Teaser trailer for “Dr. Horrible Sing-Along Blog”

Weary times, tend to make people creative. Well, when Joss Whedon is not creative? The man who says himself, that vacation time for him, is just more time to do different things. It all began as a side project from Joss and some of his family and friends, started during the WGA Strike late last year, and it turns out as it will be some innovative experiment of how mainstream entertainment will be able to earn revenue playing with new media, not in the sense of a extension of traditional media, but creating new content.

Teaser from Dr. Horrible’s Sing-Along Blog on Vimeo.

From SciFi Wire.

Whedon created Dr. Horrible during the recent writers’ strike. “We got this amazing crew,” he added. “Everybody just sort of said, ‘We’ll just jump on,’ and in six days we shot this 36-minute, three-part oddity, which I think is the most fun I’ve had in about seven years.”

The next step, Whedon said, will be to find a venue to air Dr. Horrible so that it can earn its money back and he can pay the crew. “We’re literally just finishing it,” he said. “And then we’re going to show it to my people at CAA and a bunch of other people and discuss ‘How do we go about this? Where is the venue for this?'” Whedon anticipates that Dr. Horrible’s Sing-Along Blog will appear first on the Internet, followed by releases on iTunes and DVD.

Whedon admits that one of the cast members from Dr. Horrible should take some credit into inspiring him into this endeavor, The Guild, a award winning web series created, written and starred by Felicia Day, showed him the potential of what web distribution and production can bring.

How well Dr. Horrible performs, not only by the amount of clicks and buzz it will generate, but also through the numbers it will be able to sell through DVDs (which will contain extra non-online content) and iTunes, will be something to watch, not only at the entertainment standpoint, but also the future for the business.

If you’ve just happened to stumble on this blog post, without any previsou knowledge about the production, check out the following links, which will give you a broader idea of this production.

Whedonesque

Dr. Horrible generates Internet Buzz

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The sort of Firefox 3 Final Numbers

You’ll understand later what’s this picture is doing in this post.

So at the end of the day, I didn’t come back last week with the number for check of how were final results for the record attempt from Mozilla for a new entry in the Guiness Records.

The website that was tracking the worldwide downloads, is not doing that anymore, but from their reports there were over 8 Million in the first 24 hours.

But what I find most interesting are the numbers from the places without any downloads, which remained pretty much the same last time I was able to check the website, before they stopped tracking those specific stats.

The 0 Club, as I called them, included some places that weren’t that surprising at all, for being quite desolate.

I didn’t get to check the new results from Timor Leste, and wasn’t that surprised about the lack of downloads from North Korea, but I find quite intriguing that there were no downloads at all from French Guiana, which turns out into such an obscure country in South America. I’ve lived in South America for over 20 years already, and French Guiana is simply a huge mystery for me. And there’s where the picture above comes from. I ended up searching something about French Guiana and just stumbled onto this gorgeous photo from a Parade in French Guiana.
And my lack of knowledge about the country and their country, come sort of in line of what I’ll attempt to do more with this blog, discuss, interact and discover more about other cultures, which doesn’t get limited through a country’s legal limits.
This is making me really consider sharing some specifics photos from my personal collection in my next posts.

So how it’s been your Download Firefox 3 day?

We’re midway through Download FIrefox 3, still about 6 hours and 1/2 to go. How’s your been.

Got myself one of those mozilla certificates for the download day. Kind of funny. When I tried to reach the website earlier yesterday I even got a error message, for the amount of the people in the network.

The main add-ons I had in the old version, still work on the new, but I already saw some websites not working so well in the new browser, as they get all twitchy or the layout is all strange. Hope the upcoming fixes updates will solve this problem.

The Numbers from the World Downloads are quite impressive, just don’t know if it will mean a new entry in Guiness, would be fun if it does.

These are the Numbers from 7h25am (-3GMT) – all data from Spreadfirefox.com, I’m highlighting some coutries, for different reasons, but you’ll find the complete list over there. But where is the Vatican?

Total Downloads: 5,724,449

USA: 2,128,736 (Largest Amount of Downloads)

Germany: 355,323 (it seems they’re second)

Japan: 277,590

SPain: 206,739

France: 194,994

UK: 196,642

Iran: 178,751

Canada: 168,290

Italy: 156,231

Brazil : 128,406

China: 127,678

Australia: 106,272

India: 54,370

Taiwan: 49,328 (does it make me a sick person, that I’m giddy that there were more downloads in Taiwan, than in Argentina)

Argentina: 42,061

South Korea: 31,992

Hong Kong: 26,945

Portugal: 24,468

Greece: 20,896

New Zeland: 18,938 (we should get the Middle-Earth peple to download it too).

