My Stories, Stupidity

Three Identical Strangers

What kind of fucked up world do we live in where people are allowed to use humans as experiments and mess with their lives.

I understand the 60’s was a time of pushing boundaries but some of the experiments pushed the insanity button.

Like MK Ultra. Like the placing of Jewish multiple births into certain families and then lying to those families who adopted the kids and then turning up to observe how the kids are progressing and lying to the families again as to why they were observing the kids.

Lies and lies from Louise Wise. Yep, that was the adoption agency name that worked with the Doctors in this experiment.

And the experiment was to observe the parenting. They separated kids to see if nature wins or nurture wins. The doctors created the families for the triplets. They first placed girls into each of the families and then the separated triplets.

One of the separated triplets who grew up in a strict household took his own life. The other two didn’t. Would he have taken his life if the kids stayed together?

There is a research assistant who knew a lot when interviewed and she has photos with powerful people all over her place so how far did the research chain go.

And that fucker Doctor sealed the research in Yale until 2066. By then all the people involved who are interested in it would be long gone. And there are still twins out there who don’t know they’ve been separated.

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Alternate Reality, My Stories, Treating Fans Like Shit

Movies

My wife really wanted to watch “Baby Driver” when it came out in the cinemas but after I saw the preview, I was a bit sceptical. There was nothing in the preview to entice me to go and watch it. So I did what any male would do, make excuses of being busy because going to the movies costs me a lot. Even though my kids would have no interest in the movie, they would scream and complain to come. As my eldest would say, it’s for the experience. So from buying two tickets, I would need to buy 5 tickets at $17.99 each. Then the kids want popcorn, drinks and my wife wants popcorn and ice cream and suddenly I am out of pocket by $100 plus. However, if I had the option to pay $9.99 and watch the flick at home instead of the cinema, I would have done it straight away.

Anyway, we finally watched “Baby Driver” a few days ago (at home) and it was totally crap. With the rating it has on IMBD and all the critics raving on about it, I expected a lot more even though the previews failed to deliver anything of interest. I know there is a huge car enthusiast market which will dig these kinds of movies, plus there is the anti-superhero market which will give everything else a try that isn’t a DC or Marvel property. “Baby Driver” capitalises on these two markets. But seriously, if “Baby Driver” is seen as a good movie by fans and critics that vote on IMBD, either the;

  • the movie industry is really in trouble or
  • the people who rate movies also have no idea or
  • I have no idea what’s a decent movie anymore

I know, I like a storyline that can be followed, with little backstories here and there that unfold as the main story moves forward. It’s the reason why TV is getting traction. Imagine the Godfather as a HBO show for 7 seasons, producing 10 hours of content each season comparted to the 9 hours of content over 3 movies. Christopher Nolan and Quentin Tarantino are two directors and writers who make great movies with good scripts, great casting, great direction and a story a person can follow and be invested in.

So where are we at with the movie industry?

I hate going to the cinema, to have to deal with crowds, overpriced tickets and food and then have to sit through people talking, whispering or making a racket as they consume their food. While the “magic of film” worked once upon a time, the business model from the 1930’s is still the same. Here it is a nutshell;

  • Studio (via their own monies or investor monies) finances a movie.
  • Studio releases movie to cinemas
  • Studio expects people to line up, purchase a ticket and watch movie in cinema.

It still generates a lot of money for the blockbusters, but imagine how much it will work if people are allowed to watch the movie on the same day it’s released in cinemas at home via a streaming service or a special pay per view. I can hear the chorus of disapproval of how cinemas will shut down and how instead of selling 5 tickets to a movie, a family would pay only once to watch it from home (and there is a high chance they could invite friends and cousins as well).

People watch old movies and listen to old music, but getting these people to consume the new stuff is incredibly difficult, because the providers no longer understand the star system. For a while, the superhero was the franchise however the last few Northern Summer’s proves otherwise.

Everybody’s got a theatre at home and the only reason to go out and watch a flick in cinemas is to just go out, have maybe dinner before it and a few drinks after it. Instant access, in our own home is the new king in town. Netflix knows it and soon they will have the movie that seizes that market.

