Thursday, July 28, 2005

9 Years Ago Today...

As the clock struck 10:30pm EST (the time my entire life changed on that day, 7:30pm Pacific for me) I drove through Hollywood thinking about how far I've come. And needless to say I found myself gratefully and blissfully looking ahead as opposed to behind...yet just enough behind to always remember and never forget.

Monday, July 25, 2005

Comic Con 2005 Report

My first thought as I entered the San Diego Convention Center was, 'WHERE DO I START?!'

As I'd previously heard, this was a huge, huge event and it would take my entire 3-day stay just to take in the entire exhibit hall! Everything you could possibly imagine from comics to movies to sci-fi to costumes to games and everything in between was in abundance. Things to buy, displays to ogle, freebees to scarf, and movie previews to amaze. To your right is a link to check out photos I took of the event.

Attendance was almost 3 times that of the Star Wars Celebration III that clocked in at a paltry 30,000 people. This drew a whopping 75,000! Sweet kidneys of Christ! And so by the end of day Friday I had only managed to get through 1/3 of the hall. Along the way I found the Batman and Robin figures from Frank Miller's "The Dark Knight Returns" which had gone scarce on most toy shelves due to fan demand. The dealer I bought them from had a near case of each. Yeah the price was jacked a bit but I had to have 'em.

After picking up a few other choice goodies I made my way through aisle after aisle of a lot of cool stuff. And I have to admit after traveling through and perusing several areas filled with comics I found myself wanting to buy a few. Ironically the ones I really wanted were mostly sold out by the time I went to pick them up. Most notably Jeph Loeb and Jim Lee’s two-part Batman graphic novel entitled, “Hush”. It's probably been twenty years since I bought and read any comics, mostly Superman, Batman, Iron Man, and Green Lantern…with a little Wonder Woman on the side. This was during DC’s “Crisis On Infinite Earths” period in the 80’s, for those of you who know comics.

By the end of Friday I felt like I’d walked 50 miles. Good thing I had just bought new shoes the day before.

Saturday was the big day of movie previews starting with Bryan Singer’s “Superman Returns” at 10:30am. Amazingly the lines weren’t too crazy getting into the 6,000-seat auditorium. Probably because of the early hour…later in the day the lines would be two blocks in length! Bryan was met with rousing applause and he launched right into Q&A with fans waiting to step up to the microphone. Shortly thereafter they ran a 3-minute trailer-esque preview showing Clark, Lois, Perry White, and that new darker toned suit we’ve seen one photo of so far. All of the music was from “Superman, The Movie” with the look and feel very much like the Richard Donner film. And yet there was a freshness to it all. Brandon Routh looks great, both as Clark and The Man Of Steel, and my perception of Kate Bosworth being a little too young to play Lois has eased a bit now that I’ve seen her in character. The Super suit is starting to grow on me as we had a chance to see it briefly in action. By the time the lights went back on the hairs on my arm were standing straight up…WOW! This is going to be amazing! Oh yes and there was a quick shot of Kevin Spacey holding a clear Kryptonian crystal like from the Reeve movies along with a lingering clip of Clark holding a framed 4X6 picture of his adopted parents Jonathan and Martha Kent; Glenn Ford and Phyllis Thaxter from “Superman, The Movie”.

The audience went nuts, Bryan’s response being, ‘should we run it again?’. And of course everyone cheered wildly. Right away the lights went down and the preview tantalized the crowd once again. There are transcripts HERE of Bryan Singer’s comments along with others who intro’d and answered questions about upcoming highly anticipated movies.

Kevin Smith was up next and in top form. He spoke about “The Passion Of The Clerks”, the much-anticipated sequel to “Clerks” that will be released early next year. Some folks asked if there was any flap about the title so closely resembling Mel Gibson’s film. He said no but, tangenting off subject, said he originally wasn’t crazy about seeing a film depicting an overt amount of Christ beating. One guy in the audience yelled, ‘He died for your sins!!’. Kevin response was that if he made a movie about Jesus it would start with the crucifixion but then quickly segue into happier and more positive moments during his life. His take on the crucifixion would accurately follow the writings in the Bible. However immediately after Jesus is raised on the cross two ninja would swing in and free him while firing Uzi’s at the Roman guards who were drawing lots for Christ’s clothing. Jesus would say, ‘but I must die for Man’s sins’, and one of the ninja’s would respond, ‘Not on my watch!!’. The two ninjas, Kevin clarified, would of course be Jay and Silent Bob.

