The News Corp. who owns the Dow Jones and Company which publishes the Wall Street Journal and Barron’s weekly business magazine among many others in the U.S. is considering a company breakup into two entities. It would separate the media giant’s underperforming newspaper business from its lucrative entertainment assets. Approximately 70 percent of the company profits come from television. The new newspaper business could include The Wall Street Journal, The Times of London, The New York Post, and as many as other 175 newspapers worldwide. These publishing enterprises contributed $8.8 billion in revenue in 2011. On the other hand, the much more lucrative entertainment enterprises contributed $23.5 billion in revenue in 2011 to the media empire.
Rupert Murdoch who is the Chairman and CEO of the News Corp. built the company from a single newspaper in Adelaide, Australia into a billion dollar multi-media giant. The Murdoch family owns 40 percent of the empire and will continue to handle both parts once separated.
Rupert Murdoch’s media empire is valued at about $53 billion. A recent phone-hacking scandal at its News of the World British tabloid caused it to close the publication. It is faced with enormous financial strain and decline in print advertising revenue.
The 1970’s dominant music group, Bee Gees, singer Robin Gibb died on Sunday, May 20, 2012 at age 62 due to his long battle with colorectal cancer and intestinal surgery. The group included Robin and his two fraternal brothers Barry and Maurice. Robin Gibb was born on December 22, 1949 in Isle of Man and grew up in Australia and U.K.
Robin was a solo artist prior to Bee Gees and he became the lead singer for the group. Trio owned 1960’s pop songs like “I’ve Gotta Get a Message to you”. Bee Gees carrier spans more than five decades and sold over 200 million records worldwide. Robin was a singer as well as a song writer. The trio wrote most of their number one hits. Bee Gees were the gold standard for pop and R & B.
Bee Gees also produced materials for such artist like Barbara Streisand, Dionne Warwick, Dolly Parton and Kenny Rogers.
Robin Gibb received a CBE from the Prince of Wales for his contribution to music.
Robin’s twin brother Maurice died in 2003 and only surviving Bee Gees is Barry, age 65. Robin was married to Molly Hullis in 1968 and together they had two daughters. They got divorced in 1980.
Ross Bagdasarian Sr. spent $190 of his last $200 in 1958 to buy a state-of-the-art tape recorder that can playback at various speeds. He recorded “Christmas Don’t Be Late” with a fictitious group known as Chipmunks who sang with a high pitched obscure voice. The song later became the No. 1 Billboard chart, sold over four million copies and created the now famous three Chipmunks: Alvin, Simon and Theodore. Today, Chipmunks is a family owned business based in Montecito, California. Ross Bagdasarian Jr. with his wife now owns the right to the Chipmunks empire.
Over the years, Chipmunks popularity came in waves. However, Fox bought the three characters in 2007 and this resulted in creating three hit movies: Alvin and the Chipmunks, Squeakquel, and Chipwrecked. Besides the major movies, there are many other productions, a TV series, several movies on DVDs and other merchandize. The company is also exploring an idea to make a live show that can travel around the world.
The current owners are very involved with the business and tightly control the branding of Chipmunks. Once they refused a proposal to manufacture and market a sugary cereal using the brand name. The owners are also involved in several law suits to protect the brand from exploitation.
Known as one of the most popular fast casual spots in the city of Los Angeles, many celebrities, shows and books have paid homage to Zankou Chicken. The restaurant is best remembered for the perfectly crispy rotisserie chicken they sell, which is seasoned using a combination of local spices. This process takes several hours, so workers are often up well before the restaurant opens.
That’s probably why a sense of pop-culture has developed around Zankou. It should be no surprise that Zankou has also been referenced in actual media too.
Curb Your Enthusiasm’s Palestinian Chicken
In the popular show Curb Your Enthusiasm, Larry David wrote a scene that took place inside a restaurant that was a not so subtle nod to Zankou Chicken. Although it’s not actually called “Zankou” by name, all the signs are there. One inconsistency: the Iskendarian family serves Lebanese recipes, not Palestinian chicken. Still you can see the yellow shirts and red-block writing, smell the pita and taste the garlic sauce.
The song “Debra” features a not-so hidden mention of everyone’s favorite chicken spot. Supposedly, Beck is a regular at Zankou, getting it whenever he has the opportunity to do so. Although we don’t know what his favorite dish is, our guess is it’s the rotisserie chicken.
