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Guild & Grapes Draws Producers
by Lisa Gale Garrigues
Producers from Los Angeles, New York and the Bay Area swapped business cards and ideas at the Producer's Guild of America's "Guild and Grapes" VIP Luncheon, held in the Presidio on October 9. The event also included a tour of Pixar and Kerner Studios and then a tour Mendocino wine country.
"We're all about creating an environment to support one another," said Amy Kurokawa, who founded San Francisco's PGA three years ago. Some fifty producers and film notables attended, including Tim Gibbons, producer of HBO's hit comedy "Curb Your Enthusiasm," and Stefanie Coyote, the SF Film Commission chief.
Membership has exploded since PGA merged with the American Association of Producers in 2001, said Gibbons, a former AAP member. The national Guild now has 4,000 members, and includes a Producer's Council, an AP Council and a New Media Council. It regularly hosts networking events, seminars, and more. Since the SF Bay Area is a cauldron for new media, a lot of people were talking about it.
David Kaiser of CoincidentTV screened a demo of his interactive internet TV program. It looks like a regular TV show, but the viewer can click on characters, clothing, and objects in it to find out more about them and see commercials for them. A viewer can buy the outfit of a favorite star, decide which character is going to star in the show, or receive a text message from a character in a given commercial.
"Right now, the economics of high-value video don't work," said Kaiser, who's working with Fox TV on a pilot. He's hoping it will cure network TV's economic woes by giving viewers more control over the video and more incentive to buy the products featured in the ads.
"The big message is that people, like our friends at Apple, are making it easier and easier for us to do things without having to think about the technical aspects of it," noted Alison Savage, the enthusiastic chair of the PGA's New Media Council, clutching her iPhone, even as she spoke about how it has changed producing.
"Producers can produce anything. So if you have an idea and you're having difficulty getting it onto a big screen - or a slightly smaller screen - get a camera, get your phone, shoot it, get it out there."
"New media is basically opening the doors to people who have great talent and for those who don't have money," Savage continued. "That's in synch with what's happening in the world right now. People are suffering financially and people are having to be creative, that's the way they approach production. With limitation comes creativity. And genius comes from that."
After the luncheon, which included a spectacularly view of the Presidio through enormous plate glass windows, the producers were off to explore the virtual and 3D world of San Rafael's Kerner Groups with CEO Eric Edmeades, then on to the "Grapes" part of the event - a lovely trip through Mendocino wine country, with some extraordinary location shots.
Posted on Nov 03, 2009 - 05:38 PM