Label the Parts of a Wave

Label the Parts of a Wave

Lloyd Braun, Yahoo

Lloyd Braun’s colleagues have described him as “creatively reckless”–big on ideas but a little hard on the fine red china. Before going to Yahoo, Braun created Grey’s Anatomy, Lost, and Drastic Housewives for ABC, until his head-butting with Michael Eisner got him pushed out. At present he’southward the new honcho at Yahoo’due south Media Group, charged with inventing, as The New York Times put it, “a medium that unites the showmanship of television with the interactivity of the Internet.” That means he’ll be pushing tons of original content to the portal’s 191 meg users, priming the pump for video on need. Braun has already lured several pinnacle network execs and moved his NoCal crew to Santa Monica. This fall, he tapped director Richard Bangs to produce an adventure series, starting with a grueling climb up the Eiger. Not a bad metaphor, actually.

Robert Rodriguez, Director

Hollywood studios like Robert Rodriguez’s math: Take a relatively small product budget (his first film, El Mariachi, cost $seven,000; Sin City price $45 million), run it through a digital camera, and out comes a whole lot of money–nearly $600 million to date. Rodriguez financed Mariachi by being a guinea sus scrofa in a drug trial, but those days are long gone. At present the man backside digital films like Desperado and the Spy Kids trilogy shoots under his Troublemaker Studio banner from his home in Austin. Rodriguez records his characters against a blueish screen, later creating the entire “set up” digitally, which frees him up to focus on the performance. He’south already working on a prequel to Sin Urban center (he’southward not to a higher place a little franchise building) and on a black-and-white feature chosen Grindhouse with Quentin Tarantino. Each managing director is making an hour-long segment, which will be packaged together and “made to wait old,” says Rodriguez. The film “will exist sold as a double feature, like a night out at the movies, complete with trailers and picture reels of movies that don’t exist.” We’re betting that if Rodriguez can convert Tarantino, a longtime celluloid purist, to the digital faith, the balance of Hollywood tin’t be far behind.

Steven Soderbergh, Director

More kids should make similar Steven Soderbergh and simply skip college. The director of sex, lies, and videotape and Traffic is emerging as 1 of cinema’s most conspicuous innovators (see “Maverick Mogul,” page 70). His upcoming Bubble, a murder mystery shot on high-definition video cameras along the Ohio-West Virginia border, will evidence up simultaneously in January in theaters, on DVD, and on Television receiver–a direct slap at industry do–and uses no actors, only locals. Soderbergh may exist philosophically opposed to studio meddling, just he’s keeping his options open: He has more than than a dozen films in various stages of production inside the studio system, including Che, starring Benicio Del Toro. Give that man a diploma.

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Anne Sweeney, Disney-ABC Goggle box

Anne Sweeney is no stranger to mag power lists. As president of the Disney-ABC Tv Grouping, she’s redefining what it means to lookout Television set. But she wields her influence discreetly. When her dominate, Bob Iger, took the credit for the new video-iPod insurrection (and chummed it up with Steve Jobs at the unveiling), Sweeney, 1 of the architects of the deal (it’ll make ABC hits available to iPod users starting in October), stayed in the background. And when Disney took a shot from the guilds about residuals, Sweeney took the bullet and defended the move–no surprise from a woman who once gave an ad exec a Kevlar vest during a particularly rocky menstruum. Before Disney, Sweeney earned a reputation as a turnaround artist at Nickelodeon and FX. She tends to hire creative people and let them do their affair. And that seems to exist paying off just fine: Disney posted a record $998 million profit for the third quarter of 2005. She won’t be needing a vest someday soon.

Blair Westlake, Microsoft

Blair Westlake joined Microsoft in 2004 after the software giant realized information technology had to lay a piffling sugar on Hollywood if gizmos such as its Media Center and Xbox 360 were ever going to brand it equally motion picture platforms. Who better to sweeten the pot, after all, than the former caput of Universal Studios’ tv division? Now, with the living room overwhelming the theater as the venue of choice for inert Americans–and with Microsoft establishing the PC every bit a living-room fixture–the forces are aligning (scarily) behind the cattle from Seattle. Media and tech convergence VP Westlake has already greased the works by bankroll the studios on intellectual-property protection. That should buy the company plenty of goodwill if and when Hollywood builds out its own home-distribution pipeline. Bill Gates must be on the border of his seat.

