Category Archives: Producing

A Great Disturbance in the Mouse

2020 continues to be decade of twists and turns stuffed into one unrepentant year.

Now, the whole future of filmed entertainment might be changing course because a certain large House of Mouse has recently said it’s focusing on streaming.

Make no mistake. This is big.

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2020 Emmys: In Memoriam

TCM usually gets my nod, but the graphics in this one were very well done… (and these are grim times, so I suppose it’s where my head is):

More on Getting Back to Set

Earlier this week, Cirque Du Soleil announced it was filing for bankruptcy and Broadway said it was going to be shuttered until January 2021. It’s grim for folks in the entertainment industry.

Still people are trying to figure out how to get some productions back in gear, especially film and TV. Last week, I shared some guidance the film industry has been working on.

This week, catching up on Scriptnotes, I heard their late May roundtable about getting back on set which I figured would be useful too.

Short version? It’s not a bad time to be in animation.

Live Theater & Audio Theater

A lot of our company members of Jabberwocky Audio Theater usually make some of their living from performing in live theater… though at the present you can imagine that isn’t as easy.

Still, I know that live theater will return. Last month, I  shared a message from the artistic director of the Guthrie Theater in Minnesota about theater’s enduring qualities.

In the interim, theaters are finding ways to weather the closures and one way, as detailed on NPR, is to do plays as radio dramas.

The article references Orson Welles’ famous “War of the Worlds” broadcast from 1938, which Jabberwocky commemorated in 2018 with our own live performance of “War of the Worlds,” set in modern day and locally here in the Washington, DC area.

I hope this trend helps keep the lights on for many theaters — and while I grew up with both types of theater, I’m quite excited by the prospects that this introduces new listeners to the “Theater of the Mind.”

Guidance for Filmmaking in a COVID World

Starting last Friday, Hollywood began starting to tentatively resume work since basically all major productions shut down.

Read all the guidance and take it slow, people.

This does mean a fair number of changes, from face masks for audience members to ending buffet meals on set. The industry has created a pretty detailed white paper (note the link is a PDF) that covers recommended actions from personal hygiene to food on set to particular production concerns.

For those of us that aren’t major studio productions, this is still good information to bear in mind.

Being an Audio Engineer for Astronauts

As you might imagine working on Jabberwocky Audio Theater, I’m always up for learning about audio engineering. And even without Rogue Tyger, readers will probably remember many a post about space exploration.

So it probably comes as no surprise we’re linking to this article about Alexandria Perryman and her work as a live broadcast engineer for NASA. Check it out!

Alexandria Perryman, via SoundGirls.org

Business, Heal Thyself

I know a lot of self-employed and small business folk who are hurting during this pandemic. And for my own business, we’ve needed to rethink how and what we’re doing.

Image via Pixabay
Photo via Pixabay

One of those entrepreneurial, self-employed friends, Russell Nohelty, wrote a post about how he retools his business… as he has done many times.

It’s a non-trivial amount of time –especially if you haven’t done it before– and figuring out how to best attribute the costs of marketing to what are usually multiple products and services can be tricky, but it’s worth it. I especially like the ranking that excludes the “safe” rank of “7.”

So if you’re one of those self-employed/small business people, take a look! Odds are it’ll be informative.

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Theater in the Time of Coronavirus

All sorts of physical businesses are suffering during this global pandemic and I know many people, dependent on in-person gigs for their livelihood who now have no income stream (to say nothing of creative freelancers, as one Nation article notes).

So this video posted last week by Joseph Haj, artistic director of the Guthrie Theater resonated:

I was lucky enough to grow up going to the theater and live performances frequently, something I’ve tried to pass on to my kids. I hope that time will come again soon.

Have you made your movie yet?

Online creativity is abounding, and it’s not just clever memes and personable actors giving us a positive news boosts. People are making movies.

In the past month, the 48 Hour Film project, a competition I’ve frequently done, has had a series of stay-at-home competitions.

So now indie filmmaker extraordinaire Roger Corman, who’s still sharp as a tack in his 90s, wants to see your short film. Seriously. He said so.

But better do it quick. You have less than two weeks.

Behind-the-Scenes Show Biz Superstars

I’ve been pleased to see all the memes on social media reminded everyone that they’re taking solace in the output of artists, whether it’s books, music, or films.

So many of my friends are not only creative freelancers, but ones involved with film, theater, and television: creative pursuits where they have to go someplace to do their gig and get paid. And those places are, by and large, now closed (film and TV production has halted across the continent and live theaters are, by and large, closed).

This is not to diminish any other job which requires one go to a physical space to do it. So many of us have to do it (and I’m now acutely aware of all my friends in “essential” jobs that now find themselves on “front lines”), but part of the fun of doing some of these creative jobs is you go to a certain place and do your best to make some magic.

Kirk McKoy / for a Los Angeles article on the Kroffts

Perhaps no group is associated with some childhood magic-making in the 70s, outside of Jim Henson and his cohorts, as much as Sid and Marty Krofft.

While I’ll be honest that their many shows were never “must-see TV” like “The Muppet Show,” I absorbed them all, forming a critical part of my generation’s 70s psychedelic pop culture references.

Anecdotally, I’ve heard many positive things about working on the Krofft shows, so, especially given my own minor efforts to make magic, I’m always interested in what makes teams work.

Matt Hurwitz delves into the history and people involved in Krofft shows in an article in Variety from February this year… and Jevon Phillips, in an article from 4 years ago from the LA Times, goes into some of the reboots the Kroffts have been doing.