Wednesday, December 29, 2010 

The Future Of On-Camera Talent Is Here - Now What?

I'm thinking songwriters, publishers, recording artists and record labels aren't the only ones wondering how to collect royalties, track usage, structure licensing, acquire data on performances etc. In this day of "regular" TV, online TV, mobile devices, social media and who-knows-what-else?, it looks to me like "Welcome To The Wild West & Pioneer City" for actors, athletes or anyone who gets paid to appear on camera - including chefs. 

SIDE NOTE: I tried having a recent conversation on this topic with an experienced entertainment & copyright lawyer I've known & used for years - he proved to be COMPLETELY clueless about this topic, which tells me not many folks are paying attention to what is very clear to me. It also tells me I need to find a lawyer (and agent) who don't have their heads in the "digital sand." Sheesh.

One first-hand example I know of people at the forefront: Barry Krause & the folks at his Suite Partners agency in Chicago. However, it does appear they're so busy pioneering their cutting-edge, social-media ROI projects for Sears (Kenmore Live Studio and Craftsman Experience), it might take someone looking in from the outside - such as myself, once again being the "canary in the coalmine" - to point out that any kind of traditional compensation structure for on-camera talent is likely dead & gone. Here's why: 

Having done some national spots for Kraft Foods awhile back, there were only relatively few options for the talent's image & performance to be used: "Regular" TV, cable TV, print ads, (terrestrial) radio, POP displays, FSIs. You got paid based on duration of the spots, how many markets (local or national), conversation over. That was then... 

Now, with the antiquated backdrop of "broadast quality" becoming blurrier by the day, full 1080 HD cameras getting cheaper by the minute, cell phones = video cameras, online videos often getting bigger (and measurable) numbers than "regular" TV shows, there's this: The walls that separate HD broadcast television, online videos and mobile devices are crumbling fast. 
What that means: If video content is being produced in 1080 HD, it's suitable for internet AND broadcast TV plus mobile devices. More, unless you have the resources available to monitor, track down plus "cease & desist" your copyrighted content, it's virtually impossible to keep it from being posted somewhere online without your knowledge or permission - especially with bit torrent file sharing sites. As I'm starting to say to a lot to my friends & clients: Until/unless the world as we know it comes crashing down (a distinct possibility, powered by Google and its fast-growing spinoff companies - I'm not kidding), whatever gets posted online is pretty much FOREVER. So... if the Internet is forever, so are on-camera performances posted online; and if online on-camera performances are forever, what kind of payment structure is fair for talent? 

Comments are welcome (and feel free to send any forward-thinking agents/managers or entertainment lawyers my way). HAPPY NEW YEAR!


Monday, December 27, 2010 

Marty Robbins | El Paso Live

In addition to being an amazing, timeless classic with "circular plot" (thank you Leigh Hanlon), this live version of Marty Robbins plus 2 backup singer blows me away with how incredibly tight their harmonies are. I'm betting these are the same guys on the hit record too - sounds like it to me.

Like any artist with a huge hit single, I'll bet Robbins got pretty burnt out on playing this VERY LONG SONG over the years, but in this early piece... he's still fresh with it & doing it note-for-note with the record. THANK YOU MARTY!


Saturday, December 25, 2010 

The Congregation | Quick Pan | Chicago Recording Company | Dec 2 2010

A quick 360 degree outtake from their Dec 2 2010 event. Short but sweet, a nice little snapshot of the view from where I was shooting. Not sure why this blog seems to be cutting off a big chunk of the right screen (it's all there on YouTube)?



The Congregation at Chicago Recording Company | Dec 2 2010

Although we didn't edit this piece, Mark Battrell & I shot the video, and the band sounds great. I think the piece showcases the band pretty well, although I didn't see any photos by Mark - too bad, because he really knows how to shoot musicians, and I've found they add quite a lot.


The Inimitable Hartley Peavey

I had a chance to speak with Hartley Peavey last week at length, and once again I have to say: If he wasn't so busy running Peavey Electronics, he could easily be a motivational speaker. There's an old saying I pay a lot of attention to: Always think twice about taking advice from someone less successful than yourself. By that definition, Hartley is someone you should listen to - he's a long-time, worldwide success whose products are used & endorsed by some of the most famous & talented musicians in the world - and funnier than hell, too.

There are always plenty of folks out there building their products, starting businesses from their garages, etc.. but what is it about some people that know how to get their brands to soar, while most others fall by the wayside? It's an interesting question, and I'm always curious to hear the perspective & philosophy of those rare people like Hartley.  Another interview soon with him soon (this time with cooking & food)?

