You can nominate Captain Blasto for a Streamy Award, given to the best of web series entertainment by the International Academy of Web Television!
Simply GO HERE and add your nomination to Best Comedy Series, Best Directing Comedy Series, Best Editing, Best Art Direction, Best Original Music, and Best Artistic Concept in a Web Series.
Tuesday, December 23, 2008
You can nominate Captain Blasto for a Streamy Award, given to the best of web series entertainment by the International Academy of Web Television!
Saturday, December 20, 2008
Monday, December 15, 2008
Monday, November 24, 2008
Saturday, November 15, 2008
Wednesday, November 12, 2008
Tuesday, November 11, 2008
We're running a special contest in cooperation with the fine folks at Extra Life and you can win yourself a signed Captain Blasto poster!
PRIZES: TWO(2) winners will receive a 23×35 CAPTAIN BLASTO POSTER, signed by Christopher Preksta and Aaron Kleiber (Colin & Daryl).
HOW TO WIN: Watch the series, answer the following THREE (3) questions correctly, and email your answers to CHRIS@CAPTAINBLASTO.COM with the subject line “BLASTO CONTEST.” TWO (2) winners will be selected at random from correct entries. You are only permitted ONE (1) entry. Multiple entries will be ignored. Entries will be closed at 11:59 PM on Thursday, November 20th. Winners will be chosen on Friday, November 21st.
1) During their first burglary, WHAT COLOR WALKIE TALKIES do Colin and Daryl use?
2) WHAT BOWLING SCORE does Daryl boast?
3) HOW MANY foam bricks does the crew throw at Captain Blasto?
Monday, November 10, 2008
Friday, November 07, 2008
Thursday, October 30, 2008
Wednesday, October 29, 2008
Enjoying the Captain Blasto series? Then help us pass the word along BEFORE the series reaches it's end! Here's two easy ways.
Embed an Episode
Visit http://www.youtube.com/blastoseries to grab your favorite episode and share it on Facebook, MySpace, Twitter, or your own blog.
Pass a Link
Simply share http://www.captainblasto.com in your Facebook or Twitter status.
Many thanks, and as always, thanks for watching!
Tuesday, October 14, 2008
We've been flooded with emails and comments asking where Captain Blasto Episode 10 is. I'm here to tell you it is on it's way. The production team has been on location shooting an entirely new series which has made it difficult to maintain the Blasto schedule. But rest assured it will be here within the next few days. Thanks for your patience!
Wednesday, September 24, 2008
Wednesday, September 17, 2008
The Clip Show, a fantastic web show that showcases popular online video clips and series, gave a GREAT review of Captain Blasto on their latest episode. They ranked the series a 12 out of 13 on their classic rating system. Thanks Jim and the Clip Show crew for spreading the word!
You can see the episode HERE. (The Blasto review is roughly halfway through.) I suggest checking out this show regardless.
SHOW NOTE: Now that power has been restored, Episode 9 is on its way! Thanks for your patience.
Monday, September 15, 2008
Monday, September 08, 2008
Spent the weekend at various flea markets, thrift stores, and garage sales. I'm looking for an old television (the channel dials/rabbit ears variety). Unfortunately the flea markets were made up of VHS tapes, baby formula, nunchucks, and snow tiger throw blankets.
If you have an old television that you would allow us to have/borrow for our upcoming series, we would be INCREDIBLY thankful. Your donation will earn you a credit in the film along with knowing that YOUR television is in a VERY important scene.
Comment here or email me at chris - at - mercurymenpictures.com.
Daisy Whitney of TVWeek.com did a great case study on Captain Blasto over at WebVideoReport.com. The article is a discussion on the transformation of Blasto from an independent feature film to a web series. It also has a FANTASTIC title, "Captain Blasto Obliteratres Film-Web Video Barrier." Captain Blasto obliterating ANYTHING is good in my book.
You can read the article HERE.
And check out Daisy's own series, New Media Minute.
After a short Labor Day delay, Captain Blasto episode 8 has arrived, in which much thickening of plot occurs.
Wednesday, September 03, 2008
Tuesday, August 26, 2008
Monday, August 25, 2008
Now's your chance to be a regular Roger Ebert! Help the Apple iTunes team take notice of Captain Blasto by writing a review. The more reviews, the better chance it has of being seen, and right now we only have THREE. Three stinking reviews? Well that just aint right.
