Friday, March 30, 2007

Recognized: John Hughes Link & Interview!

After spreading the word throughout several John Hughes related web sites to check out my music video, I received an e-mail response from the blog, Stuck In The 80's.

Steve Spears, the online news editor for the St. Petersburg Times, said he wanted to feature my work on his site as well as a brief interview on why I like Hughes movies. Too cool!

You can find his site with the YouTube link and a brief interview with me at right here. You may need to scroll down a bit if you're not checking this out right away today.

John Hughes Music Video

This past fall I began cutting a music video in tribute to all the primary John Hughes teen movies from the 80's; "Sixteen Candles", "The Breakfast Club", "Ferris Bueller's Day Off", "Pretty In Pink", and "Some Kind Of Wonderful". Not a work related studio project, just an at home 'for-the-love-of-it' cut on my laptop. Being a huge John Hughes fan, I wanted it to be something special, something with heart. The go-to track had to be "Don't You (Forget About Me)" by Simple Minds, since that pretty much encompassed the soul of the film series. Plus it had to cut to the beats (a staple of my work) and lyrics of the song.

This was to be my first YouTube targeted project. I'd already posted an original "Blade Runner" trailer I cut for my friend Maria's birthday in Boston, but that was done in 1998. Right before Christmas I put the Hughes video aside, picking it back up about a month ago.

Last night I posted the finished piece entitled, "Through The Eyes Of John Hughes" on YouTube. Check it out...

Wednesday, March 28, 2007

My Mini: Scheduled For Production

On the official site where I can track the progress of my MINI from the actual building of the car through delivery, the little arrow has now moved from "On Order" to "Scheduled For Production". This means their about to begin putting my baby together on the assembly line. Woohoo! They even posted the VIN number.

Tuesday, March 27, 2007

My Mini: On Order!

It's official! Saturday I finally purchased my dream car...after 6 years of yearning!

However the road to my ultimate goal started out pretty rough. First off, for anyone reading this in the LA area I just want to say DON'T EVER BUY A CAR FROM MINI OF UNIVERSAL CITY!!! They are unprofessional, not nearly as knowledgeable as they should be of the primary car they sell (the salesman didn't even know if the car came with a spare tire), and in general are a bunch of schiesters!!

After putting $2,000 down on Thursday so they would hold the one red body/black top Mini they had on the lot, We went back Saturday morning to finish the deal. Turns out they had no intention of budging on the overpriced $30.000 they had marked up. Not in the least! The car cost $24,000 and with tax, title, etc. in should have come in around $26,000. When the deal didn't go to my liking and we were ready to walk, they said I couldn't get my deposit back for a few days. We said, 'I paid cash and I want my money back RIGHT NOW!'

At this point the floor manager had joined in the negotiations with the salesman we were dealing with. The two went into the back office, emerging two minutes later to ask if we would step back to the GM's office to discuss things. I assumed this was an 11th hour tactic to try and appease me.


The GM turned out to be like some Hollywood producer. 'What's the problem? This is the cost of the car', he said firmly. I expected him to be soothing, working with me to find a deal. Nope. He was all, 'am I not clear enough?'. Plus I was informed that they hadn't even run my credit on Thursday. What?! The salesman had told me he ran it, I said. Another lie. At this point we were very pissed off and very done. Give me my money and I'm out of here! He said their financial department was closed on Saturday and I wouldn't be able to get a refund check until Monday.

Back on the sales floor, the floor manager went to write me a promissory note that I'd be given a refund in full on Monday. At this point I noticed a few customers looking in my direction. So being my pissy self I went off a bit more. 'Why can't I get my $2,000 back today, what is the problem! And you guys didn't run my credit?! Why did you tell me that you did?! What the fuck is going on here?!!'. I started sounding like some egotistical Hollywood ass. At this point all heads were turned my way. Aside from being pissed off I was enjoying disrupting their flow. The salesman even tried to shush me a little, to which I loudly replied, 'I don't care how many other customers can hear me!'. I took my promissory note, stormed out the door, went to the car so I could calm down a bit, and left.

Now here's the wonderful and very satisfying part of our story.

From there we drove to Bob Smith BMW and their MINI division, Bob Smith MINI, the dealership I'd originally intended on going to in the first place. Earlier in the week they had informed me that I'd need to order the specific Mini I wanted (package deals, accessories, etc.) and delivery would be 6 - 8 weeks later. This is why I ended up at the other guys because they had one in stock. However that one only had about 75 percent of what I ideally wanted in the car. At Bob Smith I could order the exact specs and get a car that would be built just for me!

And it was like night and day going from one place to the other.

Hillary, the saleswoman at Bob Smith, was very knowledgeable, professional, non pretentious, and very timely in getting me exactly what I wanted...and at a very fair price right out of the box: $26,000+. And all this with zero haggling! ZERO! In fact everyone we dealt with there was wonderful. The dealership itself was so much nicer than the other one as well. All in all I was so, so, so glad I did my business with them instead. But in the long run it was good I did things the way I did. If I'd purchased the car at Bob Smith first, with the 6-8 week waiting period, I probably would have had some nagging voice in my head wondering whether the other guys had what I wanted right on the lot. Yes it's a little more of a wait, but in the end it'll be sooo worth it.

