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Harvey's secrets

Twenty-four hours after the Bieber video came in, the newsroom learned that Levin had decided not to run the story. He did not destroy his copy of the video, however, and Bieber’s camp was aware that Levin could reverse his position and post it. Celebrity secrets are treated like commodities at TMZ, not unlike the way they were treated by J. Edgar Hoover’s F.B.I. “The power of secret information was a gun that Hoover always kept loaded,” Tim Wiener writes, in “Enemies,” a 2012 book about the bureau. A former writer for TMZ told me that, for Levin, there was more to gain by sitting on the clip, and earning Bieber’s good will, than by running it and ruining his career. (Older gossip publications followed this strategy as well. According to the Columbia Journalism Review, the “dark genius” of William d’Alton Mann, the publisher of Town Topics, was his realization that “stories that came into his possession were perhaps worth more untold than told.” In the nineteen-fifties, Confidential gained access to the head of Columbia Studios by leveraging tapes of Rock Hudson that referred to his homosexuality.)

Publicists and their lies

Levin also disapproved of the way that publicists leveraged access to celebrities in order to control the media coverage of their clients. “The stories that were being told weren’t real,” he said, in a 2009 interview. “Producers knew that they weren’t real, but they played ball to get interviews with the stars.” Most journalism about stars, he said, was “built on a lie.”

the history of gossip

Thirty-five hundred years ago, Mesopotamian scribes used cuneiform to record the impeachment hearings of a mayor who had been accused of corruption, kidnapping, adultery, and the theft of manure. In 1709, the first modern gossip magazine, The Tatler, started publication, in London. The medium arrived in America in the late nineteenth century, when a weekly named Town Topics began publishing blind items, in a section called “Saunterings.” (In 1905, the section’s editor attempted to blackmail Emily Post’s husband after learning of his infidelity.) Tycoons and politicians were the initial focus of the gossip trade; one British photographer bribed a gardener to gain entrance to Winston Churchill’s house, where he hid, waiting for the perfect shot, until Churchill spotted him and chased him away. With the rise of Hollywood, actors became gossip’s prime quarry; the magazine Confidential courted lawsuits by printing stories with titles like “Mae West’s Open Door Policy.”

Inside Harvey Levin’s TMZ

TMZ resembles an intelligence agency as much as a news organization, and it has turned its domain, Los Angeles, into a city of stool pigeons.

Los Angeles Churches Make Worship...Hip? - The New York Times

“What Waze is doing is navigating the scene,” he said, to a chorus of “yeahs” and “mm-hmms.” “It’s taking in all the information, it’s taking in other people’s traffic patterns, it’s taking in, what’s happening that we don’t even know behind the scene, and Waze makes decisions for us that we don’t realize is for our benefit. “What we need to do when we interact with God,” he said, “and he tells us to go somewhere, we need to be like Waze, where we are excited about the journey, to take turns that we didn’t even realize were ahead of us. We’re going to go to places that we weren’t even certain we wanted to go.” Mary Tanagho Ross, a lawyer and longtime Mosaic congregant, said the church’s style of preaching resonates. “I love that I can understand what they’re saying, and I don’t need somebody to interpret that for me,” she said. “It just feels really real, really authentic. I think that’s what people want: authenticity and simplicity.”

The media doesn't see its own pampered blindness.

Despite claiming to “know” Mr. Jobs after “scores of hours in private conversations,” Mr. Mossberg of ReCode said in his column: “I know very little about his relationship with his daughter Lisa.”

Trump is a joke

After watching and listening to Donald Trump since he announced his candidacy for president, we have decided we won't report on Trump's campaign as part of The Huffington Post's political coverage. Instead, we will cover his campaign as part of our Entertainment section. Our reason is simple: Trump's campaign is a sideshow. We won't take the bait.

A Celebrity-Divorce Expert Tells All

I've known instances where a member of that couple has told their publicist before they've told their significant other. I can't tell you who, but it's happened at least once to me, and once to a friend of mine. The hair and makeup people, they always seem to be the first to know. Sometimes the publicist, the hair and makeup people, the car driver, the security — they'll have a little pact where they all tell each other what's going on.

Now, It's Personal: The Epic, Inside Drama Behind the New Hollywood Agency Wars - Hollywood Reporter

"So let me ask you a question: What's more important, your agent or the agency?" McConaughey, 45, whose longtime agent, Jim Toth, was sitting in the audience, then began what a source who was present says was a palpably uncomfortable monologue. "Are you kidding me?" McConaughey is said to have answered. "My agent, not my agency. My agent is the one who fights for me every day." As the crowd shifted awkwardly, the source says the actor went further, saying: "Don't think I don't know what's going on here. You guys represent my competition — Brad Pitt, Tom Cruise, George Clooney. They're all fighting for the jobs I want, and my agent is fighting for me."

The Editing of Mad Max the Movie

One of the many reasons MAD MAX: FURY ROAD is so successful as an action film is the editing style. By using “Eye Trace” and “Crosshair Framing” techniques during the shooting, the editor could keep the important visual information vital in one spot…the Center of the Frame. Because almost every shot was center framed, comprehending the action requires no hunting of each new shot for the point of interest. The viewer doesn’t need 3 or 4 frames to figure out where to look. It’s like watching an old hand-drawn flip book whiz by. The focus is always in the same spot!

Joe Queenan on the Joys of Los Angeles - WSJ

I have long suspected that the East Coast is basically a joke that those of us from New York, Philly, Baltimore and, of course, New Jersey don’t want to let the rest of the country in on. We are all insanely envious of people who live in L.A. and we spend our entire adult lives pretending otherwise. We wish that we could live someplace where it is 88 degrees in March, where you can knock off work early and go bodysurfing, where glorious vegetation grows all year round, where no one owns an anorak or leggings and few own a sweater, where no one walks around looking like Nosferatu. Instead, we live someplace where it might snow on Opening Day. The East Coast—and New York in particular—is hard, mean, brooding, angry, obsessive, unhealthy, self-referential, emotionally undernourished and no fun. With very poor skin tone.

