Category Archives: movies

Remaking the past, facing tomorrow

I have been working on my novel, at 58,000 words, I am more likely only 50% done, but there is a lot more to come and as I was considering (creating in the mind) a new IP in the form of a new TV series I realised that the same idea could be an addition to the book I am writing. As such I felt a little bit of a traitor, as such I feel I have to make amends, even as no one has been hurt, I felt that smudge of treason to the idea. As such, my mind decided to take a turn towards the past, not the distant past (Iran in the old days), but a little more present (like the 70’s). I have written about the best drama series that the UK ever made (I Claudius), yet it was not alone, in that age two other series were made, both in the 70’s and both had a Greek origin. The first was Who pays the ferryman and the other was the Aphrodite inheritance. Both (for that time) excellent pieces of work, both based on excellent books and both with a setting that was mesmerising. Who pays the ferryman gave me the interest for Crete an interest that still lives on today, I have seen it three times. 

Cyprus (where the Aphrodite Inheritance was made) was less on my radar, yet the story was fun and gripping. 

I believe that places like Apple and Netflix could turn these two into interesting remakes, put Greece again and more visibly on the map. Even as the episodes are timely, the remake could set the spirit in the now and the issues that grip Greece, the stories could be upgraded and the issues that were skated round can be gripped with connected nearby historic places like Spinalonga, a stronger interaction with Agios Nikolaos and so on. Crete has plenty of stages and plenty of options. 

The Aphrodite Inheritance, started strong and the story takes on a nice turn, yet in today’s environment, the stage could be set with optional IP theft and industrial espionage (on top of the relic part in the story). It all hit me as I saw the Aphrodite inheritance on YouTube the other day, I believe that the older series and especially the mini series are getting more and more views, not because of the lockdown (partially driven by it), but the fact that plenty of Americans are now looking through the UK base of drama and it has them hooked (I agree that is speculative of me). Yet the number of views and the turn that SBS is making with Name of the Rose, shows that there is a growing interest in remaking good drama into something larger and even more astounding. I admit that I was skeptic on seeing the first few episodes of Name of the Rose, but so far that series exceeded whatever I thought was possible and I think that players like Netflix and Apple are always looking towards new IP, yet they too realise that what was made almost half a century ago was often not surpassed in all these years and the two titles I mention are on that list too. 

And in addition, no matter how many franchises there are and how many Marvel movies are coming, the people also want excellent drama and a lot of franchises just do not deliver on that to the degree described (neither do the Marvel movies). This is nothing against the Marvel movies as their origin is very different from many movies and we get that, and we love them. Yet we want more and we seem to want it now. Apple seems to be on top of the New IP with the new shamalamadingdong series (the man who made the Sixth sense) and now with Servant he makes another stab at our dread factor, he does it (as stated by others) in an exceptional way. 

Yet in this day and age, movies and TV series that rely on the Wow factor do not make it very long and that is where the stage of drama can add to the venue. In the first, the rewatchability of any drama is a lot higher than most other series. Yes, we love horror and Science fiction, yet how often will we rewatch them? Consider an American drama series like The West Wing, the fact that even today a lot want to see it again, even as the series ended well over 10 years ago is decently exceptional, there are other series and yes, there are plenty of wow based series that have the same, but the stage of drama is larger, there is no denying it. Whether a drama is dipped in Fantasy, Science Fiction or Horror does not matter, it is the drama effect that draws the people in and I believe that the audience wants to see more of that and there is every chance that Netflix needs to adhere to that part if they do not want to witness a audience transfer towards Apple plus. That will be seen towards the end of the year as more series and remakes hit Apple plus, they took a swing and hit the ball out of the ballpark. The remakes are more than just a choice, series and movies that were quirky and often fun will optionally become the TV series that are drama’s with a coating of wow. There is no way to tell how this will fare, and this is not an attack on Netflix, but Apple took the war to the next stage and they were ready for bear in this fight. To coin a phrase ‘they brought a bazooka to a gunfight’, and that bazooka merely has to be aimed into the vicinity of Netflix, Netflix will get hit no matter what, the amount of damage cannot be foreseen and the entire Covid setting brought it to the forefront. It hastens the setting we see now and even as Netflix has a lot more series, there is every indication that a 10% shift might be enough to get the Netflix investors running for cover and for them to find a way to break even at best. Yes, we see how Netflix shares are rising faster and faster, but lets not forget that as Americans and Europeans get back to work, they will stop using Netflix to a much larger degree, and in all this the internet congestion we see all over the world does not help Netflix, Internet providers were not ready all whilst they claimed they were. I warned people of that fact in 2018, now I am proven correct, even better, there is every chance that the entire congestion stage will increase over the near future and it has nothing to do with gamers. Zoom with its conferencing side will set a much larger international stage and consider how many firms work internationally now and under the strain of a reduced workforce how many more zoom meetings people have to look forward to.

A stage that goes from bad to worse and there is no way to stop that event. Yet this too is a stage we must give value to, as I see it the entire congestion setting is a drama all by itself, a stge of interactions that will not work and will show other wait time and loading icons, but no movie and no shows to see. It is important because it will hit both Apple plus and Netflix. 

There is nothing as hilarious as both offering 4K whilst the internet providers cannot deliver, the entire Corona stage is merely pushing to the foreground what was there all along. So as that stage is debunked more and more all over Europe and the US, we will soon see a stage where the material not the resolution matters and there we see another stage evolve, the quality of the story, because a wow film is only as good as we get to 4K and uninterrupted view and so far there was a lag and has been for almost 2 years, and as we see the congestion pushed to the foreground more and more, because under 5G the matters will only get worse, not less. 

Yet in all that the remakes will give rise to another lag, the stage of crowd control on the internet. Yes, you might laugh yet the stage is already there, the people will demand the full service all whilst Netflix, Google and others are limiting resolutions to appease the covid pressures of online. And in that stage we see a much larger need, the need to deal with congestion right in the middle of the stage of switching between 4G and 5G. Congestion has not been dealt with and cannot be dealt with, not in the immediate future, as such the people will see a much larger shift to appease their demand and the smaller players will now face the hardship of not being able to deliver, it is a drama all by itself.

