Tag Archives: Television

A montage set to music: The best movies of 2013

Movies are all around us. Kind of like the Force, before George Lucas ruined it with all that claptrap about midichloridians or whatever.

Films live inside your TV, your iPhone, your laptop. They’re sitting on shiny metal disks and even being celebrated in these insanely large and dark stadiums where you pay $12 for popcorn and a Diet Coke that costs 20 cents.

And if you’re anything like me, movies are something magical.

So there’s this professional movie critic, David Ehrlich, a man you’d think only takes joy in ripping apart SMURFS 3: ARE WE THERE YET, PAPA SMURF while praising some black-and-white existential French movie where the hero finally kisses the girl and promptly gets hit by a bus–well, you’d think critics like him wouldn’t create something so joyful and beautiful as this.

Except of course he would. Why does anybody become a movie critic, book reviewer or rock journalist? Because they love nothing more than movies, books and making fun of Axl Rose and Vanilla Ice trying to stage a comeback.

So tell me, peoples of the Series of Tubes: which movies in 2013 make your top three?

Related posts:

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This is Guy Bergstrom the writer, not the Guy Bergstrom in Stockholm or the guy in Minnesota who sells real estate or whatever. Separate guys. Kthxbai.

Guy Bergstrom. Photo by Suhyoon Cho.

Reformed journalist. Scribbler of speeches and whatnot. Wrote a thriller that won some award (PNWA 2013). Represented by Jill Marr of the Sandra Dijkstra Literary Agency.

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Filed under 3 Tinseltown Tuesday, The Big Screen

Top 10 Myths of Journalism School

Oh, if I could go back in time, and whisper in the ear of my younger self during journalism school.

Not that I was busy screwing it up. Editor-in-chief of my college newspaper, graduated No. 1 in my class, won a bunch of awards, blah-blah-blah. (Related: Who is this Guy?)

But the traditional things that most journalism students think they SHOULD be doing — well, often those are seven separate kinds of wrong.

And there are other things Serious Journalism Majors scoff at, things that you actually should not only embrace, but hug tightly to your bosom.

So here we go with the Top 10 Myths of Journalism School.

Myth No. 10: Hard news is the only true love of a Serious Journalism Major

Sure, unfiltered Marlboros and Jim Beam come close. But nothing beats a scoop about an amazing scandal. You laugh at people trying to make the words flow for their feature story on dumpster divers, a story packed with all these photos, which are for nancypants who don’t have the stones to write more words.

Here’s the truth: hard news is all about news gathering and using the inverted pyramid, which is a horrible structure for any sort of writing and needs to be taken behind the barn and shot.

Hard news is worthy, and does the public a great service. Yet if all you do is hard news, you won’t truly learn journalism — or how to write.

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Myth No. 9: Journalism school will teach you how to write

Once you get that pigskin from j-school, and land your first journalism  gig — at The Willapa Valley Shopper or The New York Times — you’ll go home after 12 hours of banging on the keyboard to stay up past midnight, banging on the keyboard some more while smoking Gallouise Blondes and drinking cheap whiskey sours as you write (a) the next Great American Novel, (b) a Broadway play involving a debutant who falls in love with a struggling young reporter or (c) a Hollywood screenplay about a vast government conspiracy unraveled by an intrepid young intern at CBS.

This will be a lot of fun, and you’ll remember this as being the Best Thing Ever until you’ve been doing it for seven months and turning every draft of your extra-curricular writerly fun into three-point attempts. Also, you will miss this thing we call “sleep” and these other things we call “money in the checking account” and “a social life that does not involve typing on a keyboard chatting with a person who may, or may not, actually exist.”

Continue reading

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Filed under 4 Writing Secrets Wednesday, Journalism, publicity and scandals, Old Media, which is still Big and Strong, Speechwriting, The Twitter, the Book of Face and the Series of Tubes

Journalists just wanna have fun

As a reformed journalist, I can tell you secret things.

Number One: Coffee.

If you want to make a reporter smile, or an editor not growl at you, feed them industrial amounts of coffee.

