Tuesday, 20 December 2011

Role Playing Games (RPG) Lead in Performance for 2011

In the video gaming arena this year quality has been outstanding for both Shooter Games and Role Playing Games but hands down RPGs have come out the big winners. RPGs offer huge canvases with highly detailed and complex worlds that you will travel through and in the process you create the hero that is your character. Players take responsibility for acting out and developing these characters through a process of structured decision-making. Real dialogue by actors behind the mythic characters heightens the reality of the experience. It may mean a longer journey (hundreds of hours) in comparison to the Shooter Games but the journey is enhanced with unexpected discoveries and strange new worlds.

Best In Class: Skyrim, It has just been awarded the ‘Game of the Year ‘at the Spike VGA Video Game Awards on Dec 10th.  Over 10 million copies have been shipped out and that means a hell of a lot of dragons. Another top of the RPG class is Witcher 2, the graphics are amazing and the story a complete adventure. If this RPG is not hard enough for you, play Dark Souls. Get ready to be thoroughly challenged. Dark Souls is probably one of the hardest games out there. Put in some effort and you will feel fully satisfied when you succeed in your journey. In a different game genre (action/adventure) Uncharted 3 and Assassin’s Creed: Revelations are just as deep, not as long but just as much fun. This story would not be complete without mentioning two other classic and continually enjoyable RPGs The Legend of Zelda and Dragon Age II.

I find RPGs provide a greater personal investment in the play experience than any other video game experience. RPGs rely on character progression and I love it. There are some amazing AAA Shooters (First-person and third-person) games out there including Battlefield 3, MW3, Ghost Recon, Gears of war3, Rage, Halo, Prey2, Resident Evil, F.E.A.R 3, Payday. They play across large canvases as well but ultimately they can become repetitive and boring losing the edge that RPGs have now gained.

Thursday, 8 December 2011

Video Gaming, Fringe or Mainstream - Can It Be a Family Affair?

Right now it is fair to say that most people are wishing for at least one Tech Toy or Game for Christmas. Schools have typically been unsupportive of video gaming. “Anti-social, leads to low academic performance, violent and conducive to introverted behavior”. Hmm… can this be the truth behind a multi-billion dollar entertainment industry?

First, video game production is an exciting, sophisticated, complex industry that involves every kind of expert. Video games are highly creative which is what draws the audience to them in the first place. Someone who doesn’t like doing homework is ‘sure as hell’ not going to sit down in front of some video console unless they really want to. Video games open up whole new worlds that gamers can step into. Video games are highly instructive allowing the gamer to experience events or contemplate them in a dimension out of harms way.

I am a Dad, soccer coach and work in the entertainment industry.
Julien Pierre (10), Sebastien (13) and I have been playing for a while now but every time we buy a new adventure game (Uncharted 3, Assassin’s Creeds) the phenomena recurs. We sit together in front of that TV screen for hours, cheering for one another, sharing the remote control, exchanging turns, commenting on level difficulties or on graphics quality. Triggered by the amount of energy and passion even mom will join the party.

It is true that most times after dinner we gradually migrate to different individual activities, TV, iPad, Iphone, PC. It’s not hard to misinterpret such moments as evidence that technology has become an alienating force in the contemporary home. I remember watching black and white TV programs with my parents, we all had conversations during the commercials, even if it was just to say, “Wasn’t that stupid?” Then again, the popularity of television led to decades of ‘experts’ questioning its negative impact. There is nothing passive about video gaming and it is nothing like ‘watching TV’. I haven’t got an avatar yet but I’m working on it and there are several of the ten top video games on our list.


