All posts by kentnichols

Kent is a filmmaker and geek living in Los Angeles and is the co-creator of AskANinja.com.

Born in Orange County, CA, Kent grew up a tall and creative child who wanted to make movies and tell stories.

In high school he was Senior Class President, star of the stage and an average student.

When he left Chico State in 2000, he put his heart and soul into learning how to be a filmmaker. He bought a digital camcorder and an iMac and taught himself everything he could about being a storyteller.

By 2003 Kent was called the "future of the industry" by Scott Billups in his book "Digital Moviemaking Second Edition". That year his film Baggage won the 48 Hour Film Project (Best Film of the Year, Best Film from Los Angeles, Best Writing from LA, and the Los Angeles audience award).

In 2005, Kent Nichols and Douglas Sarine created the award-winning series Ask A Ninja. Since then, the series has been viewed over 80 million times, quoted on the floor of the U.S. House of Representatives, featured in the New York Times Magazine and endorsed on numerous blogs.

Recently, Ask A Ninja was voted the Best Series of 2006 at the YouTube Video Awards and The Ninja was the recipient of the Best Actor Award at the first ever Webby Film and Video Award Ceremony.

Kent also blogs at kentnichols.com and is a contributor to This Week in Media and he has spoken internationally on the topic of new media.

Douche Parade on Fountain

Today on Fountain at about 2pm, there were about 5 complete maniacs driving. Not only were they pulling the extremely lame ‘fake-right-turn-and-then-accelerate-ahead-of-you’ trick, they were also actually pulling into opposing traffic lane at a stop light, and then accelerated around me.

WTF.

Sersiously. I’m Type-A. I drive defensively/aggressively. I observe the speed limits, but drive with the flow of traffic. I also think to be driving that fast and recklessly in a neighborhood is criminal.

GRRR. I hate people.

What atrocities of the road have you witnessed?

Car Plays This Sunday

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Photo by Lynn Sconyers, courtesy Moving Arts

Watching theatre in a parking lot might sound a little weird.

It is weird, but it’s oddly engaging and fun. I had the pleasure to experience the Car Plays, produced by Moving Arts at the Steve Allen Theater, last month.

All of the plays are ten minutes and take place inside of cars. It’s a really fun date.

Director/producer Paul Nicolai Stein does a good job of mixing lighter fare with pathos.

The final date in the run is this Sunday, Oct. 7.

More info here.

How To Avoid A $1 Million Lawsuit Over Your YouTube Masterpiece

This post is for all you aspiring YouTubers out there. There’s a ton of you here in LA trying to break into the business using video on the net, and I myself have been seen the fruits of this strategy.

There’s a story today about a couple of kids getting sued for a million bucks by their former employer, A&P Groceries, for filming a YouTube video that has been viewed as of this posting less than 10,000 times.

My analysis and advice after the jump.
Continue reading How To Avoid A $1 Million Lawsuit Over Your YouTube Masterpiece

My Evening At The Dugout Club

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Dodger Stadium after the game during the cleanup

Went to the Dodgers game last week, and got to go to the famed Dugout Club.

These are the crazy expensive seats that the Dodgers built for the likes of Larry King, Pat Sajak, Josh Brolin, and me?

Of course I’m not high faluting enough to own these tickets, but it’s the perks of having the privilege of paying high priced lawyers negotiate your contracts.

More photos after the jump.
Continue reading My Evening At The Dugout Club

Coming Soon: Drupal Camp

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There are a lot of ways to run a website. Tons of different software packages, publishing platforms, etc.

One cool open sourced way to do it, is with Drupal. Drupal runs the AskANinja.com site and we’ve been pretty happy with it.

The biggest problem is that everyone who knows Drupal is in high demand, and there isn’t a lot of good, cheap training options available.

So that’s where Drupal Camp comes in.

We weekend after Labor Day Drupal camp takes over the AOL Beverly Hills campus for a rauckus, open-sourced good time.

