OddFuture – No Budget Domination

Kids are bored. Their steady diets of radiology, twitter trends and overly padded athletic events is creating a generation of Avatar risk takers.

So let me introduce OddFuture (Odd Future Wolf Gang Crew Kill em All) a group of California misfits who have capitalized on the status of the crippled recording industry to kick down the doors using nothing, but free social media platforms to galvanize an audience of indoor kids across the world.

The band, which is the brainchild of the aptly named Tyler The Creator has creating a wild feeding frenzy among record companies, based off of little more than a series of mixtapes and no budget music videos that are more disturbing than a Sarah Palin White House bid. A group of rowdy, unruly, punk/skate/rap/minimilist grime/ musician/entertainer/filmmaker/web developer/ conundrum from Odd Future have literally ignited the internet with disturbing images of teenagers doing excessive amounts of drugs while brandishing fire arms and threatening to dress like Nazis. In recent weeks, they have appeared in the Guardian (UK), The Fader, The NY Times, Village Voice and an unfathomable amount of blogs across the WORLD, which have lead to sold out shows in LA, New York, London to name just the last month.

And all of this from a basement.

The hustle is impressive, but what’s shocking is how effective their model for success has been. By attacking the status quo directly, through channels like interactive blogs and websites, they were able to garner such an intense amount of support within months. The group has literally created a small media empire that is completly self-sustainable and synergistic. They have literally proven that record labels are useless to them, which is why labels have all begged to sit down with the crew.

Love it or Hate it, the ability to successfully create an underdog/rebel with the potential to win will always make people pay attention.

-Vic Reznik

The Talent Owns The Building



Seacrest, CAA and AEG are possibly partnering to start AXS cable channel.  What’s crazy is in this same article there are murmurs of Comcast purchasing AEG due to their portfolio of the some best arenas/stadiums in the world, in order to compete with Live Nation/Ticketmaster.   At this rate, we’ll have one music-live-event-tv-cable-premium content-set-top-box-ticket distributor to go to and we’ll just call it the ministry of live entertainment come 2015. 


All joking aside – what’s in it for Mr. Seacrest?


It’s no secret that Ryan has had a consummate show biz resume starting from his youth.  Idol and E! Entertainment exposure lead to overall deals, tv, radio, producer credits, first-looks, back-end participation – you name it – Ryan’s done it and has a reputation as one of the hardest working men in show business.  What is Seacrest’s rationale behind this latest strategic move?


The little known fact about the what makes the cable business go round are extreme affiliate fees.  It’s a $32B dollar a year business.  It’s why Oprah Winfrey is opting to hang up her hosting shoes and go into retirement off of Oprah Premium Programming.  Click on this link to learn more about the cable biz from the awesome VC, Bill Gurley.


When you are an Agent in Hollywood – you yearn to put together mega-deals like this CAA/Seacrest with AEG. These type of deals are headliners and they make both you and your client a lot of money – something CAA’s been good at for quite some time.  This is why Seacrest’s former agent, Adam Sher left to become President of Seacrest Productions in 2008.   It’s what a good agent should always be trying to accomplish.  Take a brand name  talent and connect to the proper business model.  See Oprah, Ashton, Ellen, Lady Gaga, Diddy, Paris Hilton, Kardashian and Lebron.  Vertically integrate the talent and those revenue streams!


Another example are the Jonas Bros (who are already a multi-million dollar a year biz) partnership with AOL in Cambio, which gives the talent from their label The Jonas Group a platform to control their message and brand to their core demographic.   Cambio is a web-site/platform that aims to be MTV-meets-online programming. 


For AOL, Cambio (Spanish for “change”) represents a move to more premium content as opposed to the creation of lower-cost niche sites aimed at various slices of tech aficionados, sports fans and women. The focus on “premium” content is also an extension of the plans AOL has been working on for its advertising business.’ 


Major talent partnering up with major companies is nothing new – been happening for years (See United Artists and Charlie Chaplin.)  Major talent partnering up with big media for ownership stake in the property is all about equity.   


As talent needs to sustain traction/exposure in the marketplace to demand a strong dollar so do major media brands. Its a safer bet for both teams – big media gives up some ownership but keeps talent happy and committed and talent becomes an owner instead of a hired gun.   As the battle for the consumer’s attention grows even more intense – entertainment brands – people and businesses will push hard to remind you who is the best at the premium entertainment experience. 


Mitchell Kapler

Social Network: The Impact

Everyone’s talking about it.  It was positioned by a producer of the film as this generation’s Wall Street. Sure enough, people are calling Zuckerberg’s character as the Bud Fox of today.  The Social Network delivered.


This film is so poignant.  It taps directly into the zeitgeist while at the same time tells a terrifically crafted story – revealing the layers of Facebook’s monumental impact while entertaining us at the same time and making one think.