Friday, 2 December 2011

It’s All About You – Cyber Love & Attention J

Even the simplest strike on your keypad is significant.  Who’s wooing you? Twitter, Facebook, Google and YouTube lead the pack as the most aggressive and determined suitors. They crave your attention. Oh, but wait a second, what about ‘Linkedin’ with millions of subscribers flocking to the site everyday? That boring little site for business connections is rocking. As soon as Linkedin connected Twitter and other media links things started to hop. Social media, a term that many people really had not heard prior to Facebook, has at lightening speed become the single most important mass communication system ever. Some people are still trying to pretend it does not matter to them but even if you don’t use Social media you are (oh happiness) probably mentioned somewhere. At the very least it will follow you to the grave and your obituary will pop up to haunt you.

Tweeting used to be a joke, the inanities exchanged where pathetic and the purpose of twittering seemed basically to assure yourself that you had a heartbeat. Not so today with over 50 million Twitter subscribers and an intelligent advertising plan to funnel dollars right down the pipe. YouTube has jumped in with a completely new, very user friendly landing page that is scientifically planned to maximize your time on the site and encourage your feedback. Broadcast yourself, Favourite, Subscribe, Recommended…all so inviting.

It used to be really tough to get people to respond to anything but social media has cut straight through this reluctance. People have been encouraged to reveal things to a social media site that they would never in their wildest dreams have had the courage to do otherwise. Advertisers tried to downplay the importance and impact of the social media arena and even as late as last year many companies still had their heads in the sand. Good Luck to that plan. 

Just in case you don’t really understand social media just press the right link on any of these sites and Zoooom … your pictures, contacts, tweets, likes, age, location, sex and in fact things you did not even know about yourself are now public knowledge. You can suddenly connect to everyone ever in your emails with a simple press of the Connect button. It is tantalizing. Real people check out these posts and respond pretty instantly. It used to be so irritating to have telemarketers interrupt one’s few peaceful moments at home. Now we hear a bling and we are ready to interrupt anything (including sex) to see who has found us in cyberspace. The internet and all its attributes and distractions is fabulous. Hurray for social media and the great creators using it. You will never be ignored again.


Friday, 28 October 2011

Chill, Scream & Explore - Find Your Creative Edge

      Creative Energy is pulsing around you. Are you on the cutting edge? There has been a surge of creativity lately that is exploring the limits. A technology driven Renaissance. Our senses are amazed and our brains engaged. The multimedia world is influencing every facet of our lives from entertainment to Wall Street Protests. Creative geniuses have provided the tools and platforms and now who is using them? The old media world is changing and how! Are you just watching or jumping in?

    Since following creativity is our business we are asking that question every day and happily there are answers. It is really true age means nothing. You might be 2 or 102, you cannot use age as an excuse as to why you have not tried to do the thing you dream of doing. Jean Paul Gaultier at 59 is a maverick who has been leading the fashion world for decades with his unique reinterpretations of counter culture, social and sexual diversity. New technology has placed full film making capacity in everyone's hands. Are you making full use of your phone? The short is a YouTube necessity with millions of viewers each hour.

    Have you had a look at myETVmedia’s list of top 10 movies and video games? Creating these lists was challenging because there were so many great choices. Films that have been left off the list include "Shame". Michael Fassbender won Best Actor at the Venice International Film Fest for his role in this film that touches a deep chord in society today. It will shock you. Other films that are on the edge include the very disturbing movie “ We Have to Talk About Kevin.” Yikes! 10 percent of the population has really got a psychopathic bent. This is the creative nightmare side.

    Looking at the video gaming world where riches are to be made if you hit the right creative elements ahead of anyone else – what’s on the shopping list? No question the battle is on for fighting games – Battlfield 3 BB3 and MW3 Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 3 both have horrifyingly real action and incredibly real interactive environments. In the fantasy realm there is Uncharted 3: Drake’s Deception, you can jump right into the character and story. Superheroes and sci fi are - the Galaxies await, SWTOR Star Wars: The Old Republic with dynamic story lines and rich character development. Batman: Arkham City is so real and batman so engaging that hours can easily fly by in.  Orson Wells is back to haunt us with The War of the Worlds reinvented as a game. Not too far from reality as proof of Alien visitors from the Galaxy is being revealed. Of course The Witcher 2: Assassins of Kings is out, the amazing game of kings. The great stories we originally loved never grow tiresome. The story-tellers just get more creative.

