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ATPM 6.02
February 2000



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On a Clear Day, You Can See the Hollywood Sign

by Mike Shields,

Five Years

50 plus columns, probably close to 60,000 words. I’ve written a book. I’ve written a couple of dozen reviews. This column has seen three different titles, and as many focus changes. I’ve held two different jobs, and I shared with you when my son was born. I discovered ATPM while surfing available downloads on eWorld, may it rest in peace, over five years ago, and became an instant subscriber. Entered a few of Danny’s contests, and even had the pleasure of meeting him online. Made the mistake of taking him up on his offer of writing for him. Best decision I ever made. I’ve made some fantastic friends, and even have a loyal following of three readers. (You know who you are). Saw Apple at its lowest stock price ever, and told everyone to buy, when most of the rest of the world was signaling the end of an era. Too bad I didn’t have any money of my own.

The one constant throughout my experience? The Mac has always been there for me. I started with a Quadra 605 at home, and whatever they deigned to give me at work. For about a year, I’ve stepped into the 90s with a Power Mac, which should serve me well for about another year, until the coming of OS X. I lamented the loss of eWorld along with the rest of you, but I still managed to stay with you monthly, by submitting my column from work. I wrote about my experience at Huge, which became Ray-O-Hac, and currently, I walked the streets of Hollywood, in search of the next greatest DV extravaganza, while working for Rocket Science Central. Okay, I’m not really a streetwalker. And I don’t really work for them; I’m a contractor, something I’ve talked about on more than one occasion.

I completed two screenplays, one of which won a couple of contests. Also, I’m currently looking for financing, to put into practice what I’ve been writing about lately. Anyone got a million? Okay, The Blair Witch Project was made for 31K, but you wouldn’t have known about it if:

  1. Sony hadn’t spent 20 million on advertising, and
  2. They hadn’t generated an incredible buzz on the Net.

It also helped that it was made on a Mac. Ok, it helped me. I got to write about it. I’ve been to the ShowBiz Expo a few times, and reported on the latest and greatest coming out of Hollywood for the Mac world, (not to be confused with Macworld, to which I’ve never been), in what’s become an annual thing for me. Also, I get to write about the craziness that you probably know as Super Bowl hype, and the resurgence of Apple’s role in it, which I’ll talk about a little later. I’ve weathered the growing pains of two CEOs, and now recently a third, trying to set the sail right. I think Steve’s done a pretty good job, although, he did enter into an agreement with Mr. Bill. :-)

When I started this thing, we were experiencing the pain of OS 7.5.2 on the 7200s, while Apple was experiencing shrinking market share. At Huge, the Macs were on their way out. Of course, five years later, they’re still going strong. Sometimes, you do have a choice, despite what your CIO who has never touched an actual computer thinks. And if nothing else, what the last five years have shown me is that that choice should be a Mac.

What will the next five years bring? I don’t know. I leave the predicting to Dionne Warwick’s friends. Of course, they’re no longer around, and a direct quote from them is: “We didn’t see it coming!” If there’s one thing I’ve learned while trying to finance a film in this town, it’s this: Nobody Knows Anything. (With apologies to William Goldman.) I think it applies to Apple and the Mac as well. You can take all the prognosticators in the world (except for the ones that write for ATPM, of course), wrap ’em up in a tight little ball, and throw them out as far as I care.

And now, to be hypocritical, I’ll tell you what I think the next five years will bring. Well, for me at least. I’ll get my production company up and running, shoot a film or three on DV, use Final Cut Pro to edit on the latest and greatest Mac, transfer it to film, and it’ll be coming to a theatre or drive-in near you. Unless of course, there aren’t any near you, in which case, you’ll need to move. For Apple, I hope it’ll mean increased market share after the fallout from Mr. Bill’s anti-trust trial. Have you heard the latest? Windoze• is a work of art, and therefore, it is what the creator of said piece of art says it is, and is therefore protected by copyright. But I digress. Hopefully, I’ll be here to tell you about it all, as I continue to write here each month, or thereabouts. Deadlines are a tricky thing, you know. Ask my editors. :-)

Let’s Play Some Football

Recently, I reviewed Backyard Football from Humongous Entertainment, and last month, Eric chimed in with a review of Madden 2000. Elsewhere, a review (well, really a recommendation) of Playmaker Football appeared at Mac Central. By the time you read this, Super Bowl XXXIV will be a memory, and my favorite team will have won. This is the tricky part, I’m writing this before the championship games have been played, so, I’ll let you guess which team is my favorite. I’ll give you a hint: they used to play in Los Angeles, where I still live.

What does this all have to do with Hollywood, in general, and the Mac, specifically? I alluded to it earlier. And I have the unique perspective of having played all three games. Each has its strengths and weaknesses. It really depends on how much thinking you wanna do. If you want pure entertainment, Backyard Football is for you. If you wanna play with actual NFL players, Madden 2000 is the way to go. If you want to build your team from scratch, Playmaker Football is outstanding. Personally, the week before the Super Bowl, I’ll be playing the Rams vs. the Titans on Madden 2000. And we already know who I’ll be rootin’ for.

Well, Madden 2000 came up with Titans 31, Rams 24. Apparently, Scott McNair was too much for the Rams’ defense. Or, I couldn’t hit the arrow keys fast enough. As you know by now, reality was quite different from simulation. And that wasn’t the real story anyway.

An argument can be made that Apple started the whole Super Bowl commercial spectacle tradition back in 1984, and I’ve alluded to this on more than one occasion here. Since then, every year companies, including Apple, from far and wide have blown half their marketing budget, maybe more, to get their word out to Super Bowl viewers across the planet.

This year, Apple was conspicuously absent. I was expecting a rousing follow-up to last year’s HAL commercial. At the very least, a variation on the G4 commercial released at Seybold. Among all the dot coms, I was hoping for a ray of sunshine. But I didn’t get it. What I did get, was Fox Sports, on QuickTime TV at their Web site. Which was infinitely better, because during the breaks on the Web site, we got to see one of the Apple commercials that ran at Macworld. We didn’t get lost among all the dot com ads this year. I liked the FedEx ad anyway. :-)

72 and sunny in Redondo.

e You next time.

appleDisclaimer: After the success of his script in a previous contest, Mike has entered another, where it’s the 13th script, in the 13th pool. You can wish him luck at

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