22 April, 2013

Why I Want to Kill You



You’ve been sitting around for years hearing everyone and their R2-unit talking (or beeping) about GAME OF THRONES. You hear whispers about its epic story-lines and major character arcs and how it is THE WIRE of fantasy shows. You think yourself a geek or a nerd but you don’t necessarily find yourself into the whole swords and magic fantasy stuff. Yet so many of your friends, and people you follow online, are into this thing and many of those people have shared your love for other cool shows, so why not check it out?

Why not watch GAME OF THRONES?

So you finally do. You take the plunge and enter into the complex world of Westeros where politics, sex, power, and murder are part of everyday life. Where the bad guy may push a child out the window one minute and save a woman from rape the next. Where women struggle for acceptance and recognition while finding unique ways to gain and maintain power.

Where all men must die.

But instead of starting at the beginning you start with episode 24.

EPISODE TWENTY-FRAKIN’-FOUR!

Why? Because that’s what you did when you got into THE BIG BANG THEORY, since they are, you know, so similar.

And that’s why I want to kill you. Because you didn't earn the emotions in that episode, dammit! You cheated. You up, up, down, down, left, right, left, right, B, A, start'd it (and you suck even more for not getting that reference). You Cliff's noted it! You Don Draper'd these moments forever! You've ruined the whole journey!

You should thank the old gods and the new* that murder is still illegal, and that I have morals.

Because otherwise this would be my confession.

Sincerely, your hero and friend until the end.

*I KNOW YOU DON'T KNOW WHAT THAT MEANS SINCE YOU DIDN'T WATCH THE FIRST 23 EPISODES!

If you liked this article, you might enjoy "Surviving the Adaptation (of your favorite book)".

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16 April, 2013

The CHUCK Movie I Don’t Want


Anyone who has read this blog over the years knows that I am a huge fan of the show CHUCK (owned by WB but had its series run on NBC in the US).

Over time I have built up something of a CHUCK fandom following. It’s not particularly large but it, for some reason, is interested in what I have to say about it. Over the past year or so, since CHUCK ended its 91 episode run, people have asked for my opinions regarding various topics centered on the past, present, and future of the show. One of those questions is “What would you like to see in a CHUCK movie?”

I feel answering that is fan-fiction territory. I didn’t create the show and I’m not looking to forward my vision of how the story should go. I can critique missteps or praise what I consider good choices, but detailing the movie I want feels wrong.

However, I feel comfortable in detailing what I don’t want in a CHUCK movie:

  1. A movie that seeks to outright answer the CHUCK series finale moment. Though I thought it wasn’t executed well, I know what the writers were trying to do. They didn’t want it left up in the air for the viewers to decide. They were trying to be cute about telling the obvious. It was stupid. It didn’t work as intended. It didn’t fit the show they had created over five years. But I don’t need a scene in the movie where one character looks at another character and declares “I remember!”
  2. Episode 92. No thanks. The show got its ending. I loved the series but I will never say it ended too early. If anything, I think it ended a season too late. Minus a few episodes, season 5 was a hot mess of lower-budget and lesser-ideas. Season 4 was the perfect outpoint. So if you are going to continue it, don’t just tell another story pulled from the potential 92nd episode. Tell an epic story utilizing the characters people know and love. Make it big(ish) or don’t make it.
  3. A movie made for $2 million. That’s not this show. They could barely make an episode for that. Also, see point 2.
  4. A movie written by the fans. Yes, this is an actual suggestion by some people around the Internet. Because fan-fiction is such a respected art form that we need to hand the reigns over to some delusional wannabes who are convinced they are more capable writers than the creators of the show-they-claim-to-love. Plus, the biggest fan of the show is its creator, Chris Fedak.
  5. That has anyone else as the Intersect story-line. Don’t we have enough people with the Intersect already?
  6. Where people return from the dead for any reason. That would wipe out the danger and loss the series actually created by bumping off a few characters that were meaningful to Chuck.
  7. Any storyline that is an attempt to create retroactive continuity for some new story development that happened in a character’s past. This stuff rarely works (if ever). It is better to focus on new stories that involve characters moving forward. The “hey, maybe Sarah had a sister who wasn’t her sister but is now her adopted sister who she had a motherly protective instinct about a decade ago but is now a family member we never heard of or saw before because it was a super important secret and that explains why Sarah’s mom blahblahblah and will never see again because this show was just pulling a one-off out of its ass” stuff is ridiculous to anyone using their brain.
  8. One that focuses only on Chuck and Sarah. It would probably be cheaper but... see point 2 again.
  9. A prequel.
  10. Something written without an Ali "I Love Love" Adler writing credit. Once she left the show, things kind of went downhill.

