Friday, November 10, 2006

George Lucas Enjoys Being Hated

Here's proof via

Screenwriter Blames George Lucas for 'Indiana Jones' Delay

George LucasScreenwriter Frank Darabont has blasted George Lucas for the delays behind the fourth Indiana Jones movie. The highly anticipated sequel was ready for filming back in 2004, but despite a script from Darabont that impressed director Steven Spielberg, the film's producer Lucas blocked the impending shoot - citing problems with the screenplay.

Speaking to, director Frank Darabont says, "That was terrifically frustrating. I worked for over a year on that. I worked very close with Steven Spielberg. He was ecstatic with the result and was ready to shoot it two years ago. He was very, very happy with the script and said it was the best draft of anything since Raiders Of The Lost Ark.

"Lucas read it and said, 'Yeah, I don't think so, I don't like it.' And then he resets it to zero when Spielberg is ready to shoot it that coming year, (which) is a real kick to the nuts. You can only waste so much time and so many years of your life on experiences like that, you can only get so emotionally invested and have the rug pulled out from under you before you say enough of that."


Keep up the good work George.

Tuesday, November 07, 2006

How to Ruin a Costume: Take 2

Several years ago Spider-Man debuted with the Norman Osborne the Green Goblin as the villain. As you can see, the Green Goblin has a very simple and effective character design:It's an evil goblin with pumpkin bombs on a bat glider. That simple. So they go ahead and brilliantly cast Willem Dafoe, who without even the help of make-up looks like an evil goblin. But the powers behind the movie were able to translate the above design into this Power Ranger looking mess of a costume, officially deemed the WORST costume in film history:
But unknown to the general public is that the Green Goblin returns in the form of Norman Osborne's son Harry. The film team is given a second chance to improve the costume and redeem themselves. What have they done to "improve" the costume for the upcoming Spider-Man 3?
Yep, that's right, a snowboarder. A FREAKING SNOWBOARDER! Sam Raimi has officially achieved the impossible. He has surpassed himself, broken his own record, and created the WORST WORST costume of all time. He now owns the top two slots bumping Ben Affleck's Daredevil down to a comfortable 3.

Tuesday, September 12, 2006

Freaky Friday

I know this is old news, but it's GREAT news. Click on the letter below to read a LEGIT letter from the execs at Morgan Creek to the most recent child star gone wrong: Lindsay Lohan.

Monday, September 04, 2006

Wednesday, August 30, 2006

Baby Duel

Just 'cause...

Sunday, August 27, 2006

One Goal

Most of the creative projects I work on, both for my paying job and film work, involve working with a team of people. Sometimes it works amazingly. Other times, not so well. Beyond general working relationship issues, what is it that either makes or breaks the group project? The goal. Does everyone know the goal? Does everyone have the same goal? Is the goal still the same? The best I've ever heard it put was by Sidney Lumet, director of 12 Angry Men, Murder on the Orient Express, and Serpico. As a director he said his primary goal is to make sure "everyone is making the same movie."

My first exposure to this was while writing Captain Blasto. If I were to pitch a scene to Aaron and Ben one of them may spin the scene into action the other into slapstick. None of us were right or wrong, we were just coming at it from our own angle. It's my role as a director, not to make all of my own ideas rise to the top, but to facilitate all our ideas to make sure we're making one coherent story. If our goal is a comedy we'll lean into the slapstick, if it's a drama we'll lean into the action scene.

I've been involved in several projects lately where this was not the case. Either very few knew the goal, the goal consistently changed, or everyone had their own goal. What do you get? A schizophrenic project. It looks one way, acts another, and says something completely different. I can spot a schizophrenic project from a mile away and I avoid them at all costs, unless of course it's part of my day job in which it's not an option.

How do you make sure everyone is "making the same movie?" Here's my thoughts on it:

1) Make sure YOU know what "movie" you're making. No, you don't have to have every detail worked out. If you did, what's the team for? But you BETTER know the CORE idea and be able to talk about it at great length if so requested. If it's a film, what do you want the story to "say?" If it's marketing, what "feel" or "look" are you aiming for? Know that before you pull anyone else in. People don't like leading leaders.

2) Make sure EVERYONE knows the goal. Write it out. Print a banner. Do whatever it takes to make sure it's big, bold, easy to understand, and impossible to miss. For me it's typicaly a sentence. For the next script I'm working on I've got a simple sentence: memory and choices control identity. Every single person that works on this project will know that sentence and will aim their work at it.

3) Give people time to digest the goal. I've wrongfully held and attended brainstorm, writing, and graphics sessions where the goal has been presented and the team was INSTANTLY requested to provide ideas and(or) work that illuminated it. They barely understand it. How could they possibly spit out anything worthy of advancing it? The director may not realize that they've had this stewing inside for a while (hopefully), but to everyone else it's brand new. People need time to take in the idea, visualize it, and dream about how they can contribute to it. Depending on the project this is something that may be better measured in weeks than in days or hours.

4) Do NOT keep changing the goal, BUT IF YOU DO, make sure everyone knows the new goal. One of the most depressing things for an artist or creative developer is to have them spend time, energy, and resources on a piece of the project, only to have it either dropped because it doesn't match the new goal, or to have it stay but sit out there like an orphan without any tie to the rest of the project. If you say you're making a website that should look like an Etch-a-Sketch and your tech guys design a real working digital version of the famous toy, they're going to be REALLY frustrated and less likely to work as hard next time when you announce the site is now going to look like a Magna Doodle. It's just as bad if you keep the Etch-a-Sketch in the middle of the new design. They feel like they've contributed AGAINST the goal rather than with it.

This isn't to say you must be locked into a goal just because some work has already started and you're afraid to hurt some feelings. You just have to be aware of the pro's and con's of shifting your goal. If it becomes common practice, you're going to have a very difficult time getting people to contribute.

