Thursday, 5 February 2009

Christian Bale - true artiste or crybaby?

I wasn't sure what to think when I heard wooden actor Christian Bale letting rip with a string of expletives. At first, I thought his rant against the director of photography, on the set of the new Terminator movie, was a joke. But as his anger became apparent, I was struck by the inappropriate nature of his rage.

I understand that when an actor is performing, none of the crew are supposed to move. In this case, the DoP had gone to check a light and entered into Bale's line of sight. However, in all the years I worked as a TV director neither I nor any of the talent with whom I worked subjected our colleagues to the haranguing, foul-mouthed outburst that Bale thinks is acceptable.

The film director Michael Winner, interviewed on BBC Radio 4s Today programme, took Bale's side. You can hear the interview here. All I can say is, if that's how film folk talk to each other, I'm glad I stuck to TV!

Finally, as if to show how the postmodern and inter-textual nature of the web-connected world is altering the speed and nature of content production and syndication, an American DJ has taken the rant and turned it into a song! Apparently, it's doing well in clubs. The world has indeed gone mad.... writer Ty Burr summarises the state of modern celebrity succinctly, when he writes, "it's now a technological cargo cult in which we own any and all chunks of a celebrity not controlled by the official machine." 

Media exposure, the Cinderella effect, and a tale of epic Greek proportions

Image (c) Rex Features

Jade Goody rose to fame as the face of a leering, ill educated section of British society. She rose to prominence in 2002, when she appeared on the reality TV show Big Brother. 

Since then, her life has been lived in the full glare of the tabloids. Now she has cancer and it seems to be terminal. Yet still the TV cameras are rolling. It's a messy, tragic, horrible business, and my heart goes out to this 27 year old mother, facing the cruellest of fates.

Yet, there is something about this voyeuristic journey that leaves me with a sense of deep disquiet. My sentiments are best mirrored in this excellent article from the Guardian.

Kangaroo bounced out of court!

An interesting development in the push for TV institutions to move to an online delivery model. The BBC has been running its wildly successful iPlayer for more than a year, and is now streaming BBC1 and BBC2 live on the Web. ITV, the other major terrestrial player, together with Channel 4 (whose public service remit is to offer innovative programming from under-represented quarters of British society) have both been offering a similar service.

All three, perhaps bizarrely, have been collaborating for the last 18 months or so on a joint venture, called Kangaroo. The aim was to offer consolidated services and, as I understand it, to sell on wholesale content.

Given the fact the three broadcasters between them produce the lion's share of TV content in the UK, it came as no surprise that the Competition Competition investigated.

Yesterday, it published its report, stopping Kangaroo from progressing. The report claims that to allow all three companies to effectively merge their online distribution and re-selling operations would be tantamount to creating a monopoly.

The Commission's view, which you can read in full here, was that audiences would be better served if the three were in competition with each other, and alternative suppliers.

Naturally, the BBC, Channel 4 and ITV are claiming that it's consumers who will lose out. 

Now, we'll never know. Personally, I always thought the BBC, ITV and Channel 4 made strange bedfellows. Given the ease with which content can be accessed online, I'm not sure what the benefits truly would have been to audiences. The main beneficiaries, I suspect, would have been the three companies, who could have leveraged economies of scale.