Labels: ,

Saturday, December 18, 2010 

TSA | Fast Food Level Talent Working Airport Security?

Here's an interesting article from, which should come as no surprise to anyone who has dealt with the TSA & their now-familiar, increasingly ridiculous (useless?) routines. If they didn't have these jobs, most of them would barely be hanging on with the heavy responsibility of taking your orders at Taco Bell.

Gaping Holes in Airline Security: Loaded Gun Slips Past TSA Screeners

Secret Tests At LAX, O'Hare, Newark Show TSA Screeners Missed Guns, Bombs

Last fall, as he had done hundreds of times, Iranian-American businessman Farid Seif passed through security at a Houston airport and boarded an international flight. He didn't realize he had forgotten to remove the loaded snub nose "baby" Glock pistol from his computer bag. But TSA officers never noticed as his bag glided along the belt and was x-rayed. When he got to his hotel after the three-hour flight, he was shocked to discover the gun traveled unnoticed from Houston.
"It's just impossible to miss it, you know. I mean, this is not a small gun," Seif told ABC News. "How can you miss it? You cannot miss it."
But the TSA did miss it, and despite what most people believe about the painstaking effort to screen airline passengers and their luggage before they enter the terminal, it was not that unusual.
Experts tell ABC News that every year since the September 11 terror attacks, federal agencies have conducted random, covert "red team tests," where undercover agents try to see just how much they can get past security checks at major U.S. airports. And while the Department of Homeland Security closely guards the results as classified, those that have leaked in media reports have been shocking.
Emails Emails

According to one report, undercover TSA agents testing security at a Newark airport terminal on one day in 2006 found that TSA screeners failed to detect concealed bombs and guns 20 out of 22 times. A 2007 government audit leaked to USA Today revealed that undercover agents were successful slipping simulated explosives and bomb parts through Los Angeles's LAX airport in 50 out of 70 attempts, and at Chicago's O'Hare airport agents made 75 attempts and succeeded in getting through undetected 45 times.

Sunday, December 12, 2010 

Women's Cosmetics | WTF?!?!?!?

Although I'm supposed to be on camera doing some cooking demos tomorrow & Tuesday in downtown Chicago, there apparently is no hair/makeup person scheduled? In my world, if there are cameras, lights, sound, food stylist and director - that's a TV shoot, folks, and talent needs makeup to look their best. 

And that includes me - hey, I'm not proud. I've worn makeup many times before for various on-stage/on-camera stuff, and I'll take anything I can get to come off well on camera at this point in my life. And so, I took it upon myself to buy some basic makeup so I won't look like a complete wintertime ghost under the lights, and guess what? That stuff is crazy overpriced expensive!!!!!!

I picked up three small containers of basic stuff, plus an applicator, and at JC Penneys, and guess what: $120.00 all-in. DAMN. I suppose I have a newfound respect for all the women who feel they need that stuff, plus an even greater disgust for the companies who apparently have a lock on keeping the prices inflated on what probably cost a fraction of what I paid to make it. 

I'm going to take a wild guess & say this: I bet the cosmetics industry is no different than food manufacturers - they probably use the same factories to crank out pretty much the same stuff, slap different labels & packaging on them, and then inflate the hell out of the prices, depending upon how much they spend on their marketing.

I guess one thing they charge more for: the makeup buzzards floating around some of the bigger stores in the malls - they have to get paid, right? You don't see them in Walgreen's, that's for sure....

Wednesday, December 08, 2010 

That Metal Show with Steven Adler & Chip Znuff

Pretty fun segment featuring Steven & Chip, not exactly sure when it aired. Although Chip really isn't, and never was, a "metal guy," (much more Paul McCartney/Beatles influenced), I think he's very good on the show regardless. And it's obvious they're very tight pals (and they really are a great rhythm section). 



Friday, December 03, 2010 

The Congregation

Last night, my pals Mark Battrell, Jeff Kleeman & I shot some photos & video at Chicago Recording Company of a VERY solid/fun band called The Congregation. As the featured band for CRC's "Spotlight Series," these guys are old school R & B with a 3-piece horn section and a terrific singer up front. The best compliment I heard all night on their original tunes: The engineer (Matt) saying he didn't notice any letdown in the song quality when they switched from a cover tune to one of theirs (I agree). Photo by Mark Battrell.

Labels: , , , ,