Tuesday, July 09, 2013

Wow. 4 years.

Four years since I last posted here.

I stopped basically because I thought I ran out of things to say.

I don't think I have.

If I return, will you join me?

Wednesday, December 09, 2009

Anybody Out There?

That's the funny thing with these blogs. If you stop writing, eventually people stop coming.

So...is anyone still out there?

Marc Bernardin and I are considering combining our blogs to cover all of our fun, geeky projects.
Will you follow us there?

Or should we throw in the towel...

Friday, July 31, 2009

So THIS is the guy who didn't care for the Godfather...

Running The Factory

Some people are driven. Some are not. That is not a judgement, it is a fact.

I was not always a driven person. Actually, the exact opposite. I began grade school in a program for gifted students and by 12th grade I barely graduated high school. Testing shows I am a fairly smart person and for me that meant not studying or going to class and getting a C, rather than showing up, studying and getting an A.

But at some point, that all changed. At some point, and I cannot pinpoint when, I went from slacker to the very definition of an "A" type personality. Although I don't remember a precise moment, I do remember the strategy I adopted.

If you want to run the factory, learn every job in the factory. You don't have to be a ninja at each position, but if you want to be an effective leader (and earn any respect) you better have a keen understanding of what everyone under you does. It is also a case of "the chicken and the egg" because the more skills you acquire the more valuable you are, hence your rise to world domination will be quicker.

We have all been victims to the contrary: a boss that went to management school and never actually flipped the burgers, an editor that never made a living as a writer, an executive giving notes on a television show who has never actually produced a show.

To quote Woody Allen in "Annie Hall", "Those who can't do, teach. Those who can't teach, teach gym."

Coming up in television I made a conscious decision to diversify: I drove a production van, I held cue cards, I wrote promo copy, I did research, I was an assistant camera operator and so on. When I began producing shows I tried my best to work in every genre: talk, variety, music, news, reality, game, interactive and so on. When the one thing missing on my resume was a docu-series I went out and fought to get the gig on "Gene Simmons Family Jewels." Of course I still have much to learn, but I do feel I am more versatile than most.

This post was born out of a few people asking for advice on how to move ahead in television, but I think it really applies to any field.

If you want to run the factory, pay your dues and learn as many jobs along that assembly line as possible.

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Zen and the Art of Nerdiness

I just got back from my 5th San Diego Comic-Con and this year I took away a few key observations. Some might even be classified as revelations:

1. To all my fellow comic pros, whom I respect and love, stop your bitching. I could complain about the crowds, the long lines and how much my feet hurt but I won't. Why? Because I get fucking paid to write comic books - that's why. I feel like if I dare complain, a thousand steel workers, delivery men and sanitation employees will punch me in the nads. And they would be in the right. We write about heroes that save the universe. What would you think if one of them bitched that their "dogs were barking." You are correct. You would call them a pussy. And then you would right.

2. Don't judge the nerds/geeks/fans that dress in costume. I used to. Judge, that is. I would look at "Fat Asian Elvis" or the entire cast of Karate Champ (!) and snicker but not anymore. I now view Comic Con like the Blind Melon video for "No Rain." Like the "Bee Girl," these fans are probably ridiculed and tormented everywhere they go. Like the garden at the end of the video, let these nice folk have one place on Earth where they can hang with people that look and feel like them. You know what I love even more than seeing a costumed fan? Seeing a costumed COUPLE. How many girls would date a pimply faced kid addicted to World of Warcraft and who dressed like Green Lantern? Not many. When I see a costumed couple walking thru the Con hand in hand I get all warm inside. They found each other. Right on.

3. Comic creators are not rock stars. Don't act like one. Tom Cruise is a star. Mick Jagger is a star. Successful comic creators are mini-celebs in a subculture within a microcosm. The San Diego convention center is the ONE place on Earth someone asks you for your autograph. Be cool. Be. Cool.

And now, because I have been "off-blog" for months and I can now announce somethings post Comic Con...

THE AUTHORITY - Marc Bernardin and I are taking over the reigns of WildStorm's flagship book for at least the next year. as longtime fans of this book we are beyond psyched and honored. Look for us starting with Issue #18 on stands in December I believe.

GENIUS - The book voted winner of Top Cow's Pilot Season was announced as the publisher's next ongoing series. Thanks to all that voted and everyone at Top Cow (especially ex-Cow Rob Levin) for the incredible support and for taking a chance on a very uncommercial book. Hopefully we will have some very exciting Hollywood news to announce soon as well. Fingers crossed.

