Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Let's Try This Again


And they are as Warner Bros. gears up for another TV series involving the Looney Toons.
(Image: CBR)

Sunday, April 24, 2011

Ruegger Recalls HB-WB Mashup

Tom Ruegger recalls his show idea to combine HB and WB classic characters—and he has the artwork to prove it.

Happy Easter!






Lunch today with my wife and mom-in-law. The only eggs we'll be searching for are the ones on our plates.
(Image: stjohnsmcc.org)

Saturday, April 23, 2011

Reunion


After 28 years, my friend Ash and I met at a Denny's with a big windmill on the roof. The staff were neither Dutch nor dressed as traditional Dutch people. Inside were no Dutch decorations, no rows of tulips, no dikes holding back syrup, no Mexican waitresses clopping about in wooden shoes. It was a Denny's and someone thought a windmill on the roof would be shit hot. It kinda was.

Today Denny's offered a number of breakfast dishes rich with hickory-flavored bacon. They called it "Baconalia." I went all in. Ash got fish and chips in which the fish arrived looking very much like a breaded boomerang.

Back in the early 80s we worked together at a security guard company. Ash was a supervisor and I was employed monitoring burglar alarms and making sure guards arrived on-time at our various accounts.

Often the guards were drinking and didn't want to be bothered showing up to their posts. This pissed off the clients, who then called me to yell about the missing guards. I could send the patrol supervisor to cover the post until I located someone to fill in. But the patrol supervisor was moonlighting from his city day job and usually slept in his patrol car—deep rem sleep, impervious to summoning radio. This led to vexing nights but everything usually worked out. Plus I smoked a lot back then and that helped mitigate the tension.

Our company had alarm systems all across LA and parts of Orange County in shops, private homes, studios and factories. In the 18 months I worked there, I phoned in hundreds of burglar alarms to the police. All but one was false. Rats set off a fair number of the motion detector alarms while earthquakes could trigger every bell alarm, causing more racket than a lunatic brigade with pots and spoons. If you wanted to break into a warehouse or a factory 30 years ago, the best time was during a Santa Ana wind. (Alarm signals traveled through phones lines. Wind whipped the phone lines agitating the signals which showed up on our monitoring equipment as multiple break-ins everywhere at once.

We had former movie stars working as undercover employees at various companies to find out who was pilfering what. (Actors and actresses excelled at these masquerades.) Our crack after-hours service department consisted of a 21-year old guy who didn't care to have his pot smoking interrupted by things like fixing busted alarm systems. We worked with people who wanted to be movie directors and comedy writers (me) and others who were happy with dispatching guards and monitoring burglar alarms but had other problems.

Ash and I met at 1:00 and parted at 6:00. My Baconalia was long since digested. But we're getting together in a few months. Hopefully next time we'll locate a Denny's with a sphinx on top. In Los Angeles anything is possible.
(Image: legends.com)

Friday, April 22, 2011

Nate Ruegger Nabs Gold

Nate Ruegger's Another Life continues racking up the film festival kudos. At Worldfest Houston International Film and Video Fest, Nate's offering won Gold for Best Original Dramatic Short.

Coming up next: the Newport Beach Film Festival.

It's a long slog through the festival circuit, but you meet people, pick up some press, and show you've got the persistence and talent to play ball in a bigger stadium. Keep going, Nate.

Thursday, April 21, 2011

Marketing Tech Gap


My tech skills were pushed beyond their limit yesterday into a new mist-shrouded realm. Most of my Internet savvy consists of pushing "Publish Post" and sending email with doc. attachments. Going into an office yesterday to work for my marketing client drenched me in techno shock. I discovered the programmers send graphic heavy files back and forth using Skype. (Thank you Takineko and Nostalgia Critic for my interview last July requiring me to obtain Skype.) And while barely knowing how to use it, I at least had Skype on my lap top.

The same could not be said for Dreamweaver. With ad copy already wed to graphics and videos, I needed a platform that would allow me to edit on-screen. So began the seeking. First-choice Dreamweaver no longer offered free downloads. That began a second round of Googling plus trial-and-error downloading that I felt compelled to undertake since everyone else was incredibly busy. (And they type incredibly fast, sounding like heavy rain on plastic.) After an honorable amount of floundering, I appealed to a tech who finally got me hooked up with KompoZer. Now I could see copy and graphics and edit the text.

That went fine for awhile until I finished up and needed to Skype the file to my boss.

Having briefly clicked onto another site to check on the health and well-being of various swim suit models, I returned to KompoZer and couldn't locate the stinking file.

Several hours work hung in the balance. Fear roiled my bowels. I searched frantically like a fiery man seeking a foam extinguisher. The file was not deleted, but also not showing up in a readable form anywhere in KompoZer. With time slipping away, I finally appealed for help, certain the techs viewed me as some dinosaur who'd probably try and dial a smart phone. But they were understanding and benevolent. (I was the oldest one in the office by several generations.) My only consolation was that the tech had a hard time finding the elusive file.

