Minority.

So when Bill Clinton said that Obama should honor his repeated commitments to let us keep our health insurance, and mentioned the young people involved here– let me put more of a face on this issue.

In my past, I have clearly supported Barack Obama.  I worked on his 08′ campaign.  I even openly and early (when it counted because I had something to lose) warned President Obama that the people he was “paling around with” on technology were not inclusive of the best of us from that era.   This type of risk, at best made the people that circle him act weird to me, at worst, privately try to destroy the progress we genuinely tried to create.  I believe Obama when he says they didn’t tell him the website was busted– they are good at covering their tracks while not doing things, I’m only sorry that it may have just undermined the central argument of liberalism for a generation, that the government can DO things:

So My insurance was canceled.  I was incredibly happy with my plan.  I had over $200k in medical bills in February because of a ‘surfing accident’(I know its not like I had cancer) – it cost me $6000 out of pocket and I paid only $139 a month.   This was a fucking AMAZING plan.

In the new plan that’s ‘better for me’ because I was getting ripped off somehow with the old one, my premiums more than doubled.  Services I didnt think should be covered like acupuncture were(no offense to accupuncture, I’d just rather pay out of pocket, its cheaper!), other things were cut, like the size of my network of doctors.  I was willing to deal with this when I got the notice two months ago.     The Media which doesn’t really mediate anymore but follows SHINY OBJECTS didnt report on the cancellations back then.  THEY are being PLAYED right now.

I have spoken to two groups of friends in this market of which I clearly have many.   There are those of us who, like myself, are good soldiers and are willing to pay more to help other people get health care and remove the pre-existing condition even if it means we’re the ones shouldering the costs yet again.  Then there are others who rightfully are pissed off or in denial about what’s going on with them.  The website fix won’t help this, the information is actually out there for those who want to find it.  When they find it, you can’t just tell them they’re wrong.

What bothers me is not this increase.  It bothers me when they try to belittle this meager 5% of the population of several million people(we’re roughly larger than the proper populations of NYC, LOS ANGELES, CHICAGO & SF put together).  We exist.  We shoulder a lot of things and don’t complain about them, or threaten any politicians.  We don’t start campaigns to purely help ourselves.   We continue to take risks for ALL of society because that’s the way we do things.

It would be nice if they kept their word on letting us keep what we had.  We were the good ones who HAD health insurance and paid our bills. But what would be better is they didn’t openly & continually shit on us like we don’t matter as they try to get out of their self-made political problems.   It’s offensive.

Thanks.

SXSW — Friday Recap

Saturday, March 19th, 2011

Despite it being the first full week of Daylight Saving Time, the days here at SXSW are getting progressively shorter while the nights grow much, much longer. The Austin sunshine wasn’t doing much to help my throbbing headache yesterday, so I ducked into the Alamo theatre for a screening of the new Foo Fighters documentary. I must admit, I was a huge fan of this band when I was 16, but lost interest after their first album. I had absolutely no clue they had grown into one of the biggest bands in the world (the clips of their Wembley Stadium concert are borderline ridiculous). Dave Grohl comes across at times very charming and sincere, but I left the film with the prevailing feeling that this is a guy that made cutthroat decisions against, perhaps, his own moral compass in the pursuit of mega-stardom. (more…)

SXSW — Thursday Recap

Friday, March 18th, 2011

After a late start yesterday, I decided to make up for lost time by checking out the Black Lips-curated Speed Sets at the Austin Convention Center. At these shows, bands each get 10 minutes on shared equipment, much of it provided by the gear-heads scattered about the exhibit hall. “Welcome to Guitar Center”, uttered by Natural Child’s frontman, pretty much summed up the vibe. If that wasn’t enough, a faux-Roman feel was in effect, with oversized beanbag-like lounging devices scattered around the performance area, their occupants lulled by (or in many cases, put to sleep by) the free beer being poured just feet away. Caligula would’ve been proud. (more…)

SXSW — Wednesday Recap

Thursday, March 17th, 2011

Curiosity may have killed the cat, but it’s what kept yesterday incredibly interesting (if that was even an issue). While en route to the Austin convention center I passed by Waterloo Records, where I was planning on returning to see Apex Manor (fellow schmooru Adam Vine’s band) perform later in the afternoon. Checking out the day’s lineup, I saw that Wild Flag was scheduled to play at 2pm. There would be many more opportunities to see them this week, but I just couldn’t wait any longer (Mary Timony is one of my music heros) … I would have to risk missing out on the fount of party advice that was expected from Andrew W.K. at his speaking event. (more…)

SXSW — Tuesday Night Recap

Wednesday, March 16th, 2011

After two near-missed flights, a (resolved) mishap at registration, a healthy dose of beer and street vendor foods, and literally tens of tweets, I’m up surprising early with some time to recount yesterday’s happenings. (more…)

FOREVER: The Books Still Have It.

