Friday, July 31, 2009
Anyone who knows me at all KNOWS that my all-time favorite movie is ALIEN (1979). Yes, this movie... more that STAR WARS, RAIDERS OF THE LOST ARK, ANNIE HALL, HALLOWEEN, THE SEVENTH SEAL, and METROPOLIS (my other top favs)... is responsible for forcing me to get off my ass and move to Hollywood.
I've seen it soooooo many times it's ridiculous, I've memorized the score (both versions!), it's the first one-sheet I ever owned, I quote dialogue from the movie on an almost daily basis to bewildered friends (where do you think I first learned what the word "collate" means?), and I even have a Sigourney Weaver action figure atop my bookshelf.
Yes, ALIEN is the foundation for the geek house that I've built and have been living in ever since.
So... imagine my shock when I found out this morning that RIDLEY SCOTT is coming back to make an ALIEN PREQUEL? Don't believe me? Below is the article from TODAY'S VARIETY. Check it out for yourself:
"Twentieth Century Fox is resuscitating its "Alien" franchise. The studio has hired Jon Spaihts to write a prequel that has Ridley Scott attached to return as director. Spaihts got the job after pitching the studio and Scott Free, which will produce the film.
The film is set up to be a prequel to the groundbreaking 1979 film that Scott directed. It will precede that film, in which the crew of a commercial towing ship returning to Earth is awakened and sent to respond to a distress signal from a nearby planetoid. The crew discovers too late that the signal generated by an empty ship was meant to warn them.
The deal gives Fox another chance to keep the "Alien" franchise alive. There were three sequels to Scott's original, but it is the first time the director has set his mind on directing one.
Spaihts has become a go-to-guy for space thrillers. After Keanu Reeves became attached to his Warner Bros. sci-fi script "Shadow 19," Reeves hired Spaihts to write the space journey epic "Passengers," which is berthed at Morgan Creek. That script got Spaihts the meeting with Fox and Scott Free, and he won the job with an "Alien" reboot take that the studio and Scott loved.
Fox has separately hired him to rewrite "The Darkest Hour," which Timur Bekmambetov to produce with Tom Jacobson. Spaihts is writing "Children of Mars" for Disney and Scott Rudin, and he will follow by rewriting "St. George and the Dragon" for Sony and Red Wagon."
So how am I feeling about all this?
Because... hey... what if it sucks? It'll be the final nail in the ALIEN franchise's coffin.
Because... WHOA... there's gonna be another ALIEN movie. And @#$%... Ridley Scott's gonna direct it!!!
Because although writer Jon Spaihts' pitch was probably really cool, the script still has to be written. And then it's got to go through the long, arduous studio development process. And since it's such a high-profile film, it's gonna be a meal made by a thousand cooks...
Screw all that! Ridley's BACK!!!
Oh, God. Oh, God. Oh, God. They're gonna bury my all-time favorite franchise.
Hey... is this what TITANS fans are feeling like? Maybe I'd better give this movie a chance and not condemn it before it's released... which, let's face it, isn't gonna be until like 2012 or 2013.
According to X-FILES mythology, colonization takes place December 22, 2012. So I guess I won't have to worry about any of this.
Please... let it good. Let it be good. Let it be good.
Hey, Ridley... if you need someone to do a polish or even a whole draft, CALL ME.
Wednesday, July 29, 2009
Monday, July 27, 2009
Well, another San Diego Comic Con is over, and I'm exhausted, but still buzzing from all the fun.
There were so many highlights for me this year, I can't even begin to mention them all. But celebrating the fourth season pickup of EUREKA has got to be one of the greatest ever. It came as a complete surprise and was the perfect capper to a wonderful week.
Equally exciting for me was the wonderful surprise and privilege of getting to participate in two DC COMICS panels, the first on Friday of which featured a BIG announcement about my TITANS run. Yup, it's true. DEATHSTROKE will be the new leader of the Titans.
And I know what you're thinking, because several fans came up to me all weekend, asking, "WTF?!!!!"
Well, I can't say much yet without spoiling things, so I'll tell you what I told them. Just wait and see -- things in the Titans world are about to get seriously wild, awesome, weird, exciting, and yes... just a little bit CRAZY.
Of course... after all the geek talk, panels, and buying stuff... you gotta find some time to chill out. Pictured below is the view out our hotel window. Yes, margaritas were consumed while enjoying this view...
But of course... as much as I enjoyed the professional side of being at SDCC, I'm still a MAJOR geek at heart. And for the geek inside me, the highlight of the entire week was being lucky enough to get into the DOCTOR WHO panel!!! Dear God... RUSSELL T. DAVIES... DAVID TENNANT... EUROS LYN... and JULIE GARDNER... ALL in the same room?!! And how about that BIG SPOILER about who the Tenth Doctor will face in his final hours?!!!
I cheered. I cried. I screamed. Man, I love Doctor Who... and I'm sooooo gonna miss David T. But hey, I've been through this before, so who knows? Maybe next year it'll be Matt Smith that I'm cheering for?!
