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That Time Curb Your Enthusiasm Gave a Shout Out to Zankou Chicken

Curb Your Enthusiasm skewered all sorts of pop culture references, humorous situations and improve comedy among well-known celebrities. It also gave a nod to one of LA’s most well-known and legendary eating establishments: Zankou Chicken.

Of course, the show couldn’t come right out and say it was Zankou. Still, the signs were there. The trademark yellow shirts, the delicious chicken (which the show called “Palestinian Chicken”).

Larry David, star of the show, ends up at a restaurant called “Al-Abbas”. Food critic Jonathon Gold immediately caught on that this was not just some fake establishment. The chicken, with its gold-roasted skin and roasted juiciness is basically a carbon copy of the famous LA restaurant with roots in both Lebanon and Armenia.

For those who have been to a Zankou location, the feel is almost unmistakable. The clerks even have similar shirts. While the episode was shot on location at a restaurant called Sunnin in Westwood, the inspiration is unmistakable for those native to LA. Although there was no garlic sauce, the look and feel of the chicken was unmistakable.

Zankou came to America in the 1980s, where its first location was opened in Hollywood. The Iskendarian family decided to share family secret recipes for their garlic sauce and chicken that were first made popular in Beirut, Lebanon. Since, the business has bloomed. The owners of Zankou hope one day to have one in every major American city on the map, an admirable goal for such delicious cuisine.

Perhaps Zankou could live up to Larry David’s proclamation that the chicken was so good “it could end the conflict in the Middle East.”

Three Photographers Each Touched by Marilyn Monroe

By Phineas Upham

Marilyn Monroe was at a level of stardom that is hard for most people to grasp today. The closest comparison might be someone like Kim Kardashian, but only in level of recognition. Marilyn Monroe was a personality people wanted to be around and she was almost universally loved and revered. She seemed to have presence, like a superhero or amythic figure, that few since or before possessed.

During her brief time on this planet, she touched many lives, but three photographers in particular changed completely after they’d met her.

Bert Stern

Stern dropped out of high school at 16 to get a job at Look Magazine. He worked his way from those humble beginnings to the art director position at Flair. There, he learned the art of photography but never truly embraced it until the 2,500 photo set of Marilyn Monroe he shot for Vogue. A three-day photo shoot would become his most well-known work and spawn a book called The Last Sitting.

George Barris

Barris is known as the last photographer to capture Monroe on film before her death. The two met on the set of the 1954 movie The Seven Year Itch. His iconic shoot on Santa Monica Beach in 1962, and then again in the Hollywood Hills, which would become known as “The Last Photos” marked the last times that anyone would capture the visage of Marilyn Monroe on film.

Milton Greene

Greene and Monroe were so close that he actually opened his home to her in Connecticut. He photographed her for “the Black Sitting”, one of the most memorable collections of her that exist today. Together, they collaborated on over 53 sessions, and Greene helped her create Marilyn Monroe Productions in an effort to reclaim her career.


Phineas Upham is an investor from NYC and SF. You may contact Phin on his Phineas Upham website or LinkedIn page.

What Experienced Film Actors Bring to the Set

Film acting is a different kind of craft than stage acting, and it can be far more intimate of an experience for those on set. It requires incredible focus, and long hours of repetitious behavior to get exactly what the director wants. Staying in character becomes a lot more important when you have to maintain composure after your fifth, seventh, tenth or more take. Professional actors know how to handle themselves on set, have the stamina to do a full day of work and they take their craft seriously.

Stamina

Never under estimate stamina. It’s the difference between your first twelve hour day and your twentieth. Actors who can’t keep up a good pace, can’t deliver later into production when their performances matter most. You can’t waste time while actors regain composure, and it’s frustrating to work with too many stoppages happening at once.

Presence

Experienced actors understand that acting for the back row is over acting. Film acting is complicated, requiring nuanced approaches to a character and a script. That doesn’t mean loud or boisterous. The camera is often centered on a specific part of the actor’s body, like the face or the upper body. Experienced film actors understand how to work within those boundaries.

Originality

When an actor is cast for a role in film or television, it’s likely the actor will be approaching a character that has never been portrayed before. Stage actors do not have that luxury in all cases, and often have to live in the shadow of an actor before them. New takes on a character are always welcome, but if a character is played too far away from the expectations of the audience, the play could fall flat. Film leaves room for surprise, and experienced actors understand that power and approach their characters with that in mind.


 

Bio: Charles Matthau directed, and is best known for, the film adaptation of Truman Capote’s “The Grass Harp.” The Charles Matthau Company is also producing the upcoming TV series “Mexican High.” More information about Charles Matthau, including additional projects, is available at the Matthau Company.

