Things The Sun does not understand: soccer, video games, movies…


Newspapers are for the most part fairly professionally made. I mean you might not love The Province but when you read it you get the sense that for the most part people within its offices know what they’re doing when it comes out to putting out a paper. They might not know how to make a website that doesn’t make the eyes bleed, but they’re at least good enough at their jobs to put out a newspaper once a day that are readable.

Every so often though it all seems to fall apart. Here is the sound of it falling apart for The Vancouver Sun [tp]. I don’t know who someone would blame for this mess that gets the title “Video games and Tinseltown stars hit Vancouver”. It seems very much like a reporter being sent to cover a topic she knew nothing about, and that the editors above her knew anything about it. Add to that the fact that it’s two different topics, that while could be brought in under one article end up sort of acting as two seperate articles floating around in the same place.

For a real pedantic tear down of the article look after the jump.

Ah, so you’re up for my pedantic exploits. Excellent. Let us begin.

It happens only once every four years. Soccer and video game fans await the big event.

It is UEFA Euro 2008, which will be released May 20 by the video game behemoth Electronic Arts.

I’m both a soccer fan and a video game fan and I’ll have you know I really don’t think that anyone is waiting for UEFA Euro 2008 from EA Sports. It’s essentially the same game as FIFA 08 with a few new uniforms and maybe one new game play idea. EA has been waiting for it because like the World Cup it means they can sell the same game to the same players twice in one year as opposed to their normal once a year.

The latest version is very much in keeping with the new trend, placing players in the driver’s seat when it comes to determining plot line.

Yes this new trend that started in 1972 with Pong continues! Huzzah. Next up Area Gamer Saves Hungry Yellow Circle From Ghosts. Imagine a video game that lets players control what happens in the game.

In this case, for the first time, users will be able to control their player after scoring a goal so they can decide how to celebrate, where to run on the field, how to drop to their knees and the like, said Colin Macrae, EA communications director.

Okay. This isn’t the author’s fault here, it’s the newspaper’s. If they had a tech or video game beat reporter writing this they’d realize that this was one of those features that are inserted to fluff up a game so that all of us people who’ve bought ever FIFA game the last few years have our obsessive compulsive disorders triggered to buy this game. It’s a nonsense addition, and the sort that EA is so very good at. Oh it’ll sell millions, but it won’t actually change anything about how the game works.

Animation studios and video game houses are booming in the Lower Mainland, eclipsing the more traditional film and television world which continues to be dogged by a strong Canadian dollar, the aftermath of the prolonged Hollywood writers strike and general doldrums in the industry.

So why are animation and video game studios booming? Do they get to pay people in the gold coins that Mario picks up while saving the Princess instead of our high dollar? Please explain. Or don’t. Why don’t we have an awkward merge into another topic instead?

The smaller animation houses are percolating around town with games and projects in development, many of them breaking new ground.

To name just one example, Radical Entertainment will be releasing its video game Prototype later this year.

Or let’s stay on the same topic, but call it another topic. Does Radical Entertainment do animation, sure as does Nintendo, EA and pretty much every video game developer since Pong. Is it an animation house? Maybe they do some non-game animation I don’t know but if we’re going to talk about their newest video game maybe it’ll be clearer to continue to refer to them as a video game developer.

In the non-animated side of film and television production.

Have we been talking about animated film or television? I thought we were talking about video games. Animation studios were mentioned but then I got the idea that by animation studios we were still talking about video game developers since… well we continued to talk about video game developers. But hey, let’s go again down the path of awkward transitions into the forest of confussion.

Vancouver is sure to see a return of at least some of the U.S.-based television shows that were shooting here before the writers strike.

Also I think we’ll see some rain.

The B.C. Film Commission website, the official listing of what is shooting here, contains slim pickings

Is Slim Pickings a Steve Carell picture?

Major studios like Insight are planning fewer films than in years gone by.

The fact that I’ve never heard of Insight and that a Google search for “Insight Studio” comes up with a tattoo parlour in Chicago leads me to believe that perhaps Insight isn’t one of the big boys in movie production.

Nevertheless, Vancouver still shines with star power. Look for Jennifer Aniston, Aaron Eckhart, Keanu Reeves, Jennifer Connelly and Kathy Bates around town until mid-March when their various movies are scheduled to wrap shooting.

I have unqualified love for Jennifer Connelly and Aaron Eckhart is almost always enjoyable, but let’s be honest none of these names are tier A stars. They’re still stars, so I won’t really argue the point, but they’re almost all about one flop away from being on a celebrity edition of The Apprentice.

Kirk Shaw, president and executive producer of Insight Film Studios, Canada’s second largest filmmaking company, said plans are being drawn up to shoot 35 films this year, down from 44 last year.

