My Three Pitches: A Whiff, A Hit, A Who-Knows-What – April 16th, 2015

It doesn’t matter if I’m pitching for television, comics, features, tansmedia (do they still use that term?), or whatnot, I keep running into the same scenario. I prepare three pitches and the first one whiffs, the second hits and the third produces inscrutable countenances of confusion.

A little back story: when prepping my pitches, I always lead with the idea I’m dying to work on, then follow with the proposal that’s a solid (albeit less exciting for me) back up, and finally wrap with the notion that’s totally off-the-wall.

For example, when I was prepping to first enter the Top Cow Talent Hunt I had three ideas that I pitched to friends. The first, the story I was dying to tell, was a Magdalena story involving a bit of Catholic lore.

Magdalena_06

The second, my back up, was a Glacier Stone tragedy involving a fairly well known mythical beast.

glacier-stone_artifacts7p1

The third, the off-the-wall idea, was a Blood Sword story about gender swapping ninjas with 8-bit art. So this…

Blood-Sword

But more like this…

unity-8bit

*Note to any Top Cow person that might come across this: I’m discussing my entries for the 2013-2014 talent hunt, not what I submitted for the current, 2014-2015 talent hunt.

My friends didn’t jive with the first idea, they loved the second pitch and didn’t know what to make of my third. Going with my audience, I wrote the Glacier Stone story. Although I didn’t win the talent hunt, I wrote a damn good script. Friends that read it still ask if I’m going to run with the idea (and yeah, I think I can take my original elements and build a kick ass webcomic / original graphic novel).

More recently I wrote a pilot and once again I had three pitches. The first, my heart’s desire, was inspired by my love of flawed super heroes.

heroes

The second, my back up, was a gritty, updated twist on a Wiseguy like story.

Wiseguy_DVD-Box-Set

The third, my balls-out-crazy idea, would be like an irreverent, apocalyptic Joan of Arcadia.

joan_of_arcadia

Again, everyone jumped on idea #2.

Two nights ago I had the same experience pitching three feature ideas. I threw out a sci-fi thriller, a monster movie and a horror-comedy. Everyone wants me to write the monster movie.

Killer-Croc_Arkham

What is it about me and my inability to hock the ideas I love? Why can’t they find traction? Honestly, I dunno. Anyone want to venture a guess?

Also, you may wonder why I always go with the popular opinion. It’s because I want to write for a hungry audience (also, I don’t want to go hungry).

Posted in Writing

My Cry for Far Cry 4 – April 9th, 2015

A while back I asked, “where is my addicting-like-crack PS4 game?” Sunday night I started playing Far Cry 4 and now I’ve got the junkie sweats. This game is a beautiful, open world first person shooter where you are encouraged to attack the enemy with an M60 and an elephant.

far-cry-4-elephant attack

Hell yeah!

How deep does this game have its hooks in me? Note my “time in bed” for the last four nights.

FarCry4_Sleep

Looks like I got what I asked for. F**k. But who else is gonna kill those nasty Honey Badgers?

FC4_HONEY_BADGER

Oh, and they added a DLC where you track down a yeti?

FarCry4_Yeti

Yeah, I’m screwed.

Posted in Off-Topic

Spring Break 2015! – April 2nd, 2015

SPRING BREAK!!!

But honestly, there is no rest for the wicked (aka, me).

Just last night I presented the first draft of my one-hour pilot which reminded my fellow writers of this…

TrainingDay_Gun

I get to take about a week off before I start the rewrite. Plus, I gotta start thinking about the next pilot. I have a few ideas, but this image has been stirring some new thoughts.

Female-Gang

I’m furiously gathering ideas for my spec of The 100. I’m pretty sure it’ll slip in somewhere between 107 and 110. I need to finish a draft in one month (yikes!) for the start of fellowship season (why does CBS have an early deadline?).

I’m brainstorming a feature that I’ll write in a UCLA Extension class starting next week. I’d describe it as…

ripley-connor_sebastianvonbuchwald

(Art by Sebastian Von Buchwald)

I have three ideas for mini-comics (or maybe they’re webcomics — still figuring that out). I need to pick one idea that could make a great 4-6 page book and start scripting it this month.

I’m about to attend WonderCon. Find me. Say, “Hi!” Let’s make comics together.

I’m still recovering from ECCC. Here’s my haul. Bitch Planet #1 & #2 signed by Kelly Sue DeConnick.

