Friday, July 29, 2011

And BOOM!! Insane cutting day!

Not to sound too self-promoting...but I seriously impressed myself today by being able to take a concept for a 15 second broadcast spot and creatively go to eleven with it...PLUS do the job in only a half hour! Crazy!

Not only do I have four spots out for studio approval right now, but this additional one garnered a call from my boss who loved it and commented on how funny the button (ending) was. With a little ramp up time to get the proper calibration on the people I work with, I'm definitely finding the right groove here at In Sync!

A little bit more of a delay...

The promised LA Filmcutter Podcast 2.0: Comic-Con has yet again been delayed. Due to a small technical difficulty as well as a pretty heavy-duty schedule at work this week WITH overtime, I'm putting the finishing touches on the big event wrap up and hoping to post it over the weekend. Photos are coming as well as I've been going through quite a number of them to pick the best. Once again, stay tuned!

Thursday, July 28, 2011

"Cowboys and Aliens" review: spot-on John Ford style western with a seriously unique sci-fi twist

We attended the special American Cinematheque screening of "Cowboys and Aliens" this past Monday night. Jon Favreau did a fantastic Q&A for the fans as well as industry people in attendance. Security was high as we entered the Aero Theatre and there was certainly a sense that perhaps someone beyond the director would be showing up as a surprise. I had a gut feeling that might even be Harrison Ford, but later found Favreau would be the sole guest for the evening. No matter, because I always enjoy hearing the darling of Comic-Con speak. Whether it be in Hall H or at a retrospective theater we hold so dear.

As the lights went down and the movie unspooled, we were thrust into a classic western. The type John Ford would have made had he still been alive. Daniel Craig is perfectly cast in the role of a man who has no memory prior to when he wakes up out in the wilderness to find a strangely futuristic bracelet on his wrist. Craig exudes Clint Eastwood's 'man with no name' with all the quietness and dangerous hand-to-hand skills he possesses. Harrison Ford is the one man everyone fears in a small town Craig's character, Jake Lonergan, stumbles upon in his search for who he is and how he got there. The actor who embodied Indiana Jones brings a lot of bad guy gruffness to the role of Colonel Woodrow Dolarhyde, at first Lonergan's enemy who becomes an unwilling ally after aliens attack their small town to abduct some of the townspeople.

Jon Favreau brings his great flair for action sequences to a movie that could have gone horribly wrong in less than capable hands. Yet the man who directed "Iron Man" lends his great love of the classic western and connection to out-of-this-world fantasy with skill and bravado. The cinematography is crisp and spot-on John Ford, while the special effects are really well done and very original in their execution. There's never been a movie quiet like this before, and I shiver at the concept of it being a comedy which was one of the original concepts before Favreau came on board. It's interesting to note that Robert Downey, Jr. was once attached to this project back when it adhered more to the graphic novel. He actually passed it on to Favreau during the filming of "Iron Man" and Favreau took immediate interest.

This is a story of redemption for several of the main characters and that redemption is greatly earned as the movie reaches it's climax. While Craig handles the cool-eyed loner with style, Ford reminds us once again exactly why some of us fell in love with the movies in the first place. Plus, I also have to say that it was good to see Sam Rockwell's work in his second film with Jon Favreau, his first being "Iron Man 2". I even mentioned my appreciation of that fact, as well as how much we enjoyed this movie when I shook the director's hand right after the screening Monday night.

Somewhat like with "Super 8", "Cowboys and Aliens" will take you back to a time when movies were fun and not overly bloated with effects with a sorely lacking story. So many films suffer from those two viruses these days, and it's good to see the team of Spielberg, Howard, and Favreau roll out a western romp with a twist that's worth seeing on the big screen!

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

"Transformers: Dark of the Moon" review: A TURD!!!

I'm not going to spend a lot of time with this movie here because everything's flushable about this visual effects-bloated, overly long, badly acted, seriously boring slam fest!! The only positive thing in this pointless continuation of the "Transformers" saga? That the effects weren't bad...but that's about it!

Shia LaBeouf seems to be going through the motions as he continually chases after blonde bimbo in distress / English model Rosie Huntington-Whiteley who can't act her way out of a paper bag. I didn't care about a single character in this whole friggin' movie and as the gi-normous battle in the streets and skies of Chicago dragged on and on and on AND ON, I was praying for the credits to roll and bring this mess to a close!

