Friday, July 21, 2006

A Mark Burnett Wednesday

The tv was on Wednesday night and we decided to check out a bit of Rockstar SuperNova on CBS. I was interested in seeing how season two of the Mark Burnett show was since I worked on the first episode of last year's Rockstar:INXS shooting still pics.

They've made some changes and it now seems to have more of a competition when it comes to eliminating the bottom three. Last year I was able to be in the room when they eliminated the first contestant and it was pretty tough to watch. Here someone takes such a huge gamble I was actually quite impressed with how gentle Dave Navarro and Tim from INXS delivered the news. Ironically, J.D. Fortune the eventual winner and current frontman of INXS was in the bottom three that first episode and look how it turned out.

The way that these rockers delivered the blow to the young Canadian woman this time around was also quite gentle. Odd, here's Tommy Lee actually being very appropriate when it could easily turn in to a bit of the cattiness you see on other talent shows.

I would love to share some of those pics here and online, but alas the dreaded contractual obligations. But you can see my work from that first concert in the CD A Night At The Mayan Theatre

It was interesting to hear the CD after hearing all the performances live. If you've ever been to a small, intimate live venue like the Mayan (in downtown LA) you know how amazing the music FEELS. Plus I was just off of stage right and I mean the bass practically knocked me off my feet. It just surges through your entire body. The first song by Jordis Unga, an old Who cover, just positively kicked and my God what a soulful voice.

The CD is mixed for balance, and while it is well done, it just isn't quite the same as the experience there. I guess it's like going to a playoff basketball game and feeling the energy in the air and how that contrasts with watching it, even on a large screen tv. It's just not quite the same as being there.

After Rockstar, I switched over to ESPN to catch a look at Contender. It was quite different from the one that was produced for NBC two summers ago -- I shot on that set too (I'm afraid I can't share them, sorry). Still alot of the same elements, though it looks like the boxer's quarters and gym are now in East LA rather than in Pasadena as they were then.

It's not as glam either as that first season. Sylvestor Stallone is still Exec Producer but he didn't appear on camera like he did through the entire first season. Fight nights were a hot little ticket two summers ago. A listers like Mel Gibson, Sharon Stone, James Caan all showed up for the fights which were held in an old warehouse that had been converted to the set for the show. Nicki actually got to come up and watch a couple of the fights and though she's not really a boxing fan, got into it and actually enjoyed herself. I think she enjoyed seeing some of the famous faces that were on the other side of the gym, too.

The show is scored beautifully and has some real feature film touches. It will be interesting to see how it fares on ESPN since it didn't do as well on NBC. It got good reviews but just didn't seem to find an audience.

Ironically, this first episode had a similar storyline to last year's first episode. Peter Manfredo, Jr., the fighter who eventually went on to fight in the finals (he lost) and was one of the pre-show favorites got defeated in the first fight.

This year Michael Clarke the captain of the gold team and one of the favorites to win, was also beaten in an upset -- by the fighter on the blue team that was the last fighter picked. I'm wondering if he might get asked to come back as Manfredo, Jr was. We shall see.

But I think that coming back from the brink is one of the things that keeps the shows interesting and I suspect Mark Burnett loves that aspect of the story.


Blogger Jim Miotke said...

Hi Paul - just wanted to say that I too have been enjoy Mark Burnett's recent work with the Rock Star: Supernova show. Denise and I were commenting on how gentle and articulate these judges, include Dave Navarro, are when it comes to their constructive critiques. They are usually spot on - and it's fun to watch. What a treat it must have been to work on the first season!

Jim Miotke

3:57 PM  

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