Should Netflix Have Content Quotas?

Netflix provides a lot of content. But should a percentage of that content come from a specific geographical region?

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Roughly 90% of what I watch, I stream through Netflix. If I’m not streaming through my TV, then I’m streaming it through the Netflix app.

I consume my content this way because of convenience. It's easy, it's right there, and there are no commercials! Yes, I'm admitting I’m lazy. It’s something that I’m working on. Netflix is also enabling me.

Despite Netflix enabling of my apathy, I enjoy the content offered. It also helps that I checked out the best internet deals and packages.

Not everything I find there is something I want to watch though.

I would prefer, every now and then, to partake in content that’s centered around my hometown of San Antonio, TX. Not southern California dolled up to look like San Antonio. Instead, I'd prefer a more realistic facsimile.

Not only that, the program should present the city of San Antonio as it truly is. The representation should be based on current trends and not what people in Hollywood assume it is- some uber-conservative town steeped in old thinking (San Antonio is quite progressive, and I should know, I live here).

Can I find this on Netflix?

No, not at all.

Should it be a near-accurate representation of San Antonio in both image and sociological makeup?

I would say, “Yes.”

And can I require Netflix to create that show just for me?

Given my laziness—yes, absolutely I should!

Is it the right way to create content?

…hmmm.

Content Quotas

Although I might have some influence—something like 0.000000000000000001% influence—I highly doubt Netflix will scramble to make my dream become a reality.

Why?

Because they’re not even doing that for the European Union.

Recently, the EU took to changing up the rules they impose on outside entertainment services. Part of that rewrite includes demanding that Netflix allot 30% of their catalog to content centered on European works.

Netflix, understandably, balked at the maneuver.

I can see where the EU is coming from though.

They want to see more and more content that reflects the socioeconomic, ethnic, and regional background of their viewers. This will lead to less alienation, and hopefully, more confidence in oneself. Or maybe they’re just looking to provide opportunities to the content creators themselves? I’m inferring those last two points.

Anyway, this move could backfire.

You’ve heard the expression, “the road to hell is paved with good intentions”?

The road to hell can start with these good intentions.

By holding Netflix responsible for creating content specifically geared towards a subset of their audience, Netflix gets hamstrung. They need to figure out what types of programs those viewers like to watch, bring in producers for it, and create the appropriate content. This ties up money and creative powers.

Sure, it helps those specific content creators.

But are they going to create something worth watching for the wider audience? It's possible.

Ethics aside, forcing the many to watch something that appeals to the few will end up alienating the larger group in the end.

And if there’s a quota to meet, then quality will get sacrificed so that Netflix can say, “Hey, we met the quota, so what are you complaining about?”

A Different Tact

Is it more advantageous to create content aimed at specific sub-groups?

Sure. Why not?

As I mentioned earlier, I demand a program centered on San Antonio that doesn’t involve someone butchering a Texas accent, or making all Texans look ignorant.

But forcing Netflix to create that just for me will end up alienating viewers from Dallas, Houston, and the hipsters up the road in Austin. Soon they’ll get their own shows too. When that happens, I’ll refuse to watch them based on principle. This will drive overall viewership down and put Netflix in a bind. They could end up losing money on this content.

This solution is bad.

To solve this problem I’m required to (sigh) get up and do something about it.

If I watch content about San Antonio that represents it honestly, then I need to go out there and make it myself. And if it’s no good, then Netflix can pass on the project. This will, in turn, force me to work harder to create content that’s of quality and will appeal to the mass audience.

And it will involve…sigh…work.

For those who want to have content that better reflects who they are, they’ll have to go out and create it themselves. Or get on board with a project.

Others Can Help

Given how much Netflix is pouring into their content creation, they probably can accommodate new content from creators from specific areas. If the content is approved, Netflix can add it into their catalog and appeal to that specific sub-category whilst still putting out content for the larger audiences. Netflix will handle the distribution while the creators handle the production end.

Another option would be for local and regional governments to offer incentives to content creators. For example; the San Antonio Film Commission offers a 7.5% incentive on film and television project with at least $100,000 of approved San Antonio spending (check the details at filmsanantonio.com). This is to help content creators secure locations and equipment in San Antonio for their projects.

