Monday, December 31, 2007
Friday, December 28, 2007
Whenever I go to my parents house for the holidays, I wind up helping around the house with some "chores" that need doin' here and there. Things like cleaning out the gutters, moving a piece of furniture downstairs or up, or cleaning out the garage. Simple things that help a household run smoother. I am happy to do these things for my folks even though my brother and I kid each other about it.
Anyway, I have a few chores to handle around my own "house" that will see some changes for readers of the old blog. Think of it as a new coat of paint, replacing a few worn floorboards, cleaning the windows and airing out the attic. As you check in over the next week or so, things may be a little "wonky" as some links will disappear and new ones re-appear, colors will shift as will type fonts.
This is all by design.
As I posted earlier I am redesigning the focus of this blog to better reflect my work and interests. I have also started another private, invitation-only blog that will house some short, raw fiction and media that I'm going to later bring to print and elsewhere. More details on that as it develops.
Have a Happy New Year. I will be here with The Knightmare living the dream...
Wednesday, December 26, 2007
Hello everyone. My trusty laptop has been infected with a spyware bit of influenza so I'm typing this out on another while mine is being cared for by experts.
Things are going very well with the Knightmare radio script. Things that were unclear to me have been clarified and I'm moving the story along. People have been very interested in the title, but we're not quite ready to announce that just yet.
Gregg and I take this very seriously as we bring about the future by way of the past. Imagine the good old days if there had been podcasting, and you have a good idea of our approach to all this. This is our attempt to recreate what audiences would have heard had Tyler's plans with The Knightmare not fallen through.
Speaking of podcasting...
Tonight is another episode of The Geekerati Podcast, and I and my fellows will be discussing the best videogames of 2007.
Monday, December 24, 2007
(that reminds me - I should pull the vacuum cleaner out, and give the office the once over)
I like being in the office alone. I get the BS stuff out of the way, and then get the writing done in a quiet, productive atmosphere that allows me to really think and create. Being alone allows me the opportunity to turn off my "internal editor" and just write - like a pulp writer should be able to do.
Lots in store for the new year - The Knightmare, a story for Astonishing Adventures (issue #2 just came out), a redesign for the blog including additional links and resources, a graphic novel I'm finishing writing, and a few other surprises all related to my pushing the limits of what can be accomplished on the web (podcasts with Geekerati, a movie, a series and a serial as well as publishing). The other day my friend Allyson - bless her cotton socks - told me that writing The Knightmare and moving the web forward is "totally" what I should be doing with my time and effort. I cannot disagree.
(And with that in mind I may have to change the name of the blog to match this epiphany)
Thematically, this blog won't change much - I'm going to discuss the ins and outs of writing and producing and marketing media - but it won't be just disc - content. That seems to be too limiting ya know? If there's anything the strike is teaching us right now, it's that there's a whole realm of possibility out there on the web for creative folks like us (that's why the conglomerates are trying to keep us away from it) and it really, truly is up to us as individuals to reach outside the norm and become the CEO's of our own destiny.
Let's make that our Christmas present to ourselves shall we?
Your Mad Pulp Bastard
Friday, December 21, 2007
For Immediate Release:
Pulp Writer and Award-Winning Theatre Company Revive Forgotten Hero for Internet Radio Audiences Worldwide
Bill Cunningham and Decoder Ring Theatre Partner via the Web
to Bring the Radio Adventures of The Knightmare to Life
21 December, 2007: Los Angeles, CA and Toronto, Ontario, CAN
Fans of “old time radio” (OTR) know “Who knows what evil lurks in the hearts of men,” (The Shadow) and who “hunts the biggest of all game” (The Green Hornet), but in the Summer of 2008 a long-forgotten hero “Who knows what you fear” will be resurrected courtesy of Los Angeles writer-producer Bill Cunningham and Toronto’s Decoder Ring Theatre Company. Audiences worldwide will be tuning in to a radio first: The broadcast of the lost radio adventure of The Knightmare.
The Knightmare, a character modeled in the same clay as radio and pulp heroes The Shadow and The Spider, was created in 1941 for Titan Studios, an independent motion picture company as a movie serial. Cunningham, a longtime devotee of old radio and pulp characters, re-discovered and acquired the rights to the character when researching “poverty row” studios of the period. “I was interviewing several behind-the-scenes technicians who had worked at the old Mack Sennett Studios back in the days before it was closed, and they kept mentioning Titan Studios - a studio I had never heard of before,” said Cunningham.