Number Two: Stress requires unstressing.

Journalists do a stressful job for tiny amounts of monies, and they’re under the Most Insane Deadline Pressure Known to Man, which makes them look for ways to unwind.

Here are my favorite journalists finding ways to unstress.

First we’ve got Bob Herzog.

Bob’s a TV reporter from Local 12 in Cincinatti who took the thankless job of “Traffic Reporter, A Job We Sometimes Have Interns Do” and turned it onto a “Dancing King of the Glowing Tube.”

Then we’ve got WGN anchors Robert Jordan and Jackie Bange, who look quite Serious and Somber while delivering the news.

Once they hit the commercial break, they transform into silly nutballs and do a special shebang, which they’ve honed over the years to take up exactly two minutes.

Also, just because I can, the original Girls Just Wanna Have Fun by Cindi the Lauper.

The Killers once covered Girls Just Wanna Have Fun.

Katy Perry and Nicki Minaj covered it EVEN BETTER.

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This is Guy Bergstrom the writer, not the Guy Bergstrom in Stockholm or the guy in Minnesota who sells real estate or whatever. Separate guys. Kthxbai.

Guy Bergstrom. Photo by Suhyoon Cho.

Reformed journalist. Scribbler of speeches and whatnot. Wrote a thriller that won some award (PNWA 2013). Represented by Jill Marr of the Sandra Dijkstra Literary Agency.

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Filed under 7 Media Strategy Saturday, Journalism, publicity and scandals, Old Media, which is still Big and Strong, The Glowing Tube

Insane pool tricks

Apparently, magical pool shots require three things: (1) Napoleon Dynamite hair with nerdy McNerd glasses, (2) big-time soundtracks and (3) blondes in miniskirts.

And here are trick shots by what looks like Larry the Cable Guy‘s younger, skinnier brother, who calls himself Praying Mantis for some reason. No blonde. No glasses or Napoleon Dynamite hair. HOWEVER: What he does have is a rocking soundtrack stolen from 1983, possibly taken from Jan Michael-Vincent’s trailer on the set of AIRWOLF.

Special bonus video: flaming cue ball, which is apparently the kind of thing that world-class pool sharks do when they’re drunk.

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This is Guy Bergstrom the writer, not the Guy Bergstrom in Stockholm or the guy in Minnesota who sells real estate or whatever. Separate guys. Kthxbai.

Guy Bergstrom. Photo by Suhyoon Cho.

Reformed journalist. Scribbler of speeches and whatnot. Wrote a thriller that won some award (PNWA 2013). Represented by Jill Marr of the Sandra Dijkstra Literary Agency.

1 Comment

Filed under 5 Random Thursday

Quirks and legs matter more than talent and perfection

Hear me now and believe me later in the week:

  • flaws and quirks beat absolute perfection
  • the package matters more than the product
  • without legs, you are dead in the water

And now I’ll prove those three things to you with one word, a word that you will definitely recognize and understand.

Ready?

Here’s that word: SNOOKI.

Does the Snooki (real name: I don’t care) have flaws and quirks? Oh yes. Her flaws may be uncountable by modern science.

Conventional wisdom is that talent trumps all. This is America, right? The cream rises to the top. No way will somebody like Snooki get magazine covers.

HOWEVER: Just a few miles from the Jersey Shore are 5.82 bazillion Broadway actresses who have more talent, beauty and brains in their pinky fingers than Snooki and all her castmates combined. Some of these Broadway stars approach perfection, being triple threats who can sing, dance and act while looking like supermodels.

Talent alone, though, doesn’t make them into stars. Continue reading

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Filed under 7 Media Strategy Saturday, Journalism, publicity and scandals, Old Media, which is still Big and Strong, The Twitter, the Book of Face and the Series of Tubes

Photos and video, they are your FRIENDS

The New York Times

For two years or whatever, I blogged three times a week about publicity, speechwriting, public relations and scandals for The New York Times’about.com.  If you are an author, actor, director, politician, professional athlete, rock star, user of social media or otherwise in the public eye, THESE POSTS ARE USEFUL TO YOU. If you live in an ice cave, you can safely ignore all this stuff.