5) Make sure EVERY idea is aimed at the goal. Let's look at the movie The Incredibles. What's the goal? A comedy about a family of out of work super-heroes. What if I pitch a scene in which a villain uses a death ray to destroy the family station wagon. Does it fit the goal? It's funny and it's within the comic book genre. The idea is worth pursuing. What if I pitch a scene in which the family of super-heroes sacrifice their lives in stopping a terrorist from detonating a car bomb? Worthy of a super-hero, yes. Comic, absolutely not. It's an extreme idea, but I've seen many projects where ideas get developed and often times used that don't support or advance the goal.

6) Make sure you know the goal...still. When you get in the middle of the project it's incredibly easy to follow into details mode. When you're just taking care of the urgent details, don't lose sight of the big picture. Keep looking at your big old banner.

Agree? Disagree? Comments and such, post them here or e-mail me at

Wednesday, August 23, 2006

The Birth of Fandango

Where did Professor Fandango come from? No, not the movie ticket website. He was created for a series of short fun and incredibly overdramatic spy spoof videos for CrossOver youth ministries in the summer of 1999.

Sunday, August 20, 2006

Learn Something New Every Week

Each Sunday, when the estimated ticket sales are finally tallied up and released to the press, studio executives are often quotes as to what they have learned from the information. Today, when the estimated ticket sales for Snakes on a Plane was revealed to be just over $15 million, Brandon Gray of released this pearly nugget of wisdom:

"This tells you that you need to have a compelling story or premise to get an audience for your movie."

Thank you Mr. Gray. Clearly you deserve whatever role it is you serve over at

My problem isn't the blatantly obvious statement, or the fact that Snakes on a Plane only pulled in $15 mil. It's that EVERY single Sunday the press, movie execs, and critics look at this weekend as a monumental lesson, a solid rule of the business to be followed from here on. When Mission Impossible didn't perform as expected it was "The movie has little connection to the show anymore. They've lost their roots." When Superman Returns didn't break every record it was "Superman is an outdated icon for a past time. Batman is the new hero for America." Now with World Trade Center failing to take the number one spot, what do we read? "The audience knows how it ends. There's nothing to captivate them." If that's true how did Titanic manage to rake in billions? Melanie and I probably account for at least a 1/3 of that.

What happens is studio execs force these new found rules on their writers/directors, and then when a new movie with the new rules comes out two - three years later, either 1) they were wrong or 2) the audience has changed. They give a 5 second assessment of what went wrong THIS time and make NEW rules for the future.

How bout these assessments. Mission Impossible III: Tom, we were sick of seeing your face EVERYWHERE in the months leading up to your movie. Cut back on publicity next time. Superman Returns: So you didn't break the records? Big freakin' deal. Not every movie breaks records. You can't plan for it and you can't make it happen. World Trade Center: I don't mind knowing the ending, but I won't spend an afternoon with Nicholas Cage in that stupid mustache. I realize people like Jennifer Aniston and Will Ferrel pull people to the theater. Some people like them so much they're see whatever movie they're in, regardless of it's story. Somehow Hollywood doesn't quite get that Nicholas Cage does not happen to be one of those people.

Let's try some future rules.

Beerfest: Following Mel Gibson's DUI, the mood of the country has shifted from glorifying alcohol.
Ghost Rider: Audiences weren't ready to relive a tragic story paralleling the Ben Roethlisberger accident.
Jackass 2: The teenagers that once flocked to the first film have grown up.
Crossover: The miscasting of the Jan Elkins and Josh Wildman characters destroyed the validity of the story.
The Black Dahlia: People confused the film with the popular video game staring Dennis Hopper and Kevin Vinay.

Monday, August 14, 2006

Luigi Wins Best Short Film

Luigi, everyone's favorite player 2, has finally got his time in the spotlight! The Luigi Story, a short film I made detailing the sibling rivalry between the Super Mario Bros., won Best Short Film Jury Award at the GenCon Indy Film Festival this past weekend. Supposedly there's a crystal trophy and everything, but I haven't seen it yet.

As for Captain Blasto, the less said the better. The short of it is it was incredibly mishandled. 1) no mention of the film in ANY GenCon materials, 2) screener/judging copy was lost so the film didn't show the first day, 3) Saturday morning films (including Blasto) were cancelled and moved to 2:30 AM. Incredibly frustrating. The irony of a short film that took me two weeks winning an award and the feature that took me 5 years being treated like a leper is not lost on me. Moving on.

Congrats to A Great Disturbance (Ben Shull's Star Wars mockumentary film in which I acted, co-edited, and did alot of design work for). It took home the Best Feature Jury Award and boosted some nice DVD sales. The film is finally unleashed upon the world and Ben and co. finally get to reap a little reward from a long year of hard work.

Tuesday, July 25, 2006

Gen Con Double Feature

Just got word that The Luigi Story has also been accepted into GenCon Indy, making it's theatrical premiere. That's right, youth group videos can make it into film festivals.

For those of you who don't know what the Luigi Story is, I'll explain. It's a short film spoofing E! True Hollywood Story, documenting the tragic underdog life of the eternal player 2, Luigi from the Super Mario Bros.

Monday, July 24, 2006

Ridiculous Talent

Once in a while I'll come across an artist that is so freakin' good it makes you feel like you're the must untalented human to walk the earth. Honestly, with art/design this good, why bother?

You can check out more of Ragnar's stuff at

Sunday, July 16, 2006 gets a makeover

Paying tribute to the vintage comics that gave birth to the hero, the all new


Wednesday, July 12, 2006

GenCon Indy 2006

Captain Blasto will be hitting GenCon Indy 2006 in just a short few weeks from August 10th till the 13th. GenCon Indy is a national gaming convention that brings in more people/money than the Final Four. There will be tens of thousands there for the weekend event. DVD's of the original extended cut will be on sale for $5.00. We've yet to hear back as to whether we've been accepted into the GenCon film fest. Should know soon.

Also appearing at GenCon will be the national debut of A Great Disturbance, the Star Wars mockumentary. DVD's of this film will also be up for sale, although I'm not sure on the price just yet.

EDIT: Just got word that we HAVE been accepted into the GenCon Indy Film Fest. Captain Blasto will be screening on Thursday, Friday, and Saturday. If we win something we'll also screen on Sunday.

