February 2012 Archives

Hard to believe I've been doing this blog for 10 years. Started it on February 1st, 2002. I'd actually started blogging in 1997, on the Nettle blog. (Strange: that blog went on to get a ton of attention for critiques of Netflix and movie theatres; in 2012, I am doing a startup called Nettle and its product is called MovieGoer).

Funny how that works.

For me, this scene, from the classic film They Live, epitomizes and defines what I have spent most of my last 25 years doing, trying not only to get investors to believe in my startups, but to simply fucking take a look. If only you could see what I see...! It is always, always the same. This scene always gives me hope because after a lot of blood and bruises, he finally gets the guy to take a look, and one look is all it takes.

Take a look, will you?

Fascinating interview with filmmaker/special-effects legend Douglas Trumbull over at The Hollywood Reporter. This long quote from him resonated so much I had to repost it below. But be sure to read his entire interview. I'm very excited to know he's working on a new, serious sci-fi film set 200 years in the future. Cannot WAIT to see that.

My experience has shown me that in spite of the fact that there’s incredible genius in this room, with these master craftsmen that are really holding up the tentpoles and making these amazing visions that everybody wants to see, the latest amazing thing, amazing monster, amazing place, whatever it is, there are some structural problems inside the motion picture industry and the entertainment industry, which is that the studios who are producing and distributing the content have virtually no technological infrastructure inside their management structure. They rely entirely on third-party purveyors of special services, whether they’re actors, directors, or special effects people, and so they don’t really understand the technology of their own medium. I think it would be not difficult to talk to the management of any major studio and ask them what a double-bladed shutter is in a 35mm projector and they wouldn’t know what you were talking about. If you asked them how many foot-lamberts of brightness they see on the screen, they might not know what you’re talking about. On the exhibition side, we have a similar problem in that the owners and operators of theaters all over the country and all over the world also have no technical infrastructure and rely on their purveyors, their sound-system purveyors, to deliver projectors to their theaters. So there’s no continuity and no connective tissue that’s saying, how do we make movies better? How do we make this experience more spectacular? And I’ve been after this holy grail all my life of trying to say, well, we can do higher frame rates, we can do brighter images, we can do bigger screens, we can do all of these things, and it’s been largely falling on deaf ears because it’s largely a status quo industry. It’s a cookie-packing, manufacturing and production industry that doesn’t realize that the $200 million production value that they’re putting into a movie is actually not getting to the audience for various reasons that they don’t understand.

Again, be sure to read the entire interview over at THR.



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The Friendly Orange Glow: The Story of the PLATO System and the Dawn of Cyberculture, by Brian Dear
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