Monday, December 17, 2012

Last days for Photoshop CS6 upgrade offer

There was a lot of backlash when Adobe announced the launch of their CS6 versions of their creative suite applications, they were only going offer reduced upgrade pricing to owners of their current product line CS5. So if you were using an older version you would have to pay full price to upgrade to CS6. The PR nightmare that erupted prompted Adobe to modify their policy and offer a limited time special upgrade path for users of CS3 and CS4. Well that "limited time" frame is about to run out, you have just a few more days (until 31-Dec-2012) to purchase their CS6 version or you will have to pay full price.

Toronto International Film Festival 2012

Just completed my tenth year photographing the Toronto Film Festival, things have changed over the years. The length of the festival has grown to more than a week, the number of films screened each year has increased and fan participation has become insane. Most if not all festival events have moved south from Yorkville to the entertainment district centered around the Bell TIFF Lightbox now in it's second year. More of the stars are staying in the new luxury hotels located in the area also so Yorkville is playing no real part in TIFF anymore. The crowd of fans has changed also, more people have been showing up to the gala red carpet events and realize that to get a prime location in the fan area you must show up earlier then ever before.
The schedule was terrible this year, most of the movies with bigger names attending the galas all premiered the first weekend leaving the middle of the week empty. The weather that first weekend was filled with rain so one had to pick their locations wisely, opting for smaller but dryer gala locations. Breaking from tradition the festival opened with a Hollywood action flick "Looper" instead of a Canadian content film.
With the schedule being front end loaded with bigger galas, the mid week Hollywood Foreign Press "InStyle" party which I skipped this year was a bust. Most of the attendees were local talent who were in town filming TV series, Rookie Blue etc.. The action picked up again Thursday with the premiers of Billy Bob Thorton's "Jayne Mansfield’s Car" and the premier of "Twice Born" starring Penélope Cruz it then petered out with the closing gala of "Song for Marion" attend by only Terence Stamp and the director other expected talent pulled out at the last minute.
Due to weather and venue locations I missed seeing some of the bigger stars like Tom Hanks, Halle Berry and John Goodman but did manage to see some other new names for me Johnny Depp, Christopher Walken and Will Smith. The Prince of Wales Theater was used more this year and for fans this venue is terrible. I only spent one day at this location and the carpet is so short and the fan area so small that taking pictures is a real challenge. Even Tom Hanks complained that the venue was more like a cattle run, he felt like he was being lead to the slaughter. Hopefully the TIFF organizers re think scheduling next year or redesign the layout of the carpet for this venue.

Security became an issue this year with the autograph collectors. I've been dealing with professional autograph seekers for years but they seemed to be more aggressive this year. The "hounds" as we call them often show up minutes before the talent arrives at a venue, they often hang back and eye the crowd looking for opportunities to push their way to the front to obtain autographs. If the crowd isn't too large that works to their advantage they can easily move up and down the rail getting multiple items signed. A new tactic this year was an accordion style piece of cardboard that they could deploy over the heads of the front rows in the crowd putting their items in front of all others and blocking our cameras. I have no idea how these people make a living, and looking at them the obviously don't make a very good one... Their hourly rate must be very little since they travel to galas, press conferences and hotels all day and looking at them they don't have a dental plan. Late in the week some of them booed a young actress because they didn't get their items signed, real classless group of individuals. The TIFF organizers hired extra paid duty officers to combat the hounds late in the week, posting them in the rear of the crowd, the hounds disappeared completely. Hopefully this is the new norm for security in the future.
Because I picked smaller but dryer venues this year I saw some younger talent that I've never seen before but I did manage to see some more Oscar winning talent too. Repeats from previous years were Gwyneth Paltrow, Tim Robbins, Robert Duval, Marisa Tomei and Penélope Cruz. New Oscar winners for me this year were Billy Bob Thorton and Christopher Walken.