More Superman

Yeah, yeah, I know. Superman is so two weeks ago and Pirates is the new deal. But I came across this incredibly accurate review of the film while reading Paul Dini's blog. For those of you who don't know, Paul Dini was one of the writers/creators of Batman: The Animated Series, or what I like to call, The Best Television Show and Most Accurate Representation of Batman Ever Made Hands Down. Here's what ol' Paul has to say:

Eh, it was okay.

Considering the train wreck it could have been it was outstanding, but as it was, to me at least, it was just okay.

Given Superman's history in comics, movies, radio, television and a dozen other places, I was disappointed that the filmmakers looked only as far as the two movies made in the late 70's for their inspiration. But Superman, both as a character and as an entire concept, is much richer than those films. Clark the bumbler, the barely developed Daily Planet staff (besides Lois), the Superman/Clark/Lois triangle, goddamn wacky Lex and his daffy henchmoll du jour, ugh. Enough. You clowns are spending, when all is said and done, 300 million dollars. Show me something I can't get at the video rental store. Screw the fact THE INCREDIBLES is a cartoon, give me a story that's better than that, because animated or not, THE INCREDIBLES is the new gold standard for superhero movies. SUPERMAN RETURNS was in live-action (partially) and it felt like a cartoon, a flat, boring one. THE INCREDIBLES had characters that were compelling, some cool plot twists, great action sequences, and a villain's plot that, while not the most original, actually made sense. Weren't too many of those elements in SUPERMAN RETURNS.

I liked bits and pieces -- Eva Marie Saint, Brandon Routh, the Smallville flashbacks, Superman seen via a security camera foiling a convenience store robbery, the whole saving the plane sequence. Sweet raisins in a bowl of bland oatmeal.

All I can say to that is...ditto.

Saturday, July 08, 2006

Pirates 2

Saw the new Pirates movie last night. I enjoyed the first one, but I wasn't bonkers about it like most people. Johnny Depp is good and all, but I don't see the craze that surrounds him. He downright ruined the new Wonka movie.

I left the second one with the same exact feeling as the first: it's a really good movie that borders at the edge of being a great one, and never quite makes it. They've got great characters, inventive scenes/sequences, and created a fun escapist world. But, like the first one, they achieve all that in a bit of a messy screenplay structure.

That being said, the crew/creatures of the Flying Dutchman are absolutely incredible. Davy Jones is one of the best cinema villains to hit the screen in quite a while.

Thursday, July 06, 2006

Roads and Weather

Did you ever notice that if two middle aged men are having a conversation nine out of ten times it either about directions or weather? It's either "Oh, you just gotta take I95 up to New Stanton and head west on the Orange Belt," or "The storm's supposed to hit at 4:00, but I felt the wind change about an hour ago."

Why? Why is it that there default conversational topic is either something that's been relatively the same for decades or something that changes hourly?

Hopefully when I hit 45 I won't join the club. I'm betting I'll still be complaining about George Lucas.

Wednesday, June 28, 2006

Why am I so critical?

My wife hates going to movies with me. Why? Because once the credits roll and she inevitably asks if I liked it, nine out of ten times I reply no. On top of that I respond with 20+ areas where they went wrong, most of which revolves around the script structure. "You don't like ANYTHING," she says. Not true. It's that I LOVE movies that I'm so critical. I know what they CAN be. I feel like I'm showing up at Benihana's and they're handing me a Hoss' filet. Either they've got to make a better steak or I've got to realize I keep accidentally walking into Hoss'.

I like movies so intensely that I am frustrated by their general lack of quality and creativity. I expect more than they consistently offer. And considering the millions of dollars and hundreds of talented and well paid people behind them, is that expectation out of line? Everyone dislikes bad movies. I dislike mediocre movies.

There's a misconception that film critics and filmmakers don't like anything but old movies. Also not true. It's not that old movies were better, it's just that over the decades the good ones have remained while those mediocre ones have disappeared. You may have liked Scream or The Waterboy, but in 2030 it will be forgotten. The Lord of the Rings won't. When Casablanca was on screens I'm sure it was surrounded by mediocrity too.

The common movie goer defense is, "Well, it was entertaining." Sure, seeing Superman stop a plane from crashing is entertaining. Watching the tripod aliens blow up cars around Tom Cruise is entertaining. But I don't watch movies to just be entertained, comedies being the exception. I have video games and a puppy to do that. I don't pay ten dollars to be entertained for an hour and a half. I go to the movies to be affected, changed. To have questions asked. To face situations I have, haven't, can't, or won't face in my own life.

After any movie where I generally am the only person who disliked the movie I am constantly asked what I was looking for. What was it lacking. There were good actors, there were good scenes, it was funny, the effects were great, etc. What were you looking for? It's incredibly simple. Beyond all the actors, scenes, effects, etc., I want a well told story. Every great film is a story well told. How is a story told well? Here is my opinion, backed by a history of successful films. I write this just so those of you reading this get a better understanding of the reviews I make on here and the films I hope to write.

Ask yourself if your favorite films follow this model. I will also use Captain Blasto in my examples just to illustrate how I try to write, not to compare it to great films.

The film illustrates how the main character typically lives their life. Luke is a down and out farmboy. Rocky is a hitman. Rick is a shady nightclub owner in a seedy little African town. Colin goes unnoticed.

Something happens throwing the characters life out of the normal, either in a positive or negative way. Luke buys R2D2 and C3PO. Rocky gets the call to fight Apollo Creed. Ilsa walks into Rick's Cafe. Colin is scared into doing something by Daryl.

The character seeks to find a solution, reach their goal, obtain the prize. They are opposed by a series of obstacles. Luke and crew are taken into the Death Star and must escape with the Princess and the plans. Rocky trains, opposed by his own feeling of worthlessness. Rick arranges a flight for himself and Ilsa to America behind the backs of her husband, Maj. Strasser, and Capt. Renault. Colin stages robberies as his hero Captain Blasto continually having to avoid both detection and police.