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Copyright, Music, My Stories, Piracy, Stupidity

What We Know

Machine Head is a premium metal band. They have earned their spot through killer releases since 2003. Slipknot did sell more with their new one however the quality of the music this year was with Machine Head while Slipknot became an institution like Metallica.

Big Corporations fail to learn. Sony got hacked in 2011 and did nothing to tighten up their security or to encrypt their data. In the 2011 hack, all of the Playstation user names, passwords and credit card details were stored on a text file with no encryption. Fast forward to 2014, and a lot of the sensitive information around salaries, payroll numbers and social security numbers were stored on a text file with no encryption.

No one cares that Chris Broderick or Shaun Drover left Megadeth. In the same way no one cared that Jason Newsted left Metallica. Hell no one cared when Dave Ellefson was not a part of the band. Just because they can write riffs it doesn’t mean they are any good. And there is no doubt that Chris Broderick can play and is very technical. But can anyone name a definitive song or riff that he wrote in Jag Panzer or in Megadeth.

The most pirated TV shows are also the most successful commercially and financially. And seriously isn’t it any surprise that the most locked up show behind paywalls and corporate deals is the most pirated. For anyone living under a rock, that show of course is Game Of Thrones.

The most pirated movies this year are movies from 2013. So when are the movie studios going to make these movies available on proper streaming services. The Wolf Of Wall Street finally made it to Netflix just a few weeks ago and it is a 12 month old movie.

Vinyl. Do you see dial-up internet and analog mobiles coming back or Amiga 500’s?

Speaking of vinyl, the fans as usual are getting ripped off. Vinyl is way overpriced, and if you purchase a vinyl record, you don’t get a digital download code. Some bands do it, especially in Pledge Music campaigns however if you purchase vinyl from an online store or a brick and mortar store, you get nothing.

Hellyeah’s “Blood For Blood” is a very underrated album and Tom Maxwell rose to the occasion as a songwriter and a guitarist.

Making money in music is still the same as it has always been. Jesse Leach from Killswitch Engage provides some truths.

Irving Azoff and Global Music Rights (his company) is representing artists in their demands that YouTube take down their music. If YouTube doesn’t comply they will be suing YouTube for billions. And the reason why they are going after Google is that they have been the least co-operative and that Google has failed to license the works properly, while Goolge maintains it has. Yep this is another lawsuit to protect the 1% and nothing else.

The streaming argument is always loaded with emotion and no intelligence. Look at the facts. Pandora pays differently, Spotify pays differently and so does YouTube. Artists get a different payday and the songwriters get a different payday. If the artist is also the songwriter then they get a different payday. But when you add into the mix the record labels (who normally get the monies as the copyright holders) and the Publishing groups (who get a share) and the Performance Rights groups (who also get a share) and the Managers and the Accountants and the Legal teams and you get to see how decent payouts trickle into low payments back to the artist.

To prove my point a silent album experiment earned an independent band $20,000 for a 3 month period. And there stream counts had nothing on the numbers that the bigger artists generate. Goes to show what can happen if you cut out a lot of middle people.

Old men attached to the old ways are still running the music business. Take away their radio lifeline and the labels would be clueless as to what to do.

Data is sales. Why do you think Metallica and Iron Maiden hit markets and sell out straight away? Hell, Metallica is going to hit the road again in 2015. When a band can see huge numbers in certain cities from P2P traffic, streams, Shazam look up and they have the means to hit the road, they do.

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Influenced, My Stories

Life Messages from The American Wolf Of Hustle Wall Street and others – 2013 Best off in Cinema… Part 1

American Hustle and The Wolf Of Wall Street

These two movies are for all the people who don’t know how the world works. For all those people that still believe that if you work hard, get a good education and put in the 12 hour days, that somehow, success will work itself out and befall on them.

But it doesn’t really happen that way at all. Everybody is hustling. Everybody is putting a scam in motion. The whole recording business is a scam, overrun by liars and cheaters, who get artists into contracts and then proceed to underpay the artists due to some creative accounting.

