A Little Knowledge…

It is said that a little knowledge is a dangerous thing.  That might be true when it causes one to think that they are more of an expert than they really are or to overestimate their abilities.  On the other hand, sometimes a little knowledge is just what you need.

I’m currently working on getting Shoom Zone Productions set up as an LLC (Limited Liability Company).  This is the first time I’ve set up this particular form of business.  Since I need to educate myself about it, I started asking my CPA questions about LLCs.  Did he answer them?  Nope.  Instead, he got up and walked over to his bookshelf and pulled out a Nolo book on LLCs.  He showed it to me and said that he could answer my questions, but it would cost me a fortune for him to teach me the basics, which I can easily learn on my own by reading the book.

Hmm…a $45 book or his hourly rate?  It wasn’t a hard decision to make.

So, lately, yours truly has had her nose stuck in a book about LLCs.  It’s not going to make me an expert.  I have my CPA and lawyer for that.  But once I’ve read the book, I’ll be able to talk to them from a more knowledgable position.  No wasting their time and my money teaching me the basics.  We’ll be able to skip over that part and go straight to the specific issues that will effect the business directly. 

Already I’ve got a few questions to ask them and as I read more the list grows.  But they’re questions I wouldn’t have thought of asking if I hadn’t read the book…at least not right away.

Sometimes a little knowledge can be a good thing.

Nestor Carbonell Guest Stars This Week in “Day Break”

Have any of you been watching the new ABC series Day Break?  If you haven’t, I recommend that you sit down this Wednesday and give it a try.  Not only because Shannon Kenny’s husband, Nestor Carbonell, has a guest role on this week’s episode, but also because, in my opinion (for what that’s worth), it’s looking to be a really good show.  Only two episodes have aired and I’m already sucked in. 

The show is a take on Groundhog Day where a police detective, played by Taye Diggs, is forced to live what is possibly the worst day of his life over and over again.  Each day he makes different choices resulting in different consequences.  And each day he uncovers new clues to help him try to fix a day that has gone horribly wrong.

Day Break airs Wednesdays at 9/8c on ABC.  This week’s episode is entitled “What If He Can Change the Day.”

If the premise interests you and you want to watch it from the beginning, you can watch the first two episodes online in streaming video at http://dynamic.abc.go.com/streaming/landing.

Home Page Updated

Yesterday I was fiddling around with the home page and decided that while it looked okay, it needed some kind of caption or blurb that would help grab the attention of visitors.  Something that would make them say, “Hey, that looks interesting!  I think I’ll check it out.”  So I wrote a short one-sentence blurb.  But as I read it again, it seems a bit run on to me.  I understand what I’m trying to say, but do you?  Anybody have a better suggestion?  Or do you think it’s fine the way it is?

Also, if you scroll down the page a bit, you’ll see a blue box with the “Thought for the day.”  (I also put it up on the MySpace page.)  The thought changes daily (except for Sundays); and clicking on the box will take you to one of my favorite websites, The Daily Motivator, where you can read the entire message.  The box doesn’t exactly match the color scheme, but who cares?  We all could use a little support, inspiration, and motivation as we pursue our goals and dreams, so I thought I’d share this great little site with all of you. 

Half-Price Tickets to Eddie Jone’s Play

This came in today from Eddie Jones regarding his play Death of a Salesman.

Hello again to all.  I am writing to let you know we are offering ½ price tickets for this Sat. show at (8) PM and the Sun. at 2 PM.  Please get your superior posteriors to our seats.  They will be very happy to see you.  And, of course, so will we.  We have an excellent show.  Guaranteed.


So if you’re in the LA area this weekend and you want to make those comfy seats, as well as Eddie and company, very happy, go take advantage of this half-price offer and save yourself some bucks.

Death of a Salesman runs from October 28 – December 15, 2006.  Show times are on Thursdays, Fridays, and Saturdays at 8:00 p.m. and Sundays at 2:00 p.m.

The Odyssey Theatre is located at:
2055 South Sepulveda Blvd.
Los Angeles, CA 90025

For tickets call the Odyssey Box Office at 310-477-2055 or go to www.odysseytheatre.com.

Fox Orders More “Standoff”

Craig Silverstein must be breathing a sigh of relief right now.  Fox has ordered six more episodes of his freshman series Standoff.  Adding to the initial 13 episodes ordered, this brings the total to 19 episodes. 

According to Variety, “Fox opted to order six episodes of Standoff rather than the usual nine because, with Idol and 24, net believes it won’t have a need for more segs, a spokesman said.”

While the ratings have been described as “modest,” they were high enough for Fox to keep it on the air for now.  Perhaps this will give the show the time it needs to attract the audience necessary to get a season two. 

