Aidan Bloom is a 35 year old struggling actor trying to find his purpose in life. His dad gets cancer and cannot pay for Aidan’s kids yeshiva school tuition anymore. This leads to Aidan attempting to homeschool his children. Throughout the film, Aidan reflects on the unpredictable and hard circumstances that come with raising a family. He wants to provide for his family yet follow his dream of being an actor. He wants him and his wife, who supports the family, to be happy. Throughout the film he tries to find meaning in life’s nature. Aidan Bloom is a 35 year old struggling actor trying to find his purpose in life. His dad gets cancer and cannot pay for Aidan’s kids yeshiva school tuition anymore. This leads to Aidan attempting to homeschool his children. Throughout the film, Aidan reflects on the unpredictable and hard circumstances that come with raising a family. He wants to provide for his family yet follow his dream of being an actor. He wants him and his wife, who supports the family, to be happy. Throughout the film he tries to find meaning in life’s nature. Although Braff has good intentions with Wish I Was Here, the film falls flat. The film has nice cinematography, pacing and acting yet it seems like something is missing. With Garden State, Braff explored a lost twenty-something. In Wish I Was Here, he explores a lost thirty-something. The film doesn’t seem to deliver any insightful nature because it’s caught up in Braff’s mind fantasies. It seems as though he wrote down all the challenges of raising a family, trying to be happy, making sense of life’s hardships, and so forth…but the film doesn’t ever go past depicting these things to provide any insightful nature. The film ends, basically saying “Hey, raising a family and trying to be happy is hard.” It never really has a full solution to Aidan’s endless doubts about life. B-
Olivia Pope finished her clean-up duties during the April 17th season finale of Scandal. Mindy Lahiri and Danny Castellano got together in The Mindy Project season finale. Jake Peralta went undercover at the end of Brooklyn-Nine-Nine’s season one. Everything is all wrapped up for network shows. Quality TV, however, doesn’t stop in May. A batch of new and returning shows are looking to capture TV fanatics.
Memorial Day weekend has happened and the summer TV season has *unofficially* started.
Under the Dome (CBS: June 30)
The show is based on Stephen King’s bestselling book of the same name. It centers on a mysterious clear dome that encases a small town. Trapped under the dome, the corruption and dirty secrets of the town start to come to light. The show has been criticized a bit for its sometimes overacting and writing. Nevertheless, with new and expanding storylines and a host of well-developed characters, it’s worthwhile to watch.
24: Live Another Day (FOX: Mondays 9/8c)
Okay so this show has already started, but it’s worthwhile to catch up on (via Hulu) and start watching new episodes. The limited 12 episode event is based on the popular TV show. The special limited event series can be enjoyed even without ever having watched 24.
The 12 episodes center on Jack Bauer, still a federal fugitive, is recruited by the CIA to assist in the investigation of a presidential assassination. He is promised amnesty in return for his cooperation. He’s Jack Bauer so he can pretty much do anything. One of the prominent badass heroes of television. He was popular…before TV even became super popular (if you get what I’m saying…). Anyways, digging deep into the investigation, Jack soon realizes that more is at stake than just a presidential assassination. The world…could be on the brink of war. No biggie, right? Jack’s up for the job.
If your dissatisfied with action movie selection this year/summer, Jack Bauer will surely pull you into the action TV landscape. As they say…Jack is back!
Orange is the New Black (Netflix: June 6th)
Everyone surely knows all about Orange is the New Black, right? The suprise hit series no one saw coming? A quick synopsis of this show doesn’t even do it justice. It’s one of those shows you just have to watch to see if its good…and it is. The dramedy prison set series centers on Piper Chapman, a woman who is given 15 months in prison for a drug money smuggling deal. Orange is the New Black is one of those shows that is very character driven (it centers on a different character every episode). It shows each of their motivations, desires, goals, and emotions. The gritty nature of prison drama is shown (albeit a little watered down). It’s one of those shows that really makes you think and feel for each of the characters. June 6th can’t come soon enough.