Simply click the link below and submit YOUR review!
Click here to go to the Captain Blasto iTunes page.
Friday, August 22, 2008
The production team here at Mercury Men Pictures is gearing up for a new feature project we'll be shooting in October. One of the locations needed is an OFFICE WITH CUBICLES. Oddly enough, it's been a difficult location to get secured, even through the Pittsburgh film office.
If you know of or work in a Pittsburgh area office which you think may work, please comment on this post or email me at chris @ mercurymenpictures.com.
If we get to use the location we'll give you a CREDIT in the film, tickets to the premiere, and a copy of the finished film on DVD to thank you for your contribution.
Wednesday, August 20, 2008
Monday, August 18, 2008
GenCon Indianapolis proved to be a fantastic trip. We had two great screenings of both Captain Blasto and Mercury Men, each followed with a half hour Q&A session where we passed out mini-posters. To all who attended, thanks for checking out the films!
Also screening this year was A Great Disturbance, a Star Wars mockumentary I was part of. Once again, two great screenings and Q&A sessions. What's great about the GenCon crowd is that they get jokes that many other audiences don't. It was really nice to hear the "Green Lantern" joke from Blasto Episode 5 get laugh.
Beyond the films, we got to see/play some great games. Kleiber picked up Last Night on Earth a zombie survival game. Geis went with Settlers of Catan, which is the world's most famous "underground" board game, and despite the horrible box art, is actually quite fun. I came home with the Savage Worlds core role playing guide. The hot game of the weekend was Monsterpocalypse, miniatures game of giant creaters, robots, and UFO's fighting amongst buildings ala Godzilla. Yes it's true, we don't just play dorks, we actually are.
Okay, back to getting Episode 7 uploaded.
Thursday, August 14, 2008
Monday, August 11, 2008
Sunday, August 10, 2008
Thursday, August 07, 2008
Captain Blasto is the #1 featured video on YouTube!
Just wanted to extend a sincere thank you and welcome to all the new YouTube subscribers. We're thrilled you're enjoying the series and hope you dig the upcoming episodes. (The next one is good!) If you've got a moment, please share an episode with a friend that hasn't seen it yet. It's incredibly appreciated!
You can follow Captain Blasto on twitter at http://twitter.com/captainblasto.
You can join the Blasto Facebook group here.
You can subscribe on iTunes here.
Thanks again and the enjoy the show!
Thanks Eric for the fantastic review!
Tuesday, August 05, 2008
Monday, August 04, 2008
Saturday, August 02, 2008
The Mercury Men short was awarded the Second Grand Prize (the highest award the festival offers) at the Brainwash Drive-in Movie Festival last week. Unfortunately the screening took place during Comic Con so we weren't able to be there. Would have been great to see the film at a drive-in. Regardless, congratulations to the cast and crew.
This is the film's first award so we're obviously thrilled!
TMM was also briefly featured in an article about the festival which you can read here.
Tuesday, July 29, 2008
Thursday, July 24, 2008
Wednesday, July 23, 2008
Blasto is doing great racking up the hits on our own website and on iTunes, but for some reason it's just not getting noticed on YouTube, which of course makes us sad. An episode will get tens of thousands of hits over on captainblasto.com and only THIRTY on YouTube. What's the deal?
That's why I'm asking you, the faithful Blasto fans, for help in starting the YouTube wildfire. Please take a moment and subscribe to the Blasto YouTube channel by clicking here.
And please, share an episode with your friends on YouTube or Facebook. Thanks!
Monday, July 21, 2008
Sunday, July 20, 2008
Myself (Chris Preksta) and Curt Wootton of Captain Blasto will be attending the San Diego Comic Con this week. While we won't be parked at a booth, I am ridiculously tall, so there's a good chance you may just spot me. (If you have a booth, let us know and we'll stop by.)
We'll be at the screening of our short concept film, The Mercury Men, which is playing the comic con film festival on Sunday, July 27th, at 2:00 PM in Room 26AB. Please stop by, we'd love to meet you.
Friday, July 11, 2008
The trailer to Captain Blasto has been featured on the front page of MySpaceTV in the United Kingdom. How you can you see it here in the US? Click here, choose UK, and then click MySpaceTV at the top of the MySpace UK page. While you're there, why not give it a rating.