Digging around further, Cunningham discovered Titan was a first-time production company that was set to launch a serial titled The Knightmare. In a move that was before its time, Titan’s head Cameron Tyler - a young entrepreneur from New York - made plans to launch a radio program at the same time to promote the serial. Just as Tyler’s plans were coming together, the Japanese attacked Pearl Harbor and Tyler’s investors backed out. Destitute, Tyler mysteriously disappeared along with all the preproduction work for The Knightmare, never to be heard from again. “When I was finally able to read some of his story ideas for The Knightmare (recovered from one of the technician’s basement storage) and look at some of the visuals that he had drawn, I was hooked. I have no doubt that if Tyler had been able to launch The Knightmare he would have changed the face of pulp, radio and serial heroes forever,” said Cunningham.
Cunningham immediately contacted Gregg Taylor of Toronto’s award winning Decoder Ring Theatre Company and suggested they partner to bring Tyler’s radio plans to life. “Decoder Ring Theatre is one of the few companies doing original radio dramas for the internet, and has cultivated a strong following amongst fans of OTR. Gregg has a keen story sense of what works for radio having successfully created both The Red Panda and Black Jack Justice serials. Gregg immediately responded to the idea with incredible enthusiasm,” laughed Cunningham, “Which, quite frankly is surprising since he had never met me except via the internet. I will write the first draft and together we will polish it.”
The Knightmare p.2
“Gregg will stage it with the rest of his troupe of very talented players there in Toronto. What Cameron Tyler dreamed of as his entry into Hollywood has become an international digital co-production.”
Taylor commented, “The Pulp Era was a time of adventure, of archetypes and infinite possibilities. In movie serials, dime magazines and classic radio broadcasts, the imaginations of a generation took shape, and a vision of the heroic ideal was created which survives to this day. The Knightmare is an opportunity for us to re-create that world for our listeners, and the chance to work with Bill Cunningham, one of the vanguard of the New Pulp movement, is just too good to pass up. We can’t wait to bring our listeners into the weird world of The Knightmare, and we know that they’ll find themselves back there time and time again in their own dark dreams.”
“Gregg and I will be working directly from Tyler’s original story notes for The Knightmare radio drama,” said Cunningham. “He’s a masked man of mystery who fights evil with the supernatural power to literally become what you fear. This echoes The Shadow, but with a terrifying twist which we hope to capture via the theatre of the mind. The Knightmare’s blend of heroics and horror is one of the key elements to what makes him unique.”
Taylor added, “Thanks to the internet, we will be able to realize Tyler’s dream and give audiences all over the world a one-of-a-kind radio adventure.”
Decoder Ring Theatre is a Toronto based Theatre and Audio Production company that runs an award-nominated weekly podcast of the same name. It consists primarily of two series, The Red Panda Adventures and Black Jack Justice, both of which are done in the style of old-time radio, and alternate in six-episode runs. For more information log on to: www.decoderringtheatre.com
Bill Cunningham is a writer-producer who is affectionately referred to in the entertainment community as “the mad pulp bastard.” As a screenwriter and producer his credits include: Scarecrow, Scarecrow: Slayer, .Com for Murder, The 2005 DVD Exclusives Awards Show and The 2006 Video Hall of Fame Awards. He is also a regular contributing writer to the Tales of the Shadowmen pulp anthology series from Black Coat Press. He has been a guest speaker at the 2006 Scriptwriter’s Showcase on Direct To DVD screenwriting as well as the 2003 American Black Film Festival. As a movie marketer he has designed and launched campaigns for over 60 motion pictures released on DVD. He can be found online at: www.d2dvd.blogspot.com.
Thursday, December 20, 2007
Congratulations Al, and welcome to the 4GM future!
Tuesday, December 18, 2007
Monday, December 17, 2007
Send me drugs and masseuses (note the plural 'cause that's how we roll when it comes to massage) ...
A pulp mag or twenty wouldn't hurt either. Just realized that I have read a full year's worth of The Shadow magazine, 24 stories, in the twelve volumes I have on my shelf. That is so cool. Here's to Anthony Tollin completing the entire run...
Won't be much happening around these parts, though later this week I will have an announcement to follow the one I made on the Geekerati Podcast awhile back. It's in the "extras" section of the podcast.
[cough cough, yaack]
Friday, December 14, 2007
Zuda Comics is going ahead with their second webcomics contest, and amongst the featured is this pulpy bit of business that caught my eye. Go check it out.
What's interesting is that Zuda (a division of DC) is taking an old format (comics) and adapting it to the web. Most of these comics are not to my taste at all (thanks to the cartoonish drawing style), but I do like THE CROOKED MAN and got a chuckle out of THE NITE OWLS.
That's what the internet gets you kids - a new way to deliver classic stuff to your audience. Just ask Gregg over at Decoder Ring Theatre. (More on that later), Francesco Francavilla at Pulp Sunday and Tom Floyd at Captain Spectre.