This isn’t a new show. It’s been off for a year now but continues to provide laughs. The show has three seasons: first season on Hulu Plus. Clips of the second and third seasons can be seen on Yahoo Screen. The show is a parody on reality shows like The Bachelor and Bachelorette. It takes the dumb nature of the two reality competition shows and pokes fun at them. A string of familiar faces including Kristen Bell, Jennifer Aniston, Adam Scott, and more pop up. The show really makes you see just how dumb reality shows can be all while providing great laughs.
WANTED: Someone to go back in time with me. This is not a joke. You’ll get paid after we get back. Must bring your own weapons. I have only done this once before. SAFETY NOT GUARANTEED.
Safety Not Guaranteed follows Jeff (Jake Johnson), a cocky writer at magazine who spots an ad in the classifieds that mentions time travel. Jeff wants to investigate the man behind the ad. With the help of two interns, Darius (Aubrey Plaza) and Arnau (Karan Soni), they set out on a trip to Ocean View, Washington to find the man.
The team is able to track down the guy who placed the ad. He is a man named Kenneth(Mark Duplass) who is in his 30’s working at a supermarket. Kenneth is resistant when confronted with the hard hitting efforts made by Jeff. Darius, using her sarcasm and deadpan humor, is able to quickly form a bond with him. Kenneth will take Darius along with him in his time machine. Kenneth wants to travel back to 2001 to save a girlfriend who died.
Safety Not Guaranteed, produced for just $750,000, is a film that enhances the mumblecore films that have come before it. It has a characters that are putting their quirky natures to use. The dialogue is great. Mark and Jay Duplass, producers on the film, helped start the movement with films like The Puffy Chair and The Do-Deca-Pentathlon.
The film is based upon an actual newspaper article. The inspiration for the script came from a 1997 Backwoods Home Magazine classified ad written by an employee as a joke filler.
The film’s performances are great. Mark Duplass shows how versatile an actor he is. Known very well for his award-winning directing and writing, Duplass brings something special to the character of Kenneth. Kenneth is odd but there are reasons for it. Duplass nails the job of giving long bursts of lines and making them all count. Aubrey Plaza shines in her first starring role. Plaza demonstrates more beyond her already widely known deadpan skills that she does on NBC’s Park’s and Recreation. Plaza play the role of Darius, a sarcastic recent college grad, very well. Plaza and Duplass are the standout performers of the film.
The film is vague when it comes to whether time travelling actually takes place or not. Nonetheless, the writer, director and actors provide a solid film to remember.
Derek Connolly, screenwriter for the film, won both the Waldo Salt Screenwriting Award at Sundance and the Independent Spirit Award for Best First Screenplay.
Image by FilmDistrict from http://www.imdb.com/
Things were planned for the day of Sunday March 9th: Mindy Kaling’s panel, Brooklyn-Nine-Nine and the Fifty Shades of Creativity panel. Getting to the convention center around 8:10am, I thought I would get to the Mindy Kaling event early (and get a front row seat!). One problem: forgotten badge.
A 1.5 hour round trip bus excursion later and I had my badge. First up was the panel Running the Show: TV’s Newest Queen of Comedy. Mindy Kaling, Ike Barinholtz and Adam Pally from Fox’s The Mindy Project were in attendance. The discussions included the changing nature of the television landscape. Streaming services like Netflix, Amazon and Hulu changing the way people watch TV. It was discussed how cable and network shows differ, process of writing an episode and the increasing diversity of people in TV.
I toted a good ol’ point and shoot camera to all of my events for the day. I’ve gotten a few looks from people, suprised that I have an actual camera and not just an iPhone with a camera app. One of my professors even called me out on it the other day. This is how to conversation went:
“So I noticed you have an actual point and shoot camera. “-Professor
As you can tell the conversation went very well! Anyways, the Mindy Kaling panel went great. Despite the funny looks I got with my camera, it took some great pictures with it’s 20x optical zoom.
Kaling was sitting at a lounge after the panel to do an interview. People hovered around closely. Many tweets from Twitter had similar message: “Breathing the same air as Kaling/In same room as Kaling” with a boatload of exclamation points afterwards.
Since I sat at the back of the crowd, when it was time for autographs, I got to be one of the first in line! I got to take a picture with one of my TV writing role models.