So what do you NOT want in a CHUCK movie? Comment below.

Please, no fan-fiction.

Also, check out my article "Why NOT Kickstarter" for related material.

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08 April, 2013

Why NOT Kickstarter



With the success of the VERONICA MARS Kickstarter effort, fans everywhere are wondering why this isn’t being done more by more studios.

The answer may be this: because it is the wrong way to crowd fund studio projects.

Let me detail a few realities for anyone out there looking for a CHUCK (or fill in blank here) movie.

  1. Kickstarter and Amazon (which handles transactions) each take 5% off the top. That’s 10% of total donations gone in handling fees. So, if you need $10 million to make your movie and you raise $10 million, you only have 9 of those millions. Problem.
  2. Pledge rewards cost money. In the case of VERONICA MARS, that included renting out movie theaters and sending packages to thousands of donators. In the case of our fictional $10 million project (which I suspect the CHUCK movie would cost), that could be a considerable loss. Now you’re down to anywhere from $8 to $5 million of the original funds raised.
  3. Kickstarter eliminates a vast number of payment options due to Amazon’s tyrannical fear of PayPal. Your crowd funding project is missing out on millions of potential donators who could make your effort an enormous success.
  4. Projects are only funded if the goal is reached in the allotted time. If you miss the deadline by $1, then it isn’t funded and you start all over. That happens. It's insanity! There should be an option to make donations perpetual until the project is funded.
  5. Studios are less likely to do a public crowd fund for any project that will cost many millions to produce for fear that it will fail (and/or negative media coverage). The VERONIC MARS creators brought to Warner Brothers what they believed was a reasonable budget (WB agreed to cover marketing costs). Other projects could cost much more to deliver as a worthwhile movie (SERENITY II anyone?) and those efforts would need a more specific type of crowd funding model designed specifically for studio productions.
  6. Currently projects of this type are being looked at long after production ends. That means added overhead to kick things off again, including building sets and the like.

POSSIBLE SOLUTION
Studios, either individually or as a collective, could develop their own crowd funding model that is designed from the ground up to fit their unique needs. They have to eliminate the middle-men so that the handling fee losses at Kickstarter/Amazon are absorbed at the source. They also need to be able to accept a greater number of payment options from more areas around the world.

Once implemented, this type of studio run crowd funding model could be used for any number of projects.

Consider a world where a studio doesn’t pick up a TV pilot but posts it online and asks if anyone would be interested in seeing it go to series. Or at the point where a show is about to be cancelled due to low ratings, the studio offers fans a chance to crowd fund a movie or a final episode that wraps things up in a satisfying way before production is shut down.

POSSIBLE SOLUTION TAKE 2
A crowd funding site specific to TV and movie productions could be created by some enterprising individual familiar with the industry and with the drive, experience, and resources to pull off something like it. Someone like NerdMachine/NerdHQ creator Zachary Levi. The launch of such a site could also be used to kick-start a CHUCK movie crowd funding effort.

SIDE WORD TO FUTURE CROWD FUNDED VENTURES
Please, for the love of everything holy, unholy, and otherwise imagined, stop creating ridiculous and expensive rewards that end up being so cost-prohibitive that the funded project either never gets underway or is delayed indefinitely.  Or if the crowd fund initiator believes they are necessary for the venture to succeed, then at least make the required donation amount realistic. If you have to send out DVDs, t-shirts, vouchers, or rent out theaters around the country, then it is going to take money and a lot of time and personnel. Account for these things in your planning. Hire a project manager!

SocialTimes has a couple of articles about the trouble with Kickstarter projects either not being funded, or not delivering on time

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05 April, 2013

CFBWMR Episode 2


Nacho and HGF talk about various topics including the VERONICA MARS movie; a potential CHUCK movie; Kickstarter and its problems; the new Star Wars movies and when Disney will stop pretending the old cast is not already locked in; more Star Wars talk; Canada and New Zealand Vs. ARGO.

All topics and musical tracks noted below.

Press play below to listen.


