Former Good Morning America Sunday co-anchor Willow Bay today was appointed the director of USC’s School of Journalism. “The breadth of Willow Bay’s experiences, skills and talents is extraordinary,” said Ernest …
Christy Grosz is editor of AwardsLine.
Screenwriter John Ridley and the late Solomon Northup, author of 12 Years A Slave, won the 26th annual USC Libraries Scripter Award for best book-to-film adaptation. The winner was announced tonight at a black-tie gala, chaired again by Taylor Hackford and Helen Mirren and held at the Doheny Memorial Library on the USC campus. Ridley was moved to tears in discussing Northup and his memoir as he accepted the award. “There’s a very special relationship that forms between the writer and the originator,” said Ridley, who was joined by several of Northup’s descendants at the ceremony. Ridley praised the novelist and spoke about how adapting the book has been a new and different experience. “The clarity with which he wrote, the evocative language…” Ridley said. “Until I read Solomon’s memoir, I didn’t know what being a writer was about.”
David Bloom is a Deadline contributor.
One after another, groups of USC engineering students, ranging from thirtysomething doctoral candidates down to baby-faced undergrads, trooped to the stage today. Each pitched their newly honed and toned startup companies before a roomful of potential investors, supporters, and — in a changeup for both — executives from old-line venture capital firm Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers and old-line Hollywood talent agency UTA.
The Viterbi Startup Garage Day featured presentations from nine teams (another group couldn’t make the event), all recently done with an intensive 12-week program to build a working tech product and get it on the market. In some cases, Viterbi’s program was a last stop to fine tune a product built on years of research and work. Other companies had been mere proposals last spring. All the young entrepreneurs are hoping to benefit from a program that’s giving them some unexpected friends in influential places.
“Early-stage entrepreneurs need two things: help with business development and access to capital,” said Ashish Soni, the Viterbi School of Engineering faculty member who runs the first-year program. “Kleiner provides access to capital. A lot of what UTA does is dealmaking. You can replace that celebrity (the agency would typically represent) with a startup.”
David Bloom is a Deadline contributor.
USC will launch a three-year research effort called the Edison Project to figure out key issues of the emerging entertainment economy surrounding new creators of content, new platforms and distributors of that content, new business models to finance their work and new metrics to measure success. USC Annenberg professor Jonathan Taplin, who heads that school’s Innovation Lab, announced the project’s general outlines during a keynote speech Friday at the Digital Marketing & Analytics Summit in Los Angeles.
Taplin told a ballroom of entertainment and tech executives that sector after sector of the entertainment business is showing signs of trouble, from the long-staggering music industry to a movie business that launched numerous bombs this past summer, to an ad business that’s consolidating and automating. These problems are happening even as the world’s entertainment-consuming middle class is booming, and creation of digital media has jumped nine times. Traditional entertainment, meanwhile, is seeing revenue growth barely keep pace with inflation. And, he said new ways of thinking about entertainment are needed to deal with such issues as piracy.
While deep-pocketed folks like Steven Spielberg and George Lucas get buildings named after them for big donations, director Bryan Singer has made history by becoming the first alumnus of USC‘s School Of Cinematic Arts to have one of the school’s six programs of study named in his honor. USC’s Dean Elizabeth M. Daley said today that SCA’s Division of Critical Studies has now been named the Bryan Singer Division of Critical Studies in honor of the filmmaker’s $5 million gift. The X-Men and Superman Returns director, who is prepping Fox’s X-Men: Days Of Future Past for a summer 2014 debut, graduated from the Critical Studies division in 1989; his Jack The Giant Slayer for Warner Bros opens March 1. “In a way, I began my career in the Division of Critical Studies at USC”, he said. “Watching great films and learning how to think about film from the faculty transformed me as an artist and as a person. I am honored to give back to the division and the school, which gave me so much.”
Ron Meyer turns 68 on Tuesday. So on the eve of his birthday, he finally made a public statement about the August rumors that he would be involuntarily or voluntarily exiting his job at Universal Studios soon. On a panel at the inaugural symposium of the USC Schwarzenegger Institute for State and Global Policy this …
Arnold Schwarzenegger held his inaugural symposium of the USC Schwarzenegger Institute for State and Global Policy this afternoon. James Cameron was scheduled to attend but was a no-show – described as “on a creative roll” working on the script for the Avatar sequel – despite prior billing and decades working with Arnold on movies like The Terminator and True Lies. Universal Studios President/COO Ron Meyer joined the former Governor as well as Lionsgate Motion Picture Group co-chair Rob Friedman, Imagine Entertainment chairman Brian Grazer, and American Idol mentor/Interscope Records boss Jimmy Iovine on “The Power Of People and Innovation — Media/Hollywood Leader’s Perspectives” panel.
The U.S. State Department and the University of Southern California’s School of Cinematic Arts selected 29 films for an international cultural outreach initiative dubbed the “American Film Showcase.” The worldwide series of events, also in conjunction with Film Independent and the International Documentary Association will feature documentaries, narratives, animated shorts and more. The showcase is an extension of Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton’s concept of “smart power diplomacy.” The idea is to showcase U.S. ideals through a range of soft diplomatic tools that “reflect diversity” in contemporary American life.
In addition to screening the 29 films to overseas audiences, the program will involve filmmakers and experts who will participate in lectures, master classes and in other settings focusing on filmmaking, digital technology and emerging media. “American film is a unique way in which we can engage audiences, especially youth, worldwide,” according to a statement by Ann Stock, assistant Secretary of State for Educational and Cultural Affairs. ”For generations, film has opened the doors to dialogue. This international exchange initiative harnesses the power of film. The American Film Showcase brings people together and strengthens those relationships for the benefit of the global community.”