The Red Ring of Death: Xbox Entertainment – July 21st, 2014

If you were following the news last week, I’d understand if you thought the world was going to Hell in a hand basket. Beyond the two major news events, you may have heard that Microsoft will layoff 18,000 employees. The first cut: the entirety of Xbox Entertainment Studios.

Xbox-Originals-Logo

That was the TV arm that was developing multiple titles including a much anticipated Halo show with Steven Spielberg.

HaloArt

(Well, “much anticipated” by those of us that loved the heck out of this)

My second reaction after sympathizing with all of those just-hired people that lost their jobs was “could this happen with Sony and the Playstation exclusive Powers show?”

Honestly, I don’t think so. First of all, they’ve started with a modest development slate. Second, Sony knows how to make and distribute TV shows.

Still, the writer in me always bemoans the loss of an outlet. But who knows, maybe they’ll come back leaner and meaner.

One last thing: be sure to vote in my spec showdown. Which is the better show to spec next year? You tell me. Vote!

Which is a better show to spec, Arrow or The Blacklist?

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Posted in Industry

Batgirl Mania – July 14th, 2014

Last week DC announced a new Batgirl and the internet went bats**t with nerdy glee. This is the variant cover that took the net by storm.

Batgirl-35-Cover

Within hours, amazing fan art exploded onto the web. Here are some of my favorites.

Batgirl_Anka

Batgirl_RV

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Undeniably, this character design has massive appeal. She’s adorable, sassy and, well, take a look at the design sheet and pay special attention to the green check-mark and red “X” below.

Batgirl-New-Costume

 

To me, it looks like they really want to stress that she’s a girl, not a woman. I think this could make her approachable to a much wider audience, one that’s grown tired of the over sexualization of female characters in mainstream comics. Can DC honor the promise of this character’s design? A lot of people are hoping they can, me included.

As a bonus, here’s one last sketch of Batgirl by the massively talented (and my new crush), Becky Cloonan.

NewBatgirl_BeckyCloonan

Posted in Off-Topic

Arrow vs The Blacklist, VOTE! – July 7th, 2014

In an absolute drubbing, Dr. Lecter had Professor Joe Carroll for lunch (I couldn’t help it). Our winner…

Winner_Hannibal

Therefore, this is our current standing.

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So why not get to the heavyweight match. This week we have a clash of the titans.

Spec_2015_Week02_v2

Arrow is an absolute crackerjack of a show. It’s the reason we’re about to have an explosions of DC superhero shows, such as Gotham (I’ve seen the pilot), The Flash, Constantine, iZombie, and Preacher. In the other corner, we have The Blacklist. It’s the gold standard of procedural shows. I would venture that writing a Blacklist is the new “writing a Law & Order”. Either would be a great spec to have in my portfolio. Cast your voice either below or in the sidebar.

Which is a better show to spec, Arrow or The Blacklist?

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Posted in Screenwriting

Draw Something Terribly – June 30th, 2014

At the end of May, I attended the Long Beach Comic Expo.

LBCE_Troopers_2014_01

There I caught a lot of great panels lead by the likes of Amanda Meadows (and her great data crunch), Josie Kavadoy (she might be my new twitter crush; sorry Amanda), Vince Hernandez, Shaene Siders, Barbara Randall Kesel, Yehudi Mercado and many more but it was a bit from Joshua Hale Fialkov that stuck with me.

Let me back track. If you’re a writer there’s only one way to break into comics: make a comic. Almost every pro I’ve heard on the great Let’s Talk Comics Podcast has said so. It’s just a matter of your entry point. Make your own graphic novel, do a limited run series, heck make a webcomic. It’s how JHF got started.

I’m intrigued by the idea of doing my own webcomic. It could be a good way to go from being a fan to a creator with a minimum of financial investment. It could open a few doors for me, or at least let me be a part of the community. There’s just one big obstacle as far as I can see. I’m a terrible artist. Need proof?

Meet Terminator Chicken

Meet Terminator Chicken

Yeah, practice will make me better but I won’t be winning any awards anytime soon. If I do this, my writing will have to be that much better in order to make up for my art.

So, is a webcomic worth it?

Posted in Off-Topic

Hannibal vs The Following, VOTE! – June 23rd, 2014

And in a squeaker worthy of the World Cup (USA, you only had 15 seconds left!), we have a winner from Week One. It’s…

Winner_Agents-of-SHIELD

As I recently had a cracker jack idea for an Agents of SHIELD spec using a Marvel character that’s a forgotten “oldie but a goodie”, I’m very excited by this win.

So this is how our bracket stands.

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And now, let the battle continue.

WEEK TWO, FIGHT!

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Hannibal and The Following, while in the same genre, are nothing alike. One plays out like a twisty pulp and the other like a European art film. One is a fury of plot and dialog, the other a tapestry of mood and fever dream imagery. I’ll be honest, I have a favorite in this race but I’m not gonna tell. I want to hear what you have to say. Cast your voice either below of in the sidebar.

Which is a better show to spec, Hannibal or The Following?

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Posted in Screenwriting

Dissecting The Boom – June 9th, 2014

While this blog is dedicated to my career aspirations, sometimes it’s worth mentioning the day job. Because of my NDA, I’m not allowed to say much. I can tell you that I do postproduction for big movies. What movies? A lot of the ones you’ve been watching this summer, including those involving mutants, evil fairies, and cancer kids.

Which brings me to this interesting article from Nate Silver‘s blog where he dissects the qualities of the summer blockbuster.

If you would have asked me, I would have said that it’s crucial to have the hero slo-mo walking from a giant fireball…

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…but the article goes a bit deeper than that.