No matter how we see the coming of more remakes, they are the stuff we demand, for all kinds of reasons, yet enjoying it on a decent quality will remain a question not merely for the direct future, for the larger timespan, even as people will stop to some degree the stage of streaming, the stage of TV series without advertisements is a lot more appealing than most think and when they are confronted with advertisements the entire stage of Apple Plus, Netflix et al will come to the forefront again and still it comes with internet congestion just below the surface, pushing its head above the waterline sooner than ever before. 

A view to face in the sights of tomorrow.

 

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What is the good place?

It’s Sunday, I am currently watching the original Planet of the Apes, it is one way to pass the time, just watch an actual classic. I have had an interesting day. With my mind on creativity, the series ‘the Good Place’ inspired me to a different miniseries. Consider a simple inventor, the man is a Civil Engineer, and he comes up with the bright notion of inventing a different kind of heavy metal filter, a way that is based on centrifugation. It is a simple yet novel idea, and he submits the idea and registers the patent. It is not a week later when he is suddenly invited for a meeting with an ‘interested party’, when he gets there he sees that the ‘interested parties’ involve a politician and a former employer. Before he knows what is happening, his patent is under attack, the politician and the former boss have sought legal assistance and they claim that the patent was stolen. In the end, after the court case they take 100% and he ends with nothing. Over time he learns that the judge was in on it, he had become a silent partner in the event that scores them $6,000,000,000 split 6 ways. 

This starts the plan where he starts to get even. The clock now jumps 12 years, the 6 are of course really happy, and during that event the social engineer walks in and shoots the entire party, the thieves their partners and 11 children. 

The next moment we see that they are in heaven, the 6 families are there, and they have large mansions, cherubs that take care of their needs and they are seemingly happy. It is at this point that the floor comes down from under them. The idea is that the civil engineer got away from hell somehow and is not wreaking havoc in heaven, yet in all this, heis focused on the 6 families, taking one child after another, all to be collected and placed on a cage of emonic thorns, making the children sign over their souls for their parents non prosecution of theft, all the kids agree and are dropped into hell, at that point the parents have to select heaven or hell, in the end only one accepts the exchange and jumps into hell with the key that will unshackle his child. 

That is as far as I got, the link to the good place is seen when in the end it shows that they were all in hell, the heaven impression was done in a deal between the head demon (Asmodeus) and the civil engineer to get his revenge. The deal was his soul freely given to teach the thieves a lesson. Yet the civil engineer has another part in all this, as the thieves sign over their allegiance towards their soul for the absolution of their crime, the second plan comes into effect. It will be his ticket out of hell. 

That is as far as I got, it took about an hour to think it through, there is a lot more, but I will not bore you with that part, not for as long as it is not properly scripted. 

This was my state of mind as the news hit me on the Coronavirus, the idea that the US has 52,000 deaths to the coronavirus, 25% of all global deaths, and they are now reopening (to some degree) their country, apart from a president making (sarcastic or not) some claim that the body can be cured from the coronavirus by applying detergent to it. In all this, we get the realisation that Mickey Mouse and Donald Duck Trump both seem to live at Pennsylvania Avenue 1600,it seems that Disney characters are getting a living upgrade. Not bad for a weekend, is it?

Yet the idea of making an iteration of the Good Place wasn’t my initial idea, yet I reckon is that this series has had its impact, yet my version is not a comedy, it is much darker, heaven almost exceptionally puritan, and hell is dark and fire red in aspects (I haven’t been there yet so my view on this place is still shaping. Yet if we agree that we are driven by the seven sins and the seven virtues, the trap we make for ourselves is that there is a lack of balance. If Chastity, Temperance, Charity, Diligence, Patience, Kindness and humility are on one side, what is on the other? Pride? Avarice? Envy? Wrath? Lust? Gluttony? Sloth? As I see it, they nullify one another, like a seesaw we are on the twisting point between sin and virtue, how can we chose the balance? If Lust and Chastity are on a seesaw and our setting is the axial, how can we select? Love is a combination of many facets, lust and chastity are part of it, but they do not stand alone and we are in a stage to keep the seesaw balanced. The issue is not lust or chastity, it is fear and greed. The US reopening their places (to some extent). In all this the numbers are screaming part of the idiocy (as I see it), all these nations, the EU at almost 750 million citizens. Then we get India, Asia and in all this, the registered deceased spans 25% of the world, that is the US. Reopening stores and trying to get back into the swing of things is a choice and perhaps it is the better one, I do not have the knowledge to debunk it, but the larger healthcare message is lockdown, there is wisdom in that too. Knowing what is best is not for me to say. I understand both sides and as we see Bloomberg giving us one side,the NPR rolls in another direction, like the seesaw, the axial of balance is in the middle, yet to what direction should we swing? The problem is that for most of us the balance point is influenced by fear and equally by greed. Greed might not be pronounced outspokenly by a lot of people, but greed is a reason we must address. Even as for most it will be about the ability to pay the bills, is it any less greed driven? We might all see greed as evil (I at times do that too), yet the need to survive is also laced with greed, the need we have to pay our bills, we call it differently, but it remains a form of greed and not all greed is pure evil. This reminds me of an original Star Trek episode, it was called ‘the Enemy within’, the realisation that the good Kirk and the evil Kirk need one another, if balance of ruthlessness and empathy is essential to make sensible decisions, we see another path that we all face. The more primal the drive,the more direct the balance between both elements is seen. We are at times driven to deny the negative emotions, yet the early lockdown the harsh decision (or logic) behind it might have lowered the curve for the US, we cannot tell for certain, it is too late now, but the fact remains, in a nation with 325 million people, out of a population of 8,000 whilst there are over 2.5 million of cases and the number of deceased in the USA represents 25% of all corona victims. The numbers seem to indicate that lowering the curve sooner would have been better, but I have always stated that there is more to this virus, and so far the US is still in a beginning stage, as such the 25% might be a low number for now and the bad side is that the reopening of the US in a week might signal a very negative situation. We can speculate on this until we are old and grey, but reality will show us what will be soon enough. 