Three Filmmaking Problems and How to Solve Them

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Filmmaking is a constant learning experience, and every experience will bring a host of new challenges. Of course, some of those problems are recurring and easy to solve if you understand what causes them. This creative pursuit can be extremely rewarding, but here are three common problems all of us face and some thoughts on overcoming them.

Costs

One of the biggest and most common problems for low budget films especially, is staying within budget. Knowing your script is your best defense against budget overages. Choose a script that works within your budget, meaning effects and long-distance location changes are kept to a minimum. You can still have a solid set piece, just choose your elements wisely. Also remember you’re budgeting for post production, marketing and distribution as well.

Work with Experienced People

Experienced people do cost money, but working with them carries its own set of advantages. Experienced people also help save time in post too. An experienced camera person can help by labeling takes. Blocking shots properly, picking up audio through external mics and generally improving on-set production will help post go a lot smoother. Don’t pressure yourself, but try to keep in mind that time really is money.

Avoid Mistakes

Make sure you coordinate your production schedule, plotting everything out well in advance, and that key members of your crew understand what is going on. Don’t cut corners on safety, plan better. Nothing halts a production faster than an avoidable lawsuit for worker’s compensation.


 

Bio: The Charles Matthau Company is owned and operated by the director and producer Charles Matthau. The Charlie Matthau Company is best known for the film “The Grass Harp,” and is slated to produce the upcoming television show “Mexican High.”

This Quick Tip will Help You Adapt Short Stories Into Longer Films

Written by: Charlie Matthau

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Movies are able to tell a story using methods that a book cannot. Books allow us to get granular with character perspective, but they can digress for several pages describing just a moment. A good example is The Road by Cormac McCarthy. The film adaptation showed some of that horrifying imagery, but the book lingers on it for pages and pages. The film also presents us with far more background on the characters than the book does. The film took the relationship of the characters and focused on building the world to help viewers understand exactly how dire circumstances were.

That’s what adaptation is all about. Honing in on key elements and building a better story out of that.

Designing a Deeper Storyline

Almost every Nicholas Sparks story that was adapted for the screen was pretty short and almost assuredly depressing. What the filmmakers did was hone in on the central conflict and expand as needed. Add “meat to the bones” so to speak. So in situations where you’re adapting short stories, it’s like working with a pitch for something larger.

1408 is another example, where the story had to be expanded to create a full-length movie. The film stays fairly true to the short story, both centered almost exclusively on the main character’s visit to room 1408, but the film added a few haunting scenes to give the audience a greater sense of what the writer experienced. The film also changed the ending, which can be controversial. To some, the film wrapped the story up better, but you need to be careful when you’re dealing with another artist’s work.


 

Bio: The Charles Matthau Company produces movies and television programs, including the upcoming “Mexican High.” Charlie Matthau is a director and producer best known for his work adapting “The Grass Harp” to screen. The Charlie Matthau Company is managed and operated by Charles Matthau.

Tips on Finding Actors for Your First Film

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Film can be an eye opening business. As directors, producers, actors and crew, our jobs are creative in nature but we must make a film that sells. Indies learn quickly that you can’t do that relying on friends.

Friends over act, they do not take stage direction well, and even the best intentioned can be flakey or moody. Friends don’t make films, so you need to learn how to hire actors who can. Here are tips for the first timer to pursue filmmaking seriously.

Recruitment

Your local playhouse is a better place to start than Craigslist. Craigslist will get you resumes, amateur audition tapes and a ton of time wasted trying to audition people who may or may not act professionally. A playhouse is a much more optimistic approach. Talk to the house manager and ask about posting a job on their bulletin boards. Find out which productions are running, and see if you can contact casting directors for advice or contact information for actors. Once you’ve exhausted your local options, including colleges, go online to find a wider range of actors.

What to Ask For

Recruiting acting talent online comes down to weeding out what you don’t want. Any ad you post on the Web will get many applications, so try to be specific about what you want so you can root out those who do not meet your criteria immediately. One good method to do this is to give a description of a character and then request a headshot. This immediately cues you into who may be a good fit for the part.


 

Charles Matthau is a director, writer and producer who is slated to produce “Mexican High” in 2015. The Charles Matthau Company produces for both film and television. For more information on upcoming projects, contact the Matthau Company online.

