Wednesday, July 12, 2006

Rocketboom - Amanda Congdon Tells More On CNET

I just saw a new article that sheds even more light on what Andrew Baron said to Amanda Congdon and which led to the departure of Congdon from the vlog show.

Amanda still claims that she was fired and that Andrew wanted to reduce her role and ownership.

If this is the case, Andrew's in big legal trouble, shood Amanda sue.

Here's the article.

But in case the link's killed...

Here it is below:

What does it feel like to have all this media frenzy over this breakup and over what your future is?

Well, for this to be very public is kind of jarring. I intended with my video to communicate with the Rocketboom viewers because the situation was being (kept) from them for days. And when I put out the video and Andrew put out the notice on that I was headed to Hollywood and that I had quit Rocketboom and all of these untruths, I just had to make it clear what really had happened, and so I posted the information on my blog.

One interesting thing is how fast and how far your response to the "official" news spread. In the past, the tools didn't exist for that to happen.
Exactly, yeah that's what's so exciting--the transparency. The corporations can't run and hide anymore from the facts.

So I'm assuming that this is kind of a long way from what you thought you would be getting into when you responded to that ad on Craigslist to go work for Rocketboom?

Yes, you know, I come from the mainstream side of things, from the acting side of things: theater in New York and commercials. And to jump in online and really become totally immersed in Internet culture has been just a growing experience, and it has changed me in so many ways. And it has been so exciting, and I just love how I can communicate with anyone anywhere in the world and how I can make content with people from anywhere in the world.

What's next for you? What are you going to do?

I don't know. I really honestly don't. I think right now I should probably start looking into all the e-mails that I've gotten. I've gotten, you know, about 2,000 e-mails at this point--a lot of them containing different offers and I haven't even been able to really look at them because I've been so busy with the press. So that will be my very next step.

You still own 49 percent of Rocketboom, right?
Yes. I own 49 percent and it's legally registered with the bank.

So that means you have a stake in its future, and I'm curious, from your perspective, what do you think is next for Rocketboom?

I have no idea. I sincerely wish Andrew the best, and I sincerely hope that he is successful with whomever he chooses as his new face since he seems to only be interested in faces.

What is your reaction to Rocketboom not meeting its commitment to get back up and running Monday?
I'm sorry about that, but I'm not very surprised.

Do you think it was a little ambitious then to try to get things going so quickly?
I think the fact that Andrew thought he could replace me within a few days is just very telling about how he felt about me and my talents and skills.

If you have creativity and you have determination and focus, you can make a good video blog.
Do you think you and Andrew can ever patch things up?
If Andrew is interested in working as business partners and is willing to straighten out a lot of the misinformation he has continued to spread online over the last few days, then maybe we could talk. But it would have to be a business relationship only. I don't think that we could ever be friends.

Do you think your fans will follow you to wherever you go next?

Well, they've told me they will. So I am hoping they will keep true to their words. I guess time will tell.

So, I'm curious. Based on the success of Rocketboom, a lot of people are starting video blogs. What advice would you give them?

To make sure that they stick to a regular schedule. If they are going to be up Monday through Friday every week, be up and have a video blog out Monday to Friday every week. Or if you can only commit to weekly or monthly just make sure that you do what you say you're going to do and also take it down a notch and be casual. Don't try to be television because video blogs aren't Internet TV. They're video blogs, and they are much more candid, much more personal.

At the same time, only a few will create successful video blogs. Do you think it's hard for people to believe that maybe it's not quite as easy as it looks?

I think that it's just about creativity. If you have creativity and you have determination and focus, you can make a good video blog. I think it's about doing something that you feel that you are an expert at. What I would recommend for anyone trying to start a video blog is, anything that you feel you know a lot about, that's probably the best topic for you to explore.

Rocketboom - Joanne Colan - "Hottest Woman On the Planet" Replaces Amanda Congdon Today

Andrew Baron hired Joanne Colan to replace the departed Amanda Congdon at Rocketboom. It's now called Rocketboom 2.0, but who's Joanne Colan?

Joanne Colan is "the hottest woman on the planet" according to this blogger. She's also the former MTV Europe VJ, and formerly the music/DJ curator at Table 50.

Her Linkedin bio explains...

Joanne Colan has 7 years experience hosting, writing, co-producing and creating broadcast television and radio for major networks and cable channels across international markets.

From 2000-2004, Joanne was an MTV Networks Europe VJ. She wrote, co-produced and hosted Top 20 Countdown, MTV News, MTV Movie Special and hosted live international events e.g. MTV Europe Music Awards, MTV Presents, MTV's Winterjam. Chosen to front the pan-European MTV brand, Joanne's shows were broadcast to over 124 million households in over 50 countries & territories.

Joanne generated top ratings for MTV. Responsible for MTV's European Top 20, she won Best European Satellite Music Programme in 2001 voted by viewers in the What Satellite UK & Europe TV Poll.

Joanne also fronted MTV's World Aids Day Campaigns in the US & South Africa for MTV's news; social awareness divisions.
In 2003, Joanne was instrumental in launching MTV France, hosting the flagship show, MTV Crew, the first ever locally produced live French language MTV France show.