After spending a bit more time looking around and checking out some of the exhibits I returned to Hall H (where all of the movie previews were held) to catch Kate Beckinsale and Scott Speedman doing Q&A for “Underworld: Evolution” which I am very much looking forward to since becoming a fan of the first movie. Unfortunately the lines to get in were so huge I missed most of the presentation along with the preview clip they ended up running twice! D’OH!! Once again I headed to the Exhibit Hall until it was time for the preview of Peter Jackson’s “King Kong”.

I managed to traverse the crowds a bit better this time and found a really good seat. With the size of the hall plus the number of people it became more of a priority to center one's self near one of the huge movie screens hanging from the ceiling as opposed to trying to find something up front where the stage was. The lights dimmed and Peter Jackson appeared in a filmed clip where he intro’d the trailer (now online) plus a five minute animatic and partially completed fight scene between Kong and three T-Rex, all while holding Naomi Watts gently in his hand. The clip looked great (like I had any doubts!) and when the lights came up we were all treated to an amazing surprise. Without any prior announcement, Adrian Brody, Naomi Watts, and Jack Black all walked out on stage for some Q&A with the fans! I think you could probably hear people screaming all the way to Australia.

Most of the questions were good except for one dickhead who got up and said, “Before I start I just want to say Naomi Watts, you’re fucking hot!” Come on people have a little class huh?! Many asked Jack Black questions about his band, Tenacious D who would be performing later that afternoon. Caught part of the concert, which was just too jam-packed to stay for very long. In the long run I felt bad that I missed the “Underworld” preview but was mainly happy I caught the “Superman Returns” and “King Kong” presentation in their entirety.

Sunday consisted mostly of some last moment browsing in the Exhibit Hall with a departure planned for 4pm, 1 hour before the event closed. Hey, it’s not fun trying to beat 75,000 people to the parking garage!!

However some time before leaving I spotted a sign at the DC Comics booth that pointed the way to meet and get autographs from 4 cast members of the Christopher Reeve “Superman” movies. Margot Kidder (Lois Lane), Jack O’Halloran (Non), Sarah Douglas (Ursa), and Marc McClure (Jimmy Olsen)!

They had appeared Friday afternoon but by the time I thoroughly ran over the schedule it was past their scheduled block. I literally spotted this by pure accident. Arriving upstairs I instantly saw their autograph table where they were only a few moments from packing it in for the weekend. I grabbed a couple of photos they were selling to add their signatures to (@ $20 a pop!) and had Jack, Margot, and Sarah sign one of the two Kryptonian villains threatening to pull Lois Lane apart at The Fortress Of Solitude from “Superman II”. Then I had Marc McClure sign a somewhat rare publicity photo of himself and Christopher Reeve as Superman in the “your safe here, Son’ scene from the first movie. I had each do the same for Bill B. because I knew he’d really like to have copies as well. Hi, Bill!! I asked the autograph wrangler dressed as Superman about getting a group photo with them all. So after Sarah Douglas was the last to sign I went round back of the table and had the wrangler snap a few.

From left to right, Margot Kidder (Lois Lane), Sarah Douglas (Ursa), Jack O'Halloran (Non), and Marc McClure (Jimmy Olsen). This was the ‘money shot’ of the weekend for me and it was great to meet them all, even though I’d met Sarah Douglas once before 23 years ago at a convention in Springfield, MA.

Important lesson learned from the event: In lieu of the fact that I stayed at a hotel 3 miles away from the convention center I am in the process of booking my room for next year at the Marriott Hotel & Marina which stands right next door to the San Diego Convention Center. I'm told they only book rooms 51 weeks in advance so I can't really make those arrangements until August 1st. Must go next year!

