Rising from the ashes to achieve greatness

It hurts to be rejected or see a dream come to an end, but it shouldn't impact our ability to live with integrity and find success

Rising from the ashes to achieve greatnessWe all face disappointments and challenges. We don’t get picked for a team, we don’t get a promotion, we’re turned down by a potential lover or we see a dream come to an end. What’s important in life isn’t what happens to us, however. It’s how we respond. Great people aren’t without problems. They’re people…

When TV westerns ruled the roost

The longevity and sustained popularity of Gunsmoke and Bonanza put them in a class apart

When TV westerns ruled the roostWhen Bonanza made its debut on Saturday, Sept. 12, 1959, it was joining a TV schedule littered with series westerns. During that 1959-60 season, over 30 westerns regularly stalked North American home screens. And most of them were on network evening TV, thus occupying plum spots during peak viewing hours. ABC’s 1959-60 Sunday night roster…

YouTube knocking down Canada’s protective cultural wall

Canada’s creative lobby may have turned its back on the world but that doesn’t mean Canadians are joining them in their quest to hide

YouTube knocking down Canada’s protective cultural wallCanada’s creative lobby may have turned its back on the world but that doesn’t mean Canadians are joining them in their quest to hide behind a big wall of regulations aimed at protecting them from foreigners. A recent study by Ryerson University’s Faculty of Communication and Design, entitled  Watchtime Canada: How YouTube Connects Creators and…

Superhero movies teaching us the wrong lessons

No matter their appeal, superheroes fall far short of teaching us principles which will make our world better

Superhero movies teaching us the wrong lessonsRolling Stones guitarist Keith Richards once said, “I don’t think rock n’ roll should be analyzed or even thought about deeply.” As much as I admire Mr. Richards as a musician, I can’t say that I agree with him. In fact, as I developed my own thoughts I found myself listening to his band less…

Wild Bunch showed True Grit in demythologizing the Old West

Fifty years ago, True Grit and The Wild Bunch opened in theatres. They were both westerns, but they were dramatically different in tone and intent

Wild Bunch showed True Grit in demythologizing the Old WestThe big stories from the summer of 1969 were Neil Armstrong’s moon walk and the counterculture music extravaganza at Woodstock, N.Y. But there were also two classic westerns. One was True Grit and the other was The Wild Bunch. In fact, they debuted within a week of each other. True Grit opened on June 11…

Featuring more female sources should increase audience engagement

From entertainment to business to news media, the evidence is clear: audiences want gender diversity

Featuring more female sources should increase audience engagementWhat would happen if news media struggling to survive applied the productivity mantra “What gets measured gets done” to the sources they quote? Business research, Hollywood sales data and anecdotal evidence from the news industry all suggest it’s worth a try. In many western democracies – the U.S., the U.K. and Canada included – most…

Comic superheroes are the modern era’s version of Greek gods

In this new religion, heroes speak the truth and model the behaviours, values and norms of an increasingly diverse society

Comic superheroes are the modern era’s version of Greek godsThe movie Captain Marvel is a stunning box office success. Finally, it seems, an historic wrong has been arrested. Females have broken the male hegemony on physical violence and taken their rightful place in the annals of warrior gods. Females aren’t the only new members of this celebrated superhero club. There’s Black Panther, Moon Girl,…

The rise and fall of a legendary Hollywood duo

Comedy masters Laurel and Hardy are the subject of a new biopic that tells a story of triumph and despair

The rise and fall of a legendary Hollywood duoLaurel and Hardy’s Hollywood heyday was before my time. I started going to the movies in the early 1950s, by which point their cinematic status had been eclipsed by other comedy duos like Abbott and Costello and Martin and Lewis. Still, the new biopic Stan & Ollie strikes nostalgically resonant notes. One of the more…

What kind of legacy are you leaving in your wake?

The message of It’s a Wonderful Life rings true because it speaks of powerful universal truths that will never change

What kind of legacy are you leaving in your wake?Celebrated American filmmaker Steven Spielberg said, “It’s a Wonderful Life shows that every human being on this Earth matters – and that’s a very powerful message.” Released in December 1946 (the same month Spielberg was born) and set in the first half of the 20th century, this film has been a Christmas favourite for generations.…

The last Blockbuster in America

The free market only sustains a faltering enterprise for so long. Consumer demands rapidly change, new products are always waiting

The last Blockbuster in AmericaJust about every year before Christmas, I sit down next to my wonderfully decorated tree, often with a beverage in hand, and clean up my computer files. Inevitably, I’ll unearth a few column ideas I didn’t get around to writing. This year, I found one older topic that I’ve decided was still intriguing enough to…

Does Canadian culture warrant widespread taxpayer support?

Protecting cultural industries from competition and propping them up with public money is just wasteful

Does Canadian culture warrant widespread taxpayer support?Many advocates for cultural diversity have a sudden change of heart when the topic turns to Canada's ‘cultural industries.’ As they say in Argentina, for money, the monkey will dance. What constitutes Canadian heritage, given its complex milieu, tends to be in the eye of the beholder. However, the heritage is so weak that, supposedly,…

Fred Jung’s incredible journey from Calgary to Hollywood

The Shatner Universe executive talks about developing entertainment projects and working with an icon, William Shatner

Fred Jung’s incredible journey from Calgary to HollywoodFred Jung is president of acquisitions and development of Shatner Universe LLC in North Hollywood. Can you explain your journey on how you got from Calgary to Los Angeles in your career? Jung: Boy, it really has been an incredible journey! Growing up in Calgary in the early ’70s, I was always intrigued with the entertainment…

The many voices of Doug de Nance

Voice artist, skybox announcer and on-the-floor host of live events across the globe

The many voices of Doug de NanceDoug de Nance is a voice artist, skybox announcer and on-the-floor host of live events across the globe. Tell me what you do and the range of services you’ve been hired to do over the years? Doug: My brand – When he speaks, it’s an event – really covers what I do. I call it voice…

Stan Lee, left-wing culture warrior

Under his leadership, Marvel directly challenged societal norms on race, religion, war, gender and sexuality

Stan Lee, left-wing culture warriorStan Lee passed away on Nov. 12. The larger-than-life personality of Marvel Comics for seven decades, he helped create some of the world’s most beloved superheroes, including Spider-Man, The Incredible Hulk, Iron Man and Black Panther. The 95-year-old son of Romanian-Jewish immigrants, Lee was a genius and great innovator in the comic book industry –…

The subsidy table is set, and actors and writers will dine

The CRTC has backed away from a 21st-century funding model for the creation of Canadian content. We'll all be poorer as a result

The subsidy table is set, and actors and writers will dineThe leaders of Canada’s creative rebellion have emerged victorious after two years of struggle. That means consumers will almost certainly pay more for years to come for their much-loved Canadian television content. The news came just prior to the Labour Day weekend. The Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission (CRTC) issued a decision confirming that it…