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.

A Holocost Survivor Leaves America, Returns To Germany

I’m in Israel this week for a conference and some touring courtesy of the Israeli government. I’ve never been out of the country on its birthday and it’s interesting to me to see the international reaction to the US.

Reading about the Libby debacle, I was struck when I came across this feeditem about a man’s elderly neighbor moving back to Germany:

“I’m going back because I’ve seen this before.” He then commenced to explain that when he was a kid, he watched with his family in fear as Hitler’s government committed atrocity after atrocity, and no one was willing to say anything. He said the news refused to question the government, and the ones who did were not in the newspaper business much longer. He said good neighbors, people he had known all his life, turned against his family and other Jews, grabbing on to the hate and superiority “as if they were starved for it” (his words).

He said he was too old to see it happen right in front of his eyes again, and too old to do anything about it, so he was taking his family back to Europe on Thursday where they would be safe from George W. Bush and his neocons. He seemed resolute, but troubled, nonetheless, as if being too young on one end and too old on the other to fight what he saw happening was wearing on him.

Happy birthday America. I miss you. Even when I’m back home in LA, I miss you.

Reggie Willits Lives In A Batting Cage

Um. I know that there’s a bit of Angels bashing around these parts, but let’s pause for a moment and appreciate that the Angels are currently the best team in baseball.

A big part of there success comes from their lead-off hitter Reggie Willits.

Well, it turns out this dood is hardcore. He, his wife and newborn baby have lived in a batting cage.

Reggie and Amber never planned to live in a cage. In 2003, they decided to build a 3,000-square-foot house on five acres they own next to his family in Fort Cobb, Okla. The batting cage happened to be the first part of the house that they built.

But when the cage was finished, Reggie and Amber saw a way to save money from his minor league salary. They did not have to complete the house. They could simply stay in the cage.

But this takes the cake:

If she is free, she feeds balls into the pitching machine. Amber stands behind an L-Screen, the kind used to protect batting-practice pitchers. Still, line drives sometimes rip through the screen.

“I know she’s taken a few in the helmet,” said Mickey Hatcher, the Angels’ hitting coach. “But that’s part of the game.”

Now that is a supportive wife. :)

Dear Lakers, Kobe is Right

Kobe is frustrated. He has a right to be — yes he can be selfish, but he is the most talented player in the NBA, and would you pass the ball to people that are going to lose you the game. (I see your hand waving LeBron James, you can put it down now).

With the loss of Shaq, came the loss of the Lakers as a team. Now it’s just Kobe and a bunch of other guys. That’s not Kobe’s fault. The blames lies at the Buss family and Mitch Kupchak.

Give Kobe a team of qualified players. People that can help him do what he so desperately wants to do — win. Or alternatively, let him be free and get around to actually rebuilding the Lakers into a championship team.

Something Rotten In Hollywood

Apparently things are getting pretty ripe at Hollywood and Highland. Over at Defamer, there’s a report of sour faced touristas:

Hollywood High School laid manure down on their football field today, and the stench has permeated every nook and cranny of Hollywood and Highland complex. The tourist reactions are priceless.

Hopefully the Beard Papa cream puffs have not been harmed by this stench most foul.

The Mayor Is Back On The Market

Mayor Villaraigosa is now officially swingle according to the LA Times.

“I want you to know that I take responsibility for what is happening and I feel a personal sense of failure about it, and that’s all I’m prepared to say on this question,” Villaraigosa said at the news conference, where he was joined by his brother, sister, nephew and two adult daughters.

That gives credibility to this anecdote from an otherwise questionable Rush Limbaugh:

It turns out it was the mayor of Los Angeles, Antonio Villaraigosa, and so we chatted for a while, and while I’m chatting — now, this is hilarious. While I’m chatting with Villaraigosa, I kind of slid to the right in my half-moon booth, and as I did that, that created some distance between me and my guest. I’m talking with Villaraigosa, and when I’m talking to somebody in a very loud place like this, I have to devote full attention. I had to turn my head to my left, away from the action behind me, to hear what the mayor was saying. At some point during the conversation with the mayor, I looked to my left, and the former president was intently chatting up the woman that I was sitting with. He had leaned down, and his elbows and arms were on the railing of the booth, and they were in intense conversation.

Hopefully our mayor can avoid the shenanigans of Mayors Newsom and Guiliani.

