Nitrateville Nitwittery: WHEN COMEDY WAS KING

Interact with your favorite SCM authors, producers, directors, historians, archivists and silent comedy savants. Or just read along. Whatever.
Tommie Hicks
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Re: Nitrateville Nitwittery: WHEN COMEDY WAS KING

Postby Tommie Hicks » Tue Jan 10, 2017 4:40 pm

What has really hurt BD among the old time comedy fans is that the latest BDs of Chaplin and Keaton had a washed-out and a little out of focus look. The older DVDs, while not as resolute as BDs, looked better. IMHO the home medium to watch silent comedy with the best resolution is a 16mm original reduction print.

Rob Farr
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Re: Nitrateville Nitwittery: WHEN COMEDY WAS KING

Postby Rob Farr » Wed Jan 11, 2017 8:30 am

If this were Facebook I'd give this comment a "like".
Rob Farr
"If it's not comedy, I fall asleep" - Harpo Marx

Richard M Roberts
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Re: Nitrateville Nitwittery: WHEN COMEDY WAS KING

Postby Richard M Roberts » Sat Jan 14, 2017 11:02 am

Tommie Hicks wrote:What has really hurt BD among the old time comedy fans is that the latest BDs of Chaplin and Keaton had a washed-out and a little out of focus look. The older DVDs, while not as resolute as BDs, looked better. IMHO the home medium to watch silent comedy with the best resolution is a 16mm original reduction print.



Which also allows one to run at the proper speed.

RICHARD M ROBERTS

Richard M Roberts
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Re: Nitrateville Nitwittery: WHEN COMEDY WAS KING

Postby Richard M Roberts » Sat Jan 14, 2017 11:03 am

Rob Farr wrote:If this were Facebook I'd give this comment a "like".



There are no "like" buttons here, you actually have to join a discussion and say something like "I agree with that" or "I disagree with that" and then explain.

RICHARD M ROBERTS

Richard M Roberts
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Re: Nitrateville Nitwittery: WHEN COMEDY WAS KING

Postby Richard M Roberts » Sat Jan 14, 2017 12:16 pm

Well, bigschmuck continues to operate his bigmouth (indicating it's attached to a very small brain) even as someone who has an actually informed opinion based on experience like Chris Snowden tries to inject some intelligence to the conversation over at Nitwitvile (pointless, isn't it Chris?). He continues to show no concept of how much it actually costs to produce a silent film DVD or Blu-ray, or the truth in the numbers regarding selling a silent film via streaming or digital download.

The truth that we who have actually done it know is this: basically, there are approximately 3000 people in the entire world who will purchase a silent film in any format, it is indeed a tiny and most-likely shrinking market, as many of those customers are indeed middle-aged to elderly and not really being replaced by new recruits. The royalties to a producer of a silent film digital reissue is given the choice of making a dollar or two back per unit from a DVD/Blu-ray release or a few pennies per download from streaming. When it's the same 3000 people that one will, if the film is something that will actually appeal to all of them (and how often does that happen, just look at same Nitwitvile or other newsgroups to see how many agree on the quality to any title or genre) be all that will ever purchase said release, let's do the math: optimal profit from a total across the board everyone buys it super silent film sales on physical media: $3000 to $6000, same from streaming: $30.00 to $60.00.

See bigschmuck, no matter the media delivery, it's still the same 3000 people that are going to buy it, the rest could care less and are caring less every day. Kit Parker and others have already tried the digital download route and there is not enough profit on niche' product to really make it worth doing, in the short or long run, it's still the same 3000 people, so one needs to maximize the amount of profit one makes from them just to survive.

Bigschmuck also shows absolute no idea what it costs to produce a silent or early sound film digital release, his suggestion that one just hire an accompanist and chain them to a piano in a room and have them ground out scores endlessly for one's silent film catalog is laughable, what do we pay them, minimum wage? The fee for writing, arranging, performing and recording an hour and a half to two hour-long film score is negotiable to some degree, depending on the accompanist involved, but it is an amount that is enough that even a reasonably successful venture like Turner Classic Movies is not willing to shell it out on any regular basis.

On top of this, bigschmuck obviously has no clue to other costs involved, the film nerd's favorite buzzword, "restoration" means everything from securing and shipping print materials, to and from collector or archive and to and from transfer-house, payments to the rights holder, and the hours at hourly rate said "restorer" spends making the picture-quality all squeaky-clean and sharp so the nerds won't whine about their virgin eyes being offended, frequently after more hourly-rated time was spent making original picture elements usable for transfer in the first place, or all the hourly-rated after-time spent in re-editing, retitling (after much research time spent in tracking down original English-language intertitles to replace the Bulgarian-language ones in the original print materials), money spent in creating extras for said release, then, if one is not doing MOD, the cost of pressing and packaging Blu-ray discs (1000 minimum) or DVD's (250 minimum, another reason it is still more profitable to do DVD's) and storing same inventory while waiting for them to sell. Shall we then include whatever is spent on marketing and publicity after the release is ready to sell? However one like to slice it, or whatever corners cut or deals made in any department, all this kinda eats into any profit made from a product that will only sell to 3000 people worldwide.

So once again bigschmuck, you're blowing smoke out your ass if you think you know what you're talking about, of course the BFi sold out their first pressing of NAPOLEON, it was only 1000 copies of what amazingly passes for a hot title in this area of interest, that damn butt-ache of a movie has lost more money in all of it's various attempts at reissued exploitation than any other silent film one can name. The best response for a know-nothing like bigschmuck, who is most likely a twenty-or early-thirty something technogeek who lives alone in his hovel surrounded by overpriced digital viewing equipment as he mistakenly thinks all others he's never met with like-minded interests have the same values as he, is put your money where his mouth is and try it sometime, then you can come back and pretend that you might actually know something. He is so dense that he didn't even realize he answered his own question in that other thread where the Brazillian idiot had the meltdown about LED TV's when he said even he can put a DVD into his overpriced Blu-ray player and run it and it looks as good as a Blu-ray, if it looks as good, then why spring for the Blu-ray disc?

