Results tagged “celebrities” from VANTAN.ORG

I’m fine with Maria Sharapova as a tennis player, apart from the shrieking. Now I’m more ingrigued to learn that Maria has now turned to her fans for advice online, since this smells of Web 2.0 spirit.

According to the Beeb, she’s protesting against a WTA ruling that she and other stars must do a publicity shoot possibly a day before the matches.

Her official website announcements are generally written in the third person. However, Maria’s personal tone of voice comes through in this message, which seems to be written by her (or someone on her behalf):

mariasharapova_home_080502

This links to the online poll, where you can also vote.

mariasharapova_poll1

You can also view the results. Right now most of the 4,000 odd fans have voted for her to refuse to do the photo shoot.

mariasharapova_poll2

Personally, I think she should just do the photo shoot but insist that the WTA refrain from such requests in future. To kick up a big fuss is not very sportsmanlike, and besides, other big tennis stars also have to do the same. It is usually easier to convince the authorities to chance a policy when you aren’t giving them bad PR in the first place.

Moby: In conversation

March 11, 2008 2:36 PM

Official description: This session, hosted by BMI, will take a look at the musician’s relationship with cinema, from composing original scores (Southland Tales) to contributing and licensing his music for film and TV projects (The Bourne Ultimatum, Heat). In addition, it will include a look at ‘moby gratis,’ the musician’s new endeavor to offer some of his music, free-of-charge, to independent filmmakers.

Moby was born on 9/11. He calls it a ‘lazy’ day for his media friends because the tendency is to just reply footage of the planes crashing into buildings.

He did witness the original scene when he heard people screaming, because he lived nearby.

He was named after a whale, but he said it’s better than ‘Ahab’. And at the end of the book, the whale lived.

There’s another DJ in Houston, Texas called Moby but they haven’t had any naming rights issues.

Moby discovered when he was 25 that he had a half-brother. His mum never told him.

He once joked to a journalist that it could have been Karl Rove. The story ran in a gossip column. A couple weeks later, Karl Rove writes to him on official White House stationery assuring him they’re not related :)

The Bush family was Moby’s neighbour in Greenwich, Connecticut.

His first guitar teacher loved jazz fusion. When he was 13-14 he discovered punk rock and was in punk bands.

[shot 2 videos of Moby talking about 1) his student life 2) his views on flawed systems created with the best of intentions, like the welfare state ]

Moby’s comments on his blog and responding to comments: “I want to take lessons from other musicians on how to be vague and esoteric.” He cites Radiohead’s Thom Yorke as an example of being mysterious. Moby adds he himself blogs about going to the grocery store, i.e. more mundane or down-to-earth stuff.

“Licensing music to films is a good way to impress a date.” (laughter) He adds however that may still not be enough to get laid.

He started a website called mobygratis.com as he understood from his filmmaking friends that licensing music for films is painful. His website gives away music to Indie filmmakers. Right now there are 70 pieces of music and he will add more. Vast majority is new, unreleased stuff. He’s only publicised it to film schools and at Sundance so far.

When his music is used in commercial films which generate money, his revenue goes to the Humane Society. A worthy cause. He structured it so he never makes money from it, so he will always do it for the right reason.

Moby says the things he did to make money, made him miserable. Such as DJ’ing at corporate events.

He talks about the guy behind his label, who talent-spotted and signed Depeche Mode and Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds. While the rest of his signings have been relatively unknown, none have been dropped. Respect!

Moby’s worst album had a 1/10 star rating, but Terence Trent d’Arby loved it and Axel Rose said he had it on repeat in his car.

The best advice he’s given to himself: “Don’t take myself too seriously.”

While he’s a very open person, the one thing he’ll never do is tell people what he does for philanthropy, because he doesn’t want to do it for the wrong reasons. —> Another worthy principle.

Moby’s first project where he did start-to-finish film scores was Southland Tales, directed by Richard Kelly. “The script made no sense to me whatsoever, so I agreed to do it.” (laughter) Actually it was because Kelly wanted to use the music in an unconventional way. And usually music’s the last thing to be done in a film. The crew was filming with his music playing in their ears. His friends hated the final product but Moby’s proud of it, because it’s unusual.

What role does he see for music in activism? He did a political song with the Beastie Boys (?) but adds that fortunately he didn’t write the lyrics. He feels corporations and the world in general is complex and can’t be stereotyped. But the media is misogynistic and homophobic. It’s OK to have a song called Smacked my bitch up but surely they’d not let a song called ‘Smack my black up’ or ‘Smack my Jew up’ get through!

By the end of the 90’s he was ‘dismayed’ at the (low) level at which standards were set. He thinks it’s irresponsible for artistes to make sensational lyrics about abusing people, using hate speech. For Moby Gratis admittedly it will be hard to monitor whether his music will be used in hate films.

His dream project is to work with David Lynch on a movie. Moby respects him greatly as a sound designer. Also Takeshi Katano. He wants to work with more experimental films rather than big Hollywood blockbusters.

I’m impressed that Moby is conscientious enough to repeat every question asked so the rest of us can hear it. He is as intelligent and deep as I expected him to be.

The best way that anyone snuck into his concert: He met a woman in Russia at his concert. The dialogue:

Woman (heavy Russian accent): I snuck into your concert. Moby: How did you sneak into my concert? Woman: I told security I was your prostitute. (laughter) But I am not prostitute. I am student.

