A New Outsideman Review

Since The Outsideman short film has hit the internet, it's been getting a lot of attention.  I just found this glowing review of the short film.

I'm not sure how much of this my ego can take.  =)

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Hollywood Scam

I found this pretty unbelievable story about a hollywood hoax that ended up hurting a lot of people...

Dreams of Hollywood Disappear Along With Fake 'Real Rome'

There are two reasons that Jeff Barr, an aspiring screenwriter, won't be able to bring himself to watch Sunday's debut of the HBO series "Rome."

The first reason is that Barr is among 18 writers, art and costume designers, researchers and a producer who allege that they were victims of a con involving a docudrama project called "Real Rome," which they mistakenly believed also was backed by HBO.

The second reason is that Barr, 24, who moved from Columbus, Ohio, for the "Real Rome" job, can't afford premium cable these days. Having never been paid for his work, he can barely make his rent.

Since discovering that "Real Rome" wasn't real, Barr said, "I feel like my dreams have been destroyed."

The person who destroyed those dreams, Barr and others alleged in interviews and in formal complaints to the state labor commissioner, is Wayne Heyman-Hanks, a 43-year-old self-proclaimed producer who also goes by the name Dewey Wayne Hanks Jr.

They said Hanks fabricated an elaborate deception that lured not just hopeful novices but also accomplished professionals.

"It seemed like a big deal," said John Vaughan, the former director of production for MCA Television, recalling how Hanks persuaded him to come aboard. Later, when Vaughan learned he'd been fooled, he said, "I couldn't believe it. I was staggering around in a daze."

"Real Rome" looked legit. Hanks housed his enterprise in a Studio City bungalow across from the CBS Studio Center soundstages on Radford Avenue. But it turns out that he never paid the rent. "Real Rome" employees were hired at competitive rates that seemed to imply Hanks had both cash and credibility. But not a single paycheck ever materialized.

Hanks denied that he presided over a hoax. In an interview, he also disputed the claim, made by several people, that he repeatedly told them that HBO planned to use "Real Rome" as an "appetite whetter" to drum up interest in its "Rome" series.

"This is a muddy, convoluted thing that's full of misinformation, gossip and character assassination," he said.

Hanks blamed the disintegration of "Real Rome" on a Danish screenwriter named Jesper Kodahl Andersen, who Hanks said had agreed to finance the project.

Andersen, who was supposed to direct "Real Rome," called that "a total fabrication." He said he too was Hanks' victim, having spent $60,000 of his savings to help pay expenses on "Real Rome" and two other projects.

Court records show that Hanks has been in trouble before. Over the last decade, Hanks and companies he ran have been sued at least a dozen times by creditors seeking payment.

Its jerks like this that make "making movies" so difficult.  They trick and con people into pouring their passion into a project, so then when legit people come along who need others to believe in their stuff and work hard, they aren't trusted.

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Jessica Alba In "I Dream Of Jeannie?"

Just found this interesting piece of news...

Alba To Dream of 'Jeannie'?
24 Aug 2005
12s_2Sin City star Jessica Alba has beaten a host of Hollywood stars to land the coveted lead in the I Dream Of Jeannie movie. The Fantastic Four actress will join Fever Pitch funnyman Jimmy Fallon for the latest revamp of a classic TV series, after reportedly beating Kate Hudson, Lindsay Lohan, and Alicia Silverstone to the role. According to internet site Movieline.net, Bend It Like Beckham director Gurinder Chadha is interested in taking charge of the project.   

Well, if there was one lovely young lady I could choose to grant any wish I wanted, it would certainly be Jessica!  ;-)

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Tom Cruise And Scientology

We all love Tom Cruise, so how about some gossip?

Cruise Speared on Cover of New Magazine
24 Aug 2005

38sMovie star Tom Cruise is bracing for his most savage critical attack yet in a new magazine article about his loyalty to Scientology. A doctored photograph of the actor in his underwear appears on the front cover of US pop and politics magazine Radar with five arrows appearing to pierce his skin, suggesting the article inside, by investigative journalist Kim Masters, will leave him wounded. The controversial piece is headlined, 'Risky Business: the untold story of Scientology's movie-star martyr.' In the accompanying article, Masters speaks to a handful of former Scientologists and business acquaintances of Cruise, who all link the actor's recent passion for the controversial religion to the fact he has risen through the Church to a level just under leaders like his close friend and Scientology chief David Miscavige. One former Scientologist, who worked closely with the religion's celebrity members, claims Cruise is close to becoming a member of the Church's mythical Sea Org level or something similar. She says, "You feel so good, it's like you're high on coke. If you look at him, he has that dedicated glare that Sea Org members have." High-level Scientologists insist the Sea Org level never existed and such claims are ridiculous. The article also suggests Cruise's War Of The Worlds director, Steven Spielberg, was far from happy about the actor's Scientology-heavy interviews and romantic gestures for new girlfriend Katie Holmes at a time when he should have been promoting the summer blockbuster. Producer Marvin Levy coyly remarks, "It (the non-War of The Worlds talk) certainly took some of the emphasis away from where we would have liked it." Levy also tells Masters that Spielberg was upset when he saw Cruise's famous sofa leaping episode on Oprah in May, as he declared his love for Holmes. Masters writes, "When Spielberg later watched Cruise's manic declaration of love, Levy says, he sensed that the film's carefully orchestrated media plan might be slipping off the rails."

