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Wednesday 03 December 2014

James Blunt's Record Label Tells Him to Stop Tweeting
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James Blunt may have apologized for his most famous hit, but his never back down attitude on Twitter made his record label nervous enough to ask him to stop tweeting.



The "You're Beautiful" singer revealed to the Radio Times that he only went on Twitter in the first place at the behest of Atlantic Records who felt he needed to raise his profile.

“My record label signed me up to Twitter. It’s not something I would choose to be on because I think it's remarkable that in this day and age we allow people to voice their opinions as if they were fact, and the fact that people take it seriously is remarkable,” he said.

Blunt says Atlantic wanted him to promote himself, his albums and his tours but he was struck by the level of vitriol he found on Twitter and the level of importance society now attaches to Tweeted opinions.

"I went on there I saw how people could be quite abusive -- not just to me but to everyone online -- and I was amazed that I even considered taking it seriously. What happens on Twitter makes the news, you see articles about what people say on Twitter and that is a madness. And [that is] someone’s opinion voiced in their bedroom, feeling confident in their bedroom, probably with their trousers round their ankles while they write five nasty words to someone and yet we give that person the time of day."

Blunt was the brunt of particular abuse, but the ex-soldier took it in his stride, preferring instead to make fun of the abusers, poke fun of himself and reveal how ridiculous the whole thing was. “I thought 'I am not going to take that seriously; I am going to laugh at them and I am going to laugh at myself.'"

Blunt's Twitter comebacks have drawn praise from unexpected places, including comedian Ricky Gervais, but Atlantic weren't so keen on his frank rebuttals. "So as soon as I was on Twitter I started doing that. My record label immediately asked me to stop as it opened Pandora’s box."

Despite Atlantic's pleas, Blunt is continuing to take on the Twitter trolls and continuing to win grudging admiration from the unlikeliest of people.


Posted by: warchilin66
on 2018


CIA Admits Role In 1985 Coup To Oust David Lee Roth
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CIA agents reportedly seeded false information in Rolling Stone and other media outlets to convince the public that Roth was toppled solely by his bandmates in a bloodless revolt.



LANGLEY, VA—Shedding new light on a tumultuous period of upheaval that dominated international headlines nearly 30 years ago, the U.S. government declassified hundreds of documents Tuesday that confirm the CIA covertly organized and executed the coup that ousted lead singer David Lee Roth from Van Halen.

According to a preliminary analysis, the newly released information includes more than 1,600 pages of formerly top-secret material detailing the CIA’s clandestine plot to infiltrate the platinum-selling rock group and unseat the magnetic, impulsive musician from his leadership position in the spring of 1985. The documents reveal that the agency worked behind the scenes for years, beginning after the release of the disco-inflected “Push Comes To Shove” single in 1981, to foment the internal turmoil and unrest needed to destabilize the band and ultimately force Roth to step down from the American heavy metal act.

“As Van Halen’s creative direction became uncertain in the early 1980s, it became increasingly apparent that we would have to take the steps necessary to remove Roth from power,” said former Deputy Director of Central Intelligence John N. McMahon, describing the covert process by which he and his colleagues quietly forced a schism between the vocalist and members of the band’s inner circle in order to disrupt the dangerous cult of personality that had taken hold around the hard-rock frontman. “Well before the commencement of the Hide Your Sheep Tour, Roth had become too unpredictable, too brazen, and he was preventing the band’s sound from moving toward synthesizer-driven, radio-friendly rock. So, we felt we needed to act, and quickly.”

“Quite simply, our office determined that Roth was no longer fit to exercise control over Van Halen, and that his aspirations for the band were not aligned with the best interests of the American people,” he continued.

Dubbed Operation Diamond Cutter by the select top-ranking CIA administrators who orchestrated the plot, the confidential initiative reportedly sought to quietly undermine Roth’s influence within Van Halen and replace him with Sammy Hagar, a charismatic but largely inert puppet leader who agency officials were confident would be easily manipulated once installed atop the iconic rock group.

The CIA confirmed that it was able to exploit preexisting strains in the band by capitalizing on internal concerns over Roth’s long-term musical ambitions following the release of his solo EP, as well as pent-up tensions that had simmered for years after the lukewarm commercial and critical reception of Van Halen’s Fair Warning album. Additionally, American intelligence operatives succeeded in enlisting Roth’s manager and utilizing the double agent to convince his client that relinquishing his position would allow him to pursue what was portrayed as a budding and potentially prosperous film career.

