Monthly Archive for: ‘October, 2007’

The Clone Wars

The Clone Wars
By PGA NMC member Jeff Gomez

“You fought in the Clone Wars?”
“Yes, I was once a Jedi Knight, same as your father.”
I had just graduated from the melodramatic (if occasionally juvenile) Planet of the Apes cycle, and it would be a few months before I started down that fateful road with Bilbo Baggins and Gandalf the Grey. Star Wars was unfolding before my shining eyes, and when Obi-Wan answered Luke’s question, I knew what I wanted to do when I grew up: I wanted to tell stories like this one.
Obi-Wan is alluding to the events of another time, filled with knights and clones and the great wars and betrayals between them. Though the lines are never brought up again in the original Star Wars, they fire our imagination by adding depth and poignancy to the drama at hand. For nearly a quarter century after that moment, a generation of young people wanted to be told that story – when even visionary George Lucas had only the slightest inkling of how it went himself. J.R.R. Tolkien would call such exchanges “distant mountains,” details added to stories that created a sense of intrigue and history. They are the lightning bolts with which creators make universes come to life.

Jeff shares a healthy respect for the power of mythology with Tolkien and Lucas. In future posts, we’ll explore how a well defined mythology is the cornerstone of any successful trans-media effort.

Jeff Gomez (jeff@starlightrunner.com), is the CEO of Starlight Runner Entertainment, Inc., a developer and producer of highly successful trans-media projects whose clients include The Walt Disney Company, 20th Century Fox, the Coca-Cola Company, Mattel and Hasbro. Over the next few weeks he’ll be sharing his expertise on the white hot trans-media industry – exploring its fascinating history and expanding upon the 8 Defining Principles of Trans-Media Production

Touching All Screens

The Producers Guild of America
New Media Council East
presents the
2007-2008 Panel and Salon Series
**THIS FOLLOWING IS AN EXCLUSIVE, MEMBERS ONLY EVENT**
Monday, October 29, 2007
Touching All Screens: How to Produce Award Winning Cross-Platform Content

Creating a hit show on television is one feat of magic. Creating an entire hit cable network that extends programming beyond the T.V. and onto PC and mobile screens, with the same intensity of following – is transcendent. Bravo, the cable network owned by NBC Universal that has developed huge cross platform followings for such staples as ‘Queer Eye,’ ‘Project Runway,’ and ‘Top Chef,’ has been the bellwether for how to deliver value on all platforms, for audiences and advertisers alike.

Please join us for a conversation featuring:
Lisa Hsia, Senior Vice President of New Media, Bravo
Lisa Hsia was appointed Senior Vice President of New Media for Bravo in 2005, joining the company from NBC News, where she served as Vice President of News. She is responsible for identifying and maximizing programming opportunities for Bravo in new media, facilitating business initiatives in wireless, digital, home video, as well as securing international and ancillary rights. She also develops original programming and external opportunities for digital programming. Lisa was named Vice President of NBC News in July, 2001, where she was responsible for a wide range of duties, including executive oversight of primetime news programming for TODAY and NBC News Productions. She had been a Senior Producer for ‘Dateline NBC’ since 1994. She joined NBC News from ABC News, where she was a Producer for ‘Prime Time Live’ from 1989-1992. Prior to ABC News, she was a Producer for public television and was both Producer and Associate Producer for two feature films, ‘A Great Wall’ and ‘Old Enough,’ both released by Orion Classics.
Lisa graduated Magna Cum Laude from Harvard University. She is the recipient of six Emmy awards and currently serves on the board of the Asian American Media Center, which supports the development of Asian Pacific film/video projects for public television.

Chris Pfaff, President, Chris Pfaff Tech/Media LLC; board delegate, PGA New Media Council
A board delegate of the PGA New Media Council since 2006, and a PGA NMC member since 2004, Chris Pfaff leads a consultancy – Chris Pfaff Tech/Media LLC – that represents some of the leading service providers, audio/video technology firms, networking vendors, and media companies in the world, from PRIMEDIA and Eastman Kodak to Cantor Telecom. A veteran of the venture world, Chris helped launch more than 20 ventures from the Lucent New Ventures Group, including iBiquity Digital; Flarion; Lucent Digital Video, and GeoVideo Networks, among others. In addition, he has helped launch AT&T’s Internet strategy; the Viacom New Media division of Viacom, Inc.; Sony Electronics’ Digital Betacam format, and Sharp Electronics’ LCD product division.