The obstacles change the character, preparing them for their final obstacle. Luke goes from farmboy to fighter pilot. Rocky swaps his lonely life for a relationship with Adrien. Rick begins to shed his selfish ways as he returns to his relationship with Ilsa. Colin, braver and more, becomes noticed as his fictional counterpart.

Equipped with everything they've learned throughout the question, the character faces one final obstacle with everything on the line. Luke flies down the Death Star trench pursued by Darth Vader. Rocky fights Apollo Creed. Rick holds Capt. Renault at gunpoint. Colin stands up to Evan.

The hero either succeeds or fails in their quest. Luke blows up the Death Star. Rocky loses to Apollo but learns his self worth. Rick gives up his tickets for Ilsa and Victor Laszlo. Colin slams Evan.

The total quest changes the character for good. Luke becomes the hero. Rocky becomes a national underdog "champion." Rick is back in the fight. The classroom falls quiet as Colin enters.

The total quest raises a question in our own lives. Would you be willing to jump into a righteous fight if great odds were against you? Would you be able to step out of you hum drum life to attempt something great? Would you sacrifice your own well being for someone you love? Have you sacrificed your dreams for the boring responsiblity of life?

What movies follow this besides the ones I've mentioned? Raiders of the Lost Ark, It's a Wonderful Life, Chinatown, Bridge on the River Kwai, Wizard of Oz, The Incredibles, Gladiator, Braveheart, and Jaws to name a few more.

Now, will something like Superman Returns stand up to the decades? Unlikely. Why? What did Superman want? We don't know. What was opposing him from reaching his goal? Nothing. There was conflict, yes, but none of it related to anything other than watching him do neat stuff. How did Superman change as a result of his quest? He didn't. What was the point of watching the movie then? To see Superman do neat stuff. Three hundred and fifty million dollars and twenty eight years later just to see Superman do...neat stuff? Sorry I expect a bit more.

Superman Returns

Is it good? Moderately, yes. There's enough throwbacks to the original films to make me smile. The "rescuing the plane" scene is good. We get to see Superman use all of his power several times. They have a GREAT shot of Superman holding a car above his head in tribute to the cover of Action Comics #1, his first appearance. The effects are quality and CG isn't overused. And yes, Brandon Routh makes a decent Superman and an even better Clark Kent. (Christopher Reeve still retains his title as the definitive Superman/Clark Kent, but Routh never had a chance of stealing that.)

I went into the film hoping it would be amazing. And it started off strong. Great opening text. INCREDIBLE opening credits. Great music. I really felt like I was about to see a GREAT Superman movie. By 3/4 of the way through I realized that wasn't he case. If the credits opened my mind to an A+ movie, the rest of the story worked it down to a C. And keep in mind my love of Superman covers a multitude of sins. Had this been any other superhero that rating would have been much lower.

It had good characters, good actors, good sets, good scenes, and good direction. With all of that why wasn't it a great film? I honestly could sit here and type a 10 page essay on the film, but nobody will read it. In short I'll say it's story structure is an absolute mess. Characters do not have clear goals or desires and do not change as a result of obtaining or missing them. It was a tribute to a great character and a great film, written by either untrained or untalented writers. If you're actually intrested in reading what I believe to be the most accurate review of the film, check here:

Ebert's review has some good points although it's a bit harsh:

It's worth the price of admission. It's really enjoyable and entertaining. Worth buying on DVD as a Superman fan. But if you're like me and want to see a GREAT Superman film. It's already been around for 28 years now.

Monday, June 05, 2006

Pirates Owners Box

Yep, THE owners box. Kevin Mclatchey's owners box. Add it right next to Mann's Theater on the list of places Blasto has taken a bunch of Munhall-ians. Every game I've ever seen has been from the nosebleed $6 seats with peanuts all over the floor. Special thanks for the Williams' for bringing us along with them. And you have NOT heard gospel until you've heard Deniece belt it out.

Sunday, May 21, 2006

"'Da Vinci' opening this big just tells you that people do want to go to the movies, they just need the right movie to go," said Paul Dergarabedian, president of box-office tracker Exhibitor Relations.

Sure, they went and saw it, but NOBODY liked. I've heard back from some 20 different people and I hear things such as: "Not a single second of tension in the entire film." "Worst role of Tom Hanks' career." Congrats, you made millions. But so did Ice Age 2 and Final Destination 3.

Yes, people DO want to go to the movies, and yes we do need the right movie, but this wasn't it. Without all the controversy (thank you crazy churches) there wouldn't have been half as many people.

Lesson learned: the next time you have a movie coming out, leak a story that it was written by Satan and make sure your lead actor has a mullet. Even Joe Dirt got the second part right.

Wednesday, May 17, 2006

I See Tom Hanks More Than My Wife

Seriously, is there any entertainment medium that this boy has NOT been on in the past two weeks? I like Tom Hanks and all, but I've seen his face more times in one week than I've seen my own face. It is dang near impossible to go a single day without seeing him SOMEWHERE. A billboard on a bus, a talk show, a magazine cover, an article on Yahoo, he's everywhere.

I watch Conan, there he is. Good appearance, funny. Very next day he's on Leno. Okay, new jokes, same Da Vinci Code clip, but he feels kind of worn out, like you had a great time with a friend yesterday and they're trying to recapture it again. Very next day I'm listening to "Wait, Wait, Don't Tell Me" on NPR and there he is again. Seriously? Radio? Your promoting on the freakin' radio? There he is on Ellen and then Regis and Kelly followed up with Letterman. Heck I'm half expecting him to show up on Maury claiming he's not the baby's daddy.

Friday, May 12, 2006

The Decline of Western Theaters

Here's a topic I've been ridiculously interested in for the past few months: the consistent fall in theater attendance. Studios and theater chains are freaking out. Not as many people are going to see movies as much. Why? Well according to the "experts" out in Hollywood, here's the top reasons, in particular order.