I was content after this picture. I could die right at that second and be happy. You know what I mean? After the picture was taken I thought about going to a data journalism presentation by a Texas State alumna. For some reason I felt this urge to stay. I had no idea why but decided to go with it. I sat down outside of the lounge and started doing some work on my laptop.Actors Melissa Fumero and Stephanie Beatriz from Fox’s Brooklyn Nine-Nine would be there at 3pm so I stayed. I’m so glad I did.
“Can I plug in next to you?”
A woman stood next to me as I was sitting against the wall with my laptop plugged in.
“Sure” I agreed.
She plugged her phone in and turned and asked what was going on in the streaming lounge. I told her about the people from Fox’s Brooklyn Nine-Nine doing an interview there. She talked about how her husband liked the show. When asking where she was from, she said Chicago. I told her I maybe wanted to move to Chicago after my graduation in December 2014. She asked about what my college major was and what kind of work I wanted to do. This is where things got weird and cool at the same time.
I pulled up my about/portfolio website that I had been making for my Web Design and Publishing class. I showed her my Twitter bootstrap site covering mumblecore film.
“Oh, one of my friends does that” she said.
“Cool. Who is he?” I asked.
My body simultaneously went numb and filled with excitement at the same time. I had Joe Swanberg featured on my mumblecore website (located here). Only seeing two of his movies, Joe Swanberg was already one of my favorite directors. The woman was suprised that I knew who he was and even more suprised that I liked him as a director so much.
The next 10 minutes I got to talk with her about her high school days with Joe. The early films he did. The projects he has going on now. It was great. It was more than great. It was perfect. She was really happy that I coached her into taking a photo and getting an autograph from the Brooklyn Nine-Nine actresses.
“My husband’s going to love this!” she said.
By the end of the day I was pretty happy. Getting to meet Mindy Kaling, Stephanie Beatriz, Melissa Fumero, and a longtime friend of one of my favorite directors? Sunday, March 9, 2014 will go down in my personal history. South by Southwest is freaking awesome!
Emmy-nominated writer Mindy Kaling made a trip to SXSW to give a panel about the changing nature of television and its new dynamics.
A challenge to send a tweet in less than 45 seconds started off the event. No pressure right? Mindy Kaling is awesome. She managed it in a mere 17 seconds with saying “Where am I?” (and was sadly later deleted).
Kaling talked about her presence on social media. For her, Twitter is just for fun and something to be used to tease her writing staff.
The moderator asked the question of the writing process/writers room and creating an episode. Kaling responded with how writers all have creative (and out there) conversations about what’s going on in their lives. What they have been noticing.
“Our writer’s room is very gentle and loving. All the guys would identify as feminists. It isn’t sexist like other writer’s rooms,” Kaling said.
Kaling provided some humorous lines that made the nearly all of the hundreds in attendance laugh.
“I think recycling makes american look poor-Mindy Lahari”-Mindy Kaling
“I always wasn’t one of those sunny, cheerful kids. I was plotting.” Mindy Kaling on wanting to have her own TV show since 8 years old.
Kaling’s The Mindy Project castmates Ike Barinholtz and Adam Pally were alongside in the panel to give commentary.
“My cast doesn’t drug women,” Kaling
“We take drugs with women,” Barinholtz
Moderator: Pet Peeve?
“Mindy’s moodiness,” Pally
The panel went into the discussion on the format of the show and how it differs from cable and online streaming counterparts. Kaling acknowledged that the structure for network shows and cable shows is different. Having HBO shows like Nurse Jackie and Shameless in the same categories as network shows doesn’t seem to fit, Kaling said. The shows are different and have vastly different structures, she said.
Adam Pally added on with how cable and network shows are different because of the episode counts. Cable shows usually have 13 episodes or less while network shows have the usual 22 episodes.
“When you’re only making 12 or six episodes you can say ‘okay let’s follow this character for the season’, you can’t do that with 22 episodes,” Pally said.
The panel did get a tad awkward at the end times when audience members repeatedly asked questions about the racial and gender concerns of the show. The issues were something that Kaling subtly dropped hints that she didn’t want to focus on those concerns.
Despite the audience repetitive questions, the panel went great. Kaling has proved herself as a book writer, television writer, actress and leading a strong work ethic. Kaling is a jack of many trades and has many great years ahead.
