May 21st, 2013 | photography
May 21st, 2013 | researchmaterial
Fraction kicked this interview with Mitch Hurwitz over to me last night, in which he discusses the series of ARRESTED DEVELOPMENT he’s done at Netflix. As with Netflix’ previous two original offerings, all fifteen episodes of the series will be released for streaming simultaneously. Also, he knew he was getting all fifteen episodes up front.
And he gets into some interesting stuff about how that environment allowed him to structure the show in ways that were new for him:
Anyway, I started sketching it out, and I had this funny idea for Maeby. It doesn’t quite fit into the master family story, but it’s funny for Maeby, and I do have this funny bit for Tobias where he writes pop songs. He’s written a song called "I Kissed a Boy." I just had all these crazy notions, and suddenly I was overwhelmed by the task of squeezing all these unrelated stories into a movie that has a central plot.
Then I had this idea. "Well, what if there’s an anthology show?" I’ve been in TV for a long time, and one of the ideas that gets pitched a lot is the idea of an anthology show. Those really worked in the Fifties and Sixties with shows like The Twilight Zone, Route 66 and Alfred Hitchcock. It’s a different thing every week.
So I thought, "I might have an opportunity now because of what may or may not be an abiding interest in these characters. I could do an anthology series, like Maeby, episode 3 or George Michael, episode 5." I just loved this idea.
I was working on simultaneous storytelling – "This is what happens from 2006 to 2013." The characters are going to bump into each other. You gotta know that George Senior is going to run into Michael. You can’t just have George Senior doing his thing.
We ended up with an eight-hour movie of Arrested Development where the pieces do kind of come together. Not only was the show told out of sequence, it was shot out of sequence.
And, whether it’s occurred to him or not, he’s talking about big interleaved novelistic structure. Which, it seems to me, is entirely perfect for a release system where one can (if one’s blowing off work for the day) watch the whole damn thing in a single sitting.
From a recent story about Google Fiber entitled "Good news for Google Fiber: Broadcast TV audiences are cratering faster than ever":
Google Fiber and its ilk may be the final straw that will break the back of broadcast television. Once high-speed video downloading becomes widely available, instant access to VOD services will make them even more appealing…
…What makes this possible is the complete paralysis of the broadcast dinos. All the majors are frozen in terror, repeating old behavioral patterns that turned self-destructive years ago. NBC spent the annual defense budget of Mauritius to promote “Ready for Love,” a tired Bachelor clone. ABC is going to build its autumn slate on “Scandal”, “Revenge” and “Betrayal,” as well as a hasty spin-off of its fading “Once Upon a Time” franchise. ABC also handed Robin Williams a comeback vehicle. Sensing desperation, audiences are tuning out in disgust.
Not untrue, so far as it goes. And, without figures to hand so yeah pinch of salt, but I think the US network tv “hits” of last season, like REVOLUTION, would have been woeful cancellation fodder even four years ago. I don’t know that the hit on Robin Williams is especially called for: the man’s a giant, but I haven’t seen the pilot of the show in question and I haven’t completely forgiven him for PATCH ADAMS.
I’m kind of curious as to how it apparently took Google Fiber, in this writer’s estimation, to make Netflix irresistible. In the office here at home, I’ve got about 20 mbps down and Netflix fairly rips along. Perhaps we’re talking about a higher resolution stream or something.
I think it’s worth admitting, now, that “television” has become one of those legacy words, like “phone,” that we use to point at a thing, without really fully describing it. What do you mean, now, when you say “television”? HOUSE OF CARDS and HEMLOCK GROVE? HAUNTING MELISSA on the iPad? Serialised (periodical) narrative? Shot for a small screen? Maybe. It certainly doesn’t mean what it used to.
(And, obviously, I’m only talking about scripted tv there. You could make an argument that “pure” television is presentational, or “reality,” or documentary.)
The term is becoming protean. The scheduling of television has quickly become meaningless, and it’s hard to describe to kids of a certain culture how there was once a time when you had to watch tv shows when they were broadcast, in realtime, because you might never see them again. Time was, the BBC wiped their own tapes. Now a significant number of people watch most of their selected BBC output in a timeshifted manner through the iPlayer.
When Amazon start commissioning drama series to follow their comedy and kid’s slates, television is going to take a new turn. Not only are Amazon in a position to take chances, but they have possibly the best analysis in the world of what people watch and will pay money for. Just crunch down that DVD-box-set data by year and genre. Amazon could actually own genre drama television within eighteen months if they chose to, either by Nate-Silvering those numbers or simply by creating five times as many productive relationships with important creators than anyone else can.
Cable, both basic and premium, have gotten their whacks in, but the full-on “disruption” of American tv by deep-pocketed internet business is going to be really interesting, not least for what disrupts them.
Developing/not fully baked.
May 20th, 2013 | brainjuice
May 19th, 2013 | spektrmodule
44 minutes and 13 seconds
If you don’t know what you’re looking at: SPEKTRMODULE is a podcast of haunted, ambient and sleepy music I compile for my own amusement.
Feel free to tell other people about this podcast for sleepy people if you like it.
