Monday, May 31, 2010

Watch Out For Keifl

The Stanley Cup finals have begun...Chicago vs. Philly...and in the Infamous Writers Playoff Hockey Pool someone is sneaking up on frontrunners Mike Foster and Will Pascoe. That someone is Barry Keifl, with ten...that's TEN! Blackhawk players left. Foster and Pascoe also have a few of the top Chicago scorers, but Keifl is making a move.

Unless Chicago is kept off the scoresheet this pool is going right down to the wire.

Sunday, May 30, 2010


Dennis Hopper will be missed and was a true original...but he'll always be Frank to me.

Funny, but still NSFW.

Friday, May 28, 2010


Still the most fun I had watching a movie over the past 10+ years...and I first saw it on a Friday. So there.

Because it makes me smile, and still say: Whoa!

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

I Don't Want My 3DTV

Is Three Dee the future of Television? Canadian 3D evangelist James Stewart thinks so. From Mediacaster Magazine:

"3D's time has come. You see it in the blockbuster global box office success of Avatar and the 3D commercial success by major brands such as Sprint, Mazda and Vodafone. The advertising community is now ready and eager to capitalize on 3D's immersive effect," said Stewart. "But, across the creative community, we still have a lot to learn as we all tool up for 3D production."

(3D evangelist - WTF?)

Gak...I hope not. 3D feels like yet another technological advancement like flat screen and 1080p and 120hz and HD with the logic behind the sales job being: 'If it looks sharper, slicker, brighter, faster, will *be* better.' But a nice looking image and good sound only can compliment what's on the television. Good stories and compelling creative content is what makes TV better.

Not only that, 3-D TV feels way more gimmicky then all the other recent technological advancement.

Roger Ebert wrote a great piece a few weeks ago about why he hates it HERE. And even though Mr. Ebert was talking mostly about films in movie theatres, a lot of the negatives he lists can be applied to the recent 3-D TV craze.

From Newsweek:

3-D is a waste of a perfectly good dimension. Hollywood's current crazy stampede toward it is suicidal. It adds nothing essential to the moviegoing experience. For some, it is an annoying distraction. For others, it creates nausea and headaches. It is driven largely to sell expensive projection equipment and add a $5 to $7.50 surcharge on already expensive movie tickets. Its image is noticeably darker than standard 2-D. It is unsuitable for grown-up films of any seriousness. It limits the freedom of directors to make films as they choose. For moviegoers in the PG-13 and R ranges, it only rarely provides an experience worth paying a premium for.

Hear hear.

I tested out a 3-D television recently and found it an absolute pain. Special glasses hooked up to a special box with a cable that let you move around maybe 3 feet. Having to sit in a specific position and watch from a certain angle to achieve 'optimum' results!. And the worse thing was an inability to 'interact' with the television and the environment, as it were - as in not really able to look around and converse with co-watchers...or easily get up and go to the door or the phone or the fridge...or be able to surf on my laptop and tweet snark with pals while watching the Lost series finale. No, I was expected to sit down and put on those glasses and not move from my chair until the 3-D portion of the screening was over.

Not to mention I hate putting more glasses over my regular glasses.

I still want my MTV (back when it actually had music videos and know, good) but I don't want my 3DTV.


Tuesday, May 25, 2010


It's all up to what Hossa he's the only difference in the player picks between leader Foster and Pascoe in second place (man, Pascoe has performed very well over the past several pools...just sayin)

It's Phllly and Chicago for the Stanley Cup...and no one picked the Flyers. So it's all about Hossa. See ya Saturday.

Friday, May 21, 2010

So Bad It's Good

I have been totally uninspired to write about anything over the past couple weeks - even with the Upfronts going on and Lost coming to an end...yikes! I need some juicing and some goosing to come from somewhere!

But it's Friday. And Fun must be found.

I like the looks of this new documentary...

...even though it came out of someone making this...

...I mean, seriously...OMG!!!

Because it all makes me smile.

Have a great May long!