Fortunately, my work was accepted and I drove home at 8:00 PM, tired and stressed, but glad I'd hung in there despite gross technological handicaps.

At Warner Bros. I complained about not getting to write on a Mac. What simple, waifish concerns I had back then.
(Images: All4Women.co.za & Another Idiot on line)

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Unhappy Days for Ralph Malph

CBS gyps Ralph Malph and others out of merchandising. Hollywood hasn't done something this seedy since Harry Cohn rooked the Three Stooges out of TV royalties. Actually, Hollywood has done something seedier since then, but one is overwhelmed by choices.

Link to Rich Arons Article

Old pal Rich Arons gets his animated work noticed.

'Fresh Ideas' Appears in Anthology

Just read over the story, bio and index for my contribution to The Best of Every Day Fiction 3. Launching on May 21, this hard cover short-story collection should be available at various on-line book emporiums. I'll link to the site when the book goes up. This will be my very first fiction story appearing in an anthology and I'm as pleased as a man with unlimited access to bacon.

Friday, April 15, 2011

Review: Atlas Shrugged

No one loved the original Clash of the Titans more than I. (Except for the golden mechanical owl. I constructed one after seeing the film just to destroy it utterly.) So when I saw a title with the Greek Titan Atlas, I was all in. Alas, neither old-fashioned stop-motion animation or state-of-the-art CGI could save this film. In fact, we have two films: the story of a woman tycoon running a railroad surrounded by incompetence and government meddling interwoven with the tale of a Titan holding the world on his back as punishment for revolting against the Olympian gods. (At some point I hoped the films would intersect and Atlas would drop the world on a train like a beach ball, shrug, then lift the Earth back on his shoulders. But that was wishful thinking.) Clearly Atlas was aware of events in the train story. More often than you'd think possible, the film CUT TO a CLOSE SHOT of Atlas who would look TO CAMERA, shrug and say something along the lines of "So who takes trains anymore?"

Emotional scenes where Dagny Taggart, (Taylor Schilling) fights to keep her company afloat were undercut by annoying ZIP PANS to Atlas, portrayed by screen newcomer Leemon Waddle. At one point, Atlas breaks into a full blown Yiddish accent saying, "You think a railroad is tough? The world you should try holding some time. Oy gevalt!"

Maybe it worked in the screenplay, but presenting the audience with Titan cutaways made me wish for a golden mechanical owl. And that's never happened before. Rated Two Stars for filming in color and English. (Image: flickr.com)

Thursday, April 14, 2011

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Paul Rugg and I Clash over Making

Paul Rugg is using every little verbal trick and twist in his bag—a bag he did not "make" by the way—in his attempt to force free form making on those least-equipped to handle it. No one who isn't IN THE PAY OF BIG MAKE would even adopt, let alone urge, such a policy. Twisting and squirming like a great blonde eel he lays out his mangled logic and slapdash analogies for all to see in the manner of a crazed merchant selling pastry covered in crickets. I await his next salvo. WITH THUNDEROUS LOGIC, I will bend his words back upon him. WITH THUNDEROUS LOGIC, I will make him keen like an old Chinese ox cleaner. WITH THUNDEROUS LOGIC, I will respond in a THUNDEROUS MANNER!!!

Hi

Hi everyone! What's up? Are you happy? I am. Ha, ha, ha, oh, ha. See? How happy are you?

Saturday, April 09, 2011

Extra Finished

Extra work—did it myself back in the day—now is losing out to technology. No, not green screens but the inflatables. No water breaks, no sack lunches, no long lines outside Costume. Rumor has it they're already in talks with SAG.
via Ace of Spades

Reasonable? You Decide!

Anyone following the debate over making may have noticed Paul Rugg's sinister slide toward a form of making that would be nothing less than free-fall—and a danger to people most at risk under 5'10. How did a responsible man arrive at such a conclusion? And at WHO'S BEHEST? HOW MUCH IS HE BEING PAID? For now, let's suspend these questions and await Paul's latest response. I hope it will herald a much needed return to sanity.

Thursday, April 07, 2011

Prose and Pitch Update

Turned in three concepts to my agent for 3 brand new animated series. She'll set up meetings and I'll go in with a pleasant smile, a load of confidence and various executive buzzwords refashioned to sound as if they were my very own ideas.

By April's end I need to turn in a book proposal - three chapters and an outline for a Young Adult novel. (Different than the weighty tome I've been blogging about for two years.) The YA chapters/outline mixes elements of dark urban fantasy with H.P. Lovecraft. We shall see what the market says.

Is everyone happy and filled with various jellies? Let me know.

Saturday, April 02, 2011

Means to an End

Author Deanna Fei lists her top seven books on writing for writers. When in doubt, write about what you know. And so Deanna did just that.