Remember that fact from a few paragraphs ago? Here’s some support of it. And also confirmation that Insight is hardly a major player in Hollywood. Second largest in Canada? That’s like being entering a tallest man contest when you’re 5’8″.

Eight of those will be started in March and April and several will include big stars, although he couldn’t name them yet.

Donald Trump will have fired Stephen Baldwin off of The Apprentice by then. I’m just saying.

Reality and lifestyle television shows were hot during the latter part of last year and that trend is expected to continue into this year.

Why were they hot? Was it because all the scripted shows went off the air because of the strike? Please don’t explain, just tell us something is true and move on.

Some productions, such as The Week The Women Went, shot by Vancouver’s Paperny Films in Hardisty, Alta., have been runaway successes.

Wait we should probably retitle the article “Video games and Tinseltown stars hit Vancouver and also Hardisty Alberta”.

The series, in which almost all the town’s women go away for a week’s vacation, leaving the men behind to cope on their own, drew in just under one million viewers per episode.

One million? That sounds like a lot. Wait didn’t American Idol get 29 million viewers this week? One million sounds pretty lame, unless we’re talking about a show that’s only on in Canada, which we in fact are [cbc]. When Hockey Night In Canada regularly gets over three million viewers [car], one million is nice but not exactly ground breaking.


Okay. We’re done. Yvonne Zacharias, I’ll admit I’m sure if someone sent me to write about the inner workings of the world of baking or runway models I’d be just as mixed up and turned around. In a deadline driven enviroment like a newspaper people don’t always get the chance to actually learn about what they’re going to write about so this isn’t your fault. If anything The Sun should have a tech or video game reporter on staff to handle these sorts of stories.

Hell they could hire me, and then someone else could write the pedantic commentaries.

9 Comments so far

  1. bz (unregistered) on February 23rd, 2008 @ 10:10 pm

    Nicely done. A "fair and balanced" critique?

    I like how you acknowledge the issues newspapers have to deal with, but still call "bullshit".

    Well written, good job.

  2. Ryan (unregistered) on February 23rd, 2008 @ 11:54 pm

    Okay, good call on the video game BS but I have to nail you on the film stuff.

    Insight is actually a big player in town. Granted they mostly produce straight to video stuff that’s not exactly getting critical acclaim and they’re not big players in Hollywood, but they’re keeping a whole lot of people employed. Did I mention they did the new Pamela Anderson movie? The one that got into Cannes? Yeah, don’t ask. And you couldn’t find their website? Shame.

  3. Jeffery Simpson (unregistered) on February 24th, 2008 @ 12:01 am

    I did find their website but if you search say "Warner Brothers Studio" you get websites related to the studio at the top of the results. If you search Insight Studio you get a tattoo parlour.

    And they might employ a lot of people, I never said they didn’t. So does McDonald’s and remember they made Mac and Me that wonderful ET rip-off about the alien who loved McDonald’s food.

    But if you’re doing an article about how Hollywood is coming to Vancouver and you want to show an example of a big studio working in town why use Insight other than that was who you could get an interview with on short notice.

  4. Ryan (unregistered) on February 24th, 2008 @ 9:40 am

    If there was a tattoo parlour called Miramax I’d go there if I wanted a tattoo.

  5. Russell (unregistered) on February 24th, 2008 @ 9:07 pm

    Spot on. Having just moved here from England I can honestly say that the worst thing about Vancouver is how bad the newspapers are.

  6. not new (unregistered) on February 25th, 2008 @ 2:10 pm

    yawwwn… this is not a new thing…

  7. maikopunk (unregistered) on February 25th, 2008 @ 5:20 pm

    What you have written here is a good critique of the Sun’s lame technique of assembling a newspaper solely from press releases and industry-flak interviews.

    Have you read "Wages" by Hohn Armstrong. He explains exactly why such stories as these occur, and why the reporter gets stuck putting their good names on something that probably barely resembles anything they wrote.

  8. maikopunk (unregistered) on February 25th, 2008 @ 5:21 pm

    What you have written here is a good critique of the Sun’s lame technique of assembling a newspaper solely from press releases and industry-flak interviews.

    Have you read "Wages" by John Armstrong. He explains exactly why such stories as these occur, and why the reporter gets stuck putting their good names on something that probably barely resembles anything they wrote.

  9. Jeffery Simpson (unregistered) on February 26th, 2008 @ 11:30 am

    I haven’t read "Wages" but it sounds interesting. I know why this gets through, it’s because papers don’t have the resources to employ people who are specialists in a subject any more but they want to be able to have content to fill pages, and thus they send people who are way over their heads to cover things.

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