Bilingual in French/English, Joanne worked for TF1, France's premier Network. The channel devised "At 18" for Joanne, a travel show focusing on young adults' lives in lesser known cultures in Armenia, Algeria, Lenanon & Iran. Travelling with a 2 person crew, Joanne delivered in depth personal profiles and rare location coverage under often hostile and unlikely circumstances.

Since the start of her television career, Joanne has built a warm working relationship with favorite British institution, the BBC. Working in the UK as host, writer, researcher and production coordinator for both BBC Radio and BBC Television.

Joanne's first Rocketboom episode was a good one. It starts with her sporting a hockey mask and Andrew Baron sitting on the floor acting as if he's lost his marbles over the whole Amanda episode. Then Joanne goes into Rocketboom on-the-street-host action and does a good job, immediately showing her bli-lingual talent.

I understand that Joanne is also a published vocalist. Joanne's new blog is at .

She's also in this YouTube video...

NFLPA Hedge Fund Scandal - The Word From Kelly McKean at Blue Corner

To get more in-depth answers on the NFLPA Hedge Fund Scandal, I turned to my friend Kelly McKean, who's the founder and Principal of Blue Corner.

Blue Corner is a boutique marketing and capital introduction firm based in San Francisco. They specialize in building relationships with clients who use the services offered by independent research analysts and both alternative and traditional investment managers.

The firm was founded on the belief that by combining industry best practices with integrity, professionalism and hard work, that they can deliver tangible results to their clients.

1. Kelly, what is a hedge fund?

A private investment vehicle whose manager receives a significant portion of its compensation from incentive fees tied to the fund's performance -- typically 20% of annual gains over a certain hurdle rate, along with a management fee equal to 1% of assets.

The funds, often organized as limited partnerships, typically invest on behalf of high-net-worth individuals and institutions. Their primary objective is often to preserve investors' capital by taking positions whose returns are not closely correlated to those of the broader financial markets.

Such vehicles may employ leverage, short sales, a variety of derivatives and other hedging techniques to reduce risk and increase returns. The classic hedge-fund concept, a long/short investment strategy sometimes referred to as the Jones Model, was developed by Alfred Winslow Jones in 1949.

2. What, if anything, can the NFL PA do to recover their losses?

The assets for the rogue hedge fund have been frozen -- I suppose a judge will decide how the assets are returned to investors on a pro-rata basis.

3. The players are suing the NFL PA. Can they win?

I cannot speculate the answer to this. If the Players Association did not perform proper due diligence on the fund, they could be liable.

Superman Returns...As O.J. Simpson

Now before you get into a tizzy, I'm not implying that O.J, Simpson killed his wife. I don't believe he did. But he did do something that Superman does in Superman Returns, and so they have at least one action in common.

To determine what that is, read on.

I came into the theater wanting to like Superman Returns before I saw it. In other words, I came with a bias. I'm one of those who remembers watching the black-and-white "Superman" TV show as a kid. I was never really into the Superman comics, preferring Wonder Woman (!), but I did watch "The Super Friends" and "The Justice League of America" cartoons.

Then there was Richard Donnar's "Superman" -- a masterpiece of a film that launched the career of soap opera actor Christospher Reeve, who we think of as anything but now.

What made Superman an incredible film was that it was faithful to the character I and others of my generation remember as kids: the defender of truth, justice, and the American way.

And that doesn't go for invading Iraq.

In other words, Superman was part of my childhood. I never watched one episiode of the popular TV series "Lois and Clark" or "Smallville" for that matter. (Well, I did see one "Smallville" story, which was pretty good.) They don't present the Superman I remember.

In other words, I don't associate Superman with sex, child support, birth control, jealously, stalking, homelessness, or alcoholism. Yet Brian Singer's deals with all of these issues either directly or indirectly in Superman Returns.

A Work Not Marvelous, But I Do Wonder...

Superman Returns is the result of a 13-year collective quest to make a new Superman movie, an effort that seemed as if it was going to be stuck in development hell until it was saved by Director Brian Singer and Producer Chris Lee. Two years and $250 million later, Superman Returns was released on June 30, 2006.

Superman plays Brandon Routh, who like Reeve before him was a soap opera actor, and who basically looks like a cross between Reeve and Dean Cain from "Lois and Clark" -- he's more Reeve than Cain, to be sure. 23-year old Kate Bostworth takes on Lois Lane, a character set in Zeitgeist stone by Margo Kidder and Terry Hatcher.

The cast is rounded by the appearance of Frank Langella as Perry White, the editor of The Daily Planet. (As a momentary aside, Langella's getting a lot of work of late, and he's sinks his teeth into every role.)

Finally (at least for the purpose of this review) one of my favorite actors, Kevin Spacey, plays Superman's enemy, Lex Luthor.

The question is how does each actor do compared to the ones who've come before them. My answer: not bad at all. It's not the actors that are the problem, it's the material they're given.

It's terrible.