Singapore: 18,967

Israel: 17,551

Ireland: 14,192

Luxembourg: 3,564

Bangladesh: 1,466 (If I remember right from school, it’s the country with the highest level of population density)

Qatar: 885 (Always loved, writing Qatar)

Lebanon: 700

Cuba: 586

Fiji: 265

Palestinian Territories: 252

Liechtenstein: 216 (Smallest country with defined borders)

Iraq: 158

Zimbabwe: 146 (last country in the list, alphabetically)

Ethiopia: 124

Afghanistan: 93 (the first coutry in the list, alphabetically)

Vanuatu: 19

Cape Verde: 15 (I went to college with some people from Cape Verde)

Somalia: 7

Sierra Leoa: 2

The 0 Club, makes you wonder why…

French Guiana: 0

North Korea: 0

Svalbard and Jan Meyen: 0

Timor Leste: 0

Western Sahara: 0

Will be back tomorrow with final results, and how this will hare out.

Organizing your DVDs – Part 1

I don’t think most average group of friends occasionally find themselves intentionally discussing DVD box package and how you organize your collection.

Well most average people don’t own kind of big DVD collections, which is not a case with my friends, it’s not rare that we find ourselves discussing how we manage our lack of actual space in our houses or apartments.

Last Wednesday I twittered this article from tvshowsondvd.com, about a certain type of DVD packaging that Sony is testing. It’s only about about it’s usability standpoint, but the package is quite unfriendly for collectors or people who re-watch the same set of DVDs several times. Not that the all packaging used to sell DVDs nowadays can be called ideal to handle the disks.

I figured that aside licensing and profit aspect of the studios and other expenses, the thing that does influence a lot in the cost of a DVD it is the packaging.

The most common packaging format as I far as I could gather:

  • Traditional Amaray (which pretty much replaced those very first cardboard packaging), it’s major problem, is that it can get pretty bulky (you should see some Taiwanese R3 US show releases, and compare them to the original R1 ones) if you’re talking about a single multi-disk collection, in which each disk is stocked in separate cases. I’ve seen and own some inventive solutions, using amaray, in which you can stock up to 4 (I heard there is a 6 disk solution, but never saw one myself), using the sides of the cover, and an internal feature for additional disks. Warner Bros, in Brazil, chose an very awful way to try to save space, bundling 4 disks in one amaray case, using only the sides.
  • Slim (which Fox Home Entertainment, – but not only – had widely adopted for their TV release), very space friendly as each only takes the same space of half Amaray. Lately I’ve seen distributers, creating packages that will fit two disks in each case, instead of holding only one, so the entire package of a tv show, becomes even slimmer.
  • Digistack (never saw R1 releases in this format, but is widely used in Brazilian R4 releases for some TV Shows), as you get the same size for the corresponding Digipack package, but in a little book format, where you’ll flip through the disk pages. The US release that actually use this type of package in some extent, is in the season packages for the complete collections of Buffy, the Vampire Slayer and Angel.
  • Digipack (which seems like the most expensive format from the ones I’m listing here). They have a somewhat slicker design, in which the package open ups to several flips. I love double disk digipacks they look very  neat. Critically to save “flips” and even space, a saving solution found was to stack to disks on the same “flip”, causing the problem of disks touching each other, which with time will end up damaging the disks.

This seems to be most common solutions each day. I’ll come back another day, with another part about this subject, in which I plan to share some pictures, and share how awful DVD cases from China look like, and also a little talk about pirating.

“Just doing their Job” a review of “9mm: São Paulo”

9mm

What? 9mm: São Paulo is Fox first effective investment into producing a Brazilian tv show. Their previous attempt should not named, as it’s somewhat close to relation of what “Joey” (the show, not the character) meant for the fans of “Friends”. It’s basically a police procedural drama set in South America largest city São Paulo

There’s is commitment to produce a total of 13 episodes for its first season, which are still under production, 4 of which will be shown this month, at first as testing ground for how it might perform, as the show will also be shown by Fox other affiliated through Latin America. It’s not the first investment from international companies to produce local content. The last few years we’ve seen HBO produce some successful mini series and Sony after some failed attempts into the world of variety show, found in spinning Tyra Banks’ “America’s Next Top Model”, into “Brazilian Next Top Model”, a successful product from the land that is homeland for a 1/3 of “Victoria’s Secret” Top Models and some of the highest paid model in the world.

