Welcome Gentle Readers

This blog tends to wander from its main purpose -- updates on my fiction. I do have updates and excerpts of my work. But I also write about my obsessions -- food, friends and pop culture and my weird life in Los Angeles. Enjoy!

Sunday, October 26, 2008

Updates, Adutions, Tramps and Cannibals

Warning: If you find yourself here via a google search for such things as TV shows or films, recipes or cities, this blog has some facts. However, this blog is one author’s very twisted musing on many weird things. It is sometimes graphic in content. If you read on, don’t write to yell at me.

We’ve been enjoying an interesting fall, weather wise. It’s been a bracing 90 degrees, but the humidity is mostly gone. Delightful...right. I tried to screen capture one of the Doppler-ganger forecast last week, because it had an animated map of the region charting the likelihood of a brush fire. This is an exciting new weather development. So we had sunny, warm with a 90 degree high and a 30 percent chance of fire as a forecast. My brother was quite astonished when I told him this. ‘You live in a city that has a fire forecast. Doesn’t that sound screwed up to you?’ It may have ten years ago, but not so much now. I find I’m more annoyed that I can’t cook the very yummy looking fall recipes I’m seeing on all the cooking shows. The thought of a blazing hot over on a 90 degree day is not very appealing.

And a big good luck to Philly tonight. I’m not just talking about the World Series. I wishing a good luck to the citizens in south Philly who have the World Series game, an Eagles game and a Who concert in the same afternoon/evening. Fun!

Film and Concept Updates
This week came closest to high level of crazed I feel when we’re fully in production. Ralph and I are working on three projects at once. This confusing on its own. Add to that the fact that three of people we interact most have the same first name. I began insisting on Mafia style nicknames. To quote my South Philly paisan, Gideon: ‘When you have three Vinnies, two Louies and four Tonies in a room, you gotta do something.’ Ralph opted for three versions of the same name. He’s no fun. Confusion aside, we’re on track with the two films. Recent developments with the Gunslinger that give us more days for the shoot will likely prompt us to replace a couple of scenes we’d cut to trim the running time and the budget. We’ve also come up with a way to return those scenes and still keep the crisp pace of the film. This film is turning into a more ambitious project than first thought. The changes are exciting, and as soon as I’m free to speak about them, I’ll dish.

The Script for Luv U 4 Ever is largely in Jon’s hands now. We’ve worked out the character arcs. He asks me a question now and then about the timeline, but he’s in his scene blocking while writing more and I really can’t help much with that. We have made a wish list of songs from the 70s. There really sticky issue will be how much the licensing will cost. Full budget film in no way means big budget film. My composing friends are submitting tunes for Billy Swain and Dave Martin’s band. That’s been fun to review.

Meanwhile, I have my own issues to deal with aside from the conference calls with Ralph and the three guys with the same name. We had an audition this week for Rik Heron of Blood Oath. We have a high profile Casting director for Luv U 4 Ever doing the first contacts with potential cast, but I still prefer casting actors myself. Aside from experiencing such things as Travis Willingham (I have no good reason for the photo. I just wanted to see it again)flirting with Jon who was reading the leading lady role (rather convincingly) or conversely, watching Jon play Shadow Smith to Jennifer’s KD when she auditioned (he was equally conniving there, too). Hey, he was flirting with Matty as while running lines with him before the blood oath audition. I beginning to think that my director is a tramp. That aside, it is always fascinating to see the spin that actors put on words I’ve written. This was a particularly interesting set of auditions, because we usually don’t have someone we’ve cast to read against an auditioning actor. Since each reading was different, Matty responded accordingly. We saw three different versions of Vincent from him and all of them were valid. We found our Rik Heron. I can’t say who he is, because he hasn’t been signed. However, I will say that he’s as dark and gorgeous and intense as the character I wrote. This will be quite a trailer. I’ve also found a good stunt coordinator who still makes time for smaller projects. The interplay between Matty and our choice for Rik reminded Jon and I strongly of interactions between Obiwan Kenobi and Anakin Skywalker in Star Wars: Revenge of the Sith. Yep, dorky minds think alike. The characters in that film had a playful chemistry while projecting an aura of deadly confidence. I liked that in that pair, but what made them really appealing is the often hapless nature of the way they executed their missions. This was an inspiration I desperately needed. Believe it or not, despite the 500 pages of material I have between the Soldiers novels, I was really finding it difficult to pick a scene that encompassed the nature of the characters and the challenges they face. I now have a handle on the scene and, in fact, wrote a third of it last night. All of this Blood Oath stuff has my mind wandering to the next Soldiers book. I am keeping that firmly on the back burner now. One more project and I think my head will explode.

