Saturday, July 23, 2011

High hopes and low expectations

Ok, I'll admit it, these "Things to look forward to" posts aren't really for you. They aren't for letting you know about cool things that are coming up or for the benefit of reminding you to mark your geek calendars, they are more about my obsessive need to have/collect things like this. When I like a trailer or a short film or something like that, I will occasionally watch it obsessively over and over and over again. Why? Because I wanna. Although, admittedly, there are some who might go so far as to label me as somewhat slightly OCD.

Whatever.

The point is, having a blog like this means I can centralize the things I like to watch again and again, so when I want to watch them, I can easily find them. Like these, for instance: The Great Cinematics. Go on, check them out, I'll wait.

Love those, so awesome, which leads me to my first bit of hoarding. This one is the third in the series of those Star Wars Cinematics that the link above will lead you to. There's kind of a continuing story, but not really. Enjoy...



I don't play these games any more because I have to do other things in my life now, like remembering to eat and shower and to sometimes go outside. Also, I know there is no way the games are anywhere near as cool as these things make them seem.

No way.

I'm not as big a fan of some of the character designs in this one, like Cowboy Bob for instance, but what can you do, there is an undeniable and unfortunate end of the geek spectrum that still thinks there's nothing cooler than trenchcoats and cowboy hats with oversized brims. Ugh. Regardless, this little film still showcases how pretty damn awesome the Star Wars Universe can be and reminds us of how so, so, so very bad the prequels were... sigh...

Moving on!

Next we've got Drive, which won Nicolas Winding Refn the Best Director prize at Cannes. How do you think you pronounce his last name? Anyway, check out the Red Band Trailer (Red Band means naughty... tee hee... although, I didn't quite catch where the naughty was, maybe someone swears...)



What a phenomenal cast, huh? Ryan Gosling. Bryan Cranston. Carey Mulligan. Christina Hendricks. Ron Perlman. Albert Brooks. I'm really excited for this. Super stylish and good looking, I love the white satin scorpion jacket, not to mention just about any movie about getaway drivers. Plus, this reminds me of a Steve McQueen movie and there ain't nothing wrong with that. This film is the "high hopes" part I mentioned in the blog's title.

Which brings us to the low expectations...



I really liked a lot of the things I saw here. I like the increase of tension a lot (The freeway scene looks particularly well done). I also like how they seem to be diverging from the comic a bit, as well. I think being shackled to the comic's continuity will do nothing but strangle what little creative space this show has, plus Shane and Daryl are the only two characters of any life, so keeping them around is a good thing. But in the end, I can't help but be reminded of how right everything looked before the debut of last season, and how fan-fucking-tastic the pilot episode was, and then how quickly and undeniably downhill the rest of the season went. Here's a link to my two-post review of the first season here and here. See? Disappointing, man.

Big time low expectations.

So there you go, three new things to watch out for.

Enjoy,
Jon

Friday, July 22, 2011

The Scribblerati

Hi everybody!

I'm blogging over at the Scribblerati blog today and I'm writing about our upcoming Diversicon appearance and our brand spanking new Scribblerati Sample Book. You can read all about it over at the group blog, or follow the link right here or the big one set up along the sidebar.

Happy Captain America Day, kids!

Later,
Jon

Thursday, July 14, 2011

Stuff to look forward to... UPDATED!

Here's a quick post of geeky stuff. There's a couple of new trailers and some cool photos. Good stuff, hopefully. We'll see. Check them out and let me know what you think.

First up is Sherlock Holmes 2: A Game of Shadows.

I was a fan of the first one, but I freely admit that it had some pacing issues. However, I really enjoyed Jude Law and Robert Downey Jr. together and I'm looking forward to seeing what happens next. Also, I love Noomi Rapace. Also, also, if you should happen to mention that you like this franchise and someone nearby has to mention, usually while pushing their glasses up their nose, that they prefer the BBC's latest version starring Benedict Cumberbatch (who will be the voice of Smaug in the Hobbit), then that person is a pretentious butthole. I mean, I really like that version too, but... screw you, right? Anglophile douche... Anyway, new trailer!