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No big surprise there. Summer is all about the things that go boom, which is universal across all territories.

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And yes, you are right to believe that almost half the movies you’re seeing are based on comic books (and no, I can’t explain Guardians of the Galaxy to you).

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You are also correct when you impetuously deride Hollywood as only being interested in sequels these days.

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And if you were wondering how movies maintain a PG-13 rating while upping the body count, I think that’s your answer.

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Were you also convinced that summer movies felt more dude-centric? You were right about that, too.

Of course it’s funny that I put this up after a teen romance demolishes Hollywood’s latest $200 million sci-fi action extravaganza but that’s just serendipity.

Still, lest we forget, I’d like to leave you with the true meaning of summer blockbusters.

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Heck, even fat, bearded George Clooney gets in on the action.

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[*mic drop*]

Posted in Industry

Sleepy Hollow vs Agents of SHIELD, VOTE! – June 2nd, 2014

I just handed in my spec of The Americans to fellowships and contests…

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… and I think I might be insane.

How insane?

Maybe not this insane but...

Maybe not this insane but…

So insane that I’m already thinking of what I’ll spec next year. Heck, I made a bracket… in Illustrator (and I hate Illustrator).

Meet our contenders.

Spec_2015_Master

Allow me to answer your burning questions.

Why these six shows? First, I enjoy them. Second, I’m 99% sure they’ll be on next year’s WB Writers Workshop eligible spec list, which is the most exclusive list in town.

Why do Arrow and The Blacklist get a bye? Because according to my very unscientific research, they’re incredibly hot specs at the moment. How reliable is this “unscientific research”? It’s from the people that work at the Writers Guild Foundation library. FYI, they tell me Brooklyn Nine-Nine and Veep are the hot half-hour specs.

Enough questions. Let the battle begin!

WEEK ONE

Spec_2015_Week01

Both Sleepy Hollow and Agents of SHIELD were hot first season shows that got no-brainer renewals. They each have fun revamping their respective mythologies and I think I excel at action shows with a little bit of humor. I could knock either out of the park.

So go ahead and cast your vote either below or in the sidebar.

Which is a better show to spec, Sleepy Hollow or Agents of SHIELD?

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Posted in Screenwriting

Culture Nerd Envy – May 27th, 2014

We love those that do the things we can’t. We hate those that do the things we can, but make it seem effortless.

Therefore, I hate Chuck Klosterman. I hate his pop knowledge, I hate his engrossing writing style and now I hate his awesome musical taste.

And because the internet is tone deaf, I don’t really hate Chuck. I envy him. I hate myself for envying him.

Posted in Off-Topic

I’ll Tumblr 4 Ya – May 26th, 2014

I’ve started using my Tumblr again. Why? Because it’s there. What purpose does it serve in my web portrait, which includes this blog and my Twitter? I don’t know, but I’m willing to put in some time and effort to see what comes of it.

For now, here are some of the things I’ve been (re)posting.

Bus vs BMW by Me

Bus vs BMW by Me

The Tenth Doctor by Tommy Lee Edwards

The Tenth Doctor by Tommy Lee Edwards

Marvel Girl and X-23 by Stuart Immonen

Marvel Girl and X-23 by Stuart Immonen

Joan, Mad Men

Joan, Mad Men

Spider-Man OMG

Spider-Man OMG

DHP_GeofDarrow

Geof Darrow cover for the upcoming relaunch of Dark Horse Presents!

Marcello Mastroianni on the set of “Otto e Mezzo”

Marcello Mastroianni on the set of “Otto e Mezzo”

MyBartenders

My Favorite Bartenders by Me

…so if you like comic books and sexy dames with a little bit of film culture, you know where to go. Happy Memorial Day.

…and if you hung around this long, you deserve this…

Posted in Off-Topic

Make A Damn Comic Book – May 21st, 2014

Ever since I entered the Top Cow Talent Hunt (spoiler: they didn’t pick me) I’ve been mulling over the idea of writing for comics. The big question: how do I get started?

If there’s one piece of advice I keep hearing for newbie comic book writers it’s “make a comic book”. Don’t bother pitching, don’t send publishers your scripts, just make a damn book, distribute it — in print if possible, but definitely as a PDF, maybe as a CBR/CBZ — and then you can start approaching publishers with other ideas.

If there’s a current poster child for this kind of success, it’d be Sam Humphries with his I-REALLY-love-my-dog one-shot, Our Love is Real.

olir_cover

Of course he was a working comic book professional before publishing this book, having written issues of Fraggle Rock and a CBGB comic for Boom! Studios, but we all know the truth of “overnight” success vs media portrayals. Still, this is the book that broke him wide. This is the book that lead to his recently announced Marvel exclusive contract.

So obviously I need to make a comic book. At WonderCon I pitched potential artists a limited 6 issue series (22 pages each issue). This mini-series would also serve as a back door to a larger series. That means committing to a 132 page story arc at minimum. That’s big. Maybe too big to bite off at this particular juncture.

Another piece of advice I heard was for comic book writers to start with a 6-8 page story. Why? Because an editor would most likely first give you an assignment writing a short back-up story before trusting you with a 22 page book.

Could you tell a whole story in one page?

"Bias" by Jeff Jones (1972)

“Bias” by Jeff Jones (1972)

Okay, I can do that. Actually, I can do more than that, but let’s save that for another post…

… but here’s a teaser: how many anthologies can you think of that are written by one writer/writing team but employ multiple artists? The only one that comes to mind is the Eisner nominated anthology The Thrilling Adventure Hour by Ben Blacker & Ben Acker.

TTAH_Cover

Leave a reply if you can come up with other titles.

Posted in Off-Topic