Now, For the Rants
Warning: spoilers for CSI: Miami

As I expected, there wasn’t much to the cannibal episode two weeks ago. Admittedly, killing someone by chomping a chunk of jugular is unusual, but it wasn’t like the man in question was routinely dining on his neighbors. To top it off, he was dead before the first commercial break. Thus, there was not the constant menacing threat implied in the commercials. But that wasn’t what makes me rant about this episode. Our Horatio Caine has a new nemesis – the Russian Mob. It seems that the cannibal incident was part of a large nefarious scheme to extort yacht owners out of ownership of their very expensive slips in an exclusive marina. To what end, I’m not sure. Aside from this being a highly unlikely interest of the Russian mob, rich people do not react to such extortion in the ways others might. They tend to call the authorities. The Philly mob had notions of extorting Willard Rouse 3rd to cash in on the huge developments he was building in Philly. The phone call Rouse made resulted in convictions of a Mafia Don and a Philadelphia City Councilman. Even if the couple in question didn’t call the authorities, the owners of the exclusive marina would call after slip after slip was bought by someone they hadn’t approved. They barely let people who can afford it into those places. It was silly. And so is the new, teenaged coroner. I find it insulting that the producers seemed to think that if she’s attractive and black, she’s a good replacement for an actor the caliber of Khandi Alexander.
I had more to rant about, but it’s escaped me completely. I am off to do some warm weather cooking and get back to the script.

Sunday, October 19, 2008

Pitches, Film Updates and Geekiness

Warning: If you find yourself here via a google search for such things as TV shows or films, recipes or cities, this blog has some facts. However, this blog is one author’s very twisted musing on many weird things. It is sometimes graphic in content. If you read on, don’t write to yell at me.

Where to start? So much has been happening. I’ve been off those pain meds for days and I’m still hearing and seeing strange things. Since Jon is seeing and hearing them as well, I must face the fact that they are happening.

The Philadelphia Phillies are somehow in the World Series. There was some puzzlement amongst my Dodger fan friends as to why we weren’t more excited. The reasons are simple, my friends. That would be the 1993 World Series. For those of you familiar with this rant, you may skip this section. I know it’s been a long time, but for us, game 6 never ended. Mitch Williams didn’t really walk the winning run. We’re stuck there for now. The '93 series had been so much fun – particularly the playoffs against Atlanta. Our team looked like the Gashouse Gorillas from Bugs Bunny while Atlanta was all class. Meanwhile, Phiily fans were wonderfully awful in their behavior. My favorites were Lenny Dykstra who liked to rip his t-shirt off and snarl, Hulk style at reporters and John Kruk and his mullet. Kruk also delighted us by appearing on Aqua Teen Hunger Force as himself. At any rate, only the Phillies winning a World Series will change that and bring back the excitement. Still, we are quietly riveted and hoping that the Red Sox or the Rays are so beat up and tired that there won’t be much fight left.

I won’t even mention the weirdness we saw on our way to a photo shoot yesterday. Not that it isn’t really interesting weirdness, but it involves a motorcycle gang with enough net savvy to have a wikipedia page updated to the beginning of this month. Suffice it to say that I have never seen so many Culver City police cars at one time (frankly, I didn’t know they had that many police cars), and I wonder how much in the way of ATF, and LAPD we didn’t see.

