Monday, September 24, 2012

This (Last) Week in Podcasting September 16-22

Animation AddictsEpisode 21: In what appears to be an attempt to improve the branding of the podcast the name of this show has changed from, “The Rotoscopers” to “Animation Addicts Podcast.” Presumably this is done so people searching for an animation themed podcast on iTunes or online can easily find the show. A bold move that comes with a few risk, but if done right, more listeners. On this weeks show the crew has an in person interview with former Disney animator and creator of films like Anastasia and All Dogs go to Heaven, Don Bluth. The hosts have not bee shy in the past about their unabashed love for Bluth. When I saw that this show was going to be an interview with Bluth, I was instantly a bit cautious and nervous. Too many times, someones love for a person or product can water down and dilute what would be an otherwise good interview. And that is almost exactly what happened here. Bluth is normally not an easy guy to get an interview with so I was hoping the hosts would use this chance to get some great stories and information out of him, but unfortunately, most of the interview was the hosts gushing and giggling their way through the entire interview. It’s ok to be starstruck, but the hosts constant giggling and giddiness throughout the entire interview was nothing short of annoying and distracting. Don’t get me wrong, if I got the chance to interview someone like Bluth or even Walt Disney in person, I would barely be able to get two words out of my mouth without drooling all over myself. That being said, it was very nerve racking to hear the girls laugh after every sentence Bluth uttered. I mean, literally, listen to the show, almost every thing he said got a laugh out of them. And I don’t think he was trying to be that funny. In addition, it seemed like every time there was even a second of dead air pre editing, who ever edited the show cut it out. So it was almost like listening to a cd skipping after each word. Very annoying and not a good way to set the mood and build the kind of organic tension that is there with normal everyday story telling. Bluth is a smart guy, with some really great stories and I hope the next time they interview him they take a step back and let Don Bluth tell the stories and not make the interview about how much they like him. Take a step back and get out of the way of the story telling.

Of Mouse and Man Episode16: Ok, I will admit, it has been a long, long time since I have listened to this show. After a little bit of time off from listening, I was faced with a long road trip and decided to give it another try. This week’s show is about the recent decision from Disney to serve alcohol at the Magic Kingdom. The show has basically stayed the same from when I last listened to it. That is both good and bad. Scarlett is still brutally honest and funny as hell. And unfortunately, one of the co hosts continues to “play” a different character each episode. Its, again, a forced attempt to be funny and, for me at least, it’s not funny or entertaining at all. The other hosts seem to put up with it, but at times you can tell that this sort of character role play was getting on their nerves. I believe that, while it is ok to be sarcastic and snarky, it is important that an audience can somewhat trust what a host is saying and that the host is genuine and honest when they share their opinions with the audience. When you enter this realm of role play, you could find the host giving a not so genuine opinion or thought just to fit what their “character” thinks or believes. This role play works on a fiction TV show or movie, but in podcasting people are only going to listen to you for an occasionally funny line; the rest of the time they are going to ignore you, and eventually get tired of you. And as such, I soon found myself tuning out the role playing host and what he said. Other than that, the show was simply brilliant! Strong opinions backed up by even stronger words. A good show and I really think I need to catch up on some of the older episodes. The entire crew adds a good dynamic to the show, except for one, and that makes for a strong episode each time, no matter what the topic is. In short, just play it straight with your audience. Sure its fun to play a different character each episode, but in the long run its going to wear the listener out trying to keep up. Your opinions and thoughts will carry more weight, and that’s the whole reason you are on a podcast; to share your thoughts and opinions with listeners.

