Saturday, March 27, 2010

Robert Culp at Comic-Con

Here is a photo I took of Mr. Culp signing autographs at Comic-Con 2008. Little did any of us know that this would be his last big event appearance with "Greatest American Hero" co-stars William Katt and Connie Selecca. He was a real trooper too, greeting fans and holding his own amongst the usual Comic-Con crowds.

Before signing autographs on the convention floor, Culp, Katt, and Selecca held a panel to reminisce about the show and announce a possible feature film in the works as well as the new "GAH" comic, produced by Katt himself. I am even MORE glad now that I attended this panel. The movie is still up in the air, but if it does come together, Katt and Culp are going to be tough to top.

Also, here is an article praising Robert Culp's role and contributions to the "GAH" series, an important component of his career that seems to be largely eluding the mass media. I've read a few obituaries that only contain one sentence in the vein of 'oh yeah, and he also starred in the early 80s TV series "The Greatest American Hero". Hello?...after "I Spy", this was one of his endearing legacies to television history!

Robert Culp dies

Robert Culp's passing this week was a bit of a shock to me. I was lucky enough to meet him at Comic-Con almost two years ago. He seemed sharp as a tack and in great health, yet older, taking just a bit more time to get around. So hearing that he died shortly after hitting his head outside his Hollywood home, and to actually be of an age where something seemingly so minor could cause one's death, was kind of scary.

To a majority of TV fans around the world, Culp will forever be associated with the 60's television series "I Spy". But to me (and certainly to a just as powerful fan base) he'll always be Bill Maxwell from "The Greatest American Hero". The night after his death I pulled out "GAH" on DVD to watch a series of random episodes. They brought back a lot of memories from one of my all time favorite TV shows, and made me realize the real loss of Culp's passing. Maxwell's use of the food garbanzo beans in a sentence like "those green guys scared the garbanzo beans outta me!" and his habit of munching on dog biscuits were staples of Culp's character that will forever be immortalized in the show.

I am so glad I had the opportunity to meet the man in person at Comic-Con and hear him speak about his career and "GAH". Unfortunately due to time constraints today, I'll have to wait until tomorrow to pull up a photo or two from that meeting. In the meantime, read William Katt's reaction to Culp's death, and some really insightful comments from Bill Cosby on his "I Spy" co-star. And finally, here is the opening intro to "The Greatest American Hero".

Sunday, March 21, 2010

Comic-Con flirts with relocation?

All I have to say is stay put, don't even think about it, LA or Anaheim will NOT be the same! Expand in your San Diego home and bring the goddamned hotel rates DOWN!!! That's my biggest complaint. Hotels in the downtown area are OUT OF CONTROL with greed! The fans will not stand for this and business will be lost.

Check out this article at fanboy blog, Hero Complex, to read more about this.

"Alice in Wonderland"? Just can't quite seem to go there

I don't care that Tim Burton's "Alice in Wonderland" is the #1 movie in America for the third straight week. I still don't see anything about it that makes me want to run to the theater. Don't get me wrong...I've always really enjoyed Tim Burton's work and his frequent collaborations with Johnny Depp. This just doesn't draw me in at all, and it didn't even when we saw the 3D preview at Comic-Con last year.

Could the high box office tallies be that there isn't another fantasy or sci-fi movie out right now to enrapture movie fans or take them somewhere out of this world? Probably. Now in a month and a half there will DEFINITELY be a movie worth going to the movies to see again and again. Of course I'm talking about "Iron Man 2"!

Saturday, March 20, 2010

Who killed the music video star?

Here is a very interesting article on dissecting the glorious past and current redirection of music videos. It's how the once powerful marketing tool and visual soundtrack of our lives during the 80's, had shrunk in usage due to a downturn in the industry, been somewhat pushed aside, then transformed by a new generation from strict music company creation to a much more creative introduction served up by the artists themselves directly to their fans online.

