Tuesday, March 15, 2016

Link roundup

1. "How an Internet Cat Craze Became a Toy Empire"
Pusheen’s popularity exploded when Facebook contacted Belton in January 2013. A team at the social network was developing digital stickers that users could send one another in the chat feature and wanted Pusheen stickers to be among the selection. When the stickers made their debut in July 2013, “Pusheen’s fan base exploded overnight,” said Duff, who added that the stickers are used more than 10 million times a day.
2. "A New Weapon for Battling Cellphones in [Beijing] Theaters: Laser Beams"
The approach varies, but the idea is the same. During a performance, ushers equipped with laser pointers are stationed above, or on the perimeter of, the audience. When they spot a lighted mobile phone, instead of dashing over to the offender, they pounce with a pointer (usually red or green), aiming it at the glowing screen until the user desists.

Call it laser shaming.
3. JJ Abrams and Phantasm:
What happened was…Well, going way back, as I’ve gotten older, I’ve learned that when I made Phantasm, I didn’t know it, but I was not making a horror film. I was making a young teen male empowerment film. Because I’m meeting all these guys in their thirties and forties and fifties who the film back when they were twelve and thirteen and it had an impact on them. I guess J.J. must have been one of those guys. I’m not sure, but he saw it when he was young and it stuck with him . . . .

So anyway, we’d stay in touch and he was obviously busy working on some great movies and TV series. And then out of the blue, about a year and a half ago, I got an email from him about wanting to screen Phantasm over at his company, Bad Robot. He wanted me to come do a Q&A. I guess there were a lot of folks who worked there who had never seen the movie and J.J. wanted to share it with them. The problem was that I only had this 35mm print that was pretty scratched and not that great and the old standard def DVD, which looked really good at the time that we made it, but it was not HD. He couldn’t believe that! He said “We’ve got to fix that.”

He got me on the phone with his head of production, Ben Rosenblatt and they came up with a really clever idea. Whenever they had downtime working on their Star Wars and Star Treks and stuff like that, they’d bring me over. They had this really high-end Mystica finishing system and if we could just get a laser scan made of the original camera negative it could go into the workstation. So every month or two, I’d get a phone call: “C’mon! We’ve got time tonight!”