With this kind of assistance, burgeoning projects can find a place to shoot their film in and around San Antonio. They can avoid straining their budget and keep a


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The Quintessential Halloween Playlist

This Halloween, create a playlist that is fun, creepy, and enjoyable all at once. These ten songs are a great start for any Halloween Playlist!

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This Halloween season, before the trick-or-treaters arrive or you don your own costume, set up a Halloween music mix on YouTube. This will ensure you have the right vibe for the evening.

Some listeners will prefer a more “haunting” or “scary” music mix as opposed to a “fun” or “kid-friendly” list of songs. What it boils down to is the overall tone you want to set for your Halloween experience.

For those who want to go the scary and haunting route, Marilyn Manson, Rob Zombie, and the soundtrack from Girl With a Dragon Tattoo would be a good choice. There are heavy beats and creepy lyrics to make the skin crawl and assault the ears. Trent Reznor and Atticus Ross, the composers behind Girl With a Dragon Tattoo, mix electric and strings to create an eerie sound that builds and builds. These music choices are perfect if you want to slowly unnerve your guests, or spook trick-or-treaters.

If you want a more fun and kid-friendly Halloween music list, then stick with the classics like Monster Mash. They may be old, but they’ve got a certain appeal that endures through time.

The list below, created by yours truly, is a mix of both. A few classics are in there, a few scary tracks, along with some lesser-known pieces to keep things interesting. Make sure to create your own playlist through your favorite streaming service. To prevent any lag in streaming, make sure to check out the best internet deals and packages in your area too!

“Thriller” by Michael Jackson

 

Who could ignore the cult classic?

Jackson, just as he was really getting his solo career going, released this music video. It’s really a short film with a big budget. But it’s got all the classic tropes associated with horror movies. And THE Vincent Price does the voice over.

If you don’t know who Vincent Price is, then jump on YouTube and search “Vincent Price Performs The Thriller Rap Live.” After that, go and watch the original House on Haunted Hill, you won’t be disappointed.

Of course, there are plenty of tutorial videos out there on how to dance the Thriller dance. It’s a classic dance and you’ll be well prepared for any party with it.

“Time Warp” from The Rocky Horror Picture Show

 

It’s around this time of year that you’ll see late night showings of this cult classic. And if you ever get talked into one, be prepared for costumes and full-audience participation.

You’ll also get to see a young Tim Curry, Susan Sarandon, Barry Bostwick, and Meat Loaf!

“Dragula” by Rob Zombie

 

Featured in The Matrix, this Rob Zombie hit is good for dance mixes, or just creeping out your friends who are more reserved.

While Rob Zombie is an acquired taste, his music is perfect for certain occasions, like Halloween. For those not familiar with him, be warned, his style is creepy. But it's just the right amount of creepy.

“Monster Mash” by Bobby ‘Boris’ Pickett & The Crypt-Kickers

 

A classic that everyone has probably heard by now. If not, then it’s likely someone will cock their head and say, “Oh, I’ve heard that before.”

“Monster Mash” is a more kid-friendly tune. It was originally written as a spoof of the “dance craze” type songs that were popular in the early sixties. “Monster Mash” would become part of a much larger album of other Halloween-themed dance songs.

“Phantom of the Opera- Phantom of the Opera Theme Song” by Andrew Lloyd Webber

 

Evil villains in masks, damsels in distress, and creepy lairs, what’s more Halloween than that?

Thanks to the 2004 movie adaptation, we get to hear Emmy Rossum and Gerard Butler perform the lead parts. Both are highly talented actors and it’s a pity the two haven’t done more musicals since then.

The film is great and engrossing. But to get the full force of Webber’s masterpiece, one must see it on stage as it was meant to be seen. Originally “The Phantom of The Opera” was a book that was adapted to a stage play. In the early 80s, Andrew Lloyd Webber wrote a new score to the stage play and from there it took off. This is why there are guitar riffs and electronic synths incorporated among the orchestration. Webber’s musical genius makes it work though.

Hearing it recorded is one thing, but to listen to the music live is an experience that’s on another plane altogether. Another bonus, if you’re lucky, is if you see a production with a master set director. For example; of the three times I’ve gotten to see the stage play, the one that stands out the most was the second time I saw it.

