Posts Tagged ‘Simpsons’

The Disney & IRTS 2008 Digital Media Summit, Part 3

August 15th, 2008 | Jonathan Gray

Two more posts on the DMS, this one about set and studio visits, next about the thin line between content and promotion.

On the third day, they gave us a tour of the lot, which was reasonably interesting. This included a whirl around the Brothers and Sisters set. I’ve only seen the show a few times, which produced the weird feeling of recognizing some spaces, only part-recognizing others, and not knowing others at all. What’s more, though, is that the main house seems definitively of television, being a huge, immaculately tidy, extravagantly decked-out house, the kind that they give people on Extreme Makeover: Home Edition, yet that you’ve never seen off the screen. Television kitchens in particular are always so fantastic, too, with huge islands, glass jars full of tasty looking things and infused olive oils, and modern appliances. Kind of like an Ikea showroom on steroids. So I didn’t feel as though I was “really there,” partly because I’m not fully aware of the “there,” through lack of exposure to the show, and partly because the “there” seems so unreal to begin with.

That said, there are so many wires and ropes on a set when you look up, and the size of the place is so huge, with sets wrapped around each other in interesting, labyrinthine ways, that it also holds the fun of being in a massive maze. We tried to get some juicy set gossip out of our guide, but all she offered was that Sally Field rides around the lot on her bike all the time, an amusing image, and that Calista Flockhart (whose picture adorns most sets, cult figure-like) doesn’t seem as skinny in person.

It gets more fun, with pics, after the fold …
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Extratextuals’ 2007 Awards Extraordinaire, Pt. 4??

January 25th, 2008 | Jonathan Gray

I had intended to post another installment of the awards, this one on movie posters, but in researching, I found a wonderful site, The Internet Movie Poster Awards. Not only does this site have awards dating back ten years, but they also boast a staggering 17,000+ movie posters in their galleries. I’ll wait till later to post more thoughts arrived at from browsing their galleries, and on some all-time favs, but first a taste of their 2008 award winners:

sweeney todd poster

Best Poster went to Sweeney Todd, with the explanation that “A menacing looking barber, razor at the ready, sitting in his blood-red barber chair, waiting for his next victim. The poster for Sweeney Todd is dark, disturbing, and surprisingly beautiful. A very rare combination. Little details like the family portrait in the background, the red coming from the floorboards, and the splash of blood across the title makes for a very memorable design.” It certainly has an alluring quality that makes me want to look at it multiple times. And though it announces itself as a Tim Burton film, it does so in a neat way.

charlie wilson’s war poster

Meanwhile, bringing up the rear is Charlie Wilson’s War: “Perhaps the worst thing about this poster is simply that it is bland. Three Oscar winning actors looking very awkward, especially Hoffman, who appears to have accidentally walked into the wrong photo shoot. People are more likely to see the movie in spite of the poster than because of it.” All the intrigue, excitement, comedy, and glamor of a stucco wall. If the critique errs anywhere, though, it’s in being kind enough to suggest this is the product of a photo shoot: looks more like a crappy frame-grab to me.

I Am Legend PosterBest Blockbuster Poster Award goes to I Am Legend: “A powerful image that conveys the plot of the film. The last man on earth set against the disturbing sight of a destroyed city in the background.” I still remember seeing a scene from this movie being filmed, and it was the oddest site: I walked into Washington Square at night and there was a bright white light. Moving closer, I saw about 300 people in silver green-screen suits running around. Think Cirque du Soleil meets Mean Streets. Luckily, this poster captures the gravity of the situation a little better.

Revenge of the Nerds posterOther categories (without winners listed. I don’t want to spoil them all, especially since each of the main categories has 5 nominees) include Best Teaser Poster, Worst Teaser Poster, Funniest, Bravest Poster (for posters with no faces of actors with big names), Creepiest, Best Character Set, Best Funny Tag Line, Best Serious Tag Line, and a spate of Not So Serious Awards, including Best Poster Ruined by Floating Heads, and this image from a Revenge of the Nerds remake teaser poster, winner of Best Poster for a Movie That Ceased to Exist. A poster without a movie? A true extratextual.

Neat site. Good picks. Spared me the work, too, so I’m happy.

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Extratextuals’ 2007 Awards Extraordinaire, Pt. 2

January 11th, 2008 | Jonathan Gray

Derek’s first part is a hard act to follow, but I decided to focus on trailers, teasers, hype, and TV opening credit sequences. I’ll wage in later about the TV opening credit sequences, but for now, should the clip embedding work:

Best Movie Trailer
Trailers are one of the most underrated, under-appreciated art forms in the contemporary media environment. Indeed, it bears reminding that amidst enthusiastic discussion of YouTube debates, political satire, reporting, virals, etc., many of the most viewed videos on YouTube are trailers. Moreover, as media companies try to saturate our daily lives with trailers, so that we see them somewhere, they also need to be aware that many of us will see many trailers multiple times, and so there’s a fine art to making a trailer that hasn’t sickened you by the time you see it for the tenth time.

Runner-Up: Juno. Ideally, I’d have loved to pick two excellent trailers for bad movies here, but (a) I didn’t see many movies in 2007, so I don’t have much to work with, and (b) the point is that Juno’s trailer had me convinced that I’d like the film. The crispness of the script jumps out at you, and it offers a supremely recognizable (ie: real, not Saved By the Bell-ized) high school life. Ellen Page’s performance announces itself as fantastic, and the trailer chooses wonderful scenes to showcase two great cult properties in Rainn Wilson and Michael Cera. Plus it has Allison Janney/CJ Cregg in it. It pandered to everything I wanted, right down to being filmed in my hometown, Vancouver (which I can nearly always tell visually. No bullshit. It’s the quality of the green. All that rain. And the sky. And the houses).

Winner: Vantage Point. I already blogged about this, so let me just link to it here. But I haven’t seen it, and even if I don’t, or don’t like it, I think the trailer rocks.

More below the fold

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Bees and Donuts: Hyping Bee Movie and The Simpsons Game

October 31st, 2007 | Jonathan Gray

Bee Movie


Through much of the nineties, two television programs sustained me: The Simpsons and Seinfeld. Others came and went, but not only did those two shows consistently hold my interest, but their many repeats would too. One of my roommates would even record the evening reruns of Seinfeld while watching them, and watch them again first thing the next morning, and I’d often join him. So Jerry and Homer are close to me. I don’t spend as much time with them now as I used to, but I like to check in on them every once in a while, since they are old friends.

Recently, the Jerry Seinfeld and Simpsons franchises have been doing interesting transmedia jigs. Seinfeld’s Bee Movie is coming out on Friday, and television is all abuzz with cross-promotion: Seinfeld appeared on 30 Rock (and through that episode, he appeared on most other NBC shows too), he has an HP ad that refers to the movie, and he’s filmed a seemingly endless number of shorts that are filling ad breaks. He’s ubiquitous, so much so that I’m sure I’m missing about 453 other venues where he’s hawking his movie (I could’ve sworn the dude behind the counter at McDonalds looked familiar today), and in the time it takes me to type this, Seinfeld will have appeared in 58 more venues. The Simpsons meanwhile have a forthcoming video game, based on the film (so, yes, it’s the game of the film of the television show), with some ads on television, and a particularly innovative and fun official website. In case it’s not evident yet, I find the Seinfeld transmedia jig annoying, and the Simpsons one exemplary. More below the fold…

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