John's shared items in Google Reader

Monday, December 24, 2007

'Justice League: The New Frontier' Trailer

This is very much along the lines of what American animation can achieve, given the appropriate context.

Monday, December 03, 2007

Sunday, December 02, 2007

Great Color For Design

Came across this site. It's an excellent resource of color pallettes for whatever project you want.

Sunday, November 04, 2007

"Dr. Von Kaiser" makes Slamdance semifinalist

"Dr. Von Kaiser", a pilot concept by Aaron Matthew Kaiser and Michael Callahan and screenplay by yours truly, John M. Osborne, is a top semifinalist at the Slamdance Teleplay Contest ( http://www.slamdance.com/teleplay/).

The Top 20 will be announced December 3rd, and the Top 3 will be announced on December 14th, so keep your fingers crossed.

If you would like a direct link to view the project on here, go to http://www.tribehollywood.com/Motor_DisplayProject?projectid=-640528394 (otherwise, the official project website is located at http://www.whoisdvk.com)

Sunday, October 21, 2007

Quote of the moment

Television is a new medium. It's called a medium because nothing is well-done.
- Fred Allen

Friday, August 17, 2007

Going from "Nowhere" to "Lost"

In this article, Jeffrey Lieber - the guy who shares the "Created By" credit on "Lost", tells the story of how he got ousted from the series. He developed a pitch, to the point of writing a pilot called "Nowhere", which eventually became the bones for "Lost".

"Nowhere" is nowhere close to "Lost" and yet, strikingly similar.

This also gives some interesting insight into how TV shows get made/not made.

Wednesday, August 08, 2007

Endeavor releasing 25% of clients - effects on unions, upcoming strike.

Take a look at this.

I've read some analysis that this may actually be a positive thing. And negative.

From Gary Milin:

25% of all clients are being cut, including writers, directors and actors. However, the article makes it clear that writers are especially vulnerable. And that, in fact, ALL writers who are not productive, or simply working on small projects, will be cut. This means that considerably more then 25% of Edeavour's writers will be given the boot. Personally, I think there'll only be token cuts in the other departments and that this is really about making room for new writer clients in the near future.

When I originally heard about this, indications were that Endeavour would be cutting clients as well as firing agents. But now it seems that even the junior agents won't be let go. At least not right now. This indicates that this is not a simple downsizing, but that Endeavour plans to increase their client load in the near future and that's why they're retaining all its agents.

Also, just because Endeavour is the only top agency dumping clients right now, doesn't mean that the other top agencies don't think a sea change is happening. Other top agencies, like CAA for example, have a habit of signing lots of new clients and after a short stint of trying to find them work, they just forget about them and ignore them completely. As a result, they don't have to drop clients to free up agent manpower, all they have to do is igore them. This won't make the news like Endeavour's strategy, but I'm willing to bet that more and more unproductive writers at top agencies are finding that no one is returning their calls anymore.

All this indicates that the agencies are preparing to go hunting for fresh blood and new ideas, because they anticipate that that is exactly what Hollywood will be desperate for in the very near future.

Needless to say, this will prove to be a tremendous opportunity for new writers like us. But we will also need to be ready to capitalize on it. There's thousands of us out there, and even with the agencies cutting clients, their time and resources are still limited. They will only be able to invest so much time and energy to determin if we have 'what it takes'. So if we want to get our foot in the door, we have to make sure our scripts are exactly what they are looking for. And what they're looking for is SPEC SCRIPTS.

That means professionally written high concept scripts in one of the following genres: broad comedy, romantic comedy, thriller, action, horror.

They're NOT looking for writing samples. In the coming crunch they will not have the time to nurture new clients. They want new clients with highly marketable scripts that are ready (or almost ready) to put on the market as is.

Now, of course there's always exceptions to every rule and if you have a truly remarkable character-driven drama then an agent might still snatch it up. But, honestly, for that to happen, your script will have to be something that they KNOW would be perfect for a big name actor or director. If it's just a great script, but they know it'll be a hard sell, or they don't know if any big names will be interested, they might decide not to spend the time to do anything with it. In that case, it might be wiser to submit such a project to a smaller agencies, because the biger ones are really going to be focusing on highly commercial specs to feed the coming spec buying frenzy.

Things are actually happening faster than I anticipated and this news from Endeavour really lit the torch under me. Now I just gotta hurry up and finish my rewrite and get down to LA before the strike deadline. Although, even if I'm late, I still think the best time to find a new agent will be DURING the strike. That's when they'll have the most free time. Only problem is, you have to wait until they strike is over before you can actually put your script on the market. And all the indications are, if there is a strike, it'll be a long one. Maybe six months or longer. Especially if the studios hold out until the actors and directors contract expires next spring (or is it summer?). In which case we could have a WGA strike that lasts almost a full year. Yipes!


