Thursday, November 30, 2006

Does Anyone Know Dick Wolf?

I'm sure someone out there in cyberspace knows Dick Wolf of Law & Order fame. If you do just send him over to this blog for some great L&O story ideas free of charge. All I would ask is if it involves a story about an online auction site (eSomething) that they let me take part in the story development.

Interesting story out of London. Identity gang found guilty of eBay scam and see my earlier "Ripped from the Headlines" post.

Here are links to other Ripped From the Headlines Stories:

I've also got a great idea for a 3-Part Crossover Episode that would start on SVU, move to CI and then end up in Jack McCoy's lap on Law & Order but I won't post it here.

Thursday, November 16, 2006

Ripped From the Headlines

OJ is at it again! His time on the sidelines and out of the press has wounded his narcissistic ego so he just had to write a book The title of the book alone "If I Did It!" proves this man has no soul but the story is perfect for Law and Order.

Hey Mr. Wolf how about a story about an acquitted star (Sports, Movie, Music take your pick) that releases a book on how he would have killed the victims, you know if he was actually responsible. With double jeopardy attached the star believes he is free and clear to once again make his millions off of books sales and be back in the public eye. While the star is in New York promoting his book there is a murder, though the murder only marginally involved the star (as a witness), Jack finds something in the stars book that will allow him to convict him on another charge. (Jack, was the DA who prosecuted him on the murder charge originally) This is the basis for the story. The details still need to be worked out.

Hope to see it on the tube by the end of the year.

Wednesday, November 15, 2006

CBS Hunting For The Next YouTube

Don’t the big guys create anything anymore? I can understand Google's purchase of YouTube because of the brand and Internet mind share but none of the other video sharing sites out there has that pedigree. Have you ever heard of Blinkx, blip.tv or Veho? So why is CBS not creating their own YouTube? Why pay $1 Billion dollars for one of these no name sites for that matter why pay $100 million when you can invest $20 to $30 million in a startup and control it from the beginning. Besides what are you getting for your money? The guys that run these companies don't know how to monetize video search any more than the guys at YouTube did. Technology development is easy compared to making money off of it. Besides with any of these sites CBS will have to spend even more to build the brand.

So here's the idea for CBS (as if anyone is reading this). Don't buy anything unless you can find a scalable technology for a great price. YouTube brings in viewers with their user supported content. Do you want to be responsible for user supported content? Does CBS want to set aside $200 million like Google just in case there are lawsuits.
No, in my view, you want a promotional platform for your programming and another vehicle to sell advertising. Once you have purchased or developed your own video-sharing site you can license exclusive content from content producers and make money off of it. Why not leave the user supported content to YouTube and sign a deal with them to promote your content? Remember “time is of the essence”, Sony bought Grouper in August and the other Studios and Networks are prowling the net looking for a video-sharing site of their own. Be careful CBS; remember the old saying “Haste makes Waste”. The best solution would be to sign a deal with YouTube. You wouldn’t be growing an asset but you would be available to the biggest audience immediately. Then build the technology and the brand for your own video-sharing site. You could create Television for 21st century.

Sony is boldly going where no other studio has gone before with the purchase of Grouper for $65 million, a steal compared to YouTube. They made the purchase in August and have already introduced the Sony film library to the site via clips with a Buy the DVD tab to purchase the movies. My suggestion for them is to give viewers the option of purchasing a DVD or Downloading the film. Also the clip should be available for download to a Mobile Phone, Computer etc. Sony already has the content with EPK's (Electronic Press Kits) Trailers etc. Here is a good example of a clip from Jerry Maguire "Show me the Money"



Imagine clips from Monty Python and the Holy Grail on your cell phone when someone calls. Or clips that automatically play when your computer boots up.

But, Sony has a problem. They need Grouper to make money and will need to spend heavily on marketing and brand building and since they are a competitior to the likes of Disney, Fox etc. How are they going to convince those studios to license their product to Grouper? Is every major studio going to have their own video-sharing site? What happens if Grouper has copyright issues because of their user supported content?