ECCC15_Bitch-Planet_1_2

Descender #1 signed by Jeff Lemire & Dustin Nguyen. Lady Killer #1 signed by Joëlle Jones.

ECCC15_Descender_Lady-Killer

Escape from New York #1 signed by Garry Brown. Bill & Ted’s Most Triumphant Return #1 signed by Joe Eisma.

ECCC15_Escape-NY_Bill-Ted

Original art by Justin Greenwood. Fight Club 2 mini-comic signed by Chuck Palahniuk, Cameron Stewart, David Mack, and Dave Stewart.

ECCC15_Greenwood-Art_Fight-Culb-2

Hellbreak #1 signed by Cullen Bunn, Brian Churilla, and Dave Stewart. Princess Leia #1 signed by Adi Granov.

ECCC15_Hellbreak_Leia

Kaijumax #1 signed by Zander Cannon & Jason Fischer . Rick and Morty #1 signed by Zac Gorman & Ryan Hill.

ECCC15_Kaijumax_Rick-Morty

LumberJanes vol. 1 & #12 signed by Noelle Stevenson, Grace Ellis, Brooke Allen (vol. 1) and Bridget Underwood (#12)

ECCC15_LumberJanes_Vol-1_12

Ninjak #1 signed by Matt Kindt & Ian McGinty. Past Aways #1 signed by Matt Kindt & Scott Kolins.

ECCC15_Ninjak_Past-Aways

Prometheus: Omega signed by Kelly Sue DeConnick. Frankenstein Underground #1 signed by Mike Mignola.

ECCC15_Prometheus_Frankenstein

Wayward vol. 1 signed by Jim Zub and The Fuse vol. 1 signed by Justin Greenwood.

ECCC15_Wayward_Fuse

I bought Far Cry 4 a month ago and I intend to start playing this week. I’m crazy excited to fight a yeti.

FarCry4_Yeti

I have to catch up on a ton of TV.

I need to read my book and my comics.

I need to sleep.

Good night.

Posted in General

Consumed March 2015 – March 31st, 2015

As this goes live, I’m plowing through act five of my pilot (which is due tomorrow). I sent in my Witchblade script. I’m a networking animal between Emerald City Comicon and WonderCon. I’m behind on my spec of The 100 and don’t even ask about my mini-comic. Let’s just be impressed with how much I actually consumed.

Television

Marvel’s Agent Carter – Goddamn this show is good. Please come back next year so I can spec an episode.

Agent-Carter_Poster

Broad City

The 100 – Hands down the best show on the CW.

The-100_Cast

Friends (seasons 6, 7)

The Last Man on Earth – Maybe the second best post-apocalyptic comedy.

last-man-on-earth_junk

Arrow

Marvel’s Agents of SHIELD

Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt – The best post-apocalyptic comedy on TV. Goddamn this show kicks ass.

Unbreakable-Kimmy-Schmidt

Brooklyn Nine-Nine

Powers – I love the concept, the actors, the writing, the creators, but those first few episodes have a real “Saturday night on Sy-Fy” feel. Let’s hope they can clinch the closer.

Powers_TV

Gotham

Community – Looking damn good on Yahoo.

community-season-6

Modern Family

The Black List

The Walking Dead – Yawn. Can we finally get a Y: The Last Man show, or how about The Last of Us instead?

WalkingDead_Guns

The Americans – Such a great season. Why isn’t this show reaping more awards love?

the-americans-season-3-preview

Archer

Better Call Saul – Slowly getting better.

bob-odenkirk-better-call-saul-episode-1

Books
Sex, Drugs and Cocoa Puffs by Chuck Klosterman – It took me three days to get half way through, three years to finish the whole damn thing.

People Who Eat Darkness: The True Story of a Young Woman Who Vanished from the Streets of Tokyo–and the Evil That Swallowed Her Up by Richard Lloyd Parry – Makes me miss Japan (twisted, I know).

Satin Island by Tom McCarthy – I didn’t love this book but its imagery comes to me as I’m about to drift off to sleep. I won’t say it’s worth the read but if you miss long, eloquent rants in the college quad…

Satin-Island_Cover

Music

No One is Lost by Stars – You cannot beat this song.

The Last Broadcast by Doves – I remember loving the heck out of this album. I was convinced that they were gonna be the next big thing.

Alvvays by Alvvays – Lordy, I’m in love.

Brill Bruisers by The New Pornographers – More love.

After by Lady Lamb the Beekeeper – I’m not totally into this album, but the tracks that do get to me strike a deep vein of musical ore.

