Monday, August 30, 2010

Back to work at Happy Hour!

Got a call late yesterday afternoon from Chris at Happy Hour asking if I could come in today and work on a project through Wednesday. So I'm just about to head out the door and head to Culver City. It's funny because every place I've worked over the summer has been within a mile of one another; Precision Post, Secret Headquarters, and Happy Hour Creative.

Glad to be back at HHC! Hopefully this will bloom into a full week.

Sunday, August 29, 2010

"Bill & Ted" screening with Alex Winter

Picked up tickets to see a double feature of "Bill & Ted's Excellent Adventure" and "Bogus Journey" plus a Q&A with Alex Winter at the New Beverly Cinema tomorrow night. C'mon, know you wanna show up!

Not sure whether we'll stay for both movies but definitely looking forward to what Alex brings to the table. "Excellent Adventure" is up first of course and that's my favorite. Click on the 1-sheet to see what Alex looks like today. Not bad, dude!

YES!! Blu-ray's dangling carrot won't get me this time!

Just read some great news! Turns out the upcoming 25th anniversary edition of the "Back to the Future" trilogy on Blu-ray will also be released on DVD complete with ALL of the special features I originally thought would only be found on the hi-def format. YEAH, BABY!!!

As I am shortly and joyfully about to embark on converting my DVD collection to a hard drive, I revel in the fact that Blu-ray, like the coyote chasing the road runner, has missed me again and slammed into a wall or dropped off a cliff. I previously mentioned that I might have to actually give in this coming October and buy the trilogy on Blu-ray, mainly due to the plethora of new special features. Here at last is what I ultimately preferred!

Check out the full specs for the standard DVD here at

Wrapped at Secret Headquarters

Friday ended up being my last day at Secret Headquarters for right now. I was told that if there were changes on the projects I worked on this past week then they'd call me in to address those. But in the meantime I'm getting feelers back out to houses like Happy Hour to see what might be upcoming. Thanks to work with not only SH but Precision Post as well I'm now covered financially for the month of September which is a very good feeling. BUT...I need to keep working!

Having a few days off now will happily allow me to get a few at-home projects done. This includes sorting through some recent photos to post and hopefully finishing up on that project I was trying to contact Steve Sansweet about. Even though the time to put it in his hands has past, I still intend to post the completed video on YouTube. More on that soon.

Saturday, August 28, 2010

My answer to George Lucas' continued misdirection: I'm done

After reading that article about Gary Kurtz' lambasting of Lucas' turn to the dark side by making everything about the toys (?!), George's continued refusal to release a remastered version of the ORIGINAL holy trilogy of "Star Wars" on DVD or even Blu-ray, and a major spark of recognition brought on by the impending release of the documentary "The People vs. George Lucas" that so many other fans have become disenchanted with the direction of the franchise, I have made a momentous decision.

I am completely DONE with buying "Star Wars" toys and I WILL NOT buy another release of the special editions on any format until those precious 1977, 1980, and 1983 versions are given their proper due.

Like I mentioned before, a full-on remastering of the original three movies may not happen until after Lucas has passed away. Unless he has some stipulation in his will that 'nobody touch nothin'!' But I cannot continue to support his obvious mis-direction of the "Star Wars" legacy. With his complete and total focus being away from the quality of the movies and squarely on toy production and marketing, I cannot in good conscience give my hard earned cash to a man whose artistic vision is a thing of the past. Clearly the prequels were atrocious, even though I will say they did have a few brief good moments.

I own the prequels on DVD because at the time of their release I honestly thought I wanted them in my collection. Even the soundtrack for each of the new episodes was something I purchased right away during each of the movie's initial theatrical release. Just the other day one of the tracks shuffled on my iPod and I actually found myself a little annoyed, and this wasn't the first time that happened. Once again I recognized the piece of music right away and quickly muttered in the car, 'no, not the fucking prequels!' This is certainly not a reflection on John Williams who I thought did an excellent job on all six of the films. It was just a connection to Lucas' lame, below-standard efforts on those last three movies.

Believe it or not, I'm actually contemplating selling my prequel DVDs and soundtracks at Amoeba Music in Hollywood just to reclaim what I shouldn't have put-out in the first place. Today I'm certainly removing the three soundtracks from iTunes and my iPod. The last version of the original trilogy I purchased on DVD was the individual discs that included not only the special editions but the original theatrical release versions of "Star Wars, "Empire", and "Jedi". However, Lucas couldn't even be bothered doing anything special with those and simply used the laserdisc masters from 1995! Yeah, they did a great job with those when the movies were released in a 13 lb., 9 disc boxed-set (which I still own), but they needed to be upgraded! We didn't even get an anamorphic 16x9 picture, just the 4x3 versions! What a rip!!

As for the toys, everything I own is from the original trilogy and I certainly won't be getting rid of any of those. The last item I purchased was the giant 31" long Milllenium Falcon about a year and a half ago that proudly adorns my coffee table. But from this point more.

I'm even amazed at my decisions here! In fact I think I'll feel a sense of joy when I actually hand over the prequel DVDs to Amoeba for cash. After re-reading this post, I'm wondering how frustrated I would've been by the direction of Celebration V in Orlando this month. Comic-Con clearly showed that emphasis on "Clone Wars" toys completely smothered the recognition of the 30th anniversary of "The Empire Strikes Back". Surely a similar, multiplied situation in Florida would've been annoying. Crazy isn't it? the times (and "Star Wars") have changed.

Thursday, August 26, 2010

Happy 80th Birthday, Sir Sean Connery!

It's certain now that we'll never see him onscreen again, but what a wonderful legacy of movie performances the man who embodied James Bond left us! Click on the photo for this brief article about the affirmation of his permanent retirement. Because kicking back and playing golf in Scotland couldn't be any better.

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Hump day at Secret Headquarters

Today was a good work day. Finished the first rough cut of the "Raising Hope" featurette. Click on the image to see a full-sized still of the cast. The show is created and produced by "My Name Is Earl" creator Greg Garcia. Tomorrow morning I'll be adding footage from the latest version of the pilot we just received. This won't change my cut, just a higher quality picture I'll need to over-cut the previous version of the footage that's now part of the piece.

May be spending tomorrow waiting for notes to come back from FOX. Will know tomorrow if they need me for Friday which I hope they do. My check for last week should be in my hands tomorrow or by the latest Friday. I really love their payment system. One week after the previous week of work they cut you a check. No 30-day wait period for these guys!

Definitely gaining a repore with the people who work at Secret Headquarters. Of course it helps that the head of the company drives a Mini and so do I! But seriously I think I'm fitting in nicely. Here's hoping they might continue to need me next week as well.

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

"Pee Wee's Big Adventure" rides to the 25th anniversary mark

The one thing I will always remember about the first time I saw "Pee Wee's Big Adventure" in the theatre was the scene where Large Marge picks Pee Wee up in her truck on a lonely highway. Her story about the worst accident she ever saw was punctuated by a crazy clamation look at Pee Wee, then back to normal as though nothing ever happened.

That one look had us literally laughing for 5 minutes straight, and we actually didn't stop until Pee Wee found himself at the truck stop after being dropped off. If you've seen the movie you know that's a long time. In fact we laughed so much that other people in the theatre were laughing at us laughing at the scene. It's absolutely one of the funniest moments in a movie that will repeatedly have me on the floor! Truly a classic!

"Pee Wee's Big Adventure" turned twenty five a little earlier this month, and with more than a few things going on I almost missed the actual release date tribute which was August 9. Tim Burton's first feature length movie will always be a cult fan favorite with early glimpses into the gothically stylistic path the wild haired director would continue to take, and Paul Reubens himself who has finally dusted off the character of Pee Wee with a series of live shows and some heated talk between himself and director Judd Apatow about a brand new Pee Wee movie which I am obviously very excited about!

If there's one thing we learned from the original film it's that there's no basement at The Alamo! Another of my favorite scenes is when Pee Wee realizes that Francis has stolen his bike and heads over to the fatbutt-er's mansion to confront him..."Oh really, where are they HOSIN' HIM DOWN?!!!" Just SO MANY quotable lines!! I think the last time I watched the movie was at least five years ago....shocking! So it's time to head back into the home theatre for an anniversary screening. Jeez, the big year of major cinema milestones continues!

"Why? What's the significance? I DON'T KNOW!!!"

"Better Off Dead" not a study in moppishness 25 years later

"The once great champ, now a study in moppishness. No longer the victory hungry stallion we've raced so many times before..."