Why not maximise your assets now while you build the tools to serve clips on your own sites. If CBS have $3 Billion burning a hole in their pocket they should use that money as early stage investments in Web 3.0 companies or create more content that they would own.

See, I just saved CBS $3 billion dollars. If you want to spend some of it on me. I would be glad to sit down with you and discuss ways to monetize your content on the web. Sony has boxed themselves into a corner. Think hard before you do the same thing.

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Friday, October 20, 2006

The eBay Effect!

This program was produced in 1995 and been played and replayed over and over again. The problem is: It is very outdated. CNBC, please consider producing a sequel to this program with updated information and stories. With the current seller unrest and problems eBay has faced over the past year this would be a very interesting sequel. If you aren't going to produce a sequel stop playing the original, it is useless.

The Idea here: "The eBay Effect - Part Deux"

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Thursday, October 19, 2006

YouTube Please Help Me out!

This idea came from my frustration in tracking down a video clip from a CNBC program that I wanted to use in my blog. It looks as if CNBC hand picks the clips they have available on their site and this particular clip was not included. Since I do not want to post anything on my blog that would violate CNBC’s copyright I am out of luck (and the clip really made my point.)

So here is the idea: YouTube, should workout a licensing deal with CNBC and for that matter all of NBC Univeral’s Properties to serve as their "Blip" library (Blip, is my term for blog clips) on the Web. I am willing to pay for this service. Cable channels like CNBC always have short interviews or segments that would be beneficial to a blogger like me or any other online news outlet. They could structure it in a subscription form and serve up the Blips from their website by adding a “Blog This” function next to the clip. CNBC can further monetize their content, YouTube can make some money and I can get access to some valuable content.

Centralizing this on a site like YouTube would certainly drive more usage than having CNBC serve up the clips themselves though I wouldn't care either way. I just want my Blips!

If YouTube or some other site won't do this then each content site should make all of their stories available on their website (they could include advertising if they wanted) and add a "Blog This" button to their clips to facilitate posting on Blogs like mine.

I want the clip to be embeded in my blog, like this:

Not like this: CNBC Video Highlights

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Ripped from the Headlines

Priest admits fondling Foley, says it wasn't abuse - Quote: “A priest whom former Rep. Mark Foley reportedly has accused of molestation almost four decades ago said Thursday that he fondled the lawmaker as a teen but it wasn't abuse because Foley "seemed to like it."

So let me get this straight, it isn’t abuse to fondle a child if they “seem to like it” Whoa, this is amazing and you wonder why people have a problem with the Church. I’m not sure who I despise more Mark Foley or the Priest. I think I dislike both of them equally.

I know there have been several Priest Molestation stories on Law and Order but how about this take. A New York State Senator who heads a committee on Child Safety who is arrested for the murder of a legislative aide who has blown the whistle on him regarding his email advances towards the 15 year old son of another Senator. When brought to trial his defense is “The Priest made me do it” as he tells the story of his own childhood molestation. When the Priest is questioned he falls back on "he seemed to like it".

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Wednesday, October 18, 2006

Ripped from the Headlines

As you will see in reading this blog, many of my ideas are related to eBay. If you are tired of hearing about eBay don’t lose heart I will branch out to other ideas as I move forward. I’ve got some great ideas regarding Google/YouTube and MySpace coming up so stay tuned.

Why should you care what ideas I have? You shouldn’t care, I’m just a rgular guy, but you could still read and debate these ideas. Think of this as a cyber brainstorming session. Once I put them out there on the web I give up ownership so lets have some fun. I want to hear what you have to say.

