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Khan Manka, Jr. - The Chairman's Blog: July 2009 Archives

July 2009 Archives

big_ideas.jpgGood morning.  Today, I am announcing - with the full cooperation of Robin Rafe - President of the Manka Bros. Theatrical Group - a complete strategy shift in the way we develop, produce and distribute films for all of the divisions within the Manka Bros. Theatrical Group family (Manka Bros. Films, Manka Highbrow, Manka Dogme, Manka Docs, and Manka Shorts).

From today forward, we will only be producing movies with BIG IDEAS.  A guy trying to cure a disease in his basement is a small idea.  The moon landing is a small idea.  Saving the family farm?  Not on my watch.  If you want to save the fucking family farm - call Fox Searchlight or Sony Classics.  The Theatrical Group has been thinking small for far too many years - and that changes today.  I mean, just look at the 2009 Slate for Manka Bros. Films!  A movie about Sign SpinnersGregory Lopez:  Excellent Plumber?  Are you fucking kidding me?

So... this is your mandate.  BIG IDEAS.  I want ideas about saving galaxies and saving planets.  Global wars.  Boxing Presidents.  Superheroes (but not mild-mannered ones - BIG SUPERHEROES WITH BIG IDEAS!).  If X doesn't do Y then the planet explodes!  Shit like that. 

I want Jesus to come back to the earth, read our scripts and say "Man, that's a BIG idea!"

And I don't want to hear any complaints from Manka Highbrow (your 2009 Slate is pathetic as well) or Manka Dogme.  Just because you're low-budget arthouse labels doesn't mean you can't have BIG ideas.  No more punks who don't comb their hair and talk about how they don't know what they want to do with their lives.  You can be poor and have a big story - just look at Moses.

Get to work.

khan_jr1_small.jpgKhan Manka, Jr. - Chairman & CEO - Manka Bros. Studios - The World's LARGEST Media Company
robert_iger.jpgLast night, as I was sitting in the Manka Bros. suite at Dodger Stadium attempting to patch things up with my ex-girlfriend Rebecca DeMornay, there was a knock on the door.  It was Bob Iger - Chairman & CEO of DisneyHe noticed that the sliding glass doors that face the field were shut and lights were dimmed.

"Aren't you watching the game?, he said.

"I'm a little busy here, Bob.  What the fuck do you want?"

"Oh, nothing - we're out of ice in the Disney suite..."

I knew he wasn't out of ice.  I've known Bob Iger for over twenty years.  He wanted to talk about the future - more specifically, the future of media.

Realizing that the moment was over, I ordered Rebecca DeMornay to leave.  We would have to try and patch things up another time.  She mumbled something about going over to the NBC Suite and then left. 

"Have a seat, Bob.  What's on your mind?"

Bob helped himself to a tall Johnny Walker Blue [Note to my assistant - Vicky, the liquor cabinet is to remain locked at all times.  I am the only one allowed a key!].  He took a huge gulp, poured another and started a long rant.  It went something like this:

"I hate that we have to make stupid fucking short dumbass movies for the internet.  Ten years ago, there were only five or six legitimate media moguls - now everyone thinks they're a fucking mogul!  Just because you can fall on your ass while trying to ride a skateboard down a railing doesn't make you a movie mogul!  Do you think Eisner is happy making that bullshit that he makes?  That Sorority chick thing?  Come on... really?" 

"I know," I said, "it's crazy out there.  Our short film Squirrel Eating Orange remains the most viewed video on our website.  It was produced for five dollars and has grossed more than our last six big screen movie releases combined.

I could tell Bob was getting really agitated because of the amount he was sweating.  I calmly told him that times are changing and threw in some sort of dinosaur metaphor which basically meant "adapt or die".

He continued pacing:  "I know I've said that people would be willing to pay for online content - but we all know, people won't pay for shit!  Why pay for shit when your own butt will make it for free?"

I didn't follow that analogy.

johnny_depp.jpgHe said he was thinking about paying Johnny Depp $100 million for a five minute short about the new Ford Focus.  "We're not sure if he's going to be Jack Sparrow or just Johnny Depp.  I know it would be pretty difficult to work the new Ford Focus into an old-fashioned pirate movie."

We then talked for a few minutes about various ways to combine Johnny Depp and the Ford Focus and suddenly realized how truly pathetic we had become. 

bob_iger_small.jpg After another drink, Bob continued:  "It wasn't supposed to be like this.  We slogged our way up through a series of miserable marketing jobs and finally made it to the top of the Corporate chain because of a promise - that one day we would become awesome powerful and control the emotions of the world!  WE tell the world when to laugh, when to cry and what time to be entertained.  If Happy Days starts at 8:00 - that's when you watch it and that's when you laugh.  If we move it to another time - THAT'S WHEN YOU WATCH IT AND THAT'S WHEN YOU LAUGH!"

I agreed.  While my story of reaching the top isn't exactly the same as Bob's - [My father, Harry Manka, died and he made me head of the studio in his will.  Before that, I was in a band], - I could totally relate to what he was saying.  "You know, Bob, I've said this many times - and I think I speak for all the moguls out there when I say - it would be great if we could just use our power to crush everything categorized as "New Media" and just get back to making big studio movies and big studio TV shows like the old days."

Bob couldn't have agreed more and added:  "I mean now when I listen to music, I don't even know if it's any good because I can't tell if it was done by a real band or just some idiot in his basement on his computer."

With that, there was another knock on the door.  Sumner Redstone came in:  "Hey, Khan... oh, hi Bob." 