When the film finally DID end, I literally got up out of my seat and said somewhat loudly 'WHAT...A...TURD!!! "GREEN LANTERN" WAS AN OSCAR WORTHY MASTERPIECE NEXT TO THIS CRAP!!" Some of the handful of people still left in the theater chuckled. It's been a long time since I've ever had THIS negative a response to any movie. Now, "Transformers: Dark of the Moon" takes that prized place! Michael Bay's giant robot, action baby, chunk-o-shit #3 is a little embarrassing for Steven Spielberg to even have his name attached.

If you notice...over on the right side bar I've given this movie NO STARS!!! A FIRST!! In fact, if I could give it negative stars that would be even better.

Just moments after we'd exited the theater I could barely tell you what happened over the course of the story because it was just that forgettable. I had to chuckle with frustration when I drove by several digital billboards days later where the movie was being heralded as 'the number one movie in the world!' Make sure you bring trash bags to cover yourself if you see it in the theater. This movie is so shitty you might actually feel like feces are flying out at you! Particularly if viewed in 3D.

My first project at In Sync goes to finish!

I began work at In Sync three weeks ago and one of the spots I cut on my first project has gone to finish! This, meaning that it's been completely approved all the way up the chain at the studio and will be hitting broadcast and online shortly. The senior editor here was kind enough to text me the news while I was at Comic-Con. As soon as I have an official link I'll post it!

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

That overwhelming need to refuel and re-energize

As I was finishing up work tonight I felt the serious need to get to bed incredibly early tonight. Because we literally went straight to the "Cowboys and Aliens" screening from Comic-Con, there really was no break before starting back at In Sync today. So as I entered my apartment there was just one thing that mattered: SLEEP!!

This being said, I'm going to have to delay posting the LA Filmcutter Comic-Con Podcast until tomorrow night. My work is the priority and being fresh in the morning is paramount. So look for the complete update tomorrow night. Sorry, everyone.

Monday, July 25, 2011

LA Filmcutter Podcast 2.0: Comic-Con coming tomorrow!

Our amazing Comic-Con 2011 week has come to an end, and tomorrow will be the premiere of the LA Filmcutter Podcast 2.0: Comic-Con! A complete wrap-up of all the in's and out's, including a report from the "Doctor Who" line for Hall H. But in one additional way, this year's event continues tonight!

This evening is the special American Cinematique screening of "Cowboys and Aliens" plus a Q&A with director Jon Favreau at the Aero Theatre. Favreau is known for showing up with surprise guests and I really wouldn't put it past him to have Daniel Craig or even (fingers crossed) Harrison Ford on hand! He premiered "Iron Man" and "Iron Man 2" at the Aero with Robert Downey, Jr. in tow a week before their respective openings. And I'm sure we'll probably end up at the always favorite Blue Plate for dinner before hand...that is if we make it back to LA in time because I'm sure the line to get in will be long!

Sunday, July 24, 2011

Saturday and Day 4

Yesterday we waited in line for two and a half hours for the "Family Guy" panel in Ballroom 20. Due to the less-than-spectacular Hall H line turnout for most of the week, Ballroom 20 suddenly became the big wait to beat. Of course we had no idea this was going to happen because it's pretty rare that we actually go there for anything. Plus, even though "Family Guy" continues to be huge, I never would have expected gi-normous Hall H lines for that, "Futurama" and others that were scheduled right before and after it.

With a few worried moments about actually getting in to see the "Family Guy" panel, we just barely made it in the room four minutes before it began! Rebecca was dressed in her Consuela costume and had a question already formulated, asking Seth McFarlene if she could get her own spinoff show like Cleveland did. I kept a spot for her in the Q&A line which was seven or eight people from the front. Unfortunately, the questions people did manage to ask brought elongated answers from the panel which also included Seth Green and Alex Borstein. So Consuela didn't get to ask her question but was a big hit on the Exhibit Hall floor! She was nervous that people would not recognize her and that was NHL further from the truth. Many wanted photos of Rebecca in her perfect costume and persona, commenting on how the Mexican maid was one of their favorite characters.

Surprisingly, we ran into our friend Chili who was dressed as Stan Smith from "American Dad". We weren't really sure if he was going to be here as we hadn't spoken in a few weeks. Chili is the show's sound designer in real life and we met him at the "Back to the Future" 25th Anniversary event in November. He also hosts regular movie screenings as his home in The Valley.

