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.


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.”


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.


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




The FlashGrodd is coming.


The Blacklist

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


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


Marry Me

Brooklyn Nine-Nine

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


Okay, I’ll give you two.


Bob’s Burgers

The 100

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



Parks & Recreation – Adios to a great show.


The Walking Dead


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?


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


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


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


…but that Noelle Stevenson art is equally sweet.

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.


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).


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


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


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


Posted in Industry

The Cons Are Coming, The Cons Are Coming – February 19th, 2015

This is what we used to imagine when we thought about comic book conventions.


These days, they’re chock-full of A-List actors…


And girls that could make a good dog break his leash…


I mean DESTROY that leash.


But I’m not looking to take selfies with stars or ogle the babes. That’s not why I attend these conventions. I want to break into comics as a writer, and to do so I’m following Jim Zub‘s advice: make comics and make friends.

So why attend cons? Why not network online? Because of my Austin Film Festival experience (BTW, I just bought my 2015 badge, so come October I’ll see you in line for Franklin’s). Being there, in person, forces me to talk to people. At a con, I can turn to the person next to me and gush, “you love Bandette, too?” or “isn’t Becky Cloonan the bee’s knees?” And if that person turns out to be an up-and-coming artist or an assistant editor at a small publishing house, all the better.

So what are my convention going goals? One, to deep dive into the community. Two, to meet editors and assistant editors. Three, to meet potential collaborators, especially illustrators. Four, to learn which cons would be good for me to attend as a professional (i.e., where I could get a table and sell books). Five, to discover a potential mentor. And lastly, once I have a finished comic, to put that sucker into people’s hands (or, at very least, to hand out business cards with a link to my work).

So which cons am I attending this year?

Long Beach Comic Expo – This is a fun, local con for me. Honestly, my favorite thing is how easy it is to navigate. If I attend both days, the artists I cruise will recognize my face, I’ll feel compelled to buy something, and we’ll strike up a conversation. That’s how I picked up this great print by Babs Tarr.

Did You Put on Your 3D Glasses?

Did You Put on Your 3D Glasses?

Emerald City Comicon – This will be my first time attending the Seattle based con. Everyone raves about it, so my expectations are high. I’m told that most of the Portland talent attends (you do know that Portland is the mecca of comics), so this con definitely has the potential to kick ass.

WonderCon – I first attended this con last year, it was my first convention as a budding creator, and it was fantastic. The panels were awesome, the people were friendly and it was energizing without being overwhelming. Will I turn up at the Creator’s Connection again (where I pitched my idea to potential artist)? Seeing as I’m still hunting for an illustrator, I’m pretty sure it’s a “must do” for me.

Phoenix Comicon – I don’t know much about this con but because the guys at the Nerdist Comics Panel raved about it, I’m attending.

San Diego Comic-Con – This is the grandaddy of all cons. I went in 2009 but had no idea what I was doing. I’m hoping to attend this year but the SDCC is known to sell out in a matter of seconds. If you have a way to help me get a badge, please drop me a line.

Long Beach Comic Con – The slightly bigger brother of the LBCE. If I’m committed to community, then I have to attend.

Rose City Comic Con – This was the second con I attended last year and I loved it. Look, Portland is the home of great food, awesome beer, and unbelievably talented creators, so I’d be a knucklehead to skip this con. If I have one complaint, it’s this: because most of the talent lives in town, they don’t necessarily hangout after the con, so it’s a little harder to mingle with them at the local bars.

New York Comic Con – This is another con that sells out fast. If anyone that can help me get a badge, I’d be in your debt.

And that’s all (for now).

Yeah, I know, I’m exhausted just reading that list.

So, am I missing any big cons? Any other convention goals I should be setting for myself?