Monday, May 17, 2010

Foster vs Pascoe about the Infamous Writers Playoff hockey pool skidding sideways and more or less careening off the cliff. This is due to the Habs and the Flyers making it to the semi finals and thus eliminating the teams with most of players that most of the participants picked this year. And thus it looks to be down to a two man race between Mike Foster and Will Pascoe and their remaining Blackhawk's players.

I know I should be manufacturing hype but I must admit I'll be hard pressed to follow this years race to the finish with much attention.

Friday, May 14, 2010

Time To Take Things Up A Notch

Will Arnett + Human Giant + Mary Kate Olsen impersonator + a sex machine is just oh so WRONG...but oh so Friday funny. NSFW though.

"I'm gonna live forever!"

Because it makes me smile.

Thursday, May 13, 2010

The Trotsky Baby!

I've never met Jay Baruchel, star of The Trotsky, but he did have a small role in an Are You Afraid of the Dark? episode I wrote way back I feel we are connected in a six degrees kinda way. I also really like what he has to say and how he says it.

From NOW magazine.

And while his own star keeps rising, Baruchel is pleased at the attention he’s bringing to Canadian movies like The Trotsky. An outspoken patriot, he consistently returns home to lend his name to local films.

In fact, he finds it appalling that most other Canadian celebrities don’t do the same (ahem… Michael Cera, where you at?) or that when they do it’s usually because they’ve failed to make a dent stateside.

“I think that’s a shitty lesson, a shitty moral and a shitty truth,” Baruchel fumes. “To tell Canadian kids that the only time Canadians want to be working here is when they can’t get work in the States, that’s fucked. I will always have a career in both countries as best I can.”


And I only just met Jacob Tierney, writer and director of The Trotsky, for the first time in Toronto last month...and found him to be funny, smart, and exceedingly passionate about filmmaking and Canadian films and television in particular. He's an entertaining fellow.

Tierney also had a reoccurring role ages ago as a child actor on Are You Afraid of the Dark?...take from that what you will.

I haven't seen The Trotsky, but it opens tomorrow in theatres here in Canada and I hope a lot of people check it out...I know I will.

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

The Cable Guys

Canadian TV/cable/media moguls Ivan Fecan and Jim Shaw together in LA at The Cable Show 2010.

Any suggestions for a caption? There's got to be a good "who's got the better hair" joke out there somewhere.

Monday, May 10, 2010


Mike Foster has pulled slightly ahead in the Infamous Writers Hockey Pool...and seeing as I'm out of it I will say he's one of my sentimental faves to win this thing. Mike's been there since the beginning...he 'wants' to win. But like most of the frontrunners he needs Vancouver to get through this round...and those pesky Habs to go away.

Stay tuned.

Friday, May 07, 2010

Alternating Current Kills!

Drunk History. Nikola Tesla. Crispin Glover. John C. Reilly.

I actually had a film student pitch me something similar to this last year...more of a Drunk Politics thing. I wasn't sure about it then, and still not sure about it now. But it's Friday Fun in a bizarro kinda way.

Can't get embed to work - check it out HERE.

Because it makes me smile.

Wednesday, May 05, 2010

We Only Spend What We Have To or See Rule #2

Welcome to Canadian TV Network Club.

The first rule of Canadian TV Network Club: You only spend what you have to on Cancon or homegrown programming.

The second rule of Canadian TV Network Club: You don't talk about Rule #1.

As reported in The G&M and Hollywood Reporter, the CRTC recently released HERE the 2009 financial results for Canadian Specialty, Pay, Pay Per View, and Video on Demand (VOD) channels and services. And much like when financial results for conventional Canadian broadcasters were released in March HERE, there was a lot of hullabaloo on the Internets and the Twitter with people wondering why spending on foreign (primarily US) was up so much while spending on Canadian programming stayed pretty much the same (and in the case of drama on the conventional networks spending actually dropped).

