It’s A Funny Business: A Case Study In Comedy

For all the passion and skill and talent and blood and sweat and tears and risk that producers bring to the mix the one most often looked over yet is the most important is that of business person. Because when the lights go out, the talent and crew go home the business of film and TV really starts. Like all businesses the goal is to make money. It is something that ‘creatives’ don’t like to talk about because their driving force is the ‘art’ or ‘craft’. In the pilot of ‘Studio 60 on the Sunset Strip’, Aaron Sorkin writes ‘…there’s a struggle between art and commerce. Well there’s always been a struggle between art and commerce and now I’m telling you art is getting its ass kicked.’ In the scene the producer of a Saturday Night Live style sketch comedy show angrily laments the way in which the network panders to their conservative, vocal, right-wing, Christian minority audience in an effort to not offend anyone while simultaneously limiting the breadth of creative input the show requires to be appreciated by the masses. Continue reading “It’s A Funny Business: A Case Study In Comedy”

The Three Roles Architecture Performs in Michael Mann Crime Films

VINCENT

"You can ball my wife if she wants you to, you can lounge 
around here on her sofa in her ex-husband’s dead-tech, 
post-modernistic, bullshit house if you want to, 
but you do not get to watch my fucking television set."

(Mann, M., ‘Heat’ 1995)

Michael Mann has cultivated a distinctive directorial style throughout his filmmaking career. This style relies on many techniques and one of the most important is his use of architecture. More so than merely stating the location of a scene, in a house, in an office, at the railway yards, in LA’s South Central or New York’s Upper West Side, etc, Mann carefully uses domestic, commercial and industrial architecture as well as infrastructure, streetscapes and cityscapes to reflect and enhance his character’s traits and unspoken tendencies. Continue reading “The Three Roles Architecture Performs in Michael Mann Crime Films”

The Fall and Rise of Podcasting

Abstract

This research looks at podcasting; the practice of creating, producing and distributing, in the most, audio content in the form of programs. Programs include but aren’t limited to news, sport, documentary, education, dramatization, review, preview and comedy. The goal is to show how important podcasting has become in relation to mainstream media and its impact on audiences as an alternative to, or enhancement of, contemporary radio broadcasting. This has been done by examining research from the Pew Research Centre for Journalism, Edison Research and others. Through analysing, interpreting and reviewing existing material this research highlights how podcasting has moved from a perceived threat to radio to the greatest supporter of modern radio medium. Continue reading “The Fall and Rise of Podcasting”

Beyond Cops and Robbers: An Analysis of “HEAT” (1995) Written & Directed by Michael Mann

NEIL

“A guy told me one time: don’t let yourself get attached 
to anything you are not willing to walk out on in 30 seconds 
flat if you feel the heat around the corner.”

(Mann, M., ‘Heat’ 1995)

heat-1995-poster-artwork-al-pacino-robert-de-niro-val-kilmer

Beyond the dollars and guns and women and violence and double crossing and heists is a complex and much analysed story of two men; Vincent Hanna (Al Pacino) and Neil McCauley (Robert De Niro). On a first viewing these two men are protagonists in one of the oldest of story genres, ‘cops and robbers’. As Ari Mattes notes, “…both know, and admire and respect, the other as their nemesis, nullifying, in Mann’s film, any reading in terms of a Manichean structure (that is, good hero versus evil villain).” (Mattes, 2014, Issue 4)

Continue reading “Beyond Cops and Robbers: An Analysis of “HEAT” (1995) Written & Directed by Michael Mann”

“MEMENTO”: A Film Wrapped in a Puzzle, Covered in Hidden Clues Directed by Christopher Nolan

 LEONARD

“No. It’s different. I have no short-term memory. I 
know who I am and all about myself, but since my 
injury I can’t make any new memories. Everything 
fades. If we talk for too long, I’ll forget how 
we started. I don’t know if we’ve ever met before, 
and the next time I see you I won’t remember 
this conversation. So if I seem strange or rude, 
that’s probably...
(beat)
I’ve told you this before, haven’t I?”

(Nolan, C., 2000, ‘Memento)

memento

This movie is often described as confusing the audience but I think Memento more aptly creates within the audience a vivid sense of uncertainty. Based on the short story (by his brother, Jonathan Nolan) ‘Memento Mori’, Christopher Nolan’s film explores the space in and around the human memory while at the same time telling a tale of revenge and its ultimate futility. Continue reading ““MEMENTO”: A Film Wrapped in a Puzzle, Covered in Hidden Clues Directed by Christopher Nolan”

Rupert is taking business advice from Tony Montana

One of the great lines from Scarface and most quoted of all movie lines is, “…first you get the money, then you get the power, then you get the woman.” So says Al Pacino’s immortalisation of Tony Montana and while the line is delivered brilliantly it is a business plan that works best for drug lords and wannabe wise guys in the later part of the 20th Century.

For a translation into NYSE and FEC financial reporting parlance you get this…

“We have many challenges and opportunities ahead, and Lachlan’s strategic thinking and vast knowledge of our businesses will enable me, as executive chairman, and the company as a whole to deliver the best outcomes on behalf of our stockholders, employees and customers.”

This quote by Rupert Murdoch from The Guardian defines exactly what’s wrong with business priorities; stockholders come before employees and customers. Aside from the fact that Rupert and Lachlan are number 1 and 2 shareholders respectively and are essentially putting themselves first, they are putting their staff and customers last, after investors.

It’s completely arse about for the 21st Century. Messrs Murdoch, if you really want to keep your shareholders happy do this;

  1. Keep your staff happy – you know what to do here so just do it. They produce a better product and…
  2. This will make your customers happy and give you more money – proven time and time again. So….
  3. This will make your shareholders (and yourselves)  rich/er happy/ier.

Fast forward to Bryan Cranston’s critically acclaimed portrayal of high school chemistry teacher turned 21st century drug lord Walter White in Breaking Bad and you get this…

Advisory invoice to come. You’re welcome.