CELL DIVISION - Top Cow also announced this sci-fi/thriller series Marc and I are doing. Exciting Hollywoody things regarding this one too. Patience...

MONSTER ATTACK NETWORK - Director Andy Fickman has promised this will be his next movie. The AiT/Planet Lar and Kickstart folks had us sign some copies for him, the Disney execs and a super star to be named shortly. Very surreal.

THE HIGHWAYMEN - We are told this is in development at Warner Bros. but since we do not own it you probably know as much as we do.

We also had some great meetings in the week leading up to SDCC and while down there. Met some great folks and got a few leads on future projects and even a rewrite assignment.

All in all a very good week!

Thursday, January 22, 2009

PUSH Press

Where have I been for months? Working. Between "Gene Simmons Family Jewels," 10 others shows I have in production plus all of me and Marc's scripted stuff I haven't had a chance to breathe.

Here I am pushing PUSH...

Monday, December 01, 2008

Sunday, November 30, 2008

Thursday, November 13, 2008

The Review Are Starting To Trickle In...

Push #1
Push #1 (Wildstorm/DC Comics)
Jump from the Read Pile. Note: this is not the cover that was available at retail. Much like Larry Hama did with "Spooks Omega Team," WIldstorm wunderkinds Adam Freeman and Marc Bernardin showcase some team dynamics between professionals, all of whom exhibit mental powers. Telekinesis, mental suggestion, precognizance, even taking latent impressions from inanimate objects. In a relatively small amount of space, they're all given some chance to shine. All of which brilliantly sets up the twist at the end, and this is an interesting start to a new project, and yet another home run for Bernardin and Freeman, who are surely showing up as some of the most interesting new voices in comics.

Monday, September 29, 2008

My Own Personal Thrill

My parents have given me a lot of great things:

- A happy childhood
- Good memories
- A good education

But for however much I love them, with all due respect, they didn't exactly fill the gene pool all the way to the top. I am bald, need glasses, short, and have a genetic predisposition to being "stocky." Don't get me wrong, I would rather have these shortcomings than grow up in a house of divorce, poverty or abuse but that isn't always the first thing that goes through my (bald) head when I look in the mirror each morning.

So with that said, I take great comfort in the shortcomings of others. Namely celebs. Nothing gives me a bigger thrill than seeing a celeb in person and learning they are shorter than me. Score one for the underdog.

I measure in at a solid 5'7 1/2". Women always say men add 1" to their height when asked. Not me, that is an accurate measurement.

I am proud to present a list of celebrities I have personally met and can therefor verify that they are the same height or shorter than me:

- Arnold Schwartzeneggar. I saw him in Malibu this weekend. We stood 1 foot from each other. Same height even though every stat on the internet says he is 6'1". Nope. Maybe 5'8" tops.

- Sylvester Stallone. Same height. Maybe a 1/2" shorter.

- Tom Cruise. Shorter! 5'6" maybe?

- Bono. Shorter! 5'6".

- Dakota Fanning. 4'10". I could totally kick her ass.

- William Shatner. Same height.

- Flava Flav. Boyee!

- Mel Gibson. Same height. Suck it Mad Max.

- Matt Damon. Maybe an inch taller.

- Brad Pitt. Same. Maybe an inch taller.

I realize the above exercise is completely pointless, but if you can knock others down to build you up, what fun is it?

Thursday, September 25, 2008

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

We Won!!!



Fans vote for TWILIGHT GUARDIAN and GENIUS to get their own series
LOS ANGELES, Calif., September 18, 2008 – Top Cow Productions, Inc. announced today that the winners of the 2008 Pilot Season campaign are Twilight Guardian by writer Troy Hickman and artist Reza and Genius by writers Marc Bernardin and Adam Freeman and artist Afua Richardson.

For over a month, fans went to the Top Cow website, the Pilot Season website or other sites once per day, every day, to vote for their favorite 2008 Pilot Season one-shots. Pilot Season is an annual initiative Top Cow began in 2007 that borrows its concept from the television industry: Six “pilots” are submitted for consideration to be “picked up for a season,” except instead of TV executives deciding their fates, it’s the fans! 2007’s top two vote getters, Cyblade and Velocity, will debut with new series later this year. 2008’s winners will debut with new series in 2009.

Twilight Guardian and Genius beat out Urban Myths by Jay Faerber and Jorge Molina, The Core by Jonathan Hickman and Kenneth Rocafort, Alibi by Joshua Hale Fialkov and Jeremy Haun and Lady Pendragon by Matt Hawkins and Eru.