Monday, April 5th, 2010

Here’s something for those 300,000 MO-rons who just ran out and bought the iPAD without the 3G cell phone service on the very first weekend (except we all pretty much know now these types don’t care much for posterity)… (more…)

The ABC Family.

Wednesday, March 24th, 2010

Its not the one you’re thinking — yes, often times when I was walking by some room with blinking monitors and lights, I could catch a glimpse of Urkel and Full House — but that’s not what I’m talking about here. (more…)

How to Report the News

Wednesday, March 3rd, 2010

Another laugh from our friends across the pond. This is a bit old but “spot on” as they say. Writer/host Charlie Booker satirizes the visual language of television reporting. Are these industry standards stale or just plain effective?

Lazy journalism spreads obvious fabrication

Tuesday, March 2nd, 2010

Comedian/writer Robert Popper made a prank phone call to a call-in show and spun a yarn about British PM Gordon Brown having a tantrum and throwing a tangerine. The “story” then spread like mold on strawberries. His account of events is funny and worth a read. There is just no excuse for this!

http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/comedy/2010/03/tangerinegate-by-robert-popper.shtml

Five Rules For 80s Sit-Com Success

Tuesday, December 8th, 2009

In our extensive, painstakingly long study of the creative process–we thought we’d solute one seemingly common aspect of the originating mojiss for many 1980s situation comedies. First we’ll do the history–so if you want to get to the >>CONFLICT<<–most likely if you’re under the age of lets say 35.. scroll down to >>CONFLICT<< below.

You remember the 80s? VH-1 won’t let you forget–but soon enough you will forget them. It was the high water mark for the Situation Comedy–one in which there was a living room with a door on the left leading ‘outside’ a couch in the middle that sat THREE, some pictures, a staircase and a kitchen on the right–or vice versa–that’s where IT happened.

In order to understand what went into that genius–I guess you could try to understand Michael Eisner. In the book about him–DisneyWars, which I read whilst I was working under der Fuhrer as the remaining Disney brothers were failing to over throw him over Walt’s dead body, he’s given credit for creating something called “High-Concept”. Its something where you pick a star or two–TENT POLES if you will to get them in the door, wrap them around a situation with an obvious conflict like a black cop in a rich town, use a studio you already have or shoot it all in LA, do everything else on the cheap including BRONSON PINCHOT and blim, blam thank you mam–Cha-Ching.. HIGH CONCEPT. It also helps if you’re HIGH when you watch these movies.

HIGH CONCEPT in the 80s vs. the 70s, was like Pop Chart Singles were to Albums, the K-Car was to the Muscle Car and most interestingly NEW COKE was to Original Formula(for the record, I actually DID actually like New Coke better). Beverly Hills Cop, Beverly Hills Cop II, Indiana Jones and the Lost Arc, Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom–these were some of the original HIGH CONCEPTS–but my GEORGE–there were SOOO MANY and we loved them so.

How come in Hollywood, when some schmuck in Hollywood comes up with some glamorous term like HIGH CONCEPT(or his assistant does), he’s considered genius and ooo’d and aw’d and no one knows who the hell Dan Robbins is?–I’ll never know.

He did pretty much the same thing. Mike and Dan–both formulaticians–with a whiz bang idea that swept through the suburban splundor and kept people from smiling awkwardly in passing while running home to crack open another one.

How does this reflect creative cognition? What happened in the 80s was the industrialization of the media form.New distribution channels opened up. Multiplexes formed. TBS was invented–and there was money to be made like always, but this time is was A LOT MORE OF IT.

This shit needed to be cranked out like GOOSE through a SHIT factory. Those who came up with these FORMATTING tricks, became GODS, their heads as big as round bubbles.

This is very interesting for us Schmoos, generational in fact!–as we’ve experienced a COLON blow of distribution channels openning up in similar form to the upheaval of the early 80s–but MUCH MUCH bigger! Step right up and have your head be blown into a bubble too!

History lesson’s over, Hegel has been paid his due–and lets get to the good stuff.

Those sit-coms from the 80s? Why did they have such mass appeal? You look at these things and you realize the only reason why industry people long for these good old days is because the money was BIG and EASY–and it was EASY to make.