Posted in General

Welcome To Scrivener, Population: Me – February 12th, 2015

Final Draft is king of the screenwriting jungle. It dominates the market but there is a growing revolution fueled by malcontent writers and programmers. Their apps tend to be more nimble and less expensive than Final Draft but this apex predator still reigns supreme. It writes and formats production ready scripts, period. It is the industry standard, period. I’ve been using it for years and I’ve never needed a different tool.

Until I tried to write a comic book script. Suddenly I was tackling a beast that was similar in function but different by design and Final Draft was failing me like a fat kid in a Colombian experiment.

Yes, Final Draft has some comic book templates but I found them so counter intuitive that I wrote my own. That worked for my first comic script but I knew there had to be a less painful path to “to be continued”.

A quick tangent. One of the things that messed with my head was the lack of an industry standard for comic book scripts. Sure, some publishers have a house style but it’s really like the wild west out there. Want proof? Here’s a script page for 52 by journeyman writer Mark Waid.


And here’s a script page from The Killing Joke by legendary writer Alan Moore (both books were for the same publisher, DC Comics).


But I digress. We were talking about writing comics.

It was around the writing of my first comic book script that I started reading Wasteland by Antony Johnston.


I’ll admit, I read the first five or six issues and I wasn’t digging it. Then, a couple of months later, I started over and not only is this one of my favorite series, I’m now such a fan of Antony that I’m looking forward to sitting down with two of his other series, The Fuse and Umbral.

More importantly, Antony is a big fan of Scrivener. Coincidentally, I had a coupon that let me buy Scrivener for half off. I took the plunge.

I’ll be honest, I had to go through the manual and tutorial once. That was all fine and dandy but I know from my editing days that to put an app through its paces, you have to churn a project through it from start to finish. Therefore, I wrote my Witchblade script in Scrivener.

Once I got past the initial awkwardness, it was a f**king joy. My favorite aspects have to be the way it saves alternate drafts of pages and how easy it is to move pages and scenes around.

It worked so well that I’m using it to outline my television pilot. I don’t think I’ll actually write my script in Scrivener, but it’s a great tool for organizing.

Wish me luck.

Posted in Writing

One Cop & Two Lawyer Shows That Better Kick Ass – February 5th, 2015

Allow me to stop being a writer for a moment and just be a fan. Television f**king rocks. This week alone I’m excited to catch up on The 100


… and Agent Carter


… and Broad City


… and The Americans


… and Gotham


… and Arrow


… and The Flash


… and Archer.


And then there are all the shows I haven’t even started yet like Justified, Togetherness and 12 Monkeys.


But right now I want to highlight three up coming genre busting shows. First, the cop show.


Yeah, it’s a cop show about superheroes but I’ve been following the comic since its inception. Hell, at one point it was one of the only comics I was reading after I got “too old for comics.”

Man, I’ve been waiting for this show since they shot their first pilot with Jason Patric and Lucy Punch.

And now, the first of two lawyer shows.


You did know that the Daredevil’s alter ego is attorney at law Matt Murdock, right? Okay, yes, I know we still hold the Ben Affleck movie against Marvel (heck, even Ben regrets it), and so far Marvel doesn’t have a great television track record, but the comic book nerd in me is holding out hope.

And finally, that other lawyer show.


Honestly, I’m so fucking nervous that this will suck so I’m doing everything I can to lower my expectations.

… but the early reviews are positive.

So if I’m not answering my phone, now you know why.

Posted in General

Consumed January 2015 – January 31st, 2015

This year I’m trying something new. I’m gonna keep track of all the major media that I consume. Every month I’ll spit out a list of what I’ve watched, read and played, along with a dash of random commentary. Ready or not, here we go.


  • Key & Peele
  • Gotham
  • Marry Me
  • The Wrong Mans – Love the rapport amongst the leads but the sound of James Cordon’s whining is like nails on a chalkboard for me… so I really hope the late night show works out.

  • Sleepy Hollow –  It seems that after the holiday break the show decided to ease up on their more serialized elements. I’m not loving the new version of this show but if the option is between stand alone episodes and no show, I’ll take the stand alone ones.