Show of the Week: Disney Parks Podcast Episode 21: I am not a veteran listener of this show, but if what I heard on this weeks show is a consistent thing, then I will be definitely downloading the show again in the future. This week’s show is simple, smart, and very informative. On the show this week the hosts are joined by writer and founder Deb Wills. When I first saw that the show was going to be an interview with Deb, I began to get horrid flashbacks of the mushy love fest with watered down useful information of an interview I had heard a couple of days earlier on a different show. So needless to say, my expectations we set low. But even if my hope were set high, this show still delivered. A treat for a history buff, touring junkie, or information addict, this interview with Deb was great. The hosts did a great job at letting Deb tell her story. Deb is quick, smart, and did a great job at telling stories and really pulling the listener in to her story and life. It was neat to hear how she started from a simple Disney fan message board poster to running one of the leading Disney information sites today. Even more, the conversation with her and the hosts about Food and Wine only enhanced the show. A smart and brilliant interview and a great listen. Im glad I gave this show the time to listen!

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Friday, September 21, 2012

Wakefield Report Podcast Episode 3


Nine News Nuggets you Need to Know!
Story 5: Mater rash
Also I have an interview with Lee and Tracey from the 100% Unofficial Universal Podcast!
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Disney's Promotion Machine Might Be Broken...

                                            (Once Upon a Time stars Ginnifer Goodwin
                                                           and Josh Dallas at Disneyland)    

 At this point in time I am utterly and completely confused when it comes to the Disney Company. My puzzlement does not come from a lack of understanding about who the company is or what they stand for, my confusion with Disney is rooted in the mixed signals they continue to send. Like most women, Disney is hot on one day and cold the next; happy with you on Monday, and upset with you on Tuesday. I mean, they ask you to fold the laundry, and you do it; just not the way they wanted you to do it. Mixed signals, confusion, and a long night of sleeping on the couch. This is the typical routine with women Disney. (Hate mail goes to One of the things that makes me confused what we thought of as Disney’s unmatched ability to present and tie in one single property across the many different divisions in the company. It goes far beyond Disney putting their movie characters inside of the theme parks. For the longest time, for better or for worse, Disney has had the uncanny ability to, for better or worse, take one of its movies or tv shows and trot it around the entire company for full exposure and, of course, to maximize profit. Usually this tactic goes over well. Sometimes it can backfire. Like the on going and headache inducing Disney Channel Rocks street show at Disney Hollywood Studios. But like I said, for the most part, Disney does a great job at exposing its intellectual properties across all parts of the company. Phineas and Ferb is a great example. You can find the two Disney Chanel characters all over the Disney theme parks, on toy store shelves, on iTunes, and coming next July, on the big screen in a full length feature film. Some might call this over exposure, but you cannot deny the success of the program. Phineas and Ferb has become one of the most successful franchises in the Disney catalog, and a lot of that success can be contributed to the way Disney pimps them out across the company. There are, however, some instances when Disney has been less than hesitant to trot some of it bigger and more powerful properties around the company. Lets take a look at some of the opportunities I think Disney has missed, and particularly in the theme parks.         

John Carter of Mars:

Yes we know the story of this film and why it failed right? Months before this 2012 would be blockbuster was to hit theaters we were already hearing of trouble for the project. When the early trailer for the film was shown at the 2011 D23 convention people began to warn of the impending doom of the film. When the film debuted and subsequently bombed in the spring of 2012 many people blamed the lackluster promotional campaign that accompanied the film. People began to wonder why the advertising program for the project wasn’t well targeted and as focused as it should have been. This, along with the lack of any sort of presence in the theme parks had a lot of people confused, and not surprised when the film all but failed when it hit the box office. So why didn’t Disney bother to put anything in the parks in advance of this major budget blockbuster film? There were talks before the film premiered, that if it were enough of a hit, that Disney was going to have some sort of John carter stage show. That is, after the film debuted and if it were a success. So the Disney was of thinking was, lets promote it, after it’s a big hit, and probably wont need promoting. Yup, that’s the new Disney era we live in. As to what the stage show would have been? Chances are it would be a far cry from the former Stitch’s Supersonic Celebration Dance party. Talks were to have a mix of live characters, projectors, and music. Think almost like what ElecTRONica was and Disney California Adventure’s Mad Tea Party is. This John Carter stage show never happened though because the movie itself was flawed. Perhaps this stage show, or anything inside of the parks may have helped propel the movie to some higher level of success. I just don’t understand. The main problem with the movie was the lack of promotion, and some sort of theme park element would have been just what the doctor ordered. But what happens when Disney does produce a massively successful movie and still hesitates to cross promote it in the parks? 