We will all make up our own minds, some will blame 5G and burn down Wifi masts, some will blame the chinese (again) and come up with more matters to prosecute and in all this, the history of the other versions of corona are ignored, we can ask any cat, but they are seemingly merely the victims in all this. It seems that the bosses that mploy a lot of us are soon to be seen as good and bad, which will upset the curve a lot, but no matter how we look towards the future and where we look, we need to find a balance within ourselves and propagate that outwards, that is essential to create a balance within ourselves, because no matter how this all goes, there is every indication that the month may will see the first of several cycles of blaming the people around us. 

 

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Creativity wins

It has been a hard 2 weeks, for most workaholics the entire shutdown issue is a little larger than normal, gaming or not. So to treat myself I decided to design a new TV series (we all have jobs), it did not turn out the way I expected it, yet it was still a win for me, as it enabled me to set a plan for 30,000 additional words to my novel which is at present (excluding the addition) at almost 57,000 words, so I feel that I am now beyond the 50% marker. To be honest it is an addition I actually did not see coming, and that’s the beauty of creativity, it takes you at times in unspoken directions. 

It is almost like a dream I had, which I cannot recall at this time. I wanted to remember it, but some dreams take a weird flight, they tend to delete themselves from memory, in the end it is still a win for creativity. 

There are more elements linking to all this, but for now, that is all I have to say about the elements involved. I had some notion to try and connect the initial idea on ‘How to kill a politician’, but that is a separate project, I saw that early on. Yet the lockdown is throwing my levels of creativity in overdrive and I am actually less happy about that. On one side I do not mind, but there I believe that there is a link between my creativity and the dreams/nightmares that follow the dose of creativity that I enjoy when I am awake. It seems to me that the brain can give in one direction, and after that gives in the other direction. It is a speculation, but it is based on a world, or a universe that seeks balance, a balance that is almost universal. Instead of the initial idea that I had that action in one direction,implies the need for inaction in another direction. Unlike a computer, the brain does not accept inactivity, it actively rejects it, which beckons me to consider whether I can direct activity in a direction. I know that I can to some degree, but I am not yet aware if this can be pushed to certain limits. There is plenty of  materials on this, but there is less available and less reliable information available to push the dreamer from a dreamer into a lucid dreamer. The benefit is real and direct, if we get control of our dreams we get to utilise the strongest computer ever built (the human brain) in other ways. Whether it is to complete another branch of my IP, another story or another idea, we need to complete it and these weeks are showing us all that the workaholics get another part to play, to push new boundaries in the fields we work in. I do not know if it can be done, but the idea is a larger push towards new ideas and that is an addictive push to face. 

The important part in all this is that this is not merely my journey, I believe that the entire Corona lockdown has a much larger impact. Others are facing a similar journey, the dreamers, the creators and the makers are facing a side they have not been pushed into to a much larger degree and this lockdown is pushing it to the surface. We have been running to keep up with the payments and bills we face and forgot to take time to ourselves. Inthe last two weeks we have had loads of time to ourselves and it seems to show to some people that there is a lot more in them. I would not be surprised that some bosses fave a new era, where their employees have surpassed them and are making the most of what they can o next. For me not much changes. I had set the stage where I can write, I can consider and I can design, That will continue, yet now there is an optional new field where the dreamers and designers at Microsoft, IBM, Apple, HP and a few other places will figure out that innovation is not what marketing says it is, but what the designer makes it. That might over time be good news and we might actually see more innovation, instead of iteration marketed as innovation, the difference is massive. 

The entire Corona event might have losers, yet there is at present a chance that there are also a fair amount of winners and that is the silver lining that no one saw coming.

  

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Value and validation

We all see both, we need to be valued and our work, our thoughts and our point of view needs to be validated. It is for almost every person the same, the value and validation drives him and her alike. As a blogger I have to do with rants and bad mouthing, but that is what comes with the terrain, with my IP it is different, like a writer I need validation, but I cannot get it without putting my IP in the public domain and that is a really bad idea any given day of the week, so how will I get value and validation if there is no feedback? Well in my case there are a few items that work. First there is the validation on what I write. I wrote in September 2019 ‘It’s been that long‘ (at https://lawlordtobe.com/2019/09/28/its-been-that-long/). I had written about the issues before in ‘Gaming ‘after silence’ or ‘pre noise’?‘ (at https://lawlordtobe.com/2016/05/14/gaming-after-silence-or-pre-noise/). there I wrote May 2016 “This is just my view on it and I expect to be proven correct before the end of 2018, possibly even sooner” and as I see it System Shock (delayed, 2020), Moonshades (a Dungeon Master style game) have proven me correct, basically I feel validated beyond the value of Ubisoft at present (nothing wrong with my ego). Dungeon Keeper and a few others were already out (or openly in production), so that does not count. These are a few of the little things showing that I was right all along. This does not prove that my IP is da bomb, but if I am right in my way of thinking in one way, I will also be right in the speculative reasoning, and as my path is still not showing in 5G, I feel more and more happy.

In all this, my mind needs to create, it needs to be creative and I wonder when we see ‘3 Reasons 2020 Will Be a Make-Or-Break Year for Netflix‘, whether this is merely a ploy to bounce the stock or something else. Yes, the Nasdaq article gives us “Will Netflix finally win the Best Picture Oscar?” as the second reason, making the article bogus (to some extent), some of the best movies in the history of film never got awarded best picture and that did not hinder them, did it? The Independent (UK Newspaper) shows us Citizen Kane, Vertigo, the Graduate, 2001 (a computer going nuts), Taxi Driver (Robert de Niro with a decent haircut), Apocalypse now (Martin Sheen as a teenager), Blade Runner, Pulp fiction and the list goes on, the paper gives us 23 movies (a lot with De Niro) all worthy to rub shoulders with the Irishman, none of them Oscar winners, does it matter? What matters is not the billions spent ($15 billion last year on materials alone), the matter at hand is if Netflix keeps on making quality stuff, even if it is less, quality is quality. In that light I thought

Wouldn’t it be nice

Let’s take a look at Rendezvous with Rama, the atmosphere of the book gives us a handle, yet what if we turn this around, what if a group of people wake up on a space station with a diameter of around 250 meters, it is a way station, between us and the Sombrero galaxy, all indications are that the people wake up at 1/3rd between us and the Sombrero galaxy, in the middle of nowhere. At what point will we consider that we are merely rats in a maze? Even as every piece of equipment works, even as most of it is beyond most technology firms, what is the test? Is it the one we are given? Will we abide? What happens when two more teams arrive? What happens when we start taking initiative? 

