Innovative Media Production for Fun and Profit

We may or may not be living in the future, but we sure as hell are closing in on Media Impossible. Or, as a certain Vulcan we all know and love might say, “Fascinating:”

by Mike Masnick

A few weeks ago, a couple of friends friends were tweeting about an incredible new YouTube video in which some people created a “real life first-person shooter” and hooked it up to Chatroulette, Skype and Omegle. Random people on the services were transported into this game, which they controlled with their voice.

My first reaction [to the video above] was to marvel at how much effort must have gone into setting all of this up. I had initially assumed the “game” couldn’t go very far beyond the tiny room where it started — but it goes much, much further. My second thought was about how hard it must have been to coordinate all the sounds, effects and movements (even while recognizing that the final version is cut together from the takes that “worked”). Thankfully, the people behind it — Realm Picturesalsoput together a behind the scenes video that reveals the inner workings (and doesn’t make the original any less magical):

I started looking into the team, and realized I actually knew a bit about them, as this is hardly the first time that Realm Pictures has done cool stuff online. Years back, while based out of their home in Devon in the UK, these guys filmed their very own zombie flick called Zomblies, which they posted for free on YouTube. For a bunch of “amateurs” (at the time), the production value is amazing — they even got someone to donate time in a helicopter, allowing them to film aerial shots. But there’s another important piece of the story: while they were making the film, Realm Pictures was also using the internet to build up a community of people who were interested in the process, with their daily blog about the work acquiring a big following.

David Reynolds, the founder and creative director of Realm Pictures (and the voice in the first person shooter above), told me that “building a community has always been instrumental to both our process and our success with projects thus far.”…

Read it all at TechDirt

John Ostrander: Going Out of My Head (Over You)

Elmer-Fuddby John Ostrander

I’m a child of pop culture.

Nowhere is that more obvious to me in the earworms that I get. Earworms are a song or piece of a song that gets stuck in your head and seems to be on an endless replay cycle. I don’t know about you but I get them a lot. A lot. I wish I could say they were songs that I like but often they’re songs I’m pretty “meh” about and sometimes even hate.

They’re almost always pop songs – nothing classical although I am a fan of classical music. Not of all classical music, but of some. The only opera I really like, for example, is Peter Grimes by Benjamin Britten. The closest I get to classical earworms are the orchestral movie soundtracks – I like soundtracks quite a bit. For example, the Star Wars Theme is likely to pop up in rotation pretty often, but that’s okay by me.

Others, not so much.

Sometimes an earworm is triggered by songs I hear on the radio or that’s playing in the muzac at the store but just as often they just come into my head for no damn good reason whatsoever. They come in and take up residence and unless I can find another tune to drown them out, I can’t get rid of them. The problem with fighting an earworm with another earworm is that you can get stuck with the second one.

Here’s some that have bedeviled me lately. If you don’t want them stuck in your head,SPOILER ALERT: bail out now.

Today I’ve had “Have You Ever Been Mellow” by Olivia Newton John. I always been so-so about Ms Newton-John and this particular song is not the one I find most endurable in her repertoire but there it is in my head.

Recently, I’ve been inflicted with Abba’s “Waterloo.” I’m not and never have been a big fan of Abba. I don’t hate them; they just never did much for me. I don’t even know the lyrics to the song. “Waterloo! something something something something. Waterloo! Some something something forevermore.” That’s all I got – over and over again. Gaaaah!

That’s another thing about the earworms. I may only know a portion of the lyrics or discover that I have them wrong but there is no autocorrect in my head. If you’ve read this column before, you may not be surprised to learn that.

I’ve also had the opening theme to The Daily Show running through my brain at times. The Jon Stewart version, not Trevor Noah. I like Noah just fine and always watch the show but it’s Stewart’s version my brain coughs up.

A good song that has gotten in my cranial sound loop is Bruce Springsteen’s “Born in the USA.” Sometimes it’s that iconic opening that has inspired a thousand lesser rock anthems and sometimes it’s the chorus. One problem, however, is that I’ve never been able to understand what Bruce is singing, at least with this song. To me, it sounds like “Baaarm inna Hew Hess Hay! I was baaarm inna Hew Hess Hay! Ima rap scraggle flaggart inna Hew Hess Hay now!” I’m reasonably certain those aren’t the actual lyrics, but that’s what they sound like to me.

I can sometimes chase that earworm by singing the song in my Elmer Fudd voice. I’m reasonably certain that those who have heard me do Elmer Fudd can hear me doing that at this moment. (I’m looking at you, Tim Brown.) In fact, almost any of the earworms can be banished by singing them in my Elmer Fudd voice. Elmer is sort on an earworm exterminator.