*** and not to forget our own Geekerati Podcast in which we discuss all these things ***
Thursday, December 13, 2007
High points from the article in today's Variety:
- produced by Paramount Digital Entertainment and MTV New Media, will be the first major studio feature to debut online. Initially, it will stream for free with ads.
- Move makes good on MTV's long-stated commitment to make full-length movies for the Internet. The two divisions began planning a "Jackass" Internet project 18 months ago, when MTV Films production veteran David Gale was tapped exec VP, new media and specialty film content, at MTV Networks.
-Blockbuster has paid the two Viacom units an advance against a cut of the ad revenue for a one-week exclusive window to stream the pic on Jackassworld.com, a new site developed by MTV and Johnny Knoxville's Dickhouse Prods. shingle.
- Thomas Lesinski, prexy of Paramount Digital Media, said the third "Jackass" movie was never considered as anything but a straight-to-Web project.
"We've developed a distribution model that's never been done before," he explained. "Our goal is to prove that there is an audience to watch content online."
Lesinski added that Paramount is already pleased enough... that it's planning to debut more movies on the Net in the future.
- As part of its deal, Blockbuster also has exclusive rental rights to the DVD and to offer digital rentals online.
- Once the exclusive streaming window ends on Dec. 26, sites such as iTunes and Amazon.com will offer "Jackass 2.5" on a download-to-own basis, and other retailers will sell the DVD.
Users will also be able to embed clips from the pic, along with ads, anywhere on the Web.
Blockbuster Online senior veep Aaron Coleman said his company and Paramount will be marketing the pic almost exclusively online, including an application on Facebook.
Internet deal is sure to raise eyebrows with WGA members who are striking in large part over gaining a stake in online revenues. The project, though, has no credited writers.
"Jackass: The Movie" and "Jackass Number 2" grossed a combined $137.1 million domestically for Par.-----------------------------------
Hat tip to Bill Martell.
Tuesday, December 11, 2007
Two very smart screenwriters, Richard Maxwell and Robert Dickman figured out that everyone has a unique story to tell and if everyone "discovered their story," and learned to tell it effectively, then it would affect how people perceived them. In other words:
Maxwell and Dickman brought the art of the pitch to the boardroom and to business.
The two have written down their experiences and analyses of pitching in an amazing book called THE ELEMENTS OF PERSUASION (Harper Collins publishers) . It is a book I recommend not only to writers, but to career-minded people of all sorts. Inside are real world examples and concepts of how story affected someone's business in both a positive and negative manner. You'll learn how a story is constructed, and take a simpler look at the must-have elements of any good story.
By using the exercises in this book you'll learn your unique story and how to pitch it to everyone you meet. You'll be able to brand yourself in their minds and be that memorable guy who really held everyone's interest instead of that great writer who was kind of shy and sad.
End of story.
Friday, December 07, 2007
The first lady of Hard Case Crime Christa Faust has gone and used the gut-ripping power of the internet to promote her new pulp paperback novel MONEY SHOT. She went out and shot a promo trailer (well actually she shot it in her garage) which you can see below...
Wednesday, December 05, 2007
Well let me tell you one thing - the other guy isn't working on a compromise. Denis McGrath had a nice post yesterday on how the conglomerates are actively working to win. They are positioning their press and their negotiation tactics to divide the WGA and get them to settle for something less than they deserve.
The WGA and the writers themselves, bless their cotton socks, have been winning the PR war and communicating the inequity of the situation to the public at large. Great. Keep at it.
But that isn't going to win the war.
(and make no mistake that this is a war. I was in the military for four years and I recognize it even though it's taking place in a board room)
So what do you do when you live in a world which tells you to be reasonable and compromise and accept less than you deserve because your opponent holds all the cards and people are going through an extreme hardship trying to make their bills? What do you do? How do you end it?
You start by wanting to win. You don't play around. You act. You strategize. You find your enemy's weak spots and prepare to exploit them.
Then you get in the ring and get your knuckles bloody, and you don't stop until you hear "uncle."
On December 7, 1941 the Japanese attacked Pearl Harbor Naval Base in Hawaii. They made a decisive blow to America's throat. We were shaken. Near shattered. Then, incredibly they didn't press on to finish the job. They became scared of their own success and pulled back, allowing the American war machine to rise out of its slumber and come back -- hard. If the Japanese had pressed on, California might have become part of the Imperial realm of Japan.
You want a quick resolution to this strike? You want the conglomerates to come to the table with an economic package that encompasses the internet as it is today and builds for the future? Then hit them where it hurts and you keep hitting -- hard -- and don't let the conglomerates get a word in unless that word is "uncle."