It's kind of been a 25th anniversary celebration year for "Better Off Dead" here in LA what with two special screenings, one at the Aero earlier this year and the other a little over a week ago. What has amazed me both times during the Q&A with "Savage" Steve Holland is how he talks about the movie bombing at the box office back in the day. I very specifically remember critics liking the film's off center humor and style, especially one critic with the Boston Globe (where I was living when the movie came out) who praised it's zaniness and originality.

I remember at the time how people use to refer to Holland as John Hughes Jr. Even though his follow up, "One Crazy Summer", was in fact a total dive, audiences continue to eat up John Cusack as Lane Myer obsessing over his lost girlfriend, his parents and little brother, Monique, the French foreign exchange student living across the street with Ricky and his Mom, and the strange creepy paper boy who just won't give up on getting his two dollars.

The soundtrack is also a big part of this movie, which I actually heard first because a friend of mine at the time had a copy on that new high end music format that just came out a few years before, CD. And don't forget "Savage" Steve's animation and drawings that frame some of the action and comedy. This is definitely one of my favorite films of all time and one that I certainly know backwards and forwards.

It's ashame that John Cusack has distanced himself from the teen movies he did during the 80s. But in the meantime, Diane Franklin and Curtis Armstrong have been very involved and appreciative of the fan adoration this year. My only hope is that at some point someone will decide to put out a special edition DVD. Although when asked during the screening at the Silent Movie Theatre Holland stated that he holds no claim to owning the rights to film. It's pretty much in public domain at the moment, but hopefully that will change soon. "Better Off Dead" absolutely deserves the full-on special featured treatment and version.

Photos of our night at the Silent Movie Theatre and the Q&A after the screening will be up shortly.

Back at Secret Headquarters this week

Started back with SH last Thursday after the horrendous (mostly) three days at Precision Post. Miscommunication was a bit rampant among just about everyone for the first two days, while Wednesday was more of a 'leave me alone, I'm cutting' day.

I've mainly been putting together EPKs at Secret Headquarters, with last Thursday seeing me cut interviews and B-Roll for the TV series "House". Friday I switching over to do another one for a new FOX series entitled "Running Wilde" starring Will Arnett. Monday's was also for a new FOX series, "Raising Hope". When you get right down to it it's monotonous and boring work, and yesterday at 3:30pm I was literally pleading the clock to move ahead to 6pm so I could leave! HOWEVER....this is work and I am very VERY appreciative to have it!!

Late yesterday I learned that they want to put me on hold for the remainder of the week, after it was stated last Thursday that they'd at least need me through Wednesday. So this is more good news, PLUS as mentioned before, these guys pay weekly! GOD BLESS IT! After completing one week I receive a check about halfway through the next. You absolutely cannot beat that!

Today I'll be showing the producer my EPK selects for "Raising Hope" and moving on to a featurette on the show. At last, creativity time!

Saturday, August 21, 2010

"Scott Pilgrim vs. The World" review: it's all about the eye candy

Now that "Scott Pilgrim vs. The World" is bombing at the box office (well, relatively) let's not take this opportunity to dump on it, which I have no such intention to do anyway, but instead look at how the path of films like this seem to be oddly similar. The path of an overwhelming Comic-Con previewed event movie, adored by fans of the original material, but shunned by the rest of the world.

Such was the fate of three other movies that had incredible amounts of fanboy love during the last two and a half years and took early nosedives after the first couple of weeks. The only difference is that I loved "Fanboys", "Watchmen" and "Kick-Ass"!

"Scott Pilgrim"'s problem was one I predicted right from the onset of the first trailer. The mere fact that it is such a niche movie detracts from what it really wanted and needed to be; a crossover into "Juno" land with star Michael Cera onboard. I have to admit that I knew nothing of the original comic series until right before Comic-Con this year. But from what I've heard, Director Edgar Wright has meticulously recreated the look and feel of the characters and world that Scott, his fledgling girlfriend, and seven evil axes boyfriends inhabit. Really the only problem is with the audience connection, and that's where the niche factor comes into play.

True fans of the original comics are eating this movie up again and again. But their numbers have not been big enough to raise "Pilgrim" any higher than the #3 or 4 spot on the box office charts. Even "The Other Guys" beat this movie which amazes me to no end...but more about that in a little bit. Being a video game fanatic is the 'in' factor here with some dashes of pop culture references. On a positive note, the overall look of the movie combined with some really creative, edgy, and almost Soderbergh-esque editing really makes the imagery and vibe of the story pop. Scene expositions can bridge from one to the next to the next as conversations jump cut seamlessly while Scott and his friends head to a gig or to take down the next villain. Also, the use of word balloons and effects are cool enhancements in a comic book sense, and another aspect I understand was taken directly from the original material.

I guess the real issue is do we care about these characters. O.K. so this is not meant to be an incredibly deep movie. But as the fight scenes unfold again and again you find yourself wanting something a little more than just two-dimensional characters in ever increasingly over-the-top scenarios. Plus you keep hoping these fight scenes will get better and a little more elaborate. They're definitely fun but not the blow out events fanboy bloggers have been cheering about. Which leads me to the inevitable conclusion that if you're anywhere from your teens through mid-twenties and eat video games for breakfast, lunch, and dinner then you will LOVE "Scott Pilgrim". The video game aspect is definitely something that's never been attempted like this in a movie before, and kudos for that. Unique video glitching occurs when characters are damaged that's sort of a next step effect removed from the original "Tron" and "The Matrix". Bad guys are dispatched, turning into point coins that fall to the ground. Running point counters keep you in the game mode as our characters seemingly move from near real life to a total game world that even depicts a cool 'do-over' during the climactic battle.

Beyond what is obviously the movie's strengths, here's the bottom line: even with the inclusion of Michael Cera, who I've always enjoyed in just about every movie he's been in, most of what's on screen is just really well done CG, practical, and animated effects that by the end of the movie is nothing more than really cool eye candy. Basically as the credits began to roll Rebecca and I looked at each other and said 'it was O.K.'. So there you have it.

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

The bad first part of this week

Hey, where's that "Scott Pilgrim" review?

Well, Monday and Tuesday were pretty awful days at work. Today was better, but there were some major conflicts about the how a series of cutdowns were edited for this "The Replay" project. That linked with elongated hours both days, stupid people on the 405 who don't deserve to possess a driver's license, giant crows waiting in trees above my parking space at work dropping giant baseball-sized shit onto my Mini, and a further realization that a lot of people just flat out suck has pretty much had me trying to survive to get to the end of my time at Precision, which was today.

Tomorrow morning I return to Secret Headquarters to work on a couple of projects until the end of this week and hopefully into next.

More details on this AND my "Scott Pilgrim" review starting tomorrow morning before I head off to work. We'll get there.

Sunday, August 15, 2010

Back to work at Precision Post

Just received an e-mail from Jason at Precision Post asking if I was available to come in tomorrow and Tuesday. They need me to continue working on that piece for "The Replay". Things seem to be shaping up on the work front between this and the possible return to Secret Headquarters later this week or next. At any rate I'm happy!

"Scott Pilgrim": pre-review thoughts

Just saw "Scott Pilgrim" was O.K. Definitely enjoyed the style and look of the movie, plus the editing was nicely edgy and even Steven Soderbergh-esque. But the story just didn't resonate, some parts dragged a bit, and I never quite connected with any of the characters. About what I expected. My full review will be up tomorrow night.

Saturday, August 14, 2010

"Empire" producer Gary Kurtz finally speaks out about Lucas

Here's a very interesting article just posted on the LA Times blog, Hero Complex.

Gary Kurtz, who produced the original "Star Wars" and "The Empire Strikes Back" with George Lucas, has stepped forward to say some not so flattering things about his former professional partner and gives some surprising insights into what 'the man behind the space epic we all grew up with' was planning during the time of the 'Holy Trilogy' and his mis-managing of the franchise after "Empire".

This is definitely an eye-opening interview and, especially coming from Kurtz who's always been a very straight shooter, not a publicity gaining stunt. Apparently the Lucasfilm leadership has been concerned about Kurtz’ appearance at Star Wars Celebration V, which is happening in Orlando this weekend...and it appears he has a lot on his mind to vent about. One of the most amazing revelations; starting with "Return of the Jedi", George Lucas has been in the "Star Wars" franchise game primarily for the toys, with the actual quality of the films they were based off of as a secondary thought! “The emphasis on the toys, it’s like the cart driving the horse,” Kurtz said. “If it wasn’t for that the films would be done for their own merits." OMG...WOW! This makes total sense when you look at the overall picture of how things have been churned out after 1983 and the end of the original trilogy.