First, let’s acknowledge the story and the way they chose to frame it.  Many story elements seemed played-up or dramatized as well as Zuckerberg’s character always playing the bad ass genius card.  While it didn’t go down this way, the story tellers were savvy enough to know that the vehicle needed this framing in order to tell what is otherwise, a really dry business 101 story with the roaring 2000s theme. 


Outside of the film’s questionable accuracy – it’s amazing art direction. The lighting, pacing, scene set-ups, sequences, music and performances were all on point.  Should we expect less from David Fincher, the man who was making all those awesome music vids in the 90s with Madonna and directed films such as Fight Club, Se7en, Zodiac, Curious Case of Benjamin Button and is attached to direct the U.S. adaptation of The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo?  The man is not to be doubted!  Bravo Mr. Fincher & Co. for an excellent project! The people have spoken.


Lastly, let’s talk about the film’s relevance on a cultural, technological/digital and business level.


Culturally, I’ll never forget living the experience of joining Facebook in college and watching it blow up in front of my eyes – during that period it was crazy – everyone in college was all about it and we couldn’t even tell each other why we were all so into it. Five some odd years later and it’s still relevant to our lives on an even bigger scale.


Tech/digitally, and it’s shown in different facets of film but not stressed – how Zuckerberg and friends stumbled upon a way to not just create a new social site but to literally – re-wire and re-network the inner workings of the internet and our lives simultaneously.  It is now why Facebook and Google are the ones to watch in the internet evolution race for #1.  Also, read how Facebook can become bigger in Five Years than Google is Today. 


On a business level – this is just a classic business 101 story. Very much in vein of other innovator American stories ala Steve Jobs with Apple and Bill Gates with Microsoft. (Netflix Pirates of Silicon Valley if you have never seen.)  Awesome innovative achievement is always super-cool but usually never without a few people getting hurt and/or felt done-wronged along the way.  American business – it’s never pretty but someone has to do it. 


If you are on the interwebs and want to be on top of what is culturally relevant then do yourself a favor.  Go. See. This. Film.

 -Mitchel Kapler


Photographer KC Ortiz

KC Ortiz’s focal length is distant, converging on often forgotten cultures, and grimy conditions in places Sally Struthers would call payday.


He’s an incredible example of believing in your own talent against all odds.


Growing up Ortiz was subjected to gang-infested poverty in Chicago, and by twenty one he was serving a five year sentence in federal prison.


Ortiz’s collected experiences have given life to a career oddly built by this adversity; the resourcefulness of poverty, the patience of prison, the humility of fear, the excitement of the unknown.  These attributes have converged into a style that is visually arresting and socially conscious.


The Juxtapoz feature profiling his immersion into a Hmong rebel camp in Laos is on newsstands now, you can click below for a snapshot of the interview.


Vic Reznik

Ghetto Film School and The New York Times

Check out this amazing article about the Ghetto Film School. 



The H&H/GFS Partnership teachs these students about the media industry and trains them to help them get internships and jobs.


Come to tonight’s meeting to learn more about what you can do to be involved.


8pm, Tuesday, September 7
34 E 4th Street
We’ll stake out a place in the back

Ready, Set, Market!

A documentary leverages emerging digital tools and marketing techniques to get people’s butts into the seats

Ready, Set, Bag! is a new documentary that has leveraged social media to promote the film’s release in local theaters as well as take advantage of cause marketing. The digital savvy filmmakers partnered up with Groupon, a website that enables businesses to offer great deals to people in their communities.  Through Groupon the filmmakers made pacts with local theaters, $1 of each ticket sold will go to food banks near the theater to help feed the community.  So far 100% of theaters have agreed to carry the film. Furthermore, the filmmakers are playing the trailer on Blip.tv (see below) and all advertising revenue is going to support the charity of Feeding America.

This recent project highlights various trends happening in filmmaking and in business in general.  Filmmakers are getting savvier when it comes to leveraging online to support their projects.  For example, Kickstarter, an online site that enables you to raise funds for projects is turning into a go-to for filmmakers who need to raise money to fund their films.

Furthermore, filmmakers keep exploring new means of distribution, for example this year Sundance enabled filmmakers to distribute the film through VOD services and the internet.

Lastly, the trend of embedding the pay-it-forward element into you’re your business model is really hot right now.  Expert calls this cause marketing and it looks to be a win-win for everyone involved.

In an era of change, new distribution models and business plans are emerging.  Sure, Ready, Set, Bag! might not win an Academy Award but you have to tip your hat to the producers for leveraging all the tools available in order to, as they like to say in Hollywood, get people’s butts into the seats.


The Secret to Life

The new generation wants creative independence and infidelity, we are no longer encouraged to pursue just one medium or job.  Instead do what you can/want and define yourself accordingly.