After hitting the Exhibit Hall for most the afternoon, it was time for Kevin Smith's annual talk-fest in Hall H. I REALLY look forward to seeing and hearing him each year and as usual, he had some great detailed stories about his writing process. Certainly the big revelation is that he is about to direct his last film. But when he explained the reasons why it made a lot of sense. He's big into his Smodcasts right now and that had been an enormous writing and creative outlet. I've been really bad at catching up with the word of 'Tons of Fun' over the digital airwaves. But after hearing Kevin spin the tale of creative juices, I seriously want to make sure and hunt down Smith's show as well as propel a more regular schedule of the LA Filmcutter podcasts as well.

Right after Kevin Smith's panel we all reconvened up in our rooms to change and head out for our annual steak dinner at Chianti's Restaurant up the hill from the convention center. This time, Bill had offered in advance to take us out as a congratulations for getting engaged, which we really appreciated! Once again taking in the post day's event nightlife, we made our way back to the hotel in anticipation of getting in the Hall H line first thing this morning in anticipation for the "Doctor Who" panel that dominates today's activities.

Can't believe it's the last day of Comic-Con!! Each day has rolled along at a pretty normal pace, although yesterday seemed to fly by at an accelerated pace. But we're here in Hall H right now and wading through the "Glee" and "Supernatural" panels on our way to the Time Lord's big moment.

Saturday, July 23, 2011

Friday going into Day 3

First off I just have to say that yesterday morning was INSANE!!! Our very first panel in Hall H was for "Tin Tin". But more importantly than that was the very first appearance of Steven Speilberg at Comic-Con. This would also be Bill's first Hall H panel and he was aboutbto be blown out of his seat!

After a thrilling montage that introduced the legendary director through clips from classics like "Jaws" and "Raiders of the Lost Ark" all the way to "Saving Private Ryan" and Munuch", Speilberg came out on stage to a standing ovation. After speaking about how much he appreciated the fans because he wouldn't be here without them, he rolled out a first screen-test for "Tin Tin". As we all sat in anticipation, suddenly a clip came up on the overhead screens of a boat dock withba salty sea captian. That captain turned out to be director Peter Jackson with a CG dog who began drinking from an accidentally tipped over bottle of alcohol. As Jackson mock-described how much he wanted to play the part of Captain Haddock, the CG dog began to dance around apparently drunk, flipping over the dock and into the water. You would have had to see it to get the full laugh, but hit was very funny!

As the clip ended to applause, suddenly Peter Jackson himself walked out on stage to another standing ovation. The two talked about working together on the new movie and how the visual effects came about. Then we wre treated to an eye-popping clip from "Tin Tin" that had to be seen to be believed!! Now I am so incredibly excited to see this when it comes out in theaters. They handed out 3D glasses before hand, BTW, because the movie will be in 3D. The lights went up again to sustained cheers from the 6,000 people in attendance.

After more back and forth about their two careers, it was time for questions the audience. The first person at the mike turned out to be Andy Serkis in slight disguise with dark shades and an American accent asking why these two use so many visual effects in their movies. The directors introduced Andy who immediately took his shades off and waved. The crowd went nuts again, we went nuts. More questions followed leading to the announced final one. Up stepped a guy who had a light colored shirt on with the following printed on the front:

'I just have one thing to ask you, Mr. Spielberg. I would very much like to shake your hand'

Something to that affect, and you'll see the exact wording when I post photos after the event. As he began to ask a questionk verbally, everyone including Spielberg and Jackson caught the message and began to laugh. Spielberg stopped the guy and said to please come up onstage so his shirt could be answered. As the fan approached the two directors they each took out their iPhones to take pictures of what the shirt said. Then Jackson took a photo of Spielberg shaking the guy's hand. All this time the crowd watched in wonder as this brilliant man had an incredible dream come true! Spielberg then had the guy ask his question from the stage microphone. What a jaw-dropping moment for everyone!!

Afterwards myself, Bill and our friend Dom who we were sitting with all burst out with how amazing that entire panel was. Bill was beside himself with glee, wondering how he'd ever missed events like this before. I'd been trying to tell him for years that there's more to Comic-Con than just buying stuff in the Exhibit Hall and now he was getting a taste of that full-on!