If you’re into CMSes — and who isn’t these days — drop by and check it out. It’s free, it’s fun, it’s DRUPAL!

Saturday, September 8, 2007 – Sunday, September 9, 2007
9:00 AM – 3:00 PM

AOL Beverly Hills Campus
331 N. Maple Dr.
Los Angeles, California 90210

Upcoming entry here.

R.I.P Groucho

Groucho is dead now for 30 years.

I never saw him perform live, but there was something about him when I was growing up. I had a ventriloquist’s dummy in his likeness, a poster of the Marx Brothers, and the smiling eyes of those around me when I did my impression of him.

I appreciate his wit and cutting use of language even more as an adult and writer.

He’s buried here in LA.

From Findagrave.com

Burial:
Eden Memorial Park
Mission Hills (Los Angeles County)
Los Angeles County
California, USA
Plot: In a small room in the large outdoor mausoleum in the middle of the cemetery. His marker is in the middle of the larger indoor wall
GPS (lat/lon): 34.28138, -118.46735

Rally Rodents At The Big Ed

When I go to Angels game I enjoy it on a gastronomic level.

Not because the food is especially good, but because it’s trashy, and all American. The hotdogs, the yellow cheese-ish stuff on the nachos, the beer.

In recent years it seems that there have been nods to creating a healthier environment for patrons. Not only the wandering vendors selling fruit cups, but also tearing out the communal urnine troughs in favor of urinals, and the replacing the skanky, large, open containers of relish, jalepenos, and onions at the consessions stands. These vats of chopped vegetable-like matter would always have a dozen or so flys swarming about. Now they are dispensed in clean-looking 2 oz. cups with lids on them.

I say clean-looking because of this recent gut churning report.

County health officials say they’re stepping up enforcement at Angel Stadium, where they’ve found 118 vermin violations at stadium kiosks and restaurants over the last 2¬Ω years. That’s a far worse record than Southern California’s other two major-league ballparks.

Thirty-three of those reports represent “major” violations, in which “rodent activity” was observed by health inspectors in a “critical area” of 18 stadium food venues, the Orange County Register reported Sunday.

Hopefully my upcoming trip to Dodger Stadium will have a higher level of sanitation.

The (Crappy) Bridges of Los Angeles County

We all saw the tragedy in Minneapolis earlier this week when the bridge collapsed.

Now the folks at MSNBC.com have assembled a list of bad bridges.

The list has over 500 entries for LA County, and over 200 in the City of LA itself.

Some lowlights:

D 31.5 SANTA MONICA LOS ANGELES PACIFIC COAST HWY(BLUFF) 0.1 MI S PCH
D 55 10 LOS ANGELES LOS ANGELES I 110 07-LA-010-14.75-LA
O 61.1 LOS ANGELES LOS ANGELES OLYMPIC BLVD AT OLYMPIC BLVD
O 62 101 LOS ANGELES LOS ANGELES I 405 & N101-S405 RAMP 07-LA-101-17.14-LA

Keys to using the data:
Status of “D” means the bridge has been rated structurally deficient; “O” means it has been rated functionally obsolete.

Sufficiency rating is a value obtained by calculating four separate factors (structural adequacy and safety, serviceability and functional obsolescence, essentiality for public use, and special reductions) that is indicative of a bridge’s sufficiency to remain in service. A value of 100 represents an entirely sufficient bridge and a zero represents a deficient bridge.

The raw dataset of the National Bridge Inventory, which is compiled by the U.S. Department of Transportation’s Federal Highway Administration from state reports, used for analysis was provided to MSNBC.com by the National Institute for Computer-Assisted Reporting at the University of Missouri. The most recent data includes inspections through December 2006.

Which deferred maintenance deathtrap do you drive on?

GoKarting

On Saturday, a bunch of us went to the upper reaches of the Valley, sat upon our electric steeds and went forth.

Serious you go so fast and the curves are so twisty that I got a major case of gokartsickness. It was awesome.

More info on the track is here.