Twilight Guardian is about an average woman with a particular kind of OCD that drives her to patrol a nine-block area in her neighborhood every night, and about the other “night people” and situations she encounters because of it. Genius asks the question, “Alexander, Hannibal, Napoleon, Patton. What if the greatest military mind of OUR generation was a 17-year-old girl who grew up on the tough streets of an urban war zone?” Both books resonated with a majority of the voters and their creators are ecstatic, excited and even surprised.

“Holey crullers! I really don’t know WHAT to say,” said Troy Hickman. “I feel like I did once at a convention years ago when I somehow wound up on an elevator with Mr. Curt Swan, and I remember thinking, ‘Something’s gone terribly wrong. They’ve accidentally let me on the IMPORTANT elevator!’ The creative teams on the other Pilot Season comics are just terrific, some of the most talented people working in this, or any, medium, and I feel so proud to even be included in this competition. And big congrats to Genius for winning the other spot!”

“I’m shocked, really,” said Adam Freeman. “Genius is not a traditional comic and I suppose that is one of its greatest assets as well as its biggest obstacle. We weren’t sure how readers would react but we knew it was a story we were passionate about. Kudos to Top Cow for being the only publisher willing to take that risk with us. Someone wiser than me once said, ‘Never underestimate your audience’ and, truth be told, we did a little on this one. We didn’t think people would ‘get it’ but apparently they did.”

“Hell, I’m just thrilled to have won something,” added Marc Bernardin. “Seriously though, it’s like Adam said: We knew Genius was an uphill battle, but every now and then, those uphill battles get WON.”

“I blew my voice squealing like a happy pig for a half hour and came up with at least five victory dances,” exclaimed Afua Richardson when she found out Genius was one of the winning titles. “I feel like I won one for all the oddballs out there—all the artists left of center, for the chicks who fight stigmas in comics, all of them!”

Now that the winners have been declared, the creative teams will work with Top Cow’s editorial department to start planning out their series, which will debut in 2009.

“Issue #1 of Genius sparked a few pretty heated debates in some circles but that was only the first act to a much larger story,” explained Freeman. “There is a lot more to tell. I am very curious how the future issues will be received because, trust me, this book is not going where you think it is.

“We’re going to dip a bit into Destiny’s back-story and the forces that combined to make her the woman she is today,” teased Bernardin. “And we’re going to show just how bloody revolution can be.”

“I look forward to a) seeing what happens next; b) getting the chance to work with Marc and Adam again; and c) really getting a chance to show my stuff,” asserted Richardson. “I just really want put my best foot forward on this.”

“Well, now comes the fun part: making comic books,” conveyed Hickman. “Let’s see if we can take Twilight Guardian where comics haven’t gone before. I don’t want to give anything away, but I promise you there will be comedy, and drama, and plenty of the unexpected. Maybe she’s a Skrull…”

“Everyone here at Top Cow wants to wish a hearty congratulations to the teams on Twilight Guardian and Genius for a hard-won victory in this year's Pilot Season,” proclaimed Top Cow Publisher Filip Sablik. “It was an incredibly close race across the board and these two teams campaigned hard for the fans' votes. The fans have spoken and we've already got the wheels in motion to give them more of what they want!”


My youngest daughter Sadie has taken to asking, "why?" after ever statement.

"You need to go to bed."
"Because it's nightime."

I could go on, but Louis CK said it much better. The whole clip is hilarious, but the bit relevant to my situation starts around 7:44.

Monday, September 15, 2008

R.I.P. Pink Floyd's Richard Wright

I guess he's gone on to the "Great Gig In The Sky."

Friday, September 05, 2008

Run Forrest, Run!

Each morning I drive through Topanga Canyon to the Pacific Coast Highway to get to work. For the uninitiated, Topanga is a winding road cutting through the Santa Monica Mountains. At the top is a little community still trapped in the 60's. Quaint (read: small) cabins and houses, arts & crafts shops, some theater troupes etc. Not my thing, but the residents love it so power to 'em.

Each morning as I come down the last stretch of the canyon I can see the Pacific Ocean waiting for me. Also waiting for me is this guy:

Every morning I see a man looking just like Forrest here, running. A dirty, filthy man...just...running. He is wearing jeans, one of those Grateful Dead style hoodie things and sandals. Don't know where he is running to or where from. He is always emerging from the canyon forrest like Big Foot or something.

If I had an ounce more humanity I would stop and ask what's up.