    What about music, culture and art. At 70 internationally acclaimed artist David Hockney has amazed the world with his detailed, luminescent iPad and iPod drawings. Try it. It takes incredible skill. Digital music is continuing to push the limits of the senses with shows like DJ Amon Tobin who is a celebrity and a pioneer in the evolution of the spirit of the sound of electronic music. His music will rock you and the light show will mess with your senses.
    Creativity is all about passion and hard work. If its all talk and no action you aren’t going to do it so get out there and give it a shot. (Guillermo del Toro writes for 2 hours everyday and screen writing Guru Syd Field says you should expect to rewrite many times.) "10 percent inspiration 90 percent perspiration" is still holding true. So if you are waiting for your creative mojo to kick in get to it.

Saturday, 1 October 2011

PAX Prime 2011 Press Guide

Why is PAX Prime so special?

PAX is the massive, now semi-annual, gaming expo that was created in 2004 by Jerry Holkins and Mike Krahulik, of Penny Arcade webcomic fame.  The event has grown from 3,300 attendees in 2004, to 70,000 this year. Video gaming has become the number one entertainment industry in the world, so I suppose it only makes sense that gaming expos have exploded in popularity. 

PAX Prime continues to be a “must attend” weekend of epic fun!
The expo is made up of everything a gamer could hope for: hands on time with new and upcoming games, panel discussions, toys, console, PC, and tabletop gaming tournaments, exhibitors, after-hours fun, and much more.

But what is so special about PAX?
Well, first and foremost it’s open to the public. To some people who always thought that E3 was an uncertainty, PAX is the closest you’ll get to an all-access gaming convention pass. And given the amount of loots they give out and the fun crowd that goes there, it’s an amazing experience for first-timers, including myself.
Even young kids are getting in on the action and fulfilling their dreams early. It’s heartwarming to see gamer parents bring their children to these events, giving developers fresh perspective. It’s even better when you see a little kid beating another gamer on a wide display TV screen. PAX is a training ground for the next gamers generation.

PAX attendees are also able to see special gaming performances, free of charge. Of course, this means that a long wait in line But as I have been told “waits are negligible for true fans”. PAX is known for their heavy true gamers attendance and gives for free everything from t-shirts, downloadable game codes, toys, posters, and even classic videogame. Usually no PAX attendee leaves home empty handed.

PAX is Prime and nothing else can beat it, except another PAX. PAX founders have long ago recognized that what is so unique about PAX are the people, the attendees, the fans, the true gamers. You can feel the passion, the enthusiasm and the respect of each other. Gamers are friends, part of a same family, it’s a way of life, it is a culture, almost a religion and PAX as recognized it and so even as a first timer you feel at home surrounded by siblings.

Thursday, 22 September 2011

TIFF Red Carpet Guide for Press

Nothing can really prepare anyone for the experience of being behind the rope on the Red Carpet. First it is not glamorous – all the glamour is on the other side of the rope. It is hard work. Do your homework, research the celebrities about to come down the carpet and make sure you have an interesting approach that is about them not you. Get your gear in order. There is nothing worse than the perfect interview that turns out to have been badly recorded. The Red Carpet is not the place for mistakes. Be cool, there is always a long wait. The space behind the rope on the carpet is very tight, almost military in precision. There is no room for swinging around equipment or strutting about. The worst thing is the reporter who insists on practicing their intro retake after retake, during that time. Oh yes, there is usually some novice press who thinks the Red Carpet is their chance to be famous, that we all showed up for them. This type usually tries to take over the interview and get extra chummy with the celebrity. It is rude and tedious. When you check them out they are amateur.

