Wednesday, August 30, 2017

Netflix's First Acquisition: 'Kingsman' Comics Publisher

  The Hollywood Reporter







Comics legend Mark Millar teams with the streaming service to make films, TV series and kids' shows.
Twentieth Century Fox Film Corporation/Photofest
'Kingsman'
Netflix has acquired Millarworld, the comic book publisher from Wanted and Kick-Ass creator Mark Millar, marking the streaming giant's first major acquisition.
Terms of the deal between Netflix and the comics world guru weren't announced. But Netflix and Millar will bring Millarworld’s franchises to life through films, series and kids’ shows available exclusively to Netflix members globally. Millarworld will also continue to create and publish new stories and character franchises under the Netflix label.
The acquisition continues Netflix's efforts to work directly with prolific and skilled creators and to acquire IP and ownership of stories featuring popular characters and fictional worlds.
"As creator and re-inventor of some of the most memorable stories and characters in recent history, ranging from Marvel’s The Avengers to Millarworld’s Kick-Ass, Kingsman, Wanted and Reborn franchises, Mark is as close as you can get to a modern day Stan Lee,” Netflix chief content officer Ted Sarandos said Monday in a statement.
Millar in a statement on the Millarworld website recalled first meeting with Netflix executives in December 2016. "The moment Lucy and I walked into Netflix’s headquarters in California last Christmas we knew this was where we wanted to be. It instantly felt like home and the team around that table felt like people who would help us take Millarworld’s characters and turn them into global powerhouses," he said. 
Millar runs Millarworld with his wife, Lucy Millar, and is bringing Netflix into his superhero universe after working for eight years at Marvel developing comic books and story arcs that inspired the first Avengers movie (with his groundbreaking Ultimates books), Captain America: Civil War (with the 2006 comic book storyline Civil War), and Logan (with the Old Man Logan storyline that debuted in 2008).
Together, those Marvel properties have grossed over $3 billion in worldwide box office. Millarworld has to date spawned 18 published character worlds. Three of them, Wanted — turned into the 2008 Angelina Jolie starrer — Kick-Ass and Kingsman have grossed nearly $1 billion in global box office.
Millar in his statement told his fans to stay tuned as upcoming projects with Netflix will be shortly announced. "These guys are going to take Millarworld to the next level and I feel like Richard Dreyfuss, wide-eyed and walking around the mothership at the end of Close Encounters when I see their global plans and it’s crazy-exciting to be a part of it."
Hughes Hubbard & Reed advised Millar in the transaction, with Matt Syrkin and Ken Lefkowitz leading the legal team.
August 7, 11:45 a.m. Updated with comment by Mark Millar posted on the Millarworld website.

When playing lead guitar on a song, are most songs in one key?


Ethan Hein
Ethan Hein, music technology and music education professor
There’s a broad diversity of harmonic practices being used out there in the  world of blues-based popular music, rock in particular. While a given song may not use a lot of scales and chords, the relationships between those scales and chords is rarely simple or obvious. You really just need to learn all of them. It takes a lot of practice. Fortunately, there is a single scale that works in every situation, which I’ll get to at the end of this post.


First we need to understand what a key even is. In Western classical music, the idea is pretty straightforward. There are two kinds of keys, major and minor. Each major key is generated entirely from a major scale. The C major scale is C, D, E, F, G, A, and B. If you pick any note from the scale and then go up skipping every other note, you get a chord. The seven chords you can get from the C major scale this way are C major, D minor, E minor, F major, G7, A minor and B diminished. Taken together, these are the chords that comprise the key of C major. Because they consist entirely of notes from the C major scale, you can use the C major scale over all of them, and everything will fit. Be aware that not every note will sound equally good in every situation, however; you need to use your ear to choose the right note in the right spot. That's true for everything!