“Based on the things we heard coming out of Van Halen’s studio at the time, we were given authorization from the highest levels of government to seek every possible avenue to subvert Roth’s command,” said one CIA operative speaking on condition of anonymity, claiming that the agency recruited and trained numerous groupies and entourage members to ply longtime Roth ally Alex Van Halen with alcohol in order to ensure that he was in no state to oppose the takeover. “Had we not moved when we did, there’s no telling what kind of detrimental effect Roth would have had on the band’s move into more mainstream pop territory and the state of rock music as a whole. We saw the opportunity to remove this uncontrollable megalomaniac from power while safeguarding the American people from his potent influence, and we seized it.”

“The last thing we wanted was to have another ‘Panama’ on our hands,” he added.

As revealed by the CIA, prior to Roth’s successful ouster from the group, the agency also funneled hundreds of thousands of dollars in untraceable funds through intermediaries to bankroll the production and distribution of such incendiary works as VOA and the “I Can’t Drive 55” single in order to bolster Hagar’s profile in the eyes of the band’s supporters.

Despite the prevalence of critics who question the legitimacy of the post-Roth Van Halen regime, McMahon said that he has “no regrets whatsoever” about the agency’s false flag mission.

“Overthrowing Roth was a risky, highly controversial maneuver, but I believe that history will justify our actions,” McMahon said, acknowledging that the coup ultimately proved ineffectual, as the vocalist’s departure merely ushered in a series of decreasingly competent replacements, culminating in Roth reclaiming his seat of power long after the band had ceased to have an impact in the international community. “This was a self-aggrandizing degenerate who needed to be toppled in order to bring stability to the band’s direction. We did what needed to be done.”

“That being said, none of us could possibly have foreseen that For Unlawful Carnal Knowledge would indirectly result from our actions,” he added, solemnly shaking his head.

Posted by: warchilin66
on 2018

Sunday 23 November 2014

Think You Drink a Lot?
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Think You Drink a Lot?


Granted the topic isn't specifically business related -- although I could argue that since work is part of life and therefore anything lifestyle-related is relevant -- but the findings of this study are too amazing not to share.

I promise you'll say, "Wait … what?!"

First there was a pretty dry (intentional, albeit weak, pun) survey on alcohol consumption in the U.S. conducted by the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism. Then Philip Cook performed a little data analysis, broke down alcohol consumption per week into deciles, and voila! dull is now fascinating. (For more info and a handy chart check out Christopher Ingraham's article in The Washington Post.)

Let's check out Philip's results:
•The bottom three deciles, or 30% of Americans, say they don't drink at all. That figure could be a little high since some people probably say they don't drink but occasionally do … but let's go with it.
•The fourth decile consumes .02 drinks per week. Since it's likely no one is doing shots from eyedroppers that's about a drink a year. (Birthday? New Years?)
•The fifth decile consumes .14 drinks per week. That's about seven drinks a year. Maybe that office party you're forced to attend and try to make the best of. (Or am I the only one who has done that?)
•The sixth decile consumes .63 drinks per week. We're still only up to a little over half a drink a week, or 32 drinks a year.

That means 60% of Americans age 18 and over consumer half a drink or less a week. Surprising? (It was to me; based on the relative footprint of the beer and wine section at the grocery store I assumed the number would be higher.)

Now it gets more interesting:
•The seventh decile consumes 2.17 drinks per week. More, sure, but not a lot. If the activities depicted in the average beer commercial are any indication that means people are climbing mountains, surfing, riding the range, or hanging with their best buds at low-key yet somehow super cool places once or twice a week.
•The eighth decile consumes 6.25 drinks per week. Finally we're close to a drink a day or a fair number of drinks on weekends. If you have a nightly glass of wine or beer you're in the top 30% of adults in terms of alcohol consumption. While one drink a day isn't much -- especially since some health experts say a glass of red wine a day can reduce the risk of heart disease -- that still means this decile drinks more than 70% of Americans.
•The ninth decile consumes 15.28 drinks per week. Two drinks a day, top 20% in terms of alcohol consumption. If this is you, you're knocking on the door of the top 10%.

