Author Archives: James Riley
Most everyone in film and television agree on a fairly simple rule: it’s all about story. Everything else — from wardrobe to sound to score to art direction to cinematography — can be downright breathtaking, but if the story isn’t there, it won’t amount to much.
Still, even if the rule is simple, the reality isn’t. Almost everything you could ever hope to do, in life, is far more simple than telling a story well.
So you say you have to crawl around under houses and re-connect sewer pipes that are on the verge of breaking? Continue Reading »
More Glorious Times Anon
In June of 1771, the travelling attorney, John Adams, then thirty-five years old, had this to record in his journal about a day on the circuit court:
Overtook Judge Cushing in his old curricle and two lean horses, and Dick, his negro, at his right hand, driving the curricle. This is the way of travelling in 1771;— a judge of the circuits, a judge of the superior court, a judge of the King’s bench, common pleas, and exchequer for the Province, travels with a pair of wretched old jades of horses in a wretched old dung-cart of a curricle, and a negro on the same seat with him driving. Continue Reading »
INSP Channel’s New 60 Second Promotion for Courage, New Hampshire
The promotion team at INSP released a new 60 second spot for the national cable debut of Courage, New Hampshire. Watch it here. This one is a beauty, hitting all the major themes: family, justice, danger, corruption, triumph. It’s absolutely rapid-fire too, a Courage roller coaster. Distilled. 80 proof. Like good spirits, it’s meant to share.
I was talking with Wilson about show trailers the other day, and I’ve come to the conclusion they actually alter the way you watch the show, or the movie itself. Continue Reading »
“Courage, New Hampshire” will have a national broadcast audience starting Memorial Day. (Details)
INSP (Inspiration Network) has a potential reach of 73 million viewers and their goal is the same as ours — produce more original period drama. According to INSP Senior Programming vice president Doug Butts, “The series was written using stories painstakingly derived from historical documents and personal letters. The dedication and attention to detail by Jim, his cast and crew have resulted in one of the highest quality productions on this topic I’ve ever seen.”
We’re excited to build our audience and lay the groundwork for more period drama. Continue Reading »
As I observed in my last blog, the end of the conventional television world is now being predicted with more urgency. How it will happen, and when, might be anyone’s guess but everyone seems to think major changes will continue to accelerate.
What has been happening, for the last few years is a major change in the way people watch episodic drama, comedy and even news magazines. They watch it when they want to watch it. This began with DVD box collections, purchased the year after a show’s first or second season, and now it takes place on the channel’s internet site or on Itunes, Netflix, or Amazon. Continue Reading »
“I would steer my kids out of the newspaper business, because my guess is it will be dead in a decade or two.”
That prediction of his lingered on in my mind for decades, and when, for a time, we began to see big thick copies of the New York Times printed in every city in America and when I tried to place a minuscule but very expensive advertisement in the Los Angeles Times for an event on Riley’s Farm, I began to wonder if the open casket viewing had been prematurely arranged. Continue Reading »
It’s no secret that we charged head-long into the television business because we hate the current gate-keepers and what they have done to American culture. For the most part, programming executives are timid, trendy, brand-obsessed, story-challenged, absurdly self-content know-nothings. I have built up such contempt for these people that our executive producer, Jonathan Wilson, gets nervous when we take a meeting. Continue Reading »
Wilson: But when Laud’s talking, Silas and Noah are just sorta standing there. Doing nothing.
Riley: Right. Let’s stay on Laud. Do you think we should cut it down?
Wilson: What? The whole scene? No. It’s fine. I’d cut down that scene by the stream though.
Riley: Um… I know that one’s a little expositional but I kinda like it.
Riley: Some of that back story is okay, here and there
Wilson: You really think it moves the story forward? Continue Reading »
Good storytelling is something like telling a good joke. If it’s well told, you don’t mind hearing it again, now and then, but after about the fifth time, it starts to feel like an act of war. Human beings were never meant to be bored. If you’re being paid to entertain, you have an obligation to bring something new to the table.
By jove, even journalists know that.
Now, at the outset, we haven’t all heard the same jokes, so our taste is a subjective thing, and I’m quite willing to admit I may have missed something very, very profound in the new NBC show “Revolution,” but after trying very hard to watch an episode and a half, I’m thinking the only thing remotely novel about the project was the premise: a world without electricity. Continue Reading »
Colony Bay matte artist Jonathan Neil is working on a new online theater for the show. Even though it’s not finished, it’s so clean and captivating, I check it out every hour or so. You can too, by clicking on the graphic on the right. (Not every hour if you don’t want to.) Fairly soon, we will be updating the site so that those who have joined the colony can watch any of the shows, online, without re-purchasing a ticket.
We did a few things backwards in our effort to bring a period drama to the screen. Continue Reading »