Posts by Johanna Blakley

Believing Fiction

When I read that the Dean of West Point made a special trip to the set of 24 to beg the writers there to change the way they depict torture, I wasn’t the least bit surprised. Of course his students were swayed by the show’s hair-raising depictions of Jack Bauer,… More

The Art of Film Financing

We’ve heard plenty about mysterious accounting practices in the film industry so I was very curious to hear what the suits have to say about financing films at the American Film Market. For an avid moviegoer and cultural critic like myself, going to the AFM Finance Conference is like glimpsing… More

Maestros of the Attention Economy

Could it be that artists — those struggling musicians, actors, dancers, sculptors, grafitti artists and painters who move to New York or Los Angeles to get their big break — will be the big winners in the rising “attention economy?” I’m tempted to think so after reading The Warhol Economy:… More

Innovation in Advertising

According to Esther Franklin, a self-styled “media anthropologist” at Starcom, no one has an attention span anymore. While that might pose a problem to content providers — and I am one of them — it’s an even bigger problem for the advertising industry. If Law & Order can’t hold your… More

Do-Gooders in Hollywood?

I mentioned to a colleague that I was going to be interviewed for a documentary about do-gooders in Hollywood, and he found the concept laughable. Isn’t a do-gooder in Hollywood an oxymoron? Of course there are plenty of worthy causes in Hollywood. Hundreds of advocacy groups subsist on the fringes… More

Public Input Makes Public Space

Now that 25% of Griffith Park is charred, Los Angeles will suffer with even less parkland than before. Groups such as the Trust for Public Land and the City Project have issued reports indicating that only 33% of LA schoolchildren live within walking distance of a park — compared to… More

US Films Don’t Translate

As the Cannes Film Festival winds down, many were shocked that a small Romanian film about communism and abortion beat out the Coen Brothers’ adaptation of a Cormac McCarthy novel for the much coveted Palm d’Or. But it brought to the fore a trend in the global film business that… More

Learning is Fun, Right?

Doesn’t it seem like interactive games would be excellent teaching tools? I know I’m a little biased — I used to work in the educational games industry — but I don’t think you have to be a C++ programmer to realize the educational potential of this technology. I helped develop… More

Leni Riefenstahl: Female Movie Mogul

Former United Artists’ chief Steven Bach spoke at the Los Angeles Institute for the Humanities yesterday about his new book on the infamous Nazi propagandist filmmaker, Leni Riefenstahl. When asked what most surprised him about Riefenstahl, Bach mentioned two things: first, that she really did dig Mein Kampf (she always… More

Faking It

Postmodern philosopher Jean Baudrillard, who passed away last month, must be chuckling in his grave. In a flattering LA Times profile this weekend, LA’s promising new chief planner Gail Goldberg waxes poetic about her experience in San Diego, where she helped spearhead the movement to reinvigorate San Diego’s downtown. After… More