Sunday, February 24, 2008

Mercury Men DVD Artwork

Here's a look at the design for The Mercury Men DVD screeners. Notice it's not too far off from the concept art made a while back.

New Design
Concept Artwork

Friday, February 22, 2008


Thought I'd post some random film related stuff since the past few posts have mostly been Japanese related in some manner.

I just found out that Captain Blasto was the Jury Prize selection for Best Feature Film at GenCon 2007 Film Festival. That's right...2007. August 2007 to be precise. Unfortunately there was some miscommunication and I was never notified that it had won. I was not even aware that it had been accepted or was screening at all actually. I just happened to spot it while randomly checking a few sites yesterday. Regardless, it's an honor, and obviously everyone is thrilled. Throw another set of them palm branches up!

I'm heading to LA this Monday for meetings, meetings, and more meetings. I'm armed with two dozen copies of The Mercury Men and about as many of Captain Blasto. The Blasto DVD packaging was redesigned recently. The first packaging design seemed to confuse people into thinking the movie was animated. I've been swapping around the photos into different panels, so this image isn't final, but you get the idea.

Two DVD's which should be at the top of your list to watch. In the Shadow of the Moon, documenting NASA's Apollo program and the first moon landing, and King Of Kong: A Fistful of Quarters, about a science teachers run for the Donkey Kong world record. Both are remarkable in their own ways. Shadow of the Moon features some of the most stunning archive photography I've ever seen. Kong features a great stuggle against some of the pettiest enemies film has ever offered.

Thursday, February 21, 2008

Monday, February 18, 2008

Japan's National Anthem

Apparently Japan's national anthem, "Kimigayo," is often criticized much like our own. It's originally a poem dedicated to the Emperor, which is now just a figurehead in Japan. And what song has been suggested as a popular replacement...?

The Super Mario Bros. theme.

Nobuo Uematsu, composer of much of the Final Fantasy games, had this to say about it:

I'm sure everyone in the world -- no borderlines or age limit -- everyone in the world who's come across Super Mario's music will never forget that melody... I think that the Super Mario song should be the national anthem for Japan. [Hums the death refrain] So when someone wins a gold medal at the Olympics, a Japanese athlete, the flag should go up with the theme song.
Can you imagine the Japanese flag at the Olympics being raised to Super Mario Bros? Or better yet, the flag being lowered to the level end music?

Saturday, February 16, 2008

The Greatest Picture

From the Star Wars convention last year. I don't know if this was staged or not, but I love how each kid is vaguely posing in character.

(NOTE: I did not attend the convention. Just found this online.)

Friday, February 15, 2008

Christmas Card

You're officially a married couple when you send out Christmas cards. Typically it's a picture of the kids, or if you don't have any yet, the dog, or often times a combination of the two. But us Schnur-Preksta-Green's don't roll like that.

Above is the Christmas card we sent out this year. If you didn't get one it's simply because we didn't have your address. Either that or we don't know how to spell your names and rather than fess up to our incompetence we're simply going to withhold all general goodwill and camaraderie. In fact we even tried to stop all other Christmas cards from reaching your house so that we wouldn't look as bad. In cased you missed them: all the kids you barely know are growing fast and that dog looks hilarious in that Santa hat.

But now the error has been corrected and the card has been provided for your printing pleasure. So break out the Epson and Merry belated Christmas from the Schnur-Preksta-Green's.

Thursday, February 14, 2008

Indiana Jones

The new Indiana Jones trailer is up at:
Watching this has now become your highest priority.

Monday, February 11, 2008

Super Grover

For our first anniversary my wife Ashley bought me a framed poster of Super Grover (as seen above), painted by the indescribably talented Alex Ross. Super Grover's rare appearances were easily my favorite part of Sesame Street, which I chalk up as extension of my life-long love of Superman. I was even Super Grover for Halloween.

What I love about this poster, beyond simple nostalgia, is the combination of Alex Ross' mythic style with a silly little Muppet parody. This is how I imagine Grover would picture himself in his own mind. Not confined to only being seen from the waist up. Free of the those little sticks operating his arms. Soaring past us like the very hero he's imitating.

For me this poster illustrates a common super-hero theme and a belief I have long held: the hope that we can become more than our natural environment would normally allow. No longer confined by the situations or circumstances in which we find ourselves. It's a theme which I discover in all of my films and screenplays. Colin trying to break free from obscurity in Captain Blasto. The lowly office drone responsible for defending the universe in The Mercury Men. And in my own life, trying my damnedest to create a film career.

I can't speak for other arts or careers, but there is one thing that filmmaking has in abundance: criticism. It's nearly every day that you're being told what the value of your work is, that what your doing is foolish, and that you just aren't good enough. No wonder there's so many stories about egomaniacal directors. They had to build themselves up in their mind just to combat the onslaught of their early years.

And so in its own simple way, this poster serves as a reminder to me that even if I sometimes look or even feel like a silly Muppet parody, it's only a disguise concealing something far greater.

Sunday, February 10, 2008

Wrapping Up

Now that I've had a week or so of screenings and feedback, I'm in the final week of post-production on The Mercury Men. Along with some mild editing and contrast changes, I've been cleaning up a lot of the effects. The most drastic of these changes, as seen below, is the Invader lightning.I originally created the Invader's attack as a single simple bolt, but after a couple repeat viewings it just didn't really sell it for me. It just wasn't intimidating enough. The updated version features a more realistic bolt, which acts much closer to actual lightning. The final cut of the film will be completed within 2-3 days.

To Each His Own

One of the questions I often ask someone when I'm first getting to know them is what their favorite movie is. You can tell a lot about someone based on their favorite films. (It's a Wonderful Life is mine. Analyze away.) Favorite films illustrates a unique aspect of life: what one person may cherish, another may be completely indifferent towards.

Take the above picture for example. That's the house where I grew up. Without a doubt it is the most important place on the planet to me. But to you, it's a rusty truck next to a willow tree. Or how about when you attend a wedding. To the bride and groom that day will be one of the most important of their lives, and you're thinking "is the reception a buffet?"

Films, like some other arts, has the ability to bring a group together into a shared experience, and simultaneously polarize their feelings.

Saturday, February 09, 2008

Miserable Artist

Found this at and thought it quite accurate.

Tuesday, February 05, 2008

Fable: Book Two

I posted a Fable "animation" here several months back. Thought I'd share another.

The Mercury Men Logo

Here's a gander at The Mercury Men logo. As you can see, very classic sci-fi B-movie.

The film for the most part is completed. I'm going to screen it a few times this month to see if there's any changes to make. Unfortunately I cannot post the video online, as much as I would love to. Film festivals aren't too keen on screening films that people can see online for free.

For those of you in Pittsburgh, I've got the film on DVD and iPod and will gladly show it to ya if asked. Perhaps I can do something for the consistent readers and post a link for only a few hours on a pre-determined date.

Friday, February 01, 2008

Global Domination

I randomly checked the Blasto Blog statistics tonight and discovered that it's taking over the world. And by taking over the world I mean it's averaging 500 hits a month in 33 different countries, including much of the Middle East! I realize that those numbers are small potatoes, but I was honestly shocked. I woulda guessed 20 - 50 tops. And half of those I woulda guessed to be my mom. (I know you're reading and I promise to call.)

Let me say that I am genuinely thrilled to have you reading. Feel free to post your comments and make yourself known. Including the one person in Croatia.