Wednesday, September 03, 2008

A Message From "Arkansas Take Action"

Brent Peterson from "Arkansas Take Action" wrote in response to yesterday's post regarding the West Memphis Three:

"Thanks for bringing light to this important cause. The new hearings may begin Monday, September 8. We don't know yet because the same freak judge from the '94 trials will preside again. He likes to throw his weight around in an attempt to keep the defense off guard until the last second. Actually Arkansas supporters hope he rules to not allow any new evidence heard so we can move to federal court in Little Rock sooner where we'll get a fair shake. The crew at www.wm3.org can be expected to keep daily updates posted if the hearings go forward. You can go to our site to make tax free donations for the defense fund: www.freewestmemphis3.org. Thanks again!"

Tuesday, September 02, 2008

Worthy Cause

I am not much for causes. I have a few personal ones I champion but I am not exactly the flag waiving/soapbox type of a person.

But there is one cause that I have been following for well over 10 years and I think it deserves your attention.

In 1993, three young boys were brutally murdered in the Robin Hood Hills area of West Memphis, Arkansas.

Shortly after, three West Memphis teenagers were tried and convicted for these crimes: Damien Echols (death), Jason Baldwin (life) and Jesse Misskelley (life) despite entirely circumstantial evidence and a coerced confession from Misskelley.

- No DNA.
- No blood of the defendants found at the scene.
- No blood of the victims found anywhere near or on the defendants.
- No eye witnesses.
- The murder weapon matched that of a knife belonging to one of the boy's stepfathers and it DID have his stepson's blood on it.
- All the defendants had alibis.
- A blood covered homeless man was seen at a nearby Bojangles restaurant at the exact time of death.

And the confession? Questioned for over 8 hours, Misskelley - who is borderline retarded, was only recorded at the tail end of his confession. Many "facts" he gave were incorrect such as time of day, the way the victims were bound and with what materials (he said rope when it was in fact it was their shoelaces) etc. His confession shows classic signs of a boy with limited intelligence intimidated over several hours to the point where he would say anything to get out of that room.

How can this happen? In a small, backwoods, God fearing town of dare I say, rednecks, Damien, Jason and Jesse were the "freaks." They wore black. They listened to Metallica. They had long hair. They weren't like the others. When the bodies were found someone said, "It looks like a Satanic ritual." Well if it is (never proven) than it must be those "Satan worshipping bastards" that listen to Metallica and wear black.

The list of injustices goes on and on and has been documented in two excellent films:

You can also read the Wikipedia article that functions as user friendly "Cliff's Notes" version of the events.

Since 1993, these boys (now men) have been rotting away in jail. Are they asking to be set free? No. They are asking for a retrial using today's science to over turn their convictions. In addition to my mini-list above their have been sworn statements made in regards to jury tampering and a thousand other mistrial worthy offenses. Before her death, one of the slain boy's mothers even admitted she didn't think they did it.

This case scares the shit out of me. Why? Well, for one I was one of those "freaks." I caught enough shit and beatings in suburban Long Island. I cannot imagine what my life would have been like in rural Arkansas. I wore black and listened to Metallica and all sorts of "devil music." I read Anton LeFey's "Satanic Bible" because I loved horror films and thought it made me "deep." Pseudo-deep and pretentious - yes. A killer? No.

It also scares me because I am still naive enough to think, "They can't put you away for a crime you didn't commit! How can they prove you did it?" Well, apparently they don't need to prove it.

The teen aged Damien, Jesse and Jason are far from perfect. Damien especially is arrogant and narcissistic. Mainly because, like so many youth do, he thought he was invincible and shared my naivete, believing he could never be put away for something he didn't do. That's not how America works.

Regardless of your opinion and my rantings I strongly suggest you buy or rent these two films (the second one is the better one, I feel, because it really outlines all of the absurdity). You can also find clips on YouTube. If nothing else you will be completely enthralled. It is like the very best Dateline or 20/20 piece but on crack.

You can also check out their website here.

They have been in jail for over 5,500 days. You can spare an hour of your time.

"East Bound and Down"

R.I.P. Snowman

Saturday, August 30, 2008

Big Brother Is Upon Us

I have seen the face of Orwell's "Big Brother"...and its name is Google.

I was screwing around in Google Maps and typed my parent's address. What came up? Directions?

No, a fully 3D environment with a 360 degree view of the address. I could pan around, click on the arrows and move down the street - where ever I wanted to go.

Very handy. Very dangerous.