I sure hope so.
Friday, July 17, 2009
That's right... yours truly will be at the San Diego Comic Con all next week to talk about EUREKA, comic books, and of course, my upcoming supernatural multi-media project and comic book, ETHEREAL. So join me won't you?
You can keep track of where to find me via both my Twitter feeds:
Or drop by any of the EUREKA events -- you know I'll be there!
And just events are those? Well, there's a EUREKA PANEL on Friday, July 24th and a special screening of that week's episode, "Insane in the P-Brane" later that night. Details are below, courtesy of the Comic Con website:
Friday, July 24th
Eureka is back this summer with all new episodes, and Salli Richardson-Whitfield (Allison Blake), Erica Cerra (Jo Lupo), Neil Grayston (Douglas Fargo), Jaime Ray Newman (Tess Fontana), and Jaime Paglia (executive producer/co-creator) are stopping by to let you in on the fun. Moderated by Josh Gates (Destination Truth). Room 6BCF
EUREKA SCREENING: EP. 311 - "INSANE IN THE P-BRANE"
Friday, July 24th
8:30-10:30pm Syfy Screenings of EUREKA and WAREHOUSE 13 air every week on Syfy, but only Comic Con fans can see them on the big screen. Join Syfy for an exclusive screening of the next all new episodes of the summer's two hottest series along with best of clips from Ghost Hunters. Room 6DE
And what's that? You still haven't checked out ETHEREAL? Well, just go to the link on the right. There's ALL-NEW ARTWORK from the upcoming ETHEREAL COMIC BOOK launching this Fall. And look for new SPOOKY VIDEO CONTENT on the website in late August/early September.
Just what is ETHEREAL? It began life as a TV pilot about one man, Dr. Bodie Taylor, and his fight to rescue his wife from supernatural forces bent on taking control of our world. You can follow the ETHEREAL Twitter Novella right now by following:
Once the comic book launches this Fall, plans are in the works to bring you exclusive interactive video content. And who knows? You might even see ETHEREAL on your TV screens or on your computers as a WEB SERIES. But we'll get to all that a few months down the line.
Anyway, join me at the San Diego Comic Con this year and find out everything I'm up to!
Wednesday, July 15, 2009
So, I usually try not to give folks advice... at least not unless they ask for it. But one request I get constantly is from a friend or relative who "... has a nephew or buddy or old schoolmate trying to break into the biz" who's looking for advice from a working professional, i.e. yours truly.
I got such a request from a really good friend a few days ago on behalf of his sister's friend's cousin or whatever. I'm never sure just what to say to folks trying to break into this insane business, but what follows is exactly what I sent my buddy to forward to the aspiring artist in question. Well, I must have said something right, because my buddy told me that he's going to use excerpts from it in his management course at work, and that much of the advice could easily apply to any field.
Which got me to thinking that if there is anything worth knowing in what follows, that if it can help just one person have a easier time of things as they go through this crazy journey that is life and art and whatever else... then maybe it would be a good thing to share with all of you. So here goes... my "words of wisdom."
WHAT YOU NEED TO "MAKE IT" IN HOLLYWOOD:
Patience, persistence, hard work, and a bit of luck. Of course, you can make your own luck (a la Thomas Jefferson) by working hard, being patient, and always being persistent.
Also, be flexible. There are so many great opportunities in the entertainment industry nowadays that didn't used to exist. Also, don't measure success by outrageous goals like, "If I don't have an Oscar by age 30, I'm a failure!" Yes, Diablo Cody got an Oscar at 28. This is sooooooo the exception. Most of the influential and powerful people in this town, the ones who can get movies, TV shows, or video games made, are all 50+ years of age. (The exceptions are actors, but if you want to be one of those--man, GOOD LUCK.)
One big secret to success is that you can't do it alone. So... FIND A MENTOR. That's someone in your specific field (writing, cinematography, acting, editing, set design, whatever...) that is a working professional and a nice person. Then beg to be their apprentice/mentee/assistant/coffee boy or girl. I did it, and trust me... it works. Also, you will outgrow a mentor after a few years, so find a new one then.
Another big secret to success out here: continue your education in your specific field. All the entertainment fields are craft or techically driven. The craft (acting, writing, for example) continually changes. You must be "up" on what came before and what's coming down the line. So keep studying and learning. For example, I'm a writer. But the way screenplay structures are written now vs. 15-20 years ago when I started out have changed radically. I knew this, so 5 years ago I took courses on all the new stuff, also on all the new writing computer programs. I'm current -- but I continually study how scripts, outlines, synopses, dialogue. etc. are performed on contemporary shows. Someone's always breaking new ground. It doesn't have to be you... but once it happens, you need to have it under your belt.
This is even more important in technical fields like camerawork, lighting, visual effects, editing, and directing. The technology is changing so fast, I've seen people get jobs because they knew how to use a new editing system or camera / lighting package... when a competitor did not.
