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Posts Tagged ‘James Rocchi’

MSN Entertainment Lays Off an Army of Freelancers

Per a group email blasted out without warning today to an unknown number of freelancers, the gig at MSN Entertainment is up. Effective October 1, the Microsoft content arm will no longer be in a position to pay all sorts of talented, creative people.

The news broke this afternoon on Twitter when several members of the MSN Movies freelance team confirmed they had been let go. Contributors said to be affected include James Rocchi, William B. Goss, Don Kaye, Kate Erbland and Glenn Kenny. Writers for other MSN Entertainment blogs, like Page-turner‘s Mary Pols, have also begun to confirm via Twitter that they are out of a job.

The text of the email sent out by MSN exec Kent Laird has been obtained by FishbowlNY and is included below. We’ve separately reached out to MSN for confirmation of the total number of freelancers and sites affected.

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Gavin Polone Proposes a Nikki Finke Experiment

Move over, Bret Easton Ellis. You’ve been replaced on the Nikki Finke media hit list by Gavin Polone.

In a Vulture essay that is a must-read for anyone who follows behind the scenes at the Hollywood trades, contributor Polone shares some good Nikki anecdotes as he charts the rise of her fear factor. Leading up to this:

I think we should run an experiment and see if Nikki Finke does have any power. The first step in this test is my making the following public statement: I think Nikki Finke’s manner of writing nasty personal attacks, threatening people, and exhibiting general incivility is unacceptable, and I am asking those who read this to “unfavorite” Deadline from their browser, read it less often, and stop tipping her…

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Some Lucky LA Journos Gear Up for Cannes Film Festival

Although the Cannes Film Festival leaves a much bigger international than American footprint, it remains the most important such event on the annual calendar. Among the LA based critics hitting the Croisette for this year’s 64th edition are Jeffrey Wells (Hollywood-Elsewhere.com), Sasha Stone (AwardsDaily.com), and James Rocchi, a contributor to MSN and other outlets.

After flying to France on Monday, Rocchi filed a scene-setting piece that sources fellow reporters such as EW‘s Anthony Breznican, the Wall Street Journal‘s Anthony Kaufman, and MSN colleage Glenn Kenny. Says Kenny:

“Cannes is where you can trip over Sidney Poitier one minute and Harmony Korine the next. It’s where you can be outraged by one film at sunup and utterly transported by another film at sunset and then argue with someone who had the exact inverse experience of the same films.”

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Precocious True Grit Star Already Riding High

In 2003, it was New Zealander Keisha Castle-Hughes; in 2007, Canadian actress Ellen Page. But in 2010, the emerging young female star of awards season is from our very own backyard.

Fourteen-year-old True Grit newcomer Hailee Steinfeld, who calls Thousand Oaks home, is being showered with praise by reporters and co-stars. In yesterday’s LA Times profile piece by Amy Kaufman and Geoff Boucher, for example, Matt Damon was extremely complimentary when comparing her to other young actors he has recently worked with.

Via MSN.com, Steinfeld tells LA freelance journalist James Rocchi how haphazardly her path to beating out 15,000 other hopefuls began:

“I heard about the audition from my second cousin. Her mom had just learned how to use [online casting service] Actor’s Access, that’s how she heard about the True Grit audition… She passed it onto my mom and then we called my agents out on it and said, ‘Why aren’t I going out on this?’…”

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