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Morgan Freeman, ClickStar

Oscar-winning actor Morgan Freeman has gone from Driving Miss Daisy to driving old-school Hollywood insane. In July, Freeman appear that he was teaming upwardly with Intel to launch ClickStar, a startup based in Santa Monica, California, built to distribute movies to computers at the same time they’re released in theaters. ClickStar, Freeman announced, is designed “to deliver first-run premium entertainment to movie fans around the world–and to make film easier to buy than to pirate.” The company won’t exist building whatsoever actual hardware, just tapping its Hollywood connections to deliver movies to platforms built past companies such every bit Microsoft or TiVo. Theater owners may not like ClickStar’s program, but the company thinks it has found a way around their objections: Pay them. The service is set to launch sometime in 2006.

Harvey Weinstein, The Weinstein Co.

Harvey Weinstein can’t play the underdog for long. After splitting with Disney (and losing the Miramax library, which includes Lurid Fiction, Good Volition Hunting, and Shakespeare in Love, not to mention the visitor that made $iv.five billion at the box part and collected 53 Oscars in 10 years), Harvey and brother Bob did what whatsoever heavyweight entrepreneurs would practice: They started over. And at present, with a little help from Goldman Sachs, the Weinstein Co. is on track to build a new $ane billion machine with interests in film, Broadway musicals, music, publishing, and video games. Harvey has already inked deals with directors such as Robert Rodriguez and Quentin Tarantino. And a strategic Cablevision pact should let him to control everything from production through multiplatform distribution.

Brian Roberts, Comcast

“Scary” isn’t a discussion people often utilise to describe Comcast CEO Brian Roberts. But as head of the country’s largest cable operator, he certainly has the bandwidth to strike terror in the L.A. institution. In late October, Roberts upped the fright a notch by announcing that Comcast was increasing its video-on-need content by 250 titles, to a roster of 800 movies a month. That may be only ane pocket-sized footstep for Comcast customers, but it’s a giant leap toward Roberts’southward philosophical goal of releasing films simultaneously on cable and at theaters. And with his telephone call for the major networks to feed their programs to cable operators on an on-demand footing (much equally ABC will exist piping Drastic Housewives to iPods), Roberts isn’t going to exist soothing many nerves in Sometime Hollywood.

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Kevin Tsujihara, Warner Bros.

No i would accuse the film studios of being early on adopters, but if one studio was ahead of the pack in seeing the huge potential upside of the DVD, it was Warner Bros. And now, with that cow running dry, Warner has given the nod to Kevin Tsujihara, the human being information technology hopes will lead the studio into the next green pasture, video on need. Tsujihara, an 11-yr Warner veteran, was promoted in October to head video, wireless, and online operations, likewise as games and antipiracy. As if that weren’t plenty, Warner also gave him its new digital distribution unit (video on need, electronic video sales and pay-per-view). That puts the 41-twelvemonth-old Tsujihara in charge of the well-nigh of import technological transition the studio has faced in decades (no pressure level, Kev!). Meaning he’ll be Warner’southward side by side superhero–or its next fall guy.

Bud Mayo, AccessIT

Bud Mayo began his career every bit an IBM computer salesman in 1965–and he’s still selling. Mayo founded AccessIT in hopes of getting every theater in America converted to digital distribution and projection. He has already committed AccessIT to making 150 screens operational by yr’south finish and some 4,000 by Oct 2007. He even predicts that all 36,000 American screens could be retooled in a decade. To go people to fifty-fifty listen, though (specially theater owners terrified of the $100,000 toll of conversion), took some polish talking. “Everyone in Hollywood was waiting for someone to show them the way,” Mayo says. His mantra is “No theater left behind,” and his recent partnership with projector maker Christie Digital Systems should reach that. Information technology standardizes format, delivery, and distribution–and fifty-fifty creates a payment plan to proceed out-of-pocket costs for theaters on par with analog.

Label the Parts of a Wave