The Hero Complex posting goes on to say Kurtz revealed that the discussed ending for "Jedi" he favored presented the rebel forces in tatters, Leia grappling with her new duties as queen, and Luke walking off alone like Clint Eastwood in the spaghetti westerns. Instead Lucas opted for the teddy bear luau approach! I would have LOVED to have seen this ending! It's makes much more sense and would have resonated SO MUCH BETTER emotionally. Jeez, talk about flushing a perfect idea down the toilet!

Reading this is now the one reason I wish we were attending Celebration V. To hear Kurtz speak his mind in person and ask some really pointed questions that I'm sure a lot of other people probably will be doing. Hopefully there'll be a wrap-up online after the event. Click on the photo of Kurtz to read his full account at Hero Complex.

Friday, August 13, 2010

Shortened week at Secret Headquarters

Looks like my time this week with Secret Headquarters has come to a close. A trailer they'd scheduled that I was to cut ended up going to a freelance editor working out of his home for a lot less money. So I was told they wouldn't have anything for me today or the first part of next week.

Everything pointed to my rolling into next week full-on. But such is this business; on again one day, off again the next. Dave did say he wanted me to contact him near the beginning of next week and that he'd probably need me back in towards the later half. He showed me a list of upcoming scheduled projects, which I'm hoping might mean a couple of steady work weeks ahead of me.

No matter what, I dive back into the job searching tomorrow morning. Chris at Happy Hour did say that due to the AFM (American Film Market) coming up in November, he expected to need me going into next month.

Among other things, I'm looking for this work to financially allow me to make a trip back to Albany and pick up my remaining belongings stashed at Mom's. The beginning of September is my shoot-for time, but of course everything depends on the workflow.

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

One step closer to digital perfection!

When I discovered how amazingly easy it was to download the entire contents of a DVD (menus and all) directly to a hard drive using Mac The Ripper, that was just the beginning of my making a major breakthrough in taking the physical DVD and poorly constructed cases (that's always been a thorn in my side) OUT of the movie collection storage equation!

The next step was to research affordable conversion adapters, just like the way DVD upconverter players work, that I could plug my VGA computer cable into with an HDMI output connector on the opposite side. I've finally taken the time to do the needed research for locating the right 'box' and actually came up with several on I've yet to check out Fry's, which may allow me to just go in and buy the unit as opposed to ordering online (not a problem either way), but one of the major aspects I was very happy to learn is the price on most of these converters; around $50. Nice!!

The bottom line is I can't afford one right this second. But this will ultimately allow me to play any movie in my DVD collection stored on my hard drive, going through one of these converters, and ending up on-screen looking just like they do now when I put an actual DVD in my upconverter player.

This truly is the future I've been waiting for! Just a little bit faster than the technological pace of the rest of the digital world. Click on the image of the converter to be taken to the product's page.

"Back to the Future" UK re-release

HEY!!! come they're not doing this in The States??!! "BTTF" is being re-released in Britain to commemorate the 25th anniversary. Check out the new 1-sheet design to mark this occasion here. Another cool aspect their promoting is that this will be a new digital presentation. Nice! Again....hello, could someone at Universal give us the same love that's being spread across the pond?!

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Starting at Secret Headquarters

Working my second day at Secret Headquarters. Putting together an EPK (Electronic Press Kit) for the FOX series "Bones". At the end of Monday I learned that they have a couple more projects for me to tackle, PLUS that I'd be here for the entire week! Yes!!

Next up I'll be working on something for "The Simpsons" and "The Cleveland Show" (not exactly sure what yet) and there's definitely a trailer in my future later this week. More on this shortly.

Sunday, August 8, 2010

Star Wars Celebration V is this upcoming week

The schedule for Star Wars Celebration V has reared it's head and I certainly noticed a lot of the same type of programming we all experienced at the last two Celebrations we attended. However I'm still glancing through the entire rundown just out of curiosity.

One of these panels is listed as follows:

6:00-7:00 -- Why We Love the Prequels
Special guests Kyle Newman (Fanboys), James Arnold Taylor (Star Wars: The Clone Wars) and Dave Filoni (Star Wars: The Clone Wars), artist Tom Hodges, and Jesse Hildreth from Lucasfilm Animation in Singapore, join moderator Bryan Young. "Why We Love the Prequels" is a discussion of Episodes 1-3 in a positive light, with panelists sharing their perspectives on their place in the Star Wars Saga. From Darth Maul to Darth Vader and all points in between, learn what we love about the Prequels and why they should be held in the high esteem they deserve.

If we were in fact planning to attend, I'd say we go into this particular panel with giant fire hoses and TURN ON THE F-ING WATER!!! Now THAT would be an amazingly funny time!

Saturday, August 7, 2010

"BTTF" Celebration questions and concerns

I've been thinking lately about the high prices they're asking for to attend various functions at the "Back to the Future" 25th Anniversary Celebration this November.

On the official website (which you can go to by clicking on the '25th' image) there's been ticket and price listings that still seem a little excessive, even though I appreciated the fact that they'd broken down the once 'entire event package only' into individual event tickets for you to pick and choose. Initially I'd posted here that this seemed like a much better option financially. But as time has gone on it seems to me (and apparently to others as well) that the cost is still a bit through the roof here and there.

Until recently they had a ticket ticker that said how many had been sold and how many remained. I'd noticed that only a few events had sold one or two or three tickets, but there was certainly not a clamoring to buy. The only thing that sold out within a short amount of time was the 25th Anniversary screening of the first movie at the Puente Hills Mall, which of course is the location where Doc Brown's DeLorean test and Marty's flight from the Libyans was shot.

Overpricing case in point; The Enchantment Under the Sea Gala Evening - $150 a person. And this is an early bird special! After September 1st the price goes up to $250!!

Hey, even just for $150 a pop I wanna see Huey Lewis and The News performing LIVE on stage and see Christopher Lloyd and Michael J. Fox mingling extensively with fans! Is that too much to ask if I'm ponying up such a wad of cash?! Just read a comment on Facebook that the organizer is presently looking for a cover band to perform that night....a cover band?! Seriously?!

They've recently taken down the 'tickets sold' ticker which could mean the limit is now nondescript. Yes, I understand this is for TeamFox for Parkinson's Decease...absolutely a worthy cause. Don't get me wrong, I still think this is going to be an amazing celebration! But the bottom line is they need to provide more assurances and even guarantees to the fans that they're getting something REALLY special for what they're paying. I'm keeping a regular eye on ticket sales and still have my list of 'must-see' scheduled events. But if I'm going to make a major commitment to something I believe will be THE "BTTF" event of the year, I need them to SHOW ME THE MONEY!! Or even better, SHOW ME THE GOODS so I can SHOW THEM THE MONEY!!!

"BTTF" missing from Comic-Con?

I was recently thinking...

Another movie I felt needed more of an anniversary presence at Comic-Con (aside from "The Empire Strikes Back") was "Back to the Future". I would have thought that, with the 25th anniversary and the trilogy coming out on Blu-ray for the first time this fall, some kind of acknowledgement might be awaiting fans at the big event. Seemed like it was very overlooked....except of course for me and my T-shirt!

Also just read a post on Facebook by Stephen Clark, the man whose the head of, that they're re-releasing "Back to the Future" in the UK this fall. Hello?! How about in the states?! Of course we have our tickets already to see the movie at the Puente Hills Mall during the 25th anniversary celebration this November.

Which leads me to my next post...

Just saw "Toy Story 3" in 3D for the 3rd time. It's still the best movie of the year, hands down!

Friday, August 6, 2010

Packed two days of work

After an expanded day on Wednesday at Precision Post finishing up around 10pm, I worked yesterday from 9:30am until 2am this morning! The 90 second piece myself and another editor cut (he the front, I the backend) had to be delivered to the client at 9am this morning. I am now done with the project and off today, so I slept in until 9:30 this morning.

Monday I'll start my first project with Secret Headquarters. Hopefully that will last me the week since I know I'm working on a behind the scenes featurette.

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Back to two post houses!

Got a call today from Precision Post asking if I could come in for a half day today and work through Friday. Got myself together and headed right down to Culver City. But not before checking my e-mail one last time.

