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LABJ Insider: August 29

A Novel Approach


As TV marketing executive Paul R. Friedman was writing his first novel recently, the notion of turning it into a television miniseries was never far from his mind. And for good reason: As a vice president at CBS Broadcasting Inc., Friedman had marketing stewardship of three very successful reality show franchises: “Survivor,” “The Amazing Race” and “Big Brother.” So he knows a thing or three about what makes good programming. His novel is named “The Unexpected Danny Green,” and the title character rises from his hardscrabble Mississippi roots to become a big-name boxer and general success in life, despite numerous obstacles. Friedman thinks the book would make for a television treatment of perhaps eight or more episodes “since there are many interesting characters and multiple plot twists. The things that happen to Danny and his beautiful partner, Julianne, are surprising and are intended to hold the reader’s interest from page to page. I feel the same would be true on the screen.”

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You know the cost of living is high in California, but did you know the cost of dying is also high? The average cost of a funeral in the Golden State is $11,777, the second highest in the country. Hawaii is No. 1, with an average cost of $14,975. That’s according to a survey put out earlier this month by Aging in Place, an organization that supplies information and products to older Americans.
Funeral costs track closely to a state’s overall cost of living. For example, Mississippi has the lowest cost funerals at an average of $6,684, but that’s the state with the lowest cost of living and the lowest average salary.

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David Lipin says he’s seen big changes in the 20 years since he started Write Word Public Relations in Beverly Hills. Many are good, but the former journalist is concerned about the rise of online “influencers” who often are paid to sway opinion. “It makes one wonder why companies shell out one-time payments of $100,000 to someone who posts about a product when the posts are not vetted by seasoned editors (as with traditional media), with the result being questionable credibility,” Lipin said. “This arrangement is a red flag and contrary to ‘earned media’ – where payment for coverage is unethical. I understand considering an influencer’s opinion when purchasing a pair of jeans, but when engaging professional services such as an accounting or engineering firm?”

The Insider column is compiled by Editor- in-Chief Charles Crumpley. Submit ideas to ccrumpley@sfvbj.com.

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