Sea Org?  Tom Cruise is already one of the most powerful guys in Hollywood, now it looks like he's getting his own religion.  I think they should change the name from Scientology to "Cult Of Tom."  :-)

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Farewell To Six Feet Under

One of HBO's most well respected series has come to an end...

Capt19dad06f16531f0983209a0c9c7c56fcSix Feet Under has been laid to rest.

(Warning: Spoilers follow below, so stop reading now if you don't want to know.)

After five seasons, the critically acclaimed HBO series came to a close Sunday night with each member of the extended Fisher family meeting their ultimate demise.

Rather than the stark death sequences that opened about 60 episodes of the show, the series finale opened with a birth, as Brenda (

Rachel Griffiths) prematurely delivered a fragile baby girl while a ghostly Nate (

Peter Krause
), who had died suddenly three episodes earlier following a bout of adulterous sex, looked on from the confines of the sterile hospital room.

Though the show made an initial departure from its usual morbid subject matter, the Grim Reaper was merely lurking around the corner, which became evident later in the episode.

I was never a big fan of this show, even though I watched it pretty reguarly.  The first and second season were pretty good, though I felt seasons 3 and 4 were pretty sub-par.  The only episode of season 5 I saw was the finale just to see how everything ended.  Unlike most series that have a clear arc or purpose to why they exist, Six Feet Under was a much more intimate drama.  However, I found few characters on the show very likable and that made it hard for me to watch.  Seeped in hidden meaning and subtext, the show could be pretty multi-layered in the messages it was trying to get across, but I found myself not caring most of the time because I simply wasn't entertained by it.

I did feel the series finale was quite good though, and the final few minutes where we get to see each and every character die (yes, they ALL die, but if you've seen the show, you know that's not ruining the ending for you) were quite powerful.  In a way, it's a happy ending, but ultimately its a melancholy one.  The show's ultimate message is that life is short and it must be lived while it's had, because everything comes to an end.

But I enjoy beginnings much more than endings, and now that Six Feet is no more, HBO's new series Rome is gearing up to start, and I'm really looking forward to that show.

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Bad Movies = Box Office Slump

I found this great little tidbit on imdb.com, and I couldn't agree more.

Blame the Slump on Poorer Pics, Says NATO Head
19 Aug 2005

The president of the National Association of Theater Owners has attributed the slump in the box office this year to movies that are "not so good" as those released in previous years. In a statement, John Fithian added: "They're not terrible; they're just not as good. And so the industry has experienced a temporary drop-off compared to 2004, the biggest box office year in movie history." Fithian's comments came as part of NATO's response to a suggestion by incoming Walt Disney CEO Robert Iger that the time period between the release of a movie theatrically and its release on DVD be shortened or eliminated entirely. Fithian labeled the proposal a "death threat" against theater owners, saying that there could be "no viable theater industry" if Iger's suggestion was implemented. He maintained that the box-office slump could not be attributed to consumers suddenly deciding to stay home to watch DVD's. The reason, he said, "is the product." In an interview with the Los Angeles Times, Fithian also dismissed comments that the slump was due to customers dissatisfied with their experience at theaters. "All those issues -- ticket prices, ads in cinemas and moviegoers who make noise or talk on cell phones -- were all present in 2004, a year in which we had record box office," he said.

Personally, I've been bored for most of July and all of August with the movies coming out this summer.  I think after Batman Begins everything pretty much went downhill.  There weren't really any "event" movies that got me excited after June went by.  When it comes to movies, I like to think that old mantra from Field Of Dreams applies, namely "If you build it, they will come."

If you make good movies that are marketed properly, you'll start seeing audiences flock to theatres.  I don't think ads, ticket prices, or anything else keeps people away from the movies, as John Fithian says, because it's always been like that.  The trick is getting people excited enough to go to the theatre, and the studios don't seem to understand that.