In mid-afternoon I sent a message to the two post houses I interviewed with in June; Sam Hurwitz Productions and Secret Headquarters. They both said work would be picking up in August, so I wanted to check in and see where things were at. Right when I was about to shut the computer down and put on my shoes I got a response from Dave at Secret Headquarters. He was amazed at the timing of my e-mail, asking if I was a mind reader. Turns out he was just about to contact me about coming in next week starting Monday! Crazy!

First thing I did was get in touch with Chris at Happy Hour Creative just to make sure they weren't thinking about me for a project possibly starting soon. Chris responded that things were a little slow there at the moment, to go ahead and take the other gig, and that he appreciated my asking him first. So when I got to work I e-mailed Secret Headquarters to say I was free and clear. The project I'm working on at Precision Post is for a show called "The Replay", sponsored by Gator Aid. A cut has to go out to the client first thing Friday morning so we hustled this afternoon and evening to cover a lot of ground.

It's great to be back to work and financially not a moment too soon!

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

"Caddyshack": 30 years later it's still IN THE HOLE!!!!

It's funny how a number of movies we hold near and dear were panned by critics when originally released. "Caddyshack" experienced this same fate, even though at the time I was one of the people who loved it right from the start. It's also very cool how this little film that initially never quite reached the heights it aspired to, being the next "Animal House", is now considered a true classic from the perspective of this 30th anniversary.

There are so many great lines from "Caddyshack" that have resonated with people all these years, and spawning fans from not just the movie geek community but the golfing industry as well. I recently saw the very well produced, two hour long, completely all-inclusive documentary for "Caddyshack" on the Biography Channel. There was SO MUCH I never knew about the making of the movie! A wealth of behind the scenes footage that's never surfaced before, as well as a ton of photos of the cast hanging out and having parties in between filming. This just kicked the shit out of the 20th anniversary DVD featurette which is like a matchbook cover in comparison to the encyclopedia of knowledge I witnessed during this fan fest!

BIO also produced two other classic movie documentaries this year for "Saturday Night Fever" and "Jaws" that also went way, way, WAY beyond anything that's every been released on home video. Once again, so much unearthed media that's never been out there in the public eye. Great stories that normally would be too small to include anywhere else, all rolled out at gleeful full length here.

Rebecca has these on her DVR still and I plan to capture and burn them to DVD. Chris at Happy Hour told me that the reason why these specials are chocked full of so much content is because the budgets are bigger for networks like Biography as opposed to the DVD market. Kind of sad when yo realize that there are so many other films out there that we'd LOVE to see every bit of footage, photo image, and behind the scenes story for. But it all comes down to money in the big world of the entertainment industry.

BTW, the soundtrack to "Caddyshack" has always been a favorite of mine as well. From Kenny Loggins "I'm Alright" and his other four songs from the movie that dominated side 1 of the LP and cassette, through Hilly Michaels' "Something on Your Mind" (HEY!! buddy!"!), Journey's "Any Way You Want It" (so what? so let's dance!!"), The Beat, The Beat's "There She Goes", plus Johnny Mandel's orchestral tracks. I listened to this album a lot back then, and still do to this day! In fact, Screen Archives recently released a special edition soundtrack on CD...which of course I had to snatch right up when it came out! Amazingly, before now I've only ever had it on cassette.


Sunday, August 1, 2010

Comic-Con 2010 Rundown - SUNDAY: The last day

Wake up hour - 5:30am. It was time to head down and wait in line to enter the Exhibit Hall and at last buy the "Tron" vintage figure and Light Cycle. For the first time in many years, there was actually nothing scheduled in Hall H all day. I was kind of surprised. Instead, most of the major panels were held in the next sized room down, Ballroom 20. The line just to get into the convention center was a bit longer than I expected at such an early hour. After Rebecca and I settled into our place in line I decided to walk up to the midway point of the convention center to make sure we were in the right place. Sometimes they let people in from two different locations and I wanted to be assured that I wasn't going to miss out on those "Tron" goodies! Turned out the reason why so many people were in line this early was because the "Smallville" panel was happening first thing in Ballroom 20. It's the final season for that show and this was to be the big send off. At that point I knew we'd be O.K.

Heading back to where Rebecca was standing I told her I was going to the hotel to pick up something. I didn't walk fifty feet from the line when the phone in my pocket rang. It was Rebecca telling me we were about to head inside early. Sure enough the security guys were telling people the doors were about to open. I knew this meant that those of us who were planning to get into the Exhibit Hall would be directed to an upstairs wanting area in the Sails Pavilion, since I'd been a part of this maneuver a couple of years ago. We hooked up with Bill and our other friend Scot with his son Jake who we hadn’t seen the entire event!

I love seeing the Exhibit Hall when they very first open. There's no one on the floor except for the occasional runner trying to get to an all-important line before everyone else. It's kind of like the eye of the hurricane, a moment of calm before the storm arrives. Even though they were telling everyone to not run...I just ran! As was just about everyone else. Finally arriving at the "Torn Legacy" booth I saw about 50 to 75 people in line already for the "Tron" figures. I'd told Rebecca that I was going to book it over there and for her to just take her time. She was picking up both of those items as well, and we were really happy to find ourselves comfortably in line and ready to buy! A few moments later we were at the counter, pulling out our money, and becoming the proud owners of two items I thought I'd never get my hands on. Yay!!!

Next stop: the Sails Pavilion to buy our 4-day memberships WITH Preview Night for next year. Last year money was so bad we decided to skip this, only to just barely be able to purchase ours before they all sold out! When we got to the Sails Pavilion line it was pretty long, a lot longer than previous years. I think people are finally coming around to the idea that you really need to secure these things far in advance, even while you’re at the current year's event. When we arrived at the computer kiosk where you could actually register, we found the process to be incredibly streamlined. Before, you had to enter all of your information from scratch. Now all you do is scan your current membership badge and everything you entered when you registered for this year comes up automatically! Wow! We were really impressed! A person behind the counter talked us through where we had to go onscreen and in seconds we were all set! Receipt in hand, we exited the registration area knowing we wouldn't have to give this process another thought. Then it was off to once again pick up where we left off in the Exhibit Hall.

At this point we were nearing the end of the room and it was time for one of those really tasty pretzel dogs. The clock was ticking and the three of us knew the dreaded announcement that there was only thirty minutes left before the Exhibit Hall closed would be echoing overhead shortly. Taking in a few places we couldn't get near because of the crowds the previous days, the bell rang and the word came down that it was time to leave. I stopped at the door and took one more look around before exiting. I always hate leaving.

Sunday night finally saw our return to Chianti's for a wonderful steak dinner. Time to reflect on the past four-day's events and relax a bit. Checking out of the hotel Monday morning we were told that room reservations would actually be up within a few days, and WITHOUT having to pay the full week's stay in advance! Take that, San Diego Marriott Hotel & Marina!!! Once secured, we can just put it all in the back of our heads without a care. God Bless The Hilton San Diego Bayfront, our new home for Comic-Con!!! We just had an amazing stay there and I can't imagine going anywhere else. The place is really beautiful, very comfortable, and of course the view from our room was spectacular!

Ultimately this year was the most enjoyable, most satisfying, and most flat out fun I've had since my first time attending in 2005! And one of the nice things is I didn't feel that post-event depression I usually get the day after. Bring on 2011!!!!

And of course, you can view all of the photos from this year's event right here in my Flickr set, or by clicking the Flickr link near the bottom of the left sidebar.

Comic-Con 2010 Rundown - SATURDAY: Green Lantern, Harry Potter, Jon Favreau, Marvel, and the attack of the fan!

This day would be a full-on love-in at Hall H! Once again, Rebecca and I got up WAY early (O.K. so 5:30am is way early to me!), got ourselves together with appropriate T-shirts and snack items, proceeding to head down to get in line before the hords descended. Just about every single day I praised our newfound hotel with it's spectacular view. Once again keeping a stern lookout down on the tented area outside of Hall H where people were gathering, we pulled ourselves together and headed out the door. Chris and his son Justice would soon meet us once again, as would our friend Scott. I'd mentioned to them previously the opportunity to jump in line with Rebecca and I, and they found us about two hours from doors opening.

First up was the cast of "Green Lantern" including Ryan Reynolds, Blake Lively, Peter Sarsgaard, and Mark Strong. The main thing all of us were on the edge of our seats for was actual footage from the movie. We'd all seen the cover of Entertainment Weekly, coming away a little concerned over the look of the movie version of GL's suit. As the lights dimmed, the Warner Bros and DC Comics logos came up and we were treated to a short trailer showing Hal Jordan fighting a bunch of guys in a dark parking lot. To his surprise, when he threw a punch the ring on his finger extended that punch in to a giant green hued fist taking out several guys at once. It looked just like in the comics and we all cheered with approval!