In the middle of the stage was a large brick wall. This cut the stage in half, but pieces of the wall would open to reveal different scenes. And when the Phantom’s theme occurred, The Phantom and Christine would walk along the top of the wall, singing as they did. Stairs would extend from the wall and they walked down to the stage below. When they reached the bottom, the *entire* wall split in two to reveal The Phantom’s lair.

Words don’t do it justice, but trust me, with a live orchestra, this was awesome to behold!

“Ghostbusters” by Ray Parker Jr.

 

Bill Murray, Harold Ramis, Dan Akroyd, and Ernie Hudson were the original Ghostbusters and launched this iconic comedy into common consciousness.

Although it is a comedy, I can remember the ghosts scaring me as a kid. Luckily, the comedic stylings of Murray, Ramis, and Akroyd kept me from running out of the room. As I grew in age, I caught the little in-jokes and innuendoes that I missed as a kid, and it got funnier. I also felt for Hudson’s character as he was just looking for a job and instead, got thrown into a mess of ghosts, ghouls, and cosmic abominations bent on destroying the universe.

Ray Parker Jr’s theme song has become iconic. The music video, however, not so much. But the song’s still great. And it’s sure to please the crowd when you play it during parties!

“This is Halloween” by Danny Elfman

 

Only Tim Burton could turn Claymation into something creepy. And this is how we get The Nightmare Before Christmas.

Composing legend Danny Elfman wrote the music for the film and even wrote the lyrics for the main song, “This is Halloween.”

Some may debate that this is really a Christmas movie, like those who debate if Die Hard is a Christmas movie or a summer blockbuster. While Die Hard is a Christmas movie, and those who argue differently are flat out wrong, The Nightmare Before Christmas straddles both. The movie can be watched from Halloween and on through Christmas.

And here’s why; it’s a story about a Halloween Spirit, Jack Skellington, who is disillusioned with scaring people. It’s just not as fun as it used to be.

Taking a walk in the woods one day, he stumbles upon a portal to take him to Christmas Town. Curious, Jack enters and sets off a chain of accidents that only he can fix. Along the way, Jack discovers the true nature of Christmas.

Halloween may be about scaring people, but Christmas is about giving. Thus, Jack decides he’ll give as much as he can to fill the hole where his heart should be.

He is, after all, a skeleton.

“For Whom The Bell Tolls” by Metallica

 

While heavy metal, this tune by Metallica was used for the intro to Zombieland. When I saw that, I thought, “That’s a fitting song.”

The heavy rifts punctuated by a tolling bell give the ominous feeling that something is coming for you. What it is, exactly, it’s clear. Which makes the song all the more creepy.

Vampires, zombies, werewolves, something else?

Who knows.

“I Put a Spell On You” by Screaming Jay Hawkins

 

Originally sung by Nina Simone, Screaming Jay Hawkins covers this hit with a rock twist and his growling vocals. It’s great for spooking trick-or-treaters!

“O Death” by Ralph Stanley

 

When I first saw the film, this tune struck me as odd. It comes about three-fourths of the way through O Brother, Where Art Thou? It's sung by a KKK leader, but the vocals are provided by Ralph Stanley.

The rest of the soundtrack had been full of old-timey hymns, instruments, and lively vocals. But this was a haunting dirge, meant for a funeral.

I bought the soundtrack and listened to this track over and over again. While the rest was about finding the silver lining, this one was about death. It’s really a conversation between a dying man and death itself. The dying man is pleading for another year. Of course, death decides to come when it wants to.

For a Halloween playlist, I figured this was a good one to end on.

While there are things that are scary, they pale in comparison to the eventual end. Everyone must make their peace with death, one way or another. For those who have overcome their fear of it, they still must contend with the fact that they’re days are numbered.

Whether you decide to listen to the entire playlist or just a few, at least you’ve got a good starting point for a killer Halloween playlist.

Happy Halloween!


The Quintessential Halloween Playlist

Get the most out your Halloween experience with this playlist featuring favorites and hidden gems.

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This Halloween season, before the trick-or-treaters arrive or you don your own costume, set up a Halloween music mix on YouTube. This will ensure you have the right vibe for the evening.