Be considerate. The more important the celebrity the less time they will probably be allowed on the carpet. They usually arrive last just before the show is about to begin. Broadcasters are given first crack and can sometimes consume all the time. In this case it is really helpful if you have made friends with the other media during the wait time because they will be more inclined to help you get a little access. The PR personnel are also vital in this situation. They will either have the celebrity sweep by without even a nod or they will help you get a minute and your ‘money shot’.  When the celebrity arrives the media sometimes loose their heads and start acting like fools. Be prepared for a football scrum like atmosphere on a badly managed Red Carpet. Yes, not all PR are good at their jobs and sometimes they are just inexperienced. The PR and media world is a small one so if you are given 2 questions, then don’t try to jam in more. You look unprofessional and will find you are moving down the carpet the wrong way next time out. Sometimes it is helpful to work in a group so that together with another media outlet you get a really great interview even if your access is more limited. In this case it is really unprofessional to upstage your associate. Agree on the format for the questions and stick with it.

Dress for the event. Arrive well ahead of time and know where you are going because when the carpet closes you cannot get in. Check the weather and bring something suitable for the temperature if it is an outside or exposed carpet. Protect your camera at all times. Always bring a backup. Equipment fails at the worst time.  Do a full equipment check before you set out and again when you set up. Tripods, ladders, lights, cases and boom microphones are all things you will have to decide whether you need. It takes a team of two and sometimes more to execute a proper Red Carpet multimedia interview. Attempting to do it alone is risky and unprofessional. Bring your phone. It is essential for last minute background checks if a new celebrity shows up or you need to Google any info on the event. Bring your business cards. Be prepared for schedule changes and new opportunities. Sometimes you can ask for media tickets to whatever the event is you are covering. The PR people have control of these very limited tickets. When you have finally posted your coverage send it along to your PR contacts. No matter what happens it is an amazing learning experience with something new to deal with and learn every time.

Sunday, 4 September 2011

Stars and celebrities at the Venice Film Festival: Where they are and what to do

Even the most composed of industry professionals often find themselves star struck when in the face of their acting deity. When at the Venice Film Festival and around the movie village and surrounding restaurants, it is not uncommon to find yourself eating across from a star or just a few feet away from them when at a press conference. This will tell you where you will probably see them (from our personal experience), and how to act when you do. 

The most important thing is to remember that they are just people, doing their job. So take a breath and realize that there is no point in getting all crazy because they are just like you. Put yourself in their position. While it is flattering for them to have adoring fans, and while they will usually treat approaches from fans kindly, it is not really nice for them to be bothered all the time while trying to eat or while they are just going about their business. 

The second thing to remember is that you are NOT a fan, but an industry professional. If you act like a professional, you will be treated like one. 

Lets take this for example, just an hour ago our team was having lunch at albergo quattro fontane, just outside the festival. After sitting down we realized that Viggo Mortensen was having a lunch meeting just across from us. And then we noticed several other stars, and that they were actually preparing to have interviews at the restaurant. We remained normal, didn't gawk or bombard him, and just enjoyed our lunch. At desert time when the waiter/manager was convincing us to have tiramisu, Mortensen engaged with us and the waiter and we all had a small laugh following some witty comment from him. He got involved because he saw that we were cool, calm and collected. While we didn't walk away with a photograph, we walked away with self dignity and the fact that Viggo Mortensen engaged in a conversation with us just like regular people do, which is invaluable to a fan of his work. 

So since we have been here, here is where we have seen some stars. As fore mentioned we saw Viggo at albergo quattro fontane, and we saw Laurence Fishburne at the Hotel Cipriani (on Giuidecca) who was also enjoying a coffee just a few feet away. Hotel Cipriani is an elegant hotel, and the favorite of many stars who visit venice. The Hotel Bauer includes a luxurious ultra elite spa, another hot spot for stars. 