The upfronts are coming. Let them come and go. Let the networks not have anything to show advertisers. Let the public know they are getting nothing but reality shows because the conglomerates didn't want to make a $100M less in profits (though they are still making a profit in the billions). You drag it out. You make them hurt right where it hurts most - the bottom line. You tell the stockholders of those companies that you aren't going to give up. You tell them that those companies were built on your creativity and that without you - they are nothing.
You don't appease tyrants. You don't let them "take back" what isn't theirs.
You get into the fight to win.
Tuesday, December 04, 2007
Having been immersed in the D2DVD market for most of my career I’ve often wondered about the origins and thought processes that go into the making of an action film. This is a genre that Americans seem to do really well along a variety of budget levels from LETHAL WEAPON to Steven Seagal’s latest DVD action-fest.
What is it about the action film that intrigues us so? Is it the violence? The righteous sense of justice (something that we’ve mythologized throughout our history - hence the term “legendary Old West.”)? What are the elements that go into the character of an archetypal action hero? Can we trace the roots of heroic action (from Greek myth and before) to today(DIRTY HARRY, DEATH WISH, SPIDERMAN, ROBOCOP)?
Fortunately, we don’t have to do that. Eric Lichtenfeld has done that for us in his excellent book ACTION SPEAKS LOUDER: Violence, Spectacle and the American Action Movie (Wesleyan University Press). Eric (and I call him that because we’ve been corresponding on the archetype of the hero, and because he's younger and smarter than this old bastard so I need to get my digs in) delves deep into the DNA of the action hero and the genealogy of how action heroes relate to one another. How does ROBOCOP relate to SHANE? What do Rutger Hauer, Jean-Claude Van Damme and Bruce Willis have in common? What heroes break the mould of the “typical” action hero and why? How many different types of action heroes are there?
It’s these critical analyses of the action hero archetype that makes this book a must-read for those of us in the business of creating such characters. Eric has given these different iconic heroes the dissection they deserve so that we can clearly see where our characters violate the norm (and whether or not that’s a good thing). The book includes reviews, production timelines and excerpts from the studio marketing materials used to “sell” these movies to the public at large.
Do yourself a favor and buy this book (available on Amazon). I am certain it will be the reference work for the action screenwriter. I have it on my desktop here at the office.
Oh and FYI - The Action doesn't stop at the printed word. Eric has himself a blog where he expands on his analyses of the action hero. Read the book. Read the blog.
Monday, December 03, 2007
[BEGIN COMMUNIQUE TAG:// CH/12/03/07/LANVA/OPS]
**EYES ONLY **
[VIA COURIER ONLY. NO ELECTRONIC TRANSMISSION]
INTERSECT (INTernet Emergency Response and SECurity Taskforce)
FROM: Director, Field Office - Chicago
TO: Ops Director, Langley, VA
Re: Communication Intercept re: Bombing of Customs Shipper
Reviewing all data streams emanating from area of interest by person or persons unknown. Echelon cell phone intercept received scrambled portion of a cell phone call. Triangulation of signal has it going to a prepaid civilian cell phone; grid 200A of explosion site, placing it at optimal targeting range for the bombing.
Transcription of transmission below:
Caller: You are almost there.
Recipient: You know what you’re asking me to do?
Caller: I’m not asking.
Recipient: (garbled) …damn you…I can’t do this.
Caller: You know what will happen if you don’t.
Note 1: FBI and Hazmat investigative units have concluded that explosive ordinance of a ‘Homegrown’ nature detonated at ground zero. Package was delivered as luggage to a Customs shipping office and evaded normal chemical sweeps for hazardous materials.
Note 2: TV cameras in area around blast site were disabled two minutes prior to delivery. Field ops Chicago investigating software glitch blamed for camera shutdown. Operating under assumption this is not coincidence.
Note 3: Second item uncovered at ground zero indicates a bio-chemical weapon designed to deliver anthrax infused cloud. Suspected target: passengers of United flight 743. Destination: Washington, DC. Heat and flame from weapon device #1 purged and destroyed second anthrax bio-weapon.
- Device #1 was designed to eliminate threat of anthrax device planted by person or persons unknown.
- Person or persons unknown are operating within US borders without official sanction. Purpose unknown. Advise.
- Person or persons unknown present possible threat as electronic scrambling of cell phone signals against INTERSECT tech and disabling of CCTV cameras indicates level five sophistication.
- Transcript analysis indicates coercion techniques employed. Indicates person or persons unknown has sufficient knowledge of standard Intelligence procedures and training.
Request sanction authorization. Advise.
[END COMMUNIQUE TAG:// CH/12/03/07/LANVA/OPS]