As the situation presses and another platform is found, we see that there is division in the groups, one group (from the three arriving teams) decide to use it only to find themselves on a station more than twice the size, yet now only 1/3rd away from the Sombrero galaxy. As we consider the hardware available and working that it can get us to another galaxy, how much more advanced were the makers and what do they want? With one or two twists, one involving a priest going nuts (a wink at war of the worlds) we are left with questions, because we now know enough to know that there is no way that we are alone in this universe, yet the people here have no clue what we are missing to go travelling and yes the cold fusion we claim to have does not cut it (not without two elements and Celestrium) the last part is essential as its existence answers a few question, including how to find others.

When we take the science apart and see that we are often too clueless to consider leaving us alone with that equipment. Would you leave a box of matches in YOUR house with your 2 year old? The considerations I had on a Sunday evening would become the foundation of an optional mini series, with my additional mind on games, TV series and IP, I see that there is nothing wrong with my imagination! Now Google and Huawei need to wake up for the circuit to be completed (almost literally so).

In all this, we can feed our need for science and our need for fear, fear makes its own conclusions and it has no reservations taking the upper hand, just like it tends to take over giving doubt in a stage of our ability to value and validate ourselves, and it all matters! Did you think that I am so much brighter and better than some others? (Well I am to some degree), the issue that we see nowadays with the US playing tantrum child all over the field is showing a larger lack of imagination. The movie industry sees the imagination of a man like Stan Lee take over, but it was his imagination that spoke to millions of people all over the world, a lot of them having seen at least a dozen of his comic books, and Marvel cashed in, in a world where we see a lack of imagination we see the people of Stan Lee comics making a killing, imagination gets to do that. In that same view I see the Irishman, an amazing piece of work and if that is the quality that Netflix brings, then best movie Oscar or not, Netflix is likely to be around if those holding their credit is standing strong too. for that is the game too, if the credit holder is not a visionary, if that person is a short term bullet point oriented Excel user, you tend to be royally screwed (pardon my French).

And in this I am not alone, Forbes (at https://www.forbes.com/sites/greatspeculations/2019/08/20/all-the-reasons-why-netflix-is-doomed/#59953e37465e) gave us last year “Content Spending Not Adding Enough Subscribers“, an optional issue to some degree, yet we seem to overlook that there are 170 million subscribers, with 100 million outside of the US, in all this we tend to forget that France has a dismal internet (outside of Paris and Defense au Lille), and they are not alone. there is still the need to see Netflix, in many nations and as more people see the pull to new series (like the Witcher), Netflix will survive, by the way, in all this we see the lack of visibility on HOW MANY watched The Witcher, none of the cable services EVER had that much viewers. A small item easily overlooked and as Netflix moves through time, we will see more players and some will switch, but Netflix remains a name not to be forgotten, no matter who shows the Marvel movies.

And as I see the writer of Forbes give us “As I wrote about in “Loss of Licensed Content Is an Underrated Crisis for Netflix”, Netflix doesn’t appear to have a plan in place to replace these beloved shows when they depart the service in 2020 and 2021” and there it relies on the Office and Friends, a TV series that was big in 1994 and the ten years running. Yes it was fun and it is highly regarded, yet so it Star Trek, so is Altered Carbon, so is Bojack Horseman and that list can continue for some time. I believe that it is the new material that will pull in the subscribers, not old series (although a case can be made for the West Wing and Babylon 5). And what we like is out in the open, with 4 billions ooptional watchers, what we like is spread between Aaron’s Way and Zorro, there is a need for almost all and over time they all will be watched (at some point). If there is one flaw in the Netflix formula, then it is the abundance of choices, we are like children in the candy store having to make a choice, yet whenever we make one, we see another lolly overwhelmingly tasteful. It is great for the creative inspiration, but you tend to miss out on perseverance or a lack of sleep, whichever comes first and ask around you, whomever saw the Witcher, how many watchers turned into overnight bingers? Now consider that Netflix releases one show a month, how much sleep did you forego?

At times validation takes its own currency as payment and it tends to be the currency you did not see coming, and it is not a currency that holds water at the check out of the supermarket. We all tend to forget that a little, as well as the small thought that creativity starts in someone’s mind, not as a bullet point on a document. This is important, especially as I agree (and oppose) with ‘Ubisoft: A Number Of Risks Make The Company Non-Investable At This Point‘. Those who know me, have seen that I have spoken out against Ubisoft on a number of occasions, yet the issue is that this (source: Seeking Alpha) article is all set to the investors and there we have another matter. Yes games are reasonably high risk, yet there is a reason that places like CD Projekt Red are successful, they went the extra mile. Ubisoft needs to adjust course. I cannot completely disagree with “We don’t think that Ubisoft is worth investing in right now and believe that the market offers greater opportunities with less risk“, they do have a point, yet this investment report is set around the overall, not the specific. As we see “While shares are slowly rebounding from the bottom” we see a reason to consider Ubisoft, even as we have to agree with “poor decision making in the past and a ruthlessly competitive environment are making Ubisoft non-investable at this point“, we forget that the engine is set around creativity. It is watching two channels at the same time, and Ubisoft did this to themselves. There is the creative channel that is showing delay upon delay as they need to get it right and there is the hype creating business channel that needs to get muzzled, the stage is wrong, the PS5 and Xbox releases at the end of the year require their best foot forward, if Ubisoft is able to release a game in the quality settings of AC Origin, they are saved, if they do it AC Unity style, they are buggered and their marketing department is not helping, there are almost literally hundreds of shouts from all kinds of publishers on delays and other news that does not make the coffee, creation is equally about muzzling that part. All while one source is giving us the image of WatchDogs Legion: “The release of Ubisoft’s new animal-themed action-adventure game“. It was 4 days ago, why is Ubisoft marketing not all over that? I should be less concerned, Ubisoft did this largely to itself, yet the creative minds like Jason VendenBerghe were lost in this marketing shuffle. An amazing game that should have made his desk at Ubisoft a permanent one, was shown in Netflix as we are shown what the creative minds go through when they are bounced of other creative minds and off the walls, we see the need of validation and how it was missing at Ubisoft, at least that is how I saw it. There will always be a large part that is not on any camera, but what some see as validation is not always picked up as such and the need for clear communication tends to go in every direction, you merely need to look at several surveys and how people perceive brands to get that part of the picture, as such a driven creative mind with a single focus tends to go in any direction, except the direction it had to go in and the lack of validation tends to be a larger concern. As for value? that remains to be seen and that remains open, yet I do believe that if there is validation, the value of oneself tends to go up, that has been the case since before Brutus was slapped on the shoulder for treating Caesar to a dagger on 15 March 44 BC. He was validated, but his value remained that of a traitor (hence he comitted suicide). In all this we rely on one, knowing all too well that the second does not give validation to the first, or it does, yet it will not give value to both and that is where the internal person and the realist tend to sway, how to assess value? We have been on the false brink of stockmasters for too long and our  assessment of what is value is in the wind, time will tell how we go about it, because that is something we cannot do on the fly or in an instant.

