To increase cash flow, Los Angeles officials also want to eliminate an ordinance that allows FilmLA to delay payments to the city for up to 60 days without being penalized. Filmmakers pay FilmLA estimated fees in advance of production, and the city then bills FilmLA for the actual expenses; accounts are balanced later.

Meanwhile, FilmLA has hired Australian-based executive search firm Johnson and Co. to find a replacement for former Chief Executive Steve McDonald, who left his post in April. Michael Bennett, FilmLA's chief financial officer, is serving as interim president.

People Puppets

Jim Henson Co., creator of the Muppets, is pioneering a proprietary technology that allows actors to take on the form of animated characters in real time, using a suit of body sensors.

While the body sensor technology has been around for some time, the Henson Digital Puppetry Studio is the first to use it in a real-time environment.

The new studio and technology are being used for the first time on an animated children's television series currently in production called "Sid the Science Kid." The half-hour 40-episode educational comedy program, being co-produced by the Los Angeles-based Henson Co. and KCET, features a 5-year-old fictional character named Sid who provides answers to preschoolers' questions such as "How does a juice box straw work?"

The series will debut across the country on PBS Kids on Sept. 1.

Launching at the same time as the broadcast series is an online interactive Web site that will feature three zones: the Super Fab Lab at Sid's school, the playground and Sid's kitchen.

Advocate Honored

Advocate recently won Best Magazine Overall Coverage at the annual GLAAD Media Awards in San Francisco.

Until this year, the Gay and Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation has never allowed gay and lesbian media outlets to enter its competition. Only mainstream media were allowed to compete. As a result, the Los Angeles-based Advocate is the first gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender publication to win an award from GLAAD.

The Advocate was nominated alongside such mainstream media outlets as Newsweek, Us Weekly and Entertainment Weekly.

In a move to place all of its resources behind its online endeavor Gay.com, Advocate owner PlanetOut Inc. recently sold the Advocate and Out magazines for an estimated $6 million to Here Networks in Westwood.

Staff reporter Brett Sporich can be reached at bsporich@labusinessjournal.com or at (323) 549-5225, ext. 226.

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