1. Cell phones ringing during films
2. Lack of advertising
3. People would rather watch DVD's and iPods
4. Price of tickets
5. Bad movies

Which of course is further evidence that Hollywood is crazy. Cell phones? That's numero uno? Sure, it's annoying, but that doesn't happen enough to make it number one. I can count how many times it's happend to me on one hand. But the biggest joke of them all: lack of advertising. Would you describe movie advertising as "lacking?" I tell you, I just can't get enough of these commercials for that groundbreaking gymnastics movie Stick It and it's hilarious trailer line "It's not called gym-nice-tics." My favorite is when movie advertisements take over whatever web page your on. You thought you were looking up Yahoo and then suddenly Freddy Krueger slashes through the page, "Check out my trailer or I'll cut you in your dreams!" Thanks Freddy, I wasn't in the mood to read FoxTrot today anyways. But if you don't want to see the ad, don't worry, there's that microscopic Close link hidden somewhere on the ad, which of course is much harder to find than Waldo or Bin Laden.

I could be wrong, but the iPod? You're really blaming it on the iPod? Would you rather watch Spider-Man 2 on a theater screen or your iPod. Who's taking that two and half inch screen over theaters? Sure DVD's might take a bit away, but that's only because 1) you don't leave movies in theaters long enough so we probably missed it (see previous post) or 2) you can buy a DVD for the same price as 2 tickets to the theater (and then sell it to Blockbuster if it sucks to make a few bucks back.) Which brings us to the conclusion and CP's Top 5 list of reasons for the demise of theater attendance:

1. Bad movies
2. Bad movies
3. Bad movies
4. Bad movies
5. Price of tickets

Movies are awful ninety percent of the time. Make better movies, we'll pay to see them. Keep making bad movies, then you better lower those ticket prices so we don't feel like we're taking such a gamble. Example: Stealth. Otherwise known as Jamie Foxx's quick paycheck. A robotic fighter jet that turns on it's creators. The only thing I will pay $9.00 to go see that's THAT bad in this town is the Pirates, and that's because the OTHER team might do something exciting. What can a good movie accomplish? Look at the original Star Wars. Most people went and saw that +5 times in the theater. I racked up 15 myself. That's $135 bones for ONE MOVIE. What about the new Star Wars movies? Once. Saw them once, and even that was too much. That's $9 Mr. Lucas. Better movies are more profitable.

But sure Hollywood, keep on pumping out stuff like The Day After Tomorrow, Pink Panther, Final Destination 3, Big Momma's House, and RV. And we'll keep NetFlixing things like Casablanca, Lawrence of Arabia, Chinatown, and Rear Window.

Tuesday, May 09, 2006

Let Them Sit a While

Everyone's busy. I know my weekends are full. Why is it then that every movie studios feel that if people didn't come and see their movie the first or second weekend it plays that we're NEVER going to go see it? Why do they think we're going to drop EVERYTHING we're doing to go see the freakin' Da Vinci Code? I got my own mysteries to figure out this weekend, which can be solved easily with this code: do the dishes or my wife will yell at me. Quit assuming we go to the movies EVERY WEEKEND. We don't. In fact this weekend I'll be seeing the movie "Cutting the Grass or My Landlord Will Add $25 to My Rent."

Ron Howard's last film, Cinderella Man was an example of this. They released it in the summer amidst War of the Worlds (boo), Batman Begins (boo²), and Star Wars (boo x 10³). Did Cinderella Man look good? Yeah. We're people interested in seeing it? Yep. We're they so interested in seeing it that they were willing to go see it on the exact date you wanted them to? No. We were all at Myrtle Beach that weekend. We wanted to see it when we got back, but it was gone faster than the SV lunchroom snickerdoodles.

If you don't let the movie sit a while then if I go see it and I tell others about it, there's a good chance it won't be there when they follow up on my advice. Was there no lesson learned from My Big Fat Greek Wedding? Word of mouth takes time. Not every film is going to have an opening weekend record breaking spectacle like Star Wars or the first Spider-Man.

People spend years working on a film and you're only going to give it a week or two to work? Let the films sit a while. I may have been busy the weekend it came out.

Tuesday, May 02, 2006

New Design Concept

One of the problems we've been experiencing with the poster and DVD cover is that lots of people mistake the movie for a cartoon. That's a fair mistake considering the title. With us coming to the end of our first batch of 1,000 DVD's and a potential new batch in the near future alone with upcoming treatment/press packet covers I've begun to rethink the Blasto design/poster/cover. Here's a rough concept:

What I'd like to do is get some good publicity photos of Colin and Daryl to put on the DVD. So instead of a drawing of Colin or Blasto, it would be a photo. We'll still be sticking with the black, red, and white color scheme. Not only does that tie in well with the opening credits, but it was such a vibrant and stark color scheme that it captured attention.

Now before anyone makes any references to the Star Wars: Episode I teaser poster I'll have you know the idea for this poster is a variation on an old "More to Come" title card from the Tonight Show way back in the Johnny Carson days. I saw it when I was little. It was the image of a boy in pajamas, a towel cape around his neck, with a lamp and an oscilating fan at his feet. The shadow he cast on the wall was that of a muscle bound hero. There were a series of cards like this. A kid with a hat and a hose projected the shadow of a firefighter, and so on. I think that concept captures the entire feel of our movie perfectly. We may not be heroes, but we are the shadow of one.

Thursday, April 27, 2006

Newport Report

I didn't even intend to rhyme.

In short it was an amazing festival. The staff were ridiculously supportive, more than I expect from even a small festival, let alone one of this size. Special thanks to Geoff Patino, the Director of Features Programming. We were able to meet some other filmmakers and catch sevearl quality films. The highlight of which has to be the Raiders of the Lost Ark: The Adaptation. You have to check that out here.

Our screening went well. The Q&A was fairly brief. The Digibeta transfer looked pretty good, except for shots that contain alot of red and black. We got good feedback on some improvements to make. It seems that every time I get to screen the film at a festival I get a better look at how to make the film a little better. Usually this means trimming a few minutes to speed it up, especially in the early "Colin is a lonely bastard" scenes.

I'll post some more on specific topics, and get some pictures up soon, but for now here's some other films you should keep an eye out for:
Hidden Blade (gotta love samurai films)
Fumi and the Bad Luck Foot (hyterical animated short)
Last Stop for Paul (neat concept, funny as well)

Tuesday, April 11, 2006

What would you do with $750?

