Social TV

“Everyone says that social television will be big. I think it’s not going to be big — it’s going to be huge,”
“We think that social media meets television is the next big thing, The ability to create content that will enable people to interface with each other, to connect, to recommend, to share and experience over television, is going to change the landscape of the industry.”

"In fact get up, leave this room and run to your garages and get to work designing the future of social TV. Whoever figures it out will be the next Steve Jobs of this generation.”

Ynon Kreiz, CEO of the Endemol group @ DLD11 Jan ’11

Can **** Tweet Jokes Ever Be Funny?

This is an excerpt from 'The Wright Stuff' on FIVE.TV (UK) 24th November 2010.
The debate is concerning the legal case of 27yr old accountant Paul Chambers regarding a throwaway comment he made on Twitter regarding the temporary closure of Robin Hood Airport in January 2010. The case has become known as #twitterjoketrial.

Panelists on the show include; Comedian Tim Minchin, Actress Tracy Ann Oberman & Journalist Hardeep Singh Kohli
You can find more about the case on the website of lawyer David Allen Green:
WEBSITE INFO FROM FIVE.TV (its a bit sensationalist, but is posted to put the phone calls, texts & tweets used on the show in the context):
Can Bomb Tweet Joke Ever Be Funny?
Our first phone-in: Your thoughts on the bloke who threatened to blow up Robin Hood airport in a Tweet he says was obviously a joke. But special branch thought otherwise and nicked him for it. Now Paul Chambers is appealing against his conviction for sending a menacing communication. Which begs the question, in these dangerous times, if a bomb tweet joke can ever be funny? Maybe you think the authorities have overreacted?

President Obama: It Gets Better

“With time you’ll see that your differences are a source of pride and a source of strength... There’s a whole world waiting for you full of possibilities”

The ‘It Gets Better’ Project is an online video channel founded by Dan Savage in September 2010, in response to the suicide of Billy Lucas and a number of other teenagers who were bullied because they were gay or their peers suspected that they were gay.

Its goal is to prevent suicide among LGBT youth by having gay adults convey the message that these teens' lives will improve.

Please show them your support.

An Unexpected Joy: Taking Woodstock

Two nights ago, exhausted after a stressful day’s work I accidentally watched a movie. In all honesty, I was so shattered that i couldn’t be bothered to look for the remote to switch the TV over, so i just sat there and watched exactly the kind of movie I would expected to hate... but hate it I did not.

Since Ang Lee’s Hulk (2003) bought on a migraine so severe that it lasted until Brokeback Mountain two years later, his name (for me anyway) hasn’t been the ‘no brainer’ marketing tool that I’m sure it should be, but now all is forgiven.

Taking Woodstock is one of those films that makes you nostalgic for an era which you weren’t around for and for taking chemicals that you have never tried... it was a total joy (so much so that I watched it again last night).

And if Taking Woodstock floats your boat, it may be also be worth checking out Almost Famous (2000), a film for which the review above (minus Ang Lee and the migraine) could also very easily apply.

Kids These Days Have Such Educational Toys...

Kids these days are so lucky, they have toys that teach them virtually everything they need to know about living in the ‘real world’.

Take for example this 2007 Barbie Shopping Boutique commercial, which demonstrates exactly how every single credit card I have ever owned least for the first month anyway.

What I most like about this product though is how after using it for a full year, Mattel send every qualifying child a complimentary boxed set of the ‘Barbie Cell Block H’ set shown below.

Pasted Graphic
PLEASE NOTE: This toy was unsurprisingly first launched in the boom time of 2007.

I am reliably informed that Mattel have now launched a 2010 ‘Barbie Austerity Boutique’, which is apparently identical in almost every way... except it comes with less staff and is liable to stop working within weeks of opening the box.

The ‘Lympics: The Penultimate Countdown...

Its very easy to ‘have a go’ at the London 2012 Olympics, particularly if you live or work in London and are faced with council tax & business rates increases, but from day one, I have been a massive supporter of the idea.

