Wednesday, January 25, 2006

BBC's Shoddy Reporting On "New" Movie Awards

The BBC ran a story about a new movie award based on "moral values" and launched by a US filmmaker. It's called the American Value Awards. Now technically, the BBC sort of got it half right. They headlined the piece "Lauded Films See One-Man Backlash." It certainly is the creation of one man, Michael Class. But he's not a filmmaker, he hasn't really "launched" a new movie awards (all he did was add a page to his own negligible web site which has zero traffic), and the entire event is so un-newsworthy that simply filing the story gave it much more legitimacy than it deserves. Frankly, the guy's home town newspaper shouldn't cover. If I add a page to my web site and announced a new awards show, would the BBC write a story on it? They shouldn't.

Turns out the crank self-published a children's book with the explanatory title "Anthony and the Magic Picture Frame: The Story of the Boy Who Traveled Through The Past By Stepping Through The Picture Frame On His Bedroom Wall." (That sure takes care of the need to ask "What's it about?") He's got it on sale at Amazon.com, where four reviews all give it five stars and the reviewers (whom I'm sure the author has never met) say things like "I've never seen such a reaction to a book before!"

Class's own website mostly promotes the book, though it briefly mentions his desire to promote movies that deserve it more than liberal fare like "Brokeback Mountain," "Syriana," and "Munich." His choices? "The Chronicles of Narnia," which celebrates pagan creatures like the centaur; "Harry Potter," which encourages children to dabble in black magic and other Satanic practices; "Star Wars Episode III," which is a thinly veiled attack on President Bush; and "Millions," an Irish film which makes a mockery of religious saints. Some values!

3 comments:

Michael Class said...

Hello.

I am Michael Class.

I am the "crank."

I am also an author, photographer, and publisher. I am a married father of two children. I am an ordinary person.

I published a book about American history. I used advanced digital photography to place my real-life twelve-year-old son, Anthony, in the cockpit of the Spirit of St. Louis with Charles Lindbergh, on the moon with Neil Armstrong, and on Normandy beach on D-Day (among other places). The result: It looks like my son really did meet Thomas Edison, Jonas Salk, FDR, Lou Gehrig, Charles Lindbergh, and Audie Murphy. I did this because I wanted to capture the interest of today's kids by turning American history into a grand time travel adventure. It's fun, but it is also authentic history: even Anthony’s conversations with the people of the past are based on things they really said.

Anthony visits America’s past by stepping through a Magic Picture Frame. But, I decided to include a "built-in time machine" that young adults can use to see, hear, and experience the past. The book includes recommendations for 461 books, 600 movies, 217 songs, and 155 places to visit. I think this unique approach excites young adults about American history, and helps parents and teachers promote an appreciation for America’s past.

But the book is also challenging. It was meant to be. The book presents the moral lessons of American history, and prepares kids for the future. The chapter about Lindbergh’s flight is about perseverance. The story of Lou Gehrig is one of a virtuous life. The chapter about Thomas Edison is really about business. The story of Apollo 11 is about wonder, taking risks, and courage. The story of Dr. Jonas Salk and the cure for polio is really about dedicating one’s life to a higher purpose. Anthony’s observation of D-Day and the liberation of the death camps during the Holocaust is a testament to the reality of evil and the need to fight it.

While recounting his adventures, Anthony discusses the nature of good and evil, right and wrong, war and peace, what it means to be an American, honor and discipline, success and achievement, courage and destiny, marriage and family, God and purpose. Anthony compares the people and events of the past with the people and events of his own time. Anthony’s observations prompt serious discussion of timeless moral questions.

Because of this, the movies I selected for the book - 600 in all - are also challenging. They run the gamut from movies that deal with good versus evil, to movies that deal with role models and strength of character in adversity. But in each, there is an example to follow.

I wrote the book to provide inspiration to young adults - to follow in the footsteps of some great American heroes. The lesson that Anthony learns during his time-travel adventures is what the heroes of the past tell him: "The purpose of life is to live a life of purpose, and doing the right thing always matters."

So, when I selected movies for 2005 for the American Values Awards, I had that in mind. I created the American Values Awards for Movies and Television. And why not? There are awards for best documentary, best horror film, best science fiction film - why not an award that celebrates the values that Americans hold dear? Why not a list of movies worth watching because they inspire? I will make the award every year. I will also invite people to nominate their favorite movies for the award. Many already are.

You can see the complete list of winners for 2005 here: www.magicpictureframe.com.

