Life Assessment at 34

So… another year in the books. And what do I have to show for it?  Well, a lot actually.  If you’re keeping track, a pretty rockin’ girlfriend and best bud.  An awesome family (including my little best bud).  And enough projects to keep me busy for a few years.

Here’s a run down of just about everything in the works or that I have…

My two favorites.

Battle for Terra: 3D

I was a producer on the 3D animated film that came out in 2009 from Lionsgate.  It was short-listed for Best Animated Feature by the Academy that same year.

I co-wrote, edited, and financed the graphic novel.  If you are into westerns or monsters – check this out.  Artwork is by Spoke Lane mainstay Pawel Sambor.
I came up with the story, sort of co-wrote it (Clay McCleod Chapman is the writer), produced and did some Second Unit directing on the feature.  We’re in post now, and I should have some big news about the film in Sept/October.  Stay tuned!
This exists on a few planes.  It will be my second graphic novel, I’m putting the pieces together for the feature film with myself directing and I directed a short film prequel to this story (4.2.3.).  The graphic novel has a chance to be done and ready by Christmas. Zsombor is just killing this thing.  Can’t wait…
Bulderlyns
This will be my third graphic novel. The only reason that R.E.M. will be finished first is because this has a lot of different parts.  Igor is doing layouts/pencils, Pawel is doing inks and Dmitry is coloring.  Each of them is turning out some pretty amazing work.  If you’ve seen samples I’ve posted, then you get a feel for what it’ll be.  It’s a young adult book with a story along the lines of E.T., Iron Giant or Gremlins.  Igor is starting to hit a serious stride and the stuff he’s turning in is amazing.
Chasing Rabbits
This will be my fourth graphic novel and is most likely my favorite script.  No, it is.  I just had so much fun writing this thing and putting the puzzle pieces together.  It is a murder mystery-thriller, but everything is based entirely on Alice in Wonderland and Through the Looking Glass.  However, in this version, Alice is a hard-boiled female detective in the crime ridden city of Wonderland.  It is being drawn and inked by Sigit Nugroho.  He’s got some serious skills.  His cousin, Budi Setiawan, passed away recently after a long battle with cancer.  The book will be in memory to Budi – who was originally supposed to draw it.   Fighting through the hardship, Sigit has penciled up to 51 and inked up to 23.  This book will be a monster.
Lunatic
After many attempts at writing projects that I can direct on independently (I start off with good intentions and then it keeps growing and growing)… came Lunatic.  This started off as a discussion with Karol Wisniewski about a Harbor Moon spin-off, featuring the Brotherhood of the Moon.  I thought – can we do something with that but do it found footage style.  I came up with the story and then approached Dikran (who co-wrote Harbor Moon).  I caught him at the right time and away he went.  This script is rocking and is hard to summarize quickly here.  I’ve already been putting some serious pieces in place and this will be happening – just a matter of timing right now on when.  I’ll be in LA in September to shoot a short teaser (2 actually) for AFM, as well as poster artwork.
Based on the award-winning novella by NY Times best-selling author George R.R. Martin, this thing is a beast.  Quite literally.  I am producing and writing the script.  I finished an outline two weeks ago and submitted it – just got notes back today.  With any luck we’ll have it wrapped up within the next week or two.  Outlining, for me, is the hardest part of any project.  I also find it to be the most fun.  It’s like a giant puzzle you need to strip down and build.  We hope to have a script ready and out to talent (directors/actors) by September… so the clock is ticking.
The Beast
This is probably my second favorite script.  It’s about high school football, but it much more akin to Lord of the Flies than anything else.  It is something I’ve had in my head since high school and I was finally able to get it out… and now I’m working on turning it into a novella.  I’ve had some artwork done for it and just recently we finished a pretty awesome piece that I believe will be the cover of the book.
I was going through my projects and almost forgot about my podcast.  I produce and co-host a podcast on Hollywood news and film discussions.  September will mark a year that we’ve been on the air.  Our audience grows every week and I am grateful to have an outlet to discuss the thing I love – movies.
NY Sports Chick
If the Sports Chick ever dedicated herself to sports (she’s also a kick-ass biology teacher with 100% passing rate on the NY regents), then she would be as big as Erin Andrews (except Sports Chick actually knows what she’s talking about and can dissect games, particularly baseball).  She’s a perfect mix of Hannah Storm and Andrews.  Most of her work is done over twitter, but the goal is to have this podcast up and running on a constant basis sometime in the next few months.