We never did get a shot of Reynolds as Hal Jordan in the actual CG suit, but we were treated to a look at some of the characters and worlds this movie would inhabit. Some quick shots at one or two of the other Lantern corps members as well as flashes of the planet IO where the Guardians live. My hope is that they'll be able to balance the reality-based world of Earth with the fantastical universe that the Green Lantern Corps resides. The brief trailer only revealed a hint of this, and we all hoped they'd run it a second time, which never came.

During the Q&A afterward a small boy came to the microphone and asked if Ryan Reynolds would recite the Green Lantern oath which is the following: 'In brightest day, in blackest night, no evil shall escape my sight. Let those who worship evil's might, Beware my power...Green Lantern's light!' With great passion and a loving delivery, Reynolds had everyone in his hand as the little boy listened to that oath spoken by the man who would embody Hal Jordan on screen next summer. By the end of it, I think everyone was smiling broadly at this special moment. The little boy seemed really impressed and raised his hand to reveal a Green Lantern ring. Reynolds did the same, showing off his version from the movie. He then signed a Green Lantern comic to give to the boy. It was just so cool and so sweet at the same time.

Here is a clip of that moment, although the first line is cut off slightly.

Absolutely looking forward to more footage, even though what little they did show looked awesome!

Next up was the panel for "Harry Potter and the Deathly Hollows". Rebecca and I were a bit surprised when only actor Tom Felton came up on stage to speak to the fans. I would have expected almost the entire cast since this is the last story in the franchise to be told on screen. Let's have a giant send off panel, shall we?…..I guess not. Turned out it was Daniel Radcliff’s birthday the day before and he was in Europe. A day after Comic-Con was over he publicly apologized to the fans for not being in San Diego for the highly anticipated preview.

Even though I've never really been a Harry Potter fan, I have to say the footage looked amazing, and I even found myself swept up a bit in the scope of this final intense set of movies. Even though there certainly was a huge contingent for Green Lantern in line that morning, it was obvious that numbers had grown quite large even by the time we headed down very early because of the Potter panel.

Now it was time to kick back and pretty much wait for the afternoon's previews of Jon Favreau's "Cowboys and Aliens" and the climax of the day, the hugely anticipated panels for Marvel's "Thor" and "Captain America". An hour-long presentation of trailers from upcoming movies drew some groans from many in Hall H. Most notably a cheap CG film about wolves with no one special doing the voice work (I can't even remember the name of it) and Jack Black's "Gulliver's Travels" which looks pretty bland. We also got a look at the new trailer for "Machete" which strayed from the girndhouse version that came out first. This was more of a modern take and was completely wrong for the movie. It was still good to see new footage though. One night as we were walking to have dinner we saw an outdoor promotion for the movie complete with the stars and a parking lot full of cool low riders.

"Resident Evil: Afterlife" was up next with Director Paul W.S. Anderson, actors Milla Jovovich, Ali Larter, and Wentworth Miller. A new trailer was on hand as well as a cool action sequence, all in 3D. Oh yes BTW, they'd handed out 3D glasses when we entered the hall first thing in the morning. Several of the trailers and clips were in 3D and we finally had a chance to see something that had been converted...but more about that in a little bit.

During the "Afterlife" Q&A" someone asked Milla Jovovich if she'd say 'mul - ti - pass!', one of her iconic lines in "The Fifth Element". The crowd responded so excitedly that I somehow missed her delivery right after that. The panel finished and the lights came up.

And then it happened.

Something was going down two sections over from where we were sitting. Wasn't sure if someone had been injured, fainted, fell, or had been in some kind of scuffle. I was just about to head to the men's room so I decided to start asking people who were in the vicinity where many were standing on seats and rubbernecking. One woman said that someone had fainted, another that they'd had some type of heart attack or fainting spell. As I moved down the aisle closer to ground zero, a couple of people told me that someone had gotten stabbed. What?! Huh?! That never happens here, I said. People around me echoed that thought with shock and disbelief. This was not the crowd to perpetrate such an act. At a sporting event here or in Europe, Comic-Con, never!

Shortly it became apparent what the facts were. Some guy tried to stab another guy near his eye over the issue of whose seat they were in or wanted to be in. There's always a bit of a scuffle with people trying to get better seats as some of the crowd leaves Hall H after an event, but never at the expense of safety. A voice came over the loudspeaker asking people to please move back and take their seats. Soon an official from the convention took the stage to say that they were going to run some more trailers while the situation was being handled. As the same trailers we'd seen an hour ago began to run again (with boos from the audience), the cops arrived and took a young black man out by the back wall of the auditorium. Everyone booed, and one guy nearby shouted out 'you ruined my Comic-Con!!!'.

What I didn't know was that they'd shut down Hall H and weren't letting anyone else in until things had settled. Later reports said that scheduled events were delayed about a half hour. In fact there was about an hour delay before programming started up again. But soon it would all be moot to the crowd because Jon Favreau was about to come out and woo everyone with "Cowboys and Aliens". And when I say woo, I mean WOOOO!!!

Favreau has this amazing ability to get out there, grab the audience, put up the most incredible, straight to the point footage, intro the stars with a few surprises, and get out. This was absolutely the pinnacle of his appearance on stage this day. Meeting with a standing ovation from fans, he immediately began the roll call of actors from the upcoming film. Daniel Craig took the stage to screams from female fans, followed by the ever-cool Sam Rockwell, plus Paul Dano and Olivia Wilde, who had just been present two days before for the "Tron Legacy" panel. With this rollout the anticipation meter began to rise. Favreau was bringing out just about the entire cast. And the final individual’s name that everyone was leaning forward in his or her chairs hoping to hear was someone who we all thought would probably never attend.

Favreau suddenly said there was one member of the cast who had never been to Comic-Con and this was to be his first time...and Harrison Ford was promptly led out onstage in handcuffs by two police officers! We all jumped out of our seats and screamed!!! Even though I’d seen Ford up close two months before, it was pretty thrilling to see him finally attending this sacred event! And just like Johnny Depp when he surprised the audience a year ago by joining Tim Burton on stage for the "Alice in Wonderland" panel, so too did Ford utter only one or two sentences about how overwhelmed he was at the size of the crowd and how he only ever wanted to be a working actor.

Then it was time for the footage, something no one expected with any great length. Incredibly, after only a few weeks of shooting in New Mexico, Jon Favreau rolled out three fully cut scenes! Two involving Daniel Craig's character trying to find shelter in a small western town, the reveal of the strange alien bracelet around his wrist, and his being taunted by a fellow jail cell prisoner played by Paul Dano. The third scene was the one that blew everyone out the back wall of Hall H!! Craig's character is being loaded in handcuffs onto a special secured stagecoach for transfer out of town. Harrison Ford's character, a local land baron, comes riding in to say he wants his son (Dano) released from the same stage Craig is in. Suddenly off in the distance comes a strip of lights in the sky. The townspeople look on in amazement as those lights separate and begin firing down on the little town. We're talking full-on complete special effects during this scene! It was IN...SANE!!! Favreau had earlier described the look of this movie like John Ford meets "Close Encounters" and it really showed! I wasn't surprised to learn that Steven Spielberg is also the executive producer on the film.

When the lights went up, Favreau said thanks to all the fans who supported the release of "Iron Man 2" and to come back next year for a full-on look at "Cowboys and Aliens". The film has the distinction of not being released until August of 2011 so next year's CC will be the perfect jumping off point for the much-anticipated flick. And with no further adieu, Jon Favreau and company posed for a few photos and headed off stage. Incredible! Like I said before, he came in, he mopped up, and left everyone with a true thrill! Oh, and along the way he mentioned that this movie would be in good old-fashioned 2D, to the wild applause of a 3D weary crowd.

Hey, maybe this is a time to go grab a sandwich because I ain't done yet! You want a rundown, I GOT A RUNDOWN!!

Because now we're about to reach the awe inspiring climax, the main panel of the day that everyone, and I mean EVERYONE, was counting the minutes an seconds until; the Marvel presentation.

