Mr. Cellophane

In a location adjacent to a place in a city of some significance, what comes out of my head is plastered on the walls of this blog.

Wednesday, July 20, 2016

Comic-Convection.

Another year, another San Diego Comic-Con that my broke ass can't go to. Well, let's do this:

Thursday:

*CW3PR's 8th Annual Behind-the-Music: Crime, Death and Resurrection (10:00a - 25ABC) - Another panel of composers on shows I don't watch. Still, I might learn something.
Spotlight on Peter David (10:30a - Room 4) - A writer who's had a finger in just about every pie (film, television, novelizations, comics). No doubt he's got some stories to tell.
*The 4th Annual Musical Anatomy of a Superhero (11:00a - Indigo Ballroom) - A far more interesting music panel. I'm especially interested in the appearance of John Ottman, who thankfully murdered that pod person what sullied his name on Days of Future Past.
Happy Happy Joy Joy (11:15a - Room 6A) - As someone who remembers watching NickToons on Sunday mornings, this look back at them should be a lot of fun.
Justice League Action Video Presentation and Q&A (12:00p - Room 25ABC) - I know nothing about this show, but it features two Batman VAs, presumably reprising their role(s), so I'm curious.
*Moana: Art of Story (12:30p - Room 6A) - Seriously, with that bit in the trailer when Maui did the People's Eyebrow, they had me.
Nerd Trivia Challenge: Author Edition (1:30p - Horton Grand Theatre) - I cannot resist a good trivia panel. I just can't.
*DC: One-on-One with Paul Dini (2:00p - Room 6DE) - Been a fan as far back as "Tiny Toon Adventures", and I'm intrigued by his latest work, "Dark Night".
*1986: There Can Be Only One (3:00p - Room 5AB) - I'm gonna go to one of these reminiscing panels one day. I've even been watching movies from that year.
*Geek's More Greatest Movies and TV Never Made: The Threequel (4:00p - Room 23ABC) - It is truly fascinating hearing about the movies that could've been. I'd love to hear more about them.
*Ghost of Name That Movie: The Sequel (8:00p - Room 9) - I may as well be on a game show where I know I can ace the questions...

Friday:

Spotlight on Roberto Aguirre-Sacasa (10:00a - Room 29AB) - Another writer spotlight. Between his work on the absurdly entertaining "Afterlife with Archie" and the upcoming CW series, he is turning the town of Riverdale on its head.
*The Black Panel (10:00a - Room 5AB) - Still Black. Still a nerd. One never knows.
Alan Tudyk and Nathan Fillion's Con Man Panel (10:30a - Hall H) - I guess it's some online program. My mind went right to that awesome Bruce Campbell/Ted Raimi panel I went to at Fan Expo Canada.
Intro to TV Writing (10:30a - Room 8) - Gotta get into the biz, somehow. A lot of TV writers end up making movies, after all.
My Little Pony (10:30a - Room 6A) - Yep. Still watchin'.
*Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles - Return to New York (11:45a - Room 6A) - The 'Turtles...in...space!' arc was far more entertaining than the 'Walking Dead farm' arc. Can't wait to see where the show goes from here.
I'm from Another Dimension: Disney XD's Star vs. the Forces of Evil (12:00p - Room 25ABC) - Decently entertaining with some nice designs.
[adult swim]: Robot Chicken (12:15p - Indigo Ballroom) - Still hit and miss, but still pretty funny.
Captain America: Civil War Screenwriting Q &A (1:00p - Horton Grand Theatre) - It can't be easy writing these superhero movies. Hell, I spent the last year and a half cranking one out, myself.
*I Love That Song! Composing, Scoring and Singing Superhero Style (1:00p - Room 28DE) - Featuring the composers of Dynamic Music Partners (Google it) talking about their work.
Ice Age to Space Age Costumes: Designing for Film (1:00p - Room 23ABC) - What exactly entails designing costumes for a film?
[adult swim]: Brad Neely's Harg Nallin' Sclopio Peepio (1:15p - Indigo Ballroom) - "Robot Chicken"-esque show from the creator of "China, IL". Surprisingly, the title is not an anagram. Go figure.
Hollywood Location Scouts (2:00p - Room 23ABC) - Ah, to know the thought process that leads producers of Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles 2  to one's hometown.
How It Should Have Ended (2:00p - Neil Morgan Auditorium) - I really got to get back to watching these.
*People of Earth & Powerless (2:00p - 6BCF) - Not terribly interested in "People of Earth", but I am very much looking forward to "Powerless".
[adult swim]: Rick and Morty (2:15p - Indigo Ballroom) - I discovered the show in the last year. Very much one of those 'what have I been missing?' situations.
*Bob's Burgers (4:00p - Indigo Ballroom) - One of the best shows currently airing. How much longer until the talked-about soundtrack?
Beauty and the Beast: 25th Anniversary (4:30p - Room 5AB) - One of Disney's most cherished films, soon to be re-made in live-action, gets a retrospective.
Spotlight on J. Michael Straczynski (5:30p - Room 6DE) - From "The Real Ghostbusters" to "The Twilight Zone" and everything in between.
*The Writer's Journey: Maximizing Your Exposure in the Marketplace (6:00p - Room 32AB) - "This panel addresses what new writers need to do once they have material ready to go out to the masses." God, could I use some of that.
She Made That: Nickelodeon Women in Animation (6:30p - Room 24ABC) - As a credit watcher from the 90s, it's fascinating getting to see the women who worked on my favorite shows.
*Geek & Sundry's How Geeky Are You Trivia Panel (7:30p - Room 8) - I love seemingly meaningless trivia.
*Super Geeked Up Live (9:00p - Room 29AB) - The activities planned by this geek troupe sound like loads of fun.
ScreenJunkies: Honest Trailers and Movie Fights Live (9:15 - Room 6DE) - I love Honest Trailers (the one for Dawn of Justice was a howl) and am generally indifferent to the rest of what ScreenJunkies has to offer.

Saturday:

Once Upon a Time (10:00a - Ballroom 20) - I'm pretty much watching out of obligation, by this point, but I can't help but wonder who'll get wrapped into the mythology this season.
Starting and Sustaining a Career Writing Animation (10:00a - Room 9) - Writing for cartoons. You'd be surprised how many names I recognize from credits stretching back to the 1980s. Clearly, there's a living to be made here.
We Bare Bears Panel (10:00a - Indigo Ballroom) - Uneven but entertaining Cartoon Network program.
*What Happened (10:00a - Room 6A) - From the creator of "The Death of Superman Lives" comes this panel exploring more potential blockbusters.
*Back to the 90s: Nickelodeon's All That Reunion and Legends of the Hidden Temple (11:15a - Room 6A) - Another opportunity to drown myself in nostalgia.
Blindspot Special Video Presentation and Q&A (12:00p - Indigo) - Incomprehensible though it can be, it still holds my attention.
*Cartoon Voices 1 (1:00p - Room 6BCF) - I would just love to be able to go to as many of these as I can. Who know? Maybe, someone got their hands on the script for Aliens.
Lucifer Special Video Presentation and Q&A (1:30p - Indigo Ballroom) - Really come to like this show, with Tom Ellis's performance particularly infectious.
Inside the Writer's Room: The Pilot: Part One (1:30p - Room 24ABC) - I've had a couple ideas for TV pilots. I guess this shows how the sausage is made.
*American Dad (1:45p - Ballroom 20) - The TBS episodes have been, for the most part, pretty damn good. Can't wait to see where the show goes from here.
Spotlight on Stan Lee (1:45p - Room 6A) - Such a fascinating career the guy's had. If I was as renowned, retirement wouldn't be in the cards for me, either.
Invader ZIM Conquers San Diego Comic-Con (2:00p - Room 29AB) - The Nickelodeon cult favorite becomes a comic book.
Writing with J. Michael Straczynski (2:00p - Room 30CDE) - The nuts and bolts of writing film, TV and comics from a guy who's seen it all.
Disney XD's Pickle and Peanut & Future Worm (2:30p - Room 5AB) - Back when "Regular Show" was stuck up its own ass with relationship nonsense, "Pickle and Peanut" made for an acceptable substitute. Don't feel one way or the other about "Future Worm", though.
Vice Principals (2:30p - Horton Grand Theatre) - Based on just the first episode, I have a good feeling about this show.
Aliens: 30th Anniversary (3:15p - Hall H) - Sure to be one of the hardest to get into panels of the Con. Hope I make a movie half as good someday.
Supergirl Special Video Presentation and Q&A (3:30p - Ballroom 20) - I still call bullshit on CBS being unwilling to pony up for another season, but I do hope that the CW season is just as entertaining.
*Bear McCreary: Creating Musical Worlds (3:30p - Room 8) - Been a fan of his as far back as Wrong Turn 2 and his work on 10 Cloverfield Lane is among the best film music of the year, so far.
Entertainment Weekly: Women Who Kick Ass (4:30p - Hall H) - Looks to be quite the murderers' row of genre favorites.
The Final Girls & The Future of the Midnight Movie (5:30p - Horton Grand Theatre) - Apparently, Freeform aired The Final Girls a few weeks ago. Lord knows what they edited out, so needless to say I still need to see this.
*The Last Man on Earth (6:00p - Indigo Ballroom) - The show's been getting better and I can't wait to see how they follow up on that messed up cliffhanger.
Riverdale Pilot Screening and Q&A (6:30p - 6BCF) - I read the pilot a while back and wow. I can't wait for the show.
Inside the Writer's Room: Pre, Production & Post, Oh, My: Part Two (6:30p - Room 24ABC) - I can't help but be curious about how a TV show comes together.
STARZ Original Series Ash vs. Evil Dead (6:45p - Room 6A) - Gruesome yet fun continuation of the Evil Dead trilogy.
Time After Time Pilot Screening and Q&A (8:20p - 6BCF) - I saw the film for the first time early this year. I liked it and I do hope that the show doesn't screw it up too much.
*Mystery Science Theater 3000 is Back (8:30p - Room 24ABC) - Back in 2015, I made a resolution to get into MST3K. Sadly, I have yet to honor it.
*Season 2 World Premiere Screening of Ash vs. Evil Dead (10:00p - Room 6DE) - I just know that the 'midnight screening' feel of the panel would've enhanced the experience.

Sunday:

*Rube Goldberg: A) Inventive B) Cartoon C) Genius (10:00a - Room 29AB) - Let's face it: we're all fascinated by how those devices worked in the cartoons and the guy what created them.
*Cartoon Voices II (11:30a - Room 6A) - Again, it just wouldn't be a comic convention without a voice actor panel.
*Animaniacs Live! (3:00p - Room 6DE) - What better cap-off to an awesome con than with a hearty reminiscence of one of my favorite 90s cartoons?

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Saturday, July 16, 2016

"If you order room service, you're lucky to get it by Thursday."

Another day, another pathetic chance to goose my income.

As it turns out, there's a casino within reasonable driving distance of my house. I went in, hoping to be stricken by beginner's luck. I was awestruck by the many, many, many slot machines the place had to offer. I figured that I had to change my paper money for coins. In one more example of me being utterly out of step with the times, none of the machines took coins, but dollar bills and vouchers.

I sat down at one of the machines and put in a five. I pressed the 'cash out' button which gave me a voucher. I put it back in and played the slots. Not a single win in five tries. Figuring I had too much to lose by staying, I got up, saw more of the slots and left.

Desperate at success in a game of chance, I bought a lottery scratch-off. Nothing.

Isn't there some way to win at gambling that doesn't involve losing your shirt? I've seen it happen in movies and on TV. Those writers wouldn't pull that stuff out of their asses, would they?

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Monday, July 11, 2016

A smaller Taste.

This year, I had to work on a weekend (counting at a tire factory - simultaneously, the easiest and most tedious work I've ever endured), but would I let that stop me from enjoying the Taste of Buffalo? No way in hell. (Of course, the fact that my cash flow was diminished from past years may have been a liability.)

