HOORAY FOR HOLLYWOOD (AND BROADWAY)! Arts & Celebrity Writing and Film/TV Criticism

Arts & Celebrity Writing and Film/TV Criticism

Monday, June 27, 2011

What do editors, agents, magazines, websites, and readers look for in writing on media? What is the difference between paid/professional film, TV, and arts criticism vis-a-vis amateur bloggers? What is the future of criticism and celebrity coverage in the Twitter/Facebook age? How has the diversity explosion in racial/cultural issues within the cinema changed the game? Are cultural critics today more diverse than they were in the past? How has the tabloid-ization of media affected coverage of film and television — as in the meltdowns of Charlie Sheen, Donald Trump, Arnold and Maria, reality TV personalities, “outing” gay celebrities, etc?

IWOSC’s June panel on Arts & Entertainment writing, film/TV criticism, and covering the celebrity beat will examine these questions. We’ll also discuss interview techniques, demographics and “branding” issues, and the changing role of the editor in arts and entertainment writing.


RAY RICHMOND is considered one of the leading experts on television, media and the entertainment industry. For the last 15 years, he has worked as a television critic, columnist and reporter for publications including “The Hollywood Reporter,” “Daily Variety,” the “Los Angeles Daily News” and “The Orange County Register.” Ray got his start as a production assistant for Merv Griffin Productions in 1985-86. His books include “The Simpsons: A Compete Guide to Our Favorite Family” (1997); “This is Jeopardy: Celebrating America’s Favorite Quiz Show” (2004); “TV Moms: An Illustrated Guide” (2000); and “My Greatest Day in Show Business” (1999). He has been featured regularly on NPR, at the Paley Center for Media, and jas lectured on TV, film, and media for Chapman University, USC, and UCLA. In 2009 he launched his own firm, The Ray Richmond Company, where his clients include “Deadline Hollywood” and Hallmark Entertainment.

BRENT SIMON is the current president of the Los Angeles Film Critics Association. Brent became senior editor of “Entertainment Today” magazine from 1999-2004 and is currently film editor at “H Monthly” magazine. He has written for “New York Magazine,” “NowPlaying,” “ShockYa,” “FilmStew,” “YahooMovies,” “Screen International,” and has been published in “Magill’s Cinema Annual” and “Newsmakers.”Mr. Simon has served on film competition juries and covered numerous film festivals including LA Film Festival and AFI FEST, where he was a content editor in 2005. His comedy play, “Pulp College,” was produced off-off-Broadway in 2008. Brent blogs at SharedDarkness.com and is SharedDarkness on Twitter.

DEBRA LEVINE’s byline regularly graces top-tier publications like “The Los Angeles Times” and the “The Huffington Post.” She has also published in “Culture Monster,” “La Opinión,” “Jewish Journal of Greater Los Angeles,” the “Long Beach Press Telegram,” and “South China Morning Post.” As a Pittsburgh native and former professional modern dancer, she has lived in New York, Hong Kong, Beijing and Tel Aviv, nurturing her arts passion in all cities. In October 2010, she was a Fellow at the NEA Classical Music & Opera Institute at Columbia University in New York. In 2009, Debra was a Fellow at the NEA Dance Criticism Institute at the American Dance Festival at Duke University. In August 2009, she led (with Brent Simon) the successful grassroots campaign to save the 40-year-running classic film program at the Los Angeles County Museum of Art (LACMA). Debra blogs at Artsmeme.com and Twitter.com/artsmeme and runs her own corporate writing/consulting firm at Levine & Associates Ms. Levine is a proud member of IWOSC.

LIBBY SLATE is a regular contributor to “Emmy” Magazine Emmys.com and Emmys.tv, as well as “Performances” magazine, the Segerstrom Center for the Arts (formerly, the Orange County Performing Arts Center) and “Where Los Angeles.” She has written more than 300 articles for “The Los Angeles Times,” including two columns of her own, and has also written for “Disney Magazine,” “The Hollywood Reporter Magazine” and “TV Guide.” Her article on Oprah Winfrey for the Primetime Emmy Awards program received an “I loved it!” from Winfrey herself. In addition to her celebrity interviews, Libby spotlights the behind-the-scenes craft and art of entertainment. She has also written about theater and figure skating, profiling many notable skaters and touring with Champions on Ice. Ms. Slate inadvertently helped make history with her “Skating” magazine cover story on Nancy Kerrigan, cited by rival Tonya Harding’s camp as a reason for the attack on Kerrigan at the 1994 Winter Olympic trials. Libby Slate is a member of the American Society of Journalists and Authors and a longtime active member of IWOSC. Her website is LibbySlate.com

TELLY DAVIDSON is author of the award-winning “TV’s Grooviest Variety Shows,” which was cited by the TV Academy, NPR, and several national newspapers, and the forthcoming novel “Pop Culture,” as well as developing several media tie-in projects on films and TV shows. His film and TV reviews have been published in over a dozen magazines and commercial websites; he has worked on specials for NBC, the American Film Institute, and on the new PBS documentary “Pioneers of Television II,” as well as its Emmy-nominated forerunner. He has hosted or been a part of earlier IWOSC panels like “From Books to Film,” “Biographies and Memoirs,” “Covering the Celebrity Beat,” and two “Trends in Publishing” panels. He is an active member of IWOSC and PEN-USA.