Plus they give you a special code so you can go onto the MINIUSA site to track the building of my Mini in Oxford, England, through test drives and inspections, shipping to the dock, boarding the boat for transport to the US, final prep in the States, and delivery to the dealership for pickup. I LOVE IT!!

BTW, I went back to that other place yesterday and guess what? They pulled my cash out of the safe to return to me. LO-fucking-L! Amazing. I told them I bought the exact car I asked for at Bob Smith for the price I wanted. He just said, 'O.K.'. Yeah fuck you too. Clearly that place is for people who just want to come in and buy a car whatever the price. It is located near Warner Bros. and Disney studios in a high-end area. Me, I represent the rest of America who didn't want to pay the ridiculously overpriced amount.

God bless Bob Smith BMW! Shortly I'll have a counter to tick down the days until my Mini is delivered. Who knows, it could be even sooner depending on the production schedule. We'll see...

Friday, March 23, 2007

My Mini Is Now In The Wings!

Have to make this short since I need to do some catch up here at work...

Went to the Mini Of Universal City dealership yesterday to put down money on the only red body / black top automatic Mini they had in stock. Filled out the credit info and was very happy when the guy came back saying I'd been approved. Yay! That was a load off!

Spoke with them the night before where I learned that if I wanted that particular car I'd need to come by and put $2,000 down to hold it for me until Saturday. I'm putting a total of $5,000 down as a down payment.

After finally seeing those Union Jack mirror caps up close, comparing with the chrome ones I was starting to like more, I realized I wanted to go with the chrome instead. Somehow I started to feel like after I bought the car the Union Jack's might seem a little too busy. The chrome looks amazing and will ultimately enhance the other chrome elements already on the Mini. However I do still want that Union Jack on there so I've chosen a new feature which just came out last year; a rear veiw mirror cap for the inside of the car that proudly displays the British Flag. Very cool.

The photo of the car on your right now has the new configuration with mirror change outs. Click on it for a larger view.

More details this weekend after I pick up My Mini!

Monday, March 19, 2007

Welcome To Mini Cooper Week!

This is it...the final countdown!

Making a list of things I need to do; sweep out the garage, finish getting the insurance in place, pick what order my Mini playlist will be on the iPod, etc.

I have a fairly extensive compilation of road play tracks I've chosen for the initial rollout. The very first song for when I leave the dealership is "Love's Theme" by The Love Unlimited Orchestra. Just has that sound of 'here I am, this is it, finally, I own a Mini, let the driving bliss begin'. Saturday. 8am. Oh yes, it will be mine!

Saturday, March 17, 2007

The Mini Cooper Countdown Gets Moved Up!

Due to a fairly fast turnaround on my current project, cutting the entire supplement for the "Are We Done Yet?" DVD, it is now nessesary for me to keep a steady workflow throughout the next two weeks. This means the original target date of March 27 (a tuesday) for buying my Mini Cooper must be changed.

I'll now be heading to the BMW dealership next Saturday, the 24th. So I'm resetting the countdown clock by shaving off 3 days. 7 days from today I'lI be driving my shiny new road toy. Yeah Baby!!!

Thursday, March 15, 2007

Work with KO Creative

KO called yesterday to see if I was available for work. Told them I was booked into another project at the moment, which made me pretty sad because I'd been wanting to get back in the door. I said I could work in the evening, not realizing how grueling a schedule that would be. They only need me for two nights however.

Last night I went there after finishing up at The Cannery to work on a trailer for an MTV movie. It's called "Kaya", the story of a Britney Spears type character who is on the verge of self destruction in the music industry. There's a litte Gwen Stefani and Jessica Simpson in the character as well. Today I'm reallly wiped out after being there until 1:30am last night. But hey, this is a trailer house. I NEED to be there and get my face in front of them as much as possible so they'll bring me in more often.

Going back tonight and am downing a few more Coke's to get me through.

Tuesday, March 13, 2007

NOOO! It's Going To Suck!!

A remake of John Carpenter's "Escape From New York" (one of my favorite films of all time) has been announced starring Gerard Butler. You know...the guy who can't keep his mouth closed on all the billboards, bus stop signs, banners, and poster art for "300". 'CLOSE YOUR FUCKING MOUTH!', I say every time I see his face.

This remake is a bad, bad, bad idea! NO ONE can ever replace Kurt Russell in the role of Snake Plissken. Hands Down! And I'm sure just about everybody feels the way I do. Even Yoda says, 'suck, it will!'. You can read the Variety! article here.

Of course this does mean a new special edition DVD of the original will be released. But I have the special edition that came out a couple of years ago and it's great. If they can top it fine but I doubt they will.

Monday, March 12, 2007

R2D2 Mailboxes

In Celebration of the 30th anniversary of the "Star Wars", The United States Postal Service is putting out these nifty mailboxes. Too cool! "Help me Mr.'re my only hope".