Sumner noticed the Johnny Walker Blue and poured himself a tall one - "Khan, I need an answer.  Are you gonna take CBS off my hands - or what?  I really need the cash."

When times are tough, everyone comes running to Manka Bros.  It always happens.

khan_jr1_small.jpgKhan Manka, Jr. - Chairman & CEO - Manka Bros. Studios
cookieplatter.jpgGood afternoon. 

For anyone who is interested, there is a plate of uneaten cookies in my senior executive conference room leftover from a Television Development meeting.  [Since everything the Manka Bros. Television Group develops becomes shit - this was essentially a meeting about shit.  Just look at our Fall Schedule!  But I digress... this isn't a blog about shit - it's a blog about free cookies!]

If you do come to my office suite (Bldg. 1 - Room 1) for one of these delicious cookies, I would only ask that you help in the clean-up effort.  As many of you know, the TV people are rather disgusting and can't seem to clean up after themselves.

Please note:  All the chocolate chip and double chocolate chip cookies are gone - you can thank Glenn Simon for that. 

khan_jr1_small.jpgKhan Manka, Jr. - Chairman & CEO - Manka Bros. Studios
manka_fun_park_yemen_2.jpgI have an update on our billion dollar Manka Fun Park Yemen.  As many of you may remember, I went over to Yeman last August for the groundbreaking ceremony.  After that, due to political turmoil and badly handled wire transfers, they never got around to actually starting construction.  However, today, I received a telefax that they have begun building in earnest. 

Even though I thought the opening would have to be pushed back a few months, I was assured by the Yemeni leader Ali Abdullah Saleh that since labor costs in that country are non-existent and there are no overtime rules, the scheduled opening in 2010 will easily be met.  That's the beauty of a dictatorship!

This is great news for Manka Bros. because Yemen is a completely untapped market for Western-style entertainment.  Disney has been too busy concentrating on China to realize where the real money is.  Losers.  We will have the market to ourselves.

Now if we can only get a fucking movie that makes money we'll really be on a roll.

khan_jr1_small.jpgKhan Manka, Jr. - Chairman & CEO - Manka Bros. Studios

OK.  I survived the first night.  Not everyone did - but I won't name names.  They'll just have to be considered "missing" until an announcement is made or a solution figured out. 

herb_allen.jpgHerb Allen told everyone upon entering that he would prefer that we don't blog or talk about what transpires during our time together - but nobody tells me what to do.  I tell others what to do.

This year's conference has a much darker tone than in year's past.  Maybe it's because we're all a little less rich and are struggling to keep our businesses alive.  I don't know - but there's a definite chill in the air. 

Last year, opening night was all about comedy sketches and karaoke.  This year, it was a boxing tournament.  Not a friendly, gentlemanly bunch of matches to see who can 'out-point' the other - these were brutal, cannibalistic ultimate fighting matches that made the fight sequences in Fight Club look like Kitten Playing With Yarn.

mogul_boxing_ring.jpgA full-size boxing ring was set up in the Great Hall of the Moguls (a slang term we use for the main conference room).  The pairings were chosen at random (though some like Mark Zuckerberg vs. Owen Van Natta had a certain level of symmetry to it.  I can still hear Zuckerberg's high-pitched screams in my head as he kept running for the ropes like a little baby).

As the drinks flowed and the wagering increased with each new match, we all became animals - desperate for blood.

Jeff Bewkes pounding Barry Diller into submission gave me a thrill on one level and the need to throw up on another.

rupert_murdoch_small.jpgeric_schmidt.jpgWatching Rupert (Murdoch) dance on top of Google CEO Eric Schmidt as he begged for mercy is an image that will live with me for a long time. 

Seeing the unrecognizable bloody visage of newly-minted LinkedIn CEO Jeff Weiner as he was dragged out of the ring screaming "IS THAT ALL YOU'VE GOT, REDSTONE?!" - is just sad on all levels.

Such violence.  Such anger.  How did it get to this?  We have become what we were born to exploit.

For the most part, my fellow media moguls and I chose this business so we could inform and entertain the world (and, sure, to make a beautiful dollar along the way) and this is how we're acting toward each other? 

Is it just Old Media's total frustration with New Media that makes some of the old coot moguls want to kick the living piss out of their younger, richer colleagues?

robert_iger_small_2.jpgjeff_zucker_small.jpgMy friend Bob Iger has it right when he says 'People will pay for content (online).  We're not concerned about that.'  Too bad he didn't have that same bravado in the ring after I lost $100 when he was destroyed by Jeff Zucker.  (I immediately protested the match.  Zucker should have been disqualified for biting.)

As for my own match... let's just say Jeff Bezos won't be making any speeches anytime soon.  I gave him an old time Bulgarian beat down!  Maybe he should download a book onto his Kindle about how to defend his face from an uppercut / roundhouse combination.

So, Herb Allen did it again.  It was another insane opening night to the Sun Valley Conference.   Always the showman, I don't know how ol' Herbie is gonna top this next year.  But he'll find a way - that son of a bitch.

Today, hopefully, the blood and vomit have been cleaned up and we can have a few productive PowerPoint presentations.

khan_jr1_small.jpgKhan Manka, Jr. - Chairman & CEO - Manka Bros. Studios - The World's Largest Media Company

About Khan Manka, Jr.

Khan Manka, Jr. - Chairman & CEO - Manka Bros. StudiosKhan Manka, Jr. assumed the title of Chairman of the Board of Manka Bros. Studios - The World's Largest Media Company - following his father Harry Manka's death in 1976. Before that he was the member of several Southern California rock bands.

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