Hollywood Producers’ Telemarketing Practices Defrauding People by Hundreds of Millions, Law Enforcement Says

Making movies in Hollywood costs a lot of money, so film producers are often looking for investors to bankroll what they hope will be a blockbuster. CBS News has learned some Hollywood producers are using telemarketers to cold call Americans, convincing them to make risky investments.

Law enforcement tells CBS News it’s a widespread fraud worth hundreds of millions of dollars over more than a decade, and CBS News has now spoken to more than a hundred investors who never saw their money again after sending a check to a voice on the phone.  

Bette Anderson remembers the day her phone rang at her house in Minnesota. She says the voice on the other end offered her a guaranteed way to make money, investing in movies. “They just prey on your hopes and dreams,” she said.
Asked if she thought she had stumbled across a pretty good deal, Anderson said, “Oh yeah. After having been laid off my job of 26 years, it provided some hope again for me. I just thought this was going to save my life, basically.”

Instead, however, she said, “it destroyed it.”

She was sent a professionally produced documents with the names of famous writers and actors and was told she could make $1.5 million. In total, Anderson said she invested $315,000, and got nothing back.

CBS News | Read the Full Article

Exposition: Do modern audiences want less of it in stories?

In his class on Exposition, Scott Myers discusses how modern audiences have less patience for overt exposition.


Just in general, I think modern audiences need less exposition than they used to. We see this with the compression of events in what comprises a typical Act One in contemporary scripts. If you go back and watch movies from the 80s, they generally spend the entire first half-hour setting up the Protagonist’s Ordinary World before launching them into the adventure. Nowadays what used to be the end of Act One is often the middle of Act One, the end being when all the narrative dynamics have been set into motion. Obviously this is not always the case, but it happens enough, combined with cold opens which in effect throw the reader directly into the story without any setup, to confirm this trend: Audiences prefer to get into the action over a lot of setup. Give them just enough details and information to provide a foundation for the narrative and context for the characters, then go!

My own theory is that video games have something to do with this trend. They are such an immersive experience, the gamers creating elaborate and comprehensive story universes that the players trust they are going to learn what they need along the way. Again they want just enough to create a context, then let them get going and into the action.

Go Into the Story | Read the Full Article

Comparing the Blackmagic Production Camera 4K, Canon 1DC, and Red Epic

The Blackmagic Production Camera 4K has just started shipping and early adopters are starting to put them up against other 4K models. See some preliminary results on how this newest affordable 4K camera stacks up.

When the first Blackmagic Camera with RAW capabilities was announced at an extremely competitive price it made a big impact on the film industry. A year later the Blackmagic Production Camera 4K was presented and its specs shook us once again. At $3000 these are very amazing specs for a camera and finally we get a chance to see if the camera can live up to its expectations.

Since we had two of the really coolSigma 18-35mm F/1.8 lenses lying around we equipped the Blackmagic 4K and Canon 1DC with them and went out to shoot some first side by side tests. 

Cinema 5D | Read the Full Article

We did a side-by-side comparison with the Blackmagic Production Camera (BMPC) and the RED EPIC.
This test ist by no means scientific or should prove which camera is better or whatever! The intention was to check, if these cameras will work together as an A and B-Cam setup.

The BMPC 4K had (at the time of this test) only the ProRes 4K (UHD) mode available. The RED EPIC was used with different compresssion settings from 5:1 to 12:1 (for the slomos).

All footage is OUT OF CAMERA without any color correction, LUT or grading applied. The RED EPIC was set to RED Color 3 and RED Gamma 3.

MotionCTRL | Read the Full Video Description

Via NoFilmSchool

ILM’s scientific solutions

Ian Failes reports on ILM’s wins in the Scientific and Technical Awards for their advancements in computer generated graphics.


ILM is no stranger to the SciTech Awards; numerous innovations crafted by its artists and engineers have been recognized with prestigious Scientific and Technical Awards from the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences. The studio’s latest two SciTech honors were awarded recently for ILM’s GPU-based simulation and volume renderer Plume and the Zeno application framework. fxguide spoke to key members of ILM’s team about these in-house visual effects tools.

In full Plume

With the release of The Last Airbender in 2010, audiences first witnessed the power of ILM’s Plume. For that film, director M. Night Shyamalan sought a specific and art-directable pyro effects solution – ILM delivered a system based on GPUs that would allow artists to do multiple iterations, quickly, to show to the director. The system, Plume, is capable of simulating and rendering final quality volume renders via the GPU. It was recognized this year at the SciTechs with a Technical Achievement Award. The full award citation is: “To Olivier Maury, Ian Sachs and Dan Piponi for the creation of the ILM Plume system that simulates and renders fire, smoke and explosions for motion picture visual effects.”

ILM R&D engineer Olivier Maury told fxguide that what sets Plume apart from many GPU renderers is that both facets of simulation and rendering of things like smoke, explosions and fire are combined into the one tool. “The artist uses Plume to go from inputting simulation parameters and tweaking them, all the way to final rendering,” says Maury. “So what they get at the end is final frames that they can pass onto compositing.”

FX Guide | Read the Full Article

What’s the Deal With Unboxing Videos? | Idea Channel

With every new product release comes a glorious wealth of new Unboxing videos. For the uninitiated, unboxing videos are exactly what they sound like. A person gets a new thing, and film themselves removing it from the packaging. But why do people film these videos, and why do others WATCH these videos? Well for one thing, these videos show what the products ARE, without the annoying filter of marketing. Maybe unboxing videos glorify the act of acquiring and owning? Is there a sensual element to these videos?

Understanding the basics of Music Clearance in Film

Entertainment lawyer Christopher Schiller explains some of the basics of music clearance and notes how getting legal rights can easily crescendo into a complicated task.

Music in Film

Since before films had dialogue, they’ve had music to accompany the pictures. Music in some form or another has been integral to the cinema experience. And so it should come as no surprise that there are complex and very evolved business and legal issues when dealing with music and movies in all of the various ways they can be integrated.

Dealing with music is a very complex and specialized task. Even most of the general public are somewhat aware of how music infuses filmmaking. After all, there are best song and original score awards in all the big end of year fetes. Selecting a composer who “gets” your film, picking just the right tracks for the sound track and convincing producers you need all that extra music to make your film perfect is hard work for any filmmaker. But that’s not the only hard work that goes into those in film

Often whole departments who do nothing else are used by filmmakers in order to properly license and research the business side of music in film. Little (and sometimes not so little) armies of lawyers, researchers and specialized companies all toil to get each piece of music, no matter how small, into the film. There are many aspects to music integration that most people are unaware of. It behooves writers, writer/directors and film makers in general to learn at least a bit about the terminology and processes involved.

Keep in mind, as indicated by the large crew usually employed in navigating and negotiating these licensing issues, the overview here will necessarily be brief, inadequate and potentially inaccurate. When my projects involve music I quickly run to specialists to handle the minutia for the production. You should too.

ScriptMag | Read the Full Article

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