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Mixer: Reporting from a foreign land is tough – just ask a Brit in LA

friday mixer square

For people who are not familiar with Los Angeles – who aren’t from here, but have to report about the things happening around here, particularly from a media and business standpoint – our neighborhood can be a pretty daunting place.  
All the eccentricities, idiosyncrasies, and moving parts behind-the-scenes make for all kinds of drama fit for an epic Hollywood screenplay.
But in real life, Matthew …

Arts & Culture, economy, Featured, Interviews, News »

Garcetti on film credits, bicycling and Donald Sterling

LA Mayor Eric Garcetti rides his bike to work on Monday.

As you’ve probably heard, film and TV production is leaving California, to the alarm of Hollywood and local lawmakers.
Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti and the mayors of several other big California cities sent a letter today to legislative leaders in Sacramento, calling on them to pass an extension of the state’s film and TV tax credit program.
“I’ve watched, as an Angeleno, while we see …

Arts & Culture, Headline, News »

Transition to digital leaves Hollywood without film

The Vineland Drive-In Movie Theater is on of the last surviving drive-ins in Southern California. It has a retro, well-worn feel to it, but the Vineland's converted to projecting its movies digitally instead of on film. "We were forced to transition to the digital system because they are going to stop making 35 millimeter print, so either you change, or you won't get any movies eventually, say Juan Gonzalez, the Vineland's general manager. (Photo: Saul Gonzalez)

Hollywood is in the midst of a titanic technological shift as it moves from shooting and distributing its movies on film, long the raw material of the movie business, to digital formats. While some are prospering as cinema goes digital, others are casualties of the change. There are small armies of people who once worked in Hollywood’s enormous film processing labs. These were the …

economy, Education, Headline, Issues, News, Politics »

Students from 16 L.A. schools on bus in deadly crash

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A 10th person has died this morning from injuries suffered in a horrific crash in Northern California involving a bus carrying L.A. high school students. The CHP says a Fed-Ex truck crossed the median on Interstate 5 north of the town of Orland, hitting the bus head on and igniting a huge explosion and fire. The dead include five students, three adult chaperones and …

Arts & Culture, Education, Headline, Interviews, News, Politics, Runaway Production »

Runaway production: Inside the ‘Poacher’s Convention’

Utah's booth at the Association of Film Commissioners International conference at the Hyatt Regency in Century City.

Hollywood is no longer the go-to place for shooting feature films and TV shows.
Just eight percent of big budget Hollywood films were made in LA in 2013, down from 65 percent in 1997.
And from 2005 to 2013, California’s share of one-hour TV series dropped from 64 percent to 28 percent.
Why the big exodus? States like Georgia, New York and Louisiana, and countries like the …

Arts & Culture, Featured, Zocalo Public Square »

The perilous life of a camera operator

From the Slates for Sarah Facebook page.

Less than two weeks ago, I found my Facebook feed flooded with remembrances of 27-year-old Sarah Elizabeth Jones, a second assistant camerawoman who was struck by a train and killed in a terrible set accident in Georgia. My mind reeled for days. In my 10 years as a camera assistant in New York, from 1981 to 1991, I was endangered many times. But I …

Arts & Culture, Education, Featured, Interviews »

A film festival devoted to architecture and design

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In the movies, you see architecture and design generally play a supporting role. They provide the backdrop to complement the mood of the story and the characters.
Sometimes however, those things take a starring role, in films where the story IS the design and architecture… and the hope, passion and tears that go into creating objects and buildings.
More than two dozen such films will be …

Arts & Culture, economy, Headline, Interviews, Issues, LA Noir, Oscars2014, Politics, Runaway Production, The New Mayor »

Mixer: Bits & Flicks, and the money they make and take

friday mixer square

The man who reportedly created Bitcoin is 64 year-old Satoshi Nakamoto.
Newsweek magazine says he lives in a house in Temple City, with his mother, and has a $400 million fortune thanks to the virtual currency.
But then, Nakamoto gave the Associated Press a two-hour interview yesterday claiming that he is NOT the creator of Bitcoin, adding further mystery to the story of how the world’s most popular digital currency came …

Arts & Culture, Featured, News »

‘Live hard. Live Poor’: Screenwriting advice from Robert McKee

Photo by aprillynn77/CC/ via Flickr

The legendary screenwriting guru, Robert McKee is coming to Los Angeles this week to conduct one of his famed “Story” seminars. It’s an intense four day endeavor that is reportedly “equivalent to 4 years of college.” It will run from 9am-7pm, Thursday March 6th-Sunday March 9th.
KCRW called McKee at his Connecticut home the other day to talk about his seminars, his depiction in the Spike …

Arts & Culture, Featured, Oscars2014 »

5 things we learned from Oscar expert Dave Karger and Elvis Mitchell on The Treatment

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Self-professed ‘Oscar nerd’ Dave Karger hosts Fandango FrontRunners, and serves as the official ‘Oscar expert’ for shows like Access Hollywood, E! and TODAY. This week on KCRW’s The Treatment, he and host Elvis Mitchell dish on the most interesting stories coming out of this year’s Academy Awards:

1. “Oscar-nominated” is not always synonymous with “good,” and vice versa.