As I'd been a fan of Potato Pancakes (Ulrich's 1868 Tavern) since at least the 6th grade, I felt I had to try them. A little thick, but tasty, with just the right amount of salt. Wasn't really expecting the applesauce on the side, though.

Once again, I found myself drawn to the Great Balls of Fire (Joe's Crab Shack) and once again, it was enjoyable, helped by the ranch dipping sauce.

I love tater tots. Enough said. I opted for the smaller size of the Loaded Tater Tots (Bar Louie), not only to save on tickets, but the spices were just as potent as last year.

As Zebb's was (disappointingly) sitting this year out, I was unable to procure my yearly surfeit* of Brownies. Thankfully, as far as dessert, there was the old standby of Peanut Butter Pie (Danny's Restaurant).

Given the money crunch, I couldn't splurge like I wanted. One example: I had to choose between two kinds of crab dip, but I think I made a good choice with the Lobster Crab Dip (Jack Astor's Bar and Grill).

One benefit of only having so many food tickets to toss around was that I was less likely to be disappointed with my selections. It's telling that the least impressive item was the Chicken Bacon Mac & Cheese (Bar Louie); though the ingredients were unevenly assembled, I still liked it.

I planned on spending my remaining tickets on another major meal item, but I soon said, 'To hell with it' and got myself another dessert: Chocolate Peanut Butter Mousse Oreo Pie (Orazio's Restaurant). It was less a pie than a thick piece of fudge, but it finished the day off well.

I sincerely hope that things turn around enough that I have more money to throw around next year.

* - It sounded like the right word, but I wasn't 100%, so I had to look this up. Turns out that this was the right word. Isn't that a great feeling; using a word, then finding out it was the word you wanted?

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Thursday, July 07, 2016

In my fevered search for some kind of income between those days when I'm not called in, I found myself considering selling my blood. Much to my surprise, people don't do that anymore. People do, however, get paid for donating plasma.

Yesterday, I went to the center to get paid for plasma. However, there was a complicated screening process involving filling out forms, having my blood type determined and being made aware of the possible risks of the procedure.

Unfortunately, after all of this hoop jumping, not only did I not get to donate plasma that day (and, therefore, get some money in my pocket), but I have to wait three weeks for a physical to determine if I'd be a good candidate for donation.

Look, I haven't the youth, physique or stamina for prostitution and being anywhere around drugs makes me uncomfortable, so until someone wakes up and reads one of my scripts or hires me for the positions I've been interviewing for, this is how it's got to fucking be.

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Friday, July 01, 2016

Would I have seen this? - the summer of 1981.

Every summer sees its share of different movies. However, as it happens, I'm curious about the summers of the past. I've read about a number of movies from various sources. Sometimes, they catch my fancy. Sometimes, they don't. This column will look back at those bygone summers to see if I would've spent money on them...and to make things easier on myself, I'll only be looking back at summers within my lifetime.

The summer of 1981. Having just entered the world, I doubt I knew anything of movies, but that summer saw a lot of different ones:

King of the Mountain - Drama about racing down a mountain. Can't say I'm too intrigued.

Honky Tonk Freeway - From the director of Midnight Cowboy and Marathon Man comes this comedy about a new highway passing over a small town and what its residents intend to do about that. Looks more charming than it appears at face value. The interesting cast helps.

Gas - All I was able to glean from this in its 30-second TV spot is that it's a comedy (of sorts) and cars are crashing. Pass.

The Fan - High-end variation on the slasher movies of the day (and from Friday the 13th's studio!), with 'admirer' Michael Biehn terrorizing superstar Lauren Bacall. Meh.

Student Bodies - Silly spoof of the slasher movies of the day (and from Friday the 13th's studio!). Somewhat amusing, somewhat obvious, but it's gotta be less obnoxious than Wacko, right?

Gallipoli - Two friends going off to fight in World War I. I've never been much into war movies, so...pass.

Prince of the City - A cop blows the whistle on corruption on his department, then he's targeted by fellow cops. I'm not sure. I've heard this was pretty long.