MTV is dead, and the people who are making the music now have in their own hands the necessary tools to build their own careers. The music video is, however, far from dead. In fact it's thriving in a very different location then where it originated; the internet. But the big budget days of record companies producing highly anticipated event videos have passed. With the exception of Lady Gaga's "Telephone", which had built tremendous buzz recently, the goal has now turned towards what works best for the song visually as opposed to focus group meddling.

After reading this article, I definitely want to check out Saul Austerlitz' "Money for Nothing: A History of the Music Video." It's really an exciting time for music artists who want to truly guide their own careers, and the 'creative over money' mentality is what a lot of bands are striving for.

You can also read a second article at the Toronto Sun's website that expands on the transformation of the music video from television to the web.

Peter Graves, Corey Haim, and Fess Parker

On the day of Peter Graves passing it was noted that he had three major career high moments during his lifetime. First of course was television's "Mission: Impossible". Aside from some of his other TV work prior to this outstanding series, it seemed like he would forever be associated with the character of Jim Phelps. Not a bad thing for sure.

Then came the movie "Airplane!".

His role as Captain Oveur became legendary with lines like, 'Joey, have you ever been in a Turkish prison?' and 'you ever seen a grown man naked?'. To this day people quote his conversations with that little boy who just wanted to see the cockpit of an airplane. And if that wasn't enough, he then became the voice of "Biography" on the History Channel and went on to win an Emmy. A very diverse career that Peter himself refused to end, stating before his death that there must be 'some juicy roles out there for men his age to tackle', his presence in television and cinema history is truly immortal.

Corey Haim's death came at a time when it seemed as though he was getting things straightened out with his life. What amazed me was how in debt he ended up being, and the fact that before his passing he didn't even own a car. Incredible. As a child star, it seemed as though Corey was just everywhere in the movies, quite often with Corey Feldman at his side. Now, Feldman is crushed with sadness and regret at the loss of his old friend. As Haim's Mom continues to struggle with cancer, she'll now move back to their hometown of Toronto after Corey's funeral. It goes without saying that he'll always be synonyms with "The Lost Boys".

Finally, Fess Parker became the reason why it was mandatory for so many young boomers to own a coonskin cap. Ultimately, ten million were sold during the run of of the TV show "Davy Crockett", a role he would forever be warmly identified with. The LA Times said that Parker "was not only present at the creation of modern mass culture, he was smack dab in the middle of that creation." He was a good and gentle soul who also just happened to become an American icon.

Friday, March 12, 2010

A harsh reality fully realized

A lot of change has been happening in the entertainment industry over the past year and a half. The economy has affected everyone, and even though it seems here and there that things are on the upswing, we still have a long way to go.

Beginning in 2008, the DVD market began to shrink. The back catalog of movies that the studios relied upon for some serious bank have all been exhausted. Consumers are now content with their collections (that's not mine in the photo, BTW), and the once fruitful marketing ploy of releasing multiple 'special editions' has worn thin on the general public. Blu-ray has not exactly taken the market by storm either. Sure, the picture looks amazing. But in a lot of cases, movies appear almost too clear and crisp, like they were shot on 30 frame digital video instead of 24 frame film. The switch to downloading movies to own and streaming movies to rent is coming fast. Since the beginning of the whole HD-DVD / Blu-ray war, I never had any intention of buying my entire DVD collection over again in this format. I too have everything I need (with exception of new titles) and will not buy a Blu-ray player or discs. Many industry experts agree; The not too distant future will see the end of physical media.

In short, I am responsible for the decline of the DVD. Just like millions of other people.

It's not something I am happy or gloat about. Just a fact. Two years ago, Bill and I were talking on the phone when we realized that we kind of have all the back titles we needed. I love my collection, and put a lot of time into compiling it. The next thing I want to see is a stack of drives in my home theater's storage vault that holds all of my movies AND the complete accompanying bonus features. On my laptop, a list containing a sea of box art or 1-sheet thumbnails that represents each film. One click of the mouse would trigger the movie or bonus feature to begin. That's what the future holds for me, and frankly I can't wait.

