Tuesday, August 31, 2010

We Have a Meeting!

Jim Horwitz and I are meeting with the top echelon at the production company, "The Film Department", next Wednesday, to find out what we can do to convince them to consider LA for their next location choice. The gentlemen who came together to form this company are some of the most talented in the business and certainly some of the most experienced. Collectively, they have been involved in one way or the other in most of the films I have really enjoyed over the last ten plus years.

We have more letters out to producers that are household names, or at least their movies are. Let's see who else is willing to sit down with us.


At Least the Cows are Going Back to Work

Remember that whole imbroglio about shooting California milk commercials in New Zealand? The California State Senate and Assembly have passed a bill to prohibit commercials about California products, paid for with our tax dollars, to be shot outside of California. Now the Governator has to sign it, and I'm sure he will, or we'll be baaack!

Now we have truly happy cows because they have jobs and can put grass on the table.


Thursday, August 26, 2010

Not Good News for Women

I'm going to copy verbatim an alert sent out by Susan G. Komen for the Cure. News like this is why I blog, to energize the fight to keep film production here so that people can find a job. When the choice is between buying groceries for the week for the family or having a mammogram, the answer is preordained. With a job, and maybe even some health insurance, maybe there will be an opportunity for mom to take better care of herself. In the meantime, women in California are between the rock and the hard reality of having a difficult time finding a place to receive a diagnosis if they have no insurance and no money. Over 4,000 will die in California this year. You may have passed one of them on the street. I hope you smiled, because that's about all that any of us have the ability to give these days: a smile and a hug. What are we going to do?

This year, more than 21,000 women in California will be diagnosed with breast cancer. And it is expected that we will lose 4,200 women to the disease this year.

The Every Woman Counts (EWC) program, which provides early detection breast and cervical cancer screening to disadvantaged women in our state, is facing drastic budget cuts. Everyone understands the budget is tight, but this program has suffered more than its fair share, putting at risk thousands of California residents.

On January 1, the California Department of Health arbitrarily shut the program's doors for the remainder of the fiscal year, and closed access to the program to new women over age 50 and for all women age 40 to 49. That last cut was particularly troubling because almost half of the women screened by the program are in their 40s. Then, when the new fiscal year dawned without a state budget on July 1, the Department of Health closed the program indefinitely.


Saturday, August 21, 2010

My Last Week as a Retailer

I'm sitting in my boutique in Woodland Hills, getting ready to write finis to a path I started down 23 years ago. Like many career paths, I stumbled on retail with no intention of it becoming a grand passion. And actually it never became that, even though I grew the business in New York to four stores and created a sweet little place here in the Valley. What I was passionate about were the people I came to know over the years and the symbiosis of a ladies clothing store and my true passion, women's health issues. Particularly breast cancer, because I am a survivor and I have daughters and granddaughters that I want to shield from my own experiences.

Next weekend my husband and I will pack up Boku and put it in storage, and end a chapter of my life that had it's good times and very bad times. As always, Bob has my back and is there no matter what. He and my children have been the wind beneath my wings for all this time.

One's identity becomes wrapped up in what one does for a living. People ask you what you do, not who you are. There are many people walking around these days not knowing how to describe themselves any longer because they lost their job or closed their business. I always tell them about the "door".

Imagine that there are a series of doors one must pass through in one's lifetime. The doors represent a spatial or relationship change,a shift in priorities, some thing new and different. If you fear the next door in your life rather than embracing the challenge it represents, you will never fully experience the joy that life can hold.

I have been facing a door for many months as I pondered what to do with my Boku, but I have had no fear of what lies beyond the door; I just knew it was going to be something wonderful. In fact, I conjured up a vision of a beautiful garden filled with all the people I love. Consequently, I have not suffered regret or anxiety; just a feeling of peace and anticipation.

I know that you and I will survive this moment and this day and that something wonderful is waiting. I promise you that is so.


