BlogWorld Expo and the entertainment industry
If you're interested in the shift currently happening in the entertainment industry from the traditional studio driven model, in which a few media moguls control the purse strings and our screens, to a user-generated creativity-driven online model -- for example, Joss Whedon's recent direct-to-Internet project Dr. Horrible's Sing-along Blog -- I'm moderating two panels at BlogWorld Expo next month in Las Vegas that you might find interesting.
They'll certainly be entertaining. Read on, check out the panelists and you will see why.
The point of departure for both panels is the Writers Strike, and how the writers used social media like blogs and YouTube to get their message across. I came up with the idea for the panels shortly after the strike ended last spring. I was struck by how effectively the writers used social media to communicate with the media, fans and indeed with each other to keep themselves motivated during the long months on the picket line. I pitched the idea to BlogWorld Expo, they said yes, and the gods must have been smiling on me, because I was able to recruit some truly awesome panelists.
Here's the scoop on the panels. I hope to see you there.
Social Media and the Writers Strike: Blogs, Fans and Community
Saturday September 20, 2:45-3:45 pm
This panel, the first of two about Social Media and the Writers Strike, will offer an overview of how the writers used social media during the strike to inform the public, encourage and reward fan support and keep union members motivated. We’ll focus on community-developed sites like United Hollywood and the impact of fan support as we discuss the overall impact of social media, vs. mainstream media, on the outcome.
Jeffrey Berman's first spec script was purchased by Brian Grazer and Ron Howard at Imagine Films. Since then he has written feature film projects for Universal Studios, Paramount Pictures and The Walt Disney Studio, as well as several independent film companies. In the television market, Berman has written and sold several MOWs including The J.K Rowling bio-pic for NBC television and The Last Rainmaker for Hallmark. Recently, Berman co-founded UnitedHollywood.com and is producer/co-host of UnitedHollywood Live. He also created and hosts The Write Environment, a compelling series of one-on-one interviews with some of today's most prolific writers. He ran the Pencils 2 Media Moguls campaign during the strike; read more here.
Erica Blitz, Galactica Sitrep
Erica Blitz, who often goes by the online handle "ProgGrrl," is co-editor of the BATTLESTAR GALACTICA fansite Galactica Sitrep, and blogs about miscellaneous TV, film and pop culture at FanGrrl Magnet. She currently works in film advertising in New York City and has a background in both film and music marketing. For a closer look at how Sitrep covered the WGA strike from the fan perspective, check out these tagged posts.
Steve Diamond, Vallywood
Steve Diamond is a law professor and political scientist on the faculty of Santa Clara University School of Law in Santa Clara, California, which is in the heart of Silicon Valley. He has an extensive background in the labor movement and advise a wide range of unions, workers and institutional investors on financial and legal issues. He was a candidate to become National Executive Director of the Screen Actors Guild in 2006.
Mark Verheiden, Famous Mark Verheidens of Filmland
Mark Verheiden is currently the Co-Executive Producer of the Peabody Award winning television series BATTLESTAR GALACTICA, screenwriter of the Fall 2008 feature MY NAME IS BRUCE (starring Bruce Campbell), and screenwriter on the original feature film ARK (Sony Pictures), produced by Neal (I AM LEGEND, FAST & THE FURIOUS) Moritz and Mike (Dark Horse Productions Chief) Richardson. Past work includes writing and producing the first three seasons of SMALLVILLE, writing the scripts for the feature films TIMECOP & THE MASK, and scribbling out nearly 125 comic books including THE AMERICAN, ALIENS, PREDATOR, THE PHANTOM, SUPERMAN and SUPERMAN/BATMAN.”
Social Media and the Writers Strike: How user-generated content won the war of the words
Saturday September 20, 5:00-6:00 pm
The use of user generated content during the Writers Strike to both inform and entertain further validated the importance of the Internet medium. This panel, the second of two about Social Media and the Writers Strike, will dive deeper into the impact of websites and videos written (and often performed) by the writers and distributed through YouTube, United Hollywood and other Internet sites. Why did they work so well, and how has user generated content changed the entertainment landscape? What lessons can we apply to our own endeavors, personal, professional and corporate?
Jeffrey Berman (see bio above)
Michael Colton, www.coltonaboud.com
Michael Colton writes for film and television, and is currently working on a new Fox animated show set to air next spring. He and partner John Aboud also appear regularly as panelists on VH1's "Best Week Ever," "I Love the 80s" and other shows. Before moving to L.A., they ran the Web magazine Modern Humorist, and prior to that, Colton was a staff writer for the Washington Post. During the Writers strike, Colton & Aboud created the much-discussed parody website AMPTP.com (now housed at AMPTP.humortron.net). Joss Whedon praised them as "heroes," which is obviously an understatement.
See what I mean? It's gonna be a fun time, and I hope some of my readers can join us. If you can make it, use discount code SGVIP for 20% off your admission. The code is good until September 1st, but early bird registration ends on August 22d; if you are planning to go, you can save even more by registering by then.
Special thanks to Erica Blitz and Rob Kutner, a writer for The Daily Show and author of Apocalypse How. They were invaluable in connecting me with potential panelists, and I am forever grateful for their help.
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