But let's say you've never met a list you didn't try to top and your goal is to break into the tenth decile so you can be in the top 10% of American drinkers.

Here's what it takes to join that club:
•The tenth decile consumes 73.85 drinks per week. Yep. Over 73 drinks a week. That's 10 drinks a day. Forget a glass or two of wine with dinner; you need to drink roughly two bottles of wine with dinner. Forget a couple of beers; you need to pound down close to a 12-pack of beer every day to qualify. (Tell me your bladder -- and your wallet -- aren't cringing at the thought.)

Some basic conclusions:
•The median consumption is 3 drinks per week among those who do drink (tossing out the 30% who don't drink at all.) That means...
•The top 10% of drinkers account for more than half of all alcohol consumed in the U.S. And that means...
•According to Cook, "... the heaviest drinkers are of greatly disproportionate importance to the sales and profitability of the alcoholic beverage industry. If the top decile could be induced to curb their consumption to that of the next lower group (the ninth decile) then total ethanol sales would fall by 60%."

Maybe you're not surprised by the last point; power users are critical to the health of many businesses. The top 20 to 30% of purchasers/users often generate 70 to 80% of sales for many products/services. So it makes some sense that "power drinkers" make up such a huge proportion of alcohol sales.

But still. One out of ten adults consume more than 10 drinks a day? (Take that, D. Draper and R. Sterling.)

Please note I'm in no way judging. I don't care how much anyone drinks. Whether people drink, or how much they drink, is definitely their business.

I just think it's amazing how important the top 10% of drinkers are to the alcoholic beverage industry, and how big the jump in consumption is between the 80th percentile and the 90th.

Posted by: Slinger
on 2018


Forbes Magazine of Sustainability
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Forbes Magazine of Sustainability


Greetings,

I want to start a yearly magazine publication that will spotlight manufacturing firms worldwide that are "sustainability champions." I need volunteer collaborators, preferably relevant organization(s), to help with organizing and mobilizing resources. My sustainability criteria are based on the principles of the biosphere - five of them used by the biosphere to sustain life in all its diverse and complex glory.


The five principles are readily applicable to manufacturing firms because on the surface, the biosphere is a mighty manufacturing enterprise. However, since sustainability is crucial in all sectors, I wish to extend these principles to other sectors as well. Thus, these principles would need to be adapted to other sectors' contexts. Therefore, the first step would be this adapting. We could spotlight only manufacturing firms for a start, and include other sectors in subsequent editions.

The goal is to demonstrate that sustainability pays: It has economic benefit. The target is to identify the "Stars," "Super Stars," and "Five Stars," among manufacturing firms (and firms in other sectors) world wide. The firms could be small, medium, or large. There are five sustainability criteria, a firm needs to meet three of them, including recycling, to qualify as a "Star." The aim is to have five Stars, two Super Stars, and one Five Star every year, depending on whether three, four, or five of the criteria, respectively, are met. The Stars and Super Stars could be less. Also, it's possible not to find any Five Star at all in a given year (but hopefully this would not happen).

The Sustainability criteria are:

1). Simple and Non-toxic materials

2). Power Autonomy

3). Recycling

4). Knowledge Economics

5). Providence

In order to make the publication realistic (and not another lofty green activism), the sustainability measures must also improve the bottom-line of a prospective star (else, the firm would not be considered). Also, there has to be healthy work culture in place

I believe this much info. suffices for now. If any organization is interested, we will discuss further and I will elaborate on my plans for the publication.

The publication would be to sustainability what Forbes Magazine is to entrepreneurs.

I would also greatly appreciate referrals to organizations that are both relevant and interested.

Best regards,

Tobechi Okwuonu, Founder,
Venture Cell Business Services,
Regina, Canada,

Copyright @ 2014 Tobechi Okwuonu, Venture Cell Business Services. All Rights Reserved.

Posted by: Ken
on 2018

Friday 14 November 2014

ROAD TRIP
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Think you've been on some epic road trips? You've got nothing on Google: the Mountain View company just announced that it's taking a 3G-equipped bus on a year-long tour of Bangladesh. The program, simply dubbed "Google Bus Bangladesh," is an educational initiative that aims to expose 500,000 students to new tools and web applications that can help them start new businesses. The bus will visit over 500 campuses (at 35 locations) over the next 12-months to lead short seminars and teach students how to use their new schools on the Android platform. Locals seem excited, and have already taken to the Bus' Google Plus page to make sure their school is a part of the tour -- and to share pictures of the internet-connected bus en route, of course.
Posted by: Ken
on 2018

Thursday 13 November 2014

DRONE ! The flying robot-cameras
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The flying robot-cameras represent a huge savings for production – seven companies are FAA approved

Hollywood is facing the attack of the drones.

