Hollywood at the Cliburn

Posted Wednesday, May. 29, 2013  comments  Print Reprints

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It’s a well-kept secret that the Cliburn webcast is being produced and directed by people with some serious Hollywood chops. Producer Lori Miller started her career in feature films, and more recently has done a string of documentaries, including the They Came to Play, a critically acclaimed project about the 2007 Cliburn Competition for amateurs.

Miller’s director is Christopher Wilkinson, one of the film industry’s busiest screenwriters, with big-budget features like Nixon and Ali on his resume, and more major movies soon to come. Also on the Fort Worth webcast crew is camera man Larry McConkey, one of Hollywood’s most highly regarded practioners.

“What we’re doing in a way, is we’re bringing all this film-making experience, story-telling experience, technical experience from the last 30 years and applied it to a gig that would have been more appropriate for us to take 30 years ago,” Wilkinson said Wednesday.

And at a fraction of what they usually get paid. Why?

“Just because it’s fascinating, absolutely fascinating,” he said. “I genuinely believe in the Cliburn’s mission. And also it’s an opportunity to examine a group of people who are like astrophysicists or jockeys. You know, they are such unusual people living such unusual lives. Their lives are nothing like you would think they would be.”

More about how that all came together in Saturday’s Star-Telegram. For now, suffice it to say that webcast has been a hit.

In 2009, the webcast averaged about 14,000 visits a day. This year, through Wednesday, about 30,000 viewers have logged on each day. The average length of each visit is 15 minute, an veritable eternity in the age of fractured attention spans.

By country, webcast view break down this way.

United States, 76,000 views. Japan, 9,000. Italy, 4,900. Russia, 3,600. Canada, 3,500. China, 2,700. Germany, 1,900. Britain, 1,400. France, 1,400. Ukraine, 1,000. Zambia, 16. Estonia, 3.

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