Some listeners will prefer a more “haunting” or “scary” music mix as opposed to a “fun” or “kid-friendly” list of songs. What it boils down to is the overall tone you want to set for your Halloween experience.

For those who want to go the scary and haunting route, Marilyn Manson, Rob Zombie, and the soundtrack from Girl With a Dragon Tattoo would be a good choice. There are heavy beats and creepy lyrics to make the skin crawl and assault the ears. Trent Reznor and Atticus Ross, the composers behind Girl With a Dragon Tattoo, mix electric and strings to create an eerie sound that builds and builds. These music choices are perfect if you want to slowly unnerve your guests, or spook trick-or-treaters.

If you want a more fun and kid-friendly Halloween music list, then stick with the classics like Monster Mash. They may be old, but they’ve got a certain appeal that endures through time.

The list below, created by yours truly, is a mix of both. A few classics are in there, a few scary tracks, along with some lesser-known pieces to keep things interesting. Make sure to create your own playlist through your favorite streaming service. To prevent any lag in streaming, make sure to check out the best internet deals and packages in your area too!

“Thriller” by Michael Jackson

 

Who could ignore the cult classic?

Jackson, just as he was really getting his solo career going, released this music video. It’s really a short film with a big budget. But it’s got all the classic tropes associated with horror movies. And THE Vincent Price does the voice over.

If you don’t know who Vincent Price is, then jump on YouTube and search “Vincent Price Performs The Thriller Rap Live.” After that, go and watch the original House on Haunted Hill, you won’t be disappointed.

Of course, there are plenty of tutorial videos out there on how to dance the Thriller dance. It’s a classic dance and you’ll be well prepared for any party with it.

“Time Warp” from The Rocky Horror Picture Show

 

It’s around this time of year that you’ll see late night showings of this cult classic. And if you ever get talked into one, be prepared for costumes and full-audience participation.

You’ll also get to see a young Tim Curry, Susan Sarandon, Barry Bostwick, and Meat Loaf!

“Dragula” by Rob Zombie

 

Featured in The Matrix, this Rob Zombie hit is good for dance mixes, or just creeping out your friends who are more reserved.

While Rob Zombie is an acquired taste, his music is perfect for certain occasions, like Halloween. For those not familiar with him, be warned, his style is creepy. But it's just the right amount of creepy.

“Monster Mash” by Bobby ‘Boris’ Pickett & The Crypt-Kickers

 

A classic that everyone has probably heard by now. If not, then it’s likely someone will cock their head and say, “Oh, I’ve heard that before.”

“Monster Mash” is a more kid-friendly tune. It was originally written as a spoof of the “dance craze” type songs that were popular in the early sixties. “Monster Mash” would become part of a much larger album of other Halloween-themed dance songs.

“Phantom of the Opera- Phantom of the Opera Theme Song” by Andrew Lloyd Webber

 

Evil villains in masks, damsels in distress, and creepy lairs, what’s more Halloween than that?

Thanks to the 2004 movie adaptation, we get to hear Emmy Rossum and Gerard Butler perform the lead parts. Both are highly talented actors and it’s a pity the two haven’t done more musicals since then.

The film is great and engrossing. But to get the full force of Webber’s masterpiece, one must see it on stage as it was meant to be seen. Originally “The Phantom of The Opera” was a book that was adapted to a stage play. In the early 80s, Andrew Lloyd Webber wrote a new score to the stage play and from there it took off. This is why there are guitar riffs and electronic synths incorporated among the orchestration. Webber’s musical genius makes it work though.

Hearing it recorded is one thing, but to listen to the music live is an experience that’s on another plane altogether. Another bonus, if you’re lucky, is if you see a production with a master set director. For example; of the three times I’ve gotten to see the stage play, the one that stands out the most was the second time I saw it.

In the middle of the stage was a large brick wall. This cut the stage in half, but pieces of the wall would open to reveal different scenes. And when the Phantom’s theme occurred, The Phantom and Christine would walk along the top of the wall, singing as they did. Stairs would extend from the wall and they walked down to the stage below. When they reached the bottom, the *entire* wall split in two to reveal The Phantom’s lair.