The first FAA-approved flight with a drone lifted off earlier this week in the hills of Pasadena and now everyone from major studio executives to indie producers have their eyes trained upward to be next in the air.

“It's been overwhelming,” said Tony Carmean, partner and producer at Aerial MOB, which conducted the historic drone flight to shoot an Acura commercial. “Just in the last two weeks we've met with Sony, we've met with Warner Bros. – we've met with probably half of the major studios. The other studios are just a matter of arranging time.”


Also read: YouTube's 25 Biggest Stars (Photos)


For filmmakers, drones are a cool new tool. But drones also represent a huge cost savings for productions that are seeking images from on high, as low as a third of the cost of traditional transport like helicopters.

Seven companies have been approved to use drones in movie, television and advertising production. In addition to Aerial MOB, Astraeus Aerial, Snaproll Media, Vortex Aerial, Pictorvision, HeliVideo Productions and Flying-Cam now have the right to use drones for films, TV and commercials on closed sets.



Video provided by Vortex Aerial

“Sony opened up Soundstage 20 on their lot where we came in and did a demonstration for not only the production safety folks but also for the production people. Up to this point they haven't been able to use this technology,” Carmean said.

“I've done 10 quotes for feature films this month,” he noted.


Also read: Filmmakers Get FAA Approval for Drones to Hit Skies


While filming with drones was legal in other countries and was used on productions such as “Skyfall” and “Harry Potter,” the FAA prohibited the use of drones for commercial U.S. filming until the ban was lifted in September. The government agency is still scrutinizing the process.

“The FAA was on site,” said Carmean regarding the Acura shoot. “We sat down with them for two hours and went over our paperwork that we had to file with the FAA in D.C. and it was meticulous. And then they stayed on set watching us perform what we do. They walked away saying ‘we really have no issues at all.'”

But even though the FAA said “all clear” the major film studios are moving cautiously.

“At that level I think it's going to be a little bit slow development. No doubt they're very excited by it,” Carmean said. “But as a studio they're legal exposure is a lot greater than a small production company. Their lawyers would not let them touch the technology until it was deemed safe by the FAA.”


Also read: Disney Files Patents for Use of Theme Park Drones


Considerations regarding the unions is one of the issues at hand.

“Not only are our phones ringing off the hooks for jobs from potential clients, but also people wanting to work for us,” said Carmean. “People at the union level, local 600 and local 80, they're being very open. They've made it very appealing to be in the union. But there's a lot of little details going on behind the scenes that have to be figured out. That's why the delay in the movie stuff. But I'm thinking in the next 30 days it's going to pick up in a big way.”

Drone
Photo Credit: Tony Carmean

For their part, the leadership at International Cinematographers Guild is excited by the potential of filming with drones.

“I can go back in my filmography and say, wow if I'd only had a drone here,” Guild President Steven Poster told TheWrap. “They're an exciting possibility for visual storytelling. It's always terrific to get a new tool like that.”

So what has Hollywood flying high on drones? Savings.

Drone V. Helicopter

The day rate for a helicopter can range from $20,000 to $40,000 with crew. Operating a drone with crew can cut costs down to a rate that ranges between $9,000 to $15,000, according to Carmean. Elements that affect drone day rates pends the camera, aircraft, crew and location.

“The possibility of making shots that you couldn't do before is extremely exciting. A director and a director of photography can say I want this shot in a movie and we can get it without a helicopter,” said Poster.

“The insurance; it's a lot cheaper to insure a 25-pound drone than it is to insure a three-ton helicopter,” Chris Schuster, CEO and lead drone pilot at Vortex Aerial told TheWrap.

Drone Ocean
Photo Credit: Tony Carmean

Productions can also cut costs by staying local.


Also read: 'RoboCop' Director Jose Padilha on Sony's Politicized Remake: 'It's About Drones'


“There's been productions that have gone outside the country specifically for the use of drones. Now they won't have to do that,” said Carmean.

