Life in Hollywood, below-the-line

Life in Hollywood, below-the-line
Work gloves at the end of the 2006/2007 television season (photo by Richard Blair)

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Picks 'o the Week

      Kill the baby, save the baby -- it's all the same to a juicer...*

Now that “Beasts of the Southern Wild” has been nominated for an Oscar, we’ll be hearing a lot more about Benh Zeitlin, the young man who ushered this film into the world. If this recent piece in the LA Times is to be believed, Zeitlin has now returned to the down-and-out neighborhood of Louisiana where he made his movie, and seems content to live there in what can only be considered – when measured against typical Oscar nominee standards – as low-rent squalor.

Then again, young Mr. Zeitlin is anything but your typical Oscar nominee.

I suppose there are a dozen possible reasons why he’s doing this, and although cynics might see some carefully calculated angle here – a youth from the privileged world of money donning a hair shirt to enhance his image as a ragged cinematic poet of the streets -- I’m inclined to take young Benh at his word. He sees himself as an artist, and is thus justifiably leery of the powerful temptations that come with proximity to Hollywood, where the black hole of life in the fast lane has devoured so many promising talents before him.

This is an intriguing situation the likes of which we haven’t seen for a long time. Questions abound. Having made such a high profile splash with his first feature, what will he do next? Was that first effort a miraculous fluke, or can he manage to create another equally compelling film -- and if he really has captured lightning in a bottle, how long will he be able to hold out as the Hollywood Money Machine pounds on his door?

This is gonna be interesting.


As the year ran out, KCRW’s “The Business” ran an excellent summary of film and television for 2012 – what happened and what it means for the future. It’s a good one, and if you're in the biz, definitely worth a listen.


A recent post from The Anonymous Production Assistant included a link to a terrific piece in “Cracked,” noting that it would have been a lot more helpful if he-or-she had been able to absorb the wisdom therein  back in 1995. Having dutifully followed the link, I agree -- although in my case, 1975 would have been a better time for me to hear the harsh truths of how the adult world really works. Instead (as usual...) I learned those lessons the hard way via my lifetime enrollment in post-graduate studies at the Joe Frazier School of Higher Education.

More than a few readers of this blog found their way here via TAPA’s site, and thus already have (or should have) read that article, but if not – particularly those of you recently thrust from the warm nurturing embrace of the collegiate womb into a cold, uncaring world -- this piece is a must-read. The lessons offered therein may seem needlessly cruel and blunt, but believe me, they’re right-on, and if you can accept this wisdom now, you’ll be way ahead of the game. If not, then you'll just have to learn those same hard lessons like I did, on the receiving end of life’s big left hook.

The choice is yours.


Long-time readers know that I don’t endorse anything other than an occasional book I’ve read and enjoyed – and that’s not going to change. The following should not be construed as a recommendation, but simply as passing on information that might be useful to some of you. A young man named Jordan Passman sent an e-mail describing a service called “scoreAscore” he created to bring together those who make films and those who make music.

In Jordan's words:

“ScoreAscore is a website connecting content creators with top quality custom music. We've been featured in the LA Times, Mashable, NoFilmSchool and Businessweek, where we won the readers' pick. Our clients include independent filmmakers, editors and producers as well as major companies such as Disney, Google, Chase, Lexus, Burger King, NBC, Reebok, Target, and more. ScoreAscore is expanding and recreating our platform from the ground up, working closely with our clients to address their needs. We are adding Voice Over and Sound Design creatives to our talent pool, which will allow ScoreAscore to become the Internet's leading sound marketplace. It's a very exciting time and we anticipate to re-launch in a few months. We offer professional custom resources with a name-your-price system, allowing independent content creators to access our hand selected creative community. There is nothing to lose by posting a project and you only pay if you find what you like.”

Given that it’s been forty years since I made my last film, I’m way out of the loop, but I can see how this service could be of mutual benefit to filmmakers and musicians.  That said, you be the judge.

Those are your tips 'o the week.  Check 'em out...

* I'm referring, of course, to set-slang for turning off a 1 K tungsten lamp called a "Baby" -- not the oh-so-cute-and-cuddly human variety...


Benjamin Puleo said...

I just wanted to thank you for posting that cracked article because I hadn't seen it yet and found it to be an inspiring worthwhile read especially at my age. Also wanted to humbly mention that I love your blog and it's the very thing that incited me to wake up and get the ball rolling on my own, coming from a fellow banana slug ;)

Michael Taylor said...

Benjamin --

Thanks for tuning in -- and good luck with your blog. I'll keep my eye on it...