From the CRTC Conventional Nets report:

The acquisition and production of programs represented 75.2% of all expenses, which came down from $2.1 billion in 2008 to $2 billion in 2009. Private broadcasters invested 3.3% less on Canadian programming last year, or $599.4 million compared to $619 million. In 2009, broadcasters paid $176.2 million to independent producers to acquire programming, which amounted to an increase of $30.2 million in one year.

Meanwhile, spending on foreign programming reached its highest level yet at 59% of all programming expenses, or $846.3 million. This total represented a 9.2% increase over the $775.2 million that was spent in 2008.

And from the CRTC Specialty/Pay Nets report:

In 2009, these services spent $1.08 billion on Canadian programming, which was roughly the same amount as the previous year. Of the overall programming expenditures, $357.1 million was paid to independent producers to acquire Canadian programs.

Although investments in Canadian programming were essentially at the same level, these services directed $521.8 million to foreign programming. This represented an increase of 36.7% from the $381.6 million reported in 2008.

So to recap...Canadian programming spend in both reports: flat or same as year before. Foreign programming spend, mostly U.S.: an increase from almost 10% to a whopping 37%!

And people were asking Why? How? WTF??

It's kind of simple really, and I assumed more people already knew this...the Canadian networks don't spend anymore on homegrown programming because they don't have to.

You see, there are these things called conditions of license. They are rules, or conditions, that are placed on a broadcaster when the CRTC grants them the permission and privilege of owning and operating the license of a television channel. And one of those rules, or conditions, include minimum Canadian content spend requirements. And I will make a huge, or not so huge, leap here and say the amounts spent by Canadian broadcasters each year on Canadian content = their minimum Cancon spend requirement, and probably not one penny more.

The truth is once they've doled out that minimum spend they're pretty much done in the Cancon department for that year. Of course, you won't hear it phrased like that exactly - more likely you'll hear: "We have something like this already." or, "We're not looking for new programs at this time." or even, "We've run out of money for development or program licenses for this year." But as the above reports reveal, they may have spent their minimum for Cancon, but they certainly haven't run out of money to spend.

And here is the kicker: you may walk in with the coolest slickest most totally accessible massively entertaining sure-fire winner concept for a movie or TV series ever...but if they've already spent their Cancon minimum required spend as per their conditions of license, they ain't buying. Believe it...I've asked why and have been told (I'm paraphrasing): "If it's 100% Canadian, there's nothing you could bring us, no matter how good, that could make us more money and do more for us as a network than buying an American show or movie can."

So there you go.

This is why I was a big fan of the "dollar for dollar spend" proposal put forward by many of the Canuck artist and craftspeople guilds and unions last year during the TV policy hearings - as in, requesting that for every dollar a broadcaster spent on foreign or US programming they had to spend the same amount on homegrown Canadian programming.

Not surprisingly the broadcasters lobbied against that, and won.

This is a problem...because no matter how many ways you try to spin it, Cancon always ends up being a loss leader of sorts - the necessary evil cost of doing the business of operating a television network in Canada. But maybe we're not supposed to be talking about this 'club'.

In many ways the problems of our indigenous TV industry mirror many of the problems facing our English language feature film biz (as outlined recently in a very even-keeled and informative post by Uncle Jim at The Legion of Decency HERE), or at least a reoccurring theme seems to be emerging, which is....we have a system set up in Canada that handsomely rewards a chosen few in some select clubs, but they're rewarded for doing the bare minimum required with little or no expectation of return.

And that's kinda screwy.

(PS - you don't wanna know what Rule #3 is...)

Monday, May 03, 2010

Pixels Are Cool

Or should that be: "Pixels" is cool.

Film short fun.

Pool Boy

Pool boy...that should be my new handle it seems when it comes to the Infamous Writers Hockey Playoff Pool - this after I lost half my players when Montreal eliminated the Capitals. Every year me and Uncle Jim have put on this little public display of poor judgement and lousy picking I have sucked early and often, but the same can't be said of leader Mark Wilson and the handful of one-point-back-second-placers - Mike Foster, John Whaley, and David Kinahan.

Good luck frontrunners. I'll be watching y'all...from way back in the pack, unfortunately.