The drone crew's speed and nimbleness are assets as well, they often operate with a team of two to four members.

“We have a very small footprint that's very efficient. We work very fast and production just loves that,” said Schuster. ”They want to get in and get their shots and move on to the next item.”

And the drone can help eliminate multiple setups during the shoot day.

“A lot of people think when they think drones of the big, wide aerial shots,” said Carmean. “That's not the beauty of what this offers. The beauty is low-altitude cinematography. Think of that space in-between jibs and full-sized aircraft. There's a big area that's not covered. We're able to do that. In a lot of ways we can replace dollies, jibs and cranes.”

Still, it may take a year or so before the industry figures out when to use the new technology.

“It's like when the Steadicam came out, everybody wanted to use it for everything,” said Poster. ”I guarantee you that probably within the next year somebody is going to try and do an entire movie on a drone. But eventually it will become just the right tool for the right job.”

Posted by: Slinger
on 2018


UK NEWS !!
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More UK viewers are choosing to access VOD content on their main TV rather than laptops, tablets or other multiscreen devices thanks to the impact of connected TV devices. The trend is partly thanks to connected TV services like Now TV from Sky (which comes with its own attractively priced Roku-style streaming set-top device for delivering online video to the television set) and partly thanks to the aggressive roll-out of Internet connected boxes from all Pay TV providers in the UK and an increase in TV-based support for content subscription services (e.g. you can sign-up to a subscription VOD service and then access it through an app on what would once have been called a ‘traditional’ TV platform and is now a hybrid broadcast/streaming platform).

The impact of connected TV devices on VOD viewing has been highlighted by figures from the latest Mediabug tracker. This is a bi-annual survey of 3,000 UK consumers maintained by the research firm Decipher. Pointing to more TV-based support for content subscription services, the company notes that YouView recently joined Virgin Media offering Netflix and EE has joined the market with their EE TV box, containing support for catch-up services and subscription content from Wuaki.

Mediabug Wave 5 (the latest survey results) show that both PCs and tablets lost share of online VOD viewing (5% and 2% respectively) while Apple TV (+1%), Now TV (+1%), Chromecast (+1%) and Smart TVs (+2%) all saw an increase in share of viewing. Dr. Hamish McPharlin, Director of Decipher Media Research declares: ‘Our findings really show how TV connected devices are making their mark.” McPharlin adds that, right now, it is the main TV that is attracting the VOD usage from these devices, as that is where the connected set-top boxes are located. He reckons secondary TVs (like in the kitchen) do have a role to play in the migration of VOD from portable devices (e.g. tablets, PC) to the television screen but not enough of them are connected at this stage. “In 18 months or so, it could be a different story,” he suggests.

Decipher declares: “Mediabug consistently demonstrates that despite the popularity of handheld devices, video consumption is enjoyed mainly in the home. What we are seeing is a realisation of the desire to enjoy video consumption, from an increasing number of sources, on the best screen in the house’.

Some operators have been reporting that tablets are increasingly being treated as a substitute for a secondary television once they have offered multiscreen services. Based on all the Decipher research (and not just the latest Mediabug tracker), does McPharlin think secondary televisions (connected or not connected) will be made redundant by video on handhelds? “Our data is not yet conclusive on whether tablets or secondary TVs would ‘win’ a battle of the second screen. I believe that both will continue to have a role, particularly as it appears that TV operators such as Sky and Virgin will continue to develop the technology in their set-top boxes to reach out to both types of devices in the home.”

One impact that tablets are having, confirmed by Decipher’s consumer research, is an increase in television viewing at the expense of other media. “Our research indicates that tablets, rather than taking up TV viewing time [from a television screen], are taking up the time of other activities, such as book reading,” McPharlin reveals. “Many times we have observed that consumers have developed a behaviour of watching a programme on their tablet in bed before turning the light out. Previously they would have spent this time reading a chapter of a book. Secondary screens and tablets simply enable more scenarios and more rooms to be activated to viewing, whether planned or unplanned.”

The Mediabug Wave 5 data has good news for BSkyB, finding that when it comes to watching video, its Now TV boxes are the most frequently used OTT boxes in the UK. 20% of Now TV owners use their boxes daily. Now TV “continues a steady rise in subscriptions, adding 1.2% [in the last six months] to finish with 4% of online homes”. To put that in context, Netflix also continued its strong growth, mostly amongst Pay TV homes, and has added another 3% of UK online homes, bringing it to a total of 16%. Amazon Prime is now in 7% of online homes.

