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.

Robin Gibb and the Bee Gees

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.

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.


Script Time

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.


Make Something

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.

Written by: Charles Matthau

Summary: Think a book is un-filmable? These tips might make you reconsider.

As a first-time director, or even someone with a movie or two on their demo reel, you will find yourself in a position where you take whatever project comes your way. One of the trends you’ll find is that many of these are, or were, books and short stories. Studios purchase rights to these projects all the time, but they end up sitting “on the shelf” waiting to get made. Watchmen, the film based on Alan Moore’s comic book of the same name, is a great example.


The rights to Watchmen were purchased in 1986, but the film didn’t see the light of day until 2009. All sorts of problems cropped up related to production. Alan Moore didn’t want to write the script, but a rewritten script completely changed the iconic and poignant ending. Terry Gilliam was attached to direct at one point, but dropped the project because he stated the comic was ultimately “un-filmable.”

The film “Watchmen” was eventually made, and it was made using this important tip.

Change the Source Material

Any hardcore fan is probably conjuring expletives and counter arguments, but don’t be afraid to change elements of the plot to suit your needs. This is not license to completely alter the plot, the theme or the characters (although it’s certainly been done before). Both Watchmen and Blade Runner made significant changes from the source material, but did so because the film version demanded that level of insight.

When the director investigates source material, he or she should be looking for key elements that make the story pop. Distill those beats into the barebones of your script, then begin writing for the screen. Always remember that books give us insight that movies cannot. You have to be willing to pull the essence of your subject matter into the script.


Bio: The Matthau Company is a production company that recently released “Freaky Deaky,” an adaptation of Elmore Leonard’s story starring Christian Slater and Crispin Glover. The Charles Matthau Company is best known for the adaptation of Capotes “The Grass Harp” Starring Walter Matthau and directed by Charlie Matthau.

The television hit series, Mad Men, recently announced that it will end the show after the scheduled telecast of last episode on May 17, 2015.


American television drama was created by Mathew Weiner and produced by Lionsgate Television premiered on July 19, 2007 on AMC cable network. It will be going off the air after seven seasons. Last seven episodes will begin on April 5, 2015 with finale on May 17, 2015.

The story revolves around Sterling Cooper advertising agency on Madison Avenue in New York City. “Mad men” is a slang term initiated in 1950s to identify advertising professionals. The character Don Draper is played by Jon Hamm was the creative director of the company and later became the founding father of the renamed company. In addition, other lead characters of the show include Peggy Olson played by Elisabeth Moss, Pete Campbell played by Vincent Kartheiser, Betty Francis (January Jones), Joan Harris played by Christina Hendricks and Roger Sterling (John Slattery). Plot details the advertising business and lives of people involved with it. The show received many awards including 15 Emmys and four Golden Globes. As one of the best television series, Mad Men has been credited for its historic authenticity, visual style, costumes, writing and directing.

There are certain elements that make a good indie film great. Indie films are passion productions that frequently feature engaging scripts and excellent camera work. Talent is another crucial component, but securing great talent can be quite the challenge. You can devote long stretches of time to searching for an actor that is just right, or you can use some of these tips to try and get ahead of the game.


Have a Distribution Strategy

When you’re seeking funding, you have to talk about the full scope of your project and include details about what you hope the film will do. If you’re approaching bigger talent, you may want to talk about some of your plans for the film, where you intend on releasing and how you plan to distribute. This show’s you’re serious about the business side of filmmaking, and that you have a vision for the completed project.

Have Someone Important Attached

There will inevitably come a moment when you’re asked “who” is involved with the project. The “who” in question should be someone recognizable, even if they are a b-list actor. Plenty of talent that doesn’t get mainstream attention still draw fans. Have a vision for this person and a convincing way to sell them on a picture. Some actors, for instance, are highly motivated by interesting characters or challenging roles. Knowing your actor or the partners you want to work with is just as important as getting everything else right.

Casting on Your Own

If you plan to go the solo route, save yourself the trouble and ditch Craigslist. Start your recruiting at local playhouses and universities. You’d be surprised at the up and coming talent studios haven’t dug up yet.


Bio: Charles Matthau is the owner and operator of Charles Matthau Company. Matthau Company is based out of Los Angeles, and is the source for productions involving the Matthau family.

The 2015 South by Southwest (SXSW) film and music festival is scheduled for March 13-22 in Austin, Texas. Began in 1987, the festival and the conference is a celebration of film, music, any many more run by the SXSW, Inc.


This year’s planned festival will feature 145 feature films which is an all-time high for the festival and include the last minute addition of Furious 7, Spy, Get Hard, The Final Girls, Moonwalker, Trainwreck and many more. In documentaries line up includes Steve Jobs: The Man in the Machine, ExMachina and Brand: A Second Coming and appears to be fan favorites too.

In the music category more than 2,000 artists and groups are scheduled to play for free. Some of the scheduled notables include three women ukulele playing group, The Prettiots. The festival provides a venue for young artists to showcase their talent and get the attention of the industry deal makers. Music industry big names attending the festival and performing include John Legend, Spoon, and Snoop Dogg while three time attendee Kanye West will be a keynote speaker. Some television show hosts including Jimmy Kimmel Live are expected to broadcast from the venue. Show appears to be gaining momentum since its debut 28 years ago.