 

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In light of projected greed

This is an odd phrase, projected greed is not the same as greed, it is not. Projected greed is about speculated revenue, but greed tends to be a driving motive here, no matter how you stage your response. The salesman states words like ‘pipeline’ because it gives him a handle on quarterly bonus, he’ll tell you that it is about the continuity of sales, but it is not, it really is not. The CEO uses all kinds of terms for the ‘saleslife of his quarter’, but the stage of the quarter and their extra monetary incomes are linked to it. So how do we see this in movies? For producers it tends to be about the above break even point, even as it tends to be disrupted by visibility, but good visibility is movie momentum that a producer can push onto his next project. 

As I made mention before in ‘What is unintended discrimination?‘ (at https://lawlordtobe.com/2020/02/07/what-is-unintended-discrimination/) we need to see that recognition of revenue and the missing of unadulterated vision and attention which drives down movie revenue, the stage of projected greed gets bitten by being the biter.

In the last few days we have seen all kinds of people critics, movie stars, directors and producers give voice to diversifying the Oscars and Baftas. 

Bafta

This is actually the simple one, the ‘mission’ of the Bafta is stated as “The stated charitable purpose of BAFTA is to “support, develop and promote the art forms of the moving image, by identifying and rewarding excellence, inspiring practitioners, and benefiting the public”“, all whilst the supported part is “Films must have been available to the UK public for the first time in the UK between 1 January 2019 & 31 January 2020. There is an exception for Films Not In The English Language (FNIEL) which are eligible if they have been made available to the UK public for the first time between 1 January 2019 & 28 February 2020” which we see at https://awards.bafta.org/sites/default/files/images/ee_british_academy_film_awards_1920_-_rules_and_guidelines_-_feature_categories_october_2019.pdf

As such a movie is eligible when it was available for watching in England, seems all very correct, does it not?

In 2019, a total of 786 movies were released in the United States and Canada, which implies that when we consider Bollywood and Nollywood that number goes up by a decent amount. At which stage can you diversify when we see that there are around 775 cinemas in the United Kingdom? Now we need to consider that some movies are in a cinema for weeks and that some movies are almost in every city for example, in 2019 Avengers: Endgame played in 682 cinema’s in the UK alone, as such when you see that there are 775 cinema’s, we see that ONE TITLE takes up a lot of space in the display area. As such there is no way that these 786 movies can be shown. And the British people want sensational movies (as do people in most nations), so tell me where does that leave a title like Lionheart?

 

Abacus

This was simple stuff that could have been figured out by a 5 year old on an abacus, it was not that hard and I like putting this out there as some critics requested the dismissal of HRH Prince Harry (or was that Prince Albert Victor, Duke of Clarence and Avondale?), ah well that person (the critic) will optionally fall over his on words of misinterpreted denial soon enough.

And I forgot about one part that was actually obvious and clearly out there, but just for jollies “Films are not eligible when they have been previously entered into the British Academy Film, Television, or Television Craft Awards“.

So in all this in 2019 when we consider Avenger: Endgame (Robert Downey Junior, Chris Hemsworth), 1917, Once Upon a time in Hollywood (Brad Pitt), Joker (Joaquin Phoenix),  Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker (John Boyega, Daisy Ridley), Bombshell (Charlize Theron), Jumanji: The Next Level (Dwayne Johnson, Karen Gillan), Fast & Furious: Hobbs & Shaw (Jason Statham, Dwayne Johnson) all movies in multiple cinemas for multiple weeks, it makes the remaining space not spacious, it is the drawback of more and more film releases. I left the Marvel movies and Cats alone for obvious and opposite reasons. I also have not even taken movies with Will Smith and Angelina Jolie into consideration. As such, when we see Steve McQueen (the director, not the actor) give us “BAFTAs risk becoming irrelevant“, we see an optional valid argument, but the stage to diversification is stale and now almost obsolete, the need for greed took care of that part. His view of “After a while you get a bit fed up with it. Because if the BAFTAs are not supporting British talent, if you’re not supporting the people who are making headway in the industry, then I don’t understand what you are there for. If (film-makers) are not recognised visually in our culture, well what’s the bloody point? It becomes irrelevant, redundant and of no interest or importance. End of“, when we consider the rules, we see that the deck is warped through the need for greed (producers call it getting their investment back), we can push to change the rules, yet the environment of being able to watch a movie is not in sync with the needs of those good enough to win. Lionhart was merely one example, there are plenty more and whilst the filling of cinemas is set around the release of Marvel movies (not a bad thing) we need to consider that time is also a factor, income is a factor. I went to the movies at least once a week when I was young, bills and payments have set this back to once a month and from there to 2-3 times a year, Also limits factors in movie revenue because each trip to the cinema is $25 at least and that is when I bring my own bottle of soda and a pack of lollies. As such can you deny that Netflix had become a gift from heaven to millions of people?

