Culture

SeaWorld Tries Again (and Fails) to Dodge 'Blackfish' Controversy

Gabriela Cowperthwaite's Blackfish © 2013 - Magnolia Pictures

Editor's Note: In today's roundup, we explore the "Blackfish" controversy, Danny Boyle's golden rules for filmmaking, the nature of screenwriting books, and Netflix.

"Blackfish" has become the documentary of the season, giving viewers a sad eyeful of what it's like to be a killer whale at SeaWorld. While the theme park keeps doing everything it can to duck the controversy, it keeps shooting itself in the flipper. This week, an Orlando news site polled readers to see if their opinion had been swayed by "Blackfish," and most said no. Except then it turned out that 54% of the votes could be traced back to SeaWorld itself -- they attempted to rig the poll, accidentally resulting in even more bad publicity. Hey SeaWorld, maybe it's time to just lay low for a while and wait for everyone's memories to fade. Or maybe start working on robot whales? Your pick!

If you have directorial ambitions or just like to hear how it's all done, you'll enjoy reading Danny Boyle's fifteen golden rules for filmmaking. Among other nuggets of wisdom, the "Slumdog Millionaire" director wants to remind you to be a people-person: "Ninety-five percent of your job is handling personnel." Oh, and don't be panicked if one of your films accidentally becomes a hit -- you'll still get around to working on all your pet projects. In his case, that was "127 Hours."

Meanwhile, Indiewire wants to explain why all screenwriting books are a con -- although, when cornered, their expert (who wrote "Ocean's Thirteen" and "Runaway Jury") admits he hasn't read every book. Anyhow, his tips are inspiring to would-be writers, and you can get them in six-second bursts via his Vine channel.

It always fascinates me how Netflix can manage to break movie genres down into the most granular categories possible, like "Period Pieces About Royalty Based on Real Life" or "Visually-Striking Foreign Nostalgic Dramas." This week The Atlantic describes exactly how the site has reverse engineered Hollywood in hopes of serving viewers exactly what they wanted, even if that happens to be "Romantic Chinese Crime Movies" or "Critically-Acclaimed Emotional Underdog Movies."