So now we move on to press conferences. The press conferences at the Venice Film Festival are ridiculous. People rush in to get the front row seats, they mob and run to the stars at the end, and you end up breaking a few ribs but getting out with a signature. So here are the BEST ways not to suffer a fatality and to get away with a nice piece of memorabilia and your self respect still intact. 1) If you have a videographer, or anyone with "radio/tv photo" accreditation, you can get into the conference room before it actually opens to set up your camera. Personally I just say I'm setting it up and then leave a couple of bags on the seats that I want while I pretend to set something up at the back. This has worked every time, and I have sat front row and center. This only works if you have some visible camera equipment and the "radio/tv photo" accreditation badge. 2) Provided your excellent seat, you are now just feet away from the stars, directors ect. which means you will have no problem getting up there for a signature. Have your pen on hand, and when you see people in your peripherals charging, walk up to the front like you own the place because you will get there first and have time to give your star of choice a coy smile and get an autograph. 3) Photos. If you want to get photos/videos, bring a small digital camera and a scarf. They don't allow you to, but you can get a couple shots in when they first enter if you keep it ready on your lap. 

Well there it is. USE IT WISELY. Remember, respect yourself, the stars, and your fellow industry delegates and maintain your sense of cool and calm. They are just people, and if you appreciate them you won't harass them. Hope this helps you have a great festival!

Thursday, 1 September 2011

Media/Press Venice Film Festival Guide - What you NEED to know

After experiencing the festival for a few days, here is a guide that anyone wishing to get or who has accreditation NEEDS to read. We got screwed on a couple of these things, so make sure you're prepared. This is essentially filled with things that you should really know but they don't tell you.


Venice Day to Day - 01

Wed Aug 31st at the 68th Venice Film Festival is off to an amazing start. A beautiful, hot sunny day, with top talent opening the event. Press have arrived from everywhere and it is a sea of camera's, press passes, lap tops and in the press room, hard work. The myetvmedia team is lucky and gets front row access in the Press Conference Room. (We did put in the work waiting for 2 hours before the ‘Ides of March’ conference began.)

High Points:

Press Conferences opens with Paulo Baratta & Marco Muller, (la Giuria 68 VFF). Then, the jury with Star power including multiple awarding winning director Darren Aronofsky (President) who draws most of the questions.

George Clooney arrives to introduce his much anticipated film "Ides of March". My ipad is essential and the translation headphones available on site. After a very entertaining press conference (a lot about seduction) the media stampede to the front table like kids to get a piece of the stars.

Low Points:
Being first timers we made some mistakes. One of our photographers after joyfully getting into the photo room was politely asked to leave when it was discovered we did not have the Maccheroni pass which you need to line up for everyday by 10am. (No up close with George today! Its really tough for first time press to get these passes.)  

We missed the 9am press screening of ‘Ides of March’ not understanding watertaxi schedules or boarding points around the canals. A ‘Times’ reporter sitting next to me in the conference described ‘Ides of March’ as “a taught, political thriller”. We will see it at TIFF. This just reminds me of our arrival from the airport. NEVER take the public watertaxi from Venice airport to the Stucky Molino Hilton unless you want a one hour water tour of Venice from every direction with multiple stops. (Jet lagged, hungry and hot, dragging all the cameras and luggage). The private boat would have been really worth it! Next time.

Internet is slow in the media room and spots at the tables are hard to get after 9:15 am.

Thrilled to be here, small, intimate and well organized.

List of press tips and tricks will be uploaded soon. 

Saturday, 20 August 2011

68th Venice Biennale Press Guide

Welcome to myETVmedia's blog counterpart. Here you will find the behind the scenes information on how we do what we do, for those of you who are aspiring industry professionals or anyone who is interested. For our first post we are putting up our condensed "myETVmedia's Press Survival Guide Edition 1". We are attending the Venice Film Festival for the first time this year. As many will find, one can find themselves venturing to the farthest reaches of the earth, exploring foreign lands and languages in search of the lifeblood - GOOD MATERIAL. So check this out and hopefully it will help guide the way. If you would like to see more information about the Venice Film Festival, we will be uploading notes on our day to day press coverage activities here to give you a feel for what media access is like. I will also be uploading a revised edition closer to the festival date with more details. Please request anything else you would like to see on the blog such as tutorials, tech specs, or anything you can think of.