You can also RIGHT CLICK HERE and download the episode as an MP3.

00:00
Avan Lava - It's Never Over

Intro
Why Nacho?

03:42
Topic 1
CHUCK movie and Zachary Levi stirring things up with Kickstarter (due to the success of Veronica Mars). Including the problems facing any Kickstarter production.

Break 1
East Cameron FolkcoreSalinger is Dead

10:55
Topic 2
Harrison Ford says he expects to be in the new Star Wars. So when will Disney/LFL just stop pretending they haven’t already signed everyone?

Break 2
Jillette Johnson - Torpedo

17:45
Topic 3
ARGOfuckyourselves. Canadians and New Zealanders pissed off about inaccuracies.

END OF PODCAST

Metallica - Harvester of Sorrow

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01 April, 2013

Review - Walking Dead 3.16: "Welcome to The Tombs"

 

The Walking Dead ends its Season 3 run with a whimper and an uneven episode. Plus we say goodbye to a few characters both loved and hated.

It seemed ominous when I realized a few weeks ago that the finale of this show would coincide with the much anticipated return of Game of Thrones on HBO. As good as The Walking Dead can be at times it seemed impossible for it to surmount the return of one last year's biggest TV hits, and notably this episode felt like it wasn't even trying. As is often the case with this show there were moments of great genius and then unfathomable mistakes.

The Good:
-Milton: While I'm truly sad to say goodbye to Dallas Roberts and his character; the final moments of his story were emotional and ironically tragic and virtually everything this show's character arcs should be when they work well.

 -Attempting to give Andrea a noble ending: Possibly this season's most hated character; the show tried to continue its effort from last week to provide some redemption for Andrea in the end. Her final moments with Rick, Michonne and Daryl felt truly emotional and provided some nice remiders of just how long she was part of this group before recently. It doesn't make up for the 9,000 other bad decisions or pure idiocy she displayed this season, but it was nice to send her off on the best note possible in this case.

- Carl: There aren't enough adjectives to describe the level this character reached last night. Watching Carl pull the trigger on that guy's son and defending his actions to his father were phenomenal. Carl's arc has always been that of a child growing up too soon in a vicious world, and these moments felt like the perfect cap to his continuing evolution in the second half of the season.

Now for the Bad:
-The sequences with Andrea trying to escape: During this scene I pondered whether this zombie apocalypse would end, the second ice age would come, and the White Walkers would show up before Andrea managed to get the pliers off the floor.

-The showdown with the Governor: The season's big bang should have been the much delayed confrontation between the Governor's Woodbury crew and Rick's prison gang, but sadly it amounted to nothing more than some flashbangs and Maggie and Glenn being the only people in the group who can hit the broad side of a barn. The luring in and trapping of the Woodbury crew in a specific part of the prison seemed pretty telegraphed to me, and tactically it seemed like the best (only?) option. In addition to this the Governor's force expended what seemed like an unusually large amount of ammo shooting walkers in front of the prison rather than its defenders, all of these things together made the whole bit seem uneblieveable and poorly thought out.

-Rick, just everything Rick: I understand that last week he tried to make a statement about the group being more of a democratic collective than a Ricktatorship, but nonetheless these people are following him like a leader. And they're doing so despite the fact that his emtoions tend to swing wildly between useful logic and bordering on the edge of breakdown territory. His seemingly absurd, and unsound, decision to bring all the Woodbury folk back to the prison seems beyond explanation, and when your 10-year old son is making more sense than you are you've got serious problems.

This one gets a 70 out of 100.

The confrontation was a disappointment and the improbability of some of the decisions the character's made seemed to outweigh the few profound moments in this episode. It didn't leave me very excited for next season, but hopefully that will change once I've had a chance to miss this show for a few months.

Other stuff:

- "In this life now, you kill or you die. Or you die and you kill." -The Governor
- Hershel leaving the bible quote out was a nice thematic touch, but honestly Hersh I don't think eternal damnation will scare off a one-eyed psychopath and a bunch of people with automatic weapons.
 - When the bus pulled up I was sincerely hoping it was empty and the prison gang was just going to go back on the road like the Scooby Gang in the Mystery Mobile.
- I liked Carol and Beth emphatically killing those walkers at the gate. Those two so often get left out of the fun killing sequences that it felt like a nice end of season treat for them, and like the actresses took it as such.

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