As news of the stabbing began to exit everyone's minds, Marvel's Kevin Fiege was the first to take the stage, leaping right into "Captain America" and the introduction of Chris Evans as the 'first avenger' and Hugo Weaving who is playing the Red Skull. Once they'd taken a seat the lights went down and we were treated to a brief teaser for the movie. Since they'd only been filming for a little over a week, there really wasn't anything to show. The teaser had historical clips from WWII over a tracking shot of Captain America's shield. The final reveal was a brief glimpse of Evans in his Cap outfit but mostly in shadow, throwing that mighty shield which slammed into the movie's logo. The crowd probably felt like it had seen everything and was very impressed. But then a full scene was rolled out which had just been completed mere days earlier.

The clip showed Weaving's character before his transformation into Captain America's nemesis, the Red Skull, when he was a Nazi commander in WWII. I'll let the folks over at describe the scene properly.

It was a lot more than I could have imagined they'd show. But being that this would be the only Comic-Con preview for the movie, I knew they wanted to give as much as they could this early in the game. By the time Wondercon comes around early next year they're sure to have a more full-on eye-popping presentation.

We moved over to the first footage of "Thor" with an extended trailer that I know a lot of you have seen in the last day or so online. It's apparent that someone at the post house that put this together grabbed the clip and illegally posted it. The studio cops moved quickly…it's already been removed from a number of movie sites across the web.

Director Kenneth Branagh, the God of Thunder himself, Chris Hemsworth, Natalie Portman, Tom Hiddleston, and Clark Gregg were all introduced before the footage (presented in a 3D conversion) was rolled before a very excited crowd. This movie has had a good portion of its principle photography completed so there was plenty to be excited about. Once again I'll let someone else do the description of the actual trailer, this time from

Definitely looks exciting and very faithful to the comic. Plus, I was very glad to hear that they're going the Donald Blake route. For the uninitiated, when Thor was banished to Earth he assumed the identity of a human doctor that used a walking stick. When he needed to become Thor he would slam the tip of that walking stick to the ground, instantly transforming into the God of Thunder. How this will be presented in the movie is anyone's guess because they showed nothing that alluded to that aspect. Yet Kenneth Branagh (pronounced 'Braah-naah' and not 'Bre-neh' the way LA Times Hero Complex blogster Geoff Boucher, who was the MC for the Marvel panel, pronounced it) definitely made that connection while responding to a fan's question. He was probably the most unluckiest of Comic-Con guests, but still extremely welcome nonetheless.

This was the first time I’d seen a 3D conversion, and it was pretty disappointing. A few people commented previously that the conversion processing looks like you’re seeing a View Master image; flat images that are layered to give the simulation of 3D. The “Thor” footage looked exactly like this and I know right now that we’ll be differing to the 2D version when it’s released.

Speaking of questions, one perturbed fan asked producer Kevin Fiege what was on just about everyone's mind; why the hell wasn't Edward Norton secured as The Hulk for future projects! Fiege just responded with what everyone knew already, echoing Norton's comments that The Hulk was bigger than everyone and would move forward with even greater adventures. Fiege than added that the panel was far from over. This was only a ramp up to what would become the ultimate reveal of the entire event. The lights dimmed as a special teaser trailer for the upcoming "Avengers" movie was shown. The crowd once again rose to its feet with insane applause and cheering. Samuel L. Jackson's voice called out the oath of the team that wouldn't hit movie screens until 2012. But the minute that 'A' appeared on the giant screens over everyone's heads, we all knew this was THE moment.

With that flair we've all seen at Comic-Con’s past, Robert Downey, Jr. surprisingly took the stage to announce that a few friends were in the wings about to join him. Along with Rebecca, Chris and his son, plus Scott, I'd also bonded with a fan sitting next to me by the name of Jose. We had a lot of fun throwing comments around during our time (he was an all-dayer as well) about how we wanted to see that "Green Lantern" trailer again and quips about how some of the movies we were seeing trailers for were pretty lame. We both practically stood up on our seats as Downey began what became the Avengers roll call, the two of us shouting 'they are not fucking going to do it, they are not fucking going to do it....THEY'RE GOING TO DO IT!!!!' What we were so excited about was the fact that all the members of the Avengers were assembling, right through the introduction of Jeremy Renner as Hawkeye and Mark Ruffalo as The Hulk! One by one, the entire team, which included Chris Hemsworth (Thor), Chris Evans (Captain America), Scarlett Johansson (Black Widow), Samuel L. Jackson (Nick Fury), plus Renner and Ruffalo, took to the stage as crazed applause rose the roof of Hall H. Finally, Joss Weadon (the director of the project) was introduced to overwhelming cheers. And yes, even though I have not been the staunchest supporter of this team-up and movie, I was blown away by the event within THE event!!! Or, to refer to a recent movie everyone save for Rebecca and I think is the second coming, a dream within a dream.

Here is video of this historic Comic-Con / Marvel moment...

As the lights finally went up, we took stock of some of the most exciting panels we'd ever seen at Comic-Con. Jose was packing up to make his exit and I turned to say how great it was to share the day's events. We shook hands as he echoed that exact sentiment. Once again, another cool connection with a fellow fan. But wait...the most incredible moment this side of the "Tron Legacy" panel had not ended our time in Hall H. There was still Kevin Smith's annual hose-fest to attend. Quickly Rebecca and I gathered up our belongings and hunted for a seat closer to the stage. At about the twentieth row we found a great spot to watch Tons of Fun do his thing. Of course at this point everything was still running about an hour late due to the stabbing. Looked like we weren't going to make it to Chianti's Restaurant for our annual steak dinner, but there was still Sunday night.

It was great at this point to just hang out and listen to Kevin Smith spin those always-funny stories about his life and the people he encounters. Fan questions turned into entire volumes of adventures he had on movie sets and just trying to watch "From Dusk 'Till Dawn" at home on a 52-inch television. When 9pm came it was time to head back to the hotel and find Bill. Sandwiches and room service became dinner due to the late hour. There was just one more day left, and it'd be another early wake-up call. The "Tron" vintage figure and "Tron Legacy" Light Cycle were calling, and I HAD to get in line really early Sunday morning to make sure and get one of each!

Comic-Con 2010 Rundown - FRIDAY: full day in the Exhibit Hall and Flynn's Arcade

Nothing but shopping in the Exhibit Hall was the plan of the day! Once again we picked up where we left off and continued to take everything in. We were seeing a lot more costumes this day, although Bill mentioned it seemed as though there were less than last year. I felt like we were seeing quite a number of costumes going by, but sometimes there was more time in between sightings.

One thing I noticed that was missing from the DC booth; there was not a huge presence for the "Green Lantern" movie. Yes, the display case that housed new action figures coming out later in the year was prominently GL. But most of the banners overhead proclaimed love for multiple DC characters. This, right across the aisle from the Marvel booth that had Odin's giant throne from the "Thor" movie as its centerpiece. Saturday would bring the combined casts of "Captain America" and "Thor" to sign autographs and meet the fans. Unfortunately we had to miss that when the time came because we needed to be in Hall H awaiting the panel for both of these films later in the afternoon.

Back to the lack of promotion for “Green Lantern”, I was equally surprised that the Warner Bros. Booth (the studio that’s releasing the movie) had a less than spectacular presence for the movie as well. There were a few banners hanging overhead at one point, but apparently they were switched out daily for whoever or whatever was being focused on at the time. Unfortunately we didn’t go by there when those “GL” banners were up. In the middle of the booth they did have an actual prop from the new movie. The chamber where Abin Sur’s body is kept in the film. He’s the alien who crash lands on Earth and, before he dies, transfers his power ring to Hall Jordan, allowing him to become Green Lantern. Still, I expected a much larger showing for what is Warner Bros. First superhero movie since “The Dark Knight”. Meanwhile, Marvel is cranking out two and three at a time. Warner’s really needs to step it up a bit.

Another very important milestone that should have been much more front and center at the Star Wars booth and Comic-Con in general is the 30th Anniversary of "The Empire Strikes Back". Certainly there were classic "Star Wars" figures and toys featured prominently, including some from the 1980 classic. I didn't actually see it myself, but Bill told me they had a good sized Battle in The Snow scene from "Empire" somewhere around the side of the booth. Plus there was a giant Boba Fett action figure card you could pose against as though you were the action figure inside the packaging. But the main attraction continued to be the "Clone Wars" animated series, with the marking of "Empire"'s three decades seemingly left in the dust. Not cool. I feel this same mentalilty will be spilling over into Star Wars Celebration V being held later this month in Florida. Whatever's the current thing will get the biggest boost, which is kind of sad because if it wasn't for the original holy trilogy there wouldn't be all these less than spectacular prequel episodes and spin offs.