What does 9mm: São Paulo remind me of? When I saw the first tv spots I thought it would be just another Jerry Bruckheimer-ish CSI rip off. Yes the characters come out from the same archetypes the ones we have in the CSI’s shows, but the result is somewhat different.

In my opinion, the US show that it resembles the most is actually the short lived, but excellent Tim Minear’s “The Inside”, which did happen to be another Fox production. If I had to describe the show for a friend I’d call it a mix of “The Inside” with “NYPD: Blue”, with a touch of CSI.

The show in a nutshell(mildly spoilerific). 9mm: São Paulo it’s an hour-long crime drama, that tells the story of a homicide unit in the largest city in Brazil, as they take on violent cases from dangerous regions of the city. What happens when law and crime might actually walk hand by hand. The team is lead by Eduardo, a young detective in a career fast-track, partly due to his close relationships to a congressman, who might become his father-in-law. Horacio is veteran investigator of the team, with a shady past and a very grey approach toward the cases. Tavares is a 38-year-old newbie, who’s just out of the police academy, and tend to have a very black-&-white view of the world. Luísa, is the only woman in the team, who is a single mom and had her daughter when she was only 15, she has to juggle her constantly busy professional life, while raising a teenage daughter and dealing with an uncooperative ex-husband. 3P is the hotshot youngest member of the team, who can be impulsive and very naive.

This first episode titled Aqui Se Faz, Aqui Se Paga, (Here you sow, Here you pay) have the team investigating two murders, that ends up having a common point in the figure of a talent manager who gives”managing talents”a deeper meaning, and also he has some past relation to Horacio, which leads to its surprising final scene. As the several characters repeat among themselves, they were just doing their job.

What Works? I really liked the casting, it’s clear through the pilot episode that we have a strong main cast, and some supporting cast played by some known actors. I really loved the fact that the team leader is a black man, and they play well into introducing each of the team players and their personal lives and it’s amazing how imperfect they all are. The show pacing is uneven, it get better on the second half, when the cases become one. The use of the “shaky cam”, emulating the reality of a documentary, works well in most scenes, especially in action scene when we have chases or confrontation between characters. I loved the fact that they set the show in São Paulo, not just because I lived here for most of my life (or for the fact that we share a lifelong rivalry with Rio), but it does give a setting of Brazil as urban world, not just “Football”, “Half-naked woman”, “Beaches” or “Coffee”. The dysfunctional characters and their rich backgrounds does show a lot of promise, and make me curious for what we’ll see in the next episodes. They also had some pretty transition scenes effect, it reminded me of a mix of “Angel”, “Woman’s Murder Club” and “CSI: New York”.

What doesn’t work? The shaky cam works well for most of the narrative, but it seemed overused, especially in more intimate scenes, which instead of making the viewer a discreet eavesdropper of a personal conversation, just makes you think that it was being filmed by an overactive operator. I’m all for making it imperfect, however It was getting so distracting on some moments from the first half of the episode, that made me want to scream at the screen for it. Maybe I’m just too spoiled by writers who can pen amazing dialogs, but some of the dialogs in the show were just bad, it made me cringe and feel bad for the actors who were delivering them and were doing their best with the material given. They didn’t play much the team dynamics as a whole, but I expect it will change in the next episodes.

The Bottom Line… as such an ambitious first experiment, for how promising it looks, despite the few laws, It should be considered close to success, and very bright future for other fiction products from local writers and producers. I will surely check the next 3 episodes that they’ll show this month.

PS. I should remember to credit Brian Ford Sullivan, from The Futon Critic, as somewhat the inspiration for this review’s structure.

PPS. In case you didn’t notice, if you click on the picture above, it’s linked to the show official Site.

Some get it, some just don’t

Do you, like me, own some Cds (possibly some EMI or Universal title from 4 or 5 years ago), with that crazy DRM lock, that you just can’t copy the music from the CD to your selected portable media player (Ipod/PSP/FlashMP3 Player), without having to resort to some unlocker software to hack it. Sometimes that’s so annoying that I’d rather find some hacked copy online, I just download it for free, just because it’s less of a hassle. Thankfully they stopped doing that.

After only a few days after Coldplay have made their new album available through Myspace, and after Radiohead had a successful run also by making their music available for free, it seems that some still don’t understand how the web is changing how business will work from now to the future.