Friday, August 20, 2010

The Week of Wee Little Films

The movie selection this week end is a bit of a mish mash, with nothing standing up and shouting 'watch me, watch me'. And all of them filmed outside California. How many times have I even had a movie to point you to lately? Nine out of ten of the releases this summer have been filmed elsewhere. The Switch - New York; Lottery Ticket - Atlanta; Nanny McPhee Returns - England; Vampires Suck - Louisiana; Paranha 3D - Arizona.

Expendables will probably win the weekend box office wars, and as I told you last week it was filmed in Brazil.

Is it any wonder our gnarly unemployment rate is stuck in neutral?


Thursday, August 19, 2010

Can Commercials Light Our Fire?

Commercial production was up very nicely last week compared to last year. I'm wondering what kind of messages they are crafting to get the American public to buy again. The message has to change because we are changing, and we may never be the same again. People that went through the Great Depression came out different, with an emphasis on different values and a new awareness of how difficult it is to accumulate wealth and how easy it is to lose it.

Companies aren't hiring because we aren't buying. And we're not buying because we're scared. The buyers and the sellers are both paralyzed because of uncertainty. So how will they appeal to us, what will be the pitch, the punch line that will open up our wallets? Have you noticed the car commercials (filmed in California) that emphasize the concept of passing your car down to your children? Wait and see, the commercials are going to appeal to a more sensible side of our nature, simply because we have had to grown up in a hurry.


Wednesday, August 18, 2010

The Cupboard is Bare

For one day the California Film Commission felt like Santa. They were able to satisfy 30 requests for tax incentives with the $100 million they were given to play with by the State of California. Unfortunately that wasn't even half the number of requests. Nearly 50 more were left on the table.

Applicants for the incentives were selected by lottery and included 19 feature films; 8 television series; and 3 made for TV movies. Most of them will start filming in LA this fall. What would you guess that translates into, 6,000 jobs? And the 50 projects that went unfunded? 10,000 jobs that will probably go out of state, especially to NY where their Santa has $2.1 billion to hand out over the next 5 years.

Now the cupboard is bare for another year. And Mrs. Hubbard doesn't even have a bone for her poor dog.


Tuesday, August 17, 2010

The Great Reset #2

I've been reading The Great Reset: How New Ways of Living and Working Drive Post Crash Prosperity. I mentioned the book in my 8/7 post, and since then I have learned a lot about why we are in this current economic predicament and what is likely to happen next. According to the author anyway. The thing about economists is that they frequently don't agree on why something happened and what we should do about it.

By 'great reset' he is referring to the dramatic change in how and where we live, what we do for a living, and what our attitudes are about priorities that will occur during the recovery from this economic bust we are living through. The author likens this period to the recovery period after the Long Depression of the late 19th century when we shifted from an agricultural economy to an industrial economy; now, the shift is from an industrial to an idea-driven creative economy.It will be a monumental change; we have only begun to feel the effect of technological advancements.

The entertainment industry is poised on the edge of a cliff looking down on the new world order and wondering how they are going to climb down from their current perch successfully without breaking their neck. The music industry has been clobbered by technology, and film and TV are also going through their own dramas. With Google TV writing a whole new script on how film will be distributed, is it any wonder there have been so many strikes as the various elements try to jockey for a piece of the future pie in the sky?


Monday, August 16, 2010

I Drafted a Letter to Producers Today

I think Sly Stallone is a smart guy. He created a film that appealed over such a broad spectrum that The Expendables swept the box office sweepstakes this past weekend. Not only did it appeal to the boomer generation because they remember Rocky fondly; but he captured the next generation who identified with Rambo. But where I think Sly was really smart was that the action was real and not computer generated. Old guys and young could say, I can do that. It also received good exit reviews.

Not so much for Julia Roberts film Eat, Pray Love. And forget about Scott Pilgrim. That was a non-starter all together.

I drafted a letter for Jim Horwitz to send to producers with projects in development today, with the hope that we can find ways to create a more competitive environment so they will film here. Weekend after weekend, the majority of films hitting the theatre screens are filmed anywhere but California.

I would like to give this blog and the issues it discusses more visibility. Does anyone know how to 'burn a feed'?


