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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, Environment, Food, Headline, Issues, News, Politics »

LAPD officers pulled the plug on patrol car recorders


LAPD officers tampered with recording devices inside of patrol cars to avoid being monitored while on duty. LAPD Chief Charlie Beck learned of the tampering last summer – but the problem did not come to the attention of the L.A. Police Commission until months later. The L.A. Times says Beck chose not to investigate who was responsible but instead issued warnings against further attempts …

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, 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


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?


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, Featured, News »

An homage to the wonderfully weird Cinefamily Telethon

Cinefamily 2012 marquis

Cinefamily is the best programmed place for movies anywhere. Go there any evening of the week and you’ll see something awesome with a bunch of awesome people. And their annual telethon is the most fun film-centric event of all time. It’s a 24-hour party featuring great conversations, great talent, great movies and just all around wackiness. 
Cinefamily’s Fantastic Elastic 2013 Telethon starts this Saturday, December 14th this …

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, Featured »

Chewing popcorn could reduce ads’ effect in movie theaters

Photo by charamelody via Flickr/CC.

Researchers in Germany say eating popcorn at the movie theater can reduce the effectiveness of advertising that comes on before the movie. The study was published in the Journal of Consumer Psychology.
Scott Roxborough gnawed on the details for The Hollywood Reporter and joined KCRW’s Steve Chiotakis with more.

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

Film and TV production companies line up for California tax credits

The Entourage feature film is among the projects to receive state tax credits this year.

The California Film Commission says it’s received a record number of applications for state tax credits this year. 380 applications were filed by movie and TV productions, an 18 percent increase over last year.
The state awards $100 million in tax credits for the fiscal year running from July 1, 2013, through June 30, 2014.
Thirty-one projects have been approved for 2013. Among those are 14 …

Arts & Culture, Commentary, Featured, Interviews »

NPR’s Mike Pesca on Noah Baumbach’s latest film, ‘Frances Ha’


Our weekly film critic Joe Morgenstern is out today. Joining us instead is Mike Pesca. You hear him regularly as a National Desk correspondent for NPR. He’s also a panelist on Slate magazine’s weekly sports podcast “Hang Up and Listen.” And he reviews movies for
Mike went out and saw a movie this afternoon for us – so the review is fresh! The movie …

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

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


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 …

Arts & Culture, Featured, News »

Critics slam MPAA’s latest movie rating moves


The Motion Picture Association of America is making some tweaks to its movie-rating system. The changes announced this week in Las Vegas at the movie theater industry’s CinemaCon gathering are being promoted as a way to give parents more information about potentially objectionable content – so they can make better choices about what their children watch.
But not everyone is impressed. L.A. Times staff writer …

Arts & Culture, Featured, News »

3 Celebrity Deaths: Funicello, Ebert, Les Blank; Plus, Pirating ‘Game of Thrones’

Annette Funicello (circa 1975) holding a photograph of herself as a child star on "The Mickey Mouse Club"

A Mouseketeer, A Film Critic & A Documentarian
They say that celebrities die in threes. We’ll leave Margaret Thatcher out of it and instead look at three people who inhabited three very different areas of the entertainment business.
This morning  famed Mousketeer Annette Funicello died after years of living with Multiple Sclerosis. She was in the original “Mickey Mouse Club” of the 1950s and went on …

Arts & Culture, Featured, Headline »

Life After Oscar: Documentary filmmaker T.J. Martin


Documentary filmmaker T.J. Martin won the Academy Award for Best Documentary in 2012 for his film “Undefeated,” which follows a high school football team from Memphis. The film chronicles the life of underprivileged teenagers on and off the field.  Martin says that having Oscar on his mantel hasn’t changed his life. ” I’m not flying to Tahiti,” says Martin, but winning  Oscar does help him get meetings. “In a …

Arts & Culture, Featured »

Life After Oscar: Children’s book author and animator William Joyce

"The Fantastic Flying Books of Mr. Morris Lessmore"

Children’s book author and animator William Joyce talks to KCRW’s Saul Gonzalez about his life after winning the Academy Award for Best Animated Short Film. “Making movies is the hardest thing in the world, making animated movies is twice as hard,” Joyce says. He says that taking home Oscar has opened many doors for him, and made him happy. “I’ll be smiling until the …

Arts & Culture, Featured, News »

Life After Oscar: Editor Kirk Baxter


Film editor Kirk Baxter has a good gig going. He works almost exclusively with in-demand director David Fincher.  Baxter co-won Oscars for “The Social Network” and “The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo” with partner Angus Wall. Taking home the last two Best Editing Academy Awards hasn’t changed his professional life all that much, but when it comes to life outside the editing room, that’s …

Arts & Culture, Featured, News »

This weeks entertainment buzz…


Pilot Season Takes Off
Pilot season has begun and every one who has ever wanted to be in TV has descended on LA to get a job on a show– maybe even more than one– in hopes that their pilot will get picked up and put on a fall schedule. Some familiar TV creators have gotten pilot orders.  J.J. Abrams, Chuck Lorre, Bill Lawrence, and Joss Whedon …

Arts & Culture, Headline, News »

This week’s entertainment buzz…


Busy weekend for Hollywood industry awards
Over this past weekend, two of Hollywood’s labor organizations — the Producers Guild and the Screen Actors Guild — named their picks for 2012′s best in Film and Television. “Argo” won big: Both the PGA and the SAG awards named “Argo” the Best produced and the Best Cast in a feature, respectively.
These precursor awards (along with the upcoming Directors …

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