You can see the Captain Blasto MySpace channel here.
Wednesday, July 09, 2008
Tuesday, July 08, 2008
Colin and Daryl are joined by a crew of middle-aged comic crooks in staging their biggest robbery yet, a local lock-and-key shop.
Sunday, July 06, 2008
Friday, July 04, 2008
I recently did an interview for the Comics Waiting Room, an online comics magazine, which features Captain Blasto as it's cover story. Thanks to Elliott Serrano for putting together a great article.
You can read the interview at http://www.comicswaitingroom.com/captainblasto.html.
Tuesday, July 01, 2008
If you're reading this blog then you must be a fan of the Captain Blasto series. (Or you did a search on the Kurt Russel movie Captain Ron and you somehow ended up here.) If that's the case then we're asking you to help us spread the word (about Blasto, not Ron). And here's a few easy ways to do that.
Subscribe to Captain Blasto on iTunes
Even if you don't have an iPod. By subscribing you're bringing the series to the attention of the good folks at Apple which increases our chances of being featured on the iTunes Podcast page. You can also write/post a review on the Captain Blasto iTunes page which also helps. You can find Blasto on iTunes here.
Share Captain Blasto through YouTube
We've all grabbed the embed code from a YouTube video and posted it to a friends myspace, Facebook, or blog page. Share an episode of Blasto. You can find Blasto on YouTube here.
Join the Blasto Facebook Group
When you join a Facebook group all of your friends see it in their news feed. You can find the Blasto Facebook group here.
Pass out Blasto Postcards
Here at Blasto HQ we've got these fine color postcards promoting the show. Send us an e-mail at email@example.com and we'll get a small stack out to you. And to thank you for helping us out, we'll send you a free Captain Blasto poster.
And lastly, a genuine thank you to each of you watching the series!
Some great news came in recently for The Mercury Men, a short film we produced as a concept for our upcoming web series.
The Mercury Men will be screening at the San Diego Comic-Con International Independent Film Festival on July 27th. (2:05 PM, Room 26AB) The film was selected by Tom DeSanto (producer of X-Men and Transformers) and Borys Kit (senior film writer at The Hollywood Reporter). The Comic-Con film festival can be found at http://www.comic-con.org/cci/cci_iff.shtml
TMM will also be screening at the Action On Film International Film Festival on July 30th at the Laemelle Theater in Pasadena, CA. On top of that, TMM was nominated for Best Visual Effects, Best Sci-Fi Film, and Best Short Film! The AOF Film Festival can be found at http://www.aoffest.com
If you happen to be attending Comic-Con or live in the San Diego or Pasadena area, I encourage you to come check out the screening and introduce yourself.
Tuesday, June 24, 2008
Congratulations to Aaron Kleiber (Daryl) and his wife Wendy who became new parents today with the birth of their daughter Rebecca.
Also, a belated congratulations to Alan Schultz (technical producer) and his wife Melissa who also have a new daughter, Amelia, now only ten days old.
Monday, June 23, 2008
Friday, June 20, 2008
Wednesday, June 18, 2008
Blasto has hit Aint it Cool News! The insanely popular and geeky movie news/reviews site, of which I've been a reader for many years, posted a fantastic review this morning. Here's an excerpt:
This is no fan-fic film you see as you wander through YouTube or a Convention room floor. There are really impressive production values at work. The story wallows in fun. Its characters are having a blast. The humor is smart and crisp, like an extremely intelligent head of lettuce. Camera angles are skewed and exciting. The screen sections itself off into panels (a helluva lot more effectively than Ang Lee’s HULK) and fits the fun mood laid out. I love the mixture of comic book drawings with the live action looniness. If I were to pitch this to a big time Hollywood exec, I’d say it’s CLERKS meets FIGHT CLUB; a light-hearted romp about the drudgery of human existence and the lengths man will go to crawl out from that drudge. It’s also pretty funny when Blasto pounds the would-be criminal with a trash can over and over.
Get in on the ground floor and see what I’m talking about. It’s got laughs that made me chuckle even after multiple viewings. Don’t miss this one. New episodes are going to drop every week. It’s freakin’ free and worth so much more. Check out the first episode. I guarantee you’ll be hooked.