Now Disney do a lot more to promote this movie inside of the theme parks much then they did for John Carter. With that being said, that promotion began and ended with the Avengerail at Walt Disney World. To be fair we all know that Disney is limited with what they can do with the Marvel Characters in Florida because of a previous agreement between Marvel and Universal Studios Florida. But why did Disney fail to put anything in any of their other parks to capitalize on what is literally the third largest grossing film in history? Again, to be fair, by the time the Avengers was approved and put into production at Paramount  Pictures I do not think the Avengers was on Disney’s radar. Paramount produced the film but when the decision was made by Disney to distribute and market the film there should have been some immediate work on a theme park element. It already almost common knowledge that The Avengers was going to be the 2012 summer blockbuster must see film. Did Disney even have anything in the works? In a June 2012 Reuters article Disney VP of theme park operations Tom Staggs confirms that there in fact were plans to put the Avengers in the parks. “"We were hard at work on attractions using Marvel characters previously.” But because of the massive $1.3 billion investment Disney made in their West Coast parks, execs were feeling a little bit nervous about putting in another major, e ticket, multi-million dollar attraction. This combined with the usual board room, creative constipation that plagues Disney today led to the lack of any type of promotion or attraction of the Avengers inside of the parks. All hope is not lost. With an Avengers sequel on the way, conventional wisdom says, that if Disney executives can work together long enough and communicate well enough, there might be something inside of the theme parks in tome for the sequel. 

Once Upon a Time

This is probably on the most successful and popular programs to come from ABC television since Desperate Housewives. With the show being watched by over 12.9 million viewers and receiving 3 2012 Primetime Emmy nominations you would think that Disney would want to capitalize on the new ABC fan fiction drama. Especially since the second season of the show is going full force right now. Currently, there is nothing inside any of the Disney Parks to help promote this show. You would think that a show that is so entrenched and loved by hardcore Disney fans would have some sort of presence inside of the parks. We have seen a few couple of instances where the stars of Once Upon a Time have visited Disneyland. Now I realize that it would be very difficult to find a story thread where the characters that all live Storybrooke, Maine happen to find themselves all the way in California. And whats more, in the midst of all the usual chaos that happens on the show each week, it would be difficult to imagine the characters taking time to visit the park. We all remember the adventures of the Tanner family, and more recently, the cast from Modern Family, around Disneyland with ABC and Disney cameras in tow. That being said, it would be interesting to see exactly what Disney could do to fold in and cross promote this hugely successful tv show into its theme parks.

The list of Disney properties that could be cross promoted and folded into the Disney parks could go on and on. As a Disney fan, let me be the first to say that I get a bit annoyed when Disney tries to fold in almost every tv show and movie already. The lack of original stories and characters in Disney attractions is nothing short of frustrating, but from a strict business standpoint I am confused as to why Disney has failed to fold in some of these hit movies and tv shows. In a company that is infamous for pimping out their intellectual property across all of its business divisions it looks like they have missed the boat on a few projects. Be it the creative constipation that blocks great ideas on the doorstep of one of the many Disney vice presidents, or the arrogance of the company thinking that these movies and tv shows can stand on their own merit, Disney is sending mixed signals across the board to it fans, and more importantly, its shareholders.                