Meanwhile Sky On Demand is the most prevalent connected TV VOD service overall, helped by the fact that 29% of online UK homes now have a Sky+HD box [satellite broadcast, DVR, Internet connection] and that figure is up 3% in the six months since the last survey. As a result, 21% of online UK homes are connected to Sky on Demand. Meanwhile, Smart TVs are in 24% of UK online homes, with 19% of online homes using a Smart TV that is actually connected (this figure has been growing steadily for a number of years).
Mediabug also shows that those who use Smart TVs for VOD have a high frequency of usage, showing that they have a high satisfaction rate.

Posted by: Slinger
on 2018


HOLLYWOOD NEWS !!!!
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Chris Strompolos and Eric Zala had dreamed about the Flying Wing airplane since 1981, the summer the two middle schoolers saw its propellers shred the head off a German muscleman in Raiders of the Lost Ark. Thirty-three years later, they built it: a 78-foot-long, 4½-ton, gray-green beast that loomed like a frozen vulture midflight. It was the world's only full-scale replica of the Flying Wing. And now they had to blow it up. "I feel kind of sick," Strompolos sighs. "But it has to be done — and it has to be done for real."

After three decades, they were finally wrapping the longest film shoot in history.

As children in Mississippi, Chris and Eric had made a pact. They'd film a shot-for-shot remake of Raiders of the Lost Ark. Chris, a chipper, chubby idea guy, would star; Eric, who at 11 was the older and steadier of the two, would direct. They bought a spiral notebook and filled it with sketches and plans. Chris titled it Raiders of the Lost Ark: Kids Version. Then he scribbled out the second half and wrote The New Version. Age would not be a factor.

"We didn't want it to look cute, we didn't want it to be 'Aw, that's adorable,' " Eric says. "We wanted it to be good."

The boys thought filming would take a summer. It took eight years.

The first summer, they storyboarded and gathered props: a jacket, a hat, a whip. The second summer, they got a camera, found a Marion, enlisted cameraman and effects wizard Jayson Lamb — a classmate hired after he MacGyvered a passable corpse from Brillo pads, caulk and brown paint — and shot the opening jungle scene and the flaming bar fight.

Just before school started, crises struck: Eric's parents announced they were getting a divorce, their Marion announced she was moving to Alaska, and Jayson realized he'd screwed up the camcorder settings and burned a tiny A into the corner of the frame.

Summer three, they started over.

When Raiders needed a monkey, they used Chris' dog, Snickers. When they needed a new Marion, they wooed a pretty girl from church to give up her summers and hang with the geeks. (Says Chris, "I thought she was cool because she smoked cigarettes. Capri Lights.") She was Chris' first kiss and they flirted until she ditched him for an extra playing a Nazi. When they needed an Egyptian tomb, they stenciled hieroglyphics in Eric's basement. When the script called for a bar fire, they poured 36 bottles of rubbing alcohol on themselves and the cellar walls and lit a match. (That move got production grounded for a year.)

Eric, who doubled as the opportunistic French archaeologist Belloq, singed his hair. Before shooting wrapped, he'd also broken an arm and been rushed to the hospital after Jayson used industrial plaster to make a mold of his face. (The ER doctors had to break him out with sledgehammers and chain saws.)

Astonishingly, Chris completed the film unscathed — a wonder, given that he did every one of Indiana Jones' stunts without Harrison Ford's innate athleticism (or four stunt doubles).

"I'm a stubby Greek guy, and he's an angular, 6-foot, 1-inch movie star," Strompolos admits today. But in front of the cameras he was a natural, his puppy fat balanced out by his strong jawline, loose grace and total commitment.

"For Chris, it was wanting to be Indiana Jones and saving the girl. For me, it was, 'OK, what would a shot-for-shot remake of Raiders of the Lost Ark look like?' " Eric says. "Tracing the footsteps of the master — what a great learning tool."