O.K. I veered off there a bit. The point is, when I arrived here in Los Angeles I began a barrage of reels and resumes aimed at every trailer post house I could find. Along the way I found myself working at several post houses cutting DVD special features. Something I didn't initially target in my career goal plan, but definitely the type of top studio projects I welcomed. I've always loved this content, so working on these has not only been fun, but a very important resume builder.

In the meantime, my continued assault on trailer post houses got me into KO Creative and Happy Hour Creative working on a series of high end projects. Happy Hour still wants to bring me on as a staff editor (which of course I'm very anxious to become), but I'm just not sure when that will happen in this continued economical climate.

Now that the DVD market has dried up to the point of severe drought, I realize that I'll be doing limited, if any work on these types of projects in the near future. Which leads me to the focus of this now very lengthy post. Thirty four reels and resumes have just gone out to thirty two trailer and two DVD houses. Yesterday I came to the stark realization that I must now expand my reach to contacting post houses of ALL kind; commercial, documentary, reality, sports, entertainment news, etc. I MUST find steady work, even if it's cutting something I have little or no interest in or connection with.

Today I went into the post production listings at where there are links to almost two hundred general post houses in the Los Angeles area, many I've never contacted before. The reel and resume factory will shortly be starting up again. But first I have to contact a lot of these places to verify if they are a creative house, where producers and editors take on client projects, or a 'four wall', industry term for a post house that rents out it's space to production companies who need full service facilities and bring in their own post team. The creative houses will be the ones I apply too.

I have to turn this situation around in some way, shape, or form. Because quite frankly I'm just plain fed up with living this way. The past year has been extremely wearing on me. I'm tired and can sometimes be despondent, but I am NOT giving up!

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Oscars 2010: The worst show I've ever seen!!

Wow. Colorless, drab, completely lacking in humor, and pretty much down to the bare bones entertainment. I'm certainly not talking about the nominees or winners on Sunday night. I'm focusing on how jaw droppingly bad the actual ceremony was!

For starters, Steve Martin and Alec Baldwin were pretty unfunny. In all the promos, they promised 'a show like nothing we've seen before'. Yeah...BAD!! Neil Patrick Harris' opening number seemed strange because he's a television actor. What was he doing opening the Academy Awards? As the progression of presenters began, the camera couldn't help but continuously glance over at the "Twilight" cast. WE KNOW, ALREADY! And yet when it came time for Kristen Stewart to present, she had to turn her head and cough in the middle of a sentence. Jeez, girl...get off the crack!

Would someone please tell me what was up with the rack of lamp shades used as background?! Did the production designer go to Home Depot or Lowe's, only to be taken in by the 'as-is' display hanging above the lighting department? Pathetic! What happened to last year's amazingly creative sets and backgrounds?! Now THAT was an Oscar show!! Probably the best one I've seen in years! Why did they scrap that for this piece of shit?

Now let's get the whole 'in memorium' thing out of the way. This was one of last year's hold over ideas of having an artist play live in front of giant screens showing those who passed during the previous year. The beginning was sloppily shot, starting wide so you couldn't even see Patrick Swayze's face closely, since he was first. And of course, what the internet is all abuzz about....WHERE THE HELL WAS FARRAH FAWCETT?!!! Michael Jackson?! No offense to the man, but give me a fucking break! He was in "The Wiz" and his own post passing concert movie. The latter doesn't even really count. Farrah Fawcett starred in SO many more movies including "Logan's Run"...yes, "LOGAN'S RUN", a movie everyone seems to put as an after thought following "Cannonball Run" and a few others. I'd have to say that was one of her more iconic appearances in film, even though it was a small part with not a lot of depth...but who cares!

The truly amazing thing is that it was not just an oversight, is was in fact intentional! Assholes! You can read The Academy's apology (if you even call it that) here.

Also...HELLO, Henry Gibson!! The man was in "The Blues Brothers" and "Nashville" to name a few and I think those alone guarantees him a place in that memorium. How about Gene Barry? One of the man's most iconic roles is in an iconic movie; George Pal's "War of the Worlds"! Where was he?