The final rule for Bafta that matters is “An entry can be made either to the Film Awards or to the Television and/or Television Craft Awards, not both“, as such how did the Irishman get in? It is a superb movie, yet which category did it get mixed in with? In addition when we see ‘Andy Serkis to receive top honour at BAFTA for ‘revolutionary’ contribution to cinema‘ and we see him getting all that well earned credit, yet we saw no mention of him being a cut throat mercenary in two Marvel movies, odd is it not? 😉

Oscar

Here we almost get a repetition of the Baftas, although what I did not know (never looked it up before “to be eligible for awards consideration, a film must have a minimum seven-day theatrical run in a Los Angeles County commercial theater, with at least three screenings per day for paid admission“, as such we see a small bewilderment, he idea that the voice of America is based on ‘a minimum seven-day theatrical run in a Los Angeles County commercial theater‘, in light of this we see a larger issue, from what I am speculating (I could not get the numbers) we see that the Oscars are likely based on a much smaller sample size than the Baftas, with the previous arguments in sight, as well as “Voting on all achievements shall be restricted to active and life Academy members“, which we accept makes sense, yet as the movie industry goes on, as it intertwines with HBO, Netflix, Apple and Stan. How much time will a voter get? The rules could be found at https://www.oscars.org/sites/oscars/files/92aa_rules.pdf and even as it looks a little more ‘lawyeree’ than the Bafta rules, it is not unreadable. Yet in light of voters, how much time did they get (as well as interest) to watch 786 movies? Consider the personal diary of Adam Driver (or Tessa Thompson for that matter), how much time did they have to sit down and watch a movie they liked and a movie they thought had to checked out because the critics were raving about it? When we consider that, we see a shifting image and the movie list given earlier (we might think that Adam was biased seeing Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker), we need to consider a much larger stage. Oh and cutting down on Oscars and time on TV would not be a bad thing to consider either.

Yet how will that go over with the people cut from consideration? When we look back to the first Oscar, where the presentation ceremony lasted 15 minutes and had 12 winners, in this the most notable part is that Charles Chaplin lost out on three nominations, it is a big difference from the 92nd Oscars, is it not?

I do optionally not disagree with the ‘So White’ part of the outcry, but as I see it, there is a limiting factor in place that makes it hard to get distinguished here and in the 2020 Oscars we get to see Parasite, a South Korean movie (the distinction of South is important here) ending up with 4 wins and two nominations is pretty amazing. How excellent must this movie be to get that many awards (I did not see it yet), it is also amazing that it is the first non-English picture to ever win best picture. 

So until we change the premise of who is allowed to win, we will get a grey collection of movies that are in the running. In all this Parasite and Joker are already a larger step towards exceptional movies that are less mainstream than what mostly takes the slices of the cakes. And in light of all this, there is still the factor of projected greed; it is not the continuation of getting your money back. Avengers: endgame, cost 365 million, revenue 2,800 million. Then there is the real life Lion King with a cost of 260 million and a revenue of 1,700 million, two movies that took up exactly how many theatre rooms in Los Angeles County? That is part of the premise as well, because as they run, other excellent movies could not be set to the rules of being a nominee. Now I am not blaming these two movies, yet the premise of the Oscars is most easily seen when you consider that part of the equation. Projected greed might be the most dangerous part in all this, first of all because it is not actual greed, but it is closely related to its awful brother, and movies have become too much about projected revenues, in this, which studio exactly used to rely on ‘Ars gratia artis‘ (Art for art’s sake) before they (and all others) seem to have transferred it into ‘Ars pro reditus‘ (art for the sake of revenue)? It seems unfair on the directors, actors and actresses, yet they too are linked to their careers and they need to be the person who grows the income of the producer if they want to stay employed, in this I reckon both the Bafta and Oscar get to draw the short straw.

 

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What is unintended discrimination?

It is a question that came to mind when I saw a piece by David Cox on the Baftas. I missed this year’s Baftas, so I watched some of it on YouTube, we all have these days, 35 things to do and we cannot change the rotating speed of this planet, so I remained in a setting where I had 24 hours to get things done. As such I missed the speech by Prince William (and the rest of the show).

I do not believe that I would ask for any resignation, especially a royal, that is how I am wired, but I was still curious. When I read that part I wondered if there is an actual issue. I understand the position that David Cox gives, but let’s not forget that this is about excellence. Diversity will be hard to achieve in excellence (for a few reasons).

To clear my mind I went back to an event I always wondered about. It was 1986 and a legendary book got made into a movie by no one else than Steven Spielberg namely the Color Purple, then I got a small shock, I had forgotten that Kathleen Kennedy was part of that too, the recipient of the Fellowship Award. And there we see the first part, excellence is about perfection and even as I see the Color Purple as sheer perfection, those who are in the field and judge perfection did not see it my way, and in addition to that, 1986 also produced Ran, Out of Africa, Prizzi’s honor, Jagged Edge, Brazil (a personal favourite), the original French movie that would result in the making of Three Men and a baby, Witness and Kiss of the Spider Woman. A year full of greats and only a few make it to become winners, the Color Purple did not make it, they did get 11 nominations, no wins. In that same light we see Kathleen Kennedy, as a producer she has a massive list of achievements, most people are revered when they only deliver on 50% of what Kathleen delivered, and I have seen most of her work. Yet I see that a lot of them would never be best movie material. Is that bad? No, it was not on her plate as producer and she was part of flawless gems too. Raiders of the lost Ark, the Color Purple, Jurassic Park, A.I., Munich are a few extracts of a list that is well over 10 times larger and this year she got the Fellowship Award. So when I see ‘Prince William’s Baftas tirade was insultingly misdirected – he should resign as its president‘, I merely wonder what the angle of David Cox is. 

Does he have a point?

From where I am sitting we see that 871 movies were released in 2018, and in 2019 786 movies were made, as such I wonder how many were seen? I am certain that the account of best feature-length film and documentaries of any nationality that were screened at British cinemas in 2019. will give the sitting that not all have been seen, and the limitation that I am merely looking at the movies, I have not even gone into the documentary setting. 