The boys built giant test boulders from papier-mâché, chicken wire, bamboo sticks and a giant cable spool, until they figured out Fiberglas was best. They filmed scenes in alleys and dirt quarries and alligator-infested rivers, enlisted every neighborhood kid they knew as an extra, dragged Chris behind a truck, and rigged their own explosives from gunpowder Jayson bought at Mom and Pop's General Store and Gun Shop, even though he was so short he could barely reach over the counter. After a three-year letter-writing campaign, they even convinced a naval captain to loan them a battleship and submarine.

It sounds like fun, and sometimes it was. More often, it was stressful.

"I was haunted by a sense of dread," Eric recalls. " 'None of this counts if we don't finish.' "

When they edited the footage during the graveyard shift at the local news station, where Chris' mother was a news anchor, they made peace with the way that the actors had visibly skipped in age with each scene change: 13 to 17 to 16 to 14. It was as though Indy were leaping in and out of a wormhole. It would have to do.

Still, the most amazing thing about Raiders: The Adaptation isn't that the friends conceived of it. It's that they completed it.

Almost.

They couldn't get a plane.

Without one, Eric and Chris were forced to leave out Raiders of the Lost Ark's six-minute, most complicated action scene. It goes like this: Indiana Jones and Marion break out of an archaeological site called the Well of Souls, where they've been left to rot by the Nazis. Jones spots a Nazi plane — the Flying Wing — and guesses the Ark of the Covenant is aboard. He conks a mechanic and wearily boxes a second, shirtless, macho man.

Screenshot from the original Raiders of the Lost Ark airplane fight scene Screenshot from the original Raiders of the Lost Ark airplane fight scene

Meanwhile, Marion gets trapped inside the cockpit while the plane starts spinning in circles. Soldiers attack. Marion machine-guns them down, punctures a fuel truck and accidentally ignites a barrel of dynamite. As fire crawls toward the plane, Indiana Jones is knocked to the ground just before a propeller grinds up the German's head. Jones frees Marion and the two heroes sprint to safety as the Flying Wing explodes.

Even if they could have borrowed a plane, what madman would have let children blow it sky-high?

Jayson suggested they use miniatures. Eric, a literalist, refused. If Spielberg had used a real plane, so would they.

Then they realized a weakness in the script. Narratively, the Flying Wing scene was pointless. The Ark was never on the plane. Indiana Jones and Marion had murdered a dozen people for no reason at all. In fact, Raiders: The Adaptation could cut from the Well of Souls escape to Jones chasing down the Ark on horseback without missing a beat.

The young filmmakers wrapped without it. By then, the high school seniors were barely speaking, thanks to a fight over a girl and the sense that the whole thing was kind of embarrassing. They left Mississippi for college and moved on with their lives.

Eventually, Chris and Eric both wound up in L.A. Strompolos formed a rock band and lost much of his 20s to meth; Zala became a manager at a video game company. Raiders was a goof, a childhood fixation stashed away on a VHS tape, given no more importance than the Ark itself, left languishing in a warehouse at the end of the real movie. Their film remained forgotten for 25 years.

Posted by: Slinger
on 2018


FOR WINNERS ONLY !!!
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Is planning really necessary? Yes. And no.

Yes, because everything you do must have a plan. Particularly if you’re running a business. You can’t just make an investment or jump into a new project without a reason. You have to have a long-term objective in mind and a plan for achieving that objective. Smart business people always have plans. They hate surprises. They want to make sure they’ve thought through all the options. But planning only goes so far. At some point, you’re going to have to actually execute and take a chance.

Related: Taking Stock of Feelings to Make Business Decisions

Take, for example, Greg Koch, the co-founder and CEO of California-based Stone Brewing Company. Koch and his partner started the company back in 1996 and have grown it to around 900 employees. They’ve certainly benefited from the recent wave of popularity for micro breweries around the country, something that no one could have planned. A few years ago, Koch decided to expand to Europe and become among the first, if not the first, American micro breweries to do so. So he made his plans.

Koch hired a business-development person whose sole job was to find the right place for the company’s first European operations. Over a four-year period they visited, together and separately, over 130 sites in nine countries. They solicited local search firms and consultants in the process. They met with regional authorities, ate unfamiliar foods, watched bad TV and sat on airplanes for hundreds of hours.

Ultimately, the company settled on the perfect place: a historical building right smack in the center of Berlin, Germany. Koch doesn’t speak German. He’s only been to Berlin a few times. But work is already underway. People are being hired. Millions are being spent. The facility, a combination brewery and restaurant, is expected to be up and running by the end of 2015.