Then came the Kenya West moment of the evening. Producer/Director Roger Ross Williams was interrupted during his acceptance speech for his short documentary “Music By Prudence” by former co-producer Elinor Burkett whom Williams had shunned from the Oscar ramp-up due to a falling out. Sounds like she deserved it. And by the way, was it it me or did she seem like the embodiment of Kyle's mother Sheila Broflovski on "South Park"?

Time for the Best Original Score Oscar. Street dancers doing interpretive dance that has nothing to do with the music or movie?! SERIOUSLY?!! We were dumbfounded by this display of idiotically misplaced entertainment. Truly a WTF moment. Who the hell hired these guys to produce the show?

Was VERY happy for Jeff Bridges winning his first Oscar after four previous nominations! Note the strange, continuous use of the word 'man' in his acceptance speech. Certainly Sandra Bullock was the odds-on favorite to take Best Actress, and well deserved. Historic moment when Kathryn Bigelow became the first woman to win the Oscar for Best Director. However my only problem was when "The Hurt Locker" won Best Picture. Did I think it deserved such an honor? No. Should "Avatar" have reigned supreme over the top spot? Hard to say. I did feel there were a few other films in the ten picture race that might have deserved the trophy even more.

I'd seen "The Hurt Locker" on DVD just a few weeks before the Academy Awards. And I have to say is I found it kind of muddled. There were scenes in the middle that just dragged on forever. I understood the whole 'war is a drug' mentality, but never felt like it was a profound idea that came to the surface through all the chaos of war. By the end of the movie I found myself thinking ' that was...interesting'. There were definitely intense moments in the film, and the cast was superb. But once the credits rolled I merely felt that I was glad I finally saw it, but don't need to see it again. It wasn't bad at all, very good in fact. Just not a 'wow, that was great!' film. I'd probably have to say the movie that comes to the surface that might have been the best Best Picture pic is "Up in the Air". Just a really well written screenplay with great performances and a few perfectly inserted twists and turns along the way, keying the audience in that this is no happy ending story.

Random observance: The Best Cinematography nominees, that should have been read with the glorious images from the films they represented, became just a rundown of names on a big screen in cold white text. Jeez!!

I would definitely have to say the highlight of the evening was the John Hughes tribute, presented by Molly Ringwald and Matthew Broderick, bookended with them being joined by Anthony Michael Hall, Ally Sheedy, Judd Nelson, and Macaulay Culkin. O.K. so maybe we could have done without him, but of course he was the star of Hughes biggest grossing film. BTW, a lot of people are buzzing about Judd Nelson's look. Have they not been paying attention to how he's been dressing for years outside of roles he plays on TV, etc.? My only comment was about how he seemed to start shouting when his turn came to speak.

And yet, where was Emilio Estevez? Please, he could have made time for this! I understand he's in the middle of directing his next feature, and maybe the MTV Movie Awards tribute to "The Breakfast Club" a few years back was not his thing. But come on!! Show some love during the Academy Awards, will ya?! John Hughes helped to put you square on the map. Was really glad to see Hughes family in the audience. One of his sons looks JUST like him when he was so much younger!

So all in all, this year's Academy Award's show SUCKED!!! Sack the bastards who produced this lifeless and emotionless piece of shit, PLEASE! I'm amazed some of the critics have called this year 'nicely streamlined'. PPFFFF!!! Get off the crack! BRING BACK THE AMAZING DISPLAY OF HOLLYWOOD GOLD THAT WAS LAST YEAR'S PRESENTATION!!! That was truly the best Oscars I've seen, and yes I'm saying it again!

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Reels and resumes OUT THE DOOR!!!

Thirty five reels and resumes are now on the way to their perspective post houses, mostly trailer. Last night I finished up the packaging process, finally standing back in amazement at the row of bubble packs that stood before me. This had been a very lengthy process, and there were a number of factors that added more time.

Having the flu definitely got in the way. Supplies I had always purchased, like certain brand named DVD labels, photo paper for slimline insert cards, and even DVD-Rs, were suddenly nowhere to be found. It took time to hunt down alternates. Black and color ink were suddenly low in my printer. So there was another trip to store, as well as more items I had no choice but to spend money on. As always, creative perfection was another time consumer. Probably one of the most important things I needed to accomplish. The reel HAD to look and sound professional and sharp.