Tuesday, June 17, 2008
I'm in the middle of writing a new feature, and in the midst of the struggle to create a great action /adventure film on a micro budget I thought it appropriate to repost something from a few years back. Enjoy.
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, June 10, 2008
That boring plane ride just got a little better because Captain Blasto is now available to subscribe and download on iTunes! You can watch each weekly episode on your iPod or iPhone.
Just click the subscribe button at http://www.captainblasto.com
or simply by clicking the link below:
Wednesday, June 04, 2008
Episodes 1 & 2 of the new weekly web series are online now!
Watch them now at www.captainblasto.com.
If you've got a minute, please pass the link along to friends, family, and co-workers as we try to spread the word about the new series. It would be greatly appreciated by Team Blasto.
Monday, June 02, 2008
For those of you reading this on the Blasto blog and not on Facebook or via RSS feed, you'll notice a new e-mail form on the right. Toss in your e-mail address to get Blasto news and updates. We promise we won't be sending you an e-mail every three seconds, only important stuff.
You can also sign-up at captainblasto.com.
Wednesday, May 28, 2008
If you've seen or talked to me in the past week then my disdain for the new Indiana Jones movie is no secret. While I have a great analysis of the film after many conversations and debates, I'll spare you the essay. (Ask me in person or comment below if you'd care to hear/discuss.)
The question I almost always get asked when I dislike a movie is: what were you expecting? As if my standards are set to high or that I've become cynical and jaded. No, I WANTED to love this film as I go into EVERY film rooting for it, hoping it doesn't let me down. Nowadays, they rarely don't.
Was I expecting this film to be better than Raiders of the Lost Ark? Absolutely not. That movie is lightning in a bottle. But when a film is being developed for 19 years, has draft after draft of scripts written by industry heavyweights (Frank Darabont - Shawshank Redemption, The Green Mile, Jeff Nathanson - Catch Me if You Can, David Koepp - Jurassic Park, Spider-Man 1 & 2), has hundreds of millions of dollars at it's disposal, and is a collaboration of the four BEST filmmakers (Spielberg, Lucas, Ford, and Williams) in all of the WORLD, I expect something great and I have every right to.
Have we become so barraged with crap that our expectations have plummeted? Have we become so used to flimsy and heartless stories with computer effects that we now applaud mediocrity? Should the slightly above average Iron Man be the new gold standard? Should we give Indy the thumbs up simply because "it was fun?" 19 years, millions of dollars, best of the business, and all they were able to provide was some fun for 120 minutes? Even my dog could accomplish the same feat. And while it may sound cliche, the ticket price of a movie has skyrocketed and the mild amusement aint worth it anymore. (Get those tickets back down to five bucks and you'll see expectations drop real quick.)
No, I believe films, filmmakers, and filmgoers need to set their sights a bit higher. Outrageous resources, large enough to change the course of small nations, are poured into these projects and people. To whom much is given, much is expected.
Friday, May 23, 2008
Captain Blasto is now on Facebook. You can join the group at http://www.facebook.com/group.php?gid=19976281997.
Also, the new trailer to the upcoming web series is up and running in Quicktime on the official site, http://www.captainblasto.com.
Episodes 1 & 2 will be premiering soon!
Tuesday, May 13, 2008
At festivals, talking with other filmmakers and audience members, the question of the day is usually, "What are you hoping is going to happen with your movie?" Nine out of ten times the answer is some sort of distribution deal. Over the last few years, ever since Robert Rodriguez busted open the indie dream with a $7,000 film, there's been an surge of low, micro, and no budget films all competing for that grand distribution prize. But I believe that well has run dry. Big budget films are having a hard enough time competing with one another, along with video games and video on demand, and are given just over a week before being yanked away to DVD. Why in the world would studios take a risk on some low budget independent film? Speed Racer is losing money. George Clooney's Leatherheads was a whisp of smoke, here one second, gone in an instant. What hope do the little films have?
Here's more proof, via Indiepix blog:
- ThinkFilm, in a financial crises having overpaid for films that it can’t make money on in distribution, sells its catalog to a Canadian investor/speculator.
- New Line Cinema, respected for its having pioneered “edgy” films into the mass market, is closed by Warner Bros; 450 jobs in NY and LA lost.
- Picturehouse, run by top indie film distributor Bob Berney, is closed by Warner and titles folded into the studio.