A couple of Friday's panels I had marked on the schedule were deliberately missed because I wanted to spend more time in the Exhibit Hall, and because Saturday was going to be a full day and early evening locked in the cavernous Hall H. These were for the movies "Super" and "The Green Hornet". As the weekend approached I especially regretted not seeing "The Green Hornet". I LOVED the 60's TV series and have been pretty pumped for the new movie starring Seth Rogen. But taking an extended time to get into Hall H in the middle of the day seemed daunting. This would be the last fan event before the film's release in January so it was particularly bittersweet when I made the decision to instead give my full attention to the Exhibit Hall for most of the day.

Friday also brought a return to Flynn's Arcade, part of the viral marketing for "Tron Legacy". When we arrived at the "Tron Legacy" booth to find out how and when we could buy the "Tron" arcade vintage figure and Light Cycle we were told that the day's allotment had already been sold out. We'd have to return on Sunday to purchase ours, realizing that Saturday was out, once again due to our full day stay in Hall H. Instead we learned that they were giving out tickets to get into Flynn's Arcade at the top of every hour. Returning an hour and a half later at twelve noon, Rebecca and I found ourselves as one of the first to arrive. Soon there was a crush of people behind us. As noon struck, the man with the tickets began slowly handing them out, asking everyone to please be patient. We reached forward to claim ours and were instantly pushed forward by the crowd. Suddenly I felt like I was at that British soccer game in the late 80's where scores of people were killed, crushed up against the fences as crowds behind them pushed their way into the stadium. I quickly grabbed Rebecca's hand and pushed my way out to the main aisle. Even though I am a fanboy and appreciate the passion, I WON'T be trampled by the sometimes-unholy mob that is today's young fan mentality.

More shopping ensued, and suddenly it was our turn to head to Flynn's Arcade a few blocks up the street from the convention center. 3pm was our reserved time on the ticket, so we made our way to the location arriving about 15 minutes in advance. There was a line out front, which moved along pretty well. When it was our turn to enter we were each given a small blue change holder with seven Flynn's Arcade tokens inside! They were a souvenir of our visit and didn't need to be dropped in the free game machines, the guy handing them out said. Last year we were given one token each over at the convention center just to enter the arcade, and I actually managed to get my hands on three of them. Now I have a whole case with the "Tron" logo embossed on it. Pretty cool!!

Once inside the Holy Grail for "Tron" fans, we discovered that things had changed a bit from last year. Now there was no time limit on the amount of free gaming! In 2009 you had a twenty-minute window to enjoy all the free video games you could play, which included the original movie's Space Paranoids. Then the lighting and music would change in an orchestrated maneuver to lead everyone through a doorway in the back wall of the arcade, right behind the original "Tron" arcade game. This time we not only enjoyed not the vintage 80’s games as before, but were introduced to the "Tron: Evolution" PS3 and XBOX game they had demos of along one side of the arcade. Six screens allowed gamers to try out various levels of the game, and I actually was able to get in and try it myself. Just so cool! Definitely want to pick up a copy when it comes out!

Once again through the back wall of the arcade, we were led along a short hallway into the back room office of Kevin Flynn, just like in the new movie, with all original set pieces and props from "Tron Legacy". Everything was recreated down to the smallest detail as seen in the first trailer when Kevin's son, Sam, finds his way to the computerized desk as the laser that would take him into the computer world began to fire up. Audio from the new trailer played as the laser cannon began it’s lighted digitizing sequence, leading us through a second doorway bathed in a light source ahead. We took a left turn and there in front of us was a recreation of the End of Line Club from the new movie! We were stunned at how big and how complex it was! It's hard to describe so I'm going to let the photos do the talking.

Daft Punk's music was the soundtrack for the club, which we heard will be five times larger in the actual movie. Behind the bar and along the walls there were giant imbedded screens where colored video images danced around the entire club. Every couple of minutes the lights changed and you’d here Michael Sheen's character say “Change the scheme, alter the move, electrify the boys and girls, if you’d be so kind!” This was followed by wall-sized clips from the new trailer we’d just seen the previous morning, after which the lights would return and Daft Punk's music would again begin to surround us.

At one point a woman dressed as the albino greeter in the computer world slowly strutted out to a hundred camera flashes going off. One amazing aspect of her suit; the strips of light grey that represented light sources in the actual movie were not lit up. However, when you took a photo of her with your flash on, the image would reveal a glow effect in the actual photo! Extremely cool idea and execution! In fact there were two others wearing black "Tron Legacy" suits back at the official booth, which had a similar effect. We were truly amazed and in awe at what we'd found hiding in the back of Flynn's Arcade, very much like our surprise over the full scale model of a Light Cycle we discovered the year before. A back area of the club also had several of the forthcoming action figures, toys, plus more props, helmets, and a full sized figure with an entire game grid outfit that glowed. After spending a mesmerizing hour there, we decided it was time to make our way back to the convention center to meet up with Bill and pick up where we left off in the Exhibit Hall.

Friday night had us heading directly for an old standby we knew and loved, particularly after Thursday night's disappointing dinner experience. Buca di Beppo was our choice and we filled up on fine Italian ravioli and pasta. Yum! While waiting for our name to be called in the crowded foyer of the restaurant, I had one of those random opportunities to talk to someone on the street about "Tron Legacy", the panel, and Flynn's Arcade. This is another reason why I love going to Comic-Con! Everyone is so friendly and it's very easy to just start up a conversation with a fellow fan. This guy really did know his "Tron" and we even threw out some lines from the movie in perfect inflection and unison. Just had a great time all around during Day 2.

Comic-Con 2010 Rundown - THURSDAY: the "Tron Legacy" panel!

The first full day of Comic-Con was "Tron Legacy" day! Although I'd have to say the entire event really did belong to the movie we'll finally get to see this coming December. Because the much-anticipated panel for "TL" was first up on the day's schedule, I knew we'd need to get in line for Hall H really, REALLY early. The alarm went off at 5:30am. Rebecca was up and getting ready before my feet could reach the floor. Soon she had snacks packed for the morning / day and was ready to head down and get in line. I followed a short time later, keeping visual tabs on how long the line was getting. For the first of many times I said, "Thank God we're in this hotel!" Before I left she called me to say the line was moving. A quick glance out the window would confirm that no one was going in yet and that they were just compacting the line. If we’d been staying in the Marriott we could only guesstimate what was happening a full three blocks away at the other end of the convention center!

Finding Rebecca holding a prime location in line, we were joined by Chris, a producer I'd worked with at Happy Hour Creative who was no longer with the company, and his son Justice who I'd arranged with previously to meet up with for this. They arrived about an hour out from the panel. Finally 9:30 came and the doors opened!

Right before "Tron Legacy" we'd be seeing the presentation for "Megamind", the animated superhero adventure starring Will Ferrell, Tina Fey, Jonah Hill, and Brad Pitt. Ferrell was introduced and walked onstage with a hall costume-like rendition of his animated counterpart in the film, which was pretty funny. Tina Fey and Jonah Hill soon followed and there was a bit of anticipation in the air as to whether Brad Pitt would step onstage. He plays Megaman in the movie. Suddenly Will Ferrell made his way over to the steps leading up onstage and sheepishly grabbed a life-sized cutout of Pitt from behind the curtain. Everyone laughed, but there was still a feeling that he might actually surprise everyone and appear. Considering the fact that his wife, Angelina Jolie would be there the next day for the “Salt” panel, we kind of assumed he would follow suit. Never happened. I have to say after seeing the extended trailer and learning more about the story of “Megamind” my interest in the movie definitely went up!

Then it was time for the main event! First up, director Joe Kosinski, Producer and original "Tron" director Steven Lisberger, and stars Jeff Bridges, Bruce Boxleitner, Garrett Hedlund, Michael Sheen, Olivia Wilde took the stage to wild applause. We were then treated to the footage we've all been patiently waiting to finally see! Beyond the incredible test footage they showed two years ago, no one had seen any clips from the actual film yet. Now we would be treated to eight minutes of footage from the movie!!! WOW!