Photos and video, they are your FRIENDS

The Eyes Rule the Brain

If you’re not on TV, you don’t exist

What To Wear For The Cameras

Three mug Shot Mistakes and How to Fix Them

How to Write Photo Cutlines

How to Stage and Use Group Photos: Avoiding the Dreaded Staged Photo

How To Take and Use Action Photos: Readers Are Attracted to Motion

How to Turn Mug Shots and Group Photos into Action Shots

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This is Guy Bergstrom the writer, not the Guy Bergstrom in Stockholm or the guy in Minnesota who sells real estate or whatever. Separate guys. Kthxbai.

Guy Bergstrom. Photo by Suhyoon Cho.

Reformed journalist. Scribbler of speeches and whatnot. Wrote a thriller that won some award (PNWA 2013). Represented by Jill Marr of the Sandra Dijkstra Literary Agency.

2 Comments

Filed under 7 Media Strategy Saturday, Journalism, publicity and scandals, Old Media, which is still Big and Strong

ELECTRIC AVENUE, as interpreted by the Red Pen of Doom

A classic, and the first video I remember seeing on MTV, and one of my favorites.

Great song. Great video.

As a special bonus, I found the lyrics.

All of them.

And yes, the Red Pen of Doom couldn’t resist taking a shot at interpreting each line.

Boy!

(My friend, who doesn’t need to be named, and is a male, though possibly not a man, and definitely not a boyfriend, but a buddy.)

Boy!

(I say this twice to reinforce my greeting and to use it as a shout, sort of a combination of “Hey!” and “Man!” and “Can you believe this nonsense?”)

Down in the street there is violence

(There are sometimes assaults and murders that I did not commit, or authorize, and this worries me.)

And a lots of work to be done

(I have things to do, people. I don’t always  hang out in my living room singing at the TV or ride my motorcycle around empty streets.)

No place to hang out our washing

(The economy is so bad, and living quarters so cramped, not only do I fail to own a washer and drier, I don’t even have enough space to hang my clothes out to dry.)

And I can’t blame all on the sun, oh no

(The fact that the weather here is glorious doesn’t cause anyone to be unsuccessful. There are other reasons.)

Continue reading

74 Comments

Filed under 2 Music Video Monday

Why reporters love mayhem, destruction and FREE DONUTS

Hear me now and believe me later in the week: Mayhem, crackpots and craziness is always more entertaining than the boring business of actually making the trains run on time and hot water coming out of the faucet when you turn the knob with a big H on it, though reporters do cover those stories, because they are important, and it’s their civic duty, and we should thank them for risking their lives with the mayhem and risking their sanity reading Draft Environmental Impact Reports.

I know, for I have a journalism degree and wrote many stories at papers of news.

A hot city council meeting is when the gadfly who always shows up to kvetch about property taxes during the public comment sections yammers too long and has to be gaveled down and maybe, just maybe, you think he’s gonna keep talking anyway, just to see what Little Mr. Mayor can do if the gadfly keeps flapping his lips.

You start to wonder if the mayor will step from behind the podium and the gadfly will get in his face and they’ll start the ancient junior high ritual of chest bumping followed by bellowing followed by pushing and maybe a haymaker.

You begin to hope, deep in your soul, that all that may happen, just to liven things up, that the gadfly will insult the mayor’s ancestry and the mayor will punch him in the schnauz before the police chief wrestles them all to the ground and YOU GET IT ALL ON FILM.

This is every reporter’s dream, as they sit through another boring city council meeting that seems like it will never end.

Then the gadfly runs out of steam and sits down. Nothing happens. So you trundle back to the newsroom and pound out a zoning story which the city planner’s mom will clip out and put on the fridge.

Which begs the question: how can you attract reporters to your not-so-exciting book signing and whatnot?

One solution is to guarantee fisticuffs. Another, better way of having reporters showing up is to make sure they know THERE WILL BE FOOD. Always, always have coffee and munchies at any press event. Always.