- Warner Independent, the so-called “independent” arm of Warner managed by a former studio exec, Polly Cohen, is closed and folded into the studio.
- Cablevision, owner of the IFC channel, successfully bids an estimated $500 million for the Sundance Channel, now controls all cable presentation of independent film.
- Discovery Networks, after purchasing rights to and then declining to show “Taxi to the Dark Side“, Discovery is rumoured to be closing their independent film activity and may cut back on their support of Silver Docs.
Another example. Let's look at two projects.
Captain Blasto. Took three years to make. Cost $7,000, an additional $2,000 to have DVD's pressed, and roughly $1000 in advertising. To submit to a single film festival costs approx. $45, and we've easily spent hundreds on entering countless fests. If you're not accepted, that money just disappears. If you are accepted you now pay airfare, hotel, food, transportation, etc. A successful screening ends up being approx. 100 - 200 people. Often times that number lingers more around 40, and I've seen as low as 12. All that money for a few dozen people? Well, maybe there's a producer/distributor on the hunt at least. At Sundance sure, to bid on that William H. Macy movie he heard great things about, but they're not at the other eight zillion festivals looking for that goofy film from Munhall. In total, I estimate that approx. 3,000 - 5,000 people have seen Blasto in it's entirety.
Luigi Story. Made in just over two weeks. Cost $100 for some overalls and fake mustaches. Posted to YouTube and advertised the link on a handful of video game blogs. Currently the short has been seen on various sites by over one million people.
Times are changing. The new distribution model, whether it is video on demand or internet, has not solidified itself. We're entering a new season where people are going to be trying all sorts of stuff. Some will work, most won't. I know I've been giving my next project A LOT of thought. What is the best end product? Direct to DVD? Digital download? Web series?
Welcome to no man's land.
Monday, May 12, 2008
I haven't kept my reservations and apprehensions towards the Speed Racer movie secret. Just a few posts ago I wrote that it looked a little too "Spy Kids" for me. Saw the movie on an opening day matinée and I have to admit, it's fantastic! Much better than Iron Man, which is the buzz movie at the moment. It was so good I had to see it again the very next day, and I'm sure they'll be at least another viewing before this ducks out of theaters. Very few films have surprised me like that.
I often complain about filmmakers taking cartoons/comics and changing them to the point where it doesn't resemble the original cartoon in any way shape or form (Transformers or the upcoming G.I. Joe for example.) This film is literally a translation of the cartoon to the screen, down to the tiniest detail. It's not the cartoon adapted into a real world. It's an original universe with races that seem born out of Mario Kart rather than Nascar.
The producers have been marketing this film completely wrong. They continuously show all these candy coated trailers of cars flying around, and while those scenes are INFINITELY better on screen (and in context) than they appear in the trailers, there's a lot more to this movie then CGI cars. I was shocked by the strong theme of family throughout this film, especially scenes between Speed, Rex, and their father Pops.
I have to warn you though, while this movie gets my highest recommendation (something I don't do too often on here) I don't think everyone will like this movie. But there's an easy test. The first 7 minutes of the film is online (embedded below.) These opening scenes capture the film perfectly. If you like what you see, you'll love the film.
Click here to watch.
UPDATE: I've been getting lots of e-mails asking, "Are you seriously recommending this movie?" The short answer: absolutely. The long answer: while this movie does have it's problems (especially a rather slow second act), the first act, the third act, and lots of great scenes peppered throughout the second act overcome all it's faults.
Tuesday, May 06, 2008
Finally able to post the news.
Early this summer you'll be seeing Blasto in a new form, a web series. We've cut the film down into 5-8 minute episodes which will be released online each week for absolutely free through both the main site and iTunes. We've also taken the time to do some color correction, so Blasto will look better than it ever has. (Or maybe we'll go the George Lucas route and throw a bunch of CGI creatures singing into the Lock and Key Heist.) On top of that we're trying to offer some new content for long time Blasto fans in the form of previously unreleased behind-the-scenes footage.
Why are we doing it? Simple really. We'd like it to be seen by as many people as possible.
I'll keep ya posted with details in the very near future. If you haven't picked up a DVD yet, the original cut will remain on sale through the main site until the series premiere in June. All future DVD sales will be of the new, shorter cut, with older footage as a deleted scenes special feature. Supplies of the original cut are incredibly limited (50 or so left) so if you'd like to own a copy, I suggest ordering soon.