The whole notion of selling DVDs of the movie at the same time as the film is released strikes me as a bad idea.  I know studios are eyeing that to try and maximize their profit potential, but my gut reaction to it is that it will really diminish their earnings in the long run.  I've had agruments with people about this.  I think if the theatres really want to compete with home video, they're going to have to offer a better experience for theatre goes, like high quality digital projection, and possibly the advent of 3D, just like they did with color and widescreen when TV first came out.  You have to offer people an experience they can't get at home.

And for the studios' parts, they need to start working on making good movies that people will want to see instead of churning out a lot of the lack-luster films they have been.  This means cultivating new visions, new filmmakers, and most importantly, new stars.  Hollywood needs to start taking some risks with their storytelling and most of all, they need to work hard on how they market their movies too.  I've seen too many great films this year killed by bad marketing, and bad films over-hyped in shoddy ways.


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Lack Of Great Fiction

Here's an interesting little tid-bit from the publishing world...

NEW YORK - As the fall season approaches, the book world is still searching for this year's great American novel.

"Looking across the landscape, there were supposed to be some literary novels that blew everybody away. But for various reasons they didn't quite perform," says Jonathan Burnham, vice president and publisher of HarperCollins, which released last year's National Book Award winner, Lily Tuck's "The News From Paraguay."

"I think everyone is still waiting for the book that everyone greets as the big literary book," says John Sterling, president and publisher of Henry Holt. "People thought it would be a strong year for fiction, but it hasn't turned out that way."

With the presidential election over, Sterling and others had expected fiction to reclaim the attention given to topical books. But anticipated novels such as Michael Cunningham's "Specimen Days" and Jonathan Safran Foer's "Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close" received mixed reviews at best and the fall doesn't look a lot better.

Publishers and booksellers struggled to think of a book that was likely to receive awards nominations, one with the kind of word of mouth that built for Philip Roth's "The Plot Against America" and Marilynne Robinson's "Gilead," which went on to win a Pulitzer Prize. One hope is E.L. Doctorow's "The March," a novel based on Gen. William Tecumseh Sherman's bloody advance through the South during the Civil War.

"Doctorow's book is possible," Sterling said of the Random House release. "I'm hearing very good advance word on that one. It would be great to see something break through."

But Sessalee Hensley, fiction buyer for Barnes & Noble, Inc., says, "Nothing's going to be `Gilead' this year."

With the public still edgy from war and an uncertain economy, fiction continues to serve more as entertainment than enrichment. The big books have been escapist thrillers such as "The Da Vinci Code" and "The Historian," and the fantasy blockbuster "Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince." Not only have established literary authors disappointed critics, no major new literary voices have emerged.

This is no new surprize to me.  I haven't really been attracted to any new authors lately.  Having read the new Harry Potter book, I'd say J.K. is probably one of the most talented writers out there right now.  No new authors have really been able to capture people's imaginations as she has yet.

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Woman Gets Called Dirty Name On Cable Bill

This, among many other reasons, is why I hate Comcast.

CHICAGO - LaChania Govan said she got bounced around by her cable company when she called to complain. She made dozens of calls and was even transferred to a person who spoke Spanish — a language she doesn't understand.

But when she got her August bill from Comcast she had no trouble understanding she'd made somebody mad. It was addressed to "Bitch Dog."

"I was like you got to be freaking kidding me," said Govan, 25. "I was so mad I couldn't even cuss."

Govan said the only thing she did to Comcast employees that might be considered rude came after a few dozen calls when she felt she was treated shabbily. "I did tell them, 'You know what, it has to be a qualification to work for your company that you have to be rude,'" she said.

Govan said she talked to a supervisor and he offered her two months free service, which she turned down.

Finally Wednesday, about two weeks after she got her bill, somebody from the company left a message on her answering machine in which the caller apologized.

Comcast officials said it shouldn't have happened.

"We only use the actual customers names on the bill," said Patricia Andrews-Keenan, a Comcast spokeswoman.

Company officials went through the records and identified two people who were involved with the name change and fired them, Andrews-Keenan said. It's unknown why the employees did it.

In another case, Peoples Energy customer Jefferoy Barnes started getting letters addressed to "Jeffery Scrotum Bag Barnes."

"I had no bad words at all. I guess the earliest letter is dated in May and from then on up until now my name has been listed as Jeffery Scrotum Bag Barnes and I have no idea why."

Barnes said he received an apologetic call from a company official. He also has contacted an attorney to determine if he can take legal action.

A Peoples Energy spokeswoman called the letter inexcusable.

Ever since I went to satellite, I've never looked back.  These people should get a lifetime of free cable.