Reporters make tiny bits of monies, because they do this job for love. On good days, they subsist on Top Ramen plus free donuts and coffee at press conferences. On bad days, they eat the greasy cardboard boxes that once contained pizza.

So be kind to journalists. It’s a tough business these days, after 15,000 folks got laid off from newspapers in America, and even now, with the economy bouncing back, newspapers are still hurting. Journalists don’t make a lot of money. We need them. All of us. Without reporters and editors, 90 percent of the professional content on the Series of Tubes would disappear.

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This is Guy Bergstrom the writer, not the Guy Bergstrom in Stockholm or the guy in Minnesota who sells real estate or whatever. Separate guys. Kthxbai.

Guy Bergstrom. Photo by Suhyoon Cho.

Reformed journalist. Scribbler of speeches and whatnot. Wrote a thriller that won some award (PNWA 2013). Represented by Jill Marr of the Sandra Dijkstra Literary Agency.

7 Comments

Filed under 7 Media Strategy Saturday, Journalism, publicity and scandals, Old Media, which is still Big and Strong

The evil truth about reality stars like Snooki and The Situation

I marvel at how people like Snooki and The Situation and the Kardashian sisters are famous, or infamous, though they wouldn’t know the difference if you flew in a Harvard linguist professor to explain it to them every morning.

Snooki has a book deal. The Kardashian sisters have clothing lines and money coming out of their ears.

The joker who calls himself The Situation in on track to earn $5 million this year.

I have witnessed episodes from the first season of Jersey Shore by using the power of the internets, and I have come to an epiphany.

These people are not making scads of money, scoring book deals and dancing badly on “Dancing With A Few Stars and A Bunch of Other Schmucks” in spite of their obvious handicaps in the areas of brains and common sense. Continue reading

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Filed under 7 Media Strategy Saturday, Journalism, publicity and scandals, Old Media, which is still Big and Strong

A secret society of British editors discovers my silly blog

It’s two in the morning. Everybody sane is asleep.

But a secret society of British editors was busy sneaking onto my blog, reading my love letter to all who wield the Red Pen of Doom to pay the mortgage.

I know this because a man in a black hood crept inside my secret lair, entered the bigger turret and whispered in my ear, “Me and my mates are dead chuffed.”

He wore a pendant around his neck that looked a lot like a sharp red pen, dripping blood. Also, he smelled like good tea.

I dig the British, and the Australians, so it’s a happy accident that a bunch of Brits and Aussies and New Zealanders read this blog.image

The brilliant and beautiful British editors must have told their friends in Canada, who were also up early for some reason, and hitting my silly blog at an ungodly hour despite the fact that I know Canada is only five hours behind Eastern Standard Time, being up north with the sun either shining all but two hours in the summer and that same daystar hiding out for all but two hours in the dead of dark, dark winter.

It was hilarious to read their comments on Twitter, where I asked to join the Society for Editors and Proofreaders (SfEP), perhaps as Fetcher of Coffee — or maybe Puncher of All Who Need to Be Punched.

They said sure. Join our group.

So I might. Even their acronym looks cool, and I belong to the Swedish Institute of Learned Men Without Beards Who Truly and Absolutely Hate Acronyms, Poets and Mimes (SILMWBWTA).

Editors and proofreaders of the United Kingdom, I salute you. Start making two lists: coffee preferences and people who need instant nose jobs.

And just because I can, four of my favorite videos related to all things British, with the exception of Bond movie clips. 007 deserves his own post later.

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This is Guy Bergstrom the writer, not the Guy Bergstrom in Stockholm or the guy in Minnesota who sells real estate or whatever. Separate guys. Kthxbai.

Guy Bergstrom. Photo by Suhyoon Cho.

Reformed journalist. Scribbler of speeches and whatnot. Wrote a thriller that won some award (PNWA 2013). Represented by Jill Marr of the Sandra Dijkstra Literary Agency.

2 Comments

Filed under 4 Writing Secrets Wednesday