Blog, business, graphic design, Pasadena and local, post production for film and video

Are we in good times or bad?

film-reel

Wow, it’s hard to get a hold on where the economy is, for entertainment companies both big and small. The L.A. Times has a story on how the toy industry is looking to large blockbuster films like Transformers to drive more and more toy sales, especially in the off-peak summer months. A story about the success of the movie industry? But a day earlier, the Times looked at how smaller production and support companies were being squeezed by runaway production — filming moving to cheaper locations out-of-state — and how it’s going to be hard for the SoCal economy to absorb the loss of work.

And is NBC-Universal for sale or not? Who knows. They have been having a hard time, both on television (Knight Rider) and at the moviess (Land of the Lost). But what happens to the big affects even us small companies.

But look at total box office figures for the last few years. We’re on track this year to at least keep up with last year, if not surpass it. People are still spending money on entertainment.

With all of the bad things that are going on in the economy, it’s good to look at a few bright spots. When an economic shakeout happens, the competition in the market becomes fiercer, allowing strong companies to strengthen their position and weaker ones to be weeded out. Interestingly, it’s not always those that stay out of bankruptcy protection that are the safest. And sometimes, especially in the entertainment industry, it becomes hard to capitalize on a successful business — like British films.

A few quick links:

  • My new friend Petrea from Pasadena Daily Photo did a series of pieces on our building in Old Town Pasadena last week. Interesting stuff, if you are into the history of old neighborhoods and buildings. Here are the three posts: 1, 2, 3, & 4.
  • Homage or plagiarism? Lots of designers are up in arms about this website for a Republican candidate for governor, including Print‘s Daily Heller blog. Is it plagiarism? I don’t know. But the similarities to Obama’s well-designed site for his candidacy are striking…
  • Copyblogger has a great little article about my favorite ad guy, Lloyd Ogilvie. Even though he wrote Ogilvie on Advertising decades ago, it still rings true for me as a marketer and graphic designer.

Happy Monday to you, wherever you are!

Blog, business, post production for film and video

Jimmy Kimmel tells it like it is…and it's funny.

According to the NY Times, Jimmy Kimmel started the ABC upfronts (rolling out the new Fall shows for advertisers) with a comedy bit and, true to most comedy, it had a few grains of truth in it:

Bouncing onto the stage at just after 4 p.m., Mr. Kimmel self-deprecatingly declared, “All of ABC’s late night comedy talent is assembled here on one stage.” After rattling off a few statistics about the affluence of his viewers, he then admitted that he’d made all the numbers up. (He said so in a more obscene way.)

Then, in a “Jerry Maguire”-like moment of clarity, Mr. Kimmel said, “Everything you’re going to hear this week is” nonsense. “Let’s get real here. Let’s get Dr. Phil-real here. These new fall shows? We’re going to cancel about 90 percent of them. Maybe more.”

To the ABC advertisers, Mr. Kimmel said, “Every year we lie to you and every year you come back for more. You don’t need an upfront. You need therapy. We completely lie to you, and then you pass those lies onto your clients.”

Returning to ABC’s advertisers, Mr. Kimmel said, “Next year on ‘Grey’s Anatomy,’ your product could kill Dr. Izzie. It just depends on how much you want to pay.”

Wow. I know it’s comedy, but we’re getting a bit too close to reality here. One of my favorite relatively-new shows is Chuck, and now word comes that the only reason it is getting renewed for a third season is Subway’s integrated sponsorship (read: “mammoth product placement”) for the next season. The television landscape is crazy. Good shows get cancelled (”Pushing Daisies”), bad shows keep going on (“The Bachelor”), and then, in a first, two fan/critic favorites actually get saved from the ax (the aforementioned “Chuck” and Joss Whedon’s “Dollhouse”). Crazy times.

Back to Jimmy Kimmel. I remember right after 9/11, watching one of the first Letterman broadcasts after the attacks, and turning to my wife and saying “comedy/irony/farce will never be the same again — they may never come back.” Boy, was I wrong. There are still a million and one things to make fun of, and I’m glad that people are roasting what needs to be roasted.

Thank you, Jimmy.