Then there is ‘that were screened at British cinemas‘, a limitation from the get go, as such is the call for scrutiny that bad a thing to ask for? 

As such when we get to ‘Is the Duke of Cambridge sabotaging the voting system? Or simply saving face by attacking an acceptable – if innocent – party?‘ (at https://www.theguardian.com/film/2020/feb/06/prince-williams-baftas-tirade-insultingly-misdirected-should-resign-as-president) I am not sure if the stage is warranted. Consider the Nollywood movie ‘Lionheart‘, it was not regarded in a few places, just like the Irishman, oh wait! It was not released in the cinema, it went to Netflix. he Irishman did go to cinema’s as well, as such we see the first level of discrimination, discrimination through the paticipation rules. So was Lionheart ‘screened at British cinemas‘? I actually do not know the answer to that, as such we see a larger stage, do we allow for a larger group or is the stage ‘screened at British cinemas‘ a final point?

So as I see “What can he have meant?” as a asking rule in the article, I wonder if that was considered in the right stage? When we see the limiting factor right there in red. Yet then we also see a larger point that I reflected on “when compared with the competition, I don’t think any of these constitutes the year’s “best film”. Many of these titles were well-directed, but they tended not to require the outstanding directing skill required to snag the director award” this is how I see it, there is a larger stage and I would not have elected some titles and elected others, yet I am not a movie expert. I would have elected the Color Purple over Out of Africa, but that is my personal view, and it has nothing to do with winner Sydney Pollack, it is a great picture, but i prefered the other one and I believe that I am not alone, as 5 movies were elected as nominees and all 5 were worthy to become best picture, which is unlike 1982 where I merely liked Raiders of the lost ark. It is no reflection on the other nominees either.

Was the speech of the Duke of Cambridge wrong?

I personally do not think so, the stage where all factors are under scrutiny is a good thing, especially these days, and lets not forget that most of these are awards based on votes, and the BBC (at https://www.bbc.com/news/entertainment-arts-51345085) gives us ““There’s definitely a problem,” said actor Daniel Kaluuya referring to the diversity row engulfing this year’s Bafta nominations (all shortlisted actors are white, all shortlisted directors are male)“, in this I have a slightly different view. If we look at the graduated directors list by gender over the last 20 years, how many women made it? No one debates that Kathryn Bigelow is a GREAT director (Hurt locker and Zero Dark Thirty being excellent examples), yet how many female directors are that good? I am not posing a point, it is an actual question as I do not have an answer. 

I am for the most (unlike the past) more into watching blockbusters, not because it is what I want, but like many others our budgets have shrunk, and as such I have limited choice. there is another part, it is shown in the BBC article “Berry said she thought it was because the film wasn’t very high-profile when it came out in the UK, and that a lot of her members didn’t know about it and hadn’t seen it.” the quote comes in response of “Amanda Berry, Bafta’s chief executive, appears to be aware that her members are not seeing all the films, which obviously affects the nominations” there is the crux, because 786 movies were made, I reckon that 500 made it into the UK (a mere guess) as such how many were seen? If the stage is ‘screened at British cinemas‘, how many were not seen and as thus not considered? Did David Cox consider that? 

Perhaps he did and perhaps he did not, as such we see a different stage, there is only so much that a person can watch and there is the discrimination, only those we see get considered, it is not based on colour or faith, it is for many merely the limitation of time to the equation. And that gets us to the BBC gem “The assumption should be that Bafta voters are knowledgeable and curious and above being swayed by the big movies with the big stars and the big marketing budgets. The implication from Berry suggests otherwise.” I believe that this is the issue that we currently face. 

It was still good to read the point of view that David Cox gave us, but I do not believe it to be correct, or at least it is inaccurate. The BBC gives us the goods that have the impact we need to consider and I got there even before I read the BBC article. Even as people like Steve McQueen states that there is a risk if talent is not recognised, we need to consider that the amount of movies made largely outstips the ability to see them, to see all the movies of 2019 I would have to watch 2 movies on most days and remember them all in the end, I wonder how many are up to that task, as such the stage that the Duke of Cambridge brings has a larger footing and becomes a truth by itself “In 2020, and not for the first time in the last few years, we find ourselves talking again about the need to do more about diversity in the sector and in the awards process. That simply cannot be right in this day and age.” In this the Duke was correct and David Cox was wrong, the mere acceptance of one element and the direct impact of simple metrics brought this to the surface and I am a little surprised that David overlooked this, I wonder how many movies he watched for the 2019 election and which ones they were.

Perhaps he saw them all, perhaps not, I cannot tell and when we look at that part especially in light of what was ‘screened at British cinemas‘, will we see a dissenting voice of titles that were overlooked or forgotten about?

 

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Just like in the movies

Steven Soderbergh made an interesting gamble in 2011, he took a collection of all cast stars and wrote about a fictive disease and the issues that the would would have dealing with it. Today less than 10 years later we see ‘death toll jumps to 170 amid evacuation delays for foreign nationals‘, as well as ‘returning Britons could be kept in quarantine for 14 days‘ and many more. This morning I saw a staggering amount of people with face masks. All fearing what could come next. Steven Soderbergh was an optimist. 

Frances Mao (BBC, https://www.bbc.com/news/world-asia-china-51290312) writes “For over a week now, the Australians trapped in Wuhan – many of them children – have been calling on their government to help get them out. But the announcement of a two-week quarantine on Christmas Island have given many pause for thought.” It is a nasty thing, especially for Australians and their view (as well as the UN view) on Christmas Island, a place where you go when you stop believing in any form of Christmas. 