Lastly, surround yourself with a strong support network of 1) peers and 2) loved ones. Let's say you're an actor or director starting out. You should be making friends with fellow actors, writers, directors, editors, & camerapeople who are at your level. You will help each other get through tough times. Also, if you pool your talents... you just might create something special. On the other side, true friends and loved ones that believe in your dream just as much as you do are crucial. You WILL fail multiple times in this industry throughout your career, just as you will SUCCEED BIG TIME on other occasions. When you fail, you need something close to you there to remind you why you're doing this.
Because making in the entertainment industry is HARD AS HELL.
There are about 10,000 people in the world who are just dying to be plumbers. There's about 100,000 people who want to be opticians. Guess how many people would love to be a famous actor... or millionaire screenwriter... or big shot movie director?
About 10,000,000,000,000,000 people. They are your competition. And they are working just as hard as you are. Some them are even Steven Spielberg's cousins. Hence the need for a hard work ethic, patience, persistence, mentors, peers, loved ones, and yes... LUCK.
I hope this helps.
Tuesday, July 14, 2009
Wanna know more about my plans for TITANS? Then check out my interview on COMIC BOOK RESOURCES by pointing your web browser to the address below.
Oh, the fun's just starting...!
Monday, July 13, 2009
Well, actually THUNDERBIRDS ARE GO, but got your attention didn't? Seriously though...
In case you hadn't heard, DC Comics has announced that I'll be taking over as the new writer on TITANS once the current run of one shots wraps up (Winter 2009/2010), and I can't tell you how excited I am!
Actually. I CAN tell you that. What I can't tell you are spoilers on the upcoming stories. First up, here's the announcement as made on Newsarama.com:
5. Is there a similar announcement about the Titans creative team coming up?
DD: I’m sure there will be shortly.
NRAMA: Got a ballpark on time?
DD: How about right now? We’re happy to say that the team that’s working on Final Crisis Aftermath: Ink right now, Eric Wallace and Farbrizio Fiorentino will become the new regular team on the series after the current stories wrap up, but when they do come on board, expect dramatic changes in the world of the Titans.
So how excited am I? So much so that when I ran into comic book legend and TITANS co-creator MARV WOLFMAN this weekend at the Writers Guild here in LA, I just had to geek out on him and tell him how much I loved his run. I also promised I'd do my best to make him proud.
To my utter shock and complete delight, Marv then proceeded to tell me how big a EUREKA fan he is. Whoa... talk about your memorable-but-totally-surreal life moments.
Okay... now the pressure's really on to write some great stories, because if I don't Marv is gonna yell at me...
Or AM I?
Saturday, July 11, 2009
Friday, July 10, 2009
Wednesday, July 8, 2009
But last night's YES & ASIA combo concert at LA's Gibson Ampitheater was pretty close. Far out prog-rock music! An abstract Roger Dean stage that looked like solar sails! Ten minute songs with a billion notes! Not one, but TWO long, 70s-style drum solos from both CARL PALMER and ALAN WHITE! And... thanks to Asia, TONS OF HITS!!!
Man, what a night...
That's Yes pictured above with new vocalist Benoit David, a Canadian newcomer who did an awesome job filling the big shoes of master singer Jon Anderson. Highlights of the set were "Machine Messiah" from the never-played DRAMA album, as well as blistering versions of "Starship Trooper," "Astral Traveller," "Heart of the Sunrise," and--of course--"Roundabout."
I know what you're thinking. Yes must've kicked Asia's ass, right?
HOLD ON, NOW.
Dude... ASIA ROCKED THE HOUSE!
No, that is not a typo. They were BRILLIANT.
Knowing that they were the opening act and only had 70 minutes to do their thing, they blew through their classics ("Heat of the Moment," "Wildest Dreams," "Only Time Will Tell," "Sole Survivor," etc.) and some new material, plus some surprise gems ("Video Killed the Radio Star!!!") with high intensity and a joy that was both clearly palpable and highly contagious!
"Machine Messiah" might have been my favorite song by either band last night, but I'm telling you... 2nd, 3rd, and 4th were all Asia hits.
And no, the two bands did not get together at the end of the night to play a song together (bummer). This is despite the fact that guitarist Steve Howe (below) plays in BOTH bands... AND the fact that Asia keyboardist Geoff Downes used to be the keyboardist for Yes and actually played on the original version of "Machine Messiah!"
Throw in the fact that a recovered Jon Anderson is currently doing his own solo tour in Europe and it makes you think there's some kind of rivalry going on between all these guys.
Oh, well. Last night it was me and the rest of the audience that won.
Now if EMERSON, LAKE, & PALMER would just get back together...
Tuesday, July 7, 2009
Back from a quick road trip across the US and guess what greeted me in my email inbox when I came back?
Although Leonard Nimoy probably recorded this back in the late 1960s (judging from his Spock haircut), I didn't see or hear it until 2003 when Peter Jackson's "Lord of the Rings" movies were released.
I laughed so hard when I watched this video then... and I laughed again when I rewatched it this morning!
Enjoy -- and thank you, Leonard!