From Rob:


I'll add my two cents. The Screen Actors Guild (disclosure: I'm a member) is under new management and all indications seem to indicate that SAG is watching this situation very closely since they have many of the same grievances as the WGA (namely royalties on DVD's, Internet, new media, etc.) and may stand with the writers. An actor's strike is a whole different animal not to mention the DGA.

There has been talk for some time now of actors not crossing the writer's picket lines especially on television shows which are owned by entities with studio film operations.

I've also been told by WGA friends who know that I write that if there is a strike not to sell a script to a signatory company during the strike - the WGA tracks these transactions very closely and that I might not be allowedto join after the strike is over. So if I do sell a script during a strike, to make sure its to a non-signatory.

I'm not going to tell you what to do - I'm sharing information that I have heard here in town over the last year or so - this strike/negotiation has been looming for some time now and was certainly a campaign issue for the new SAG leadership. SAG wants the WGA to get its fair share of profits in its negotiations else SAG will not get its share and the SAG membership felt that the previous union leadership laid down on the last contract and vowed not to do so again. The WGA is obviously happy about this.

So if there is a strike, I don't think that it will be very long because the actors and directors are most probably going to support the writers. All that's left is for the producers to determine whether all three unions are unified or not, if the writers negotiations are actually writer-director-actor negotiations.

Tuesday, July 31, 2007

Criss Angel to star with Uri Gellar on Reality TV

So, Criss Angel is coming into the Network TV world with Phenomenon, based on an Israeli TV show from Uri Gellar.

For those who don't know (and I know some believers read this Livejournal), Uri Gellar is a charleton who cheated a lot of people out of a lot of money by claiming that he had supernatural abilities, most of which involved bending spoons.

Criss Angel claims the opposite - that he has no supernatural powers, and that everything he does is an illusion.

Most who know me know I'm a magician, and that, for the most part, I'm extremely skeptical about anyone claiming to have real supernatural power. Most professional magicians share this view, and many don't like Uri Gellar for this specific reason, which is why it's amazing that Criss Angel would be allied with him.

The show apparently looks for "The Next Great Mentalist", which implies a performer rather than anyone with any actually supernatural power. Also, Criss Angel has said that if Uri Gellar claims to have any real supernatural power, he would challenge him on that.

Thoughts?

Friday, July 20, 2007

Hairspray anti-feminist?

So, Newsweek just ran a feature article claiming that Hairspray, a musical based on the original John Waters film about tolerence and acceptance has a problem. John Travolta's portrayal of a traditional family mother is somehow demeaning to women. According to the article (which I can't seem to find an on-line version of), it's the equivelent of Mickey Rooney in Yellow-face in "Breakfast at Tiffany's" or one of the many Sambo-like Blackface performances from White Actors - something no White Actor would do now (I'm capitalizing White Actor for ironic effect).

Outside of the author (Jennie Yabroff), she quotes Jill Nelson as a voice for feminism in being equally offended by this. Further recommending that Rosie O'Donnell would have been perfect for the same role. The article goes on to say that Eddie Murphy and Martin Lawrence taking turns playing female characters are also characteristic of this phenomenon, taking good roles from black women.

I found it interesting that the article includes some discussion of Shakespeare's "As You Like It", in which a woman (originally played by a man, of course) disguises herself as a man to investigate and, eventually fall in love with, a man. It did fail to mention this similar turn in "Shakespeare in Love".

In one paragraph in the 3 page article, there is some discussion that Homosexuals are angry since the role of Edna Turnblad is traditionally played by a gay man. Divine in the original John Waters film, Harvey Fierstein on Broadway, etc.

I can also see good reasons for John Travolta being cast. John Travolta and Christopher Walken are one of the few marketable dancing males today. Nathan Lane and/or Harvey Fierstein possibly could have worked, though he may have been accused of perpetuating a gay stereotype, not to mention the sort of reception Rosie O'Donnell may have launched in both conservative and lesbian communities. Robin Williams already did the drag thing (like he wouldn't have jumped at this chance).

Anyway - I don't feel qualified to actually discuss this, but I'm actually interested in what people's thoughts are. I have considered myself a feminist, for the most part, despite some of my many anti-PC pieces.

The question: Is drag demeaning to women?