Minor keys are more complicated. The C natural minor scale is C, D, Eb, F, G, Ab, and Bb. (It’s the same pitches as the Eb major scale, which can be a useful mnemonic.) If you generate chords from C natural minor, you get C minor, D minor, Eb major, F minor, G minor, Ab major, and Bb7. You can play C natural minor over any of them and be in good shape. However, this collection of chords is unsatisfying for various reasons. The big problem is that they sound more like Eb major than C minor. You really want that G minor chord to be a G7 instead. To produce the "minor" version of G7, you need a different scale, the C harmonic minor scale: C, D, Eb, F, G, Ab, and B. That last note is the important one. The chord you get if you start on the G in the C harmonic minor scale is the one that really makes C minor feel like C minor. So when you see G7 in the key of C minor, raise your Bb to B.


You will quickly discover that real-life music rarely sticks exclusively to the major and minor keys. There’s a common device called modal interchange, where you have a major-key song that borrows from the parallel minor key, or vice versa. In C major, your song will sound a lot more interesting if you bring in chords from C minor. It’s also pretty common to have a song that’s in C minor everywhere except for the actual root chord, which will be C major instead. It sounds like a weird idea, but it’s a very common songwriting technique. If you really memorize your major and minor keys well, then you can learn to recognize when a chord comes from major and when it comes from minor, and change up your scales accordingly.


That takes care of standard practice from classical music. But now you need to deal with a whole other harmonic universe, the modes. A very common mode for rock and pop is Mixolydian. The C Mixolydian mode is C, D, E, F, G, A, and Bb. (For mnemonic purposes, it’s the same pitches as F major.) The chords you get from this scale are C7, D minor, E diminished, F major, G minor, A minor, and Bb major. So if you see a song that starts and ends on C7, and that has Bb chords in it, you'll probably want to use your C Mixolydian to sound correct. In rock, Mixolydian is more common than plain major, so you should expect to see it a lot.


Over on the minor side, the most common mode you see is Dorian. The C Dorian mode is C, D, Eb, F, G, A, and Bb. (It’s the same pitches as Bb major.) Now your chords are C minor, D minor, Eb major, F7, G minor, A diminished, and Bb major. If you see an F7 chord in C minor, that means you need to use your Dorian mode.


There are many more scales and modes. Phrygian mode is a minor scale  that has a Flamenco or Middle Eastern feel. Lydian mode is a major scale  with a floating, dreamlike quality. Jazz and the brainier forms of metal use the melodic minor scale, whose chords and modes are wonderfully freaky. Fortunately, none of these scales are as common in rock and pop as the ones above.


But wait! What if the key changes? What if the song that’s been chugging along in C during the verses and choruses suddenly lifts up to Eb during the bridge? What if it goes from C Mixolydian in the verses to G Mixolydian in the choruses? What the song has a jazz feel and changes keys once a measure? The best you can do in these situations is to try to group the chords together into keys or modes, and be ready to use the appropriate scale for each passage. It takes a lot of trial and error to do this. Be prepared to devote a lot of time.


You might be feeling some despair at this point. But there’s some good news. You have three useful shortcuts at your disposal: the major pentatonic, the minor pentatonic, and the blues scale.


C major pentatonic is C major without the fourth and seventh notes: C, D, E, G, and A. You can use C major pentatonic in any major or Mixolydian situation and it will probably sound fine. It doesn’t have any dissonant notes in it, so you can’t really play anything “wrong.” You also can’t play anything super interesting, but at least it’s a good way to get your feet under you.


C minor pentatonic is C natural minor without the second and sixth notes: C, Eb, F, G, and Bb. You can use it in any natural minor, harmonic minor or Dorian situation, and once again, you won’t be able to do anything that sounds terrible. Like its major cousin, minor pentatonic gets a little bland if you overuse it, but it’s perfect for beginners. Both majot and minor pentatonic scales are easy to play on the guitar, using a fingering known as the pentatonic box.


Finally, there’s the lead guitarist’s best friend, the blues scale: C, D, Eb, F, F#, G, and Bb. The blues scale sounds good over the blues, obviously. It forms the basis of blues tonality, which is a category distinct from major or minor, sharing aspects of both. But here’s the really cool thing: the blues scale sounds good in any harmonic situation. If your song is in C major or C minor or any of the C modes, you can just blow over the whole thing with C blues, regardless of what happens underneath, and the results will sound fine. This method is easy to run into the ground, but there are a great many lead guitarists who have made long and fruitful musical careers doing nothing else. All hail the blues.