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Realer Than Reality: The New Hidden-Camera Movies

Matt Singer traces the roots of the “Hidden Camera” genre from its “Candid Camera” days to most recent experiments like Under the Skin featuring Scarlett Johansson.

Hidden Camera

Through most of Under The Skin’s first half, Johansson’s unnamed character repeats this ritual over and over, collecting victims—almost all played by non-actors—and luring them back to her lair. To make these sequences possible, director Jonathan Glazer built a new camera system, hidden in the dashboard of Johansson’s van, and filmed Johansson’s unscripted interactions with the men. More than a simple marketing hook, this clever formal trick adds innumerable dimensions to the film’s story of a stranger in a strange land, and marks Under The Skin as the pinnacle of a recent wave of hidden-camera cinema.

Glazer is far from the first director to surreptitiously turn a camera on unsuspecting victims and share the results with the world. Allen Funt’sCandid Camera was a popular television mainstay for more than 50 years after its introduction in 1948. Funt even took the concept to theaters with two adult-themed Candid Camera movies in the 1970s:What Do You Say To A Naked Lady? and Money Talks. As the franchise continued, imitators appeared. NBC and ABC had Dick Clark’s TV’s Bloopers & Practical Jokes. One of the Fox network’s earliest hits wasTotally Hidden Video; when it debuted in 1989, it scored the highest ratings of any show on the channel to date. And Ashton Kutcher cemented his own celebrity by pranking other movie and TV stars on MTV’s Punk’d

The Dissolve | Read the Full Article

Evidence of Facebook Fraud

Veritasium digs into Facebook’s advertising model looking at how click farms generate page likes and popularity on the bohemeth social network.

Evidence Facebook’s revenue is based on fake likes.

My first vid on the problem with Facebook: http://bit.ly/1dXudqY

I know first-hand that Facebook’s advertising model is deeply flawed. When I paid to promote my page I gained 80,000 followers in developing countries who didn’t care about Veritasium (but I wasn’t aware of this at the time). They drove my reach and engagement numbers down, basically rendering the page useless. I am not the only one who has experienced this. Rory Cellan-Jones had the same luck with Virtual Bagel: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/technology-…

The US Department of State spent $630,000 to acquire 2 million page likes and then realized only 2% were engaged. http://wapo.st/1glcyZo

I thought I would demonstrate that the same thing is still happening now by creating Virtual Cat (http://www.facebook.com/MyVirtualCat). I was surprised to discover something worse – false likes are coming from everywhere, including Canada, the US, the UK, and Australia. So even those carefully targeting their campaigns are likely being duped into spending real money on fake followers. Then when they try to reach their followers they have to pay again.

And it’s possible to be a victim of fake likes without even advertising. Pages that end up on Facebook’s “International Suggested Pages” are also easy targets for click-farms seeking to diversify their likes. http://tnw.co/NsflrC

Thanks to Henry, Grey, and Nessy for feedback on earlier drafts of this video.

Facebook Fraud

Tips For Working With Feedback On Your Script

Scott Meyers answers a reader question about dealing with feedback on your script.

Rewriting

This is a really good question because as you suggest, Alejandro, if a writer follows the advice of someone whose feedback is wrong, that can only hurt the story. On the other hand, what if a writer receives solid suggestions that can improve the story, but the writer refuses to incorporate them, resulting in an inferior script. Different sides of the same coin. Let’s work our way through this.

First and foremost, everything depends upon the quality of the feedback. So if you choos to solicit reactions to a draft, you need to seek out professional quality advice. That does not necessarily mean the reader is a professional writer, however they have to be informed enough about the craft or at the very least Story so their observations come from a high level of understanding. On the other hand, while one could assume that most professional writers have a solid grasp on the craft, there are some who just aren’t all that good at assessing other peoples’ material. But whatever you do, you should focus on sourcing and vetting the people you use to read your material so that you have a high degree of trust and confidence that the feedback you receive represents solid insight and ideas.

Go Into The Story | Read the Full Article

In bed with Bollywood: sex and censorship in Indian cinema

Bollywood may be the blushing ballerina to Hollywood’s brazen pole-dancing stripper, but, as the history of film censorship in India reveals, its screen stars are no stranger to the lip lock

INDIA-BOLLYWOOD-PAHELI-FILER

With India being the world’s biggest producer of films (around 1000 last year, twice that of America) its censor board, aka the Central Board of Film Certification, has its work cut out. It watches and certifies every film, both Indian and non-Indian, before they can be shown to the country’s masses.

There is the popular misconception that Bollywood films do not show scenes of a sexual nature: they do. However, when comparing the screen time or manner in which kissing (or more “bedroomly” activity) is portrayed in Bollywood versus Hollywood, Bollywood is a blushing ballerina, whereas Hollywood is as brazen as a pole-dancing stripper.

Today, Bollywood’s most successful actor (in terms of earning and award-nominations) is Shah Rukh Khan. His first movie appearance was in 1992 and he has since starred in more than 80 productions, earning the title “King of Romance”. But for the first 20 years of his film career, he didn’t kiss a single one of his co-stars. He had a rule: no kissing the heroine and no riding a horse. Jab Tak Hai Jaan (As Long as I Live), in 2012, was when his resolve faltered (on the kissing front at least). Whether to please director Yash Chopra, or simply taking the chance of getting closer to Katrina Kaif, we shall never know, but kiss Katrina he did – three times …

The Guardian | Read the Full Article

Crowdfunding & Taxes: Kickstarter’s Hidden Bite (& How to Stop the Bleeding)

Ben Henretig raised $112,000 for a documentary – but how much of that money winds up with the IRS in terms of tax dollars? He explains his approach to the tax question when it comes to crowdfunding:

Kickstarter_tax_1

Kickstarter has emerged as an incredibly powerful platform for creatives to crowd-fund their creative work. In October of 2012, I ran a Kickstarter campaign to fund my feature documentary The Happiest Place, which explores what we in the West might be able to learn about living happier, more meaningful lives from the small Himalayan Kingdom of Bhutan — the only country in the world to use Gross National Happiness as the yardstick for progress. The campaign exceeded our wildest expectations — in two days we met our goal of $45,000 and finished the campaign at nearly 250% our goal — $112,000.

We were ecstatic. After months of hustle and personal investment, I finally had the money to bring this film to life. Yet, in the months since closing the campaign, I’ve come face-to-face with the hidden costs of running a Kicktarter campaign. After Kickstarter and Amazon take their share (collectively about 8%), you pay for fulfillment of the prizes you’ve offered (say, 10% to 15%) and income tax on the total (up to 44% depending on the total funds raised and your tax bracket!) you as a creator retain more like 38% – 82% of the total you’ve raised. Not exactly free money.

The single most impactful factor for determining how much of your hard-earned Kickstarter money ends up in your pocket is the degree to which you are able to reduce your tax exposure.

I am by no means an accountant and am not qualified to give proper tax advice, but my hope is that by outlining a few (avoidable) mistakes, I can help save you some money and heartache.

No Film School | Read the Full Article

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