And the War Came by Shakey Graves

Nikki Nack by Tune-Yards

Our Love by Caribou – One of the ones that got away, Chrissy X, loved one of Caribou’s older tunes. How f**ked is it that I still think about someone that treated me like s**t? Goddamn you, Chrissy X.

Comics

Injustice: Gods Among Us Year Three (DC Comics)

Sensation Comics Featuring Wonder Woman (DC Comics)

Wasteland (Oni) – One issue left!

Wasteland_36_Cover

Jupiter’s Legacy (Image)

Helheim (Oni)

Brides of Helheim (Oni)

Rat Queens (Image) – Really damn good. Also played The Resistance with the writer. Super great guy!

Rat-Queens_01_Cover

Veil (Dark Horse)

Nowhere Men (Image)

Helblazer vol 1 (Vertigo)

Hit (BOOM!)

Constantine vol. 1: The Spark and the Flame (DC)

Evil Empire (BOOM!)

The Black Hood (Dark Circle)

Batman: Arkham Knight (DC) – I love DC’s weekly digital titles.

Batman-Arkham-Knight_01_Cover

Fables: The Wolf Among Us (Vertigo)

Mortal Combat X (DC)

Trees (Image)

Afterlife with Archie (Archie Comics) – I reread this and loved it even more. How can you beat this page? You can’t.

Afterlife-with-Archie_04_Vegas

The Walking Dead (Image)

They’re Not Like Us (Image)

Life with Archie (Archie Comics)

Imagine Agents (BOOM!)

Flash Gordon (King Dynamite)

Bitch Planet (Image) – Maybe Kelly Sue‘s masterpiece.

Bitch-Planet_01_Cover

Wytches (Image) – “Pledged is pledged”

Wytches_01_Cover

And I’m out!

Posted in General

My Office The Gallery – March 26th, 2015

While this blog trades in my passions for writing, music, television, comics, movies, video games and whatnot, this is all made possible by the fact of my day job. I know, it’s not a sexy topic but give me a minute and we’ll get to the sexy.

I took a full-time job just over three years ago. I’ve been in the same windowless office for close to two years. Therefore, it might be safe to finally decorate; maybe I don’t have to stare at grey walls all day long.

MyGreyOfficeMarch2015

What I Stare At Every Weekday.

As I work in a post-production facility that distributes blockbusters to theaters, the standard issue wall art is the movie posters. Being me, I have the inclination to be different. I want to honor the work we do, I want to please my boss, but I also want to put a twist on the theme.

Therefore, I’m thinking of decorating my office in illustrated prints related to 1) the movies that we’ve worked on or 2) the studios we work with (which is pretty much all the big studios). That’s why I could never put up this Sex Criminals print by Becky Cloonan despite the fact that it features six of my favorite “B’s”: Babes, Books, Boobs, Benjamins, Brunettes and Becky Cloonan.

SEXCRIMINALS_Cloonan

Also, obviously, it’s NSFW. That’s fine. I’ve already started collecting and framing prints.

The first print I picked up was this Babs Tarr Street Fighter 3D anaglyph print of Chun-Li.

StreetFighter_ChunLi_BabsTarr

Why this print? One, we worked on Street Fighter: The Legend of Chun-Li. Two, I manage our 3D subtitling department. Three, I think it’s pretty cool. Four, I have a tiny (MAJOR) crush on Babs Tarr.

Also, I was just gifted two new prints (thanks R & J). The first is this Iron Giant Jake Parker print that’s also an ode to Superman.

IronGiant_JakeParker

The second is this sweet Dawn of the Planet of the Apes print by Francesco Francavilla.

Power_To_The_Apes_Francesco_Francavilla_Close

And that’s how I’m getting started. I’ll be building my collection from there. Got any suggestions?

Note, I’m not rolling in the Benjamins like Suzie up there. That’s why I’m looking for prints and not original art. Also, I’d prefer colored art over black and white (but that’s not a hard and fast rule).

Want examples of stuff I’d consider? Here’s some art I’d love to pick up…

Alien by To-zo

Alien_To-Zo

Rachel from Blade Runner by Greg Smallwood.