The rest of the day had us perusing the Exhibit Hall and my catching up on checking out just about the rest of the room. Last night's dinner was at a restaurant called Sloppy Joey's and even though the food wasn't bad, the service was pretty bad. We spent the next hour and half just checking out the goings-on up and down the main drag of San Diego where EVERYONE goes to eat and hang out after the day's event. We saw so many crazy things and people....if we weren't trying to get downstairs to begin our day right now I would be detailed. But...gotta go for now!

Friday, July 22, 2011

"Tin Tin" panel

OH....MY....GOD!!! "Tin Tin" looks SO IN-FUCKING-CREDIBLE!!! Spielberg is here and Peter Jackson made a surprise entrance!

Thursday going into Day 2

Yesterday we made a major decision first thing in the morning right when we got up. The original plan was to wake at 6:30am and get down in the Hall H line, basically to see Pee Wee Herman who was on at 1:15pm. The big problem?: the "Twilight" Tweeners!!

Their numbers had certainly grown from camping out since Sunday(!). But realizing the amount of time we'd have to invest when realizing that we could probably just wait until an hour or so before Pee Wee's panel and then go in. That decision was a Godsend because we were able to sleep an extra hour and a half, enjoy more of the Exhibit Hall, then wind our way back to Hall H where...guess what?....THERE WAS NO LINE WHATSOEVER!!! WOOHOO! No one was in line at all and we were able to go right in! We cheered!!

Once inside, we found the Twi-eeners were only filling the first third of the auditorium. We totally expected to see the place filled! Crazy! Obviously many of them missed the boat (good!) because memberships sold out last September. HA-HA!! You lose!! Once they left after their panel was done, we moved up a bit to get proper seats under one of the main screens.

Pee Wee was on about 20 minutes late due to a delay in the schedule, but no matter. He talked about the original and new Judd Apatow movie (just a little bit on the latter), sarcastically answered fan questions in prime Pee Wee form and even talked about some of his other movie roles as Paul Reubens. Right before that we saw an incredible preview for Aardman Studios' "Arthur Christmas" which is coming in November. The film looks amazing beyond the teaser trailer that's out right now!

Afterwards we went back to the Exhibit Hall to take in the first full third of the layout, followed by dinner at Buca di Beppo. Another great day to be savored!

Right now we're waiting in the Hall H line for Steven Spielberg's first appearance at Comic-Con. Fairly near the front of the line, I'm hoping we can actually make our way closer to the stage and see The Man up close. Also, Rebecca is heading back to LA this morning because she has tickets to a INXS concert. Driving up with enough time to catch a nap, then hang out with fellow fans in line before the show, she'll be making the trip back down to San Diego late tonight. I'm really gonna miss being around her at the event all day today.

Thursday, July 21, 2011

Preview Night and starting the first full day

Preview Night was really awesome last night, what with reconnecting with older friends and hooking up with newer ones. First booth we went to was BBC America to check out the newest "Doctor Who" stuff. Rebecca and I bought a couple of T-shirts and we mostly stayed 'downtown' (studio booths) to peruse for awhile.

The closing announcements started coming at 8:30, 8:45 and 9pm. But suddenly people started thinning out so we decided to see how long we could stay and check out a few extra booths before security started sweeping the room. I nwas actually really cool how much ground we managed to cover.

Now, we up and ready to head down for the first full day. We actually decided first thing this morning to skip riding out the "Twilight" line just to get to Pee Wee Herman's panel at 1:15pm. Gonna get down to the Exhibit Hall then backtrack to ride on the coat tails of the Twi-Hards leaving Hall H so we can get a good seat for Pee Wee.

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

We're here!!!

After a really nice drive to San Diego on a truly beautiful day, we're here in San Diego in our room at the Hilton San Diego Bayfront. Just like last year, we have a spectacular view of the convention center as well as the downtown and bay areas.

After taking a trip to a Mom and Pop restaurant to have dinner, we settled into our room and headed out one more time for a walk the length of the convention center, stopping to pick up a few food and drink items at the grocery store.

Of major note and amongst some eyewitness accounts on Facebook, the "Twilight" Tweeners are already here in force. Waiting in line as we speak outside Hall H, they have sleeping bags and seem to be fully prepared to camp out until the "Breaking Dawn Part 1" panel on Thursday in the midday. On our way back from the store I walked over to the head of the line to check out their numbers, which Rebecca estimated at about 200. I so wanted to shout out 'SERIOUSLY??!!!"....mainly because their mere presence will cause a major delay for everyone else trying to see OTHER panels in Hall H that same day. Would someone please get me the hose?!