Monday, April 28, 2008
This morning I got up early to get alot of work done on a current project. After 6.5 hours of work, without a single break, my computer froze for the fifteenth time. The project file became corrupted and everything I had done was lost.
I will NEVER do another film project on a Windows computer again. Never.
My apologies to the basket of blankets in the corner of our bedroom which suffered the wrath of Microsoft's incompetence.
Friday, April 25, 2008
Been writing all this week which means there's dozens of index cards lining our apartment floor. It's basically like a giant puzzle. So far the story has a REALLY strong first act, a pretty solid third act, and lots of great ideas in the second act that don't quite connect to one another just yet. I have to play around with the placement of current ideas, constantly contribute new ideas, and toss out ideas that no matter how much I may like them, just don't seem to be working.
Mercury Men is a tricky story to tell only because I know beforehand the production will have limited resources. It'd be easy to write, "the Employee dives through the sparkling window, catching the leg of the hovering helicopter moments before plunging to the street below," but making a scene like that happen is impossible. Therefore I have to force myself to come up with creative action sequences based in an office environment. No, our lowly office employee can't hang from the bottom of a helicopter, but what if he was attacked inside a small elevator without a weapon or an escape? That can be just as intense.
I also have to keep telling myself to keep the story incredibly simple. I decided to pursue this film strictly because it can be made cheap and quickly. I don't want it to get bogged down with a complicated story. Mercury Men is more of a fable or fairy tale. A simple story of a man who needed the very moon to come crashing down before he'd change his life.
Sunday, April 20, 2008
Okay I lied. One more bit of geeky news.
Caught this interview in Entertainment Weekly and the opening question sets things off wonderfully. I can't imagine an answer to a question capturing George Lucas any better.
EW: So why resurrect Indy after all these years?
GEORGE LUCAS: We're doing it to have fun. We're not doing it to say, Oh, we're gonna get an Academy Award, everybody's gonna love us.... We don't need the money. We're only going to get aggravation. The fans think it's gonna be the Second Coming. And it's not the Second Coming. They've already written the story [in their heads], and lemme tell ya, it's not that story. So they're going to be very disappointed. I went through this with Phantom Menace. Believe me, I've been there, I've done it, I know exactly the way they react. And they're very vocal about these things. We're not gonna have adoring fans sending us e-mails saying how much they loved the movie. We're gonna have a bunch of angry people saying, ''You're a bunch of a--holes, you should never have done this. You've ruined my life forever. I loved Indiana Jones so much and now it's ruined.'' And all that kind of stuff.
STEVEN SPIELBERG: Uh, he needs to speak for himself here. [Laughter all around] You need to put in parentheses ''George Lucas is totally speaking for himself.'' And I absolve myself of any connection with that last statement about fans not liking it.
Saturday, April 19, 2008
Figure I ought to take a break from writing about my thoughts on geeky movies and talk a little business here. The number one question I get asked lately is, "What are you working on now?" Well here's the skinny.
The Mercury Men feature adaptation. I began converting the Mercury Men short into a feature length project which takes a bit deeper into the Employee's life and the world of "The League." Think Die Hard meets Flash Gordon. It's a simple and fun film that can be shot in two weeks with a minimal budget. Planning on filming this before the end of the year.
For those of you who have yet to see the Mercury Men short, send me an e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org and I'll send ya a link.
Production Company. A few months ago I finally formed a production company, Mercury Men Pictures, to finance/produce small budget shorts, features, and web content. It's over at http://mercurymenpictures.com. The company is developing the Mercury Men feature and an untitled short project. It's long overdue, but anyone that knows me knows I'm not Mr. Businessman so I've been dragging my feet.
Captain Blasto project. I hate to be mysterious, but unfortunately I can't go into details on this just yet. I'll break word on here very soon. What I can say is Blasto will be coming in a new format and I'm pretty excited to see how it pans out.
Friday, April 18, 2008
I am a big fan of the 60's Speed Racer cartoon. It used to play back-to-back with Johnny Quest (another CP favorite) when I was kid. While the show was cheaply made by constantly reusing shots and backgrounds in a different order, it had a good concept, unique style, and a fantastic show intro and theme song. I loved that each race took place in some perilous location like the inside of a volcano. On top of that, Speed was just in it to win, while EVERY OTHER racer was there to kill him. No wonder his car needed giant hidden buzz saws. Just look at that terrified expression on his face. I'd look like that while driving too, only without the scarf.