If you’ve ever seen the show “Man vs. Food”, then you know the name Adam Richman. He’s among several celebrities who call Zankou Chicken one of their personal favorites. In fact, Zankou’s first Los Angeles location was in Hollywood to cater to the city’s population of starving artists, aspiring actors and ambitious screenwriters.
Los Angeles is full of great and inexpensive food spots, like Zankou, that are perfect for anyone on a budget. Take a quick food tour of the city of angels.
Sawtelle is colloquially known as “Japantown”, and it isn’t Little Tokyo. It’s a small street in Santa Monica where the Japanese population in Los Angeles settled and decided to bring a few tastes from back home. Sawtelle is made up of many restaurants so it’s up to you to find whatever suits your tastes for the day. You can start with some curry or ramen, then move on to sushi once you’ve had your fill. Definitely save room for Beard Papas. The cream puff shop offers something light and fluffy for dessert.
Burbank is full of excellent food, and you’ll find yourself returning frequently once you’ve been there. When you’re looking for something healthy and inexpensive, there’s really only one choice though. Zankou Chicken, which has locations all over Los Angeles, offers healthy and perfectly roasted chicken. Their garlic sauce is absolute bliss, and the side dishes seal the deal. Why Burbank and not the original location in Hollywood? The simple answer is the décor, but hardcore fans will tell you it just feels better eating there. The flagship location is beautiful and the food is prepared fresh.
Silverlake has undergone a bit of a facelift, and the end result is tasty food and cool spots to kick it with friends. Right by the Echo and Echoplex, for instance, one can find a variety of vegan and vegetarian spots nestled among taco trucks. Two Boots Pizza offers a selection of gluten free pizzas with toppings that include shrimp, sausage and a variety of veggies too. Bulan Thai offers vegan and vegetarian Thai food, but Sage offers desserts too.
In the pantheon of legendary clubs, New York’s 300 Club occupies a spot very near the top of “classiest booze joint”. This club catered to the rich and glitzy crowds of New York City, and its lead emcee was a woman named Texas Guinan.
Mary Louise Cecilia Guinan was born in Waco, Texas, and spent her adolescent years in Colorado. In Denver, she learned how to play the organ for her local church and acted in several plays. That was foundation for an intriguing career in the entertainment business.
In 1906, she moved to New York where she got her true start as a chorus girl. She quickly moved into the rising art of Vaudeville Theater, where she was well received as “Texas” Guinan.
Her 300 Club was a haven for alcohol during the height of the prohibition, and she was arrested several times for serving liquor to her guests. She always avoided prosecution. Although her establishment also hosted 40 scantily clad girls dancing for men, during a time when such things were strictly forbidden, she would claim the size of the building made it impossible for a proper stage. Guests with liquor? They’d brought it with them when they came. How was she to know?
She had attitude, greeting her patrons with “Hello Suckers!”, and referring to the richer patrons as “butter and egg men”. She was a key player in the prohibition-era underworld, and appeared in several films before her death in 1933, exactly a month before the repeal of prohibition.
Irving Penn was born to Russian-Jewish parents in Plainfield New Jersey in 1917. Penn was artistically inclined and studied at the Philadelphia Museum School of Industrial Art. There, he became adept at drawing, painting, graphic and industrial art. His teacher was Alexey Brodovitch, who’s connections at Harper’s Bazaar would prove advantageous to the fledgling artist.
Brodovitch helped Penn get his start by publishing his drawings in Harper’s,which kickstarted his career as a freelance artist. Brodovitch, meanwhile, became art director for Saks Fifth Avenue. Penn became an accomplished fashion photographer and published a few photographs of his own. When Brodovitch stepped down from his position with Saks, Penn was all too eager to fill the role.
After a year with Saks, Penn traveled to Mexico and across the United States seeking inspiration. Upon his return, he took a job for Vogue that was offered by Alexander Lieberman. Penn focused on painting while at Vogue, but Liberman insisted he try his hand at photography.
Penn’s first cover was for the October 1943 issue of Vogue, which kicked off a lifetime career with the magazine. During the 1950s, he branched into still life photography and portraits. When he was ready to found his own studio by the end of the 1950s, he was poised to become a major advertising photographer. By the close of his career, his clientele would include General Mills, DeBeers and Clinique.
Penn married the Swedish fashion model Lisa Fonssagrives, and the two had one son. Fonssagrives passed away in 1992, and Penn died in 2009.
Steven Spielberg’s latest installment, Jurassic World, is getting mixed reviews. It is rated PG-13 due to intense sequences of science-fiction violence. It is part action and adventure; part mystery and suspense; part science fiction and part fantasy. It came out for a wider audience on June 12, 2015 for US movie enthusiasts.