Everyone’s Got a Screenplay

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I usually dont pimp my day job on this blog. But this week’s episode speaks to the screenplay culture of Los Angeles. We all write them, we all love our own work, and we all believe that if it was just read by the right person it would become the next Hollywood franchise.

It’s same if you’re a bartender, a lawyer, or a Ninja.

Watch the episode after the jump.
Continue reading Everyone’s Got a Screenplay

The Housing Bubble

Being in my early 30s, I’m starting to think about owning something — a house, a condo — something.

But prices are insane. I’m a SoCal native, and it saddens me that only the elite, or the gambling minded, can buy houses.

I stumbled upon this article:

Southern California is a beautiful place. The weather is perfect, there is a lot to do, and the people are generally friendly and keep out of your business. For those reasons and many others, I have chosen to make Southern California my home. However, Southern California is not perfect. The culture is infected with pathological beliefs that have led us to the huge problem with house affordability and the impending disaster in our real estate market.

It’s an amazing read. Goes into good detail about what we’re currently experiencing and why we’re only at the beginning.

Here’s another entry from the same blog:

Why do we get so much pleasure from failed flips? I can think of no other human endeavor which has engendered so much pleasure in the misfortune of others. In my opinion, the outpouring of schadenfreude we are seeing as the housing bubble deflates is a mixture of Greek tragedy and bad karma. In short, bubble participants should have seen it coming, and they are getting what they deserve.

And some more bad news about the general housing climate here.

Seems like it’s only going to get bleaker for the housing market here.

Anyone out there buying or selling? What’s it like on the front lines?

Scared White People Don’t Know About Big Boy

From Westside Today:

Context counts, and in this case, the context is a predominantly non-black neighborhood where referring to an adult black man as “boy” is wrong and racist. Also, there are contexts in which fart jokes are funny, but not on a public street where you see the same offensive “joke” every day, day after day.

This is just wrong.

Help us to get this bigoted blight removed by spreading the word that this is offensive and unwelcome.

Lol. Look I know your liberal white guilt is a powerful force. You’re troubled by the world’s problems. You drive a Prius. But apparently you don’t drive it very far or very often and you certainly don’t listen to hip hop and haven’t listened to Power 106 in the morning for the last ten years and heard of Big Boy.

I know that you are genuinely offended by a black man living in a methane cloud. It’s demeaning. Degrading. But so is a grossly obese man posing nude on a billboard, which this man, this Big Boy, has done as well.

Big Boy is a morning DJ in Los Angeles. And if you’ve ever tuned away from 89.9, you’d hear how zany those other morning hosts can be. Big Boy is very successful in one of the toughest radio markets in the country and now he’s nationally syndicated.

Relax Westsiders. Just breathe. You’ll live on to fight another day. Hopefully leading the crusade against Rick Dees.

Craving Hummus

Okay, so I’ve been back in LA from Israel for less than 24 hours and I’m craving hummus.
While I was over there I had hummus and keBAB (following the Flight of the Conchorads pronounciation guide) once or twice a day, along with huge pitchers of mint lemonade.

It’s 9:20, so I’ll leave for Zankou in about fifteen minutes and get taken care of (it opens at 10), but while searching for other places I came across this recent review by Jonathon Gold:

Hummus Bar, a newish Israeli hummus specialty restaurant in Tarzana, is a cheerful place, with the sharp angles and open kitchen of an upscale fast-food restaurant and the jangly Israeli pop of a kosher coffeehouse, menus printed on place mats and a dining patio thrust into the mini-mall’s parking lot.

The hummus at Hummus Bar … is very good indeed: thick and creamy, with the lemony, nutty tahini suspended over the earthier chickpea paste so that when you sweep your chunk of hot pita across the plate you are custom mixing the flavors and textures. Every bite is subtly different from the last. Hummus made from scratch is an entirely wonderful beast — and no beasts are harmed in the making.

There’s also this Shwarma joint I want to check out.

Any other suggestions for my new food obsession?