Monday, March 31, 2008

Fan Mail!

For those (like me) who read a blog post but don't go back to check comments made days later, I can't resist posting this "comment" to my previous blog post about the ridiculousness of expecting people to schlep over to Warner Brothers HQ for the 'privelege' of a 5 minute preview of a film that the company is desperately trying to promote. I know we live in a society where there's a starry-eyed obsession with the 'cult of celebrity' but even so, the following response took me by surprise...

"First of all, thanks for specifying the parts of this blog in which you were being sarcastic. I don't know how I would have coped without such helpful hints (sarcasm).

Secondly, you need to replace your photo, as it quite clearly depicts a grown man. This is surely some mistake?

Finally, I wouldn't invite you to a five minute screening of me hitting you over the head with a hammer (and trust me, that is a work I would be very proud of); I'm amazed anybody would seek the approval of such a classless, insecure and mean-spirited man.

I don't know what's funniest: the fact that the poster criticises ME for being 'classless, insecure and mean-spirited' in what is just one long insult that doesn't address the subject matter of the original blog post at all; or the fact that they're so cowardly they felt they had to share their intelligent and enlightening thoughts 'anonymously'.

If there's one thing I hate even more than publicists expecting me to waste my own time and money promoting something I clearly won't have the knowledge to comment on (I challenge anybody to review a film based on a 5-minute preview) it's cowards - and anyone who resorts to threats and name-calling 'anonymously' is by definition a coward!

Thursday, March 27, 2008

Promotional Madness!

One of the happy side-effects of my different shiny disc review blogs is that I get the occasional invite to a free preview screening. 300 was a real treat and resulted in me recommending a film I would otherwise have probably avoided on theatrical release. I subsequently received a couple of other freebie invites, which unfortunately coincided with my being abroad, but which was kinda nice!

But the latest, an email headed Fancy a Free Film Screening (read that again, yup it definitely says 'Free Film'), shows just how ridiculous the whole art of film promotion has become!

It turned out to be an invitation to schlep over to Warner Brothers HQ in Holborn for an 'exclusive 5 minute preview' of Speed Racer. Excuse me, but since when did a 5 minute preview constitute a 'free film'?! As added incentive I could apparently take the kids too (oh wow! - a five minute preview full of noisy kids - sign me up, now (not!))

Why would ANYONE want to spend time, effort and money attending this? All I can sense is the total desperation of a promotions company stuck with a real turkey on their hands when the invite attempts to explain the lack of a proper screening thus: "It doesn’t sound like a lot, but bear in mind that there is unlikely to be any advance screenings before it’s release, so it’s likely that this will be the only advance footage that reviewers/bloggers will get to see" Oh well, in THAT case sign me up immediately (sarcasm!)

To be honest, my suspicions that the movie was duff were aroused by an over-the-top advertorial masquerading as editorial article in one of the glossy film monthlies that appeared a few weeks back ('Total Film' I think). Despite the pretty colour pictures, multiple pages and generous cast quotes there was just no substance to the piece and it all seemed a trifle desperate. This latest invite has simply convinced me that Speed Racer, far from being a 'must see' is looking suspiciously like a 'must avoid'.

Note to Warner Brothers: if what you have really is a 'great' film and you're only prepared to show a 5 minute preview, why not maximise the number of bloggers/reviewers/potential audience members you reach and simply post it on YouTube, Vimeo or any one of hundreds of other promotional sites?! Don't assume bloggers are so starry-eyed they'll schlep across London just to do the same thing in one of two staggered screenings at your HQ!

Monday, March 24, 2008

(Belated) Happy Easter!

I'm afraid the blog's been pretty quiet because I seem to have been sick for so much of the last few months - with some sort of endless cold/flu/insomnia/jet-lag thing. Thankfully, I seem to be well past the worst now and more-or-less back to normal.

I hope everyone's had a good Easter. I seem to have spent most of it fighting with computers (no change there then!), trying to get a preview edition of The Daily.NET Show done. Like most things in my life these days, this took far longer than it should have done, although I'm now feeling a lot more comfortable with Sony Vegas Pro video editing software. The preview episode is done and now I have to work out how to iron out all the kinks (of which there are many, but it's more fun than doing real work!). One thing's become very clear: I'm definitely a "better behind the camera than in front of it" guy :(

I did watch a couple of movies over the Easter break. No new shiny disk purchases as I'm 'between contracts' and money is scarce, but I caught up with Evening on HD-DVD (which features a great cast, but misfires on most fronts because of messy and too-frequent time shifting) and also Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas, which I admired rather than enjoyed (worth seeing for Jonny Depp's performance, but a bit too off-the-wall to really appeal to me).

Next weekend I'm going on a 'documentary film-making' course, and I suspect most of this week will be spent chasing agencies for job interviews, not to mention helping a former client out with a 'quick' piece of work that is suddenly looking like a 'long, slow, difficult' piece of work instead, so don't hold your breath waiting for any updates over the next couple of weeks.

Anyway, I hope everyone's enjoyed the break and is all prepped for the return to work tomorrow.

Tuesday, March 04, 2008

MIX08 Blog Posts All Appearing over on DailyDotNetShow blog

I'm blogging all the MIX08 announcements over on the new Daily.NET Show web site. Already announced pre-conference is the new version of Expression Studio 2, available in April.

Sunday, March 02, 2008

Gatwick Restrictions and A Damehood for Petula Clark

I'm in Las Vegas, with a sore throat and feeling somewhat jaded, but otherwise fine despite a scary amount of lack of sleep.

The flight over was great, apart from the nightmare Virgin Airways check-in, where they're insisting on weighing hand luggage and not allowing anything over 6kg. This is a nightmare when you have a very expensive camera in a soft padded bag, and according to other cameramen, seems to be something exclusive to travelling from Gatwick airport. Avoid!

Thankfully the laptops I subsequently had to repack survived a journey in the hold, although the padlock I put on my case was gone when it arrived in baggage reclaim at Las Vegas airport! To get the hand luggage down to just over the maximum weight requirements I had to move everything else (including laptop - ouch!) into my hold baggage. New regulations introduced a week or so ago say li-on batteries have to travel as hold luggage anyway, which I hadn't picked up on. I swear they make these ever-changing regulations up just to wind passengers up, or to force you to buy stuff from over-priced 'duty free' shops the other side of check-in!

You've probably seen a lot of folks promoting a petition to try and get Bruce Forsythe a knighthood. Well my friend Brian Sibley is trying to promote something similar for Petula Clark. Time is running out and the petitition needs to be signed by 12th March at the latest. For reasons why you should sign the petition, and a link to the petition itself, please check Brian's blog entry