The London Olympics of 1908 and 1948, not to mention the 1966 World Cup Final are moments in time we all still talk about, even though most of us weren’t even there. I know people keep going on about a legacy, but I can’t help thinking that just holding the 2012 Olympics in London will leave a lasting mark on the whole country, not to mention a much needed boost to East London (the Olympic Park is already looking great by the way). If I was a still a kid, I’m sure I would remember 2012 for the rest of my life.

That said, I have to admit I scoffed at the pink logo when Sir Seb presented it for the first time and I remember my huge disappointment at the lack of the cliché London skyline, lions & Beefeaters, but in hindsight, every-time I see a UPS lorry pull up outside my office with that clashing pink splodge on the side I can’t help thinking that maybe they go it right after all(although I do still prefer in it’s Geri Halliwell / brit pop Union Jack livery).
And then there’s the two mascots... they say they will be running around filming the goings on as POV cameras, and although deep down I still wish that they had bought back World Cup Willie, I have to admit that I find the concept of Wensleydale & Mordor (tm) an infinitely more intriguing prospect... Bring it on!


Ray Harryhausen’s 90th Birthday - Video

On Saturday night myself and a couple of hundred other luck people went to BFI Southbank to take part in a BAFTA 90th birthday tribute to Ray Harryhausen.

For anyone who makes films, loves films or merely went to the movies occasionally as a child, the work of Ray Harryhausen (Clash of the Titans, Jason & the Argonauts etc. etc.) has probably left an indelible mark. I went expecting a simple retrospective of Ray’s work, but Saturday night was so much more.

The evening was hosted by the hilarious John Landis (Director of The Blues Brothers & American Werewolf in London) and attended by a plethora of genuine and genuinely humbled Harryhausen fans including Andy Serkis, Simon Pegg, Edgar Wright, Nick Park, David Sproxton & Peter Lord (Aardman).

The evening not only gave a glimpse into the celluloid magic of the man himself, but also into the huge impact that his body of work has had on most of Hollywood’s VFX & Directing royalty, indeed in many cases Harryhausen is cited as ‘the reason’ they chose a career in movies.

On stage there were tributes from the likes of Randy Cook (VFX - The Thing, Ghostbusters, Lord of the Rings), Dennis Muren, Phil Tippet and Ken Ralston, Sir Christopher Frayling and Special Effects guru Rick Baker... and wonderfully Caroline Munro (The Golden Voyage of Sinbad) and John Cairney and Gary Raymond (two of the original Argonauts).

On screen there were also heartfelt tributes to Ray recorded specifically for the event from George Lucas, Frank Darabont, Guillermo Del Toro, John Lasseter (Pixar), Steven Spielberg, Tim Burton and James Cameron.

But for me, the two highlights of the evening were an incredibly moving tribute from Ray’s lifelong friend, Screenwriter Ray Bradbury and then Lord of the Rings director Peter Jackson, who not only presented Ray with a special BAFTA award, but also gave everyone an exclusive screening of some of his own very early films. As it turns out, Jackson was not only hugely inspired by Harryhausen’s work, but as a boy, he was totally obsessed with replicating many of his classic scenes. We witnessed the 12 year old Jackson fighting of a cyclops with a spear and defeating an onslaught of invisible skeletons... “I filmed my part, but was never quite sure how to do the skeletons” said Jackson.

They’re Rubbernecking On My TV Again...

Yesterday, I followed the story of the shootings in the Lake District and like almost everyone else in the country, it left me feeling enormous empathy for the people of Cumbria.

As a tourist, I know the area very well, and what with floods, coach crashes and now this, I can’t help feeling that the people of Cumbria probably deserves a bit of a break. I have little doubt that the impact on those otherwise peaceful towns and villages will be felt for years to come.

But now, more than 24 hours on, the relentless rubbernecking of the news channels, backed up by a seemingly endless supply of repetitive, cliche ridden superlatives is surely starting to verge on the ridiculous.

Last year, I posted a clip on YouTube of Charlie Brooker’s brilliant ‘Newswipe’... which today seems to have a certain heightened resonance.

Charlie Brooker's Newswipe 25/03/09 - ©bbc