Try it. Any street on their map outlined in blue has been scanned into their database.

Friday, August 29, 2008

Thursday, August 28, 2008

Better Than A Free Cup of Coffee

Escalating gas prices have been the topic of conversation for close to a year now. Here in LA gas approached almost $5.00 a gallon.

To entice people back to the pump some stations have been offering little perks: a free cup of coffee or maybe a free car wash.

Yesterday I was offered a blow job.

I was filling up my tank in Beverly Hills at a very surprising $3.67 a gallon when a car pulled up to the adjacent pump. It was a filthy one year old BMW convertible that has obviously not been kept in good shape. Behind the wheel was an attractive girl/woman. I am going to guess she was 25-28 years old. Think Latina accent. This was the conversation:

HER: "Hello? Do you live around here?"
ME: "No. Sorry. Are you lost?"
HER: "Well, where do live? How far?"
ME: "I live in the valley. Why?"
HER: "Well, I need a huge favor."
ME: "You do?"
HER: "Yeah, I need gas."
ME: "Sorry, I can't help you."
HER: "Are you sure?"

Here is where I noticed her staring at my crotch and licking her lips. She then smiled at me.

HER: "I really need a favor. I need gas. I can give you a favor..."
ME: "Ummm...."
HER: (laughs) "I really, really need some gas. Please?"

She then licked her lips again and smiled, attempting to be seductive.

HER: "Are you sure you don't live close by?"
ME: (sound of my car driving off)

I should have noticed her little meth twitch and teeth grinding from all the episodes of "Intervention" I have TiVoed.

So that was my day. You?

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Don't Say I Never Gave You Nothin'

For a limited time you can read all of "Genius" online for free @ newsarama.com.

Check it out... HERE.

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Genius Voting

I want to thank everyone who I have besieged with e-mails and alerts pleading you to vote for me and Marc's new comic book "Genius," which is competing in Top Cow's Pilot Season.

For those of you who have voted, thank you. And for those who have been asking, "How's it doing?" My answer is this:

"Not good enough. And better than I thought."


Let me explain.

Marc and I knew from the moment we thought of the concept that "Genius" would be a tough pill to swallow. Tough for publishers to get behind; tough for readers to grasp. The very first image is a horrible one - a police officer being shot.

And that's OK. Some projects you do for yourself. Some would say that Marc and I are too early into our comic careers to be so self indulgent so soon but the truth of the matter is - we are because we can.

We both have day jobs. Good day jobs. We are not doing comics for the money, although that would be nice. Because we are not fighting to feed our families and living off Ramen noodles we have the luxury to say, "no" to crap projects and be patient enough to find homes for ones we are passionate about.

I love my wife. I love my kids. As the executive producer of a TV show my time is valuable. If I am going to take on another career it better well be something I have a fucking blast doing. And it is. As long as Marc and I can continue to do stuff that we like - like "Genius" - we've won.

If you don't like "Genius" for the writing or the art that is your prerogative. But if you mistakenly think it is glorifying "cop killing" you are mistaken. Regardless of whether you think the lead character, Destiny, is evil or in the right, from a purely creative stand point her story has a right to be told.

For a much more eloquent explanation, check out Marc's blog entry here

Monday, August 25, 2008

Push #1

As I mentioned in the update below, Marc and I are writing a 6 issue "prequel" series to the upcoming film, "Push" starring Dakota Fanning, Chris Evans and Djimon Hounsou.

We continue our run of being paired with pretty incredible artists. Here is the cover wunderkind Jock has done for the 1st issue. Very cool stuff to come.

Friday, August 22, 2008

I am most probably about to go MIA for a while with way too many projects all kicking in at once. For those who care, here is an update:

- Genius is currently #3 on the Pilot Season voting polls. Please go to www.topcow.com everyday (and from multiple locations!) and vote so you can see this very original book become a monthly series.
- Just finished the script to Push #2 - a licensed book Marc and I are writing for DC/WildStorm based on the upcoming movie starring Dakota Fanning, Djimon Hounsou and Chris Evans. Four more scripts to go...
- We have two as of yet unannounced books with Top Cow in production. More on that when we are given the go ahead to spill the beans.
- We just saw the pencils for our reincarnation of the classic pulp character, "The Sphinx." Very cool. We'll let you know when that hits stands.

- As reported, "Monster Attack Network" is in development at Disney with Kickstart Entertainment. I believe they are looking for an A-List director or screenwriter to get it going.
- "The Highwaymen" is is development at Warner Bros. with Depth of Field producing. They think they have a first rate screenwriter on board to begin the first draft.