Sunday, August 15, 2010

There Isn't Any

There really isn't any TV worth watching right now. I did see something quite extraordinary on KOCE however; Katherine Jenkins, a mezzo soprano with a range and a compelling delivery that comes maybe once in a life time. If it's on again, try to catch her show. She's an amazing entertainer from Wales who is absolutely beautiful. It would even be great to watch her with the sound off, that's how beautiful she is.

I spent the afternoon researching the new Fall offerings, but I'm not quite ready to publish my findings. The Fall season starts September 7th, and I'm compiling a schedule of new shows and renewed shows and where they were filmed. I will asterisk those that sound interesting to me, but you will have to make your own decisions. There is a lot to choose from this year; lets hope there is some quality programming in the mix.

And hopefully, the studios will give the good ones a chance to settle in and find their audience. With all the work that goes into the creation of TV programming, sometimes I think the studios are too quite with the hook. How many people need to watch something for it to stay on the air? Currently, not a single show on TV during the last few weeks has pulled a double digit audience.

Anyway, watch for the September TV viewing schedule next Sunday.


September TV Schedule

This is the September TV Schedule I have been compiling. I have not identified all the filming locations yet, but I will try to fill in the blanks as we go along. There are a lot of new shows, and if you watched the Emmys, you saw some of this years newbies win some awards as well as some of the old standbys. So here we go, another season, cross your fingers for some great programming.


September 7
10:00 PM
Sons of Anarchy (FX)

September 8
8:00 PM
America's Next Top Model (CW)

9:00 PM
Hellcats (CW) New Vancouver

10:00 PM
Terriers (FX) New San Diego

September 9
8:00 PM
The Vampire Diaries (CW)

9:00 PM
Nikita (CW) New Toronto

September 11
8:00 PM
Cops (Fox)

9:00 PM
America's Most Wanted (Fox)

September 13
8:00 PM
90210 (CW)Los Angeles
9:00 PM
Gossip Girl (CW)Los Angeles
September 14
8:00 PM
One Tree Hill (CW)

9:00 PM
Life Unexpected (CW)

10:00 PM
Parenthood (NBC)

September 15
8:00 PM
Survivor: Nicaragua (CBS)Nicaragua

10:00 PM
Outlaw (NBC) New

September 16
10:00 PM
It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia (FX)Los Angeles & Philadelphia
The Apprentice (NBC)

10:30 PM
The League (FX)

September 19
8:00 PM
Boardwalk Empire (HBO) New

September 20
8:00 PM
Dancing with the Stars (ABC)

House (Fox)

Chuck (NBC)

How I Met Your Mother (CBS)

8:30 PM
Rules of Engagement (CBS)

9:00 PM
Lone Star (Fox) New Dallas

The Event (NBC) New

Two and a Half Men (CBS)Los Angeles
9:30 PM
Mike & Molly (CBS) New

10:00 PM
Castle (ABC)

Chase (NBC) New

Hawaii Five-0 (CBS)Hawaii

September 21
8:00 PM
Glee (Fox)

The Biggest Loser (NBC)


9:00 PM
Raising Hope (Fox) New

NCIS: Los Angeles (CBS)Los Angeles

9:30 PM
Running Wilde (Fox) New

10:00 PM
Detroit 1-8-7 (ABC) New

September 22
8:00 PM
Hell's Kitchen (Fox)

The Middle (ABC)

Undercovers (NBC) New

8:30 PM
Better With You (ABC) New

9:00 PM
Law & Order: SVU (NBC)

Criminal Minds (CBS)

Modern Family (ABC)Los Angeles
9:30 PM
Cougar Town (ABC)

10:00 PM
The Whole Truth (ABC) New Los Angeles

The Defenders (CBS) New

September 23
8:00 PM
My Generation (ABC) New

Bones (Fox)

Community (NBC)

The Big Bang Theory (CBS)

8:30 PM
30 Rock (NBC)

S#*! My Dad Says (CBS) New Los Angles

9:00 PM
Fringe (Fox)

Grey's Anatomy (ABC)

The Office (NBC)


9:30 PM
Outsourced (NBC) New

10:00 PM
Private Practice (ABC)