Amy Pascal haggles with her boss in Japan about a scene in The Interview

In shot #337 there is no face melting, less fire in the hair, fewer embers on the face, and the head explosion has been considerably obscured by the fire, as well as darkened to look less like flesh. We arrived at this shot (#337) after much cajoling and resistance from the filmmakers.

Hollywood salaries: the middle vanishes

"If you're [a big star], you're getting well paid," says one top agent, "but the middle level has been cut out." Sometimes with a hacksaw. Leonardo DiCaprio made $25 million (including bonuses) for The Wolf of Wall Street, while co-star Jonah Hill got paid $60,000. Granted, that's an extreme example — Hill offered to do the part for scale (and got an Oscar nomination for his trouble).

A Hollywood marketing hack gushes about the Jobs script

It's brilliant. It's perfect. […]Let's take the obvious off the table here - there are marketing liabilities to this script. It's long, it's claustrophobic, it's talky[…]Doesn't matter. We release this over Christmas, let the award buzz and word of mouth buoy it to where it needs to go. While there are a bunch of reasons to try to revise it […]it would topple the elegant house-of-cards-ness of it […]t's a mediation on Jobs himself. It's one of his early computers - closed end to end. […]I kept begging for someone to walk outside, for some daylight[…]But Sorkin is so brilliant with the structure. […]Just when Jobs lets up, the script finally breathes for the first time. It's really spectacular. […]but I'm a sucker for layered, thoughtful filmmaking. Sure it's got a marketing issues but I think it also has the panacea for those - I believe it will be brilliant. I do think the one thing that can hinder that is if it's too long. […] That's the other thing - this can't be without a star playing Jobs and can't be done by just anyone. Obviously. The script is a prefect 10 but in the wrong hands it grosses mid 30's.[…]while tricky - people deserve this kind of movie and in some weird way we have a responsibility to take these kinds of risks. Not to make it seem like we're saving lives - but I actually think that. This is the kind of film that makes me thankful for movies and they're few and far between these days.[…]It's exciting.

Why not work with Angie Jolie?

I'm not destroying my career over a minimally talented spoiled brat who thought nothing of shoving this off her plate for eighteen months so she could go direct a movie. I have no desire to be making a movie with her, or anybody, that she runs and that we don't. She's a camp event and a celebrity and that's all and the last thing anybody needs is to make a giant bomb with her that any fool could see coming.

Startups, Celebrities, And The Deadpool | TechCrunch

The list goes on and on. Having a celebrity on board means that picking up initial coverage from the media is easier. But that is at most what it means. Are companies with celebrity backing less focused on their fundamentals, or perhaps more focused on how they appear?

Al Pacino’s Driving Force

Pacino’s devotion to acting is, in a way, a defense against that self-doubt. Having a script to work from gives him, he said, a kind of license. “I can talk, I can speak, I have something to say,” he explained. “You don’t need a college education. All the things that you were inhibited to talk about and understand—they can come out in the play. The language of great writing frees you of yourself.”

Read what it's like casting Bill Murray in a movie

"The nuts and bolts is (Murray) has no agent and manager, as everyone knows. You just call the 1-800 number. And I left, I don't know, a dozen messages. It's not his voice on there. It's a Skytel voicemail with a menu. You have to record the message and send the message. It's so confusing. I think if you can get through that and believe in it, he might call you back. I started calling once a week, and then sometimes once every two weeks so I didn't annoy him. He never called back. I finally called his lawyer and said, 'I'm trying reach Bill.' And he goes, 'What number do you got?' And I go, 'I've got the 800 number.' And he goes, 'Well that's what I got.'
I want to write for the once successful who now can’t get a job. For the above- and below-the-line loyalists who know they’re getting screwed. For the least powerful who want to expose the most powerful. For anybody working in Hollywood afraid of layoffs ordered by too-well-compensated CEOs, sick of nonstop nepotism and cronyism that reward the untalented, frustrated by agents, managers and execs who act like assholes to coddle talent who think they’re gods. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: Come for the cynicism… Stay for the subversion… Heed this warning: my new website is not for the easily offended or ridiculously naïve.
I barely recognize DH these days. Some of those bylines I never hired and wouldn’t. (Anita Busch or Peter Bart? She’s batshit crazy and he’s an unethical fart.) A lot of those stories I consider a waste of time covering. I never wanted a bland and boring news feed. But that’s what the people running it now want. DH plans to unveil a redesign next week, and the best thing I can say about what I saw the other day is that it’s generic. (Yes, I just threw up in my mouth a little.)
Using large teams of people specially trained to watch movies, Netflix deconstructed Hollywood. They paid people to watch films and tag them with all kinds of metadata. This process is so sophisticated and precise that taggers receive a 36-page training document that teaches them how to rate movies on their sexually suggestive content, goriness, romance levels, and even narrative elements like plot conclusiveness. They capture dozens of different movie attributes. They even rate the moral status of characters.
If studios and their exhibition partners were concerned about an increasing number of moviegoers staying at home, the newest 4K TV sets hitting the market over the next year should amp up the anxiety. Ultra HD provides four times the resolution of a standard high-definition TV currently found in most homes, displaying 8 million pixels rather than 2 million. While movie theaters show images in 4096 x 2160 resolution, the newest Ultra HD TVs show them in 3840 X 2160, too close for comfort for theater operators. Because of that, expect exhibitors to demand a tighter hold on current release windows in order to protect ticket and concession sales.