It seems like a few ‘good’ celebrities are breaking away from a life guarded by publicists, and are trying to define or re-define themselves.  Courtney Love and James Franco, are 2 of them, determined to run their own image, and it’s damn right inspiring.

Courtney (with an anonymous team of 3) has started a daily, fashion blog of herself, and refers to it as a “social experiment.” Courtney has always been upfront with her past struggles with drugs and sanity, but claims to have always loved fashion. “I just didn’t always get it right.”  And after seeing hundreds of images of herself, Courtney decided to begin her own fashion revolution. “One can’t wear a tutu and a Birkin.”


James Franco, ultimate mover and shaker, actor, model, writer and full-time student calls parts of his life “performace art,” and the rest… well…. Just life.  After dropping out of school and becoming a successful Hollywood actor, Franco went back to school, first at UCLA, graduating with an English degree.  Now James is enrolled in 4 different schools full time (1 in north Carolina), has a reoccurring roll on General Hospital, multiple movies coming out, a campaign for Gucci, and much more to come. In response to his critics, “If the work is good,” Franco says, “what does it matter? I’m doing it because I love it. Why not do as many things I love as I can? As long as the work is good.”


“Believe what you want. But here’s a clue. The secret to life: Anyone can die at any time.”- Franco, General Hospital

Ashlye Vaughan

The New Tribe on the Block

Picture: David Choe, RVCA ANP artist

Artists, models, athletes, and musicians have more outlets, networks and opportunities today than ever before to express themselves.  Of course, we have the internet to thank, but we also have brands and companies like RVCA that bring art and lifestyle together for the greater good.

In 2001, out of his closet and from humble beginnings, the company’s founder, PM Tenore started RVCA (Pronounced “Ruca”), an action sports apparel company, first and foremost.  PM also created a program to support artists and give them a platform he thought was missing,  “I wanted to do something other people in the industry weren’t, and that is provide a space for artists, musicians, surfers, skaters, curators, models. That’s when I started conceptualizing the artists network program (ANP).”

If PM likes someone’s work, he shares contacts with them and invites them to do limited-edition designs in which a portion of the proceeds will go to the charity of their choice.  The members of this ANP tribe have free reign of RVCA’s sprawling headquarters that feature, a recording studio, rooms filled with sewing machines and fabric swatches, and working spaces for any late night workers.

“It’s a balance of industry and art,” says PM, who claims creativity and commerce shouldn’t be mutually exclusive. For RVCA, it is about today, tomorrow and life as the big picture. It is about inspiring our generation, providing something of substance and culture and above all doing it with integrity and as a united family, a close-knit community.”


-Ashlye Vaughan

Five Reasons Why 48 Hour Magazine F#*$ing Rocks

Five reasons why 48 Hour Magazine f#*$ing rocks

1. It’s about time some savvy journalist step it up and take the journalism game to the next level by doing a “a raucous experiment in using new tools to erase media’s old limits.” The past few years I often find myself flipping through magazines saying to myself “old news, old news, old news.”  Then thinking, “geez, print media is in trouble.”  Maybe this is the model of the future?

2. It’s crowd-sourcing, wisdom of crowds, or whatever you want to call it at it’s best!  In 10 days before the kick off, over 6,000 people signed up to take part in the 48 Hour Magazine experiment and they received 1,502 submissions for articles.  That’s awesome.

3. The team is a bunch of free-wheeling-forward-thinking-street-savvy-hippies from San Francisco.  San Fran cats might tilt “towards the left” but you can never deny that they are revolutionaries up there in northern California, always willing and able to define the new rules of the new school.

4. They leveraged social media platforms such as Twitter, Ustream, and their blog to invite people to participate in the action with them!  Smart, smart, and smart.  Forget the velvet rope that old media loves to put up – 48 hours magazine wants to and struck an immediate bond with their new fan base.

5.  Their first issue is all about something WE ALL can legitimately relate to at the moment.  “Hustle. Whether you’re employed, not employed, a student, parent, child, or even a lazy bum.  Living in America requires you to have some form of hustle to get what you need.  A decent education, decent medical coverage, a modest income, long walks on the beach – whatever it is – it all requires hustle.  Not only did 48 Hours come up with a brilliant idea and a savvy execution – they created a relatable product.  Bravo ladies and gents – bravo!



Black Eyed Domination


Will.I.AM reminds me of Ashton Kutcher.  They have huge followings and realize the importance of courting the favor of heavy corporate hitters.  Instead of shrinking into the label of ‘artist’ they are becoming their own captains of their brands and business.  And they realize how important it can be to be an early adopter for technology.  The Black Eyed Peas conceived a song (I Gotta Feeling)that will play at every major function forever and have woven their sponsors into their day to day business.  Hopefully they will be able to pull a little Bono action and leverage their connections for big change.  The Black Eyed Peas are building an empire.  Get out of the way or join in.  This article gives a great look into their business deals.