- Although I will remain to be repped by Hayden Meyer at APA for my unscripted TV work, Marc and I have signed with Eric Reid at ICM for all of our scripted stuff.

- We have just started shooting Season 4 (heavy sigh). The family is in rare form and I think this might be our best season yet.

- I have produced and directed a tour documentary for KISS entitled, "KISSTERIA" that is in post production. More info on when and where you can see when I am given the go ahead.

- My partners of GSFJ, Leslie Greif and Adam Reed and I have sold a one hour special to MTV that is currently in pre-production. More on that soon but I can tell you it's full of car wrecks and explosions.
- Also with Leslie and Adam, we have lots of pilots in development or ready to be pitched.

On the personal front, Ella is currently playing soccer and cheerleading (not at the same time). She and Sadie just finished summer camp and are getting ready to start school next week. Ella will be in first grade and Sadie will start pre-school. My beautiful wife Krissy has suddenly become inundated with job offers. While she hasn't taken anything full time she has done some freelance days working with Pete Weintz on FNMTV, the cast of The Hills on their recent premiere special and she has just been confirmed to work on this year's MTV Video Music Awards. As if she doesn't have enough on her plate.

So please, if I don't call or write that often over the next few months do not take it personally. I am just trying to keep my head above water.


Thursday, August 21, 2008

Fake Presidents

Ya know when you are watching a movie in which a fictitious President is a character? "Armageddon," "Wag the Dog," "24" etc. You know how they don't always seem quite right? I think it is because, while you can believe other actors as the fictitious characters you have never met, you try to image electing that actor as your President and you just can't picture him/her in the role.

I feel the same way about John McCaine. To me, he feels like an actor playing the President in some 80's movie starring either Matthew Broderick or Marc Singer.

Can you tell the difference?

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

You Think You Know Pain? THIS Guy Knows Pain...

Do you know what I find equally interesting? Notice how, the minute he hurts himself, a well rehearsed army of Chinese come out with barricades to block everyone's view. There was more man power spent on hiding the injury than helping the injury.

Olympic Censorship

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

What twisted fuck invented the uneven parallel bars?

Lighten Up People

I have written before about Hollywood caving to special interest groups . Well, I am glad to finally report of a case where they didn't.

Ben Stiller's new movie, "Tropic Thunder" opens this weekend. I highly recommend it. It was very funny in both a base and high brow kind of way. Do you know why I feel comfortable recommending it? Because I SAW IT. I wonder if any of the groups complaining can say the same.

Quick synopsis: A bunch of actors filming a Veit Nam war epic accidentally stumble into a real war, but think they are still filming the movie.

That description doesn't really do it justice. I wouldn't necessarily see the film based on that logline. Luckily the film is much more.

There is a potential controversial element to the film. Robert Downey Jr., playing seven time academy award winner "Kirk Lazarus" undergoes a skin darkening procedure to portray a black man in the "film" within the film. Yes. A white man in black face.

And you know what? No one has complained. Not yet, fingers crossed. "Kirk Lazarus" is an amazing parody of the current generation of actors that think they are all "method" and recreating Robert DeNiro's weight gain in "Raging Bull" by completely immersing themselves in a role. How ridiculous is it that Lazarus actually BECOMES BLACK to play a black man? Does anyone else see how insane and genius that piece of satire is? I hope so. Downey's role is also perfectly complimented by Brandon T. Jackson's character "Alpa Chino" (another great satire of both rappers turned actors and rappers' obsession with anything Scar Face related) who is constantly offended by "Lazarus" and calls him on all his misguided, racist bullshit.

Ironically, the NAACP is not the group complaining. It is the Special Olympics, the National Down Syndrome Congress, the American Association of People with Disabilities and about 18 more. Why? Simple Jack of course.

Ben Stiller plays "Tug Speedman," an over the top action hero not known for his acting skills ala Van Damme, Segal, Ahnold etc. In another brilliant piece of industry satire, Stiller's biggest flop was his attempt at a "serious" film, playing the lead character in the story of a retarded man, "Simple Jack."

Again, genius. There is a great line in "Bowfinger" when Eddie Murphy's movie star character says, "Don't you know they only give Oscars to people who play retards or slaves? Someone find me the role of a retarded slave!" Stiller's character thinks he can get acting cred by playing a mentally challenged man, badly.

There is an amazing exchange between Stiller's character, Speedman, and Downey's "credible actor" Lazarus. I am paraphrasing but you will get the jist...

