By Phineas Upham

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.

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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.


Phineas Upham is an investor from NYC and SF. You may contact Phin on his Phineas Upham website or Facebook page.

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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

Network

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.

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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.

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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.

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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.