At any rate, and on a much more positive note, despite Bill's flight being very delayed in Baltimore with even a possibility of cancelation(!) due to weather issues on the East Coast, he was finally able to catch the connecting flight to San Diego an hour later and is on his way to the hotel as of this posting.

Tomorrow will be ramp-up time to Preview Night starting with picking up our badges at 3pm. We are SO ready!!

Monday, July 18, 2011

LA Filmcutter Comic-Con Podcast

Time for the LA Filmcutter Podcast 2.0....and there's no better place to do it right now than Comic-Con! So along with the usual bevy of photos and daily report posts, I'll be putting together a show right in the heart of the big San Diego event along with some special guests. Watch for it!

Comic-Con Departure: TOMORROW!!!

Yes, True Believers, it's that time of year again!! Time for that amazing drive to San Diego to arrive at a destination where comics, movies, TV, video games and pop culture all collide!

We'll be leaving tomorrow morning to head to Comic-Con 2011, once again stay at the luxurious Hilton San Diego Bayfront Hotel right next to Hall H and drink in all things spectacular and happiness filled. Rebecca and I will be there a bit earlier in the day than Bill, who flies in from Albany at 9:25pm. From there I'm sure we'll be getting something to eat, then settle in for the night, closing our eyes as we gaze out at the gleaming San Diego Convention Center below.

Tonight after work it'll be time to pack for the trip. We've added a couple of new comfort items to this year's event, including two three-legged fold out chairs like this one here to use while we're waiting in line for Hall H. Very compact and fitting into a carry bag that's half it's height, these will be very easy for us to carry around the event and be able to whip out quickly. Even good for spur-of-the-moment seating like when we want to eat something and all of the food area tables and chairs are taken.

Rebecca is also bringing a compact freezer bag she has so we can carry sandwiches, drinks and snacks on us. Even though I expect to eat a bit more this coming week as I know we'll be dining out a few nights, I still want to keep some of my dietary items close at hand and not go TOO crazy!

Saturday night's "Aliens" 25th Anniversary screening

Wow!!! What an amazing event!!

Last Saturday night's double feature of "The Terminator" and "Aliens" was one of the best times I've had at a screening in some time! With this being the 25th Anniversary screening of James Cameron's masterpiece, we were treated to an incredible looking brand new print of the film courtesy of Twentieth Century Fox. The sold-out crowd was completely in tune with every beat, every iconic moment, every laugh and every memorable line of dialogue. The frosting on the cake, of course, was when it was time to introduce the guests for the evening; Michael Biehn (Hicks), Lance Henriksen (Bishop), Jenette Goldstein (Vasquez), Mark Rolston (Drake) and Ricco Ross (Frost), who all received thunderous applause. Goldstein and Biehn especially. Check out my mini photo set on Flickr by clicking on the image of me with the woman who played Vasquez herself.

The Q&A was VERY lively, definitely coming in as one of the best I've ever been in attendance for! Although it seemed that Michael Biehn had had a couple of drinks beforehand, he and Lance Henriksen were incredibly funny together. Questions from the audience were intelligent, yielding some really cool stories from everyone. When the subject of "Alien 3" was brought up by an audience member as not being a very good follow up to "Aliens", Biehn belted out 'FUCK ALIEN 3!!!' Everyone cheered and applauded wildly. I couldn't have agreed more.

There were a couple of comedic asides like when Henriksen helped Biehn tie his shoe laces, tipping back onto the stage they were sitting on. Jenette Goldstein and Mark Rolston told a great backstory about Vasquez and Drake, envisioning them as prison lifers who were given the choice to either stay behind bars or join the Marines as heavy gunners. Henriksen talked about how he auditioned to be The Terminator. This back when James Cameron envisioned the first movie to have the cyborg blend in a bit more like the T-1000 did in "T2" seven years later.

Afterward fans swarmed the stage area to get autographs and chat with the actors. Rebecca sat back and watched my friend Paul and I take photos with everyone, genuinely appreciating the rarity of being in the company we were in. It was absolutely a night to remember and truly savor. Seriously, it was the best time!

