Oh just Peachy

The above showed up in the office this morning. Yep, it’s the peach from James and the Giant Peach. This is a must-have for stop-motion animation collectors, joining classics like The Nightmare Before Christmas. Just like Nightmare, James and the Giant Peach was a Tim Burton production (although he did not direct; Henry Selick was director).

End of an Era, Beginning of a New

It’s been a few days now and I had wanted to give it at least a few days’ time out of respect for Ryan before publicly announcing the news.

Our editor at Profiles in History, Ryan Dohm, who since 2007 had been writing our catalogs and copy editing everything from ads to postcard mailings, has left the company. Ryan had put his own lyrical stamp on over a dozen Profiles auction and historical catalogs. He was initially thrown into the deep end with only a crash course in the breakneck culture of our company. He not only survived, but flourished. If you’ve enjoyed our catalogs of the past few years, you would recognize Ryan’s voice in them. The diligence, meticulousness and work ethics, with which he put into his work directly and unequivocally contributed to our successes. We wouldn’t have had the monster year we had last year without the extreme personal sacrifices he put in as he worked tirelessly for 14 or 16 or more hours a day for weeks at a time to meet tight deadlines.

When Ryan wasn’t busy writing–which was rare–he helped us modeled some of the most memorable costumes we’ve had for the catalogs. Some of you will surely recognized him as Daredevil, Deckard from Blade Runner, Bela Lugosi (Dracula), and most recently both Captain America AND Red Skull, just to name a few.

We will certainly miss Ryan’s many contributions. But more than that, we will miss his easy demeanor, wittiness, impeccable tastes in literature, music, whiskey & beer, and his general positiveness. We wish him the best in all future endeavors. Anyone who wants to keep up with Ryan can follow him at @Mahleria and at his Facebook page.

Fortunately for Profiles, we lucked out when it came to finding Ryan’s replacement. Joseph P. Moe is now part of the team, taking over the editor position. Joe’s story is a remarkable one and you can learn more about him at his website. You can also follow him at @GoJoeMoeGo and find him at his Facebook page.

Lazy Journalism

Late yesterday the Hollywood Patch ran a story about a lawsuit against Hollywood Treasure. The “contributor” to the article called the office fishing for information. I told him that I knew nothing about it, that I had no comment, and that was that.

Dead end, right? Nope. The article attributed me for information about who used to produced Hollywood Treasure and who is currently producing the show. This is information that the reporter could have gotten through a simple search on the Internet. But, no, it is much better when it’s quoted by someone. Just lazy journalism. It is like writing that someone had no comment. You put it in there just to reach some kind of word count quota. For the record, this so-called news article has less than 250 words.

Certificate of Authenticity for Captain America: The First Avenger Auction

Here is a sneak peak of the official certificate of authenticity for the Captain America: The First Avenger Auction.

Each item in the auction will be accompanied by a COA that shows the item description and image.

Each certificate will be personally signed by Joe Maddalena, CEO & president of Profiles in History, and by Alexis Auditore, Physical Asset Coordinator for Marvel Studios.

The auction will be on Saturday, April 14, 2012 at the Chicago Comics & Entertainment Expo (C2E2). Profiles will also have a booth (#609) there from April 13 to 15. Select items from the auction will be on display.

Win an Original CGC Graded Prop Comic Book from Captain America: The First Avenger

Want to win an original prop from the Captain America movie? Here’s your chance.

Profiles’s online raffle has gone live. The prize is an original prop comic book made for the production of Captain America: The First Avenger. It has been slabbed and graded with 9.4 points by CGC. Enter here via Facebook.

Another prop comic book — also CGC graded with 9.4 points — will be given away at C2E2, the Chicago Comics and Entertainment Expo. Raffle tickets will be available at Profiles’s booth (#609) starting Friday, April 13 at 10:00am CDT.

Winners for both raffles will be announced on Saturday, April 14, immediately before the Captain America: The First Avenger Auction begins at 6:00PM CDT.

Tech vs. Hollywood

Change does not come easily in Hollywood. Once a standard is established, changing it requires literally an act of Congress. I understand it’s about the money. It’s always about the money. The old models of doing business has been incredibly lucrative for Hollywood, so it is in their interest to keep the status quo. Yet, technology has always threatened to disrupt this model. Still that tug-of-war has favored Hollywood more than Silicon Valley so far (Napster anyone?). As long as Hollywood gets to control the money, it’s all good. The current states of Netflix, Hulu, Youtube, iTunes, for example, are all results of a tenuous truce between Hollywood and technology.

However, if public sentiment makes any difference, Hollywood’s time as the marquee industry may be coming to an end. An LA Times poll yesterday indicates that 65% of people surveyed thinks that the tech sector is more crucial to California than Hollywood. Recent bills like SOPA and PIPA were referendums against over-regulation of the Internet. This is quickly becoming a technological world and our society is increasingly becoming digital. There is no better proof than the astonishing adoption rates of smartphones. The cloud is the next paradigm shift. Physical media will be obsolete within the next five years.

Hollywood needs to embrace technological change for what it is, a democratic process by way of capitalistic and Darwinian principles–i.e. consumers vote with their wallets on what’s best. Rather than spending hundreds of millions of dollars fighting technology, why not invest in and support better standards and more efficient distribution? Work with Silicon Valley for a change. I can’t believe that the pie isn’t big enough for sharing.

I am not the only one with that thought (see Vivek Wadhwa). There is already plenty of literature and op-eds on this topic: Aaron Levie at Techcrunch, Laura Sydell at NPR, and even Christopher Dodd, chairman of the Motion Picture Association of America has chimed in (NY Times), asking both sides to find common ground.

As someone who loves both movies and technology, I hope Silicon Valley does not give an inch to Hollywood. Innovation must not be stifled. I believe copyright should be respected, but greed disguise as righteous indignation is slimy. As far as I’m concern, we need the tech world to keep Hollywood honest. And not just tinseltown–Washington (and all politics) could use as much transparency as technology can provide.

Game of Thrones & a Wishlist of Props from Recent Shows

Tonight Game of Thrones returns on HBO. That makes me giddy like a boy on Christmas. I think it’s the most compelling show on TV (the books are even better). The world that George R.R. Martin created is rich, elaborate and imaginative. The HBO series has fantastically brought Martin’s vision to life. It is clearly a big budget production. The costumes and props appear to be of very high quality. I wouldn’t mind acquiring a few things from the show. Ned Stark’s great sword, “Ice”… Daenerys Targaryen’s dragon eggs… Robert Barratheon’s war hammer… Jaime Lannister’s armor… Cersei Lannister’s dresses… Valeryan steel… Dothroki blades… the Iron Throne itself. So many things I would want.

As a hit fantasy period show, Game of Thrones is an easy pick for standout props and costumes. It makes me think about what other current or recent shows I’d like to own props from. Here is a list of shows, in no particular order of priority:

  • Game of Thrones
  • Fringe
  • Walking Dead
  • Supernatural
  • House
  • The Tudors
  • True Blood
  • Justified
  • Alcatraz
  • Lost

To name a few. Of course, it is one of the more useful rules of collecting to only choose things from shows that you like. Otherwise, there is only one thing worse than losing money on something. It’s to lose money on something you don’t like.