Stiller: There were times when I was doing Jack when I actually felt retarded. Like really retarded.

Downey: Oh yeah. Damn.

Stiller: In a weird way, I had to sort of just free myself up to believe that it was okay to be stupid or dumb.

Downey: To be a moron.

Stiller: Yeah.

Downey: To be moronical.

Stiller: Exactly.

Downey: An imbecile.

Stiller: Yeah. When I was playing a character.

Downey: When you was a character.

Stiller: Yeah, I mean, as Jack. Definitely.

Downey: It’s like working with mercury. It’s how science makes art form.

Stiller: Yeah.

Downey: You an artist.

Stiller: It’s what we do, right?

Downey: Everybody knows you never do a full retard.

Stiller: What do you mean?

Downey: Check it out. Dustin Hoffman, Rainman, look retarded, act retarded, not retarded. Count toothpicks to your cards. Autistic. Sure. Not retarded. You know Tom Hanks, Forrest Gump. Slow, yes. Retarded, maybe. Braces on his legs. But he charmed the pants off Nixon and he won a ping-pong competition? That ain’t retarded. Sean Penn in that "I Am Sam?" No Oscar. He went full retard. You went full retard, man. Never go full retard.

I am sorry, but that's fucking funny.

Monday, August 04, 2008

All The Cool Kids Are Doing It

I ask very little of you, oh faithful blog reader.

Over 20,000 hits so I assume someone out there gets a kick out of this thing.

Well, now I need you to give back. No, I am not trying to sell you Amway. I am not trying you to transfer $10,000 to the personal account of some Zimbabwe King on behalf of his widow.

I need you to vote for me. And it couldn't be simpler.

Go to: topcow.com and you see a box that looks like this...

Click on "Genius." That's it.

Your vote will hopefully help me and Marc's latest comic book become Top Cow's newest ongoing monthly series.

Please vote once a day for the entire month of August. I really appreciate it.

Thank you!

Sunday, August 03, 2008

All Over the Press

The little press you have seen on "Monster Attack Network" was purely based on me and Marc saying something at Comic-Con.

Apparently the "House of Mouse" has decided to announce it.

Saturday, August 02, 2008

Solo Dad - Update

Diary entry: day three.

Wife still gone. Darkness surrounds me. How do you combat an enemy you don't understand? An enemy so relentless, so tireless.

The true test of man is one who can beat the fear. Own the fear. Time will tell if I am that man.

I fear this may be my last entry.

Thursday, July 31, 2008

Mr. Mom

At this very moment, my wife is on a plane to New Jersey. She will be there till Sunday throwing a Baby Shower for her sister. (It is not a surprise so I didn't blow anything).

That means I will be home alone with the kids. Tonight, Friday, Saturday & Sunday.

Here is what I have planned so for:

- Each child will be strapped into their bed so they can't wake me up early by tapping on my forehead.
- If it isn't pre-cooked or in a box, it isn't for breakfast.
- Bathing is optional.
- First activity? Knife juggling.
- This will be the weekend I introduce the kids to all three Godfather films.
- I am going to order take out from every place that I never can because I get outvoted.
- Thanks to Robitussen, bedtime is now 4pm!

I will keep you updated as to my progress. If you see my wife, mums the word.

Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Comic-Con Panel

Read the transcript the AiT/Planet Lar panel I mentioned yesterday here.

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

The "Genius" Team

Marc, myself and artist Afua Richardson signing copies of our Top Cow comic, "Genius."

Comic-Con Recap

Well, we survived.

And that is no small feat at Comic-Con. What with all the Stormtroopers and Super Villains running around. It really is amazing to get into town on a Wednesday and watch the population quadruple by Saturday. Hundreds of thousands of people all with a common interest. All geek jokes aside, it is a pretty cool thing to witness and AWESOME people watching.

Marc and I always like to feel like we are moving forward, getting things done. As a result we end up putting tremendous pressure on ourselves at Comic-Con to walk away with something tangible. This year we accomplished so much in the week leading up to the convention that the pressure was kind of off.

- We met with Andrew and Marc from Depth of Field and talked about the development progress on "The Highwaymen" at Warner Bros.

- Had great pitch meetings at Fox, Fox Atomic, Valhalla and a few other places.

- Met with two agencies that want to represent us.

- Confirmed that our next book will be with Top Cow. More when they say we can announce it.

