Tuesday, December 25, 2007

Peace On Earth, Good Will To Men.

A few years ago I discovered the MGM cartoon Peace on Earth while watching an episode of the Cartoon Network's Toon Heads. Since then it has been one of my favorite holiday cartoons. This 1939 cartoon was written by Jack Cosgriff, Charles McGirl and Khat Harman and directed by Hugh Harman and is the only cartoon ever nominated for a Nobel Peace Prize. Before reading any further I want you to watch the cartoon.

This cartoon was created prior to America's involvement in the Second World War by people who served in the First World War. This amazing story takes you on a journey:

From Cute and Fuzzy,
To Man's inhumanity to man.
To a climax.
To a resolution.
And back to Cute and Fuzzy.

The cartoon was remade by William Hanna & Joseph Barbera in 1955 as Good Will to Men and was also nominated for the Best Short Subjects Oscar.

While the remake is set in a post atomic bomb era the message stays the same and sadly that message has not been learned. One of my favorite moments in Peace On Earth is towards the end when the audience collectively realizes that the animal’s houses were made from the men's helmets and the lamppost was made from a sword. Then you sober up when Mama Squirrel sings, "Sleep in heavenly peace". On a final note I want you to think about this:

The story that was told.
Those moments that touched you.
The buttons that were pushed.
The feelings felt.
The lessons learned (and not learned by some).

The writer started this journey with an idea, and then it was translated:

To words.
To voice, music and Foley.
To ink & paint.
To the big (and later small) screen.
And the audience translated the sight and sounds back into the writer's original idea.

Something to think about when you are enjoying those holiday specials.

To quote Tiny Tim, "God bless us, everyone!"

Merry Christmas

Tony & Donna Figueroa

Friday, December 14, 2007

"Santa Ho Ho No!"

Winn's 88 Blues
Our Holiday Show is also the final episode of Season Two of Story Salon ON THE AIR. The theme is "Santa Ho Ho No" with Dan Tirman as our Featured Performer. Enjoy!

"Winn's 88 Blues" shot by Lance Anderson... Music by John O'Kennedy...

Recorded Live on Wednesday, December 12, 2007 at The Coffee Fix in Studio City, California...

1:o3:22 / 58.1 MB / Rated: PG-13 (Some Adult Language and Themes)... Until we meet again in the New Year... "Thanks for the Download!"

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

Monday, December 10, 2007

Take Out Stories: Christmas Specials

We launch our Story Telling Podcasts with two holiday offerings.
Both stories are set at Christmas time in Puerto Rico.

First Donna has a story about why you should "Never name your food".

Then Tony recalls the first time he was "Santa's Helper".


Donna & Tony

Friday, December 07, 2007

Writer's Strike Day 33: Fremantle Rally & AMPTP Breaks Off Negotiations

I was at the Fremantle rally today in Burbank where Tenacious D performed.

Later that same day the AMPTP broke off negotiations.
WGA's Response to AMPTP Breaking Off Talks
This is the letter that was just sent to the membership:

December 7, 2007


Today, after three days of discussions, the AMPTP came back to us with a proposal that included a total rejection of our proposal on Internet streaming of December 3.

They are holding to their offer of a $250 fixed residual for unlimited one year streaming after a six-week window of free use. They still insist on the DVD rate for Internet downloads.

They refuse to cover original material made for new media.

This offer was accompanied by an ultimatum: the AMPTP demands we give up several of our proposals, including Fair Market Value (our protection against vertical integration and self-dealing), animation, reality, and, most crucially, any proposal that uses distributor’s gross as a basis for residuals. This would require us to concede most of our Internet proposal as a precondition for continued bargaining. The AMPTP insists we let them do to the Internet what they did to home video.

We received a similar ultimatum through back channels prior to the discussions of November 4. At that time, we were assured that if we took DVD’s off the table, we would get a fair offer on new media issues. That offer never materialized.

We reject the idea of an ultimatum. Although a number of items we have on the table are negotiable, we cannot be forced to bargain with ourselves. The AMPTP has many proposals on the table that are unacceptable to writers, but we have never delivered ultimatums.

As we prepared our counter-offer, at 6:05 p.m., Nick Counter came and said to us, in the mediator’s presence: “We are leaving. When you write us a letter saying you will take all these items off the table, we will reschedule negotiations with you.” Within minutes, the AMPTP had posted a lengthy statement announcing the breakdown of negotiations.

We remain ready and willing to negotiate, no matter how intransigent our bargaining partners are, because the stakes are simply too high. We were prepared to counter their proposal tonight, and when any of them are ready to return to the table, we’re here, ready to make a fair deal.

John F. Bowman
Chairman, WGA Negotiating Committee
Contract 2007