Words don’t do it justice, but trust me, with a live orchestra, this was awesome to behold!

“Ghostbusters” by Ray Parker Jr.

 

Bill Murray, Harold Ramis, Dan Akroyd, and Ernie Hudson were the original Ghostbusters and launched this iconic comedy into common consciousness.

Although it is a comedy, I can remember the ghosts scaring me as a kid. Luckily, the comedic stylings of Murray, Ramis, and Akroyd kept me from running out of the room. As I grew in age, I caught the little in-jokes and innuendoes that I missed as a kid, and it got funnier. I also felt for Hudson’s character as he was just looking for a job and instead, got thrown into a mess of ghosts, ghouls, and cosmic abominations bent on destroying the universe.

Ray Parker Jr’s theme song has become iconic. The music video, however, not so much. But the song’s still great. And it’s sure to please the crowd when you play it during parties!

“This is Halloween” by Danny Elfman

 

Only Tim Burton could turn Claymation into something creepy. And this is how we get The Nightmare Before Christmas.

Composing legend Danny Elfman wrote the music for the film and even wrote the lyrics for the main song, “This is Halloween.”

Some may debate that this is really a Christmas movie, like those who debate if Die Hard is a Christmas movie or a summer blockbuster. While Die Hard is a Christmas movie, and those who argue differently are flat out wrong, The Nightmare Before Christmas straddles both. The movie can be watched from Halloween and on through Christmas.

And here’s why; it’s a story about a Halloween Spirit, Jack Skellington, who is disillusioned with scaring people. It’s just not as fun as it used to be.

Taking a walk in the woods one day, he stumbles upon a portal to take him to Christmas Town. Curious, Jack enters and sets off a chain of accidents that only he can fix. Along the way, Jack discovers the true nature of Christmas.

Halloween may be about scaring people, but Christmas is about giving. Thus, Jack decides he’ll give as much as he can to fill the hole where his heart should be.

He is, after all, a skeleton.

“For Whom The Bell Tolls” by Metallica

 

While heavy metal, this tune by Metallica was used for the intro to Zombieland. When I saw that, I thought, “That’s a fitting song.”

The heavy rifts punctuated by a tolling bell give the ominous feeling that something is coming for you. What it is, exactly, it’s clear. Which makes the song all the more creepy.

Vampires, zombies, werewolves, something else?

Who knows.

“I Put a Spell On You” by Screaming Jay Hawkins

 

Originally sung by Nina Simone, Screaming Jay Hawkins covers this hit with a rock twist and his growling vocals. It’s great for spooking trick-or-treaters!

“O Death” by Ralph Stanley

 

When I first saw the film, this tune struck me as odd. It comes about three-fourths of the way through O Brother, Where Art Thou? It's sung by a KKK leader, but the vocals are provided by Ralph Stanley.

The rest of the soundtrack had been full of old-timey hymns, instruments, and lively vocals. But this was a haunting dirge, meant for a funeral.

I bought the soundtrack and listened to this track over and over again. While the rest was about finding the silver lining, this one was about death. It’s really a conversation between a dying man and death itself. The dying man is pleading for another year. Of course, death decides to come when it wants to.

For a Halloween playlist, I figured this was a good one to end on.

While there are things that are scary, they pale in comparison to the eventual end. Everyone must make their peace with death, one way or another. For those who have overcome their fear of it, they still must contend with the fact that they’re days are numbered.

Whether you decide to listen to the entire playlist or just a few, at least you’ve got a good starting point for a killer Halloween playlist.

Happy Halloween!


Are the Emmy's Relevant Anymore?

Every year there is a big spectacle of which TV shows are the best of the best. This is called the Emmy's. But are these awards relevant anymore?

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Every year there’s a big display of awards and speeches for television. It’s called the Emmy’s. This year, so as not to compete with football, the broadcast was shifted to Monday night. The goal here was to make sure those who also wanted to watch football would not have to make a choice between the two. Hopefully, the numbers would go up this year. They didn’t. Viewership for the annual spectacle was about the same as it had been for the last two years at 11.4 million. And that’s lower than five years ago. I’ll admit, I wasn’t one of those 11.4 million. But I did read about it in the news afterward. And that reading was interesting for two reasons.

