Michael Westmore: Anatomy of an Industry

The Department of Film and Media Studies at UC Santa Barbara welcomed the legendary make-up artist Michael Westmore, who revolutionized the make-up industry for his work on Star Trek: The Next Generation (1987–1994) and won an Academy Award for the movie Mask (1985). Westmore sits down for a conversation with UCSB professor Cheri Steinkellner, and talks about his work bringing aliens to life and other tales from his career.
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50 Shades of Copyright Infringement

What is “fan fiction” exactly? According to the website, Urban Dictionary, it is: “A fandom tool, which allows fans of books, television shows, anime and the like to write about their favorite characters. Fan Fiction (shortened mostly to Fan Fics) is represented on many websites, the most dominant being Fanfiction.net and MediaMiner.org. In Fan Fiction, the writer can either create a story from where the series/episode/book left off (Cannon); create a new world for the same characters (Alternative Reality); or mix characters together from different fandoms (Crossover). Fan Fictions cover all genre, from romance, horror, comedy, to what is known as Hentai (Japanese word, for stories of a sexually mature nature). The fan fiction world is full of a mixture of unreadable, badly written, good and excellent fiction; much like the music industry and its varying degrees of music quality. Some Fan Fiction authors employ betas, to edit their work for them.

“It takes a big studio to make The Avengers, but it doesn’t necessarily take a big studio to write a piece of Avengers fan fiction,” says Georgetown University law professor and fan fiction advocate Rebecca Tushnet. “Big content companies largely recognize that fan activities are really good for them because they engage people.”

The growing popularity of fan fiction, a genre in which fans create their own stories featuring characters or settings from their favorite works of popular culture, raises thorny copyright issues. “Given how broad copyright is now, it’s now possible to say fan fiction is an infringing derivative work,” Tushnet explains. “In order to deal with that… we now talk about fair use, which allows people to make fair, limited uses of works without permission from the copyright owner.”

As a member of the Organization for Transformative Works, Tushnet works to defend fan fiction creators caught in the legal debate between protected intellectual property and fair use.

Nick Gillespie (Reason.TV) sat down with Tushnet to discuss copyright law, fan fiction, and why media companies should embrace fan-created works.

Bruce Timm’s Batman 75th Anniversary Short

A brand new short from producer Bruce Timm featuring a lost tale from Batman’s past, the Dark Knight tracks a strange giant to the mysterious lair of Dr. Hugo Strange. The short movie aired on the Cartoon Network for Batman’s 75th anniversary. The video is embedded below, in its entirety. Continue reading

Hugh Jackman in “Wolverine: The Musical”

We all should know by now that Hugh Jackman is the Jack of Artistic Trades with the action movies, romances films, and singing til his heart’s content. Yes, singing. For those who were unaware of his singing capabilities prior to the film adaptation of Les Misérables were in for quite a surprise. I knew of his singing talent from the multiple stints as host of the Tony Awards ceremonies. Regardless of your prior knowledge of his experience as a singer and actor, I would like to recommend to you this video hybrid. It borrow the music from the song “Who Am I?” from Les Misérables, but the lyrics have been altered to fit the role of Wolverine who Jackman has played in multiple X-Men movies.

Top 10 Favorite Movie Characters

Around six years ago there was a writing prompt given to me with a sole purpose of inspiration: Create a “Top Ten” list of all time favorite fictional movie characters. My list of characters was created and the names were placed in no particular order. Upon a recent review of the material I do not think there will be too much of an alteration to the roster. At the present moment, I am in a state of non-commitment in make any changes to the list. However, maybe in another week or two there might be a good chance that I could start leaning in the direction of wanting to make a slight alteration, or two, to the list.
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