Both movies show an accurate reflection of life where scammers and hustlers work only for themselves, constantly tweaking and adjusting their methods to stay ahead of the law. Look at “The Pirate Bay” in music. It innovated more in one year than what the whole recording business did in 15 years and the law still cant get to it. Heard the music business scream “Piracy” lately. It’s because fans of music are slowly getting serviced with streaming.

What these movies have shown is that it doesn’t matter what level of education a person has. It doesn’t mean that they will win. Quitters never win and it is the winners that write history. The winners write history because they bend the laws and they twist social morals to suit them. People may not like it, but it’s the truth.

Oblivion

I love it’s eeriness. Director Joseph Kosinski, who also wrote the story did a great job in bringing back the Seventies sci-fi movie with “Oblivion”. Progress is derivative right.

This movie is for the people who only believe what they are told and even when they come across something that questions that belief, they re-frame it and twist it, so that it conforms with what they believe in, because that is all the know. Whatever Mission Control said was the truth and the whole truth.

We life in an information society right now with everything at our fingertips.

Don’t be a fool. Do your own research and question everything. Don’t just follow. Whereas “The Wolf Of Wall Street” and “American Hustle” reflect the hustling mentality of life, “Oblivion” reflects our servitude to institutions.

We serve the needs of companies and get paid a wage in return. That wage gets broken up and some of it goes to the tax institution. Some of it goes to the banking/mortgage institutions, some of it goes to the utility companies. If you get paid a basic wage, basically all of your wage is consumed before the next one is due.

We serve different religions and different creeds. That is what “Oblivion” is about. Serving “Mission Control”. The powerful and the wealthy tell us how to act and behave by rewriting history and bending laws to suit them. People may not like it, but it’s the truth.

Now You See Me

This movie was a super surprise. A sleeper hit. I read the reviews about how this smaller budgeted movie blew away the big budget blockbusters during the 2013 US Summer. For a movie that cost $75 million to make and promote, it has returned over $350 million. French director Louis Leterrier did a great job bringing the movie to life. As is the norm these days, the directors are as a big as the movie stars and in some cases bigger. They have their own blogs, own social media accounts and what not.

So what does this movie teach us about life.

In a similar vein to “American Hustle” and “The Wolf of Wall Street”, scammers and hustlers are everywhere however in this case, revenge is obtained by the person that was wronged.

The insurance company scammed the dead magician’s family. The dead magician’s tricks got exposed by another magician who was a hustler. Fast forward a few decades and the son of the dead magician is now old enough to orchestrate the greatest trick/scam/hustle ever.

The powerful and the rich write bend laws to suit themselves. People may not like it, but it’s the truth.

World War Z

Yeah, I know it’s got Brad Pitt and Zombies, however I really liked this movie. It played out like stages in a video game.
We have had a pretty clean run in relation to epidemics compared to previous centuries. This movie got me thinking about “The Happening”.

In “The Happening”, humans had become a threat to the planet and the plants released some form of a neurotoxin (which I will call a virus) that causes anyone exposed to it to commit suicide. In “World War Z” the virus needs a viable host to spread and therefore it is found that people inflicted with various diseases are immune from the zombie swarms as they cannot spread the disease.

In both movies they deal with nature. Nature requires a live host to spread the virus in “World War Z” and Nature fights back against the humans in “The Happening”. Respect our world is the message that I get from WWZ. The more we disrespect it and pollute it, the more we and our future generations will suffer.

The rich pharmaceutical companies care about treatments. There is no money in cures for them. They lobby hard to rewrite the laws and protect their business models. People may not like it, but it’s the truth.

Escape Plan

I don’t know what people have against Stallone and Schwarzenegger as actors. They have proven themselves in the entertainment business for over 40 years. Swedish director, Mikael Håfström delivers again in Escape Plan. It is a great story line.

As I am watching “Escape Plan”, I am thinking, wow, if someone wants to imprison a person just to get them out-of-the-way, they can, just because they have power or money.

