Return to Long-Form

As our culture evolves and our attention span expands and contracts, traditional advertising and media shift shapes to keep up.   Lifestyle brands like Absolut have started tapping artists to collaborate and do something truly different, hoping it will lead to something exceptional, and attract consumers at the same time.  Well Absolut, congratulations.  Absolut gave Spike Jonze a brief to write and direct a film depicting creativity conquering conformity, their very own brand vision.  What came of it? A 30-minute robot love story.

And before that a 15-min documentary about Jay-Z’s “Answer the Call” benefit concert.

This video-slash-short-film-slash-advertisement is one of the most popular pieces of longer form content in awhile.  It gives us some intimate time with JHOV, and another reason to talk about Spike.  It gives Absolut a deeper and better brand experience for their consumers.  I consider it a win-win.

And if you need to drive some traffic to your site maybe try getting director, Romain Gavras. I hear he’s the new badass on the block.

- Ashlye Vaughn

Customized Learning


A couple things stand out to me about this article.  First, is Netflix continuing to find new businesses that incorporate into their company.  They realize that the DVD business is slowly becoming extinct and they are preparing themselves by diversifying.  Very smart.  Also, very smart is the field in which they are venturing.  Pretty much  text books are dead.  Soon all our students will have tablets that teach their lessons.  The most fascinating part is that teaching will no longer be a one size fits all scenario.  These interactive games will cater to each students learning patterns and provide the ideal learning scenario for that student.  If you are a more visual learner that’s how your lessons will be conveyed.  If you are an aural learner then that will be your learning process.  Customized learning.  Love it – well done Netflix.

Old School Mogul


You can have every gadget, every bit of proper schooling and all the proper protocols – but nothing trumps connections.

Jerry Weintraub is the type of mogul who looked for opportunities in whatever field – Broadway, music, film, TV etc. He found John Denver, produced the Oceans movies, and booked Led Zeppelin and a million other things – this is a guy you want to share a steak and martini with. He works the phones – trading favors for favors and getting stuff made.

Your relationships are your currency.

Foster them, nurture them and build off them.

Action Ratner


While all film exec and filmmakers have their passion projects– they are also on the lookout for a great business model as a steady stream of revenue.  Brett Ratner has always been at the forefront of finding lucrative business models to match with his interests.  Here he is taking aim at the reasonably priced action thriller.   Sam Raimi does it for horror, Peter Jackson for sci-fi and now Ratner for action.  Its smart – they become producers and factory owners for burgeoning talent.

Mattelwood and Transmedia


Toys have long been thought of as the after effect of a franchise.  Its an additional revenue stream after TV and movies established the characters or its been a longstanding toy that is turned into a movie.  But in the new age of toy companies leveraging their assets in savvier ways – Mattel is revolutionizing their R+D process.  Instead of relying on Hollywood to drive the ship – Mattel is taking matters into their own hands.  They asked their developers for new toy ideas that can be turned into properties – took the top five and picked the best one.  By creating a new line of toys with its own back story and hiring  producer Neal Mortiz (Fast and the Furious), Mattel is taking control of their ‘transmedia’ options.  Transmedia being the ability to spinoff their product into every conceivable market. – play with, see, hear and eat.  Now they can control all parts of the process.  By exercising more control over the creative – Mattel will enjoy more equity and more financial responsibility for the product.

The Sound of Your Writing


Easier than organizing a table read – this site reads your script…with readers appropriate to the role.  This is just another way to hustle.  A writer’s toughest task after finishing a script is to get someone to read it.  And as someone who has read my share of scripts over the year – it’s an uphill climb.  Might be easy to get your friend to read something but industry folks is another story.  The moral of this – be creative.

If you wrote something amazing do whatever you can to get it in front of someone – including making it an audio file.  That way someone might be able to consume it in the car or on a run.  Tee it up when you’re asking someone to do something for you.   Make it easy and make it fun.  Also, not a bad idea to hear your characters come to life… I am sure there will be some lines you want to change!

Ebert- Two Thumbs Up


This is a fantastic profile on Roger Ebert.  He has lost his ability to talk – and it has brought wondrous results to his writing and his demeanor.  It’s a man rediscovering  joy in his passions and wringing out all the precious moments in a life that he senses is coming to an end.  Ebert seems to have found an enlightened state of being.  It’s a portrait of happiness.  It’s sad and touching in the most beautiful way possible.   A must read.

Anna Wintour – The Executive


RJ Cutler who made THE SEPTEMBER ISSUE talks about Anna’s management style.  I think the best bit is about having shorter meetings.  Know what the agenda is and get through it.

Do it fast.

So much time is wasted in meetings and the entertainment biz is the worst.  Prepare, execute and move on.  Also, get the best talent to buy into something bigger than themselves and you have a recipe for success.  It’s easy to imagine Anna running any major company – she is a CEO thru and thru.

Oscar Noms: Animated Shorts


Animation and video games will be the dominant medium of the 21st century.  It might sound ridiculous but its true.  As the storytelling quality rises to meet the spectacular graphics you will have incredible pieces of art.  Just like Avatar… Check out the Oscar Nominated Animated Shorts for 2010 – always a good spot to find new talent.

Friends ‘Til the End


Damon and Affleck burst on the scene in 1997 and now 13 years later with plenty of bumps, bruises, paydays and projects under their respective belts – they are seeking more control over their projects.  With Affleck emerging as a strong director and Damon as one of the best actors alive right now – I would bet on these guys making a lot of money and picking up another Oscar at some point.  Good to see that Hollywood does not fray all relationships.  In the end, its all about creative control and ownership – that’s how you turn a good living into a fortune.