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New Digiworld Website On Its Way

Lately Dan Armas and I (well, mostly Dan) have been working on designing a new website for Digiworld Studios.  The Outsideman will play a bigger role in this site's design.  It's looking pretty sleek and should be up soon.

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Brosnan Out As Bond

This is too bad.  I rather liked Brosnan and Bond...

Captnyet18508171433people__brosnan_nyet1 NEW YORK - A single, surprising phone call and it was over. That's how

Pierce Brosnan says he learned that his services as James Bond would no longer be required.

"One phone call, that's all it took!" the 52-year-old actor tells Entertainment Weekly magazine in its Aug. 19 issue.

Brosnan starred in four Bond films. He says that before they stopped negotiations, the producers had invited him back for a fifth time.

"You know, the movie career for me really started with Bond," says Brosnan, acknowledging that by the time "GoldenEye" premiered in 1995, he was already 42.

He then starred as 007 in "Tomorrow Never Dies" (1997), "The World Is Not Enough" (1999) and "Die Another Day" (2002).

His departure from the role was a "titanic jolt to the system," says Brosnan, followed by "a great sense of calm."

"I thought. ... I can do anything I want to do now. I'm not beholden to them or anyone. I'm not shackled by some contracted image. So there was a sense of liberation."

Brosnan says he's grateful to have had the role, but adds: "It never felt real to me. I never felt I had complete ownership over Bond. Because you'd have these stupid one-liners — which I loathed — and I always felt phony doing them."

He plays a foulmouthed, skirt-chasing hit man in the upcoming film "The Matador."

"(For this) to come on the heels of my departure from the world of Bond is sweet grace, to play this one as a farewell to that chapter in time — it certainly wasn't planned."

I really hope they get Clive Owen as the next Bond.  He'd be perfect.

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Coming Home

The Cannes Film Festival is winding down, and I'm ready to come back home to the good ol' USA.

I've enjoyed my time out here and have had a great time seeing all the red carpet premiers, eating overpriced (but good) food, frolicking on the beach, and wheeling and dealing with various film industry types.  As always, I've met some amazing people out here, who have become good friends, and I hope to see more of them in the future.

But I'm all burnt out on France.  I want to get back to LA to my own bed, TV where they speak English, waiters that actually bother to take your order and check up on you, fast food, five lanes of traffic, big cars, big buildings, extravagant cinemas, and most importantly:  AIR CONDITIONING!

Maybe next year when I have a bit more money, I can enjoy this part of Europe more.  But for now, I'll settle for a 14 hour plane trip back to my homeland.  =)

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In Cannes

Okay, so I've officially been in the Cannes Film Festival for six days now, and things are going pretty well.

The flight was a good 14 hours from LA to Nice.  The seats were cramped, but I got to watch Ocean's 12 and A Series Of Unfortunate Events on the flight, so that made up for the poor traveling conditions.

My first day in Cannes, I met up with my producer Dan and we got checked in and everything.  Then we grabbed dinner and decided to hit the town.  We were out until five in the morning drinking and meeting all sorts of insanely beautiful women, most of whom couldn't speak a lick of English.

Most of the days I spend waking up early (8 am) and heading down to the festival, where I walk around the market, get my tickets for the screenings the next night, and hanging out in the pavilions.  I have lots of meals in the surrounding restaurants, and the food is actually quite good, but expensive.

Unlike last year, I've found some of the French people who work at the festival to be a bit rude and inconsiderate.  Also, the waiters and waitresses at the surrounding restaurants are absolutely horrid.  If they worked like this in America, they'd be fired within a day.

I've met a lot of cool people out here, most of them are British.  Apparently, UK filmmakers have a rather strong presence at the festival this year.  My old buddy Charlie Lass, whom I met last year, is back and we've been having a good time hanging out.

One evening while Charlie and I were strolling down the Coisette, he spotted two women on the beach.  We both ran down to the beach and greeted them.  They were both French (luckily they spoke good English), and said they were looking for a party that served champagne.  Charlie and I lied and said we had a table at the party in the pavilion behind us, and asked them to join us.  I couldn't tell if they suspected we were lying or not, but the two girls (both of whom were named Charlotte) went along with us as we snuck past security and grabbed a table.  I kept the girls busy as Charlie hustled a bottle of champagne for free, and we spend the night acting like big shots with these two beautiful girls and a bottle of free booze.

The parties at the festival this year have been quite interesting.  I was at a party on the Sony yacht (which rents for 10,000 euros a day) which was quite nice, and there was another party for this British magazine called British Film (cleverly enough) that rented out the penthouse of an apartment complex across from the Lumiere Theater, where all the premiers are held.  That was quite cool too.  Tonight I'm going to a private party at the Sony Castle (yes, they have their own castle).  I'm told I'll get to see examples of 4K projections, which I'm looking forward to.