I’m fazed after this news that was waiting for me in my feed reader from Marshable, about how Metallica still represent so much of a completely different standpoint compared to the examples above. I’m neither big follower of the bands mentioned above, but it does take all this discussion into very current context.

It does make me thing about how iTunes as a music retailer changed the market the last few years. Before the advent of the digital world and broadband internet, where all you got was what the recording companies delivered to your closest Wal Mart or Tower Records, most of the times you had to buy an entire album, because you really liked a song from a certain artist. Nowadays, either through legal or illegal resources, you can get only what you want, and download only the song that you want to include in your already gigarmous playlist.

Some complain, that this has avoided people to knowing some great songs. Green Day’s previous studio album, “American Idiot” (great album, if you enjoy their music), had all that thing about featuring a opera-ish type of storytelling, that doesn’t exist if you only listen to a few songs. Hey, even if you own the whole album, just hit the random play button, and the storytelling flow is broken all the same.

Allowing people to sample the music for free, seems like the ideal solution to allow people more access to colder songs from an album. If you’re musician, and still reluctant to provide whole songs as samples, just remember that 30-seconds, hardly ever give a good idea about what a song is about. Despite the fact that you might lose some people as they sample through the collection before the 20-second mark, people who might actually invest some bucks on the music will need more. Unlike American Idol 90-second butcher of songs, bordering on annoying, it seems like a minimum experience required for enjoyment of a song. I’ve found myself several times loving the colder songs, more than the single hits that are used to promote the album.

Yesterday, I went to a panel discussion about Creative Commons and Brazilian Authorship Laws (the complete panel will be available for viewing at IPTV-USP sometime around June 12th, if you can understand Portuguese, I recommend you to watch it). The panel discussed mostly about licencing and laws, but did get some time to introduce some issues that I’m mostly following through international bloggers and podcasters, such is the issue involving monetizing the content. Prof. Ronaldo Lemos, the leader of the Creative Commons project in Brazil, did present some quite interesting statistics about media content market, especially with local Brazilian data that I was not quite aware of before, including the behavior from Brazilian Mainstream Recording Industry. As musical as Brazilian culture is, musicians properly signed in the major labels, represent about only 1/4 of their artists line-ups, which was even more reduced in the last 3 or 4 years. It’s completely different scenario that we see websites such as Trama Virtual, that distributes music for over 10.000 independent artists in the country. It’s quite interesting for me how the Brazilian mainstream Recording Industry for local musicians seems to be shrinking faster and faster, compared to Taiwanese’s. It’s a market that’s selling less and less records, just like the rest of the world, but it amazes me the number of new Taiwanese artist that get signed every year, and their music doesn’t even have to be good.

Definitely something to be thought about.

Culture Conundrums #00

Why Culture Cunundrums?

Weird name for a personal blog, that has not yet defined another purpose, beside some narcissistic sense that people might want to read, what I’m writing about.

Well, on the rare occasions that I get a spurt of creativity, some things stick out. Cultures Conundrums, was originally the name of a podcast I was planning to do, about this same time last year. It was supposed to be work somehow like the sadly podfaded and deeply missed 5 Questions podcast, in the question and answer structure.

It was supposed to work like a bi-weekly podcast. The first podcast of the month, would be a short podcast, with a introduction of the subject, of the “Culture Conundrum” for that month, which could be a simple phenomenon, or some local custom that I found to be curious or that deserved some discussion, and maybe a second section for some review on books, movies, articles or even podcasts. The second podcast of the month, would be the feedback episode, in which I planned to read feedbacks onto the “conundrum” of the month, and maybe play voice mails, if I even got one.

Not surprisingly I never got the chance to really do the podcast. I was already listening to many podcasts at the time, and like most of them if I ever got to make it, I’d like to really be able to deliver shows steadily and with some quality material to really deserve the listeners for the show. It would be too much work than the time I have available, as of now, I always multi-task, and rarely have more than 3-4 hour of real sleep. Instead of investing a lot, to just podfade in some tragic blaze of fire, I decided to not pursue into the production the podcast.

Well, as I decided to come back to the blogging word, I was faced with the question of what to call it. I didn’t want to call it Johny’s blog or J’s Blog, that is just too lame, and lacked some level of reflection that I’m still attempting to relay. As I was registering the name on wordpress, the name was available, so I decided to stick with it.

If you’re one of the current non-readers, you may have noticed the numbering on the title. Won’t be doing a podcast anytime soon, but I plan to post in somewhat regular weekly or biweekly columns. I’ll rescue some of the topics that I had listed originally for the podcast from the garbage bin, and give my personal take on them.