Web Series Creators: It’s Time To Step It Up


[This is directed at anyone who has made or has even thought about making their own original web series. If that's you, then please listen up.]

Are you ready? 2009 is here and this is the year we get serious. The economy is in the crapper and that’s all that major media seem to write about. But in case you haven’t noticed, there’s a revolution going on in entertainment. And you are leading it.

One of my favorite things about what I do is meeting web series creators. Creative people doing creative things are everywhere and thankfully many of them have chosen to dive into creating episodic web television. Literally every single day I get to watch something new. I can’t tell you how much I love finding a new web series hidden under a rock somewhere that a group of talented people brought to life.


Clint Eastwood, America’s director

“You’ve made the first movie of the Obama generation!” exclaimed an audience member, as he rushed up to Clint Eastwood after a recent screening of Gran Torino. “Well,” the 78-year-old actor-director replied, without missing a beat, “I was actually born under Hoover.” It was an ironic juxtaposition, given that Eastwood’s Torino character, widowed Korean War vet and former Detroit autoworker Walt Kowalski, has earned comparisons to TV’s Archie Bunker, for both his politically incorrect racial epithets and his general hostility toward a modern world that seems to have left him — and his old-fashioned American values — out in the cold. “We could use a man like Herbert Hoover again,” Bunker sings at the start of each All in the Family episode. But it’s change, not nostalgia, that sets the tone in Gran Torino, as the belligerent Walt ventures first across the property line and then deeper into the lives of the Hmong immigrant family living next door.


Christopher McQuarrie on the writing of ‘Valkyrie’

According to Christopher McQuarrie, "Valkyrie" was supposed to be a tiny, fast-moving production. The Oscar-winning screenwriter of "The Usual Suspects" got his friend, "Suspects" and "X-Men" director Bryan Singer, interested in filming McQuarrie's tense, unapologetically old-school World War II screenplay (co-written with Nathan Alexander) -- which recounts a failed conspiracy by German officers to kill Hitler, take over the government and end the war in July 1944.

"Bryan and I were going to make this as a little movie between two giant studio movies that Bryan would make," says McQuarrie. "This was going to be $17.5 million, a little project we were gonna have fun doing, and it was going to be us getting back to our roots: 'From the creators of "The Usual Suspects" comes a different kind of lineup.'"

Fate -- or, more specifically, Tom Cruise -- had other plans.


NBC’s new gamble a sign that TV’s in deep trouble


If anyone needs more proof that television - along with the rest of our economy - is a mess, the place to look is NBC.

Just weeks after the Dec. 9 NBC announcement that Jay Leno will get the 9 p.m. slot every weeknight starting next fall, and after the knees have stopped jerking, what has become clear is that television - all of it, not just NBC - is not likely to ever again be what it once was.

All the networks have money problems, but NBC is the current biggest train wreck among broadcasters. A lot of NBC's problems are self-inflicted, but it's also facing all the pressures and changes that everyone in TV sees, and its story tells viewers a lot about television's future.


Plumbing the Depths of “Revolutionary Road”: Sam Mendes on Yates, Kate, and the Pressures of Awards Season

"The book is such a kind of cult classic," "Revolutionary Road" director Sam Mendes said of his new film's source material, Richard Yates' 1961 novel. "It was terrifying. The most common comment from friends of mine who had read the book was, 'don't fuck it up.' That was basically all they said, 'don't fuck it up.' And the biggest compliment I get now is, 'thank fuck you didn't fuck it up.' That's all I get! Thank god I didn't fuck it up." Audiences will get a chance to decide for themselves as the Golden Globe nominated "Road" opens in limited release this Friday


Che way: Steven Soderbergh on how to play a famous historical character

Benicio Del Toro is stepping into the shoes of Che Guevara. But how does an actor bring a great historical figure to life? Here, Steven Soderbergh, the 'Che' director, reveals his favourite period performances, from the camp to the downright insane.


F. Scott Fitzgerald on film and television

F. Scott Fitzgerald's magical short story "The Curious Case of Benjamin Button" was a hard sell during the early days of the Roaring '20s, when magazines were hungering for one of the author's more down-to-earth flapper stories.

"Benjamin Button" was a rare foray for Fitzgerald into the fantasy genre -- a quixotic tale of a man who was born with the body of an old man and grew younger as the years passed. "Button" finally found a home at Collier's, which published it on May 27, 1922.

According to Fitzgerald scholar Matthew J. Bruccoli, Fitzgerald was "probably attracted to this form by its tension between romanticism and realism, for the challenge of fantasy is to make events convincing."


‘Gilmore Girls’ producer sues TV studio


'Tis the season for lawsuits.

A day after Warner Bros. Television filed a $49 million complaint against CBS over the hit comedy "Two and a Half Men," the studio itself became the target of a suit by the producer of the quirky comedy-drama "Gilmore Girls."

The breach-of-contract lawsuit, which names WBTV; the now-defunct WB, which aired "Gilmore Girls" from 2000-06; and its successor network the CW, which ran the series' final seventh season, was filed Wednesday in Los Angeles Superior Court by Hofflund/Polone, the company run by series executive producer Gavin Polone and Judy Hofflund.


BEHIND THE SCENES TV: Trailer for ‘Wolverine’ starring Hugh Jackman

“The Dark Knight” And “Wall-E” Voted The Best Movies Of 2008

You won't find "Slumdog Millionaire" on this list. In fact, the people who voted for this probably don't know what a "Slumdog Millionaire" is. This list was voted by readers like you who were asked to pick their Top Movies of 2008. You'll see Top 10 list mainstays like "Wall-E", but also some surprises like the Anna Faris pink hot pants vehicle "The House Bunny." The first three reader's picks can all be found on the American Film Institute Top 10 list, but it's the rest of the list that looks like it could be some critics' worst list. These are the Top 10 Movies of 2008 as voted on by AHN readers.


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