11.20.2012

The "Give-Me-$$$-and-I'll-Give-You-More-$$$$$" Scam Still Around

From THR:
In a lawsuit filed on Wednesday in Los Angeles Superior Court, the producers allege an unfortunately familiar situation: They were promised $22 million, but they first had to put up $300,000 to make it happen.
Lucid Motion Pictures Limited is going to court against Varicorp International and an individual named Rhett Shepard.
According to the complaint, the plaintiff entered into an investment agreement last October whereby Preston Waters agreed to advance and guarantee the $22 million sum but conditioned it upon a $300,000 payment to Varicorp.
The $300,000 payment was made, but Varicorp is charged with having "failed to acquire the financial asset, set up the collateral and investment structure, or otherwise deliver on the funding for the Picture, within twenty-one banking days from the receipt of the Origination Fees as it was obligated to do under the Invoice."
The lawsuit says that in December 2011, the producers informed Varicorp of the default and demanded the $300,000 back. The producers say they never got it. Further, the lawsuit accuses Shepard of treating Varicorp's assets as his own and committing fraud, breach of contract and conversion.
 How ironic that the name of the sci-fi film in this case is Lucidity.

11.19.2012

Can Neuroscience Help Target Your Audience Better?


One thing the creatives and the suits in the industry can agree on is that they want their movie as art and/or product to catch and hold the eyes of as wide an audience as possible for artistic and financial reasons.  To do this, they rely on their education (learning filmmaking techniques or entertainment business concepts),  their experience, various hollywood "formulas" and blockbuster concepts, merchandising tie-ins, traditional and social media marketing and non-traditional methods like leveraging piracy to create a buzz for a film.    Needless to say it's in an entertainment industry type's best interest to try whatever they can to get their stuff seen and loved.  So why not try neuroscience?

Norman Hollan discusses neuroscientist Uri Hasson's experiments to ascertain how viewers process a movie when they watch it.  

From an early experiment in 2004, Hasson's findings showed that:
...the experiment says something about film form: form has a widely shared effect on viewers, but the total aesthetic experience will vary considerably from individual to individual.
Essentially, although we might process the film similarly in the way it travels and sparks parts of our brain, we still experience it differently.  
In one of their subsequent experiments, Hasson had his subjects watch [a] Sergio Leone film and an unedited 10-minute clip of people at a concert in Washington Square, a New York park, just people milling around. The experimenters compared viewers' brains as they watched these two very different films. The clip had no editing, no camera movement, nothing of the sophisticated film techniques of The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly.
Holland's take: 
First, Hasson's group found that viewers' brain activity was "time-locked" to events on screen. That's not surprising. Our brains are designed, as all animals' brains are designed, to turn our attention to whatever is new in our environment.... 
Second, with both films, viewers' brains behaved alike in some visual and auditory areas and in a region (lateral occipital cortex) active in object recognition. As with the earlier experiment, we viewers all process the basic sounds and sights of a film (even the unedited Washgton Square film) the same way. But there was a lot more intersubject correlation with the directed and edited film. Conclusion: in order to control viewers' responses, you have to construct the film's sequence of images. 

11.17.2012

Musicians... Have Clear Answers to the Following

Tamara Bennett's article "Mediating the Band Partnership Dispute" made me think of how best to preemptively avoid a nasty dispute.  And it begins with having clear answers in your written Band Partnership Agreement or LLC Membership Agreement to the following questions (which requires good negotiation and drafting):

Who gets to use the band name?
Who owns the master recording copyrights?
Who owns the song copyrights?
Who owns the physical product or merchandise?
Can the band keep using the leaving band member’s name and likeness?

The Privacy Scandal that is the Petraeus Scandal


The Petraeus scandal should make you worry about your privacy.  

According to the NY Times:
The F.B.I. investigation that toppled the director of the C.I.A. and has now entangled the top American commander in Afghanistan underscores a danger that civil libertarians have long warned about: that in policing the Web for crime, espionage and sabotage, government investigators will unavoidably invade the private lives of Americans.
On the Internet, and especially in e-mails, text messages, social network postings and online photos, the work lives and personal lives of Americans are inextricably mixed. Private, personal messages are stored for years on computer servers, available to be discovered by investigators who may be looking into completely unrelated matters. 
Some choice quotes:
For privacy advocates, the case sets off alarms.

“There should be an investigation not of the personal behavior of General Petraeus and General Allen, but of what surveillance powers the F.B.I. used to look into their private lives,” Anthony D. Romero, executive director of the American Civil Liberties Union, said in an interview. “This is a textbook example of the blurring of lines between the private and the public.”
 Read the full article after the jump:

Will there be a new FCC Chairman soon?

Federal Communication Commission Chairman Julius Genachowski speaks at the Cable Show in Chicago, June 15, 2011.
Credit: Reuters/John Gress

During the early 2000s, the FCC was more known for it's fight on indecency in the airwaves but since President Obama came to office there has been a concerted effort to deal with more consequential issues.  Now that President Obama is back to work leading the country, I wonder whether or not Julius Genachowski will step down as chairman.  In the meantime, it's probably a good time to review what the FCC has accomplished under Mr. Genachowski's tenure.

The Genachowski Term (2009 - Nov. 2012)*



  • Unveiled the country's first National Broadband Plan. 
    On March 16, 2010, Genachowski released a National Broadband Plan, titled “Connecting America: The National Broadband Plan”.  The plan sets an ambitious agenda for connecting all corners of the nation while transforming the economy and society with the communications network of the future --robust, affordable Internet.   With over 200 recommendations, the plan also lays out ways to reallocate airwaves for mobile broadband and to modernize the FCC's $9 billion per year Universal Service Fund from a program that supports phone service to a program that efficiently supports broadband.
    According to Chairman Genachowski, it is still to early to assess the success of the plan so far but the ultimate success of the plan will depend on how it advances the global leadership position of the US in terms of access, speeds and national policy initiatives.  
    The plan was released to generally positive reviews from public interest and business leaders citing the level of investment in broadband networks a major success indicator, "From 2009 to 2011, annual investment in wired and wireless networks increased approximately 30% to more than $60B, even in this challenging economy."  However, some p
    ublic interest advocates felt it could contain more extensive new regulations.  Still, for such a far-reaching stragegic plan, many of the policies have yet to be fully enacted and others require more time to assess.

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