A wine and cheese reception will precede the programming.

***YOU MUST BE A MEMBER OF THE PRODUCERS GUILD OF AMERICA (OR MEMBER GUEST) TO ATTEND THIS EVENT.***

The Producers Guild of America (PGA) is the premier industry association for entertainment producing professionals. For more information about the PGA New Media Council and to access a membership application, please visit: http://www.pganewmedia.org

For more information about the PGA and to access a membership application, please visit: http://www.producersguild.org

Previous events in our series can be accessed in both webcast format at: www.scribemedia.org/pga.

For more information about ScribeStudio Productions, please visit: www.scribestudio.com.

Death of a Blog, Birth of a Podcast

Well, not quite ‘death’ but an indefinite hiatus. I’m powering down this blog for a few reasons, one of which is my desire to finish my PhD. I’ve tried for the last year and a half to do PhD writing and work and this blog, but found the mindsets are somewhat incompatable. I’ve decided to […]

Facebook's new keyword ad system

Facebook has quietly launched a keyword advertising system to rival Google’s AdSense. Disguised as a simple upgrade to Flyers, its system for selling cheap ads on a self-service basis, the new system charges per click and lets advertisers target by city, gender, age, relationship status, employer, educational level, political views, and keywords. Facebook has the data, generated by its users and the new system will have “detailed reporting”.

Go Speed Racer Go

Go Speed Racer Go
By PGA NMC member Jeff Gomez

The concept of formalized storytelling across multiple mass media platforms really came into focus in the 1960s, and it emerged out of the Japanese comic book industry. Unlike American television, there was no Hollywood machine in Tokyo churning out libraries of animated shorts and simple Hanna-Barbera concepts with which they could jam the airwaves. Japan’s TV studios instead turned to the newly burgeoning manga market for cartoon ideas. Astro Boy, Speed Racer, The Eighth Man and Gigantor all started out as comic strip serials in weekly telephone book-sized anthologies put out by newspaper companies. Studios like Toei and Tatsunoko adapted the strips, and toy companies like Bandai quickly caught on to the notion of merchandising the characters to eager Asian ‘tweens. A business model was forged, and a close-knit industry was born.

By the ‘70s, while I was watching Jabberjaw and Hong Kong Phooey, the Japanese were producing elaborate kidvid serials where super heroes with dark secrets and complex pasts were engaged in life or death struggles with galactic empires and lurid underground criminal organizations. Storylines ran parallel or jumped back and forth between television, manga and eventually direct-to-video, and when situations got really dire, there would be a theatrical feature to mark the event!

This resulted in a series of rich, fully realized worlds, and they started generating a lot of money!

Jeff Gomez (jeff@starlightrunner.com) is well-versed in the connection between the entertainment business and the toy industy. His company has developed blockbuster trans-media programs companies like Hasbro and Mattel in addition to The Walt Disney Company, 20th Century Fox, and the Coca-Cola Company.
Over the next few weeks Jeff will be sharing his expertise on the white hot trans-media industry – exploring its fascinating history and expanding upon his 8 Defining Principles of Trans-Media Production

previous Jeff Gomez trans-media post

The Origins of Trans-Media Storytelling

The storytellers behind properties like Lost, Heroes, and The Matrix weave incredibly rich stories across multiple mediums. But they were not the first to do so… far from it. For that, give the credit to Cavemen — no, not the ABC sitcom…

The Origins of Trans-Media Storytelling
By PGA NMC member Jeff Gomez

Prehistoric men and women would supplement their fireside accounts of great hunts and rich harvests with images painted on cave walls, as well as with expressive dances.

Early multi-platforming!


With the advent of mass media in the late 19th century came a rise in demand for books and periodicals with broad appeal. Fictional characters came to prominence, and readers wanted to enjoy their further exploits in sequels or other iterations. So Sherlock Holmes would venture through issue after issue of Strand magazine, and then those short stories and novellas would be collected as books. Later, there would be stage plays and radio shows adapting his exploits or inventing new ones. He arrived on the silver screen in 1912 in France, and has never been gone for long.

The same can be said for Dracula, Tarzan, Little Orphan Annie and the Lone Ranger. The Superman radio show would even add to the canon established by the original comic series by introducing Jimmy Olsen and kryptonite into the mythology.

Jeff’s examples of Sherlock Holmes and Superman support Principle #4 of his 8 Defining Principles of Trans-Media Production – “Content is unique, adheres to platform-specific strengths, and is not repurposed from one platform to the next.”