On licensing of music: 80-90% of all he’s done is for indie films, but it is hard to ensure his music is not overused. E.g. he gets so many requests to use the song ‘Porcelain’. His advice: Ask to use a less well-known song and you’ll have a better chance of getting it approved.

He listens to a lot of Led Zeppelin. He once got really drunk with Tommy Lee and __ and started a band but nothing came out of it. He misses the Blues influence in Indie rock today, which he feels has become ‘anaemic’.

What’s his workflow? He records his ideas on the piano or guitar, then goes to his studio to do electronic stuff. He uses Ableton, Reason, Logic and Pro Tools. He feels everyone’s familiar with Pro Tools. Ableton is his most favourite, just let it do its thing. (hmm I should give it a second look)

He re-iterates his stance against misogyny. At one scene he told girls who were asked to ‘show him their tits’, not to listen to the calls.

To be continued…

Billy Bob Thornton: in conversation

March 11, 2008 1:06 PM

Official description: Oscar-winning actor/director, and country music musician Billy Bob Thornton has spent the last decade crafting one of the most unique and exciting careers in entertainment today. For SXSW attendees, he will sit and discuss the bridge between his worlds of film and music, as well as his eclectic career.

Billy Bob (IMDB) is about 10 minutes late but we don’t mind. He makes his entrance with warm applause and the interview begins right away. Soon after that he gives a beautiful quote:

“Art is someone’s vision. You can’t test it on an audience.”

He tells us how he got his first break as a waiter for a big shot (was it Billy Wilder?) who gave him a chance as an actor. He was advised that there were plenty of actors - what was needed was good writers. Since Billy Bob could do that too, he went back to his car and got his scripts out!

[Update: Q&A time - Billy Bob is asked what Billy Wilder advised him. He quotes, “Listen, you’re not Clark Gable… but you’re not ugly enough to be a character actor either. If you wanna be a character actor, you gotta ugly yourself up more.” (laughter) He was advised to go into writing not just acting. “Think of yourself as an artiste and not an actor or else you’ll be standing in the bread line.”]

He was asked about Armageddon and he joked that he had to do it to pay off his divorce. He also knew he couldn’t disappear off the scene for a long time - every now and then he had to do something noticeable.

Billy Bob describes criticism directed at him when he tried playing different roles:

“You can’t be a security guard. (audience laughs) You’re a carpenter! (more laughter) Let me see you guard something!”

On playing bad guys:

“I think I should have smiled a little more… bad guys who act like normal people are the scariest ones.”

In the midst of talking, someone in the audience sneezes and Billy Bob says “Bless you” and continues talking.

When he was pipped to win his first Academy Award for Sling Blade, he was warned that afterwards, he’d be told how to do everything. That turned out to be true.

Another funny post-success incident was when he was sitting around eating a doughnut, looked around and a girl thought that he was leering at her. He assured us that actors like him don’t always have THAT on their minds all the time :)

The next movie he was asked to direct, he also insisted on adopting the same approach as he did with Sling Blade. However he was told what to do, and even who to cast! He refused and was ‘dropped like a hot rock’. “These are the facts. If they wanna sue me, they can kiss my ass…” We applaud.

He told us of another mistake he made - he brought about 30 ‘studio cats’ to his home and showed them a rough cut, warning them it was uncut and over 3 hours long. “Never show them your assembly,” he advises us. No matter what they assure you, “they ain’t filmmakers.” The studio execs had mixed reactions - one thought it was great. Another said (puts on weaselly voice) “It’s really long!” Well, duh. In the end it was cut to under 2 hours. I could hear someone behind me go ‘Aww’ - filmmakers’ empathy.

He hasn’t directed in 9 years but has some plans in the works - some stories need to be told.

The problem in society, he says, is that the media is fuelled by what the masses want. We like seeing horiffic reality stories, so the media shows more of that. If we suddenly liked watching puppies, the media would show that instead. We need a “cultural revolution”, he says. We can’t totally blame the media for what they’re doing now.

When going to the movies, “Quit being jealous,” he says. Sure, everyone wants to be the one starring in the movie, but when you’re watching someone else, let him be the star! Go to the movies intending to enjoy it. Likewise if you’re a musician watching another band. He describes how he plays in his band and there’s always a guy with folded arms, looking critically. “I sing to him,” he says. (laughter)

“Kill him with kindness.”

He observes how people may be kinder to first-time filmmakers, just as people are kind to physically disabled-type musicians who sing off key.

For forthcoming projects, he mentions how he’s had to reign in his own friends who meet big actors and start getting them involved before he’s even planned his budget yet! He re-iterates how he still wants complete control, but that’s difficult with big-budget productions. Not sure if he’s joking but one big studio wants him to cast Tom Cruise! He jokingly quotes them, “We’ll pay Tom $30m to act and we’ll pay you $10m.” I think Billy Bob’s more talented than Tom! —> back to the point about giving the masses what they want?

He talks about people he likes working with, and people he doesn’t like working with. He describes how people interfere with a soundtrack, removing what he feels is the best track. Now his original cut is only on a few VHS tapes back home.

Billy Bob speaks to a few people on his way out the back door, with his entourage around him.

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