  • Brooklyn Nine-Nine
  • Friends – Holy smokes, this show really did come out swinging right out of the gate. I’m still in awe of all the iconic moments in the first two seasons.

  • Parks & Recreation
  • The Flash
  • Arrow
  • Wiseguy – My writing instructor told me to watch this show. I spent most of the pilot asking, “why does that guy sound so familiar… HOLY S**T IT’S MIKE FROM BREAKING BAD!”


  • Constantine




  • Fourth of July Creek by Smith Henderson – A f**king amazing book written by the guy that co-authored this Super Bowl commercial.


  • Kill the Wolf by Matt Berry
  • Metamodern Sounds in Country Music by Sturgill Simpson – If this is the new direction of country music then country might have a new fan.

  • Alvvays by Alvvays
  • Life as a Dog by K. Flay
  • Veronica Falls by Veronica Falls
  • Run the Jewels 2 by Run the Jewels – I didn’t get it until I was driving home angry while blasting this song. Three people gave me a thumbs up. Suddenly I wasn’t angry. Then I got it. Go me.

  • 100 Bottles by Cherub
  • Unraveling by We Were Promised Jetpacks


  • The Manhattan Projects (Image) – This was the first non-Marvel Hickman I read and it’s the right mix of fun, big ideas and out-there crazy.
  • Ten Grand (Image)
  • Transhuman (Image)
  • The Bounce (Image)
  • Sex (Image)
  • Hit (Boom!) – A damn fine L.A. noir. Excited to read more.


  • The Cross Bronx (Image)
  • The Field (Image)
  • Guarding the Globe (Image)
  • Copperhead (Image) – A sci-fi western with a female lead? Sign me up.


  • The Bulletproof Coffin (Image)
  • The Overman (Image)
  • The Perhapsnauts (Image)
  • Witchblade: Day of the Outlaws (Top Cow)
  • Real Heroes (Image)
  • Rocket Girl (Image)
  • Savage Dragon (Image)
  • The Walking Dead (Image) – I just started reading the book that kicked it all off.


  • Scarlet (Icon)
  • Artifacts (Top Cow)
  • Witchblade (Top Cow)
  • Sidekick (Image)
  • Sweets (Image)
  • The Darkness/Pitt (Image)
  • Tellos (Image)
  • Reed Gunther (Image)
  • Sex Criminals (Image) – Funny, frank and full of orgasms. A must read.

  • Turf (Image)
  • Ultra (Image)
  • Fall Out Toy Works (Image)
  • Freshmen (Image)
  • Grim Leaper (Image)
  • Tales of Honor (Image)
  • Tech Jacket (Image)
  • Powers (Icon) – Going back to the beginning before the show lands.


  • Impaler (Image)
  • Iron Saint (Image)
  • Lost Vegas (Image)
  • Madman: For The Record (Image)
  • Marineman (Image)
  • Nancy in Hell (Image)
  • No Place Like Home (Image)
  • The Sword (Image)
  • Super Dinosaur (Image)
  • Dead Body Road (Image) – This is action done right.


  • Deadhorse (Image)
  • Hurry: Adventures of the Rabbitoid Knight (image)
  • The Li’l Depressed Boy (Image)
  • Madman (Image)
  • Mage: The Hero Discovered (Image)
  • Mara (Image)
  • Memoir (Image)
  • The Wicked and the Divine (Image) – Goddamn this comic is hot. You. Must. Read.

  • Moth City (Image)
  • Mysterious Ways (Image)
  • Netherworld (Top Cow)
  • Neverminds (Image)
  • The Nightly News (Image)
  • Pax Romana (Image)
  • Protectors, Inc. (Image)
  • Reality Check (Image)
  • The Red Wing (Image)
  • Dancer (Image) – It’s obvious why this guy got the Black Widow job.