My thoughts:

I've, honestly, never ran across this perspective before. I am an Asian who has been offended by, say, Mickey Rooney's performance in "Breakfast at Tiffany's", I've also been able to dismiss it as a product of the time. Okay, for the moment, I think I'm going to look at that -

Mickey Rooney's performance, while played for comedic effect, wasn't about the makeup behind his slanted eyes, but from the ignorance of both the actor and the audience. The gags and jokes were common of asian stereotypes of the day.

The setting of "Hairspray" - segregated 1962 Baltimore - is played specifically for a post-integration audience. Further, the original films use of Divine challenged the 1988 audience that it came from - "Yes, we're enlightened and we like the fact that black and white are equal now but, wait-isn't that a man playing the mom? And is that black kid kissing a white teenage girl? And that young girl that's leading the dance routines - she's quite the fatty..." John Waters is used to using the cinema of offense in order to prove a point.

The musical "Hairspray" - played to today's "more enlightened" post-integration, gay-marriage debating audience - is cleaner, purer. It feels like a traditional musical, and yet, there's something 'off' about it. Something that people can't quite put a finger on - wait - is that John Travolta? Is that young girl in the lead role, um, fat? Just what are we saying about obesity?

Is this really the film to see such unacceptance? I may not be completely straight, but I'm not a woman. There is no way I could really be sure that such an act is not offensive.

Perhaps the casting of a straight man was done to reach a wider (i.e. including all our stereotypes about the midwest) audience. I don't really know.

Still nowhere in the article is their mention of John Travolta's actual performance. Was it good? Was it played to be the awkward, stereotypical, overweight mom? Did he dance well? The accompanying review, written by a man, claims that everyone, including John Travolta, turned in good performances.

I've seen the "original" Broadway musical, and enjoyed it immensely. When I heard about the casting of John Travolta in the filmed version, I was confused, but not turned off.

Maybe we should simply get over it. When Marlon Wayans plays a white woman in White Chicks, should we continue to limit roles based on sex and gender? Now we're just limited by a latex budget.

Maybe I'm just offended at the casting of a Scientologist. That's it.

Added bonus - Newsweek's look at Hollywood's homophobia...

Wednesday, May 16, 2007

Anti-Kaiser Productions announces "Doctor Von Kaiser"

Check out Anti-Kaiser Productions for my latest project - an animated comedy about mad scientists after World Domination.

Voices have not yet been cast, but from the Press Release:

"Voices of the main characters have not yet been cast and auditions will be held in San Diego on Saturday, June 9, 2007 at 10:00am at 2185 Station Village Way, San Diego, CA 92108 in the Theater Room of The Promenade at Rio Vista. Auditions are also scheduled in Los Angeles the following week on Saturday, June 16, 2007, at a location to be announced. Voice actors interested in auditioning should contact AntiKaiser Productions at 619.328.6758 to book a specific audition appointment. If available, actors are encouraged to bring a headshot and demo tape to the audition."

Sunday, April 08, 2007

Love Affair with TV - WIRED article

From the WIRED article.

I like this way of looking at changing media. It's quite fascinating how much we've become assertive viewers as opposed to passive.

Thursday, March 29, 2007

S3 Episodes up

School and Sports Stars finally put my episodes up. I start as editor Episodes 7-12. Click on the links and you can stream the realmedia.

Tell me what you think...

Wednesday, March 07, 2007

Captain America is Dead




Captain America died today; I heard on the way here and I knew I had to write this out just to get over the shock.

Captain America is dead.

Long live Cap.

I almost wore black. But then again, there are at least three more appropriate colors I could have worn.

Captain America, Steven fucking Rogers, the man who fought Nazis back in the day before we even joined World War II. Today he lay along the courtroom steps, a sniper's bullet through his gut, not looking a day over thirty, yet his face was grizzled with the age of experience.

I don't believe it.

Everyone knows this story, the sotry of the weakling who, drinking a secret formula became strong. He became a man when he stood, proud as an American, and did what needed to be done. Until finally, he died facing a threat we'd never seen, when he died in that fateful explosion in 1945.

Only to wake up in a block of ice, finding a nation changed by the scars of Vietnam -- the young country's innocence long lost.

Captain America is dead.

I still don't believe it.

He died because he became a man by doing what needed to be done. When America chose to give up freedom and liberty in exchange for security, he drew his line in the sand, brought friend against friend, hero against hero, and lead the Revolution, like the minutemen who founded his Country, his Nation, his Ideals.

They captured him. Tormented him. And finally, shot and killed him. Only because he did what he needed to do, he stepped up and did the only thing truly American -- he became the voice of dissent.

A secret formula can make you a super-soldier, but it can't make you a hero.

Captain America is dead.

Saturday, March 03, 2007