Ultimately, I'm proud of the work I've put into this round of reels and resumes, which is the first mass mailing of my new upgraded design. As I left the post office this morning I felt a real sense of accomplishment, and my hope is to get some real feedback from some of these post houses I'm still trying to work with.

Sunday, March 7, 2010

The Academy Awards 2010

I'm ready to sit back and take in the Oscars in all it's glory this afternoon, beginning with the red carpet arrivals. There could be a few surprises along the way, especially in the race for Best Picture. The competition between "Avatar" and "The Hurt Locker" has heated up quite a bit during the last few weeks, with many wondering if the Iraq War drama will beat out Cameron's otherworldly opus for Best Picture. I'm starting to wonder if that may in fact happen.

At any rate, I had hoped to create some new banners for this weekend's event. But due to being sick this past week and desperately trying to crank out those reels and resumes, there has not been one spare moment to give my full attention to.

I'll certainly have comments during the Academy Awards, both here and on Facebook, so stay tuned!

The reel and resume factory is up and running again!

Thursday I began feeling well enough to dive back into finishing up everything I needed to do to send out those thirty five reels and resumes. Worked most of the day Thursday, then for about twelve hours on Friday. My hope was to be ready to go to the post office by end of day, or at least first thing Saturday morning. No such luck.

I did manage to accomplish a lot. Yet, there's still a number of things left to do. By Friday night I was pretty frustrated. Unfortunately my being sick has not helped taking care of all of this in a swift fashion during this past week. So now I'll be running into Monday with high hopes that I can actually hit the post office with everything before it closes.

Saturday, March 6, 2010

A.C.E. presents this year's Best Editing Oscar nominees

Went to a seminar this morning hosted by A.C.E., American Cinema Editors, at The Egyptian Theatre in Hollywood. In attendance were all the film editors nominated for an Academy Award this year. All except James Cameron, whose absence went unexplained.

You can read more about the event here.

We got there early for the 10am event, which was to last two hours, because the lines were almost certainly going to be a bit long. Long was an was two blocks in length!! Obviously many more people were there to catch Cameron. Ha ha, they missed out.

It was a pretty interesting and informative panel, punctuated by clips from "The Hurt Locker", "Avatar", "District 9", "Precious", and "Inglorious Bastards". We had to sit all the way in the back of the balcony, which was fine because just about anywhere was a good vantage point. They've been doing these seminars for ten years now and I never knew before now. Was definitely a rare coming together of some of the best of the best.

Thursday, March 4, 2010

The Oscar Red Carpet Walk

Heading in to the Kodak Theatre this afternoon to do my annual walk of the red carpet and the search for that always handy little rip in the plastic they cover it with to touch a piece of Hollywood. I really need this right now after being sick and trying to find work. I seriously need to reconnect with why I'm here...and what better way!

Monday, March 1, 2010

Very sick, keeping this short

Since the middle of last week I have been getting steadily sicker. Things kind of topped off from Friday night through today. But the reel and resume factory is closed temporarily. I know I need to get back to it as soon as possible, but I seriously have to put everything in my mind aside to focus on getting better.

My temp. this morning: 102 degrees. Congestion, almost painful coughing, headache, and yes, some continued achyness. I've been at Rebecca's for almost four days now. I can't even think about driving, much less concentrating on reels, resumes, and cover letters.

I've actually gone for a couple of walks over the past two days, which has helped a bit. Staying in bed the whole time almost seemed to make things worse. Plus, Rebecca has a really wonderful backyard that I've been sitting out in. Very peaceful and soothing with a few lemon and orange trees, birds dancing about the branches. Trying to just watch some TV or a DVD and keep my mind blank.

Bottom line: this is a combination of working out a little too hard last Monday and Tuesday compiled with a certain amount of confusion, annoyance, and minor anguish regarding Playground Media Group.

Nothing else matters now except getting better!