  • Rest (Image)
  • Rising Stars (Image)
  • Sam & Twitch (Image)
  • The Saviors (Image)
  • Screamland (Image)
  • Secrets (Image)
  • So Buttons (Image)
  • Starlight (Image) – I haven’t been a Millar fan for a while but this was a damn good issue one.

  • Sovereign (Image)
  • Strange Embrace (Image)
  • War of the Woods (Image)
  • 27 (Image)
  • Alpha Girl (Image)
  • America’s Got Powers (Image)
  • Ant (Image)
  • Aphrodite IX (Top Cow)
  • The Fuse (Image) – I am a huge fan of Wasteland, so I’m definitely reading Antony Johnston‘s next comic.

  • Artifacts (Top Cow)
  • Battle Hymn (Image)
  • Bedlam (Image)
  • Beserker (Image)
  • Blackacre (Image)
  • Blue Estate (Image)
  • Butcher Baker: The Righteous Maker (Image)
  • Charlatan Ball (Image)
  • Southern Bastards (Image) – Like great BBQ, meaty and delicious.


  • Clone (Image)
  • Cyberforce (Top Cow)
  • Danger Club (Image)
  • Daomu (Image)
  • Drumhellar (Image)
  • Nailbiter (Image) – What a great debut issue. And goddamn that cover freaks me out.


  • Elephantmen (Image)
  • Epic Kill (Image)
  • Firebreather (Image)
  • Five Ghosts (Image) – Awesome concept brilliantly executed. No wonder it’s been picked up to be a TV show.

  • Five Weapons (Image)
  • Freshmen (Image)
  • G-Man: Cape Crisis (Image)
  • Ghosted (Image) – I’ve read 10 issues and it’s freakin’ great. Not only am I enjoying the book, I think I’m becoming a fan of writer Joshua Williamson.


  • Glory (Image)
  • Graveyard of Empires (Image)
  • Hack/Slash (Image)
  • Halcyon (Image)
  • Hoax Hunters (Image)
  • Burn the Orphanage (Image) – It’s like reading Final Fight the comic. Love it. Go Sina!


  • Hunter Killer (Top Cow)
  • Invincible (Image)
  • It Girl & the Atomics (Image)
  • Jersey Gods (mage)
  • Killing Girl (Image)
  • Krampus (Image)
  • Wayward (Image) – It’s like Buffy in Japan.


  • The Last of the Greats (Image)
  • Madame Mirage (Image)
  • Shutter (Image)
  • A Voice in the Dark (Top Cow)
  • Whispers (Image)
  • Change (Image)
  • Comeback (Image) – This book caught me totally by surprise. I can’t wait to pick up another issue.


  • A Red Mass for Mars (Image)
  • C.O.W.L. (Image)
  • The Woods (Boom!)
  • Low (Image)
  • ODY-C (Image)
  • Terrible Lizard (Oni)
  • Capote in Kansas (Oni)
  • I Was The Cat (Oni)
  • Dead Letters (Boom!)
  • Outcast (Skybound) – Kirkman’s other book. Definitely worth reading.


  • Protocol Orphans (Boom!)
  • Wytches (Image)
  • The Fade Out (Image)
  • Translucid (Boom!)
  • Saga (Image) – Arguably the best comic out there. Actually, there’s no argument.


Did I really read all those comics? YES, I F**KING DID!


[mic drop]

Posted in General

Where’s My Addicting-Like-Crack PS4 Game? – January 29th, 2015

I have a video game addiction – and I love it. I want to get hooked. I want that rush. I want that hit of dopamine. And I was hoping to get it from my PS4. So far, no luck.

Look, I tried Watch Dogs but was quickly disappointed with its lack of innovation. I happily bought and played the re-mastered Last of Us but that’s just tracing the outline of an old obsession. I sunk tons of hours into Destiny but immediately lost interest after the first DLC crash landed.

I’m still on the hunt for that new game that’ll keep me up until 3am on a Tuesday. Could my new fix come from one of these games releasing in 2015? Let’s hope so.