Here’s the Pitch

It has been commented that we are very calm before pitch meetings or funding meetings. That’s not true. I managed to get only one hour sleep the night before our most recent meeting, and that was while I was still on the painkillers. I was one wound up micro-mogul. We don’t appear to sweat these meetings because we’ve given up on anticipating the outcome. They never go in any way that we expect them too, so it’s easier to just try to relax and make sure we have all the information that may be asked for. As pitch meetings go, it was typical. In the car ride home, the question ‘What Just Happened’ came up as it always does. Like always, we weren’t sure. Incidentally, though I’m sure it’s a fine film, there is no way that Jon and I would ever see ‘What Just Happened.’ It looks like a howlingly funny film, but too much of it rings true. Our experiences are challenging enough on this level. I don’t want to ever face that it’s more of the same running in the A-list.

Anyway, the pitch was at the execs’ 20s era Bel Air Mansion. Inronically, it was a five minute drive from the Archive. Very conveniently located. The house was owned by a meat magnet then a big TV actress before the TV execs. It had lovely Art Decco accents and a kidney shaped pool in the back. All-in-all, I was much more impressed with Bel Air than I ever have been with Beverly Hills. Even in the Hills of Beverly the houses were too close together. When I worked for Fabio (I told you, don’t ask), his music was a problem for the neighbors. I can’t imagine paying that kind of money for a house and still being plagued by annoyances we’ve had in tiny apartments. At any rate, the house was a distraction. My mind kept wandering from budgets and guilds to observations that I’d seen the livingroom in a really explicit scene from a recent DVD rental. I also recognized other rooms from the same film. I wondered how they fit 700 people on the grounds (vast as they were) for a premier party and where did they all go to the bathroom? Somehow, we’re discussing developing one of the projects we pitched. Then, we were on our way. I’m fairly certain it was a successful meeting. The devil will be in the details.

Film Updates Redux

The Gunslinger had some action this week. We had some conference calls about a number of things including plans to pick a shoot date. Ideally, it would be a couple of weeks after we wrap the LA portion of the Luv U 4 Ever shoot. We’ve also found more resources to up the production values on screen. That little film has a lot of attention because of the interest that the trailer generated. Those numbers helped a lot in attracting said attention. For those who haven’t seen it, click here. As for Luv U 4 Ever, aside from the re-write, we are almost at a point where we can finalize the cast.

Flexibility and the Sock

Every time I spend an afternoon talking about socks in sex scenes, it means I’ve been hanging out with actors. For the uninitiated, when there is an explicit love scene on film or TV, the man is usually wearing a sock on his er...equipment. I have been unable to ascertain if it is an actual sock (for people that will strip in front of me without blinking an eye, I’ve found actors surprisingly tight lipped about sock details) or some sort of sock-like tube. Anyway, the discussion as about the contortions actors have to endure to be in frame without the sock showing in the frame. And one must be in character and sexy while twisting in ways not intended by nature. We were shooting some reference photos of Matty Ferraro for Blood Oath’s opening title sequence (that’s the pitch we’re going to develop right now). I’ve come up with a face for Vincent based on Matty’s, but I needed to get action poses of him for the full image of the character. I also had to work out a movement Vincent would make before using his skills. Since Matty knows Tai Chi, we went with that and I really liked what I saw. Today, will be spent working on storyboards for the opening sequence.

Star Wars: Clone Wars – Baby’s Got Back
Warning – Geek speak and HUGE spoilers to follow

The last episode of Star Wars Clone Wars was something to get excited about. It was the first appearance of Padmé Amidala. I actually liked her character design (she has an amazing amount of booty for an animated character) and I really liked her attitude. She was as dangerous and daring as her film counterpart and lots of fun to watch. The Episode, Destroy Malevolence, had far better pacing for me than the first three episodes. And the action sequences with Obi-wan Kenobi (great voice performance and a wonderful smirk on the character’s face) and Anakin Skywalker were fresh and exciting. I was delighted at how Obi-wan used the shilded droids against General Grievous’ own squad. Then, there was how Anakin creatively protected Padme using the force while fighting some huge droids. He kept in mind that she was one tough chick even while being gallant. They were all Jedi moves seen dozens of times, but they had a new twist that made them refreshing. The episode was funnier than the ones before. One chase scene reminded me very vividly of a Ratchet and Clank sequence. They were even smashing crates, and I swear there were bolts in them. It was hilarious. Mind you, I have complaints (Why would General Grievous’ violation of direct orders continue to be tolerated? Why would you name your flagship Malevolence when you’re trying to get support for your separatist movement?), but they are minor compared to the fun I had watching the episode. Another note about the character design, I read somewhere that they were inspired by The Supermarionation series, Thunderbirds. I could see that in this last epsidoe. There was a scene in which Anakin and Padme are in an elevator and they looked just like Scott Tracy and Lady Penelope. When I say, geek speak, my friends, I’m talking advanced Geek speak, baby. Jon really liked Thunderbirds Youtube link, but I was more of a Captain Scarlet gal. Where was I? Yes, I saw the resemblance and found it amusing. Overall, Destroy Malevolence was a heap of fun.

