Archive for June, 2007

MySpace vs YouTube

29th June 2007

The Guardian reports that MySpace is relaunching its video section as a separate web domain (, in a bid to usurp YouTube’s dominion of online video-sharing.

“User generated videos are enormously popular but so are professionally created clips,” said Mr Berman [MySpace GM for video]. “We want to create a destination for casual consumers who want to watch say one or two videos and film-makers who may want to be the next Steven Spielberg.”

Mr Berman said MySpace would continue innovative promotions such as My Movie Mash Up, a competition that allows budding film-makers in Britain to submit content in the hope of winning a £1m-plus budget. Judges include actress Sienna Miller.

Last week MySpace signed a deal with Sony for its “minisodes” – five-minute clips of 80s comedies such as Silver Spoons and Diff’rent Strokes.

Hollywood Battens Hatches

28th June 2007

The New York Times has an interesting article on the knock-on effects of the upcoming industry contract negotiations in Hollywood.

Not only are the writers’ contracts up for renewal in October, but the actors’ and directors’ contracts are up for negotiation the following June. Considering the long lead-in prep time needed to make a film, most studios are currently scrambling to lock their actors and directors into filming schedules that will complete by the beginning of next summer.

Since studios are banking scripts (especially on TV shows) in advance of October, this means that the push for work will expire at the end of the year and herald lean times. It will be followed by a quiet summer in Hollywood.

“What we’re seeing is a stockpiling” of dramatic episodes and an increase in strike-resistant reality programming, said Steven Katleman, a lawyer with the Greenberg Traurig firm, which represents a number of television actors, writers and producers. Mr. Katleman pointed, for instance, to a recent outsize order for 30 episodes of the NBC series “Heroes.”

The studios’ eagerness to book films that will be seen in late 2008 or the summer of 2009 has been particularly intense, given the unusual alignment of contract expirations and a broad expectation that writers and actors are bent on playing hardball on issues related to compensation for new forms of digital distribution.

“It’s a pretty lethal combination,” said Jack Kyser, senior vice president and chief economist for the Los Angeles County Economic Development Corporation. Whether or not a real walkout occurs, Mr. Kyser said, the insistence that no film or television show be scheduled to shoot after next June will almost certainly cause a “de facto” strike.

Another side-effect of this situation is the prediction by a Hollywood pundit that next year there will be little action from Hollywood financiers at Cannes.

Grand Films

28th June 2007

Over the next three days The Guardian will publish online the full list of its 1,000 Films To See Before You Die. Several hundred are already online, along with film quizzes to test your knowledge.

A Lyrical Bonanza

27th June 2007

The Stage reports that Belfast’s Lyric Theatre has received a £1 million donation by Dr Martin Naughton and Mrs Carmel Naughton, a local couple. Naughton founded the Glen Dimplex company in Newry in 1973.

The Lyric is in the middle of fund-raising £16 million necessary to build a new state of the art home on the site of its existing premises. The generous donation brings the company to within £2 million of its target.

The Lyric is expected to close its doors at the end of 2007 with its new two-auditorium theatre, designed by Dublin-based architects O’Donnell & Tuomey, scheduled to open in 2010. It will house a 400-seat main stage and a flexible 150-seat space that will now be called the Naughton Studio.

Welcoming the donation, Lyric chairman Mark Carruthers said the theatre was “overwhelmed by the support and encouragement we have received from the Naughtons” and hoped that “other local business leaders and philanthropists will take inspiration from the Naughtons’ lead to help us create a lasting legacy for future generations”.

Oscailt 07

27th June 2007

The deadline for application to the 2007 Oscailt scheme is Friday July 13th. Co-funded by Bord Scannán na hÉireann/The Irish Film Board and TG4, the scheme wants to encourage quality and innovative filmmaking in Ireland through the Irish language. Films between 10 – 25 minutes can be financed, up to a maximum budget of €290,000.

The scheme insists that the writer, director, producer and crew involved are legally resident in Ireland, and that each project has a separate producer and director. A language advisor will be employed if the director is not fluent enough to work through the Irish language. The application form indicates the materials needed for the submission, and can be downloaded from the web site.