Deadly Blessing - Three women are terrorized by members of an ancient sect. Looks pretty creepy, and I don't just mean Ernest Borgnine's Amish beard.

Wolfen - Something is stalking the streets of New York City and ripping apart citizens. Could it have something to do with the property developments? Pretty heavy for a werewolf movie...okay, wait, are they werewolves or just wolves? Ah, I'll sure I'll figure it out.

Victory - POWs in a Nazi camp having to play soccer. Kind of like that movie, The Longest Yard. Sounds cool.

Blow Out - Sound recordist John Travolta hears something that he wasn't supposed to hear. I run hot and cold on Brian De Palma, but I have a feeling about this one.

First Monday in October - Comedy-drama about the first female Supreme Court Justice (that's a weird notion, ain't it?). Looks interesting and who doesn't love Walter Matthau?

The Legend of the Lone Ranger - The story of the Lone Ranger? Could be neat.

S.O.B. - Hollywood satire from the guy who did the Pink Panther movies. Looks funny and does Mary Poppins really whip out her boobs? Whoa.

The Night the Lights Went Out in Georgia - Kristy McNichol and Dennis Quaid are siblings looking for success on the country-music circuit. Based on the hit song, this seems more at home running on Showtime than in a theater.

Outland - High Noon, but in space. I don't know. Wait, Sean Connery's in it? When does this come out?

Take this Job and Shove It - Fresh off of Airplane!, Robert Hays is a junior executive chosen to shut down business in his old hometown, only to side with his old pals. Looks all right. Would've made a killer double-bill with Honky Tonk Freeway, I bet.

Eye of the Needle - Nazi agent Donald Sutherland vs. soldier's wife Kate Nelligan. Looks fairly interesting.

Under the Rainbow - Suggested by the true story of a hotel housing the midgets...sorry, little people who would play the Munchkins in The Wizard of Oz. Seems like it would make a neat book, as opposed to a Wacky-with-a-capital-W comedy. Not sure what drew Chevy Chase and Carrie Fisher to the project, but how much you wanna bet it rhymes with 'hack trail'?

Body Heat - Modern variation on film noir. Looks nice and steamy. Might check it out.

Escape from New York - Kurt Russell in bombed-out New York. I've always wanted to go to New York. This looks pretty cool, though I hope it doesn't look like this when I get there.

Private Lessons - Smutty-looking sex comedy where a young teen is initiated into the ways of sexual prowess by an older woman. A tired story like this can get by on style. Sadly, that doesn't seem to have occurred to these filmmakers.

An American Werewolf in London - Horror comedy bout an unlucky American attacked by a strange creature. I really liked Animal House, so this could be worth checking out.

Endless Love - Two teens fall in love, leading to melodramatic consequences. Catchy song, but it takes more than that to make a movie. Much more.

The Great Muppet Caper - Miss Piggy is accused of stealing a diamond necklace, and her friends try to clear her name. It's the Muppets. Why not?

Bustin' Loose - Ex-con Richard Pryor helps transport teacher Cicely Tyson and a group of kids cross-country. Looks amusing.

History of the World, Part I - Mel Brooks takes us on a trip through history. Honestly, you had me at 'Mel Brooks'.

Tarzan, the Ape Man - The girl from 10 is Jane. I don't know. Was never much of a Tarzan fan.

The Fox and the Hound - I really like Disney movies, the animation more than the live action, so...yeah.

Clash of the Titans - I've heard so much about these movies with Ray Harryhausen effects. It's about time I check one of them out.

The Four Seasons - Three couples get together once every season. Doesn't really look like my scene, even with Carol Burnett and Hawkeye from "M*A*S*H".

For Your Eyes Only - Roger Moore returns as James Bond, but his movies have been pretty goofy. This one could turn out well, though.

The Cannonball Run - Burt Reynolds and his pals in a big car race. Sometimes, you're not looking for a movie with deep meaning. Sometimes, you just wanna laugh.

Stripes - Bill Murray joins the Army. To paraphrase myself, you had me at 'Bill Murray'.