Snare of The Lair

Okay, I hooked. It’s not even the mystery behind the painting and the curse or the Vampires. That’s all great fun, but I really need to know what’s up with that plant. I really want it to say ‘Feed me, Seymour.’ Meanwhile, Ian continues to enthrall. I so want him to escape his fate and that hunter. The Vampires are gleefully enjoying their bloodlust. Ian (Matty Ferraro) is increasingly tormented by it. He is always compelling to watch. I can’t wait for the next installment.

Final Thought
I must acknowledge the passing of the great Levi Stubbs of the Four Tops and Voice of Audry II in Little Shop of Horrors. His voice filled my childhood. He’ll always be remembered.

Sunday, October 12, 2008

Film Updates, Cannibals and Naked Rugby

Warning: If you find yourself here via a google search for such things as TV shows or films, recipes or cities, this blog has some facts. However, this blog is one author’s very twisted musing on many weird things. It is sometimes graphic in content. If you read on, don’t write to yell at me.

I hardly know where to begin this week. There is so much happening personally, professionally and creatively, it’s hard to prioritize. Why not start as I often have with the weather. I’m not sure if it’s Hurricane Norbert (huh?) or what, but yesterday I was actually cold on the way home from the weekend errands. Cold as in goose pimples and shivering in the afternoon sun. The temperature dropped almost 30 degrees from Thursday to Friday, and it’s been very windy – tree felling windy. It’s typically windy this time of year, but the Santa Anas are hot winds from the desert. This was cold air from the ocean. It was refreshing, mind you. And it was nice sleeping without fans and with blankets. It was just surprising. I’m seldom cold in LA.

I’m on major drugs today for my back. It was a necessary step to get me to sleep through the night and further the healing process. I’m a bit disappointed though. My dreams aren’t any stranger than they are normally nor are my hallucinations. And I still can’t sleep through the loud and enthusiastic choir soloist who takes the microphone each and every blessed Sunday promptly at 10 am in the church across the parking lot from our bedroom. Bless her and that snare drum. I’ll never oversleep on a Sunday, nosiree. I may drift onto wild tangents. That is, I may drift onto wilder tangents, but I don’t think so. My back is feeling better though.

Sign of the Season
No, I don’t mean the Christmas decorations that are already up at my local Costco or the Freddy Kruger scary stuffed people lurking near the laundry room. Seeing them at 12 midnight while tired was almost very exciting for our sleeping neighbors. I mean the appearance of the Dieux De Stade calendar and making of video. My dear ami in France sent me a link which I enjoyed thoroughly. Those lovely men always find just the right place for that rugby ball and they still remind me of Greek statues. I have been without that calendar for far too long. This year, I’m making sure it once again adorns my work space. It provides inspiration. Though I grumble about the ever earlier Christmas displays, Jon and I have already begun the early cookie prep. The list (even with yearly culling) has become ponderously long. And we’ve added to our variety of treats. Jon’s compiling a spread sheet of recipes and ingredients, so we can take advantage of sales and get in all the necessary supplies. Last year we did 2 gross of cookies and dozens of mini-fruit cakes (and they are quite good) and baklava. The organization must begin early.