So, there you have it. I'm an ordinary person just trying to do what the American heroes in my book suggest all people should do: "Live a life of purpose. Make a positive difference. Try to do the right thing."

I wanted to provide a history lesson to America's next generation, and at the same time give them some things to think about. Some ideas to challenge them. I do that by letting the heroes of America's past speak directly to them through Anthony in the book. I hope that the words and the deeds of American heroes will inspire today's young Americans to do great things, and make the tough choices a successful life requires.

Michael Class
www.MagicPictureFrame.com

Anonymous said...

Prestigious Book Award Goes to "Anthony and the Magic Picture Frame," by Seattle Author Michael S. Class

Innovative History Book Declared 'Most Original Concept of 2006' and 'Outstanding Book of the Year'

Seattle, WA - Anthony and the Magic Picture Frame, by Seattle author and publisher Michael S. Class, won the Independent Publisher Book Award for 'Most Original Concept of 2006' and was named one of the 'Ten Outstanding Books of the Year.' Class will receive the award at the 10th Annual IPPY Awards Presentation on May 19 in Washington D.C., during the BookExpo America Conference, the largest book publishing event in the United States.

What makes Anthony and the Magic Picture Frame original and outstanding? Class used digital composite photography to place his twelve year-old son, Anthony, in the cockpit of the Spirit of St. Louis with Charles Lindbergh, on the moon with Neil Armstrong, in the laboratories of Thomas Edison and Jonas Salk, and on Normandy beach on D-Day. In this way, Anthony time-travels into America's past. Father and son labored for nearly four years in their garage filled with props from an army surplus store; the garage walls covered with blue bed sheets. The result: It looks like Anthony really did meet Thomas Edison, Jonas Salk, FDR, Lou Gehrig, Charles Lindbergh, and Audie Murphy. The Web site, www.MagicPictureFrame.com, displays some of the book's captivating photographs.

"I wanted to capture the interest of today's kids," says Class, "by turning American history into a grand time travel adventure. I am honored to receive this prestigious award in recognition of my unique approach to teaching American history." The book is recommended for young adults, Grade 6 to Grade 12.

Class designed the book to help parents and teachers, too. Years of meticulous research went into the book: Class spoke with relatives of famous scientists and inventors, Holocaust survivors, award-winning biographers, and others to ensure that the facts of the book were both accurate and vivid. Historical accuracy rules every page: even Anthony’s conversations with the people of the past are based on things they really said, all properly footnoted. Class also included built-in curriculum aids: recommendations for hundreds of books, movies, songs, and places to visit - keyed to the subjects of each chapter. His Web site offers a fun final exam.

"The storyline is fictional, but the history is authentic," says Class.

Anthony's adventures in American history come with a moral lesson, another facet of the book with strong appeal for parents and teachers. The chapter about Lindbergh’s flight is really about choosing one’s destiny. The story of Lou Gehrig is one of a virtuous life. The chapter about Thomas Edison is really about business and the benefits of hard work. The story of Apollo 11 is about wonder, taking risks, and courage. The story of Dr. Jonas Salk is really about dedicating one’s life to a higher purpose. Anthony’s observation of D-Day and the liberation of the death camps during the Holocaust is a testament to the reality of evil and the need to fight it.

"Every kid should read this book," says Anthony, the time-traveler. "My favorite chapter is when I go back in time to meet my great-grandfather at Ellis Island. I am with him the day he becomes an American." Personal family photographs were used in Anthony's favorite chapter.

The Independent Publisher Book Awards are presented every year by the Jenkins Group to "recognize and encourage the work of publishers who exhibit the courage and creativity necessary to take chances, break new ground, and bring about changes, not only to the world of publishing, but to our society." For more information, visit www.IndependentPublisher.com.

"It was a risk and a challenge," says Class, a retired dot-com executive. "I made my career in the business world. I had to go back to school to learn digital photography and compositing. But I had a dream: to let the heroes of the past speak directly to the children of today and teach them the lessons of history. Anthony and the Magic Picture Frame is the result of that dream."

Anthony and the Magic Picture Frame (hardcover, 225 pages, $35) is available at www.MagicPictureFrame.com, by calling toll-free 1-800-247-6553, at select bookstores, and on www.amazon.com.

The book is published by Magic Picture Frame Studio, the author's new publishing company in the Pacific Northwest, dedicated to telling the stories of the past to the children of today in exciting new ways. Anthony and the Magic Picture Frame is the first book in a planned series of historical time-travel adventures.

See the book and meet the author at BookExpo America in Washington D.C., booth #4521.

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Anonymous said...

'Anthony and the Magic Picture Frame' Wins Award for Outstanding Quality and Family Values

Innovative American History Book Wins Parent-to-Parent's Adding Wisdom Award; This Book 'Totally Rocks!'


Seattle, WA - Anthony and the Magic Picture Frame, by Seattle author Michael S. Class, won Parent-to-Parent's Adding Wisdom Award for 2007 in two categories: Best Children's Books, and Best Educational Books. The award honors products of outstanding quality that support family values. The book was judged by parents and teachers: The award program's "family testers" are real families who test the products.

"Our family testers found Anthony and the Magic Picture Frame to be delightfully fun, incredibly educational, and totally exciting. Until this book, American history has never been so intriguing as modern-day Anthony travels into the past to meet America's heroes and learns life's lessons. Michael Class has just pushed the envelope into a whole new division . . . it totally rocks!" says Jodie Lynn, the syndicated parenting/health expert, and the CEO/founder of www.AddingWisdomAward.com. In 2006, Jodie Lynn authored the parenting book, Mom CEO: Chief Everything Officer - Having, Doing and Surviving It All!

What makes Anthony and the Magic Picture Frame "totally rock," and why is this American history book so exciting? Because the author's real-life son, twelve-year-old Anthony, time-travels into the great events of the 20th Century! Advanced digital photography places Anthony in the cockpit of the Spirit of St. Louis with Charles Lindbergh, on the moon with Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin, in the laboratories of Thomas Edison and Jonas Salk, and on Normandy beach on D-Day. Anthony "meets" and "talks with" Thomas Edison, Jonas Salk, FDR, Lou Gehrig, Charles Lindbergh, Audie Murphy, and many others. Historical accuracy rules every page of Anthony's adventure in time: Anthony’s conversations with America’s heroes are based on things they really said.

The Web site, www.MagicPictureFrame.com, displays some of the book's amazing photographs.

"I am thrilled that Anthony and the Magic Picture Frame has won Parent-to-Parent's Adding Wisdom Award," says Class. "Creating the book was a challenge, but I had a dream: to let the heroes of America's past speak directly to the children of today. To capture the interest of today's kids, I took a unique photographic approach. But, I also designed the book to help parents and teachers by including recommendations for hundreds of books, movies, music, and places to visit. I am honored to be recognized for this new approach. I hope Anthony's story will inspire young Americans to lead full, productive, and purposeful lives."

Class recommends his book for young adults, Grade 6 to Grade 12.

Anthony's adventures in history come with moral lessons that support traditional American family values. The chapter about Lindbergh’s flight is really about choosing one’s destiny. The story of Lou Gehrig is really about living a virtuous life. The chapter about Thomas Edison is really about the benefits of business leadership and hard work. The story of Apollo 11 is about wonder, taking risks, and courage. The story of Dr. Jonas Salk is really about dedicating one’s life to a higher purpose. When Anthony meets his immigrant great-grandfather at Ellis Island, it’s really a story about what it means to be an American. Anthony’s observation of D-Day and the liberation of the death camps during the Holocaust is a testament to the reality of evil and the need to fight it.

"Every kid should read this book," says Anthony, the time-traveler.

Anthony and the Magic Picture Frame was named Outstanding Book of the Year by Independent Publisher; Reviewers Choice by Midwest Book Review; and Editor's Pick by Homefires: The Journal of Homeschooling Online. Nationally syndicated talk-show host Michael Medved calls the book "entertaining and educational." Apollo 11 astronaut Buzz Aldrin says "parents and teachers will appreciate the inspiring message this unique history book holds for America's next generation. I recommend this book to all young Americans, may they take us to the stars and beyond."

Now, Anthony and the Magic Picture Frame is endorsed by family/health expert, Jodie Lynn, and is a proud winner of the 2007 Parent-to-Parent Adding Wisdom Award, the only award program to be honored by Disney.com and PBS Kids/TV.

Anthony and the Magic Picture Frame (hardcover, 225 pages, $25.00) is available at www.MagicPictureFrame.com, by calling toll-free 1-800-247-6553, at select bookstores, and on www.amazon.com.

Amazon link: www.magicpictureframe.com/buythebook.html

Award link: www.magicpictureframe.com/reviews/awards.html


###

Note to editors and book reviewers: Michael Class and Anthony are available for interviews. Photographs and review copies of the book are available.

Contact: Michael Class, class@MagicPictureFrame.com, Magic Picture Frame Studio, P.O. Box 2603, Issaquah, WA 98027-0119.