Since the cartoon holds a special place in my DVD collection, I'm a little apprehensive about the upcoming Speed Racer movie, which I'm sure you don't find too shocking. First what I like:
Michael Giacchino's soundtrack. He's the composer responsible for the Incredibles (one of the best soundtracks in the last 10 years). I got to sample some of his score today and it's FANTASTIC. To hear the theme music with a full roaring orchestra is already worth the ticket price.
The car. No doubt about it, that's the Mach 5. Forget Knight Rider, Connery's Aston Martin, or the Batmobile, the Mach 5 is the only car I'd ever plunk down millions for.
John Goodman as Pops Racer. Not only does he look spot on, but Goodman will always hold a special place in my heart after that episode of Roseanne where he throws everything out of the house.
And now the bad. While I love the fact they're going "cartooney" with the look of the film, it just all looks a little too Spy Kids for me. Each frame of this movie is so "busy" it's just a hair away from being a Magic Eye picture. As opposed to cramming the screen with as many CG elements as possible I'd think a simpler, colorful, 60's cartoon look would fit the film. The entire cartoon was about simplicity. They couldn't afford to load up the screen with tons of elements they didn't have the time or manpower to animate.
All that being said I'll reserve judgment until I've actually seen the film. And I am pulling for it. I really want it to be fun. In the meantime, there's always this:
Thursday, April 17, 2008
Dr. Jones on the Big Screen
I saw the trailer to the new Indiana Jones film on the big screen for the first time last week. While watching it I had a sad realization. I have never seen an Indiana Jones film in a theater. I was alive for all three films, but for some reason or another my grandfather or mother never took me to see them. I absolutely loved the films as a kid, but that came by television as the movie of the week. (I clearly remember struggling to watch the dinner scene in Temple of Doom which is terrifying to a 7 year old.) The only times I've ever seen Indy on the big screen was the Last Crusade trailer back in early '89 and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skulls last week.
While that is a sad confession to make, it also brought to light something very exciting. On May 22nd, like many children born post-1989, I will get to see an Indiana Jones film in theaters for the very first time.
"When I'm hanging from the back of a truck I like to eat..."
This morning I discovered that my box of Cocoa Krispies were covered with images of a fedora clad Harrison Ford swinging the whip. Inside was a spoon that looks like a temple column complete with snakes, vines, and cracked stone skulls. Isn't it fantastic that rather than talking trucks, teenage wizards, or CGI animals we get new Harrison Ford merchandise for a while? It's good to have him back.
My 7 year old brother Peter got an Indiana Jones Lego set for Christmas which has sparked a new interest in the old grave robber. It follows Indy through the temple in the opening of Raiders of the Lost Ark and includes every single booby trap from the film. (It even comes with the bi-plane complete with Jock the pilot and his pet snake Reggie, which sounds perverted when typed out like that.) In preparation for the new film we watched the three originals this past weekend. It was fantastic to see him experience them for the first time. He would hide his face as the Ark melted the Nazi faces. He couldn't wait to see the chilled monkey brains. And the questions he would ask were fantastic. "Why are the bad guys trying to get Jesus' cup?"
Wednesday, April 16, 2008
Friday, April 04, 2008
As part of my recent obsession with space I've been watching some old Disney Tomorrowland films. Tonight there was a great film about Walt's original design for EPCOT (embedded below), which was light years away from what it is today. Walt envisioned it as a city of the future, home to over 24,000 people. EPCOT is actually an acronym for Experimental Prototype Community of Tomorrow.
While in hindsight it's easy to look back on such an idea as a bit grandiose and out of reach, but I was shocked to discover just how much time, passion, and especially resources were devoted to the project. This was an endeavor that utilized many of America's largest corporations working together and would have cost billions of dollars. Billions, on some grand dream of a city of the future? Can you imagine? Unfortunately Walt died in the early planning stages and what resulted is the place you see today, some lame "science" park with rides about the body or fossil fuels.