One little glitch though that I feel compelled to mention.

I've made a decision about attending any future screenings of the original "Terminator". Due to a very annoying occurrence that seems to follow this movie every time it shows in LA, I've decided to never again see it with an audience in the theater. Why? I guess you could say it has to do with perspective.

"The Terminator" was released in 1984. Obviously there are aspects of the film which seem dated now. Most notably the clothing, hair, and even artist music you hear on Ginger's walkman, on the car radio as Reese falls asleep and in Tech Noir where Sarah is zeroed in on by the Terminator. Unfortunately, twenty-something 'fans' of this now classic movie seem to treat the film like it's a comedy, laughing at all of these things as well as a series of dialogue lines, some of which baffle me as to where the humor lies.

Here is where the perspective angle comes in. I grew up on movies like this and saw "The Terminator" when it came out in the theater in 1984. These guys were raised on fare like the "Star Wars" prequels and no-brainer, overly visual-effected, pimped out franchise fodder flicks like "Transformers", which they strangely seem to adore, BTW.

1984 movie mentality must be like another planet to them. And yet this is the second time I've watched the movie with this type of crowd, only to find myself frustratingly annoyed at what comes across as a disrespect for something so iconic. They laugh at stuff that isn't meant to be funny and then when some intended humor hits them, they laugh 10 times harder than what was put on screen in the first place.

Our friend Paul and I had a major discussion between movies about how, purely and simply, people suck. We come here to honor and appreciate the movies we hold sacred. But as we try to immerse ourselves in the world James Cameron first created twenty eight years ago, we're suddenly flung back into reality by the constant laughing and snickering. Yes, people do suck. But when they bring their sucking into the movie theater and unknowingly tarnish something I hold so very near and dear, they suck a whole bunch more!

Obviously this is how they greet and appreciate the film. Many of them probably think it's....dare I use the word....'cheesy'? YUCK!!! That's why my enjoyment of "The Terminator" will from now on be confined to the 10th Box Cinema, held forever in a bubble of what it was like to watch this movie in the theater all those years ago.

Saturday, July 16, 2011

"Harry Potter" and "Aliens" / "The Terminator" double feature

We went to see "Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 2" this morning...what an incredible movie!!! And me, not someone whose been onboard for the entire franchise! Very dramatic, exciting, and just plain brilliant. Make sure you bring kleenex when you go!

We just scored tickets to a double feature screening I wouldn't miss for THE WORLD!! "The Terminator" is first up but the main attraction will be the 25th Anniversary screening of "Aliens" plus a Q&A with actors Michael Biehn, Lance Henriksen, Jenette Goldstein, Mark Rolston and Ricco Ross!!! This screening has been sold out for several weeks. Apparently everything went within an hour of going up online.

So what I mean by 'scored' is this; we met a guy at the screening "Beetlejuice" who we struck up a conversation with. Turned out he was the organizer of this "Aliens" event of which we were eager to hear more. He gave us his card and said he looked forward to seeing us there. Due tothe whole In Sync job opportunity, I completely lost track of checking on the schedule for the New Beverly Cinema (where the screening will take place) that tickets going on sale happened without my knowing.

Luckily, I still had that guy's card and, reading that additional tickets would be available later, decided to go right to the source and call him up about possibly getting two of those rogue seats. He remembered us, stating that he had a block of tickets for himself outside of what the theater did. Two friends of his had to cancel and he offered them to Rebecca and I. Needless to say I was completely overjoyed!

Can't wait, extremely excited, full report will follow!!

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Comic-Con 2011 trip begins in 1 WEEK!!!

One week from today Rebecca and I will be hitting the road for San Diego and Comic-Con! Hard to believe it's actually almost here and I've been savoring every countdown moment leading up to, as we all know, my adult version of Christmas!

Now that the entire schedule for all four days has been posted, click on the Comic-Con logo to see my selects. Plus you can go to for a full rundown of events.

I have to say one of my most favorite parts about taking this trip is when we actually get on the 405 and head south. Leading all the way up to seeing the skyline of San Diego, the journey is kind of a liberation from everyday life taking you to a place with 126,000 other like-minded people to enjoy all the cool things we share an interest in.

Monday, July 11, 2011

30 years ago, Snake Plissken escaped from New York

On July 10, 1981, Kurt Russell would become a surprise movie icon in a bleak future-set movie called "Escape From New York". A surprise because the studio probably thought the film would do O.K. but nothing like the cult classic status it ultimately attained.