The Mentalist (CBS)Los Angeles
September 24
8:00 PM
Smallville (CW)

School Pride (NBC) New

Medium (CBS)

9:00 PM
The Good Guys (Fox)

Supernatural (CW)

Dateline (NBC)


10:00 PM
20/20 (ABC)

Blue Bloods (CBS) New New York

September 25
10:00 PM
48 Hours Mystery (CBS)

September 26
7:00 PM
America's Funniest Home Videos (ABC)

7:30 PM
60 Minutes (CBS)

8:00 PM
Extreme Makeover: Home Edition (ABC)

The Simpsons (Fox)

8:30 PM
The Cleveland Show (Fox)

The Amazing Race (CBS)

9:00 PM
Desperate Housewives (ABC)

Family Guy (Fox)

Dexter (Showtime)

10:00 PM
Brothers & Sisters (ABC)

Undercover Boss (CBS)

Bored to Death (HBO)

10:30 PM
Eastbound & Down (HBO)

September 28
8:00 PM
No Ordinary Family (ABC) New

The Good Wife (CBS)New York

September 29
10:00 PM
Law & Order: Los Angeles (NBC) New Los Angeles

Saturday, August 14, 2010

I Had a Dog for a Week

I had a dog for a week, and she made me realize why I love animals so much. My husband Bob and I took care of my daughter's dog while she luxuriated at a spa in Newport Beach. She is starting a new position the end of this month and it will be some time before she can relax so thoroughly again. This daughter of mine has soared very high in the corporate world. I watched her progress over the years and recognized the drive she had was a gift or a curse she inherited from me.

I wanted to be a vet when I was a kid, and some place along the way I forgot that was my goal. I ended up in Wall Street, a far place from a vet's office. I see most people taking those radical turn-arounds because life gets in the way of dreams. So we settle, and we are lucky if we feel blessed even if we aren't living out our dream.

So this little dog I borrowed for a week was a pleasant reminder of what I might have done with my life. She slept on our bed at night and I felt a sense of well being having her there. No regrets, because I have been truly blessed. I hope my daughter feels the same way.


Friday, August 13, 2010

Something for Everyone

This weekend at the movies has something for just about everyoe so it probably will be good for the multiplexes. Unfortunately, none of the top three contenders were filmed here. That's becoming old news isn't it?

If you're a young man, or old guy who remembers Rocky and Rambo fondly, The Expendables is for you; if you're a woman of any age, you will probably enjoy Julia Roberts in Eat, Pray, Love; and if you're young, you'll probably like Scott Pilgrim. Filmed from Brazil to Bali to Toronto, these flics put on a lot of frequent flyer miles.

Maybe next week there will be a filmed in California movie we can go to several times to make up for the dearth of possibilities this week.


At Least the Dutch Like to Film in California

Although the statistics for the last year are not available, if the trend continues less than half of the commercials shot in this country will be shot in California. There are no tax incentives available for the producers of commercials, but listen to how a dutch commercial maker feels about California.

First, the fact that the dollar is on the weak side works in our favor, making shooting here relatively cheaper. The other factors working for us are the diversity of locations, the wealth of experienced crews and the abundance of sunny days.

"LA has the very best professionals and the best crews in the world. You can always go someplace cheaper, but I don't think it's always better - when you shoot in LA, everything goes really smooth."

That's a potent statement. I think it's valid. How do we get that message across to a broader spectrum of commercial producers everywhere? This dutch producer who is quoted above is coming back again this year for another client. I need to get someone from the City Council to meet and greet him.


Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Drip Drip Drip

The sink in my guest bathroom leaks, slowly. At least I thought it was leaking slowly. I kept telling my husband Bob that even a slow leak adds up to a big loss over time. To prove my point, I closed the drain one morning to see how long it would take the sink to fill up. It didn't take long. When I came home in the afternoon, the sink was full. That's what's happening with film production. It is drip drip dripping away. And though we may pat ourselves on the back when a show like NCIS Los Angeles is shooting out on the streets of Los Angeles, it doesn't move the needle enough to slow down the loss. Once again production days last week were less than a year ago. Not by a lot, just ten total film days less. But after long enough, the sink will be full of those lost production days, and you're not going to get them back my friends, without some drastic measures. We need a plumber.