Bradley Manning is in jail. He didn’t kill anyone. He didn’t hurt anyone. All he did was embarrass his government.

Ed Snowden is on the run, seeking asylum. He didn’t kill anyone. He didn’t hurt anyone. All he did was embarrass his government.

On both occassions, Manning and Snowden also informed the world at large to the crimes of their government. Torturing inmates is something that is associated to dictatorships, not to democratic countries. Spying on your citizens is common in dictatorships, not in democratic countries.

In both cases, if Manning and Snowden are reporters, they would have been seen as heroes.

Then you have the cases, where power and money gets you off on charges. Last year was littered with the kids of rich parents, driving cars intoxicated, killing others while driving or just speeding, Guess what they didn’t do any time and they also kept their driving permits.

The wealthy bend the laws to suit them. People may not like it, but it’s the truth.

Another thing that Escape Plan brought to mind is the conflict of interests that people have and the revolving door of politicians to private firms or to lobby groups.

The politicians write and pass laws to benefit the wealthy and then when their term in office is finished, they get a well-paying job for the same companies that they made rich while in office. People may not like it, but it’s the truth.

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My Stories

Gravity. Tearing Down My Perceptions

So I managed to watch a few movies recently. The most recent one was “Gravity”. Suspenseful sums it up. I didn’t see the 3D version, however after seeing the 2D version, I wish I had. Apart from James Cameron’s “Avatar” all of the other so-called 3D movies were not really 3D movies. After getting burned on a few, I stopped paying the extra dollars to watch a normal movie with pretty crappy ‘3D’. Going back to “Gravity” I reckon the 3D version would have been unbelievable. People would have vomiting at some of the scenes. The story line was nothing spectacular however the CINEMATOGROPHY; top notch.

The movie is up there as a contender for movie of the year for me. And who is the star of the movie?

If you said Sandra Bullock or George Clooney, you are wrong. The real stars are Alfonso Cuarón the director, Emmanuel Lubezki’s the cinematographer and Steven Price for the musical score. Of course, Sandra Bullock’s performance was also top notch and you put all of that together, you get a great picture.

I became a fan of Cuaron’s movies after “Children of Men”. Some of the scenes in the “Children of Men” movie were revolutionary. So my interest in “Gravity” was purely because of the director. Ask anyone to name you the director of the “Top Gun” movie or the producer of “Pump” the 1989 album from Aerosmith?

When I first heard about the film and that it was about two astronauts in space, I thought to myself, “how can that keep me entertained for 2 hours.” However Cuaron did exactly that; by taking such a simple storyline and making it an “edge of my seat” journey throughout the whole movie. This is a hit album without any filler. This is a slow burner. Each person that watches it, becomes a fan.

“Gravity” is definitely special. It is a “cinematic experience”. Much like before when albums and music in general was a “sound experience” and that “sound experience” was even different to the “live experience”. Then came high levels of compression, the loudness wars and ear fatigue. I would love to hear some of the more newer albums, mixed and mastered with a 1970’s mindset.

The movie studios can scream piracy all they want. When a movie is made great, the audience will flock to it. Look at movies like “The Conjuring” and “Now You See It”. They beat out all of the blockbusters they where up against in the summer.

What “Gravity” accomplished is totally opposite to what Marvel and DC Comics are trying to achieve with their universes. You know, movies that rely heavily on the plot / story line that interconnect over a vast timeline. It seems these days that’s been the pivotal factor for me in order to consider if a movie is a hit. “Gravity” tore down that perception. It is simply a visual and audio masterpiece without the need to spend $250 million. It wont have a toy range like all the other top 10 grossing movies of 2013 however it will have a place in the minds of viewers.

Even when the big scenes happen in the movie, the viewer doesn’t get any sound effects with the explosions cause there’s no sound in space. All the viewer hears is the score building up in the background and then things start to happen. My eight year old and seven year old watched it with me and I could see them lying down and slouching. Then the music starts softly. The music starts to get a touch louder and they start to get up. As the music builds with the action sequence they are off the couch and I am thinking, WOW, the kids are full on feeling the suspense as well. Cuaron and “Gravity” have connected with us.