                                                             (Photo by: Sara Bennett)

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Sunday, September 16, 2012

This Week in Podcasting September 9-15

Iso15571 Episode 36: This show is growing on me like ivy on a brick wall. While I admit, I still have a lot of catching up to do when it comes to the technical know how and lingo that is discussed and used in the show, I find myself constantly fascinated and hungry for the information that is offered up in this show. The hosts in this show know their stuff and they have a true passion for photography and do a great job at sharing and discussing their knowledge with their listeners. On this weeks show they talk about shooting the various monorails at Disney parks. These guys really know their stuff. To hear them speak about cameras is like listening to BB King talk to you about guitars. While I still wish I could jump inside of the show and ask the guys to slow down and explain some things to me, I still think the show is entertaining and it has made its way on to my regular download list each week. If you like Disney and photography give this show a listen. I admit that on my first review of this podcast I jumped the gun and said I had no idea what they were talking about. But with a little bit of patience and persistence, this show has really grown on me and I appreciate the guys sharing their knowledge. I still have no clue what iso5571 means, but I’ll keep listening.

Mouse Travel TipsEpisode 101: This was a very difficult show for me to listen to. The discussion of this weeks show was meeting up with other Disney fans and a little talk on Disneyland’s Blue Sky Cellar. Ok, that has potential. But I knew I was in trouble within the first minute of the podcast. The host reads the entire show off of a script. The entire show! And not in a subtle cool way like they do on Communicore Weekly, you can almost envision her sitting behind a microphone reading off a piece of paper. And if that is not bad enough, the delivery of the show is so forced and condescending, I almost turned the show off in the first 5 minutes. The host talked to her audience read off of her script the way a fourth grade teacher stands in front of her class and tells them the story of the founding of America. It was very dry, very matter of fact, and in a very easy to understand, childish manner. Rather than feeling like I was being given information to, I felt like I was being lectured to. The host delivery was just all wrong. Way too soft, and condescending. Now, maybe I am not the target audience for a show like this, but i did feel like I was being talked down to by mommy the entire show. The host is very smart and very informed and has potential to get some great information to her listeners, but I am afraid if she continues to do the show in a condescending and dry manner, that information may not get across. Put down the script, speak from the heart, and show us some personality.      

Mouse Chat September10: This weeks show from the Mouse Chat crew is a general discussion show where they talk about how to prepare for and plan a trip to WDW. The crew adds an extra bit of flare to the show by trying to discuss the pros and cons of short and long trips. Well, the try. Without co host Steve there direct traffic, the other hosts easily got a little bit off topic and halfway into the show, it seems like they forgot the set topic or format for the show. Now don’t get me wrong, it wasn’t like the crew got completely off topic. They still talked about some of the details and plans that went into planning a Disney vacation. Its just they didn’t stick to the pros and cons of short versus long trips. They mentioned it here and there, but the lack of organization kind of left me wishing they would get back to this topic. All in all, its still a very informative and funny episode; like always. With the usual great audio quality and tons of chemistry between the host, this week’s Mouse Chat episode is a decent listen, just don’t get your heart set on really learning the pros and cons of short and long trips in any type of organized, structured format.    

Show of the Week: Generation Mouse Episode75: Even the title of this show is funny. “The Disney Boonies!” This weeks show from Mark and crew is a rock solid trip planning episode. And I am generally a person who is no the biggest fan of trip planning shows, but this one was really entertaining, informative, and funny. At times, yes, it was a little too giggly from the girls but I can forgive that because of the overall content of this weeks show. On this show they talk about planning a trip to DIsney’s Fort Wilderness campground. The team does a great job at offering the listener every bit of information they could possibly need. From info on the outdoor restrooms, the camp sites themselves, to the restaurants on the campground, this episode is full of juicy tips and hints for anyone who is curious about the campground. All the way down to the pricing structure for each particular camp site in a specific part of the year. The crew managed to make this weeks show sound fun and entertaining while still getting a lot of information across. That is something that is really hard to do in podcasting. I think a lot of it speaks to the high level of chemistry between the hosts. I do not plan on spending a night at the campground, but after hearing the hosts review the Trail’s End Restaurant I went online and booked myself an ADR for one of my upcoming trips. Very good job on this weeks, and I think it is well worth the time to listen to it!  

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