Film Biz, Silver Linings and the Re-write
The current financial craziness has had some effect on our current film’s development. Mainly, it has distracted our funding source and slowed the process down considerably. In the short run, that means that Jon and I remain at the Archive until the film is fully under way, and it means the pace of the re-write is not likely to change anytime soon. However, we find a huge silver lining in everything slowing down. The release date will be pushed from spring to the fall. Thus, the main part of the shoot – the Jersey scenes – will be pushed back to the spring. We are more than a little relieved about that. There is a lot that needs to be done in LA prior to the Jersey shoot (the opening of Billy Swain’s hit 70s show in the amusement park, a video of Dave Martin’s band on the 3rd Street Promenade – hopefully next to the Psychic Cat, and at least two 70s style video’s of Billy and his band). Then there is the opening scene in the Bel Air Mansion when the IRS kicks Billy out, and there are highway scenes that have to shot in the desert as Billy makes his way across country. Every one of those locations is more than one day and quite complicated. I didn’t know how we were going to squeeze them into the initial schedule and have them look like anything resembling good. We were very worried about that part of the shoot and more worried about shooting the rest during the dead of winter in New Jersey. The weather is really unpredictable and that can eat up a budget and the contingency. I’d prefer a slower pace even if it means working the day job longer. This also means that my Thanksgiving will be here. Plans for the Christmas holidays are still in flux. We’d still like to go back to Paris. The nice people who rent apartments there moved our reservation from Oct to Dec. I’d really love to spend the holiday there.

All that said, the re-write is progressing nicely. I received a good comment about how difficult it is to re-imagine a story once it has been written. That is very true. It isn’t easy to re-write a completed work. Time helps. Six years changes perspectives to be sure. We didn’t change the events of the script as much as we’re giving depth to the motivation behind the characters actions and sharpening the focus of the story. I’m hoping that the lines are as funny to other people as they are to us. We won’t know for sure until it’s finished. We crack ourselves up, but that may not be true for anyone else. Comedy is really hard.

When It Rains
When a casting breakdown is run for a show, all sorts of attention is paid to the production company. We get no end of composer resumes and reels. There are tons of stunt resumes and other key crew resumes filling all of our mailboxes. And we hear from people we’ve approached about funding for older projects. It’s that old situation where if you have money for one show, you get offered money for other things. It’s always harder to get money when you don’t have it. If that makes sense, please explain it to me. At any rate, in addition to Luv U 4 Ever and The Gunslinger and the cable TV pitches, we’ve been contacted about two other films we’d been trying to mount for a few years. I have to push aside my annoyance (oh, now this show is worthy of attention, eh) in favor of the notion of working back to back shows for a couple of years. We’re also getting a lot of practice at writing business plans. Our attorney said there will be even more interest in our older work once we start filming. It’s really scary how often making it in this industry is all or nothing. That’s why we seldom think about it in those terms.

Fine Young Cannibals
Warning Spoiler for CSI: Miami
Well, there was no spontaneuous human combustion two weeks ago on CSI:Miami, and last week's episode was sort of blah. But this week, it seems that at least one cannibal is staking our brave lab techs in the everglades. Or there had better be one. I was promised werewolves and zombies on other occasions only to be disappointed.

Food Stuffs

I’d been asked why I’m not talking about cooking much anymore. The blog has been too full of late. I really want to talk about the CBC’s The National news broadcast, but I haven’t had the time. I’ll get to that eventually. Back to food. I have been cooking up a storm amidst all this stress. I’ve been expanding my repertoire to include more Mediterranean foods and more and more home-made items that I used to order from take out menus. I have some new Food Network chefs that I really enjoy. There is Anne Burell who growls at her food and says things like ‘meat good.’ I like that. She’s also taught me a lot of new professional short cuts in a short span of time. There is Alexandra Guarnaschelli who solved my problem of getting my pizza dough crispy without a wood fired oven or a pizza stone (pan fry that sucker fist in a cast iron pan, top the slightly fried dough then put it in the over – yummy). Then there is Aaron McCargo, Jr., winner of The Next Food Network Star. He hails from Camden, NJ (yeah!) and sometimes cooks with Velveeta, but he has some mad skills otherwise. His method for an 18 minute chicken parmesan was the best I’ve ever done. I think it is even better than my cousin’s and hers was my favorite. I’m also very happy about the return of Ina Garten and Giada de Laurentiis. These are two of my favorite chefs and they never fail to inspire me. I look forward to their new shows. Jon looks forward to them as well. Aside from the yummy meals, nothing keeps me calmer than my time with the cutting board and the stove. In fact, it’s calling me now.