For the UK (the Guardian) we see “Planners earlier looked at holding returnees at a hotel or military base. But, after an emergency Cobra meeting on Wednesday afternoon chaired by the health secretary, Matt Hancock, it is understood that they will be flown into RAF Brize Norton in Oxfordshire and taken to an NHS facility to be monitored and treated if symptoms develop“, the issue is not who gets treated and who gets flagged, the issue is actually all the people who circumvent the flags and who avoid scruples as they claim that they are not sick. In this case it is a much larger issue, most people become spreaders even before they realise that they are sick and that is a decently rare occurrence in medical matters. The fact that we saw Yesterday ‘The death toll from the virus has risen to 170‘ is only part of the problem. The optional fact that we see less than an hour ago the simplified facts that ‘the number of infections jumped by nearly 30 percent‘ as well as ‘China Now Has More Cases Than It Had of SARS‘ (source: NY Times) implies that it will not merely hit healthy people, it will be the foundation of fear mongering, which the movie Contagion showed was counterproductive.

And my case of ‘the people who circumvent the flags‘ was not academic, Japan reported 30 minutes ago that they had 11 cases, so how long until that one person overlooked has infected their whole neighbourhood? The issue is not fear mongering or academic, there is every chance that this is happening and there will be a larger issue following that. CNN gave a link to the Coronavirus map in China and it shows that it is confirmed in 20 locations ALL OVER China. This implies that there are in addition to this at least 5 more locations unconfirmed and optionally a dozen cases on the run (read: travelling) with no indications where to and how many that they will infect. And even as most will herald the Johns Hopkins University’s Center for Systems Science and Engineering for this map, how many are afraid to be on this map? Because their fear will propel the disease to healthy regions. It is hard to continue because of the fear that I become the fearmonger. I also want to be clear that my response is not as a critique on the China’s National Health Commission or the CCDC. the fact that we were seeing 6,000 cases (infected) on Wednesday and that we see a global number that surpasses 7,800 cases one day later gives rise to the thoughts I am having. Now we need to be certain that we also accept that there will be a percentage which are false positives, those with a normal flu, giving rise to a larger boost to the numbers. Even as I accept that this percentage is not to be speculated upon and that we need to be savvy of all cases, there is still a growing chance that people avoided being flagged and flew just before the curtain thinking that they were clear and that they would deal with their flu over the weekend. That is the stage we need to fear and the escalation of thousands of cases. 

Even now as we are told that Tibet has its first case, how many did this person infect? We see countries and numbers, but the truth is that there are cases in Hong Kong, the United States, Taiwan, Australia, Macau, Singapore, South Korea, Malaysia, Japan, France, Germany, Canada, Vietnam, Nepal, Cambodia, Finland, Sri Lanka and the United Arab Emirates. Each country where one person stated ‘Not me, I merely have a cold‘, that person will infect dozens more each day. That is how a pandemic starts. Let’s be clear, the term pandemic means an epidemic of disease that has spread across a large region (including multiple continents). In support we should also see that  a widespread endemic disease that is stable in terms of how many people are getting sick from it is not a pandemic. With the Coronavirus, there is still no vaccine, there is no cure and its growth is almost like wildfire because of panicking people getting away from this disease whilst they spread it, most importantly they were carriers even before they were sick, so fear was not the instigator. In all this there is one additional fact that the New York Times gave us “Taiwan, Germany, Vietnam and Japan had patients that had not been to China“, which gives rise to the fact that unflagged people were involved, or even scarier, as this started with animals, we need to consider that the issue is larger than we thought. It needs to be clear that this Coronavirus is NOT new, it was discovered half a century ago but in all these cases, it was animals that infected humans. In several cases we see the fingers pointed at the Huanan Seafood Wholesale Market, yet Science Magazine published on the 26th (Jon Cohen) that ‘Wuhan seafood market may not be source of novel virus spreading globally‘, there we see “a description of the first clinical cases published in The Lancet on Friday challenges that hypothesis” this comes from a large group of Chinese researchers and here we see “In the earliest case, the patient became ill on 1 December 2019 and had no reported link to the seafood market, the authors report. “No epidemiological link was found between the first patient and later cases,” they state. Their data also show that, in total, 13 of the 41 cases had no link to the marketplace“, and here we see that Daniel Lucey, an infectious disease specialist at Georgetown University seems to agree with the assessment, 13 out of 41 is too large a group to ignore. In my personal view it is not impossible that there is a covariant, if we consider that spreading happened before the personal marie celeste’s realised that they were sick, would it be possible that a busdriver was the link that was missing?

And it is here that we see the part where I went for and Science Magazine (at https://www.sciencemag.org/news/2020/01/wuhan-seafood-market-may-not-be-source-novel-virus-spreading-globally) gives us “the virus possibly spread silently between people in Wuhan—and perhaps elsewhere—before the cluster of cases from the city’s now-infamous Huanan Seafood Wholesale Market was discovered in late December“. A silent interference on data. When we realise this we need to consider and agree that this is not fear mongering, it is almost hard chiseled facts that lead us here and as such watching the movie Contagion a little late is not the worst idea to have. 

And it is that same magazine that gives us another part “Earlier reports from Chinese health authorities and the World Health Organization had said the first patient had onset of symptoms on 8 December 2019—and those reports simply said “most” cases had links to the seafood market, which was closed on 1 January” a situation that slowly took hold all over the world and this is the stage we now have and whilst officials are all about positive influence and flying home the ‘healthy’ people, they will optionally be the group spreading a much larger foundation of the disease. I say optionally, because there are clear foundations for testing, yet it is Bin Cao of Capital Medical University,a pulmonary specialist, wrote ““Now It seems clear that [the] seafood market is not the only origin of the virus,” he wrote. “But to be honest, we still do not know where the virus came from now.”” and there is the killer in all this ‘we still do not know‘ in a stage where we are given ‘a common source—as early as 1 October 2019‘ that is the foundation that eludes many of us and in hindsight when we consider the international infected, how many escaped a flagged view and how many did they infect? That is the question that officials need to have (and they might), yet we do not know and whilst we are all about ‘How can UK citizens leave Wuhan amid the coronavirus outbreak‘ yet the damage is optionally already done.

I do believe that there is no solution in fearing and burning at the stake anyone who has a cold (I have a cold at the present) yet the foundation of fear must be stopped in any way we can. For the simple reason that ‘My anxiety is increasing day by day‘ is not merely a Wuhanian expression, it is soon optionally to be a global one until we can give rise to clarity on where the disease is and until the vaccine is ready, the bulk of all people will be gripped by fear, just like in the movies.

 

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