I've gotten to see two movies so far.  Neither of them were red carpet premiers, but they have been good movies.  The first is the new Shane Black movie "Kiss Kiss, Bang Bang," which was fun.  I was sitting in the orchestra section and was very close to Natalie Portman (sporting a shaved head - she looked like Shenade O'Connor), Robert Downey Jr, Val Kilmer, Shane Black, and Joel Silver.  The movie was quite entertaining, though I did fall asleep a few times while watching it because it was a midnight screening and I was so tired.

The second movie was Star Wars Episode III.  This was definitely the highlight of the festival and the best of the new trilogy.  I really enjoyed the movie and had great seats.  My only complaint is that it wasn't a digital projection.

Most of my meetings and networking happens at night, in the bars and clubs and hotels around town, where people are eating, getting drunk, and looking to find some whirlwind romance.  It's funny how business and pleasure seem to mix so well at events like these.

Well, that's a quick update for now.  I'll write more later when I get the chance.

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Cannes, Here I Come!

My short film, The Outsideman, screened at the Cannes Film Festival last year, which is when Digiworld came along and picked it up, so Cannes has been good to me so far.  It's now official I'm going back again this year to help represent the FEATURE version of The Outsideman! 

I've booked my flight and my lodgings, and my pass is waiting for me.  It'll be nice going back to the festival in a power position of already having funding, distribution, and marketing in place for my feature, as opposed to begging and pleading for people to watch my movie like I did last year.  I'm sure it'll be much less of a stressful endeavor not needing anything from anyone this time around. 

I also look forward to seeing some of the red carpet stuff.  Rumor has it Star Wars Episode III will open the festival, and Mr. & Mrs. Smith may screen as well. 

I leave on the 10th of May and will be there for a whole week until the festival's end on the 21st.  I can't wait!!!

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DigiWorld Set To Convert 3000 Screens To Digital

DigiWorld Studios, the Studio that is producing and distributing The Outsideman, has just announced it plans to convert 3,000 theater screens in the US to high-quality digital projection.

DigiWorld Studios is Set to Install 3,000 Digital Screens, by December 2005

DigiWorld Studios has created a profitable business model which will allow the conversion of all 37,000 screens in the U.S. This is a digital conversion which will take the burden off of the studios and theatre owners.

(PRWEB) April 1, 2005 -- DigiWorld Studios is set to install 3,000 screens in the U.S. by December 2005. DigiWorld Studios senior team of veteran Wallstreet and retired military executives have been responsible for some of the largest projects in the U.S. With over 120 theatre chains participating in the first phase, the project will eventually entail converting almost 37,000 screens in the U.S.

Both Doug Darrow, Business Manager DLP Products for Texas Instruments and Andrew Stucker, General Manager Digital Production Systems for Sony Electronics have stated that they would be able to deliver the initial 3,000 Digital Projectors by December 2005.

Daniel Glickman, President and CEO of the MPAA and Daniel Armas, CEO of DigiWorld Studios discussed the project at length during Showest 2005.

DigiWorld Studios welcomes the MPAA’s recent offer to fund the entire conversion. What will make the MPAA’s investment in the project viable says Armas, is that the business model we have created is profitable and can maintain and upgrade the entire conversion without incurring future costs to the studios or the theatre owners.

Since The Outsideman is set to be released digitally, this is great news!  3,000 screens across the US will be hungry for digital content, and I'll be more than happy to deliver.  =)

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Oscar Winners Outlive Other Actors?

It being Oscar weekend, I've been keeping up to date on all the latest Oscar news as I count down to tonights ceremony.  But this article is one of the more interesting ones I've come across.

A Canadian professor of medicine argues that actors who win Academy Awards on Sunday night won't only boost their chances of other box-office hits, but will likely live longer than their fellow nominees.

Dr. Donald Redelmeier, a professor at the University of Toronto, says his research shows that Oscar winners live nearly four years longer than other actors.

And multiple winners, he says, live an average of six years longer. Want proof? Katharine Hepburn, who won a record four acting prizes, lived to the ripe old age of 96.

Redelmeier says the study proves that Oscar success has a powerful influence on a person's health and longevity.

"Once you've got that statuette on your mantelplace, it's an uncontested sign of peer approval that nobody can take away from you, so that any subsequent harsh reviews, it leaves you more resilient," Redelmeier said. "It doesn't quite get under your skin. The normal stresses and strains of everyday life do not drag you down."

I wonder if people who are nominated but don't win have their life shortened?

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