Rejecting the Lifeline

August 2007

Clients, business associates, friends, acquaintances and others have often asked all of us for advice, information and other potential remedies to challenges.  Sometimes, we are not asked, but our professional ability to ask questions, fundamental to our work, reveals some of the weaknesses or apparent solutions that can only help those with whom we are working.

The term “we” refers to the collective “we,” the many people who have subscribed to this newsletter including the many people I meet at industry conferences and events I attend as well as the various speaking engagements in which I am involved.  The term “we” also refers to “we,” The Shindler Perspective, Inc.

Issues range from a way of conducting business or management of operations and finances, to ways to gain an upper hand in a sticky but important negotiation, a potential business remedy, film stock or an appropriate digital file format, the right tool for a project, an approach for PR or a myriad of other aspects of the work in which we collectively are involved.

An independent perspective often provides the insight that may not be apparent to someone too close to the situation.

It is our ability to provide sound advice to clients and sometimes even to prospective clients – advice that is clearly sound and professional that drives our businesses, but is often disregarded as unnecessary.  We call this “rejecting the lifeline.”

Rejecting the lifeline is not necessarily due to the intelligence of the one rejecting the lifeline, but rather more often the inexperience, naiveté or ego of the party that causes the lifeline to be rejected.

Many of you reading this are smiling while shaking your heads in agreement with the theme for this brief article.  We can all think of instances in which we have been involved where the rejecting the lifeline concept is a truism.

That said, I suspect we would all agree that when our advice is sought and implemented successfully, we are gratified.

Sometimes it is like throwing the party a lifeline to keep from “drowning,” but the lifeline is rejected.  Too bad.  R.I.P.

Trends in the Marketplace

I am always pleased when I see friends and acquaintances at industry events who mention this periodic newsletter unsolicited.

I have consistently received positive feedback, particularly since I have been including a section on trends in the marketplace as a regular feature.  Our continuous goal is to gain an understanding of the technology of the past, present and future as a means of providing added value to our clients.

With that in mind, the following are some of the more prevalent trends that I have been keeping an eye on in recent months.

    • Content production and distribution – The ways in which content production and distribution are changing on what seems like a daily basis, make the process very competitive.  As such, it was interesting to note (albeit in a somewhat limited study) that Verizon’s FiOS fiber optic service was gaining many new customers in the competitive environment, not at the expense of satellite providers as had been predicted, but from cable subscribers.  It is too early in the process to declare a continuing trend, but you can bet the market – and we – will continue to monitor this.
    • iPhone as a driver – We have been inundated by the media hype and reporting related to the iPhone.  The good news is that its prevalence in the press has raised public awareness in higher end mobile devices.  This will probably spur more interest in the iPhone and the comparable handsets from other manufacturers.  The significance of this is that there will be a growing need to supply content to the growing user base.  For those that have seen this phenomenon in Asia generally and more specifically in Japan and Korea, and many parts of Europe, this is not a big surprise.  Watch for this to soar in the next year or two in North America as more high-end devices are deployed into the marketplace.
    • Growth in HD – It seems there are regular announcements of channels going HD.  Not surprisingly, there are more cable channels moving to high definition, with Direct TV seemingly leading the way with some 150 offerings expected to be available late this year and in early 2008.  With the growing sales of HDTVs, we expect this trend to escalate rapidly.  This seems way overdue.
    • Data capture tools at Siggraph – We were at Siggraph, the annual conference on computer graphics, which was held in early August in San Diego, where many emerging technologies were showcased.  Among the tools and technologies that were prevalent at the conference were tools for motion capture, performance capture, facial capture and the many ways of gathering and using data in content production.  A number of years ago, we consulted with an award winning motion capture company on their business model, vis a vis the Hollywood market, at a time when the various terms frequently needed explanation.  That explanation is no longer needed.
  • 3D tools at Siggraph – Given the various projects and speaking engagements/panels in which we have been involved related to 3D stereo, it was most interesting, but not surprising, to see the range of tools and offerings that were being presented at Siggraph.  3D is driving the digital evolution in the theatrical marketplace and based on what I have seen, particularly at the Texas Instruments demonstration, it will drive the home entertainment market as well a few years later.

As for The Shindler Perspective

As noted, we were at Siggraph recently surveying the show floor, the emerging technologies and the animation festival.  Although not as large a show as it once was due to maturation of the industry and consolidation, there was still a lot to see and do.

We recently had the privilege to develop and moderate a panel at the annual Digital Day for the Directors Guild.  The theme of the day: The Future of the Future: What’s Next in Digital?  The entire day represented a great series of panels and presentations.

And as noted in our previous newsletter, I moderated a panel at the spring Digital Hollywood on the topic of The Arrival of 3D – Digital 3D Platform for Feature Films and Television.  Our eclectic group provided strong insight into this nascent, but growing industry segment.  We will be back at Digital Hollywood’s fall conference as well.  Stay tuned for details.

Another fall conference that we attended in the past for which I will be moderating a panel on IPTV this year is the APEM – Asia Pacific Entertainment & Media Summit.  IPTV represents a growing content delivery system and I look forward to leading a discussion on this topic.  A forthcoming newsletter will provide further information.

In late June we attended a screening of 20 Million Miles to Earth, an example of the illustrious work of legend Ray Harryhausen.  What made the screening distinctive was not only that it was restored, but as a part of the restoration process it was colorized.  While colorization was once a term with a negative connotation, that is no longer the case in most circles, due in large part to digital technology.  The process was supervised by Mr. Harryhausen through Legend Films with the color added as the director would have wanted it had the budget been available when the film was produced in the 1950s.  Both the restored black and white and the color version are on the recently released DVD.

Recent projects have included a project related to short form animation and its delivery to a specific target market, use of wireless technologies for content distribution and continuing consultations on topics impacting the entertainment and entertainment technology food chain.

If you have not been to, our web site lately, Roberta and I invite your visit.  We are always pleased to hear from our friends and clients.  We look forward to hearing from you.



Marty Shindler


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