In the meantime my reservation at the Grand Hotel in Michigan for the "Somewhere In Time" Weekend will finally be official this coming Monday. Unfortunately I had to put the entire weekend rate down in advance to hold a room in The Grand itself...and it ain't cheap! All meals are included as well. The last time I attended was 1992 when my pittance of a job had me scraping together just enough change for two of us to stay at a motel about a half-mile away. Staying at the Grand Hotel, where the movie takes place, has always been my goal in returning to the event and now I can more than comfortably do just that. The SIT event will complete my ’05 wish list to attend The Star Wars Celebration III, The San Diego Comic Con, and head to Michigan in October for the 25th anniversary of “Somewhere In Time”.

Monday, July 18, 2005

Bountiful Work Fills My Life!'s been a whole month since I've posted anything here! And needless to say I’ve been pretty busy.

Finished up working on the behind the scenes making-of pods for "The Island", although I returned to the project for a few changes. 2 weeks ago I began working on a series of 6 behind the scenes featurettes for "Charlie & The Chocolate Factory". Once again I say Man, this has been great! Not only have I been working at Precision Post for over 2 months but also there doesn't seem to be an end in sight! Plus my work has gone directly to three major directors for approval.

First Ridley Scott reviews my work on the "Tristan & Isolde" promo featurette which will be included on the "Kingdom Of Heaven" DVD (as previously mentioned). Next, Michael Bay is heading the approval process regarding the 4 pods of "The Island" And now just last week the "Chocolate Factory" pods went before Tim Burton for his approval. Warner Bros. came back last Monday that he and they had O.K.'d my cut without any changes whatsoever! I am totally amazed since I felt they'd come back with at least a change or 2 in who some of the sound bites were from; more of the producer and less of certain actors for example. But no, they loved it! An early cut went out the door early and they're feedback was we were headed in the right direction.

These last few months have been a great ride and I'm soaking in every minute. Last week we were on such a tight deadline that I ended up working 86 hours averaging 12 to 15 hour days!! But my God when that paycheck comes in...!!!

As of today I learned that the 4 pods I cut for "The Island" international marketing campaign will be included on the DVD! So I was instructed to make some slight changes to accommodate viewers having already seen the movie as opposed to the first cut which of course is geared more like a pre-theatrical release promotional piece.

Having completed that this morning I moved on to my next project, which is cutting a 1-hour making-of featurette intended for the DVD of Tim Burton's "The Corpse Bride". The film is being released theatrically in September. DVD will probably hit stores in early '06. Again, not to sound like a broken record, but I'm flying high working on this stuff! I am replete with cool content and very happy to keep rolling from one project to the next.

About a week ago I was approached by the Operations Manager regarding my continued status as a freelance editor and would I be interested in a staff position. Now, of course I learned a lot from my experience with Autonomy. At this point I am so, SO glad I did not take that position at Autonomy after all. But then I knew that at the time. They have 2 staff editors and a 3 assistant staff editors at Precision, everyone one else being freelance. This is a post boutique BTW. I spoke with one of the freelance editors who told me they had offered him a position a few times but he preferred to stay freelance. He's been there now in that capacity for 3 years but might as well be on staff, maintaining a regular weekly schedule. Bottom line is I could conceivably stay freelance and work regular weekly hours from now on...and yet remain free for future opportunities when they arise. Who could ask for a better scenario?! All in all this is a great place, the projects I'm working on are choice, plus they love me and they love my work.

The Hollywood Bowl project begins in about a month I've been told by the folks at Autonomy and I've already spoken to the powers that be at Precision about going and working on that for a month then returning to continue on with them. What can I say, I think I'm set.

Much to get caught up on. Next will be my report on Comic-Con which I attended this past weekend. I'll also have a number of pics I took from the event posted as well. Plus my long overdue review of "Batman Begins". Believe it or not I still have not seen "War Of The Worlds"...what a crime!! Work just (happily) consumed every moment of my life for the last few weeks. THIS WEEK, DAMNIT! Still wouldn't mind checking out "Fantastic Four" despite some of the reviews, but its not so high on my list now. Even though I've seen "Charlie & The Chocolate Factory" through working on the project at Precision, I still want to see the finished film in the theatre. Plus it's getting some great reviews.

More very shortly...