And say, bigschmuck, if you're so convinced that we're just yankin' everyone's chain to get them to buy a DVD, then we'll put out a Blu-ray on WHEN COMEDY WAS KING and make them buy it again next year, I have a suggestion, hold your breath until it happens.........

Ah well, I'm sure Gebert thinks this response to "wordy" (though gee, the number of posts on Nitwitvile's thread are triple what we've had over here, with not a tenth of the sensibility), but he hasn't started doing the wordcount yet, c'mon Mike, ya' know you're itching to.


RICHARD M ROBERTS

Robert Moulton
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Re: Nitrateville Nitwittery: WHEN COMEDY WAS KING

Postby Robert Moulton » Mon Jan 16, 2017 12:21 pm

3,000! That makes me even more appreciative of the effort/risk people are putting into these releases.

I saw Mack Sennett on an episode of Kovacs' Take A Good Look this morning and when they showed some fuzzy washed out clips it made me think about how lucky we are with the quality of what comes out today.

Joe Migliore
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Re: Nitrateville Nitwittery: WHEN COMEDY WAS KING

Postby Joe Migliore » Mon Jan 16, 2017 2:21 pm

Robert Moulton wrote:
3,000! That makes me even more appreciative of the effort/risk people are putting into these releases.


I was struck by this number too. There's certainly a potential audience, though probably not very large, that is too young to have ever been exposed to the experience. I don't get why anyone would complain about the availability or quality of silent film today; the only better option would be to live in the Twenties and spend the entire decade visiting different cinemas every week.

Richard M Roberts
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Re: Nitrateville Nitwittery: WHEN COMEDY WAS KING

Postby Richard M Roberts » Mon Jan 16, 2017 3:39 pm

Joe Migliore wrote:
I was struck by this number too. There's certainly a potential audience, though probably not very large, that is too young to have ever been exposed to the experience. I don't get why anyone would complain about the availability or quality of silent film today; the only better option would be to live in the Twenties and spend the entire decade visiting different cinemas every week.


Yeah, but in the 20's you had critics whining how lousy all the current films were and how no one in Hollywood knew how to make movies anymore.

And in the 30's and 40's, what passed for the early film historians moaned that silent Hollywood films were worthless, except for Griffith and Robert Flaherty.

In short, the clueless have always opened their mouths. and apparently Bigass continues to do so over at Nitwitvile, even as he sidesteps the actual hard questions several more sensible folk over there throw at him. All Dim has apparently nattered himself into exhaustion over the hated LED television sets, and has given up the ghost. But hey, Ray Faiola dropped in to give us another of his self-serving comments designed more to make himself sound cool than offer any information or advice ("disappointed" in the soundtrack Ray, awwww, tough tarantulas, pointless to whine about wanting something that apparently is unavailable or no longer exists, WCWK looks and sounds better than it has in decades, but God forbid that allows any of the OCD'ers in this hobby to enjoy it.). Amazingly, he didn't brag about some print of another he has as he usually does in his posts, that's his usual monotonous schtick which is one of the many reasons his requests to join the mafia have always been rejected.

As fun as it can be to tweak the ones who still populate Nitwitvile and make it the sad shadow of it's former self that it now is, this is becoming a bore to this author. The reviews from all other quarters on WCWK have been ecstatic, and reviews from anywhere else are more meaningful than they are from that site. Sales have been quite brisk, thanks I'm sure in part to the Nitwitvile Ninnies who have become a reverse barometer for the few who actually read it these days, so unless someone says something really entertainingly stupid over there, we'll probably give it a rest. Plenty of better things to do.


RICHARD M ROBERTS

Tommie Hicks
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Re: Nitrateville Nitwittery: WHEN COMEDY WAS KING

Postby Tommie Hicks » Mon Jan 16, 2017 5:11 pm

This is a very sad question: Why isn't silent or early talkie comedy more popular than ever? Why doesn't a silent comedy media item sell millions? Mozart still sells millions of units every year, Shakespeare still sells out theaters. Perhaps today's folks have way too many entertainment options. Maybe if we tell the kids silent comedy is colored in gothic tones and contains texting they'll go for it.

Richard M Roberts
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Re: Nitrateville Nitwittery: WHEN COMEDY WAS KING

Postby Richard M Roberts » Mon Jan 16, 2017 6:32 pm

Tommie Hicks wrote:This is a very sad question: Why isn't silent or early talkie comedy more popular than ever? Why doesn't a silent comedy media item sell millions? Mozart still sells millions of units every year, Shakespeare still sells out theaters. Perhaps today's folks have way too many entertainment options. Maybe if we tell the kids silent comedy is colored in gothic tones and contains texting they'll go for it.



Well, the sad truth is that these days, Mozart does not sell millions of units every year (apart from, maybe "Ein Kleine Nachtmusic" and some of the popular stuff) and Shakespeare doesn't pack `em in like he used to. Cultural ignorance is rampant, not just in the US, but it's spreading all over the World. Nostalgia today for Generation X'ers is what they had for breakfast. Add the political correctness oversensitivity that makes them become knee-jerk offended at practically everything in silent comedy and one realizes that this does not bode well for new younger folk discovering the joys of this stuff.


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