This is a big move for any company. And such a significant investment must have taken a lot of planning, right? Of course. But the actual decision to pull the trigger? That was nothing more than, well, a hunch.

“Analysis can be a great thing,” Koch tells me. “But in the end you have to go with your gut.”

Sure, he’s been running his micro brewery for almost two decades, but he claims he’s no beer-industry expert.

Related: Richard Branson on Envisioning Your Business's Future

“Market studies are a waste of time,” he says. “Focus groups and surveys and public opinions may be OK for some but not for my business.”

There’s no data to support whether Koch will succeed in Germany. In the end he’s taking a leap of faith. He’s relying on his instincts. He’s taking a risk. And this is what successful entrepreneurs do -- they plan and then they just execute.

Koch knows he could be wrong. He’s made plenty of mistakes in the past. But luckily, nothing too large. He’s taking a big risk on the Berlin location, but he’s not betting the farm. No smart business owner would do that.

“Planning is important," he says. "But in the end, it’s tenacity, force of will, intelligence and a little bit of luck that makes the difference.”

He’s right. Planning is important. But some business owners can never seem to get past the planning stage. They analyze. They research. They pore over the numbers. They hem. They haw. They try to consider all the angles, all the potential problems. And, in many cases, this just becomes counter-productive.

People who grow their companies are taking risks all the time. They’re thinking, they’re getting data where they can, they’re analyzing -- but in the end they execute. And they know they’re doing so without all the information they need. But that’s OK. In the end it’s instinct. It’s a feeling. It’s a gamble. And no amount of planning will make up for that.

Posted by: Patty Pinkstaff
on 2018


Money for start ups !!
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Todd Spangler

NY Digital Editor

@xpangler


Scopely, a mobile-gaming network, has raised $35 million in Series A financing led by Evolution Media Partners and Highland Capital Partners as the startup eyes expanding deals with Hollywood players.

Evolution Media Partners is a joint venture of TPG Growth, Participant Media and Evolution Media Capital (formed in partnership with CAA). Also participating in the round were Take-Two Interactive Software (publisher of “Grand Theft Auto” videogame franchise); Knoll Ventures, run by former AT&T CEO David Dorman, and existing investors Greycroft, The Chernin Group and Sands Capital Ventures. The funding brings Scopely, which has about 100 employees, to $43.5 million raised to date.

“We want to power the HBO of mobile and interactive entertainment,” said Scopely co-founder and CEO Walter Driver (pictured, above). With the Evolution Media and Highland backing, Driver hopes to “build bridges with intellectual-property holders and celebrities” to expand Scopely’s slate of games.

Other companies in the mobile gaming space include King Digital Entertainment (“Candy Crush”), Rovio (“Angry Birds”), Glu Mobile (“Kim Kardashian: Hollywood”), Electronic Arts and Zynga.

But Driver said Scopely’s model is different: The company develops games with both its internal studio and third-party game developers, and offers partners a range of services including distribution, player growth and retention, live operations and monetization. Six of Scopely’s games — including its first release, Mini Golf MatchUp — have hit the top five most-downloaded free iPhone apps in Apple’s iTunes App Store rankings and the company has more than 35 million players.

“For game developers, having access to that network and global distribution is very valuable,” Driver said.

With the funding, Rick Hess, co-founder and co-managing partner of EMC and Evolution Media Partners, Highland’s Andy Hunt (co-founder of Warby Parker) will join Scopely’s board. They’ll join Driver and Scopely co-founder and chief strategy officer Eytan Elbaz.

“Scopely is in a unique position to emerge as a leading network for touchscreen entertainment,” Hess said in a statement. “As we look at the new media space, Scopely stands out with its stellar team, successful games and ability to bring hot entertainment franchises to mobile.”

Scopely, based in Culver City, Calif., was founded in 2011. Scopely’s games are free to download; users can buy in-app currency and the startup also sells advertising.

The company’s recent executive hires include: COO Javier Ferreira (previously Disney Interactive’s SVP of worldwide publishing); chief revenue officer Tim O’Brien (former head of biz dev for Disney Interactive); Randy Sazaki, VP of engineering (previously with from Burstly and JibJab); and JC Bornaghi, VP of production and operations (from EA).

Posted by: Ken
on 2018

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