Next we have the latest by Soderberg. It's called Contagion and it is starrring... oh, it looks like just about everybody on the planet... it also looks very grim, as well, people, very grim. Outbreak. Infection. Death. Sad face. Me, I love a good apocalypse, so I'm looking forward to it as seen through Soderberg's lens. Empty buildings that aren't supposed to be empty? Haunting. Love it.



Finally, we have a project that has been doing the rounds through Hollywood pretty much since Hollywood became Hollywood.

John Carter, as it is currently called (expect it to change), comes from the Barsoom series, a somewhat lesser known series to the mainstream by Edgar Rice Borroughs (famous for later creating Tarzan) that started out with Princess of Mars. It was about a Civil War vet who falls asleep in a cave and wakes up on Mars (I hate it when that happens), fights four armed Martians, loves a more human looking (and butt naked) Martian Princess and generally decides that he's on Mars for two reasons and two reasons only: To kick a little ass and chew a little Bubblegum... and he's all outta Bubblegum... Now, the main question is: Will the movie suck? The answer? It is distinctly possible, but it might not. Who knows? Time will tell. For now though, the trailer looks fun.



Of course, any anticipation I feel for these particular films is nothing--NOTHING--in comparison to the excitement burning down in my guts with the undying fire of a 1000 suns when I think about the upcoming Hobbit and Avengers movies. Dude... seriously...

Which reminds me... Have you seen these yet from the Hobbit?

Here we have: Bombur, Bofer, and Bifur...

Nori, Ori, and Dori...

Fili and Kili...

And Oin and Gloin...

Pretty sweet, huh? For those not in the know, Gloin is Gimli's dad. In the story of the Hobbit, there were thirteen dwarves who show up unannounced and unexpected on Bilbo's doorstep. So far, we've seen ten of them. The only members of the party left are Dwalin and Balin (Balin is famous for trying to settle the Mines of Moria and dying in the process, as seen in Fellowship of the Ring) and the leader of the group, the mighty Thorin Oakenshield. Hopefully we'll get to see them soon. I'll update here when we do. You can find more information about the Dwarves here.

Okay, so that's a bunch of geeky stuff for you. Enjoy.

Until next time,
Jon

UPDATE!!!

Good things happened while I was braving the wilds of Carmeghedon for the salty shores of RaT Beach and the wedding of the Library Bird and Keith Rocka Knittel. What could possibly be as good as that? Not much, except maybe these... not really, but, you know... Anyway:

Balin and Dwalin

The man himself... Thorin Oakenshield

Totally sweet.

Jon

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Mid-July, working


So, when I said: "back in a big way" last time? It meant that I'm working on stuff, which apparently means that I would also completely forget about my responsibilities to my blog. My most sincere apologies, dear readers. I will do my best to rectify this, and try to salvage July from being yet another low content month in a series of low content months, and I'm going to start "write" now (Did you see that? Huh? Did you see what I did there? Wakka! Wakka! Wakka).

The Scribblerati are meeting tonight (Shawn's got a blog up, go look. I'll wait.) I believe this is the last meeting before our big Diversicon appearance and our big group panel. Our first con, our first panel, it's a lot of firsts coming up, personal firsts for me as well. It's a pretty big deal... well, to us anyway. Tonight's agenda? We are checking out the preliminary version of our sample book before ordering the final print and I will be getting responses to the latest draft of a short story.  Plus, there will be Cold Press. Sounds like a good night to me.

But right now, it's a nice day for writing. It's seventy degrees and it looks like it might rain later. There's a light breeze coming through the open windows with a bit of a chill to the air. Cops is on TV and then Maury is doing some paternity tests. My laptop is humming, I've got a leftover chicken torta for lunch, a bowl o'strawberries for dessert and a hot cup of joe for fuel, so let's get started, shall we...?

SHALL WE?!?!