This is a children’s property created by Rob Codling.  It is genius, about the fuzzies who live on a blanket.  We are nearing the initial print run of the first book (very, very shortly) and are hard at work on the second book.  Rob is also grinding away on the screenplay and with any luck this will be my animation follow-up.  How can you see this guy and just not be happy and want to ‘Spread the fuzz’?
King of the Night
This is something that Jim Devoti and I have been working on for years now.  It has almost come to be a few times – a few heart-breaking times.  It’s a modern day Saturday Night Fever set in the house music world.  We’ve got some of the top DJ’s in the world lined up for this one.  I co-wrote and will direct/produce.
This is a book series by Dmitry Dubrovin aka Lemon5ky (colorist on Bulderlyns), that will be published by Spoke Lane.  It is really unique looking and he has some massive plans for it.  He’s penciled the first 270 pages and is now inking them (that’s right – first 270).  Really glad to a be a part of this in any way.
Penny Black
Something that took me over two years to outline and about three weeks to actually write once I figured out the story.  The intention with this was to just make it for nothing – but as I wrote it, I fell in love with it and have grand ideas for it.  Grand ideas are expensive ideas.  This one ties in closely to Chasing Rabbits in a really cool way.
PuertoRican Villains
This is a project I’m set to direct, based on an awesome coming of age book set in the Bronx by Mark Anthony Gonzalez.  We are putting together the pieces now… and we hope to have a teaser in the next few weeks.
Smoker
This is a drama in the world of Mixed Martial Arts.  It is more character based than action though.  The concept behind this was to actually do a micro-budget film.  The things I have access to are fighters and gyms.  I get punched in the face everyday, might as well film it.  I just finished the outline today (happy birthday me)… and now it is time to write the script.  I’ve got no art for this one, except this thing I drew on my iPad as I was making notes.
There are some other projects you should be hearing a lot about in the next few months that (I believe) I am producing.  So look for titles such as HellHounds and Retrovirus to pop up soon enough…  you may even get a teaser for one (if not both) of them before AFM in the fall.
There are a few other projects in the outline stage, such as a Murder Mystery (something that is probably a bit further than an outline that we’re looking to just go make immediately), Lemon Heads (a drama), Overtaken (a zombie action project) and Revelations (working on with a band based around an album).  Some are just in the idea stage, such as a television series that is a cross between Donnie Brasco and Twin Peaks (an undercover cop story that revolves around a whodunnit) and a follow-up to Chasing Rabbits that is a dark-action thriller based entirely on nursery rhymes and fairy tales.  There are a few books and graphic novels I’m chasing the rights to – but I rather not say (don’t want to jinx it).  I may have left off the Shannara series by Terry Brooks.  Warner Bros. paid seven figures for the rights to that series and really helped launch all of this.
I’m in the very beginning stages of putting together an internet portal (called Gertie), which sort of acts like a Roku – but without the box top and is more of a landing page for users.  Eventually, we won’t need a box to connect to the internet (they already have wi-fi tv’s, but I don’t have one)… and it is my belief that if you can create the landing page for users then you will dominate this landscape.  It will be able ease of use and curation.  Filtering out the nonsense and giving people the options/titles they want.
On top of all that, I train everyday in MMA.  The love of my life used to be lacrosse.  However, a string of bad injuries (ruptured kidney, separated shoulders, torn hamstrings, torn achilles) led me away from the field.  I miss it.  I really miss it.  But I find peace of mind fighting. Both striking and BJJ.  My personal goal was to have a fight this fall.  A few business matters have probably prevented me from making that happen, but once September comes I should have a better grasp on the next few months.  I would like to get into the ring and step it up though.  Scratch that – I will step into the ring.  It is just a matter of when.
I’m sure there are some projects I missed.  If you do read this blog (and I’m guessing if you’re still reading that you do) and follow the work I am doing – I can’t begin to thank you.  It really is the only reason I’m able to do this stuff.  I respect and cherish every single person that has ever seen Battle for Terra, read Harbor Moon, watched 4.2.3., etc…

35 Movie Minutes Earning Some Fans

I got a pretty great tweet the other day from Mark Fry (aspiring filmmaker and VFX artist).  He keeps a tumblr and posted one called ‘Interesting Podcasts’ and listed 35 Movie Minutes on there.  Right up along some podcasts that I listen to religiously (The Business, John August’s ScriptNotes).  It was a great feeling and the show will keep getting better as we keep going…

My plan is to be putting out more content.  I’m actually interested in bringing on more co-hosts – not for the weekly show but for film discussions, festival discussions and discussions about films coming soon (such as a Summer Preview).  So, if you think you’re that person – hit me up.  We work out of a studio in NY, but you can be anywhere.  The only thing that we ask is that you get a microphone and mixer so that the sound is professional level (a refurbished package, with headphones runs about $40).

35 Movie Minute Podcast

Over the last year and a half I’ve been working with Rob Scarpelli on getting a podcast off the ground.  We ran into some technical difficulties last year around this time and things came to a halt. In all honesty, I think the idea for the podcast I laid out was a bit daunting.

35 Movie Minutes covers the last week of Hollywood news over the course of 35 minutes.  Do you see the clever play on 35 millimeter?  So sweet.
I wanted to format it more like PTI, where we have a running clock and cover items in minute or timed segments.  But with me doing the producing and Rob and I hosting, it just seemed insurmountable.  So, after producing White Space and getting back on track with my books, I wanted to dive back in.  We stripped it down and made it a lot more conversational.  Now, we discuss the last week of news, box office, upcoming films, etc… but in a freer format.  
I’m happy to say we are four weeks in and just wrapped our third podcast, as well as special podcasts on the Toronto Film Festival as well as our discussion of the films Drive and Killer Elite.
We are definitely still getting our sea legs, me especially since this is my first time behind the mic.  However, our improvement from week one to two was tremendous and we will just get better, make the show tighter and stop leaning on certain crutches (the ums, yeahs, okays).
The website is live, although still being coded right now (by Karol Wisniewski).  It looks sweet and will be ready to go shortly.  We are available on iTunes:

To subscribe go to the iTunes store, search ’35 Movie Minutes Podcast’ – click ‘Subscribe Free’.  It’s as easy as that.

You can follow us at:

Twitter:
Facebook:
We’ll post all of the podcasts, reviews and other updates there.  

35 Movie Minute Podcast

The inaugural 35 Movie Minute podcast is in the books.  Rob and I finally sat down to record this thing, after a year long startup battle.  We ran pretty long (over two hours), but it was a lot of fun.  Now it’ll be about a day while Rob cuts it down to 35 minutes.  

It’s going to take some time to refine the format and get in a groove.  Also, I realized there was a massive amount of film new because of Toronto.  From now on we’ll have special additional segments dedicated to festivals, award shows, etc…  and focus the podcast on Hollywood-centric news.
Look for the audio file sometime tonight or tomorrow.  You can follow us and stay up-to-date at:
www.twitter.com/35movieminutes
Karol Wisniewski is working on coding the website now and that should be ready to go by the end of the week or so (www.35movieminutes.com).  

A Lot Going On

And not much time to do it, let alone update all of my loyal followers.  Don’t fret, here I am.

We’re in the final stages of designing the 35 Movie Minutes website (blame Rob, he’s getting killed at work and it took a sit-down lunch to map out his bio).  Looks pretty rad.  Here’s a screen shot of the contact page:

It is being designed by Mancheva Designs, and coded by Karol Wisniewski.  Once that is done, we will be ready to go live.  Still haven’t done a dry run, but we’ve been on the mics a bunch doing conversational dry runs.

I’m also at the tail end of what will be the beginning of Filmworks Finishing Partners.  I’ve been putting this together with Ken Locsmandi of Filmworks/FX for over a year now and it is picking up some serious steam as of late.  The biggest reason is because we are not trying to raise money in the typical fashion, but are taking the company public.  Mark B. Newbauer from Mike the Pike Productions has been the driving force behind this new direction and he now makes up one-third of the company.  The PPM should get finished today and we should be out to investors Monday/Tuesday for the Pre-IPO.  Pretty exciting stuff… the possibilties of how the company can grow are somewhat limitless.  It all falls on our shoulders to choose films wisely and finish them well.

Also started getting layouts in for Bulderlyns.  We had been in character design for well over 4 months, so it was starting to get frustrating for myself, Karol and the artist.  But we’ve regrouped and even though they are only layouts, I can see this book shaping up to become something special.  It has made me question the script and if it will live up to the artwork.  I just worry about how the lead comes into possession of the Bulderlyn egg, and why.  It was at one point chance and happenstance.  And now it is more a destiny type thing.  I would really like to avoid the Eragon, your dragon chooses you type destiny.  And also the How to Train Your Dragon type.  I may start off one way, then have the knowledgeable person come in at the end and say – that’s all a load of crap.  It hatched because it was ready to hatch.  Or something of that nature.  Don’t want to give you all too much…

Late last night I got another round of character design in from Chase Osborne on Chasing Rabbits.  I was flat out speechless.  Speechless in that I had no notes on them.  They were amazing.  He took all of the descriptions, and the photographs to use as a base and came out with the perfect designs.  I didn’t have a single note – possibly the first time (Karol just yelled at me because I’m nitpicking the digital editions of Harbor Moon too much, although at times he’s way more detailed than I am.).  I love all of the books I’m doing, but I have always believed that Chasing Rabbitsis my best script.  And with the work Chase is doing, and we’re only in character design, this book could be a serious smash.  I believe that strongly in it to make that statement.

35 Movie Minutes Title Design

Anna Mancheva has once again come through and designed an awesome looking title for another project, my weekly podcast 35 Movie Minutes.  In fact, she did such a good job I couldn’t decide and we finished two versions.

Rob is working out some kinks on the tech side, but we should be doing a dry run within the next week or two.  Then it is full steam ahead.  Anna is also going to be designing the 35 Movie Minute website shortly, and I can’t wait for that to be up and running.  She’ll also be designing the Spoke Lane (my main company site) and R.E.M. sites at the same time.

For more on Anna and her designs visit her website Mancheva Designs.  She’s extremely talented and she somehow puts up with me.