Arthur - Dudley Moore is a millionaire looking for love. Seems charming enough, but I just know that that laugh is gonna drive me batty.

Superman II - Superman versus three criminals with all his powers? Hell yeah! Definitely want to see this someday.

Raiders of the Lost Ark - Harrison Ford in a Steven Spielberg movie? Just try and stop me from seeing this.

Can't wait for next summer.

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Monday, June 27, 2016

"ReBoot!" - Citizens on Patrol

Jumper - What a fascinating power it must be to jump; hopping from place to place around the world. Of course, it might be a good idea not to rob a bank or pine for the schoolyard crush that got away. Seems like such things might, I don't know, leave a trail. Maybe, pursue a "The Fugitive"/"Incredible Hulk" template of the guy trying to help people while running away from the Paladins for indulging his darker impulses and finds that, no matter how many people he helps, he can't control using his powers to improve his financial standing (maybe, shy away from a drug addiction metaphor) or his love life.

R.I.P.D. - Despite its half-baked script and effects, there was the germ of a good idea in this movie: deceased spirits rounding up rogue afterlife elements. As one of the few people who genuinely liked the film, I think we can try again with this. At the time of the film's release, someone suggested that this would make a decent Syfy program. With the constant recycling of IP, here's hoping I get an opportunity to test that theory.

Cowboys and Aliens - Aliens arrive on Earth in the Old West and kidnap people. Cowboys go to fight the aliens. A movie with a creative nugget like this should not be bland as a mayo on white sandwich (but if it weren't, I probably wouldn't be talking about it here). Honest to Jesus, people should be imprisoned for botching such an interesting idea. I have an idea: maybe, the aliens come to Earth and need a certain kind of mineral, like gold or something; maybe it sustains their planet. The cowboys don't fight the aliens; they team up against a ruthless villain, taking on the villain's forces with Earthling know-how and interstellar firepower...and for the four or five of you who got the reference, I absolutely suggested that they rip off Zone Troopers. A good idea's a good idea, no matter where it comes from.

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Wednesday, June 22, 2016

Random Thoughts - 'cause I know you've been missing this.

- Cannot believe it about Anton Yelchin. I enjoyed him in so many movies: Charlie Bartlett. Fright Night. The Beaver. Star Trek. Hell, even the underwhelming Burying the Ex and Terminator: Salvation managed to not ruin him. I will miss him so much.

- Now, it is a rare thing for me to write a screenplay all the way through. Not so much in completing one; I've done that, a few times. What I mean is that I find myself skipping around, because I'm really eager to finish one scene first, even if it comes later than the scenes I have yet to write. Just the other day, I wrote the climax of my horror movie. It's in a word document, but it tops out at a good 15 pages. I'm pretty proud. Less so of the fact that I'm writing something that would've been a dime a dozen in the 80s and 90s, but will have to fight about 200 Blumhouse clones to get noticed in today's horror society.

- Speaking of chasing a dream of screenwriting, usually there's an Amateur Offerings Weekend post at Scriptshadow. This past weekend, though, there wasn't. The last few weeks, I was submitting my script for notice, only to get nothing. My usual bout of whining (I'm man enough to admit that) was met with the usual 'here's what you're doing wrong'. It seemed like I was getting nowhere, with one response in particular nearly prompting me to go on a Syndrome-like path of revenge...then someone else responded and inspired me to try a new angle in getting the script out there. Here's hoping it works.

- Has it really been so long since I used microfiche? That's what I asked myself today when I tried to use it. I loaded it into the machine, but it was going far slower than I remember...then I was forced to ask for help and the librarian showed me that I needed to put the microfiche under the glass to get it to go faster. I doubt I'm getting old; it's just that the microfiche is falling further into irrelevance.

- I had planned to write something about how it's been making the news that the scumbag that shot up the gay nightclub in Orlando was, himself, so far in the closet that he was finding Christmas presents, to be capped off by a sarcastic, 'Film at eleven.', but I'm sure that exactly no one cares about my barely-informed blathering.

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