“Baaaawm inna Hew Hess Hay! Heh-heh-heh-heh!”

Like I said, I’m a child of pop culture.

John Ostrander is one of LB’s favorite writers in any medium. Don’t forget to read his most excellent blog at ComicMix.

If THE MUPPET MOVIE Got A Round Of Reality TV Network Notes

Jeez Jon strikes again! We can’t resist this stuff:


by Jeez John

THE MUPPET MOVIE Network Rough Cut 2 Notes Pass

Hello! Thanks for addressing our notes on the earlier cut. Progress has definitely been made but we are still a long way’s off from getting this right.  Unfortunately, clarity is still a really big issue.  Many scenes are pretty chaotic and therefore not funny.  Remember: scenes are only funny when we carefully explain everything to the audience.  Also, the characters’ motivations are rather murky.  Why is Kermit going to Hollywood?  Why would Fozzie join him?  What is Janice doing? A very strong and deliberate bite pass is in order; let’s get into the head of every frog, pig, drummer, human and 70’s comedy star we have.  Once this bite pass happens, then we can give you some time coded notes.  Please see below.


The start of the film has two older people saying arriving at a movie studio saying they are going to see THE MUPPET MOVIE? This self-referential stuff is rather confusing.  Do we have any intro bites with Statler and Waldorf?  Why are they going to a screening of a movie if they don’t seem too happy about it?If we are setting them up to be a Wendy Pepper/Johnny Bananas/Richard Hatch-type of villain, that’s fine. If not, then they are already coming across as unlikable.  In reality, characters are either big villains or extremely likable; they can’t be anywhere in the middle.  (Except on competition shows that get nominated for Emmys)


We start with Kermit singing but the video is just a big wide shot of the swamp.  How do we know if it’s Kermit singing unless we actually see him?  Let’s recut this to show b-roll of the swamp, then a shot of Kermit singing on the log.  Man, Kermit is singing and singing and we don’t have a SINGLE bite from him. No no no.  Let’s build an intro package with a bite like “Hi, I’m Kermit the Frog. I live in a big swamp and I love playing the banjo!” (Doesn’t have to be exact)

Let’s get some more information about the swamp. Where is it? What it’s like? Is there a pawn shop full of colorful-yet-completely non-threatening people? Dig through your footage and let us know.

When the agent gives his card to Kermit, we really need to hear a bite from Kermit about how his offer about the audition at World Wide Studios is quite enticing. Sure, we can get the idea of this based on Kermit’s sound ups and reactions, but we really need to sell this. If it’s not completely obvious to us, it won’t be to our viewers!

By the way, do we ever hear the answer about why there ARE so many songs about rainbows? If we don’t, let’s cut it; too confusing….

Read it all at Jeez Jon


screencapture-click-email-wgaw-org-cp-onlinePreview-php-1466635207859Know any of the candidates? Want to tell us about ’em as potential WGAW board members?
Head down to the Comments and let us know.

LB: The 1 Book Every New TV Writer Needs

More Troy Book Capture

by Larry Brody

Yes, it’s true. I’ve finally found the one book every TV writer needs in order to fully understand what the hell is going on in the television production trenches, and it isn’t even one of my own.

The book in question is Troy DeVolld’s And Another Thing…A Beginner’s Guide to the Television Notes Process. 

Because when you get right down to it, as a famous but still working TV showrunner told me half a zillion years ago, “They aren’t really paying us for our writing. They’re paying us for having to listen to their fucking notes.” And Troy’s book tells us how to understand and deal with those notes…and the notes-givers.

The fact that the showrunner I just quoted is still a TV name to be reckoned with while others (some even better writers and producers) are long gone from the Industry, demonstrates how much more important understanding the business we’re in is than the talent that brought us to it.

I could go into great detail about how TV really works (and I have, in the book I refer to above but am still not telling you is absolutely the one book you need), but if you visit this site often you know how much I value brevity…and the contributions of others. So I’m going to let Troy do the talking. Here’s his basic take on the notes process:

Troy on Notes Capture

And here’s where you can read a sample and see what’s sold me on And Another Thing.

Oh, and you can also buy it at the same link.

Then, if you’re one of the five people in the known universe who hasn’t yet read it, you can hie thyself over to another exciting Amazon page and, you guessed it, sample and buy the next best book I know of about TV.

My book is terrific. But Troy’s is indispensible.