Today’s idea goes out to Dick Wolf, creator of the Law and Order franchise on NBC. Wolf perfected the “Ripped from the Headlines” method for developing story ideas so in case the shows producers have missed this idea I thought I would present it. Now, I don’t really believe Dick Wolf reads this blog but since we are all just 6 degrees removed from Kevin Bacon maybe someone reading this can pass it along. In fact, I will be adding a regular segment called Ripped from the Headlines:

Today’s Ripped from the Headlines:

London Airplane Bomb Plotters Used eBay to Raise Funds, Built Detonators Inside AA Batteries

My idea isn’t related to terrorists, though that is certainly a viable option. My idea deals with the Russian Mob and the use of a fictional online auction site and payment system. I see this as a story for Criminal Intent rather than SVU or the Original Law and Order.

Two 20-something computer geeks and college students have figured out how to launder money using an online auction site and payment service. One is a Chinese kid from New York’s Chinatown neighborhood (Sigh) and the other is a Russian √©migr√© from Brighten Beach (Andre). While visiting with some friends from the old neighborhood Andre, in a moment of drunken bravado, tells an old friend how he and Sigh plan on becoming millionaires laundering money. The problem is he told the son of a Russian mob boss and when the Mob decides they want in on this new enterprise Sigh gets nervous and has second thoughts leading to his murder. The detectives of New York’s Major Case Squad are called into solve the murder of a young Chinese college student and find an intricate money laundering scheme.

Tell me what you think. I would love to hear your thoughts; maybe you can expand on the idea.

Mr Wolf, if you come across this idea somehow feel free to run with it. I can serve as an expert on online auctions if you need it. As they say in the business “Call Me!”

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Monday, October 16, 2006

The Digital Napkin is a blog about ideas. According to Wikipedia.org an idea is an image existing or formed in the mind. But as long as that image stays in the mind it accomplishes nothing. An idea is just a concept until it is acted upon, implemented or put into practice.

Many of us have great ideas (at least we think we do). I get my best ideas in the shower. These ideas are going to make us rich, solve the world’s problems or become the next Blockbuster Movie. Unfortunately that is not reality. Unless you can find some one to fund your idea, sponsor your bill in Congress, or buy your movie pitch that idea will remain just what it was when you first thought it up, “an image existing or formed in the mind”.

My fascination with ideas began at 12 years old in 1972 when together with 3 of my friends we started a film production company called Trivia Pictures to turn our ideas into reality. From this partnership came 5 “Super 8” movies ranging in length from 3 – 25 minutes; “Bones” the story of a confused young boy with a taste for live things (our only horror film), our version of “The Great Race” or more accurately titled “The Great Butt Race,” “The Day of Strange Happenings,” a special effects masterpiece, “Blood for the Don,” our tribute to “The Godfather” or possibly where Alan Parker got his idea for Bugsy Malone (I could have sworn he attended one of our screenings), and the unfinished cult classic, “The Over the Hill Gang,” a biker gang film using Schwinn StingRays.

We turned these ideas into reality with the help of my Dad and his Super 8 camera. Only two of the films were ever shown to an audience and the total Worldwide Box Office was just $100, but in 1972 that was a lot of money to 12 year olds. As I went through High School I had many more ideas, but Trivia Pictures had been disbanded and girls became my focus so those ideas just stayed in my head.

Now, 34 years later after a stint in Hollywood working in television, three businesses and rising to become the #1 seller on eBay, I’ve decided to become a Blogger on Ideas. My attorney says that once I publish my ideas in a public forum like a blog I lose ownership of them and I won’t be protected, but if ideas are only images in my mind and I don’t have the resources to implement them what good do they do me? With a blog, my ideas can be discussed and debated, and if one of my readers can turn my idea into the next great product, film, or Government program then I will have the satisfaction of knowing it was my idea and maybe I can help them implement the next great idea.

The Digital Napkin will be a place to brainstorm and debate great and not so great ideas. Remember, if you contribute your own ideas to this blog you will be giving up your rights to that idea. Think hard before submitting your own ideas, but feel free to comment on mine.

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