2. “Nord I” – Montag (album: Hibernation)
3. “Tidal Wave” – Grouper (album: Dragging a Dead Deer Up a Hill)
4. “Floating Around” - Firetail (album: Learning to Cheat)
5. “Late Night” – Belong (album: Colorloss Record)
6. “Untitled 3” - Eddies In The Water (album: Untitled)
7. “The Slave Quarters” - Moscow Abandoned Hotel (album: The Salem Witch Trials Vol. 2)
8. “Porta Vox Umbra” - Black Seas Of Infinity (album: Amrita – The Quintessence)
9. “The South Sound” – British Sea Power (album: Man Of Aran)
May 16th, 2013 | guest informant
Rachel Rosenfelt, editor, The New Inquiry
I’m planning to read Brad Gooch’s Flannery: A Life of Flannery O’Connor alongside her collected short stories.
I’m also planning on Woman Hating by Andrea Dworkin, and Albertine Sarrazin’s Astragal.
James Moran, screenwriter (Doctor Who, Cockneys vs Zombies)
I always feel guilty when asked what I’m reading, as for the past 4 years or so, I’ve had something I quite wankily call Reader’s Block – I can’t seem to read prose fiction anymore. I always used to read, a lot, several books a week, but lately I’m completely unable to concentrate on them. I’m fine with non-fiction, also comics, TV shows, movies, magazines, etc. Just not prose fiction. After half a page, my attention wanders, I start picking it apart, seeing the construction of the fake story, and my brain says "I don’t give a shit, this isn’t real, who cares?" It’s really, really annoying and upsetting, because I’ve got a stack of books that I know I’ll never read. I think it’s a visual thing – if there are visuals to focus on (TV, comics, movies) I can let myself be swept up in a story. But bare text, it has to be something real or I wander off. I’ve heard the same thing from a lot of other writers who work primarily in TV or film, so it must be an occupational hazard. Or information overload. I don’t know. But I get very guilty and defensive about it. It feels wrong, like I’m an incomplete person, and a fraud (as usual). On the bright side, I’m discovering a whole world of non-fiction which, for some reason, I had avoided for most of my life. Anyway. Currently in my (all non-fiction) pile:
Periodic Tales: The Curious Lives of the Elements. I’m in the middle of this right now, it’s loads of fantastic stories and trivia about the elements. It’s fascinating, surprising, and genuinely magical – the best popular science books fill you with a sense of wonder while educating you, and this is no different. And now I badly want my own collection of elements, in a wooden display case, so I can touch them and smell them and lick them. Except the ones that would kill me, of course.
Them: Adventures with Extremists, and Lost at Sea, both by Jon Ronson. I’m very late to the Jon Ronson party (what an odd but brilliant party *that* would be), and just finished my first one, The Psychopath Test, so I grabbed these immediately afterwards. The topics are almost beside the point, I just enjoy going along for the ride with him and meeting lots of people who are really, really, really mad.
Confessions of a Conjuror, by Derren Brown. I really enjoyed his first book, Tricks of the Mind, and am sure this will be more of the same. He’s passionate about what he does, the history of it, debunking those who prey on the vulnerable, and rambling on about nonsense. He’s a lot of fun, and great at what he does.
Shockwave: The Countdown to Hiroshima, by Stephen Walker. Interviews with witnesses, flight crew, scientists, and victims, about the events leading up to (and directly after) the dropping of Little Boy. I’ve had this for a few years, and keep putting it off, given the subject matter, but am determined to read it soon. Maybe.
Jason Howard, comics artist, Super Dinosaur, Scatterlands (back next week)
Do audiobooks count? I tend to listen to a lot of audiobooks while I work. Lately it’s been mostly sci-fi and fantasy fiction.
Currently in the middle of Down These Strange Streets, an anthology of short urban fantasy stories edited by George R.R. Martin.
Next on the list are-
- Shadow’s Edge by Brent Weeks. I enjoyed The Way of Shadows quite a bit, looking forward to this sequel.
- The Wise Man’s Fear by Patrick Rothfuss. Another sequel book, this time to The Name of the Wind.
- Acaia by David Anthony Durham. Don’t know much about this one, saw it recommended online, liked the premise and added it my list to read.
May 16th, 2013 | researchmaterial
I remain peculiarly fascinated by certain kinds of marketers. And, as a writer who still lives and dies by social awareness, I’m always watching the changing seasons of social media. (Even though I can feel the required energy for it ebbing away daily.) This post by Guy Kawasaki caught my eye. It’s a supercharged, super-expanded version of some of what I do/did, but he has nothing to sell but ads. It is, presumably, just a way to keep a bucket of social capital topped up. Which, one way or another, seems to turn into money.
May 16th, 2013 | music
I lost track of the early witch house act Mater Suspiria Vision for a while there. Turns out that while I was gone they’ve mutated to the point where they’re now releasing vast drone suites. I find this an excellent progression, and ATEM is wonderful. G’night, all.
May 15th, 2013 | brainjuice
“It is the creation of art through the curation of time.”
Curation, curation everywhere. And what of photographers? The curation of moments. Of perspectives. Of angles. This has always been so, although the technical limitations of primitive photographic technology falsely imposed a performance art aspect on the medium, a "dance" if you will. The notion that a large part of the creativity of the medium was the ability to recognize and capture moments in real-time was the central conceit of the Decisive Moment. But in fact, much of what Cartier-Bresson describes is not about the art, but mainly about the tools that he had access to…