Rachel_BladeRunner_GregSmallwood

Say Anything / Soundwave by Marco D’Alfonso

Say-Anything-Soundwave_MarcoDealfonso

Frankenstein/Karloff by Bill Sienkiewicz

Karloff-Frankenstein_BillSienkiewicz

Taxi Driver by Sean Gordon Murphy

TaxiDriver_SeanMurphy

Medieval Batman by Jason Kang

MidievalBatman_JasonKang

Godzilla by Dave Watcher

Godzilla_DaveWatcher

Aliens by Unknown

Aliens_Unknown

Send me your suggestions. And if you see me at a con, I’ll be the Jack Black looking guy with the empty poster tube on his back.

Posted in Off-Topic

My Love of Comics – March 19th, 2015

Jim Zub is da’ bomb supreme. First, he writes kick ass comics like Skullkickers

Skullkickers_Cover_00

Samurai Jack

Samurai-jack_Cover_01

and Wayward.

Wayward_01

Second, he is awesomely generous with knowledge via his blog. Third, his Twitter trending topic #FourComics was a fun way for comic pros and fans alike to share the four books that got them into comics.

Me, I went the extra mile and broke that down further into the three phases of my comic book love.

FourComics_PhaseOne

My first phase happened during the 90’s comics boom. It started with one friend that was really into the X-Men, especially Jim Lee’s pencils. I dug it but I wanted something more, something darker. The pulpier side of me discovered Sin City. The arty side of me got into Maus. The brainy side loved Understanding Comics. Bam! I was now a full time comics fan.

Then my love tapered off. I stopped reading comics until the early 2000’s.

FourComics_PhaseTwo

At this point I was in a dark place but moving away from my Tarantino obsession. I was diving deeper into genre and character. Therefore, Y: The Last Man was the kind of epic, funny, twisted book I was meant to read. Powers fed my superhero fix while sating my hunger for verbose dialog (see that Tarantino obsession). Queen and Country was the kind of awesome character study I needed, and maybe the first female comic character I loved. 100 Bullets also had a strong female protagonist but I loved its gritty take on a Twilight Zone like conspiracy. The one graphic novel in the lot, Jimmy Corrigan: The Smartest Kid on Earth, was an awesome brain teaser that sated my want for fractured, nonlinear storytelling (again, see the Taratino obsession).

And then, again, I stopped reading comics.

FourComics_PhaseThree

The third time I got into comics was within the last two years and it’s all thanks to SXSW and ComiXology. With a deal to download hundreds of free comics, I dove back in head first. This time around not only was I interested as a fan, I was getting the itch to write a comic of my own. Therefore, it should be of no surprise that I got hooked on the cool, funny and heartfelt Hawkeye. Suddenly, mainstream comics didn’t seem cheesy. On the other end of the spectrum, I dove into the indie pool that is Underwater Welder and I loved it. Bandette was something I never would have read in the past — it was just pure, all ages fun — but it opened up my eyes in regards to a new creative avenue for my work. Prophet, man, everyone pay attention because this is how you do a reboot.

So what four books got you into comics?

Posted in Off-Topic

No SXSW For Me This Year – March 12th, 2015

For the first time in many years, I’m not attending the SXSW Music Conference. I can’t tell you how bummed I am about this. Then why skip it? For a number of reasons.

One, I was burnt out. I think I’ve attend the last six years in a row and it’s all starting to blur. I figured a year off might recharge my desire to attend in 2016. The fest might feel a little more special after a break.

we-were-on-a-break

Two, I need to concentrate on launching the comics career. That means checking out comic cons and my travel budget is finite. After the badge, hotel and airfare, SXSW is an expensive excursion. For the same amount of money as SXSW, I could attend 2-3 cons.

Three, well, I don’t have a three. That’s it. But I don’t want to leave you empty handed. Click here and you’ll be taken to a torrent of over 800 tracks by SXSW artists.

SXSW2015music

Full disclosure, the torrent is totally legal… ish. The tracks are up on the SXSW site and they are free. I’m just not sure everyone would want to be bundled in the torrent.

If you need a great torrent client for your Mac, I’d recommend Transmission.

Enjoy.

Posted in Off-Topic

RIP Delia Salvi – March 5th, 2015

You know that tough as nails teacher that relentlessly kicks your ass in the hopes of molding you into a better version of yourself? In graduate school, that teacher was Delia Salvi.

delia_salvi

She was my directing instructor and, to borrow something that a classmate said on Facebook, “Delia was horribly mean, surprisingly kind and scathingly insightful.” No disrespect but I thought that was spot on. She freaked us all out. She made more than a few people cry. Still, she constantly challenged us and I learned a lot. I wouldn’t be half the director that I am (or writer, for that matter) if it weren’t for her.