Colin Trevorrow directed the movie while characters were created by Michael Crichton. Amanda Silver and Rick Jaffa wrote the story for it. The two hour three minute movie is distributed by Universal Pictures.
The plot unravels at the same island as Jurassic Park. Claire is sent to the island with Zach and Gray to have fun. Claire is not the mothering type and soon they face a park that is experiencing technical difficulties that turn to a contained anomaly.
Some say Jurassic World contains more violence and terrifying than the original movie, Jurassic Park. Sustained terror and suspense is more intense and peril due to people have been eaten, torn apart, severely injured and trampled. Some even say the language due to use of certain words is questionable. Heavy use of product placement is also critiqued by some. Even though it is rated PG-13, it may suits more teens than a younger audience.
Summary: A productive rehearsal can keep pacing on set fast and ready for shooting.
When you’re filming a production, it’s important for actors to have some time to work together on their scenes and run lines. Rehearsing helps everyone get acquainted with the space, and for other actors to build some camaraderie and anticipation on set. Rehearsal time tends to be more limited on film or television, but it’s an important part of stage acting and direction.
Actors need to know lines, but they should have a keen sense of flow for the scene too. While you’re preparing the camera or setting the stage, actors should be on their feet and blocking scenes. This should happen naturally, even if they are sitting and running through lines with each other.
If an actor under reads, meaning they have not studied the script enough, then blocking and rehearsing will give them some much needed prompts before stepping in front of the camera. However, this might be unacceptable to you as a director. Actors like to approach the story with fresh eyes, but that’s not always the most professional decision to make. As director, you need to make yourself responsible for actors learning lines, and a table read or blocking session can be a good time to make sure that’s getting done.
Table reads are to hear the tone of the scenes, not a time to hash out specifics. Try to keep in mind that actors are like tools to get the job done. You should also have a feel for what you want.
Bio:Charles Matthau is a director, producer and storyteller who runs The Charles Matthau Company in Los Angeles. Charles Matthau is best known for his adaptations, which include “The Grass Harp” and “Freaky Deaky.”
Unconfirmed reports indicate that Comcast may drop its attempt to grab Time Warner Cable due to regulatory objections coming from governmental agencies. So, still there will be Time Warner, Fox and Disney vying for the coveted supremacy over media.
Fox is experiencing sluggish ratings lately. Fox has two big hits to its credit; “Empire” and comic book based Warner Bros production “Gotham.” Empire, an American television drama series debuted in January 2015 and is expected to go into its second season later this year and part of next year. Gotham, the American crime drama television series is based on DC Comic series. Fox sports broadcasting also bring in huge revenue from advertisements. Its cable side dominated by Fox News Channel also helps to bring more dollars.
Time Warner, a unit of Turner is also enjoying some success and growth in cable services. It owns CNN, TNT and TBS and enjoying 26 percent operating profit increase lately.
Comcast is a behemoth among media giants and it owns NBCUniversal. Its value exceeds combined value of both Fox and Time Warner.
Disney is diversifying itself and experiencing a hot streak. It owns ABC and ESPN. Its content portfolio includes the infamous Marvel and the Avengers.
Post production is in demand, especially as CGI becomes cheaper than creating real set pieces. CGI has come a long way from the 90s, and digital effects can add significant depth to a scene. Today’s actors are even becoming familiar with green screen acting. That makes editors and effects people some of the most highly sought after talent in the industry, but breaking in can seem difficult. Here are some thoughts on how you can get your skills noticed.
The first step in showing off your talent is to make something yourself. If you don’t have a decent camera, ask your friends and look for someone who does. Rentals are also inexpensive and easy to find. Film a fake product ad, a short film or just something interesting going on outside. Once you’ve compiled some raw footage, edit it into something interesting. Try shooting from different angles, and look for opportunities to add dramatic effects.
Send Something Off
The recent Super Bowl featured an amateur filmmaking contest, and Doritos is not the only company offering money for talent. Lots of festivals and contests exist for short films, especially commercial ideas. If you’re an aspiring editor, there is no better way to get yourself started and compete for some financial compensation.
Who you know pays off, so get out there and make some friends. Start talking to people about your aspirations and see what comes back to you. Don’t think yourself too proud for certain projects and focus on meeting people who need the services you provide.
Bio:Charles Matthau is the head of the Matthau Company, producing television shows and feature-length films. For information about the upcoming work of Charles Matthau, visit the Charles Matthau Company website.