Hyper Light Drifter – Something about the retro charm got me to donate to the Kickstarter. Sure, the graphics aren’t next gen but if the game mechanics are good enough, who cares.

Hotline Miami 2: Wrong Number – The original was my favorite Vita game — I totally forgot I own a Vita — so I’m definitely looking forward to grabbing my bat, putting on my chicken mask and bashing in some brains.

Batman: Arkham Knight – One, Arkham Asylum was an awesome game. Two, Arkham City was even better. Three, you’re Batman. Only the worst reviews will keep me away.

Star Wars Battlefront – This year we might finally get the Star Wars movie we deserve. Could we be lucky enough to also get the Star Wars game we’ve been dreaming of too? It’s too early to tell but the force is strong in Battlefield developers DICE.

No Man’s Sky – This was the most talked about game of E3. It seems cool but will it be any fun to play? Here’s hoping it lives up to the hype.

Tom Clancy’s The Division – I don’t know what it is but games like this always get me. They’re also the ones that could disappoint me the most. Here’s hoping my first Tom Clancy game delivers everything it promises.

Uncharted 4: A Thief’s End – I still remember that opening scene from Uncharted 2. Once I finally picked up my jaw, I knew I’d always be a fan of the Uncharted franchise (so please don’t disappoint).

Borderlands: The Handsome Edition – Yet, of all the new games I just mentioned, this is the one I look forward to the most. I am a Borderlands addict. And they added 4-player split-screen? Hooray couch co-op!

I mean I can’t tell you how excited I am to start murdering with these guys again.




And for reference, here’s a list of everything else coming out this year.


What are you looking forward to?

Posted in Off-Topic

I’m A Terrible Groundling – January 22nd, 2015

“Doing something new/scary/out of my comfort zone” is a pretty goddamn popular New Year’s Resolution. Personally, I hate making resolutions but I did it. I did something that pushed me far out of my comfort zone. I became a Groundling.


Okay, actually I just took a class. I took a class so introductory that it’s more basic than their “Basic” class. It was a fundamentals of improvisation and I sucked. I’m a terrible improviser. I would say that I had one successful scene where I used what I learned.

Okay, no, I’m not sharing this because I made a second resolution to publicly spank myself more.


I’m sharing because taking this class lit up a creative corner in me that had long been dormant. While watching other people’s scenes, I found myself mentally arm-chair directing. Goddamn it, I want to direct again.

Let’s be honest, after I made a feature that’ll never see the light of day (you know both Kubrick and Tarantino had one of those, too), I’ve been extremely gun shy. That’s one reason why I’ve been concentrating on writing. But the beast has awoken. I have to direct, I’m pretty sure it’ll be a short and it has to be at least as good as one of these. Of course this is after I write my pilot, my spec, my feature and my comic (both of them).

Maybe “making a short film” should be a 2016 resolution.

Posted in General

Witchy Woman of the Wild West – January 15th, 2015

Last year I wrote my first comic book script and like a fat kid armed with a tasting spoon at Baskin Robbins, I couldn’t stop at just one. That’s why I’m entering the Top Cow Talent Hunt for the second year in a row and this time I’m writing a Witchblade script.


Yeah, that’s right, she fights evil while wearing a razor sharp bikini… hold on, is that angle distracting?


That’s better. Now where was I?

Oh, right, for this year’s Top Cow Talent Hunt I’m writing a Witchblade script. As you’re allowed to write for any bearer of the Witchblade, past, present, or future, and I just watched the Criterion Collection edition of Stagecoach (directed by John Ford), I’ve set myself to write about Enola, the Wild West bearer of the Witchblade.


With my TV pilot writing class starting next week, and a commitment to share something with my writing group in February, I need to have a solid draft of this script by the end of January. Challenge accepted.

And because I don’t have enough art of scantily clad women in this post, here’s my favorite Witchblade cover.


Wish me luck.

Posted in Writing