There seemed to be a lot of grand ideas like EPCOT in the first half of the twentieth century. There were World Fair's highlighting the great dreams of the world's future which have left us little more than the Eiffel Tower. Even the films of the time seemed to be so incredibly hopeful and optimistic of where mankind would find itself in the later half of the century. Not only did we dream big, we actually devoted ourselves to achieving them. Hell, we made it to the moon in under a decade. I can't help but wonder, where has that gone? No, I don't expect us to have flying cars, rocket packs, pill dinners, or any of the other outlandish predictions, but has our ability to dream on that scale died? Could a place like Tomorrowland be built today? I sure wish it were so.
In closing, a fantastic quote from Ray Bradbury.
“I came back from Paris one time about ten years ago, went to Disneyland, and I looked at the side of Sleeping Beauty’s Castle, and I called John Hench over at Imagineering, and I said, ‘I noticed something about Sleeping Beauty’s Castle: there’s a spire there that I saw last on top of Notre Dame in Paris! I said, ‘How long’s that been there, on Sleeping Beauty’s Castle?’ He said, ‘20 years.’ I said, ‘Who put it there?’ He said, ‘Walt did.’ And I said, ‘Why?’ ‘Because he loved it.’
I said, ‘Ah! That’s why I love Walt Disney.’ It cost $100,000 to build a spire you didn’t need! That’s the secret of [Walt] Disney, is doing things you don’t need and doing them well, and then you realize you needed ‘em all along."
Wednesday, April 02, 2008
Nearly all filmmakers can trace their love of movies back to telling really bad, really funny stories as children on Super 8 or VHS camcorders with their friends as actors. I personally have a whole bin full of awful and hysterical old films. I know some of you out there will remember Lighthouse Superheroes, BR, Youth TV, and the ORIGINAL Captain Blasto episodes.
Curt sent me this great little showcase of childhood filmmaking, complete with some hysterical gore and kung fu fighting. My favorite part is to see how he had to do post-production and edit. I'm sure there's many filmmakers out there, myself included, who worked there editing magic with two VCR's.
Be warned the video drops a few f-bombs in the beginning, so I wouldn't have the volume too loud if you're at work.
Sunday, March 30, 2008
Found out this week that Captain Blasto was accepted into the London Independent Film Festival. We entered the category for "no budget films" which is films made for under $20,000, a perfect category for this film. I don't know many details yet, other than it's playing at the end of June.
It's a shame there's very little chance of being able to attend, as bad as I want to, since the dollar is pretty freakin' low right now.
Keep ya posted as we find out more.
Wednesday, March 26, 2008
My great friend Missy Moreno is in a singing contest over on YouTube and would sure appreciate your vote. If you have 5 nanoseconds, please go to http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZE2EZH6gsGw and post a comment saying "I vote for Missy." It's that simple and literally only takes a second or two. If she gets enough votes she gets to visit/sing with Jennifer Hudson of Dreamgirls fame, and trust me, she deserves it.
Monday, March 24, 2008
I'm currently in "black and white phase." It seems that everything I'm writing, filming, and even thinking up recently is in black and white, as evidenced by The Mercury Men. Over the past year, as I discuss the two features I've been developing with various people there is always great concern over them being in black and white. I have to confess I've never quite understood the prejudice towards it. People say "it looks old." What's wrong with something that looks old? And I'd say classic before I said old. Others say "it's really bland, boring." To that I say you're bonkers. Tell me the inserted shots from The Third Man and Sin City look bland or boring. Can you imagine Sin City in color?
Orson Welles called black and white "an actor's best friend," because it focused the audiences attention on the actor rather than the sets, the costumes, etc. Not only do I agree, but I'd take it one step further and say it's a director's best friend as well. Black and white illuminates the framing and composition. Since the brain doesn't have to take in and process colors it focuses elsewhere and it just so happens to land on the most important parts.
I found this clip on YouTube today of Frank Darabont discussing how he had wanted to release his latest film The Mist in black and white. He claims the studios wouldn't even entertain the idea. I realize nobody could say how audiences would have reacted had the film been released in black and white but I know one thing for sure: they would have noticed it. When the trailers for The Mist hit screens it looked just like every other horror movie. Had it been black and white audiences would have at least paid a bit more attention for the simple reason that it looked different. Moriarty over at Aint It Cool News claims that had the film been in black and white it would have made his top ten films of the year, rather than lying around somewhere in the top 50. If only the studios would have been a bit more brave.