…photo by StewartJames, used and modified under Creative Commons

Pixelodeon Festival 6/9-10

pixelodeon_medium_banner.png

These past few years have seen an explosion of personal media (ka-boom!).

First came the blogs and expressing yourself through writing and photography. Personal publishing became a reality and a whole new universe of direct to audience communication opened up. Perez Hilton to personal journals changed the dialog.

This past year has seen the rise of the Video Blog, sites like mine (Ask A Ninja), and sites that are completely personal and noncommercial have followed their written-word brothers in changing how individuals can speak directly to an audience.

The First Pixelodeon Festival is trying to capture the depth and breadth of this new video blog medium. Me and Douglas Sarine, my partner in Ask A Ninja, are opening the fest with the first Keynote, and Dan Harmon and Rob Schrab of Channel101.com and Acceptable.tv close it on Sunday.

In between there’s a ton of interesting speakers (Amanda Congdon, Bre Pettis, Fred Seibert, among others).

This is an exciting/scary time in the entertainment industry, and the people gathered at this festival have a good take on what the future of Hollywood is going to start to look like.

I hope to see you in the audience.

Freeway Series — Angels Sweep!

Okay.

I live in LA. I love LA. But I grew up in Orange County.

And growing up in the OC means that I’m an Angels fan. So is my whole family. In 2002 when the Angels won the Series, our whole family — Aunts, Grandmas, girl friends, pets — we all wore Championship T-Shirts to Thanksgiving to take pictures for a family calendar.

So today was the final game in the Freeway Series, and it’s pretty clear who’s playing the best baseball in SoCal.

The Angels.

Sweep this series and took the preseason match-up 2-1.

It was a fun game to attend. I went with my Dad and we sat way up high between 3rd and Home. There were a ton of trash talking Dodger fans in our section.

What happens when you choke? You turn Dodger Blue. :P

Anywho, interesting developments since I went to a game last season. The Angels now sell commercials on the Jumbotron, not ust the lame contests that are sponsored, but actual commercials for DVDs, etc that took over the big screen and the PA.

And the were outages of Nacho Cheese and Hot Dogs at the concessions stands. WTF?

I’m going to a Dodger game (traitor I know) in a few months, I haven’t been there since I was a kid. What should I expect? (And yes I’ll root for the Dodgers when I go.)

Here’s more photos I took from the game here.

A Feud Begins

I live in a quiet building, on a quiet street.

I’ve lived here for over five years. I don’t make trouble, and I don’t know many of my neighbors. LA, go figure.

This is a rent control building, so people generally stay here a while since the rent is pretty stable. There’s the usual assortment of hipsters, hott chix, and cranks.

And we all just sort of exist. No one has ever had a complaint about me until last night.

Last night I became the noisy neighbor.

I was watching the epic movie, the sound mixer’s dream — Annie Hall. That’s right. The movie with no shouting, no musical score, no gun fights.

At 1:30AM I get a pretty agressive knock on my door. I wasn’t expecting company so I asked through the door who was there.

It was my neighbor from downstairs. He asked me to turn down the TV. Which I did. But I was only sitting a few feet away from the set. I wasn’t cranking the volume to get full effect, I mean it’s Annie Hall, neurosis doesn’t get any better if it’s louder.

But that knock made me recontextualize my entire non-existant relationship with my downstairs neighbor.

How long has this feud been building up in his mind? I mean I feel for the guy. I’m a big lumbering fellow. I must sound like a rhino fight going on up here when I walk around.

Was Annie Hall the last straw in a long line of seeming minor noise violations?

Now I’m totally second guessing every decision regarding sound. I always try to keep it low, do I now have to keep it even lower?

How does everyone else deal with these sorts of situations?


…photo by aka Kath, used and modified under Creative Commons

L.A. Improv Festival Coming Soon!

fest_logo.jpg

The Fifth Annual LA Improv Fest is coming up 6/4-6/9 and registration for workshops and show tickets have just opened up.

I’ve been to a couple of the past festivals and boy howdy they have created some of my favorite comedy memories — I will always treasure Martin Mull roasting Fred Willard a few years ago.

The great thing about the fest is that you get the cream of the LA improv folks, along with some of the best talent from around the country. It’s a chance to see some established Hollywood types, mix with the next generation of talent. All with a sense of fun and no ego.

Registration has just opened for the workshops (disclosure I’m teaching one on how to podcast and the Ninja has a show in the fest), and show tickets go on sale 5/18.

More info here.