My DVD Release Dates

The "Van Wilder 2: The Rise Of Taj" and "Happily N'Ever After" DVD's now have release dates. These are two of the most recent projects I completed at The Cannery in December and February, respectively. Click on the box art images for more info. The turnaround on "Van Wilder 2" was pretty quick, but then again the movie didn't do very well in theaters. The 'unrated version' is the one with my work, while a 2nd regular version contains very little in the way of extras.

Sunday, March 11, 2007

Mini Test Drive

Went to a higher end car rental place in Beverly Hills last weekend so I could take a Mini Cooper for a real test drive. 5 or 6 minutes with a car salesman yacking your ear off the whole time was not my idea of a proper run. This way I could take the day, drive on the open road, freeway traffic, and city locations to get a proper feel for everything. At $99 a day I knew I would only want to keep it for 24 hours anyhow...but that was certainly enough time.

What a great drive! Love it, love it, love it! It's a lot roomier inside than I thought it'd be. The car definitely has a weight to it. Grips the road nicely around corners.

You can find a few more photos of me in the car here and here.

Friday, March 9, 2007

Titanic: Two The Surface

Oh My God this is insanely brilliant!! This is a fake trailer for a sequel to James Cameron's "Titanic". I am in awe of what this guy pulled off editorially...

Check out his official site. Bravo!!

The Next 2 Projects

Just found out Wednesday what the next two DVD projects I'll be working on. First up on Monday I'll begin "Are We Done Yet?", the comedy starring Ice Cube, which has a fairly quick turnaround time of 3 weeks. After that I'll be working on a deluxe edition DVD for the Tom Hanks / Meg Ryan romantic comedy, "You've Got Mail". This of course is all at The Cannery.

These should take me through June. I'm sure after that they'll have more for me to do. However come July I'll be working on the Hollywood Bowl project once again. I had to miss that last year because of a conflicting project (the damn Astaire / Rogers thing at Sparkhill that almost broke me), but am really looking forward to jumping back into it again in a few months. Received an e-mail from the head of Autonomy a few weeks back saying he was selling off all of the equipment and facilities to pursue a different creative direction. Basically they're going out of business because when he fired a bunch of people and moved to a new location, those people took most of his clients with them. The last time I was there this guy was cutting projects himself. Now...Laura (the producer of the Bowl project) is looking for a new home to bring the project to. She's taken it to Autonomy for the last 8 or 9 years. When she asked for my thoughts I immediately suggested The Cannery. The folks here are very interested in bringing such a prestigious client as The Hollywood Bowl in, so now it's up to Laura to decide if this is right for her. Said she'd call me next we'll see. Wherever the project goes I'll definitely be along for the ride.

This has probably been the most fruitful year open I've ever had in LA. For the last few years January and February have always been very touch and go. Maybe by March something would happen. I've been working straight through from last May, broke for Christmas, then picked right up when I returned January 8.

Wednesday, March 7, 2007

2007: A New Year For New Toys, New Opportunities, & The 30th Anniversary Of "Star Wars"

Yes, True Believers, I have returned!

So much to do and say...but I won't do it all right now. There's projects to comment on, photos to post, and general ranting that could fill a Harvard Law students term paper.

On your right you'll see what will be my new car...a 2007 Mini Cooper! Click on the photo to see a larger view. With all the extras and accessories, this is exactly what my British sportster will look like. I've wanted one of these since the American verison came out in 2000. And when I saw "The Italian Job" in '03 I said to myself, 'Yeah, now I definitely need this car!'.

There are also 2 links to some of my most recently released projects. I've been working at The Cannery pretty steadily since last November. First up I cut the entire DVD supplement for "Van Wilder 2: The Rise Of Taj". That was basically two 5-7 minute pods spotlighting the actors and sets. The release date for this, the 'unrated version', is March 27. After the holidays I immediately swung into cutting two pieces to promote the theatrical release of "Hannibal Rising", one of which premiered on FX. The other, more important one is now on the official movie website; a 5 minute behind the scenes sneak peek. Nice. Then in February I cut the entire DVD supplement for "Happily N'Ever After". That was a pretty big project; 6 pods of the actors, director, writer, and production designer talking about characters and the film's approach. Plus pods on early character design, sketches. and storyboards.

At the moment I'm briefly working on two teasers for a web only reality series about bass fisherman. I know, I can't wait for it to be over, trust me. Luckily that's just this week. As of today I know what two projects I'll be working on next. Monday I begin work on the DVD for "Are We Done Yet?". A very tight turnaround on this one I'm told. Then I'll move on to the deluxe edition DVD of the Tom Hanks / Meg Ryan movie, "You've Got Mail"; four 20 minute pods that will cover a lot more ground tha I would ever have imagined with this film, but hey that's O.K. I'm actually looking forward to this one. So basically right now I'm set with work through the end of May / beginning of June.

"Star Wars" turns 30 this year (May 25th to be exact) and Star Wars Celebration IV in Los Angeles will be THE event of events in a little over 2 months from now. Oh. My. God. Bring it on!

Of course at the moment, dead center in my sights and certainly not getting away from me this time is The Car. Can. Not. Wait.

It's good to be back...