Buy an iPod? A computer? Perhaps a mint on card Beachhead G.I. Joe fig?

What did I buy for $750?

A copy of Captain Blasto on digibeta. That's right BETA. As in "I lost the fight to VHS," only MUCH better quality. The Newport festival only accepts that or film to screen, and I'd be donating blood by the Colteryahn gallon to be able to afford film. So after searching for weeks for the cheapest price, a lil shop in San Francisco takes the Beta cake and my savings account takes the hit.

Saturday, April 01, 2006

The Blasto Digital Universe

Gotta love those overdramatic subject titles.

Blasto is slowly taking over the internet.
Pictures, video, wallpaper, the ENTIRE soundtrack, press, festival photos, and more.

Captain Blasto on IMDB
That's right, we're officially a movie. Actually it doesn't change a thing, but it's cool.

Captain Blasto on MySpace
Add him to your friends and maybe you'll make the top 8.

The Captain Blasto Stupendous Store

T-shirts, clocks, tile coasters, and even a Fandango light switch cover. What better way could you spend your income tax return?

Monday, March 20, 2006

Newport Beach Film Festival Screening

We officially screen at the Newport Beach Film Festival
Sunday, April 23rd at 12:00pm
If you live in California, you best be orderin' some tickets.

Tuesday, March 14, 2006

Getting Things Together

Here's the latest info on the Blasto front:

Newport Beach Film Fest
I've been working on getting all the advertising and promotional stuff together for the fest. This includes getting contact info and screeners out to the Orange County press, designing and printing posters, postcards, ads, etc., and getting the film transfered to Digitbeta, since they don't accept DVD as an exhibition format. This film fest is a fairly big one, the largest one we've been accepted to thus far, so we've really got to donate some time and money towards doing it really well.

Rewrite Treatment
After being swamped with work, fest prep, and other stuff, I'm back working on the treatment for the rewrite of Captain Blasto. It's going fairly well and should be finished within a few weeks. What's different? Well, nothing is set in stone but here's some quick ideas: Colin attempts to actually save people before staging robberies. It doesn't go well, which gives him the idea to start faking them. Colin also doesn't know about Captain Blasto at the beginning of the film, he discovers the comic book in the first 15 minutes. Colin also doesn't meet Daryl for the first time until a few minutes in. Whether or not Abbey will still be in it is still up in the air. If you want her to stay, leave a comment. The crew is made up of Daryl's friends, rather than random men they find. The final heist will take place on Halloween night, the perfect symbolism of people dressing up as something they've always wanted to be. Like I said, nothing is set in stone, and I'm sure many more changes will take place, but these are just some of the bigger ideas I can remember.

Updating Website
I've updated the main site with new pictures. The new pics include photos from the Lake County Film Fest and stills from the film.

You know you've always wanted a Captain Blasto t-shirt and poster. Well they are on their way. Keep an eye out for the Blasto store at

Wednesday, March 08, 2006

First Award

Captain Blasto has recieved it's very first festival award:

Special Jury Award for Visual Design

from the jury of the Lake County Film Festival.

Monday, March 06, 2006

Back Home

We're back home and WHOOPED. Not sure why either. I know you're essentially just sitting, but watching a lot of movies takes it out of you.

This post is just a quick overhead glance at the festival. I'll post with some more detail into specifics soon.

The general info is this: the Lake County Film Festival was an absolute blast. (It was held in the city of Libertyville which is a cross between Ligonier and Munhall, PA, only bigger than both.) Kudos to Nat and the staff for putting together a fest which will be incredibly tough to top. We had a great screening with approximately 60 people (in a room suited for 70 or so.) Although it wasn't our biggest audience, it was hands down our most responsive. Not only did they laugh at jokes no audience has before, they were incredibly supportive, and complimentary during a great Q&A session. They also bought 40 DVD's. They also had a better projector than the one that cost us $750 at Loews Premiere.

We met about a dozen other filmmakers, equally as supportive. The entire atmosphere was incredibly encouraging, contrary to other fests where filmmakers are way too competitive and malicious towards one another. Here's some links to some of their great projects:

Fatboy: The Movie -
A fun documentary about weight loss struggles directed by a clone image of Scott Stevens. This film will certainly get picked up for distribution. It's the only feature length film we had time to see.

Ride of the Mergansers -
A short documentary about the birthing of a reclusive North American duck. You will never laugh harder when you see they's little baby ducks drop out of the nest into the lake below.

Genie in a Bottle: Unleashed -
A short documentary about the atom bombs and the Doomsday Clock filmed by two 13 year old boys. Styled like a PBS kids doc and fairly incredible for their age.

Spin -
A DJ that can control time with turntables. Pretty freakin' neat. Played before our Blasto screening.

The Mantis Parable -
an incredible CG animated short about a captured caterpillar and praying mantis. Done by many people who will one day work for Pixar or Dreamworks I'm sure.

Smartcard -
A "bleak future" short with a heavy critique on credit/debit cards and government information control.

Lemmings -
A funny animated short about a Lemming that questions his species mass suicidal tendencies. My only critique is that it's animated in a very childish style, but it's not necessarily appropriate for children.

We saw many more shorts, not all of which have a website to link to. I also recieved several DVD's from filmmakers which I haven't been able to watch yet.

That's the skinny. I'll post more soon.

Friday, March 03, 2006

Lake County

Driving to Illinois for the Lake County Film Fest today with Ashley, Kleiber, and Alan. Hoping for a good weekend and a decent crowd. Wish us luck.

Tuesday, February 28, 2006

Newport Beach Film Fest

Officially made it into festival number four, The Newport Beach Film Festival. They haven't listed the films yet, but you can check them out at

Sunday, February 12, 2006


And only 4 and 1/2 months to my birthday.

Thursday, February 09, 2006

He Says It Better

So I'll let you read it from him.