Sunday, October 05, 2008

Tranya, Puka Shells and Bizzarro Production Meetings

Warning: If you find yourself here via a google search for such things as TV shows or films, recipes or cities, this blog has some facts. However, this blog is one author’s very twisted musing on many weird things. It is sometimes graphic in content. If you read on, don’t write to yell at me.

I will reiterate the warning above for those on search engines. If you read further, do not send me any irritating e-mail. You have been duly cautioned – twice.

That said, this will be a wandering and incongruous blog. There may be some whining. There will definitely be musings on extremely geeky topics. It’s been quite a week with some momentous occasions to be marked. Right now, I’m ignoring the sudden appearance of the Eagles/Redskins game. Fox switched games in the 4th quarter because the Seahwaks were being badly battered by the NY Giants. Thus, I am both wide awake and cold sober when the Eagles appeared and immediately did something silly. Forgive me if my mind wanders more than the norm.

Elvis, Tranya and Studio 54

Ten years ago this past Friday, Jon and I got married at the surprisingly tasteful Graceland Wedding Chapel in Las Vegas. Since we were at such an establishment, we went with the full Elvis wedding package. We weren’t married by an Elvis, that would have been really weird and I think our parents would have keeled over (as it was, we had been very surprised that they went along with any of it). The minister was very nice and it was a sweet ceremony. Jon had an under-aged Gabriel Koerner as his best man, and I had a male and female maid of honor (I really commend my southern born, ex-Marine, ex- cop father for not saying a word about that). And after Elvis finished serenading and gyrating, we gorged ourselves at the Hilton Hotel’s sumptuous buffet, then took a ride on Star Trek: The Experience, in our wedding clothes (I warned you of the geeky). But that wasn’t the weird part. There, at Quark’s Bar, the Borders posse in attendance, Jon’s folks, our set guru, Randy and the wedding party enjoyed amny a glass of Tranya and other Trek themed alcoholic beverages. My father and his lovely wife sensibly bailed at the first mention of Klingons. Speaking of Klingons, we naturally made a great target for these costumed actors. We were serenaded frequently in an alien language and given a lot of odd advice for the wedding night. Some of us downed more Tranya than others, it seemed. By the time we reached Studio 54 to enjoy some dancing, one of our Borders crew, a man we thought was straight, went tonsil diving on a most unsuspecting Phil. Fortunately for all concerned, Craig had left by then. He really wasn’t keen on seeing live Klingons either. Where was I? Oh, yes, while we were dancing and watching well-built, scantily clad men and women undulating on chains above us, Phil and our heretofore straight co-worker were involved in this very torrid encounter. And though Phil was a gentleman in the end and did not succumb to temptation, that night reverberated through our bookstore for months. Happy memories for almost all of us.

Jon and I had planned on celebrating this milestone in France. But the upcoming shoot altered those plans drastically. Thus, I’ve been moping and occasionally whining. It certainly didn’t help that one of Samantha Brown’s new shows featured a trip to Paris on The Travel Channel that spotlighted some fabulous looking neighborhoods we’ve yet to see. I was most whiny this week, indeed. However, this film is a big break for us, and we have a lot of work that we have to be here in L.A. to accomplish. Our backers and our partners would not have reacted well to the sudden disappearance. And ultimately, I’m not in the best of shape for such a trip. I’m too tired physically to do all the walking that we’d typically do. I think we’ll need a vacation before we can think of taking a vacation. We celebrated the anniversary more quietly than we’d thought we would, but it was still fun. I whipped up a meal we used to have a lot while we dated, and we watched the newly released DVD of Speed Racer, the movie (yes, we’re geeks, I thought that was clear). Then, we got back to work on the script. Still, a fun time was had by all.

Re-writes, Pinching Pennies, and Collectible Panties

The re-write of Luv U 4 Ever is chugging along nicely. It’s an even funnier and edgier script than the original. Everyone professes to be happy with the progress. The recent financial craziness has everyone on edge, but we’re proceeding. We should have our cast named by sometime next week (I’m very excited about who’s on board so far. They’ve been a blast to work with before, and we’re pleased they want to work with us again). The only downer is that the unique needs of this pre-production (songs must be written, stage performances must be re-created with a digitally de-aged singer, opening credits for a non existent show must be shot) will likely have us working in east coast winter weather. It can’t be helped, but that will put pressure on our budget if we have cost over-runs caused by delays. Thus, we are looking at creative ways to save money with product placement and donated props (guitars, gold records, etc). Our line producer thinks we’ll be able to attract sponsors easily, because the film is a nice family movie (who’d would have thought that from the pair of us). Meanwhile, we have to give specs on re-creating the insane array of memorabilia that pop stars of the 70s generated around them. There are the t-shirts, lunch boxes and magazine covers. And, of course, puka shell necklaces have to be found (though that seems easy). I swear that I had panties with some of my favorite pop stars on them, but I’m finding no evidence of that. What a strange thing to imagine. We realized that we’ll have to shoot some videos of both Billy Swain’s Band (no name there yet, but Electric Cumquat keeps coming up) and Dave Martin’s Band (currently called Redacted), because each band will be seen on youtube-lie clips played on camera during various scenes. Jon’s always wanted to shoot music videos, so it’s been fun for him to block them. And I’ve been enjoying pouring over youtube.com guilt-free. The only draw-back to the research (aside from realizing how old I am) is that many of those songs get stuck in one’s head. This week, it’s been Taking Care of Business by Bachman Turner Overdrive and Radar Love by Golden Earring. I’ll spare readers the same fate by not putting up the link.

Notable Quotes from Actual Meetings

Things I have said or have been said to me. If you’re a close reader, you’ll know who they are or who they are about.

‘The last staff meeting was about creating a digital dog penis.’

‘Even if I wanted him to have plumber’s crack on screen, I’m not buying him a
merkin for his ass.’

‘This season’s episodes are all about Matty’s bottom.’

‘How do you tell a guy he has to lose the man-boobs?’

‘Acting is only part of the issue. I really have to want to see him naked.’

‘But why would we need a 40 pound rabbit?’

‘It’s a band that dresses like clowns while covering Marilyn Manson songs.’

‘He’s been a
Carny. That’s a perfect reference for location work in New Jersey.’

Advanced Geekiness or Star Wars: Clone Wars

The reviews for Star Wars: Clone Wars have not been very kind. Most take the stance that it’s George Lucas’ way of milking the very last drop of blood from his franchise. I don’t think that’s entirely fair. Plot and character-wise, there is a huge gap between Attack of the Clones and Revenge of the Sith that are worth coverage of some kind. I was very curious about Anakin and Obi-wan’s relationship during that span of time, and I was very curious about the interactions with the Clone army – particularly between Commander Cody and Obi-wan. The first two episodes aired this week on Cartoon Network had some wonderful interplay between the clones and the Jedi. And it was way cool to see just how dangerous Yoda could be in a battle against a whole druid army (Episode #1: Ambush). However, I could also see where critics lost patience with the series. The pace is leaden. Clearly, there is not enough script to fill the time allotted for an episode. It was really maddening in the second episode, Rising Malevolence. It was all I could do to not fast forward the DVR to the end just to have it done with. And I have to agree with Jon about the look of the show. I really liked Genndy Tartakovsky’s work on shows such as Saurai Jack, but we really didn’t like the character design in the cartoon version of Clone Wars. It’s clear that the 3D computer models for the 2008 version are based on his work. They look even uglier in 3D. How can you have an ugly Anakin Skywalker, for Pete’s sake? And while I’m far from the animation geek that Jon is, even I noticed that the walk cycles of the characters was lumbering and unnatural. That’s a terrible thing for a graceful warrior and incomprehensible for a Lucsfilms production. I fully understand why the series was panned by critics. However, it does have some compelling relationships that I have been curious about. It’s likely that very geeky me and even more geeky Jon will continue viewing and complaining.