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Writers have little ways to make themselves write.  It’s hard sometimes to concentrate, to make yourself stop reading funny web sites like http://games.sohu.com/fightgame/fight3.swf. There’s that famous French author who would have his servant lock him in a chamber naked with nothing but a quill, some ink, a stack of parchment and a writing desk.

I know a better, warmer way.  My secret is, have your spouse watch a totally unwatchable show.  Tonight it’s Schindler’s List, but I know that Saving Private Ryan is also a good choice for writing prompting.

It’s not that these are bad movies.  Just the opposite.  They are such compelling, engrossing, painful, wrenching and ultimately draining movies, that I can’t watch them without having days to recover.  I can’t spare the psychic toll these movies would drain.

So I left with time on my hands, and a need to sit in a room far away from the set.  Hence, a journal.

And a good thing, too, because I’ve got lots to write about.

I wore my suit today, and got damn good use out of it.  In the morning, I was speaking at a breakfast session for the Entertainment Publicists Professionals Organization. Their acronym is EPPS, which is better that OOPS, but would be better if it was PEPS or PROS or something, but hey, I’m not the marketing guy.  I was asked to speak about a couple things, and what I ended up talking about was:

1) how the internet is changing the way that reporters and publicists interact (and how publicists should use online communications to reach journalists)

2) the trends I’ve seen emerge in the entertainment business as far as marketing techniques, and what as an observer I think works to reach consumers of entertainment

3) why Variety has the gall to charge for subscriptions

It went pretty well, I made a joke about Amazon that got a laugh, and even though I didn’t have a Power Point presentation, I managed to stay on topic.  Journalists never have Power Point presentations, and they always try to make the audience laugh.

Next, I buzzed through the office and then headed to the Los Angeles Times open house. I saw many old familiar faces, and made the usual promises to hook up for dinners and lunches, but this time, dammit, I mean it!

Another quick trip to the office, a meeting or 4, and then I drove to USC for a 7 p.m. lecture about the Future of Mobile Entertainment.  Now, this was an interesting lecture, with several speakers, the best of which was Neil Young.

No, not that Neil Young.  This one is the vice president in charge of production at EA, a large computer gaming company that you might know makes a lot of sports games.  Well EA has a project on their stove, and it’s called Majestic, and it’s something new.  and I mean NEW.

You download the game.  You sign up.  You give it a lot of information about you.  And then it starts.  The game, a thriller/mystery written by the folks at EA, calls you. At work.  It emails you. It send you instant messages.  It sends you faxes.  It calls your cell phone.  If you have an AOL-TV box, you can be watching Friends, and bang, you get sent an instant message from Majestic, the latest clue or a phone number that you have to call and you’re pulled back into the game.

This is more than just push.  It’s pushy.

And to my mind, it’s going to push movies off their throne and start a new form of entertainment.  Because people turn to entertainment to escape their regular life.  If you’re bored, or hungry, or tired, entertainment can make you forget those worries.

Majestic takes entertainment out of the time when you’re simply reading the book or watching the program, and spreads the glow to your whole life.  You get home and your answering machine is blinking.  Without Majestic, it’s probably your landlord asking about the rent check, or work telling you that you need to come in early for a meeting.  With Majestic, it could be Kurt calling about the gold krugerrands, or Snake threatening to steal your stash.  You’re not escaping your life, you’re augmenting it.

Or I could be completely wrong, but the guy had a Power Point presentation, so there’s got to be something to it.

I was going to talk about other stuff, but I’m heading to bed now.

Overheard

“The sad truth is that most evil is done by people who never make up their minds to be good or evil.”

...who said it?

“Almost every American I know does trade large portions of his life for entertainment, hour by weeknight hour, binge by Saturday binge, Facebook check by Facebook check. I’m one of them. In the course of writing this I’ve watched all 13 episodes of House of Cards and who knows how many more West Wing episodes, and I’ve spent any number of blurred hours falling down internet rabbit holes. All instead of reading, or writing, or working, or spending real time with people I love.”

...who said it?

“Live a good life. If there are gods and they are just, then they will not care how devout you have been, but will welcome you based on the virtues you have lived by. If there are gods, but unjust, then you should not want to worship them. If there are no gods, then you will be gone, but will have lived a noble life that will live on in the memories of your loved ones.”

...who said it?

“I play with variables constantly.”

...who said it?

“Only the person who has learned Continual Love coming from a heart of Gratitude/Worship can effectively deal with the problem of loneliness.”

...who said it?

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