Inside Llewyn Davis was a favorite among cinephiles …

Arts & Culture, Headline, News »

Los Angeles in a new light

Photo by Hector Sanchez via Flickr/ CreativeCommons

In a move to make LA more energy-efficient, the city has been changing the light bulbs. Since 2009, over 140,000 sodium-vapor street lights were switched to new LED ones in the first phase of the world’s largest lighting retrofit.
According to Forbes, “The City of Los Angeles estimates it will see at least $7 million in electricity savings and $2.5 million in avoided maintenance costs …

Arts & Culture, Featured, Interviews, News »

Are movie trailers too long?

Movie-Trailer-poster

The National Association of Theater Owners has come out with new guidelines, calling for movie trailers to be no more than two minutes long.
That’s 30 seconds shorter than the typical preview right now.
And the guidelines say that a trailer cannot be shown more than five months before a movie comes out.
These guidelines are supposed to apply to movies that open on or after October …

Arts & Culture, Education, Headline, Interviews, News »

New film offers groundbreaking look at Hollywood’s depictions of disabilities

Director Jenni Gold interviews actor Danny Murphy of Breaking Bad

Jenni Gold decided at age 8 that she wanted to be a director, and she came at that ambition in a not-so-typical way: She was appearing on a telethon to help raise money to battle Muscular Dystrophy, which she has. Dazzled by the production, she went on to earn not only an MFA, but, eventually, her DGA card, and to start her own production …

Arts & Culture, Headline, Interviews, News »

Kerouac’s ‘Big Sur’ adapted to film

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There’s another movie about the life of Jack Kerouac that opens November 1st.
“Big Sur” looks at the writer’s time along the scenic California coast after his novel ‘On the Road’ was published in 1957 and fame began setting in.
Of course the words – and tempo – of Kerouac, and his compadre in chief, Neal Cassady, helped to identify and validate the Beatnik generation.
A group …

Arts & Culture, Featured, Interviews »

Oh, the horror! LA filmmakers turn to ‘mumblegore’

A still from the home-invasion horror film "You’re Next."

A number of young LA filmmakers are producing some low-budget horror films, spawning a new category dubbed “mumblegore.”
LA Weekly film critic Amy Nicholson wrote about these “micro-budget cerebral chillers that eschew cheap kills and studio interference” in this week’s cover story “The Mumblegore Revolution.” She says these filmmakers are expanding the definition of horror:
L.A.’s indie horror filmmakers are scared of a lot of traditional …

Arts & Culture, economy, Featured, Interviews, News, Politics »

Meet LA’s new film czar, Tom Sherak

Tom Sherak, the head of the Los Angeles Entertainment Industry and Production Office. (AP Photo/Reed Saxon)

Los Angeles has a new film czar.
Today L.A. Mayor Eric Garcetti announced the appointment of Tom Sherak as head of the city’s Entertainment Industry and Production Office.
He’s a longtime Hollywood insider, and the former president of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences.
Sherak will work on helping LA compete with other states and countries that offer generous tax incentives to lure away film, …

Arts & Culture, Headline, Interviews »

Ninety years of The Hollywood Sign

Photo of The Hollywood Sign by Eugene Wei via Flickr/CC.

Ninety years ago this year, the Hollywood Sign, those venerable boxy letters that designate an area of LA, were placed near the summit of Mt. Lee. And later this evening, there’s a big celebration to mark nine decades of tinsel-treasure.
Marc Wanamaker is a film historian and Hollywood expert, and spoke with KCRW’s Steve Chiotakis about those letters that spell fabulous.

Arts & Culture, economy, Education, Environment, Featured, Food, Issues, Today's News »

State moving toward computerized student testing; Tsunami threat is real; Council okays new L.A. murals

studenttest

School testing. California lawmakers are moving to ditch the state’s standardized exams for public school students and replace them with a new computerized system next spring. Backers say the new tests will help speed the transition to Common Core standards in California, which are designed to develop critical thinking and writing skills.
Assemblywoman Susan Bonilla authored the bill. She says it would let teachers see …

Arts & Culture, economy, Headline, Issues, Politics, Today's News »

Today’s News: FBI seizes files from Sen. Ron Calderon; UCLA forecast is bullish on California; Bus-only lanes

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Capitol raid. State Senator Ron Calderon is letting his lawyer do the talking following a search of his Capitol office by FBI agents.
The agents removed several boxes of documents from the Montebello Democrat’s office last night as well as what appeared to be a computer hard drive. The raid also targeted the office of the Latino Legislative Caucus in Sacramento.
An FBI spokeswoman says the …

Arts & Culture, economy, Featured, Headline, Interviews »

Zach Braff turns to Kickstarter to fund ‘Garden State’ sequel

zachbraff

Actor Zach Braff wants to raise $2 million to make a sequel to his cult hit “Garden State.”
But instead of going to Hollywood producers or a studio with his idea, the star of the TV show “Scrubs” went directly to fans on the money-raising website Kickstarter.
Cash those fans can shell out for the forthcoming flick – “Wish I Was Here” – but for which …

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