Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Tom Hanks is my Hero

Maybe that's what it takes. Maybe you have to write, produce, direct and star in a movie and then you can also pick where the film will be made. Maybe you're tired of traveling and spending so much time away from your home and family; or, maybe you care enough about California and the magic that was Hollywood that you invest your own money in keeping the iconic Hollywood sign in place; and maybe you care that California is sliding off a cliff faster than if it had been hit by the 100 year earthquake and people are s scared because they don't have work and things don't look like they will change soon.

Whatever motivates Mr. Tom Hanks, I choose to believe it's not just about him. And I thank him for producing his next movie Larry Crowne right here in Los Angeles. Good on you Mr. Hanks. And when the time comes, I will be standing first in line at the box office. And by then, 2011, maybe enough people will be reading this blog and will be in line behind me.

I heard a rumor that Mr. Hanks could have saved $10 million by filming in Paris. So, when you see Larry Crowne shooting in your neighbor, say welcome to the crew and "can I get you a cold drink or a hot fudge sundae."


Monday, April 26, 2010

If the Hollywood Sign Can be Saved

Then Why Can't We Save Hollywood?

We can.

It took a lot of money and people like Hefner, Spielburg and Hanks to save the iconic Hollywood sign. But now it will remain to remind us of the natural resource that is the entertainment industry in California. It is up to all of us to make certain it doesn't become a relic of past glories, but a vital reminder of what is.


Sunday, April 25, 2010

3 & 1/2 Funny Men

One of these shows I love a lot, the other I like but don't love as much, although both are superbly acted by some very funny guys. I won't tell you which I love and which I like because we all have our own tastes. All I ask is that you check them out and give them a chance. Have you ever watched the credits role after a TV show or movie has aired? Those are working Californians. Lots of them.

The first TV comedy is Monk on the USA TV Network. Tony Shalhoub as Adrian Monk is a consultant to a police department, hired for his brilliant investigative skills. The problem is that Monk has an obsessive compulsive disorder which makes him very endearing and also very conflicted. For someone with OCD it may be painful to watch, but Monk is such a sympathetic character that he may even be responsible for creating some understanding about the disease. And that's a good thing. Just give it a chance, if you're stuck at home on a Friday night, or DVR it. Monk airs every Friday at 9 PM. Oh, and just so you know, the series ends in December 2010. More people out of a job.

The second TV comedy is Two & One-half Men, although it is close to being three men, because the kid is growing up. The series is less about a story line and more about funny one liners, but those set jokes are delivered with impeccable timing. With all of the headlines about Charlie Sheen's personal troubles, there are rumors that this show isn't going forward either, at least production was put on hold while he's in rehab.. What a shame Charlie's a talented guy with issues. I wanted to see what that kid was going to do when he grew up. Monday night at 9 PM on CBS.

Tomorrow, I'll talk about another TV show that's filming here, and a block buster movie that will also be shot on the streets of LA. Just remember, when you see a film crew on the street, thank them, they are going to help keep police on the street, teachers in the schools and fire fighters struggling with the hot dry summer that is coming up.


Saturday, April 24, 2010


Here's another area where we can vote with our pocketbooks. There are a lot of commercials filmed all over California, creating jobs right here at home.

So wouldn't it be great if a product actually made in the USA and even better, a product that is a huge industry here in California filmed their commercials here? That would seem to be a no brainer, right? You know those happy cow commercials, where the cows talk to each other and the bulls make suggestive remarks to the lady cows? I have it from a good source that their last commercials were made in New Zeeland? Huh? Why? Are California cows no longer so happy? Even they are out of a job now. Oh well, as least we can take some comfort in the fact that California is the largest dairy state in this country. We produce almost 20% of the total consumed in this country (also 20% of the methane).

But what about Chevy Trucks. They filmed a commercial here last month. Go buy a truck? Well, maybe not, but if you are in the market for a truck, no one makes better trucks than Ford and Chevy (at least my trucker friends say so). How about a Movado watch? They filmed a commercial in Encino. Actually, I have a Movado watch, and I like it very much.

Stay tuned, tomorrow I will give you 2 new shows to watch on TV.


Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Reality Shows

Every season I get hooked on one or more reality TV shows. Usually I watch them while I'm answering e-mails, (or blogging) so I don't feel too guilty about indulging in what is akin to being sort of a Peeping Tom. Most reality shows are "live" or sort of live, to perpetuate the myth that you are watching people being raw and unedited. I've appeared on several reality shows so I feel more like an insider on this one. From my experience, reality shows are guided, not scripted, and if they aren't on live, they are edited pretty heavily.
The good news in the eyes of this blogger is that two of the biggest reality tv shows, American Idol and Dancing with the Stars take place right here.


Monday, April 19, 2010

Let's Start with TV

I'm going to start the discussion with television shows that are filmed in California, because they have potential for creating some long running jobs with a certain amount of security. Many, many TV pilots are shot in California; of course, many, many pilots are never picked up. It's a little better than it used to be when there were just three main networks. Now, with a gazillion different channels, there are lots of additional shows being aired.

So, if you're not used to slipping off to channel heaven, you are going to have to break out of the mold to support some of these productions.

The first series I want to talk about is not such a huge stretch, it's on Fox. I never watched "24" before I started this blog. I have been missing one of my favorite shows and didn't even know it, and now it's going to be cancelled? Kieffer Sutherland as Jack Bauer, savior of all we hold dear, does just that every season in a single 24 hour period. It's exhausting to think about, exciting to watch. They film all over LA County, and have for years: from Chatsworth to Santa Clarita to Los Angeles. Kieffer is an amazing actor, and I have no problem recommending this production wholeheartedly. It's on tonight on Fox from 9 to 10 PM. It's last episode is May 24, 2010.

So, it's as simple as that. I'm going to see if I can find out how many people the show has regularly employed that are going to be out of work soon.


Friday, April 16, 2010

What We Have to Offer

Hello again,
I've been thinking about what you and I have to offer in exchange for keeping the filming of TV shows and movies in California, and I had a duh moment. I don't know about the rest of you, but I've hit myself over the head many times for not seeing the obvious.

In my store in Woodland Hills, a lot of people look for merchandise made in the USA. They won't buy a garment that is not made here. If you're sensitive to that issue (as we all should be)you'll know that it is not easy finding things made in this country. How sad is that! I make an extreme effort trying to hunt down merchandise made here. It ain't easy.

Here's my duh moment. Why can't we take our people power and try to use it to influence film/TV studios to produce here, simply by trying to go to those movies and watch those TV shows that are made here. In other words, what if we had thousands of people telling a studio or a network that we will watch what you have to offer if you make it here. Now I know there are some issues I'm glossing over. But let's just say we will try; we will consider a 'made in California' movie first; we will take the time to watch a 'made in California' TV show at least once to see if we find it worthwhile/enjoyable.

Next question: How will we know a movie or TV show has been made in California? There is no clothing label on a movie.

Answer: I will tell you.



Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Two Did You Knows

We know that California is in a world of hurt; one of the worst economies in the country. We know that California is in the top three states for unemployment. How did we get here?

  1. First did you know:

If only 30% of TV/film production lost to this state over the last 14 years had been retained, California would not have a budget deficit. Say what? Is that true?

2. Second did you know:

There are actually some productions still filming here. Now we need to find out why some are still filming here and providing jobs to Californians; and then we need to think of ways to grow that number. I have an idea, and it's something we can do.

Meet me here tomorrow.


Why I am Blogging

I'm not in the film or TV industry. But I do know a lot of people that are. Most of them have one thing in common, they are not working. There are few jobs in the film capital of the world. Why is that? Because few films are made in California any longer.

So I started on a mission to find out why. I'm going to invite you on this journey with me, and please feel free to jump in and add facts to my investigative foray.

You may ask why I am doing this. I have two pretty straight forward answers:
  1. I'm a small business owner in the Valley, and half of my customers work for or depend on the film and TV industry. When they don't have money, they don't spend money. Simply stated, my business, selling clothing and accessories to women and an occasional man is in the doldrums.
  2. I'm a full-time volunteer for Susan G. Komen for the Cure; it is my true passion because I am a survivor, and I have daughters and granddaughters and friends I love and I don't want them to go through what I have gone through. With the jobs situation such as it is in California, the State cannot afford to provide screening and diagnosis to uninsured woman. And without jobs, there are lots of people without insurance, or without the money to purchase services like a mamogram. A woman's own health becomes less of a priority when she is trying to feed her children.

Tomorrow I'll tell you a couple of things I have found out already. And I even have an idea what each one of us can do to bring film and TV jobs back to Califonia.

Sharon Schlesinger