The story goes like this: Superman crash land on Earth -- and right onto his adopted mother's farm -- after a five year absence. Apparently astronomers discovered the remains of Krypton so Superman went back to investigate the find for himself. After all it's his home planet.

The trouble is he left without telling anyone where he was going -- except his Mom. So after enjoying some sleep in a comfortable bed at home and a game of "fetch" so unfair to the dog the canine gives up, Clark Kent returns to Manhattan -- opps, Metropolis -- and to his old job at the newspaper The Daily Planet, courtesy of Editor-In-Chief Perry White.

Jimmy Olsen's there (played by Sam Huntington) as is Lois Lane, at least her chair's there; she's part of a press group on the maiden voyage of a Boeing 777 carrying a new Space Shuttle into the sky.

He's reacquainted with her after a spectacular scene segment -- hampered by one major flaw -- where Clark Kent / Superman saves the 777 from crashing into a baseball stadium after a midair malfunction directly related to the doings of Lex Luthor.

Clark Kent / Superman is obviously anxious to see Ms. Lane, but discovers that she's moved on. She's got a husband-to-be -- Richard, played by James Mardsen -- and a five year old kid with an asthma problem and a weird ability to throw pianos when excited. Right, five years old. When Clark Kent / Superman sees the photo of Lois new family and Olsen fills him in on the new beau, Kent cracks the picture frame in an anger he struggles to hide. This guys jealous, big time. But he's Superman, which means that he could do some damage if he gets pissed. Better a planet than a family, right?

When Clark Kent / Superman leans of the home address of Ms. Lane, he flies off as Superman to -- well, go there. He arrives and while floating in air, uses his X-ray vision to observe the activity of the Lane household. We and he see the action one room at a time, and I feel creepy. At this point, I started to put this segment together with the picture frame cracking accident and think of Clark Kent / Superman as...

O.J. Simpson.

Finally Clark Kent / Superman sees Lois and Richard in the kitchen and with his super hearing listens to her say she's not in love with Superman anymore. At this point, he hangs in the air for a moment just long enough to make you believe he may do something rash, like blow the house down. Just think if he caught them making love, which the segment seems to communicate the possibility of happening. What then? Pound his fist in anger hard enough to make them think there's an earthquake and stop?

Why the OJ comparison? Well, one thing he did was go to the home of the guy his wife was seeing and peer into his window while she was "doing it" with him. What did he do?

Well, both he and Clark Kent / Superman did get angry. In Clark Kent / Superman's case, he flew off to Earth orbit, crying.

He Can't Find A Home...

Clark Kent / Superman can't seem to find a place to live. On three occasions he says he's still looking for one. Never finds one. He just hangs in space listening to just about everyone on Earth, picking and choosing where he goes at any moment in time. That's fine, but it seems to take away from the responsible Clark Kent, who knows he needs a home and one would think a place to entertain other than the Fortress of Solitude. Instead we get the homeless Clark Kent.

On top of all that Clark Kent / Superman reacts with an annoying indifference to the kid he sires and this is where the material show it's problem of lack of passion. In real life, Clark Kent / Superman would have asked Lois why she wasn't on birth control or something. To be fair, he does sneak back to Lois home to see his kid, but then that's what bugs me yet again.

Why couldn't he have just asked Lois to see him?

Moreover, why didn't Lois invite him? I actually liked Kate Bostworth as Lois. She played the role of Lois as Mom real well.

I also liked Kevin Spacey's Lex Luthor, that is until he and his men beat up Superman / Clark Kent in a scene way too violent for the Superman movies.

$250 Million For This?

Finally, I come to the matter of the special effects that give shape to this movie. The airplane save scenes were really great. But the whole effect just plain fell apart for me when the 777 was in the baseball stadium. The face that it's not really there is obvious by the bleed lines between the aircraft and the real life stadium. It just takes away from the impact of the scene.

It left me wondering where the $250 million went. For that money, they should have been able to realize resolution so detailed the bleedlines were eliminated, but no. Yes, there's two scenes in King Kong that have the same problem, but they're minor and small in time, and way outnumbered by some jaw dropping effects, like Kong himself.

But in Superman Returns these bleedlines are everywhere, even on Superman himself as he flies. It was disappointing.

Do I Or Don't I Want A Sequel?

As I write this, Superman Returns is being clobbered at the box office. It has two problems: Pirates of The Carribean II and it's $250 million price tag. "Pirates" arrghed up $132 million in just a weekend. That would pay for 50 percent of the cost of Superman Returns, which has made $142 million in two weeks, and it's revenue gain is declining; it only took in $21 million last weekend, and with more flicks coming out, the number of screens it's on will shrink, making the breakeven target of $250 million harder and harder to reach. Ouch.

I believe Superman deserves a better movie life than this. Given what Singer brought to the screen this time, I'm not excited to see the sequel. But given the box office, getting one made may be hard to do.

The lesson here is clear. Don't mess with a kid's view of a comic book legend by making him less of a hero. Adults know heroes are flawed, but we don't want our childhood ones to be.

The Superman in Superman Returns is not the Man of Steel I remember as a kid; he's not the one I want to see today. Apparently, many agree.

Heck, I'll bet O.J would too.