Alfonso Cuaron has cemented his place as one of my favourites.

So the next time you get that rare chance to actually be alone and watch a movie, without the slightest possibility of any interruptions, so you are able to engross yourself in the movie, the movie I want you to put on when that opportunity arises is: Gravity

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A to Z of Making It, Derivative Works, Influenced, Music, Stupidity

Put Your Efforts Into Twenty Little Derivative Projects Throughout The Year

Music and movies just don’t seem to last anymore. The way movies and music are done these days, they don’t fit the modern paradigm of needing to be in the face of the consumer week after week. TV on the other hand has a longer lifespan because it fits the modern paradigm.

George Lucas once said that the $200 million movie is dead. At the moment there are a lot of blockbusters that cost $100 million to $200 million to make that are flops.

Movies like R.I.P.D (a derivative version of Ghostbusters and Men In Black), Pacific Rim (a derivative version of Godzilla and Transformers), The Lone Ranger (a derivative version of The Lone Ranger TV show, National Treasure and Pirates of The Caribbean), Turbo, After Earth and White House Down.

Remember that progress is derivative. Each movie mentioned above is a derivative version of a previous movie that had come before it. So what went wrong. Remember, that this is Hollywood. Hollywood is well known to play on the stupid idea that they need a $200 million movie. So in order to make a $200 million movie, Hollywood focuses on a lot of formulaic material that the public is pushing back on as we are sick and tired of watching it. Meanwhile, the movies that are doing well are the lower budget films.

The Conjuring cost $20 million to make and so far it has made $140 million. The Heat cost $43 million to make and so far it has made $190 million. Now You See Me cost $75 million to make and so far it has made $233 million.

It’s just bad business sense. If you are in the market to sell a product, a better strategy is to test your luck with ten $20 million movies rather than dumping $200 million into just one movie? The public is speaking up. They want the studios to focus on how to make good movies that doesn’t involve following a formula. They want the studios to find quality content.

So what does the failure of several blockbusters have to do with music.

DO NOT PUT ALL YOUR EFFORTS INTO ONE GIANT PROJECT. Put your efforts into twenty little derivative projects throughout the year.

The years of when artists took a year to make an album and went on a three year victory lap as it sold by the truckloads are over. The ones that still take a year to make an album basically have an album that is dead on arrival. The faithful will buy the album and then the victory lap is over.

There is a massive paradigm shift happening in the way the audience consumes entertainment. The best way to sum up the change in consumerism mindset is to use the good old photo analogy. Once upon a time it used to cost a decent amount of dollars to have a photo done. You needed a camera and batteries. Then you had to buy a 35mm film roll for taking the photos and then once the roll was all used up, you needed to take that roll to a photo lab who then converted the roll into negatives and then printed up the photos for you. You then paid the photo lab money and they gave the prints and the negatives back to you. Then we would buy a photo album to store the photos in so that we can view them in the future over and over again. Some people even purchased slide machines to view their negatives on a wall.

Today we just take a photo on our smartphones. Today, photos cost nothing and are oftentimes shot and then discarded. In most cases, they are saved to a hard drive where they will sit forever or uploaded to a social site like Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest, Flickr or Tumblr.

Music is also uploaded to a social site. YouTube is the unofficial and original streaming service. The record labels execs that are doing everything they can to keep their fat pay checks and thinking about yesterday didn’t see that one coming.

The change in consumer behaviour has led to the traditional photo print shop from disappearing. In music, this has led to the reduction in brick and mortar stores that sell recorded music.

Kodak the biggest player in the photography field has disappeared. They made the mistake of ignoring the changes in technology and assumed that people will remain true to the film roll technology. Hang on a second. Isn’t that the same viewpoint the Record Labels hold.

Once upon a time you could only play your music at home. Once upon a time you could only view your photos at home. Today we can view and take our photos everywhere we go. Today we can expect to have all of our music available to us everywhere we go.

So why are the artists creating content with the old Record Label mindset.

Record more frequently, release frequently. Give the people a reason to listen to your music.

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