“Let’s see what’s on Netflix” is a phrase becoming all the more common. It seems to be said more often that the traditional phrase “Let’s go to the movies.” More people than ever seem to be turning on the remote (or computer mouse) instead of going out to the movie theater. While the film industry has had several disappointments, TV seems to be thriving more than ever.
In 2013 Netflix released a slew of original programming including the political drama House of Cards, the Arrested Development comeback and the much-beloved women’s prison drama Orange is the New Black. Two of Netflix’s shows received Primetime Emmy Award nominations, a first for web syndicated television content.
With big-budget flicks disappointing and movie making becoming more riskier, TV seems to be a safe haven that many are flocking to.
Anna Faris: Launched to the spotlight after starring in the horror parody film Scary Movie, Faris had a good amount of films under her belt. In 2013 she shifted gears and accepted her first full-time television gig, playing a single mother with her recovering alcoholic mother in the CBS series Mom.
Kevin Bacon: No need to watch Footloose again, Kevin Bacon leads Fox’s thriller drama series The Following.
Kerri Washington: Known for her wide array of film credits, in 2012 Washington became the first African-American actress to lead a prime-time network series in 40 years. Scandal airs on Thursdays on ABC.
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!
Well this series has gotten a part II so I feel a bit accomplished. I created this series to refer to some interesting articles and news from the week. This week has been filled with a lot. The thing on most people’s minds was probably the grateful comeback of Netflix’s House of Cards. All the lonely hearts can happily spend today (Valentine’s Day) binge-watching on all the 13 episodes of season two with no regrets (“no ragrets” if you’ve seen 2013’s We’re the Millers).
House of Cards: Season two streaming (Netflix)
Binge-watchers, couch potatoes and TV fanatics can rejoice! The online-only political drama series released season two for streaming in the wee hours of February 14th (Valentine’s Day). A new batch of political secrets, arguments and suspense awaits. With all 13 episodes of season two streaming, everyone is sure to have something to snuggle up to for V-day.
It was announced earlier this week that Comcast, the nation’s No.1 cable provider, is going to buy Time Warner Cable, the nation’s No.2 cable provider. The agreement happened for a reported $45 billion. With a huge backlash voiced on Twitter, many are worried the deal will create a weak future for filmmakers, content creators and consumers. Many wondered the same question: Will the merger create a too powerful company that will dominate the film and media industry? Read about it here.
Behind the Scenes of Oscar-Nominated film American Hustle
“American Hustle: The Art and Soul of Survival” is a 30-minute special that goes into the making of the David O. Russell directed film, actor performances and more. Note: It’s okay to freak out in excitement.
Creating Meaningful Content for a Blog
FastCompany is great site for smart working tips (among other tech/media news). The article covers ways to create good content that isn’t just in similar patterns that other related blogs have. It details ways to make content pop and keep visitors coming back for more. Click here to read.
I’m starting this new series of posts where I signal out the best articles of the week. Most of them will include movie/television or media career news. A lot of them might be Buzzfeed lists or Entertainment Weekly articles (sorry, I maybe practice some favoritism). Anyways, below is a list of some great articles I found. They include things about a Forrest Gump mini reunion (yes!) and having a creative career (you aspiring film directors/oscar winners can relate).
Whatever happened to TV show theme songs? It seems to be a thing of the past. A quick flip of the remote (or computer mouse) and you’ll see a quick burst of a sound clip before going onto the show. What the heck?
Theme songs seemed to have taken an evolution of some sort. The intro songs used to establish a vibe for show the viewer was about to watch. The catchy tunes established a show’s brand that for many continued on long after the show went off the air (Pokemon, Happy Days, Dukes of Hazzard). Things have changed. Many shows have shifted to having nothing more than a pleasing tune and rolling credits. Several jingles clock at just a few seconds. ABC’s Modern Family has an intro tune that runs for just 13 seconds. Fox’s the Mindy Project recently shortened their opening jingle from 15 seconds to around four seconds.
It must depend on the show runners and whether they see a need for them. Arrested Development, a sitcom revived via Netflix streaming, has an elaborate mini story within opening. The viewer is out right told of a family and its riches to rags story in just 18 seconds.
TV show runners should consider the benefit that comes from producing a proper theme song and intro. It helps to establish a shows brand among the viewers. Whenever people hear the words “Hanging out, down the street, the same old thing…” many would be quick to answer that it’s from That 70’s Show. When “West Philadelphia, born and raised,” starts up an image of Will Smith in shades and proper 90’s attire instantly pops up.
Theme songs establish a brand to a show that can have a lasting impact on viewers. TV show runners should plan accordingly.
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)