Wish I Was Here, the movie Zach Braff co-wrote/directed, premiered at the Sundance Film Festival two weeks ago. I was a little excited about the movie premiering due to the fact that I pitched in via Kickstarter to fund it back in April 2013 (I can call myself a movie producer!). While my excitement was somewhat high, it quickly went down. Zach Braff and the rest of the staff working on Wish I Was Here haven’t done a really good job of making their Kickstarter backers (which funded $3.1 million of the $6 million budget) feel very appreciated.
Being a public relations major I felt the need to point out some of the missteps that Braff and the rest of the Wish I Was Here team have done. Discontent among the backers for the project has become more evident since its premiere at Sundance. Flavorwire pointed out about how the film and its production is becoming a public relations nightmare. Read the article here.
The first thing wrong with the Wish I Was Here Kickstarter production is the delay of the rewards. Kickstarter backers were promised to receive rewards based on the varying levels of money they pledged to the project. Yet since the finish of the project campaign in May 2013, backers have gotten nothing except a few behind the scenes videos. They have basically gotten nothing more than the average user would get when purchasing the home media DVD.
To make matters worse, in November 2013 Braff decided to open the wishiwasheremovie.com site to everyone. Everyone had access to the videos. Backers who pledged their money were receiving nothing more than what the typical internet surfer could find.
Zach Braff should have thought twice before reaching out to crowdfund his film. He said the reasoning for the kickstarter campaign was so he could remain creative control over the film and not have to cut things. His rational doesn’t hold much clout given the fact than nearly all filmmakers have to be willing to sacrifice some things to get their movie made.
Veronica Mars, the other big film financed through kickstarter, differs from the public relations nightmare of Wish I Was Here. Veronica Mars was backed by fans before the campaign even started. Rob Thomas (creator of series) kept constantly communication with the backers. Rewards were put out not too long after the film finished shooting. Veronica Mars was not co-financed with the help of a major hollywood studio like Wish I Was Here.
Main Point: Communicate more with your backers Braff. Give them the rewards they were promised, sooner rather than later. Make them feel part of the production rather than just providing the stock behind the scenes videos.
Workplace comedies are pretty big right now. People love seeing a (mostly) real look into the lives of people that do typical common jobs. NBC’s Parks and Recreation is a workplace comedy dealing with the daily tasks and adventures of a group of people who work in a small town parks and recreation department.
Watching Parks and Recreation does not stop at just giving audiences a laugh, however. It provides some lessons that job seekers and people focused on advancing their career can notice. Here are some of the lessons learned from Parks and Recreation:
Being an Intern has its perks
The idea of interns just doing busy work and taking coffee orders is a blown away with the character of April Ludgate. At the beginning of the show April starts out as an intern for the Parks and Recreation Department. Her tasks are anything but little: assisting with campaigns, generating support for a park project, and speaking at public forums. April is constantly able to network with top city officials throughout the show.
April Ludgate, the intern, does not try to be someone she is not. She maintains her sarcastic deadpan personality. In a weird way this actually gets her noticed. City officials, residents of Pawnee, and her co-workers are all curious about her.
Several career sites and counseling offices tell you what to do and not to do in an interview. They say the behavior a person needs to have while on the job. They mention what to wear on the job or to an interview. With all these voices, it can be easy for a person to lose themselves. Do not let that happen. Do not lose your personality and distinction during an interview/ at a job. Still have professional etiquette of course! Just do not forget to show your personality to an employer. After all, this is what makes you unique.
Take Charge. Don’t be afraid to speak new ideas
Main character Leslie Knope is deeply committed to making her hometown of Pawnee the best that it can be. She is not afraid to let some of her weird and off the wall traits show. She constantly talks about all the ideas she has to make Pawnee a great town. She wants to build a park, increase literacy, promote healthy choices, and help small businesses. Leslie has planned out steps to make all of her ideas a reality.
College students can particularly learn something important from the Leslie Knope character: she doesn’t wait to be told, she just does. Leslie is not stuck in the cycle of having someone tell her what task to do. She takes on workloads of her own. She creates things without being asked.
Go to Entertainment Weekly’s website so you can vote Parks and Recreation for an EWwy Award (the punctuation is correct)