Tuesday, August 10, 2010

There Are 42 Film Schools in California

There are probably some that I missed, but based on a quick review, there seems to be a lot of film schools and a lot of students in California with their eye on a career in films. My granddaughter is one of those students, but she is having second thoughts about her career path. If you can't get a job, you don't have a career, right? She has one year to go at Cal State University in Long Beach, and she is starting to wonder if she made a mistake focusing on the film industry. She wants to be a film editor; she is wonderfully competent, hard working, very creative, and would be good at many different things. But she picked film. Now what?

I've always believed that 'it's easier to ride a horse in the direction he is going'. Most of us don't have the strength and determination to get that huge animal to turn around and go where we want it to go. Does she? Does she have the passion to succeed in the face of a dismal forecast? She says not, I hope otherwise. Are all 42 schools training students for an industry that will fail them unless they move out of state? What a shame if that is our reality.


Monday, August 9, 2010

What Did I Tell You?

Remember I was just talking about how we're seduced into going to a movie because of clever marketing. This weekend was a good example. The Other Guys took first place at the box office, but exit interviews gave the movie a B-Now keep in mind, the people that went to this movie are most likely Will Farrell fans. I do think Farrell is a funny guy, but wouldn't you be disappointed after spending all that money for a movie and mortgaged your house to buy a bathtub of pop corn, to walk out and say, hey that was great, I give it a B-. The trailers on TV looked funny: do they just take the funny parts and put them in the trailer and leave the unfunny bits for the rest of the movie? Oh well, what can you expect, it was filmed in NY, right?

Inception came in second: the dance flick came in third; and, Flipped had a disappointing limited release in the LA area.

Making movies must be like cooking Thanksgiving Dinner. So much work, such high hopes, and then it's over.


Sunday, August 8, 2010

I Do Brain Exercises

It's not a coincidence that I'm telling you I do brain exercises on the day I'm supposed to blog about television production. I'm not suggesting I need to do brain exercises because I watch TV, although much of what I watch doesn't add anything to my IQ or store of knowledge. The only thing that TV adds is pounds to my ass. But still I choose to watch some pretty mind numbing/brain draining shows.

My daughters gave me a nifty package of brain exercises that is supposed to improve my brain's functionality by 300%. I've been doing these exercises almost daily for two months, and I have to tell you that I think I am getting sharper. Hooray for that. Does that mean that I've gotten too smart to accept the standard fare on TV? Probably not. But why aren't any of us more selective? When I pick a book to read, I am careful to read reviews, follow authors I have enjoyed in the past, ask my friends what they are reading that's good. But TV? I'm not so selective. If I had to pay for every show I watched, would I be more careful? Maybe. But I'm spending my time, isn't that more valuable than money?

I'm trying to convince you to watch TV shows that are filmed here, or at least check them out to see if you might like them, but I don't get into their worthiness as good fertilizer for the mind. Frankly, most of what's on TV isn't going to stimulate anything to grow.

And what's this about summer programming. Why do I feel it's a desert out there from June to September. Has anyone seen anything worthwhile on TV this summer? Is it all reruns and talent shows? At least I'm reading a good book, Pillars of the Earth by Ken Follett who usually writes spy novels. It's about the building of a cathedral in England in the middle of the twelfth century. A TV series has been made of the book, and even though it was filmed in Austria and Hungary, Ridley Scott had a hand in it, and it is showing right now on Starz. I may wait for it to go to DVD so I can finish the book and watch the series in one sitting. The book is absolutely excellent. So now I'm suggesting what you should read too. Such arrogance.


Saturday, August 7, 2010

Are We Going to Like Our New World Better?

I am 38% through the book The Great Reset: How New Ways of Living and Working Drive Post-Crash Prosperity. according to my Kindle. And I did say I would share, but I wonder how willing any of us are to accept what may be our new reality. According to this book, we are in a "shift from an economy based on making things to one that revolves around knowledge and creativity." We seem to want to do both, create and make.