Amazing images of Kevin Flynn's son, Sam (played by Hedlund), introduced us to how this 28 years later world of Tron would look and feel! He boards a Recognizer with other appropriated programs to be taken to the game grid where he's fitted with his combat gear by mysterious female figures. Then came the reveal of Kevin Flynn's alter ego, Clu, also played by Jeff Bridges using a CG masking technique that digitally altered the actor's facial features to look like he was in his 30's again. Two years ago were shown a brief glimpse of Clu in that test trailer. Programs in the world of "Tron" don't age of course, so it was necessary to utilize the same technology used in "The Curious Case of Benjamin Button" to achieve this. The effect definitely works, but you could tell that they were still perfecting it going into five months before the actual film's release. Kind of the way that The Hulk and Iron Man looked just a tad CG-ish during their respective Comic-Con panels than they did months later when their movies premiered. I'll let the fans over at give a much more detailed description of the extended scenes we were treated to.

The final shot of the brand new "Tron Legacy" trailer showed Clu jumping into mid-air as a flying vehicle digitally formed around him, blasting out of frame. We cheered applauded wildly along with the 6,000+ in attendance as the final logo appeared on screen. A Q&A followed with director Joe Kosinski revealing that two of the most important things that needed to be in this new movie was Jeff Bridges as Kevin Flynn and Tron. Even though it wasn't said specifically, it became clear that one of the big reveals in the film might very well be Bruce Boxleitner as Tron. If that's true, they're doing a nice job of keeping a lid on it.

Something extra special we all had a chance to become a part of was a full Hall H audio session with director Joe Kosinski. You're like 'whaaa?'. Towards the end of the panel the entire room was told we could all be a part of a scene in the movie, just by following some simple directions on the giant screens overhead. In between each command we would see a card that said 'now be quiet'. First we were instructed to cheer, stomp our feet, then shout out the phrases “DISK! WARS!”, “RENZ-LER!”, “DE-REZ!”, all of which was recorded to be used as spectator voices during the gladiator-style game grid sequence of the film. It was pretty awesome and the 6,000+ fans in the room were all very respectful to the directions and really enjoyed the chance to be a part of this experience.

A final round of applause and cheers from the fans and we were on our way out of Hall H to meet up with Bill in the Exhibit Hall. It was time to start our customary top-to-bottom walk through of the dealer’s area and movie, TV, and game booths. Starting in Aisle 100, Rebecca and I picked up where we left off on Wednesday night to shop and see the sights. We'd come back to the spot we left off at a few times over the course of the four days, amazingly ending our complete tour on Sunday afternoon. The first year I attended, it took me two and half days total to get through everything. Now that I know what I like to see and can pass by, it still usually takes a day and half total.

Thursday night took us up the streets of San Diego once more to a restaurant someone at the "Tron Legacy" booth had referred us to, a breakfast place that was supposed to be very good. Unfortunately the service turned out to be not the best and some of the food actually came out cold, mine in particular. Rebecca's and Bill's seemed to be O.K., but I had to send mine back to be reheated. Amazingly, when the dishes returned they were still somewhat cold! Needless to say this place ended up being a mistake. Keeping it to the familiar would be the next night's dinner selection.

Unfortunately we missed Penn & Teller, who were performing in our hotel that night. No worries because it was either them or food....we chose food. And the first full day came to a close.

Comic-Con 2010 Rundown - WEDNESDAY: anticipation and the long shot

After Rebecca and I arrived on Tuesday we had our usual nice ramp up to the oncoming fan blitz. Picking up Bill from the airport after his delayed flight situation, we decided it was a bit late to have dinner. So we waited until early evening Wednesday to dine at Lou & Mickey's in the Gas Lamp District right across the street from the convention center. This has become a staple of our first night in town where everything is allowed to just sink in over a yummy meal.

Unfortunately, I was the only one to have a 4-day membership badge that included Preview Night on Wednesday. Rebecca and Bill did not make it in time to purchase theirs before they sold out online. After 6pm, when the doors opened for the three-hour pre-event run, we continued to try and figure out ways for all three of us to get in. A few ideas were bounced around until we finally decided to just try and walk in, thinking that maybe a little later in the evening they just might be bit lax in checking badges. Turned out we were right, as the three of us began walking towards a security person checking badges. Rebecca and I entered first with no problem and Bill, bringing up the rear, was approved for entry as well. We were SO IN!!!

With only an hour left, we quickly dashed to a few choice booths and areas on the Exhibit Hall floor. I really wanted to see the "Tron Legacy" booth first, which was Rebecca and my first stop. A giant Recognizer framed the location with many toys and action figures from the forthcoming movie on display. In the middle were two monitors where people were trying out the "Tron Legacy" Playstation 3 game that would be coming out later in the year. I wanted to try it out but of course there was quite a crowd. My chance would come later though.

At one end of the booth was a counter where they were selling what was my 'must have' limited edition items of the event; the "Tron" vintage figure inside a box fashioned like the original arcade game, as well as the limited edition Light Cycle from the new movie. Being that the vintage figure had an exclusive Comic-Con release of just 1,500 pieces (?!), I figured it could quite possibly be almost impossible to snag one. The good news was that they were selling them at a little over 300 a day, which made my and everyone else's chances of owning this one-of-a-kind figure a lot better. I'd definitely be back!

As 9pm struck and the Hall began to close, we smiled broadly at our fortune of being able to get in and get a brief glimpse at what was to come.

Comic-Con 2010 Rundown - TUESDAY: the ramp-up and remembering Shel Dorf

O.K.! And here....we....GO!

I'd have to say that this year was probably one of the, if not THE most exciting Comic-Con I've attended yet! This was my sixth time, and due to the insanely idiotic idea (!!!) the San Diego Marriott Hotel & Marina had of charging everyone the full amount of a one's stay when they booked (even a little under a year out from the event), it was decided that another hotel would have to be found.

As far as I was concerned there were only two or maybe three other options, since I was now pretty much spoiled by the concept of staying right next door to the San Diego Convention Center! These were the Omni Hotel (right across the street) and the Hilton San Diego Bayfront at the opposite end of the convention center from the Marriott. Rebecca suggested that the Hilton would be the best solution because it was right next door to Hall H and we'd have a bird's eye view of how the lines were forming right from our room. I definitely liked this idea a lot. Also, the Omni definitely fell to the second choice slot because it was across the street and on the other side of several train tracks. Yeah, O.K. so we'd only have to cross over these travel ways which wasn’t much, but I still appreciated the idea of having everything right outside the hotel door.

Let me just say with a great amount of enthusiasm that the decision to jump on board with the Hilton was a dream! When booking our stay I requested a room facing the convention center on a high floor. After checking in and taking the elevator to the 13th floor (you heard it, 13) Rebecca and I had the perfect view of not only the area where fans line up for Hall H, but the entire convention center AND a beautiful panoramic snapshot of the San Diego bay and skyline of downtown San Diego. I was instantly hit with a feeling of complete satisfaction!!

One addition to this year's Hall H waiting line area was the inclusion of a series of tents. This was definitely much appreciated as shelter from the elements, including the hot sun during the day and for those fans camping out overnight. The weather was really nice, not too hot, and not too cool. Sun was scarce during those wait times outside, at least for us anyway, and we were loving it!

Before we start the rundown of the days events, I think it only appropriate to acknowledge the passing of a man who was the founder of San Diego's Comic-Con International forty one years ago; Shel Dorf. He died at age 76 on November 3, 2009 in San Diego, and if it wasn't for Shel we would not be experiencing the excitement, wonder, and thrills that this annual event brings to so many people!

When he began Comic-Con it was a small gathering of comic book fans held in San Diego's US Grant Hotel, then moving to the El Cortez Hotel where many current fans now acknowledge as the first major gathering place. If it wasn't for his creativity, organization, and continued perseverance in the world of comics and his inspired involvement with the convention itself, we would not be appreciating such an incredible event as what we now call home every July. What I mean by 'home' is how at home we all feel hanging out with fellow fans and appreciating, as a true force to be reckoned with, our passion for comics, movies, TV shows, video games, and science fiction in general.

The one thing I sincerely regretted about this year was not being able to attend a tribute panel for Shel. Due to a scheduling conflict I was not able to be a part of what I'm sure was a wonderful remembrance of the man. I only hope there are some type of future tributes that I might be a part of. I really do owe so much to this guy who was originally just trying to bring like-minded comics fans together, all out of love and passion for their favorite pastime. That love is now 125,000 people strong each year (in actual attendance), with hopes that an expansion of the convention center will yield much needed space and more room for all of us who, like Shel Dorf, loves to immerse in the group appreciation that is the San Diego Comic-Con International!

You can learn more about Shel and his legacy at

Now, on to the rundown...!!!