In his next post, Jeff introduces us to more colorful trans-media icons like Astro-Boy and Speed Racer.

Jeff Gomez (jeff@starlightrunner.com), is the CEO of Starlight Runner Entertainment, Inc., a developer and producer of highly successful trans-media projects whose clients include The Walt Disney Company, 20th Century Fox, the Coca-Cola Company, Mattel and Hasbro. Over the next few weeks he’ll be sharing his expertise on the white hot trans-media industry – exploring its fascinating history and expanding upon the 8 Defining Principles of Trans-Media Production

previous Jeff Gomez trans-media post
next Jeff Gomez trans-media post

"New York rocks digital media!" – Bob Greenberg at Night of the Producer

The PGA NMC East was well-represented at last night’s 3rd annual ‘Night of the Producer’ event at the New York City Fire Museum, on Spring and Varick, at which Jane Rosenthal, co-founder of TriBeCa Productions, and Bob Greenberg, founder of R/GA, were feted.

Our own Jeff Dachis, who was able to bring in Bob Greenberg for this event, conducted a 45-minute discussion with Bob, who was in rare form. For those that don’t know, Bob Greenberg practically invented computer-based special effects and graphics in the film industry, having handled titles and effects for some 400 feature films (‘Superman,’ ‘Alien,’ and ‘Body Double,’ among others) and 4,000 commercials.

Bob’s presentation was preceded by a 5-minute piece on his career (with a wide range of talking heads, several of whom were in the audience), which has interestingly been segmented by 9-year cycles, in which he “re-invents” his business (he said that his girlfriend of 22 years is a numerologist, and this helps place this in perspective). His 1977-1986 period included the development of computer-assisted filmmaking; 1986-1995 and 1996-2005 saw the development of a digital agency.

The unique aspect of Bob’s career is his active visionary capabilities. He explained that his father helped invent a computerized process for manufacturing mirrors in Toronto, where he grew up. Bob’s brother, Richard (with whom he founded R/GA), plied his Chicago neo-Bauhaus training into the business, and this has formed the core of R/GA’s approach; assembling the best talent for the operation and meshing these talents seamlessly (it also explains the Bauhaus-like structure on 39th St. that has housed R/GA for years).

Bob had a number of key points, including:

  • He disclosed that R/GA will open a San Francisco chapter soon. This move is purely to attract talent for R/GA, not to support any Bay Area clients
  • He believes that we are in a “four-screen” universe now (t.v., computer, mobile, digital signage) that will create a “one-screen” experience, meaning that consumers will choose what screen they want to watch when they want to watch
  • He is actively involved in trying to fill what he sees is a massive gap in new media talent, particularly coming out of design schools (he has recently met with leaders of RISD and other noted design instititutions)
  • He is building the next platforms for communication (the Nike Plus; the Nokia N95). He referenced mistakes that companies – such as Kodak and railroad companies – have made in not understanding their businesses (he said that he was on a “Kodak 2010” panel for Eastman Kodak, at which he stated that “by 2010, no one will be using film any more”)
  • He believes that the moviegoing experience is moribund and needs to be changed (“a kid with a DLP projector, two honking Aiwa speakers, and a bed sheet can create a superior experience for his friends – why does he need to go to a movie theatre?”)
  • He believes that watching a full-length film on an iPod is perfectly acceptable and natural and that anyone who doesn’t believe this is probably too old

Bob was very positive about his work in New York, and several times cited the fact that he believes New York is the capital of the digital media industry. “New York rocks digital media!” was his emphatic end-remark.

– Chris Pfaff, President, Chris Pfaff Tech/Media LLC; board delegate,

PGA New Media Council

A board delegate of the PGA New Media Council since 2006, and a PGA NMC member since 2004, Chris Pfaff leads a consultancy – Chris Pfaff Tech/Media,LLC – that represents some of the leading service providers, audio/video technology firms, networking vendors, and media companies in the world, from PRIMEDIA and Eastman Kodak to Cantor Telecom. A veteran of the venture world, Chris helped launch more than 20 ventures from the Lucent New Ventures Group, including iBiquity Digital; Flarion; Lucent Digital Video,and GeoVideo Networks, among others. In addition, he has helped launch AT&T’s Internet strategy; the Viacom New Media division of Viacom, Inc.; Sony Electronics’ Digital Betacam format, and Sharp Electronics’ LCD produc division.

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