I actually remember the first time I saw "Escape" in theaters; in an old movie palace in Brattleboro, Vermont a few weeks after it's release. Director John Carpenter was three years out from his phenomenal hit "Halloween" and "The Fog" had been released the year prior to Snake Plissken's debut.

Kurt Russell's gravely voiced war-hero-turned-criminal whose forced to fly into now maximum security prison New York City to rescue the President of the US, would bring cool action, drama and even humor into this dark yet fresh cinematic landscape. A landscape that future director James Cameron would help envision as a budding matte painter.

So many people associate John Carpenter with horror, like those aforementioned classic films. Yet "Escape from New York" will always be on top of my list. Even though the sequel, "Escape from LA", was merely a disappointing remake and not a very good one at that, the original film has stood the test of time and made Kurt Russell's Snake practically a household name.

But who, also, could forget the late Isaac Hayes as The Duke:
"Snake Plissken...I hearda you. I heard you were dead."

Harry Dean Stanton as Brain:
" Just one thing, right now... don't call me Harold!"

And of course Donald Pleasance as the President of the United States! One of my favorite scenes is his Duke payback moment on the 69th Street Bridge during the climax of the film...
[fires machine gun at the Duke] "Ayy! Number Onnee! You're the Duke! You're the Duke!" [stops firing] "You're the... Duke. You're... A-number one."

Tonight at the 10th Box, my 30th Anniversary screening of "Escape From New York". Hopefully at some point soon someone in LA will put together an anniversary event with Kurt Russell and John Carpenter. In the meantime, I got it covered!

Sunday, July 10, 2011

The originalĀ "Willy Wonka" turns 40

"Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory", released 40 years ago on June 30, 1971, was always a favorite of mine when I was growing up. Even though I never saw it in the theater, the movie played regularly on TV, continuing to gain an incredible following of fans around the globe. I'd have to say that by age twenty I knew all the lyrics to all the songs.

Tim Burton's version of the originalĀ Roald Dahl book was definitely a noble attempt at staying as true to the source material as possible. Yet it failed to eclipse Gene Wilder's immortal turn as the great candy maker looking for the right light girl or boy to take over his factory.

I was just listening to the remastered soundtrack the other day, feeling warmed by the rich, brilliant and timeless musical score interspaced with bits of dialogue and sound effects from the film.

Here's hoping one of the several retrospective movie theaters we frequent will put together a full-on anniversary screening in the very near future. The Aero and a Q&A with Gene Wilder would be amazing!

Friday, July 8, 2011

Finishing up my first week at In Sync

I'm coming to the end of my first week here at In Sync and it's been fantastic!

I cut two broadcast spots rather quickly (to the happy surprise of my boss) and was complimented on how good they are! In fact, those kudos came my way a few times over the past couple of days. Of course it doesn't hurt that I'm overjoyed with the caliber of projects I'm working on.

Just about to start watching and breaking down the next movie I'll be working on and I even know what I'm moving onto after that. I really couldn't be happier right now! Plus, everyone here has been very welcoming and especially conversational which I very much appreciate. As far as the latter is concerned, happily more than what I experienced before.

Monday, July 4, 2011

First (unofficial) day at In Sync

Saturday marked my first day at In Sync Advertising. This was a ramp-up shift to my diving into the project full force on Tuesday.

The really amazing and wonderful thing that happened when I got up yesterday morning: I suddenly felt completely imbued with renewed with motivation and drive. I began to realize that working at Happy Hour was slowly sapping that career-shaping push. I certainly worked on some top shelf projects like "The Chronicles of Narnia: Prince Caspian", The Book of Eli" and "Unstoppable". However, in between those and other top features I found myself cutting the occasional reality show promo, Cartoon Network series broadcast spot or upcoming film 'in pre-production' sales reel.

Even though I was certainly grateful to be working on all of these studio and network projects, the content level of major theatrical motion picture releases was not totally where I wanted it to be. I was always aware of that impending next step, thanks my involvement with Happy Hour, and I fully intended to accept a staff position there should it eventually be offered. But suddenly the next phase of my career happily entered the picture and now here I am!

So welcome back to the hyperactive overdrive that got me to LA in the first place! Always present and never diminished... just maybe with the volume unconsciously turned down a notch over the last year and a half.

