TVNewser Show TVNewser FishbowlDC AgencySpy TVSpy LostRemote PRNewser SocialTimes AllFacebook 10,000 Words GalleyCat UnBeige MediaJobsDaily

Posts Tagged ‘LeVar Burton’

LeVar Burton: ‘Roots was my first audition’

Back in the late 70s, actor LeVar Burton was a sophomore at USC when he landed the starring role of Kunta Kinte in the landmark mini-series, Roots. In fact, Burton was so uninterested in TV (and film, too) that he didn’t even have an agent.

Roots was my first audition. The business had exhausted all the normal means of finding professional talent. They’d seen every young, black kid in L.A. who had an agent, and they were beating the bushes,” Burton said in the final installment of our Media Beat interview. “My goal was to graduate with a BFA (a bachelor of fine arts majoring in drama) and move to New York and work on Broadway. I had no aspirations toward television or film work at all. I was a theater baby.”

So, how has he managed to rack up this crazy long list of credits? ”You would be surprised,” he said. “For me, it’s not like I’m making the decisions. It’s just about what the universe brings to me.”

Part 1: LeVar Burton on the Future of Reading Rainbow & Printed Books
Part 2: LeVar Burton: By Not Focusing on Reading, “We’re sacrificing our kids”

Mediabistro Course

Freelancing 101 Online Boot Camp

Freelancing 101Starting April 28, this online event will show you the best way to start your freelancing career, from the first steps of self-advertising and marketing, to building your schedule and managing clients. By the end of this online boot camp you will have a plan for making a profitable career as a freelancer, and the skill set to devote yourself to it. Register now! 

LeVar Burton: ‘You didn’t come to New York without sitting down with Sue Simmons’

Media Beat banner
Another accomplishment beloved broadcaster Sue Simmons can add to her resume? Being indirectly responsible for getting LeVar Burton his hosting gig at Reading Rainbow. In our latest Media Beat  interview, the actor and founder of RRKidz said that, although he’d already done some public TV hosting in Boston, it wasn’t until he came through New York that his career took off.

“I was on my way to Africa, and [Reading Rainbow producers] saw me on a Live at Five interview with Sue Simmons — you didn’t come to New York without sitting down with Sue Simmons on Live at Five — and they saw me, and they tracked me down before I left town and talked to me about the show. They pitched the idea and I thought, ‘This is a no-brainer.’ A half an hour of television in the summer to get the attention of kids where they are, where they’re hanging out, and bring them back to literature? I’m in.”

Part 2: LeVar Burton: By not focusing on reading, “We’re sacrificing our kids”
Part 3: LeVar Burton on How Science Fiction Influences Technology

LeVar Burton Assembles Killer E-book Team

Fifteen months after indicating to New York Times columnist David Pogue at a Macworld event that he was raising money for a start-up, actor LeVar Burton is fully focused on the twain of education and enhanced children’s e-books. He tells Venture Beat that his company RRKidz has got $3 million in seed funding and is compiling a library of 300 iPad and Smartphone titles, with roughly 50 of those to be voiced by Burton himself.

The actor is partnered on the project with Buffalo’s WNED-TV, rights-holder to the 1983-2006 PBS series Reading Rainbow. He’s also put together a very impressive SoCal nucleus:

Burton’s Los Angeles-based team includes co-founder and chief strategy officer Mark Wolfe, who produced films such as Terminator 3 and Kinsey. The company’s chief executive is Asra Rasheed, an experienced digital media entrepreneur and previous co-founder of game rental service Gottaplay. The chief technology officer is Duc Haba, who previously worked at mobile analytics firm Motally. Sangita Patel is president of digital publishing and previous led business development initiatives at the Wall Street Journal/Dow Jones Ventures.

Read more

Memphis Reporter Bemoans Absence of Definitive MLK Biopic

In journalism class, the topic of how to write a great “lede” is endlessly discussed, analyzed and rehearsed. Today, Memphis Commercial Appeal reporter John Beifuss shares a shining example of this art form in connection with rumblings of a new Hollywood project about the life of slain civil rights leader Martin Luther King Jr. Writes Beifuss:

Judging from Hollywood’s success rate, Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s dream of brotherhood and racial equality might be achieved before the first definitive King biopic gets to the screen.

Read more

Why LeVar Burton?

It remains one of the strangest sights on Twitter, right up there with the more celebrated fact that TBS talk show host Conan O’Brien continues to follow but a single person, Michigan’s Sarah Slowik. In the shadow of the new Thursday night CBS sitcom $#*! My Dad Says, show creator Justin Halpern at press time similarly returns his 1,784,340 follow favors with just one – actor LeVar Burton.

“I checked out LeVar’s feed and all it said was, ‘Saw District 9. Awesome.’ And that just made me laugh!” Halpern confessed recently to TV Guide. Really, that’s it? (Although to be fair, Halpern was not directly answering a question about why he follows Burton, only offering general Twitter tips.)

Read more