ZOMBIE STUFF

Gunslingers of the Apocalypse



Sitting. Stewing. Future uncertain. I need to buy some ink for my printer and some paper--also for my printer--and then I'll single space it, re-format it, print it out, pull out the red pen and dive back in for another pass. We'll see what happens after that. My goal is 20,000 to 30,000 words. Can I do it? Stay tuned.

Bastard out of Minnesota

Well, it kind of goes without saying that this book, being Book 2 of the "Black Magic" Jack quadrilogy, is trunked for as long as Gunslingers is, plus a bit longer after that. This is even more true for the two books intended to follow this one: Righteous Brother and Gunfighter Gold (working titles). Sucks, but, what can ya' do?

SHORT STORIES

Billy Torch takes a Beating


This used to be called The Little Things, the name has changed and now it is the first of three short stories I have going through the final round of edits before hitting the short story submission circuit. I really like this one, the story of a D list super villain fresh out of the joint and trying to get his super villain career back on track, only to get swept up in the battle between a superhero vigilante and his arch nemesis. I like the story enough that I drew up and pitched a five years later, Richard Stark-type, sexy, noir, heist tale but with super villains and starring Billy Torch. No bite, but it's strong enough in my head and I've got enough notes that I'll return to it eventually at some point.


Plague of Man


This story is number two of the three on the final spin of editing before beginning the submissions rounds. I think this one is my most traditional short story, it's about a man whose ashes are shot into space, which are found by aliens, who immediately begin to clone him. Most of my shorts seem to have larger aspirations, but this one: it starts, it ends, and it wraps up neatly. That being said, I would be interested in someday taking the bad guys of this story and using them as the bad guys in some other larger space opera type of story, maybe, or maybe just in the background... who knows.

Station #47


This story is about a last outpost after end of the world and its occupant trying to survive--just him and two cats--and it's the third of the three short stories standing at the precipice of the final edit stage, almost ready to take the plunge and start going out to various sites. This one might lag a little behind the other two, maybe, as far as completely ready/polished is concerned, but it's pretty close.

Yash Scarlet and the Gates of Hell


This is the story the Scribblerati is critiquing for me tonight. I got some excellent feedback last time around and it really helped me firm it up, narrative-wise. I'm excited to hear what my fellow Scribblerati Agents think. The idea behind it came about as I was reading short stories by authors that were featuring characters from one of their novels, kind of a little side adventure type thing. So, I thought I'd try writing one, but for a book that doesn't exist. The end result is this Sci-fi-ish, day-after-tomorrow set tale about a young woman named Yash Scarlet and the team of thieves she runs and how the job they are on goes very, very bad. Plus, there's monsters. And blood. And screaming. Anyway, I was so pleased with the way this draft turned out that I thought: "Self?" I thought, "What if the book that doesn't exist, that this story is a kind of prequel for, actually existed...?"

Hmmmm, interesting. Very interesting...


UPCOMING PROJECTS IN PROGRESS


So, there's all that.

I also have, eh... let's say eight or so short story ideas I've separated out from the cacophonous throng and are waiting on deck. They're in various stages and may or may not survive to the point where they become actual stories. May or may not. Future uncertain. Fate unknown. I'm working on them, and I'll get back to them at some point, but for the foreseeable future, they're on hold.

This is why I've been busy, I'm working on the possible first chapter of my short story turned novel: Monster. I'm hoping it works out. Monster is basically the Dirty Dozen versus a Dragon set in a dystopian future of old world ruins and out of control magic. So, that will be me for the next couple weeks, it's focus time, because I'm starting out again. I'm putting my nose to the grindstone.

Look out shitty first draft, here I come.

Until then...


Just FYI

Your buddy,
Jon

Friday, July 1, 2011

Plot Device

Hey, folks, my laptop is fixed and I'm back in a big way.

Let's kick off the fun with this, a really great short film called "Plot Device" that I stumbled across over at Red Giant. It's by a pair of folks I don't know and have never met--but don't hold that against them--named Seth Worley and Aharon Rabinowitz and it's a kind of a showcase reel for what can be done on a limited budget using Magic Bullet Suite 11.

It's really clever and totally worth your time. Check it out.


Plot Device from Red Giant on Vimeo.