Now on to my first full week starting tomorrow!

Saturday, July 2, 2011

My BIG career news reveal!!!

O.K. now that it's O-fficial, I can give you details of what transpired this past Wednesday afternoon.

Before spewing the backstory, let me just get right to the meat and potatoes first; I have just been hired at In Sync Advertising, one of THE top trailer houses in LA, as a trailer editor!!! After a partial ramp-up day on Saturday, I'll be starting there full-time on Tuesday. First will be a three month trial period after which I'll be put directly on staff! UN-BE-LEAVABLE!!! These types of opportunities are very rare, being that a lot of trailer editors can be very indigenous at places they work. Sometimes the turnaround where an opening is available can be far and few between. Sure, there are freelance opportunities. But you definitely have to be a talent to be brought in and placed into a staff situation.

O.K. let's back up a bit to last Monday. As mentioned, I received an e-mail from one of my contacts at In Sync who wanted to know my availability. A second e-mail on Tuesday asked for more detailed information about the starting and ending dates of each post house I'd worked for. Literally just one minute after I responded, the phone rang from the head of the company. He told me an editor was just about to leave which would open up a spot, wondering if I would come in to discuss filling it.

He really liked my work, especially the "Book of Eli" and "Unstoppable" spots I had on my pro-site. I asked what day he had in mind to meet and he said if I hadn't heard back from him on Thursday to give a call. The very next morning, on Wednesday, the phone rang from one of his assistants asking if I could come in that afternoon at 3. THANK GOD I'd actually worn on a nice bottom down shirt to work that day that I could go to the interview in!

2pm came and, being that In Sync was normally twenty to twenty five minutes away in moderate traffic, I made sure to leave at least forty five minutes out from 3pm. I actually got there in twenty to find myself a parking spot almost right in front of the building on Wilshire Blvd.! Finally I strode in the door ten minutes early. A few minutes passed and I was on my way via elevator to the second floor.

This was it, I thought to myself as I was greeted by two people, one I'd spoken to on the phone previously. Walking into the bosses office, he asked me about the last time I'd been there. I told him nine years before in November of 2002. He was amazed I could remember the exact month and year. Joined by a senior editor, the meeting began.

For the next hour and a half he had questions for me, I had questions for him. We talked about career goals, work mentality and my passion for the movies that went back to age 14. We even talked about every editor's outrage regarding Final Cut Pro X as he showed me a funny video someone cut on YouTube. It's crazy how I can be completely on my A-game during these interviews! Finalizing the money, hours and what I'd be working on first, I was taken down the hall to find out where the edit bay I'd be working in was.

The amazing thing about working at In Sync is going to be the caliber of projects I'll be cutting. EVERYTHING they do is TOP SHELF studio movies! I definitely won't be working on any TV projects which was at times half of what I cut at Happy Hour. My passion has always been full-on theatrical features and this will expose me to it five days a week, every week, every month!!

So the very first project I'll be tackling is a major motion picture that's being released this summer. Saturday morning I'll head in to watch it, then do a breakdown which essentially means making notes of all the sections and snippets I'll want to use for the broadcast trailer.

Unfortunately there was one thing that briefly detered my complete jubilation after I got out of the interview. Even though I'd put enough money in the meter to just about handle my time inside the building, turned out there was a 4pm cutoff time on parking due to the need to keep more lanes open for rush hour. Apparently cops and tow trucks are at the ready to roll in once the hour strikes, administer tickets and haul the remaining cars away. As I rounded the corner I saw that every car including my own was now gone from the 10 or so parking spots along that block. So with the very kind help of two reception girls and a gentlemen who worked in the building and had this happen to himself at one point, we were able to track down the name of the towing company so I could take a taxi over and pick up my Mini.

I began to feel like Sandra Bullock right after she won the Oscar, only to get slapped in the face with the fact that her husband had been cheating. But wait, this is my moment! Don't shit on it by taking my car to the impound lot!! Different situation but still a bit of a buzz-killer. $230 later I had the car back and was returning to Happy Hour. Whew!

I've officially moved on to the next stage of my career, and I absolutely want to thank Happy Hour very much for making this happen! If it wasn't for them I would not have all the top studio trailers and broadcast spots on my reel and resume that has now attracted the attention of four major trailer houses!