>>CONFLICT<<

>>CONFLICT<<

The basic formula: Middle class person, reinvents themselves into a not really fucked up situation and everything comes up roses–as sung through a HYPER POWER DEISEL VOICE that sends the dogs running in from other rooms.

Within the THEME SONG, IS the entire concept, and when it left so did the entire franchise. Just like each situation–each song has a TURN for the fucking awesome–these moments are highlighted and explained below in between the []–if we learn anything else from this creative imputus–”what’s old is new, and we should have theme songs in everything we do”… AND NOW, the FIVE RULES for 80s Sit-Com Sucess:

Rule 1:

You move somewhere. [and if anyone knows me well, now is when I insert how pitiful it is that their dreams are seemingly limitless for them in Chicago when you can't take the train anywhere unless you transfer downtown or even find a corner there that doesn't smell like poo]

RULE 2:

When you get there, it’s gonna be AWESOME(or at least the rich part of Connecticut)! [He lost a dream or two, .. at the end was Judith Light!--now we know why it took them like 6 seasons to not get it on--weak!]

Rule 3:

Two weirdos make a right and that’s some how intrinsic in your CABAM Happiness explosion [I might be father of the year!--or max out in 5 years on Mad about You]:

Rule 4:

This can happen too you middle class! Just move in with your financially sucessful photographer type sister who lives where she works and doesn’t have a straight staircase like the rest of the shows, but a TURNY one [How could something so good be so right.. so right!]. And no, that’s not your connection–that shocking shuffle move is an ‘effect’, so is the ‘blue sky above’.

Rule 5:
Don’t stray too much from Rules 1-4.
If you go too far, like making it just about Catholics(especially when none of the kids look alike and they don’t look like the parents either :o !)–despite getting most Reagan Democrats, your audience won’t be large enough like the generalist Growing Pains you grew out of and you go out of business in two seasons [stay on the ball {go to church} I might make the HALL OF FAME--what can he say?]. You know what, these rules work for just PLAIN mainstream American dreams in almost any regard–don’t they?

You know why I love these Themes so much–they took the time to actually explain to you what you were about to watch. Its all in there–Its like you’re in the PITCH MEETING and everything, no nuance about it. It wasn’t really until Seinfeld exploded this form, that they just put you INSIDE THE SHOW so you had to figure out for yourself what the hell you were watching?

What can be learned from this–if you transported yourself back to the 80s and figure out a way to make a middle class family type person feel like through an unrealistic reflection of the room in which they sit–staring back at them, and within their minds would be the promise of a brighter tomorrow and a better future–we probably still wanted that when we were humble enough to believe it was ok to have one or two TVs in the house.

In many respects, maybe we’ve grown richer as a country or a world. I know one aspect of DISNEY/ABC features now is instead of a laugh track they give you background music, implying “BOSE WAVE RADIO” for you. Or is it the Reality shows that invade our news programs.

FORGET THE DAMN THEME SONG–>SHIT, our houses don’t even look like the ones on TV anymore, nor do our situations. Who watches TV together anymore anyway–everyone’s seperated into their own worlds. We all get directly to the point now evertime–whatever we want, all the time.

We’ve gone from situation obsessed–to just right down to “strip out the other fucking filler and get me to the conflict obsessed”. All the time. YO Eisner–now adays its CONFLICT CONFLICT CONFLICT–we can’t appreciate you’re concept. What’s past that you wonder? Its already like eating frosted without the flakes. It won’t look like playing outside–I can tell you that much. Maybe its like a family guy episode, that just has punchline, no set up.

So, as we’re RETHINKING everything this year from MONEY, to WEATHERIZATION to HEALTH CARE to how to make a GM–let us consider–as SCHMOOS, how to program for the micro audiences of the future?

Is it enough to make something really good for our friends to watch? Can they handle a full 22 minute story, or even a 5 minute story–or do even they require moments? We cannot put these genies we dream about back into the bottles. Despite old being new again–its very unlikely in the specialized era of video, that people will ever tolerate a stair case behind a couch?

What I suspect, is the person who can access straight feelings in an accessible way. That’s where its at. Remember the way you’re grandparents smelled when you went to visit–PRINT IT.

Remember your gym teacher’s obsession with whistles–PRINT THAT TOO.

Finally–I don’t know how this really fits in here at this point. So this seems like a perfect place to ponder the question–how did Belverdere hitch hike accross the ocean with a cardboard sign–and why the hell would he pick Pittsburgh? We need to get back to having entertainment exist in a far away land where questions like these don’t matter AND THEY’RE SO UPFRONT ABOUT IT!–cause true love begins when you accept someone despite their obvious flaws–in fact, according to our new arrival– you love them for it.