Hell, I still use her scene analysis worksheet.

She taught me to never settle for mediocrity, to always stop a train wreck the second you see it happening, and to take no bullshit. Delia is also the only person I’ve ever seen to fluster the otherwise unflappable Alexander Payne.

Delia passed away this past weekend.

I’ll sign off by sharing the last thing she ever told me. It was the last day of my last class with her. She pulled me aside and said, “Tony, you’re getting better but I’m worried that you’re too nice.”

I KNOW!

Here’s hoping she’s kicking ass in the afterlife.

Posted in Directing

Consumed February 2015 – February 28th, 2015

This month I haven’t read, watched, listened or played much of anything because I’ve been diligently working on my writing. In particular, I’m close to being done with my Witchblade script and I’m in the middle of my pilot. Hell, this month I haven’t played a single video game, nor have I watched a movie… I know, right?! Here’s what I did consume.

Television

Friends (seasons 3, 4, 5, 6) – I just finished the 2 part “what if” episode where Joey is famous, Monica is fat, Rachel looks like a goombah’s wife… I’m pretty sure this is where I originally stopped watching the show because, ya know, they had a 2 part “what if” episode.

The-One-That-Could-Have-Been

The Americans – I’m a couple of episodes behind but that one with the suitcase? HOLY!

The-Americans-Window

Archer

Gotham

The FlashGrodd is coming.

The-Flash-Gorilla-Grodd-Sewer-Reveal

The Blacklist

Sleepy Hollow – That finale was the best episode since the winter break.

Sleepy-Hollow_Abby_Behind_Bars

Constantine – Was it me or did they finally let good ole Johnny boy enjoy a smoke?

constantine-smoking

Marry Me

Brooklyn Nine-Nine

Marvel’s Agent Carter – I’ll give you one reason why I love Dottie.

agent-carter-dottie-with-the-sniper-rifle

Okay, I’ll give you two.

dottie-kisses-peggy

Bob’s Burgers

The 100

Better Call Saul – Only two episodes in and I’m reserving judgment.

BetterCallSaul-Desert

Arrow

Parks & Recreation – Adios to a great show.

parks-and-recreation-cast

The Walking Dead

Books

People Who Eat Darkness: The True Story of a Young Woman Who Vanished from the Streets of Tokyo–and the Evil That Swallowed Her Up by Richard Lloyd Parry – I’m only about a fifth of the way through and I’m still waiting for the book to grip me, but it does make me miss Japan. Wait, flights are only $600 round trip? Who wants to get me an early birthday gift?

Music

I Love You, Honeybear by Father John Misty – It’s good but what’s with all the hype? Has the world been clamoring for a pretentious Beach Boys album with songs that end abruptly?

Closing Time by Tom Waits – Now this, I feel this album in every pore of my body, and in every pour of bourbon

Comics

Injustice: Gods Among Us Year Three – There’s a new creative team on one of my favorite books. So far, not bad.

Injustice_YearThree_15_Cover

Sensation Comics Featuring Wonder Woman – So you gotta love the Jae Lee cover…

Sensation-Comics_23_Cover

…but that Noelle Stevenson art is equally sweet.
Sensation-Comics_23_p03

Wasteland – I’m less than twenty issues from the end and I’m already slowing down my reading because I don’t want it to end.

Wasteland_42_Cover

And that covers this month.

Posted in General

Hicks Lives! – February 26th, 2015

Aliens is the greatest movie ever. Period.

Okay, yeah, I know you have opinions but you’re wrong.

For about as long as I’ve wanted to be a filmmaker, I’ve wanted to make an Alien movie. Sadly, instead I’ve borne witness to uber-talented filmmakers falling upon the noble sword of sequels. David Fincher, Jean-Pierre Jeunet, Joss Whedon, all of them bested by the series. At least Danny Boyle had the sense to steer clear when he couldn’t make the movie he envisioned.

But now Neill Blomkamp has thrown his hat into the ring. You know what, I didn’t fly into a rage when I heard that. He might be able to knock this one out of the park. From his conceptual artwork, it’s clear his movie would negate the third and fourth sequels (cause it looks like he lets Hicks live).

Hicks-Lives

That’s a great call. F**k canon. Retcon the s**t out of this series.

blomkamps-alien-art

Mr. Blomkamp, I salute your moxie. Now don’t screw this up.

neillblomkampalien4

By the way, this pic of Sigourney is sexy as hell, right?

SexyBaldSigourney

Posted in Industry