If you’ve missed an episode and want to catch up, you can watch on demand episodes at Standoff’s MySpace page

A Blast From the Past With SCI FI Weekly

I recently came across an old interview that Vincent Ventresca did for SCI FI Weekly, which is a section of scifi.com.  The interview is called “Now You See Vincent Ventresca, Now You Don’t.”  In it, Vince talks about his new (at the time) role on The Invisible Man

In addition, included in the interview is a link to a review of The Invisible Man by Patrick Lee of SCI FI Weekly.

It was fun to read these articles again.  Many websites and online articles for The Invisible Man have disappeared over the years, so it’s great to see that some material is still around for us to enjoy. 

Do Lower Ratings Equal Greater Profits?

So I received a phone call the other night from a young woman doing an opinion poll for the Dove Foundation.  Never heard of it.  And why am I receiving this call when I’m on the National Do Not Call Registry?  Oh, they’re a non-profit organization and thus excempt. 

Now, usually, I try to get off the phone as quickly as possible with telemarketers, which is why I joined the Do Not Call Registry in the first place.  Duh.  But then I heard words such as “Hollywood” and “movies” coming out of my phone.  Okay, now that caught my interest.  So I endured listening to questions that were obviously scripted, read in a monotone voice, and sounded as if they had been repeated hundreds of times…they probably had been.  (Maybe if they gave telemarketers acting or public speaking lessons, it wouldn’t be so painful to listen to them drone on.) 

Anyway, I was asked questions such as:  Do you believe that offensive material in TV, Movies and the Internet is on the rise?  Do you want to see more wholesome family entertainment made?  And others along the same vein of thought.  I answered her questions, and asked a couple of my own.  Her explanation seemed to imply that they were creating a new way of distributing family-friendly movies directly to the customer and bypassing the traditional Hollywood distribution system.  Huh?  Non-profit?  That didn’t add up. 

In order to learn more I had to agree to have another person call me back with more info.  Well, I guess they haven’t trained their telemarketers on what to do when they call someone who is trying to make films themselves, because she quickly hung up on me when she found out. 

Still curious about this group, I did a quick search and found their website. Turns out that the Dove Foundation is a non-profit organization whose mission is to “encourage and promote the creation, production, distribution and consumption of wholesome family enterainment.”  They plan to let Hollywood filmmakers know the desires of the public by presenting their findings to studio heads, as well as the media, with the hope of influencing Hollywood to clean up its act.  So I’m not sure what that young woman was talking about because there is nothing on their website (that I could find) about a new distribution system. 

What was really interesting, though, was their Profitability Study of MPAA-Rated Movies.  According to their study, “during the last four years, the average G-rated movie was 11 times more profitable than an R-rated movie.”  They also claim that G-rated films “produced an average rate of return on investment (ROI) three times greater than R-rated films.”

This raised the question, how do they calculate ROI when many costs incurred in making a movie are usually not disclosed by studios?  According to the report, this was done by subtracting negative costs, P&A (prints and advertising), and video manufacturing costs from worldwide box office, TV, and video gross revenue.  While using this method doesn’t give us the actual profit, it does give us a relative assessment of a film’s ROI, which is viable because the same formula is applied equally across-the-board to all the films. 

Now, I’m not going to go into moral issues or artistic/creative reasons that may or may not influence the content of a film and thus its rating.  I do have a personal opinion on this subject and if I’m fortunate enough to be able to make a career out of producing films, my viewpoint will become apparent in the types of films I choose to do.  But considering this from a strictly business perspective, the study makes some good points. 

Just because G-rated movies tend to be more profitable doesn’t mean that audiences are looking for an endless bombardment of kiddie flicks.  However, according to the study, just lowering an R-rating to a PG-13 or a PG-13 to a PG can increase the audience and thus the potential profitability of a movie.

Whether the findings of the Dove Foundation have any impact on what we see at theaters remains to be seen.  Hollywood, with its deep pockets, can get away with producing fare that doesn’t always make a profit; but independent filmmakers rarely have that luxury.  A producer who hopes to make a living from making films and an investor who hopes to see a return on his/her investment should give serious thought to whether the project being developed/backed is reaching as big an audience as possible.

Mike McCafferty in a Dodge Nitro Commercial

Are you one of those people who mute the TV during commercials?  Or maybe you run to the kitchen for a snack?  Well, maybe you’ll want to stick around and try watching commercials now because you might catch a glimpse of Mike McCafferty in a commercial for the Dodge Nitro. 

Mike gets blown “up.”  But don’t worry.  No Mike McCaffertys have been harmed in the making of this commercial.

If you don’t want to wait and would prefer to watch it now, head on over and watch it on YouTube