How to Take the Perfect Selfie

Written by Kaki West

Regardless of how many times people make fun of the selfie, this 21st century-version of the self portrait seems to be here to stay. And why not? Sometimes if you want something done right (in this case, a good photograph of yourself), you have to do it yourself. So here are my tips on how to take the perfect selfie:

Know Your Good Side

Everyone has a good side (see Kaki West pics), or the side of their face that is more proportioned or symmetrical than the other side. Take a few pics of both sides of your face to discover your best angle. Then, go to town! It doesn’t matter how many times you take a photo of the same side of your face — as long as it’s your good side, you’re good to go.

Be Yourself

The whole idea behind the selfie is to express yourself. Whether you want to reveal your face without makeup, display your goofy side, or show off a new outfit, be yourself. This means don’t be afraid to take a photo you’ve never seen done before. Get creative, and stay true to who you are.

Kaki West is a model, actress, and television host. To see the latest Kaki West images, visit her blog now.

3 Simple Fixes for Common Laptop Issues

Let’s face it: our laptops are usually subjected to a lot of abuse, and end up in a manufacturer’s shop, costing us a bit.

But it doesn’t have to be that way as there are simple, inexpensive fixes, and so here are three such fixes for common laptop issues:

#1: Damaged Power Cord

It goes without saying that a damaged power cord is dangerous. If it’s the connector that plugs into your computer that’s damaged, then you’ll have to purchase one from the manufacturer of the notebook.

The other option is to roll some duct tape over it and pray that nothing serious happens or you can use some silicon sealant to cover the damaged area properly. Give it an hour or two to cure and you’re good, until of course, you can get a replacement.

#2: Cracked Notebook Case

Dropping one’s notebook is a common experience that most users can relate to, and in most case, it’s the corners that end up cracked or create a hole that you can really do without.

In order to fix this, you can use a tube of epoxy putty (not the quick-setting variety) which can be bought online for anywhere between $4 to $6.

First, ensure that you clean the broken or cracked part of the notebook of any pieces before you begin to mix the putty together and work it into the broken area all the while shaping the putty to fit in the hole with your fingers. You can either choose to leave it the way it is or paint it to match the color of the laptop once the putty dries.

#3: Stuck Key

One of the most annoying issues that you can face with a keyboard is when a key gets stuck.

For this, just key in your notebook model along with the word ‘keyboard’ in a search engine and you should find a list of online stores (like LaptopZ or GetPartsOnline) that can sell you refurbished keyboards from $5 to $20 or $15 to $100 for a new one.

As for installing the keyboard yourself, you can find clear step-by-instructions online.

Madras High Court order Blocks torrent sites due to Copyright violation on the Tamil Movie ‘3’

In an effort to be protected against copyright violation, a film industry outfit known as Copyright Labs, has obtained a ‘John Doe’ injunction for the Tamil film ‘3’.

This order, released by the Madras High Court, has made it mandatory for all internet service providers (ISPs) to block access to torrent websites such as The Pirate Bay and Torrent Reactor as well as video sites such as Vimeo, Dailymotion, Pastebin and Xmarks.

However, what makes this move controversial is the fact that the Department of Electronics and Technology, and specifically its CERT-IN wing, did not issue any orders for the ISPs to block these websites as specified in the Madras Court order.

Interestingly, the court order only names the 15 ISPs but does not specify the names of the websites that have to be blocked. When contacted by the Press, they made it clear that they were being compliant with court orders and did not wish to speak any further.

This is not the first time that such action has taken place as Reliance Entertainment also obtained similar injunctions when its movies, Don 2 and Singham, were released.

The injunction made sure that these sites were blocked for several days afterwards based on the assumption, as stated by Harish Ram, who obtained this injuction, that almost 30% of a film’s revenues are lot due to piracy within the first three weeks of its release.

The controversy that this move has generated seems to be no different from the response to that of the Stop Online Piracy Act in the United States.

Is There A Such Thing As Free Internet Radio?

Free internet radio is something that is becoming very popular these days it appears. Many people are turning to Pandora and other popular online radio stations to keep up with their latest tunes without listening to quite as many commercials and other things of that nature that they would hear if they were to list to the original am/fm radio. Some radio stations online do require you to pay to have more listening hours yet many people seem to be okay with the limited free hours that are provided to them.

Free radio stations are something that is quite easy to find online. As a matter of fact quite a few of the different radio station companies allow the listeners to listen to them live online because they know that some people like to do this as they work. Many people find that this is a good idea while others find it more easier for them to just listen in on the regular radio as they have grown accustom to doing.

Listening to the radio free is such a great feeling for a lot of music lovers. They also find that they are able to customize their listening experience so they can spend more of their time listening to the songs and artists that they like instead of the ones that they could pass up on listening to. Overall, this new technology advancement has been a great thing to quite a few different people.

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