Friday, April 07, 2000

The Cyber Scene in Los Angeles ~ by Justine Kenzer and Michelle Mirsky

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THURSDAY JUSTINE-
Yahoo was such an amazing event. I suffered total anxiety attacks and guilt
for not being able to be in more than one place at one time during this
entire event.

The Chateau Marmont is truly heaven on earth, and The Standard hotel is
just the ultra of ultra cool. To then take my deepest passion (the Internet
of course) and mix the two- I just couldn't get enough. I just kept wanting
to click the Refresh button over and over again. I won't bore you with all
the details of this festival that you have read else where but just share
what I witnessed.

The hospitality rooms of the festival were quite an adventure, as one would
imagine, it was the virtual version of walking into a web site. Best
room/booth award goes to POP.com who moved out all of the bungalow's
existing furniture and moved in everything red and oh so modern and cool.
It was just like a dream, DreamWorks in fact. And they of course served up
pop tarts.
(see Michelle's favorite too, below).

I was visiting the Wirebreak.com room chatting with marketing man Corey
Wise at the time the Hitplay.com sky diver jumped and successfully scored a
landing into the arms of two breast augmented, metallic red clad women and
Jim Belushi (an investor of Hitplay.com). On lookers expressed that they
thought that was a unique marketing trick, however they wouldn't
necessarily remember the name of the firm responsible for stunt the next
day.

* 4pm-6pm happy hour with South Park's Matt Stone held around the Marmont
swimming pool* This was scheduled to be a panel discussion by Shockwave and
CrapTV featuring Matt Stone South Park fame but I got lost after listening
for 45 minute session about BritneySpears.com.  Thank gosh there was
alcohol involved to medicate the 300 person audience who  overlooked the
unorganization of the event. I guess Britney is doing something right if a
panel meant to discuss film on the Internet couldn't stay away the topic of
her site.

* VIP Party for Time Code at the Hyatt on Sunset*
As I was walking into the hotel, the party doors had yet to open. Ryan
Magnussen of Zentropy was walking out before the party even started - guess
he got a sneak preview. The cast of the film was in attendance as well as
other celeb guests. Quentin Tarantino, Julian Sands, Kyle MacLachlan, and
Fisher Stevens. I ran into an old acquaintance who happens to be is in the
film, character actor, Xander (who on the next evening received one of the
yahoo film awards,
congrats) was there with Steven Webber (think Wings). The food was a very
vegan. The d├ęcor was extra vegan too. Ivy everywhere, including the wait
staff--their uniforms consisted of skin and Ivy. I met and spoke and hung
out with Scott Coe of Workhorse advertising in Boulder, Colorado. Watch out
for this company as they are a Yahoo favorite and paid for his trip out to
the event.

Jockeying our way up to the penthouse disco where I discovered many party
attendees having nothing to do with the Internet or film in attendance,
which is not unusual for a Hollywood party. I was then invited to the party
at The Key Club held by Honkworm. It was getting into the wee hours but I
had yet another glass of wine and sat down to chat with a young filmmaker
named Matt who came out from San Francisco. Matt was bummed because his
film was not going to get premiered at the festival due to Internet votes.

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FRIDAY MICHELLE -The classic Hollywood grandeur of the Chateau Marmont Hotel
made for a wonderful ironic contrast to the high-tech pageantry of the first annual Yahoo Internet Life Festival.  Fest sponsor Pop.com transformed one of the big upper story bungalows into a vision of red upholstered cartooney goodness.  Freebie Pop tarts and Pop.com logo emblazoned bottle openers overflowed from fun punch bowls while big screen TV¹s showed excerpts from
the Imagine/Dreamworks sponsored Popfest, Pop.com¹s online filmfest offshoot.
 Pop.com¹s Megan Weaver played hostess to the masses of cyber-gawkers who
tramped through the excellent space.

 Web short film giant atomfilms.com took over the Chateau¹s pool deck for a
great cocktail shindig Thursday evening.  Mylar envelopes strewn about for
the taking held tee-shirts and ballcaps emblazoned with the atomfilms logo
and the slogan "Get into our shorts." Cheeky!  The scene was a mixed bag of
Film biz folks and Internet heavyweights - perfect for the occasion. David
Lattimer with the NYC arm of Res Media Group talked with us about their
res.fest poolside, while the young Director of New Media at Mandalay Pictures
and Ken Bateman from Filmiac.com shared with us that mycreativity.com and
it's creator Tali Magal are Mandalay's latest incubation.

 The evening¹s hottest ticket by far was the Yahoo Internet Film Festival
Party at Sunset Room.  The changing tide of coolness has never been more
evident than at this bash, where dotcom CEOs and starlets jockeyed side by
side for admission to the same event. Waiting in line to enter was actor
Jerry O'Connell and once inside, The Blair Witch Project's Heather Donahue
mingled among the filmmakers and techies who were responsible for the
phenomenon of her film¹s success.  At The Movies¹ Roger Ebert spoke before
the awards were handed out, giving credit to the late John Cassavetes for
starting a revolution of guerilla filmmaking which is only now truly reaching
fruition through the availability of affordable technology and the medium
through which to reach an astoundingly large audience.  The reaction of the
audience was quasi-religious, hushed and pensive at the sheer potential
inherent in the creativity and infinite reach of that ubermedium, the
Internet. 

JUSTINE-
Witi Women at the Skirball Cultural Center

High tea, yummy finger sandwiches and power women inaugurated the
Los Angeles's chapter of Witi Wednesday, DATE, early evening at the Skirball Cultural Center. Two hundred 200 women gathered together for a perfectly-paced inspiring panel discussion featuring Jody Seidler, creator and founder of MakingLemonade.com;The Single Parents Network (who is from this firm?); Melodie Woods, president and COO of GirlGamesInc, Inc., (what's the exact title of this company?); Laurie McCartney, founder and president of eStyle, Inc.; and Mariana Danilovic, CEO and president of Digital Media Incubator, LLC.

Andrea Borda, VP marketing communications was full of energy and very helpful and I chatted with her about unique content. eStyle has many jobs to fill, as they have just landed their third round of financing and have launched kidstyle after becoming the number one esource for maternity commerce with babystyle. When an audience member asked Laurie about internships, she responded with "We have something better than internships, we have jobs."

Melodie Woods also had a great story to tell about her path to Internetdom. She was being  the first to knock on doors and sell herself to corporate companies in Italy via Internet ventures. She landed on and co-created the award winning Ferrari  project. This led other corporate firms in Italy to follow the lead and come to her firm. which started others in corporate Italy to follow.

Jennifer Seastorm, of Microsoft, spoke about her crawl to the top of a man male-dominated field, and how she did it by playing the "boy's game." She is one of 4 four (no numbers unless over 100) women who that are Technology Specialist Engineers. The three other women are her new hires. In a very brief discussion with her after the panel, I was quite disappointed to find that the boys mentality had become now become hers. - as I was seeking a specific department and person at Microsoft and she basically took my question and referred me to purchase a Microsoft product instead. Maybe she just didn't like me? After pressing on with my request, she did release the name and department of whom I should contact. Gee thanks.