Our time at the convention was booked solid with "Genius" signings at the Top Cow booth, "Monster Attack Network" signings at the AiT/Planet Lar booth and more meetings with hopefully future publishers like Avatar and Oni.

We sat on a panel Larry from AiT organized called "So, You Want to Make A Graphic Novel." The room was packed with 250+ fans asking advice on anything from inspiration to the writing process to restraining orders. Hours before the panel we got the go ahead from Samantha at Kickstart Entertainment to mention the news we have been sitting on for a while - the House of Mouse (Disney) has optioned "Monster Attack Network" with an eye towards it being a big, summer blockbuster. Cross your fingers.

At the WildStorm panel they announced our other new book, "PUSH" based on the new film starring Dakota Fanning, Chris Evans and Djimon Hounsou.

The rest of the time was spent at networking (ie drinking) parties thrown by DC Comics, IDW/UTA, EW, Heidi at USA Today, WildStorm and more. I drank more this weekend than all of college. And didn't puke once. Cause I'm smart like that.

After buying some gifts for Ella and Sadie it was time to drop Marc at the airport and drive back to LA.

Now we are up to necks writing the "PUSH" scripts which WildStorm needs like...a week ago.

Add on top of all that prepping to shoot season four of "Gene Simmons Family Jewels" and things are just peachy on my end.

How's by you?

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Heading to San Diego

After a quick lunch with all around good guy Andrew Miano from "Depth of Field," Marc and I will be heading to San Diego for Comic-Con.

If you are there, please look us up. Here is our schedule:

9p - DCU Online Press Party

11a - Signing our new comic, "Genius" with artist Afua Richardson at the Top Cow Comics booth.
3:15p - Comic Writers/Artists Panel
6:30p - AiT Panel - the publisher of our graphic novel, "Monster Attack Network."
9p - bouncing between the Boom! Drink-Up and the Circle of Confusion/IDW Party

12p - Signing at the Top Cow booth
1:30p - Showrunners Panel
3:30p - Virgin Comics/Sci-Fi Recruitment Event
5p - Director's Panel
7p - Warner Animation Party
9p - bouncing between DC Comic Con Party and hopefully the Oni Press Party (Jenny?)

2p - Signing at the Top Cow booth
5p - PopCandy Meet Up
9p - EW / Sci-Fi Channel Party

12p - Signing at the Top Cow booth.

In other good news, it has just been announced that Marc and I will be writing the official licensed "prequel" comic to the new film "Push" starring Dakota Fanning, Chris Evans and Djimon Hounsou. Thanks to all the kind folks at WildStorm and Summit for liking our pitch and giving us the job!

We also have just agreed to do our next comic with Top Cow. We will follow their lead on announcing the title and press date.

Hope to see you in San Diego!

Friday, July 18, 2008

Bad Messages Are Not New

My 5 year old is a huge Hannah Montana fan. She (and therefor, I) have seen every episode hundreds of times.

Much has been made over the last few months of Myley Cyrus being a bad role model for young girls - her "sexy" pictures in Vanity Fair (although I think if you find a 15 year old looking like she stumbled out of the back of a rapist's van sexy you have your own set of problems...) and most recently some cell phone pictures someone took of her fully dressed in a shower backstage at some concert.

I don't disagree entirely, but I am not concerned when it comes to my daughter. She doesn't watch Extra, she doesn't read TMZ and she certainly doesn't have a subscription to Vanity Fair. As far as she is concerned, Hannah/Myley's entire world is inside our TV. She enjoys the show and until I think she is being influenced by Miley's life outside the TV I am not concerned.

I would be more concerned about her watching "Grease." That mainstay of our childhood that has since been replaced by "High School Musical." Why? Because the bad message is embeded INSIDE the movie.

Olivia Newton-John plays Sandy. A sweet, innocent girl who wears sweaters over her Mormon-like dress and pretty bows in her hair.

She meets Danny. A gang member who smokes, cuts class, tries to feel her up and fights with other boys. He captures her heart. He, being to cool for school, shuns her to look cool in front of his friends. And how does the story resolve itself? Does Danny reform his ways and realize what an amazing, moral girl she is? Does he stand up to his friends and tell them to fuck off? No. Instead Sandy completely changes her entire identity to please her man...

Is THAT a message we want to send to our daughters? If someone doesn't like you for who you are...well, just change into whomever they want you to be!

I am not standing on a soapbox and to be honest I am not even super passionate about the above argument. I bring it up just to point out to all the parents out there that think "media today has warped our kids minds" and how irresponsible teen stars are today - it aint' nothin' new.