We are having so much trouble competing in the manufacture of things but we continue to try and that makes me wonder if we have accepted our prospective new role in the world order. I don't think so, or why would we have risked so much of our nation's wealth to prop up the auto industry, which may never be competitive? Unless we can use our knowledge and creativity to figure out how to make a car that is so unique and compelling that people will be willing to pay extra to own it, we are not facing the reality that we can not be competitive doing the same as everyone else. Isn't it better and certainly more interesting to be the brains of the world rather than the labor force? Let emerging economies raise their standards of living through their own industrial revolution. Let us think up wonderful, cool new things, cure disease and poverty, lead a green revolution, you get the idea.

In the long run, we would have been better off if we had sent all the automotive workers to school to learn new skills rather than spend billions propping up a manufacturing wet dream. These thoughts are my own, fertilized by the ideas of economists much smarter than I am. I have only my own sense of what is the right direction, but it frequently seems at odds with the direction we are taking. It makes me a little uneasy. Does anyone else see that the emperor is not wearing anything?

So much for this Saturday's potluck, I'll look for a happier subject for next week.


Don't Flip Over Dinner

In other words, Flipped was filmed in Ann Arbor, Michigan, and Dinner for Schmucks was filmed in LA. And The Other Guys was filmed in New York. Those are some of our choices this weekend if we are planning a movie going outing. And of course you can go see Inception, again, and again and again.

Timing of release is so important that there must be hordes of analysts at every distributing company, holding their finger to the wind, their ear to the ground and their fingers on your pulse. Wide release or limited? Where is it likely to play well and not so well based on subject and star. So many factors come in to play and so much money is spent to market these films leading up to their release. It's a bit like political campaigns; we are bombarded with political commercials and movie previews. They are packaged similarly, so you end up voting for a candidate or going to see a movie based on a snippet that may not have anything to do with the whole picture in either case.

Are we lazy, or just busy. Why do we let others woo and seduce us with bright and shiny objects that don't serve us or entertain us? Look a little further and make up your own mind.


Thursday, August 5, 2010

I Met a Producer Today

Producers don't usually walk through the door of my little shop, but he was there to see my clairvoyant about becoming his agent. See, I knew I'd get your attention. You have to stop by Boku on a Thursday night, I have the most interesting guests.

Anyway, the producer made a movie called Charlie Valentine. It's going directly to DVD, but if you Google it, you can see the trailer. It's an action flick that looks interesting, and yes, it was filmed right here.

I asked the producer why he filmed in LA, his response, "this is where all the talent is; it's so much easier, and you can go home at night. If you film somewhere else, you end up spending so much money flying people in and putting them up in a hotel, it turns out not to be worth any incentives offered." I would have kissed him, but his wife was with him.


Wednesday, August 4, 2010

I Know Jerry Bruckheimer's Skating Teacher

That's as close as I have ever gotten to Jerry Bruckheimer, one of the most successful people in Hollywood. We both grew up in Michigan, and what else are you going to do there in the winter. You learn to skate.

The number of production days were up last week, over 8%. We can give Mr. Bruckheimer some of the credit for stemming the flow of lost production. As one of his execs said, "we work hard to keep shows in Los Angeles in order to help the local economy and to keep industry jobs in town". All right! Question of the day: do you want to be as successful as Bruckheimer? Shoot in California, numb nuts!

Bruckheimer's latest foray is called The Whole Truth. It's about court cases, based in NY, but filmed in LA baby. How do they make California look like New York? I lived there for 20 years, and I don't know how you make California blue sky a dirty NY gray everyday, and what do you do about garbage; just back up a garbage truck and dump it all over the street before starting to film? God bless them. You have to watch this show when it launches.

There's another reason to support this show. Maura Tierney has joined the cast. You may not recognize her name, but you will know her face and be pleased to watch her perform. Maura is a new breast cancer survivor. Proof positive that breast cancer can strike anyone, even the beautiful and the young. Through Susan G. Komen's efforts, the government has lowered the recommended age for a mammogram to age 40. When you see beautiful Maura, you'll under stand why.


Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Milkin Has a Handle on the Numbers

I remember Mike Milkin from his Drexel Burnham days. He was one of those shooting stars on Wall Street that shot straight up and came crashing down in prison. Known as the Junk Bond King, he liberated a lot of capital, but he neglected to follow some of the rules and ended up serving 2 years. After beating prostate cancer by fiddling with his testosterone levels, he rehabilitated him self in a large way. (That doesn't sound quite right, does it?)

One of the things Milken created was a think tank right here in Santa Monica that studies many things; the objective, to make this world a better place.

Last month the Milken Institute issued a report entitled Film Flight about the disastrous fall out from California's loss of film production to other states and countries. According to Milkin, since 1997, the high point for California film production, up to 2008, we have lost 36,000 film jobs and $2.4 billion in wages. His report doesn't have job numbers for this industry from 2009 - 2010. So heaven knows what it is now since the recession/depression hit and more production has left.

The report may be accessed at: www.milkininstitute.org/pdf/filmflight_execsum.pdf. It offers suggestions to the people running this state of what could be done to make California more competitive. The basic piece of advice is to extend the tax incentives permanently and to broaden their application. We don't have to offer the moon to these producers, a small star will keep them here. maybe a pastrami sandwich. Ask them! What will it take?


Monday, August 2, 2010

Sort of Lackluster at the Box Office

Respectable but slightly wimpy ticket sales this last weekend. For the third week in a row, Inception, partially filmed in LA led sales. People are going back a second and third time. Did they not get it the first time? Let's give our sweetie pie Steve Carell some love this week. I don't know what Dinner for Schmucks is about, I'm afraid to read up on it, but the previews look like vintage Carell and it was all filmed in LA.

I have to give Steve-O some of the credit for the fact that most of his work is filmed in LA. I'm sure he is big enough to call the location shots. In the case of Schmucks, however, tax credits were received from the state to the tune of about $6 million in savings, and that must have cemented the deal.

The 3-D sequel Cats and Dogs as well as Charlie St. Cloud were filmed in Vancouver. They showed very anemic sales. Nah nah na nah na. (Is that how you spell a razberry?)


Sunday, August 1, 2010


Home Box Office (HBO) is another cable channel to which I don't subscribe. So I never caught the Sex and the City or the Soprano's bug. I related to both from a distance because I lived in Manhattan, and even knew a few mafioso types when I lived in Brooklyn. But after spending some time researching where HBO films their series and miniseries, I realized I have missed a lot of quality TV viewing. Plus there are no commercials, which means uninterrupted viewing and more creative freedom because of the lack of sponsors to please.

HBO started out as a cable company in Manhattan in the 60's. Now look at them. They never leave an Emmy Show empty handed. I was expecting to see most of their production back east or overseas, but was pleasantly surprised to find that not to be the case. The California tax incentives are not available to TV producers, even when they are making full length features; hopefully that will be corrected in the future.

In the meantime, True Blood, perhaps HBO's most popular show, and another vampire saga, is filmed primarily in California, even though, as everyone knows, Louisiana is the usual home for those pointy toothed creatures. In fact, the story is based in Louisiana, and some of the opening shots are from a plantation located there. But guess what, HBO built a replica of the plantation in the Santa Monica Mountains. The Bon Temps graveyard and Sookies house are there too.

Big Love is another big HBO hit, and I was sure they must be filming in Utah, because it's about a polygamous family. Nope. Right here in Santa Clarita and at a bunch of other California locations. I haven't seen this show either, but I have seen the little boy who plays one of the characters. Actually he is twins and he shares the role with his brother. They were in my store the other day with their mother. They were quite the handful, but cute.

There is a new series that HBO is working on called Luck. It is filmed at the Santa Anita Racetrack and stars Dustin Hoffman. There's another called Tilda starring Ellen Page which is filming here too.

If anyone has a favorite HBO show they would like me to research, I'd be glad to give it the made in California test. So far, HBO is on my good list.