Tuesday, February 07, 2006

Short on Artistry, Long on Emotion

It might have been a boring Super Bowl for every city in America, but I know Pittsburgh and Seattle were collectively sitting at the edge of their seats. From Pittsburgh's awful start to the final tackle. Now Pittsburgh gets some sort of respect. Or maybe not. Because according to Seattle and most of the sporting news world, the refs won the game. I guess I was watching a different game. I didn't see the refs miss two field goals like I saw Seattle miss. I didn't see the refs break a Super Bowl record by running a 75 yard touchdown. I didn't see the refs catch two passes out of bounds in the red zone. I must have missed that trick play the refs played out. And all this time I thought it was Hasselbeck that threw that Taylor interception.

Was Big Ben's diving touch down ruled correctly? Yes. Was it clear by the video whether it was a touchdown or not? No, and that's why the ruling was correct. The evidence has to be clear that the ruling is wrong to overturn it.

Was Hasselbeck's tackle a low block? I'm not qualified to comment on that one. Regardless, the ball was ours and the turnover is what wins the game, not the 15 yards we gained from the penalty.

Was the 3:1 ratio of Steeler fans unfair? No. Next time buy more tickets.

All in all it's nice to see Cowher win the big game. It's even nicer to see Pittsburgh alive like this. And as for the game itself, I like Gene Wojciechowski's take on it: "Short on artistry but long on emotion."

Thursday, February 02, 2006


I don't have the new Microsoft Office, but I'm going to take a wild guess and say there's a new "rejection letter" template on there. Let's take a look at the opening sentence of a few festival rejection letters we've recieved:

"This year, The Deep Ellum Film Festival had hundreds of submissions and the overall quality was higher than ever. This means that we must turn down many worthy films. Unfortunately, we did not select your film for screening at this year's Deep Ellum Film Festival."

"This year's Carolina Film & Video Festival received an onslaught of exceptional entries making it one of our most competitive fields ever. Despite the merits of your film, Captain Blasto , we are unable to screen it this year."

"We have had a record number of entries this year and the quality of films has been unprecedented. We have had some very difficult decisions to make and we’re sorry to say that your film has not been selected as one of our finalists.

Man, it seems that all these fests are just having record breaking years, with such phrases as "unprecedented" and "onslaught of exceptional entries."

Kind of stinks when you get home from a long day at work to find one of these, but this is how the festival world works. You submit a hundred, you get into a few, and we've been accepted into several wonderful ones. Really hoping to make it out to the Lake County fest because the more and more I hear about it and more and more I think it's the perfect place for a film like ours. Check them out at

Wednesday, February 01, 2006

Filmmaker Divided

I owe a lot of people an apology. I've become increasingly harder to get a hold of by both festivals and friends. I'm finding it's ridiculously hard to keep up with the Blasto work having a full time job (currently transitioning into a new position) and starting out with a wife of only 5 months. To solve this problem Ashley will really be stepping it up as a producer. She'll be handling more of the communication with film festivals (since I'm doing an awful job at it.)

Oh the brighter side, we made IMDB. Alot of missing information, but we'll get there. Check us out here.

Wednesday, January 25, 2006

2006 George Lindsey UNA Film Festival

Captain Blasto has made it through the preliminary judging process and is scheduled to screen between March 2nd - 4th at the 2006 George Lindsey UNA Film Festival in Florence, Alabama.

Check out the fest website at

Sunday, January 22, 2006

Super Bowl XL

We're going to the Super Bowl! What a game. How nice it was to not come within inches of five heart attacks. And did you notice that everyone in this picture vaguely looks like Geis?

Thursday, January 19, 2006

An Invention of Limitation

Picked up The Adventures of Superman on DVD. That's the old 50's Superman show starring George Reeves (no relation to Christopher Reeve). George Reeves eventually commited suicide and his life is being made into a movie right now starring Ben Affleck which of course makes me want to fill my mouth with molasses and killer bees. But that's not the point of the post.

The point is that while I was watching I kept trying to put myself into the shoes of a little kid back then. They LOVED this show. This is what really rocketed Superman into uber-popularity. And the whole time I'm seeing this middle aged guy leap out of windows in this awful costume and I'm wondering, "They loved THIS?" The effects are horrendously funny. The acting is just what you'd expect from a 50's show. Superman looks like about as heroic as your Uncle Ray.

But the more I thought about it, every medium that super-heroes have ever thrived on has been a very limited one. Superman, the very first super-hero, was created in the funny books. Cheap little black and white mini-mag's with awful little illustrations. He later entered homes through this little TV show. Spider-Man was made famous, not by the comic book, but by his cartoon in the 60's. I've seen flip books and buddy icons with better animation.

So why did people fall in love with these characters if they're only represented by such limited mediums and low budgets? Because the super-hero is essentially a character of imagination. The very core of a super-hero is just that, the ability to defy human limitations. Superman himself is an invention of limitation. A super-hero NEEDS limitation or else there is nothing to defy. Any guy can walk through a door. But not everyone can punch a hole through it.

This theory lends itself to the consistent failure of box office super-heroes. (Failure in my regard is not measured by box office money, but rather quality of story.) With hundreds of millions of dollars poured into movies like Fantastic Four, Batman Begins, and the upcoming Superman Returns, there is NO limitation. Limitation breeds creativity. Unlimited resources breeds laziness. George Lucas should have learned this by now. If you use computers to create great fictional characters and landscapes you've removed the option of the audience using their imagination to fill in the edges. They don't need to, it's right there. And if you remove the audiences ability to use their imagination, they're not going to be engaged. Understand why kids are then so easily sucked into cheesy cartoons?

Should we withold budgets then? Should we ask Bryan Singer to make a film on 10 million as opposed to 200? Should we make special effects so bad that you have to use your imagination? No. But with every resource at their disposal, he'll never be half as super as he is trapped inside that comic book or those old Fleischer cartoons.

Superman needs to be wrapped in chains, just to show everyone he can break out of them. Maintain limitations, because then you'll be forced to be more creative than you ever could have been.

Tuesday, January 17, 2006

Harrison Ford's Monkey Pounce

Just saw a preview for Harrison Ford's new movie. No clue what it's called. Something about a bank robbery and his family being taken hostage. When will terrorists get it? Don't take Harrison Ford's family hostage.