Ties

Back in July, HBO received only 108 nominations while Netflix garnered 112. This seemed to signal a significant shift in the TV industry. For one, Netflix has been throwing barrels of money into their content production and it seemed to have paid off. Second, it made the long-running Emmy champion, HBO, look like it was past its prime, no pun intended. Yet, when the awards were finally presented, HBO and Netflix walked away with the same amount. So what does this mean? It could mean that HBO isn’t quite out of the game. Or it could mean that there’s still the “old guard” hanging on and they’re not about to let the upstart Netflix steal their money-making machine. Or it could mean that Netflix just hasn’t built up enough cred yet. Who knows. But back in July, this writer was ready to concede that HBO was no longer going to be the reigning king of television. It appears I was wrong. That stings a little bit. It doesn’t matter if you’re an HBO fan, a Netflix fan, a fan of some other streaming service, make sure you have the best internet bundles and deals. This way you at least save some money. Then you’ll get a front row seat for what’s coming next.

Are the Emmy’s Relevant Anymore?

While I noticed the tie between HBO and Netflix, a piece from The Verge caught my eye- “Hollywood had a Breakdown Trying to Justify Itself at the 2018 Emmy’s.” The author, Devon Maloney, argues that the Emmy celebration was an indication of how behind Hollywood is. They don’t seem to be moving forward or embracing any of the changes happening in society at large. Nor does it seem that the winners of this year’s awards are any more diverse than the previous years. Overall, Maloney argues that Hollywood is irrelevant. Maloney’s arguments are indeed valid.

Lack of Change

Emmy'sRecent reports have pointed out that although there has been more of a push for diverse actors and stories, this hasn’t translated to much change across the industry. If any at all. The Emmy Broadcast, from her point of view, appeared stunted and forced. Since I didn’t watch it myself, I’ll have to take her word for it. And given she’s been covering the subject much longer than I have, I’m happy to do so. But there’s one point I’ll have to disagree with. Hollywood may be irrelevant, but it’s so entrenched that we cannot simply remove it. As with any system that’s been allowed to build up over time, Hollywood has solidified itself in the socio-political environment. Think of it as a tree-stump; the branches and trunk can be removed, but the roots are still there. Removing the stump itself is the hardest part. Without expert help, you’ll more than likely make a bigger mess than what’s necessary.

The Right Skills for the Job

For example; back in college I helped a friend clean out his grandparent’s house and make it ready for sale. To do this, we needed to remove a large, and very dead, tree from the front yard. Of course, this was a task given to a bunch of college sophomores who grew up in the city. But three of those present had trucks. The common thought we all had was, “Hey, it's a truck, it’s strong. We just hook up a chain and pull and the stump should go pretty easily, right?” Luckily no trucks, or people, were hurt in the course of extracting the stump. But there was quite a mess when we were done. One college student tried and the stump didn’t budge. Another “wiser” student tried, and again, the stump remained unmoved. Although dead and irrelevant to the yard, and the house, the roots ran deep and refused to pack up and leave. After the third truck failed to move the stump, we pulled out the shovels and the axes and tried to cut every root that we could find. When we were done there was a huge hole with the stump in the middle. A lot of the roots jutted out from the ground, catching everyone’s feet as they tried to pass. But the stump was out.

What Are the Right Skills?

Emmy'sAccording to Maloney, Hollywood is irrelevant. Whether it should be removed or not, she’s yet to stand on that. But it’s clear that change must happen. Unfortunately, it’s an old tree that’s created roots in more than one layer of the environment. It’s not entirely dead though. I would argue that some parts need to go, but on the whole, the system still has some usefulness. It just needs the right watering and nutrition. But what? From my vantage point in San Antonio, TX, I have a few opinions on how to do that. I’m sure there are others, spread out all over the country, who have opinions as well. And as arrogant as I can be, I have to humbly accept that my opinions aren’t always right. So who’s to say which ones are the right ones? And which are the ones we should follow? There’s also the minor detail that those running Hollywood will not willingly give up the power, money, and comfort they’ve long been enjoying. So what’s the right way to change Hollywood? And if so, who’s going to lead that movement?