There's a shot in the trailer of Harrison Ford jumping onto one of the terrorists. I realized I've seen that exact same jump before. You may have seen this jump in Air Force One (jumping to get the gun while fighting a guy down in the hold right after the missle nearly hits), or you might have seen it in Clear and Present Danger (leaping away from the exploding SUV's.) He has one of the most unique and distinctive jumps. He leaps with EVERYTHING he's got. His face is stricken with adreneline. But the part of the pounce that is distinctly Mr. Ford is the body language. I can't find a picture on the internet, but you'd know it if you saw it. He looks uncoordinated. His elbows are oddly close. His hands are wide open, fingers separated. His legs are just flailing back there. I really hope he's got a mattress off screen, because there is no way he's landing gracefully. And that's what distinguishes Ford from other action star actors. He leaps like a normal human would when trying to escape an explosion.

Now if only he was in a new film jumping for a whip as a large stone slab slowly closes to nearly crush his fedora hat. But that will only happen in a world where Lucas isn't crazy, and unfortunately, that's not this one.

Sunday, January 15, 2006

A Pictures Worth a Thousand Words

So here's 4000.

Two years in a row. Here we come Denver.

Saturday, January 14, 2006

Character vs. Celebrity

Just saw Fun with Dick and Jane last weekend. It was okay. A couple funny parts. I find myself giving that review a lot more often these days. Kind of tired of seeing just "okay" movies. The big anchor that was holding the movie down is something that claims a lot of movies. The star was too big for the character. I wasn't watching "Dick" struggle to climb the corporate ladder, I was watching Jim Carrey throw his rubber band body around. How can Jim Carrey EVER play anything than...Jim Carrey? You'd never be fooled.

Sometimes actors become too unique, weird, or popular in and(or) outside of their films that they become their own "character" and are incredibly less effective as an actor. They can't step into a character because they eclipse it with their own. Here's some examples:

1. War of the Worlds - 2005
We were supposed to see a dead beat dad struggle amongst an alien invasion to protect his children. What we got was Tom Cruise. We've spent so many movies watching Tom Cruise shoot, jump, punch his way around corrupt law firms, super tech CIA computers, and F-14 Tomcats. Not for one second did you think he could fail. This is no dead beat dad, this is freakin' Maverick. How much more power would that film have carried, had the dad been played by an aging, overwheight, sloppy looking man? The type you imagine the very second you hear the words "child support."

2. Daredevil - (2003)
rated CP's number 1 worst movie of all time

I don't care how much red leather you throw on him, that is still Ben Affleck. It is quite a difficult feat to attempt to take a long standing, much loved character that in itself, without a human face attached, is popular. To then try and put an actor caught up in tabloid spectacles into that mask is a crime. We won't see Daredevil. We'll just see J-Lo.

Richard Donner did it best when he chose Christopher Reeve, a complete unknown, to be Superman. Warner Bros. wanted Robert Redford or Paul Newman. But all you'd be seeing is Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid.

The problem when you put an unknown into an already established and cherished character is that if they do a bad job, they never act again, and if they do a great job, they're typecasted as THAT character the rest of their career.

3. The Family Stone (2005)
This is a different case. This isn't a single overwhelming person. This is a film where it is just too big of a stretch to put too many well known actors into a family, to the point where you can't possibly buy that they ARE a family. We've got Diane Keaton, Craig T. Nelson, Rachel McAdams, Luke Wilson, etc. It just takes a lot of "willing suspension" to buy that Annie Hall, Coach, The Notebook Girl, and Richie Tenenbaum all grew up together. To put together a cast like this could be killer. It just takes ridiculously good actors. The example of this pulled off flawlessly? The Godfather (1972), but even Pacino was an unknown back then.

So what's the answer to this? Always cast unknowns? The very second you become popular, you shouldn't get hired again? No. Not at all. See Naploeon Dynamite's Jon Heder about this. He'll forever be Napoleon Dynamite and any movie he does from this point on people will say, "It's that movie with Napoleon Dynamite in it."

While I do agree that unknowns are required for certain roles, I don't think that should ALWAYS be the case. I just think that directors should be careful what type of actors they cast. Do you want people to come to see the celebrity, or do you want them to come and be engaged by the story and the characters? Sure Jim Carrey will draw in some crowds, but unless he's funnier than anything we've ever seen him in thus far, then they'll be leaving the theater to never see your movie again.

Wednesday, January 11, 2006

A Message to Michael Bay

You all know Michael Bay. He's the genius that brought you Ben Affleck playing with animal crackers on Liv Tyler's stomach. We'll he's busy working on new ways to ruin your life.

Michael Bay is set to direct the Transformers movie. While reading Aint It Cool News today I came across this from Harry Knowles: "When he was very first being tied to this, he felt he kinda didn't want to do it, but after all this work he feels that he's found a really cool film that kids and Transformers fans are going to really get behind."

If you "didn't want to do it" then DON'T DO IT. There are MILLIONS of Transformers fans. There are probably THOUSANDS of talented directors willing to do any number of Fear Factor tests to get that type of opportunity. But in the usual backwards Hollywood way they give the movie to someone who doesn't care about the source. This is my plea to Hollywood. STOP giving the directing rights of famous characters/stories to people who did not LOVE them when they were young. You know what happens when you get a director like Michael Bay to make a movie about something that MILLIONS love and he is fairly indifferent to. You get an AWFUL movie. Because he changes the original material into something that HE likes, not what it was, not what everyone fell in love with. Something that Michael "Armeggedon" "The Rock" "The Island" "Pearl Harbor" Bay likes.

What did we learn from Lord of the Rings? Peter Jackson LOVED the books. Therefore he'll do a darn good job bringing them to the screen. Sorry to say he couldn't do the same with King Kong.

Friday, January 06, 2006

Lake County Film Fest

Captain Blasto has been selected for the Lake County Film Festival in Illinois. The festival will be screening a new shorter cut of Blasto on Saturday, March 4th at 4:30 pm. You can check out the festival at: