Sunday, September 27, 2009

Script to Screen: Flash Forward pilot

Last week I reviewed the Flash Forward pilot script, then broke it down. Today I'm going to talk about the differences I noticed from the written script and the pilot that aired this past Thursday.

I will try to keep the spoiler level low, but there's no way to talk about differences between page and screen without revealing some stuff, so... SPOILERS!!!

Most of the changes I noticed seemed to be do to cuts or streamlining, and largely affected the stories of the secondary characters. There were also a few things moved around or truncated, and my guess is that this was done to raise the energy a bit (by cutting back and forth) or create tension. The big tension-creating moment happens right up front, and I'm not completely sure how I feel about it.

All of you who watched the premiere on Thursday know that the pilot begins with a horrifying scene of mass destruction. Joseph Fiennes' character, Mark, wakes up upside-down in the aftermath of a car crash, only to discover that every car on the 101 (I know the freeway only because of the script, but I'm going to pretend the aired episode meant it to be the 101 as well) has crashed, people are screaming, and several buildings on the horizon are in flames. Then, as the horror sets in, we cut to black and a title pops up: FOUR HOURS EARLIER. And the next 10 minutes are all about getting back to that crash that we just saw.

Holy crap, right? Now you're invested, and you want to see how we get to that point and then figure out what happened. That, I'm sure, is exactly why they did this, and I think it's quite effective.

However... the pilot script worked just as effectively for me (albeit bringing a different energy) by beginning at that FOUR HOURS EARLIER point. Not that it began with those words, because what wouldn't make any sense, but the first dozen or so pages of the script are spent building up the normal lives of the characters and what they're doing. It's all about getting to know these people. So when the rug is pulled out from under them and this huge, crazy thing happens, it's just as sudden, shocking and confusing for us as it is for them. Plus, I felt like I genuinely cared about these individuals, rather than being worried about the event I knew was coming.

If I had to choose, it's probably pretty obvious I'm a bigger fan of the choice the script made here, but I didn't dislike the change in the pilot. As I said, it just brought a different, more tense energy to the proceedings. I do wonder, however, if some of the complaints critics have made about not caring for the characters, and how they feel like chess pieces being moved around to serve the plot, can be attributed to the decision to show the incident first and work back toward it rather than organically coming to it linearly.

Similarly, the written pilot and aired show ended on different notes. While the script decided to end on more of a character beat, with Mark receiving the friendship bracelet from his daughter and allowing her to put it on him as his dread mounts... the aired pilot chose to go out on the A-story beat of the discovery at Comerica Park (Tigers Stadium) in Detroit. I'm trying to minimize spoilers as much as possible, guys.

Both script and aired pilot made choices that worked for the type of story they were trying to tell. I think the script was more of a character study of how these people would react to such a crazy thing, so beginning and ending on character beats seems smart. For the aired pilot, which seems more concerned with setting up the central conceit of the show and the plot mechanisms, it only makes sense that they end on a meta-plot twist after beginning with the horrifying meta-plot disaster. And I have to say, I do think the meta-plot reveal was a stronger hook to end on, so I can't fault it.

Other changes are not so drastic, and mostly involve not revealing as much to the audience about some of the secondary characters' stories. For example, in the script we learn what Bryce saw in his flash forward, and that the female FBI agent who saw herself pregnant had bigger reasons to question the validity of the vision than "I don't even have a boyfriend." Not so in the aired pilot. The stuff in the script was intriguing, but to be honest I didn't miss it.

The one thing I do think really suffered was the story of Dominic... or was it Dmitri in the aired pilot? I felt like I heard both names. Kal Penn's character. The one who sees nothing in his flash forward.

The aired pilot has his story basically come down to him saying, "Come on, man, we're both thinking the same thing..." before talking about his theory that no flash forward means he'll be dead in six months. In the script this is drawn out a bit more, with Mark deflecting Penn's worries as first. Then, later, Penn gets a surreal, terrifying phone call. In her flash forward, a woman tells him, she was reading a newspaper story... about his murder. After the initial shock, Penn starts asking her for as many details as she can give him about his murder. Where? When? How? Who?

To me that's the coolest thing about this show. No matter what big and crazy thing happens, the characters get through it, then calmly and rationally start breaking it down, just the way we would in real life.

I have to imagine the above bit was cut for two reasons: one, because they needed a time cut and felt like they could get the "I think I'm going to die" stuff out more efficiently (true, though that aired scene played a little hokey for me); and two, because it's more fun to tease this murder information out slowly rather than giving it away in the pilot. Am I right about this? Who knows? But it makes sense.

Overall, I really like both versions of this pilot. One is a bit more character driven, while the other relies heavily on the mystery and plotting, but both retain the strengths of the core concept and create interesting, unique character conflicts.

Friday, September 25, 2009

Break It Down - Flash Forward Pilot Script

Yesterday I finally got off my butt and reviewed the Flash Forward pilot script. Tomorrow I'm going to do a Script to Screen and talk about some of the changes made between page and the finished pilot that aired last night. There weren't too many, but I did find one change very interesting.

Episode 101 - No More Good Days

Short Description

Everyone in the world blacks out for 2 minutes and 17 seconds, during which each person sees what is happening 6 months into their future. In the aftermath, they must deal with the repercussions of what they saw and try to figure out what happened and why... and maybe... who caused it.

Story Threads

A-story - The Investigation/Mark's FF
B-story - Mark and Olivia
C-story - Olivia/FF
D-story - Dominic/FF
E-story - Bryce/FF
F-story - Aaron/FF
G-story - Nicole/FF

I find this somewhat difficult to break down in the usual way, because arguably the A-story is the event itself, and it doesn't occur until the end of the first act. You could also argue that Mark's story is simply his FF and the investigation, and the story I've labeled "Mark and Olivia" should be with her FF, but I'm separating it this way for now...

Length and Breakdown

Act I - 12 pages, 12 scenes
Act II - 8 pages, 5 scenes
Act III - 11 pages, 7 scenes
Act IV - 11 pages, 5 scenes
Act V - 8 pages, 4 scenes
Act VI - 8 pages, 5 scenes

38 scenes in 58 pages. At first glance, it appears that Flash Forward has the opposite structure of most shows, throwing you into the action with a bunch of quick scenes, then slowing down for the rest of the show. In some respect, I guess that's true (there are quite a few longer scenes after Act I where the main characters are puzzling out what happened and dealing with the repercussions of their flash forwards), but 12 scenes in 12 pages is deceiving for Act I. The reason there are so many scenes is because Goyer and Braga decide to reveal character to us by showing actions rather than using dialogue-heavy scenes, which naturally just take longer on the page.

The scenes are organized as follows:

A-story - The Investigation/Mark's FF (16 beats/scenes)
B-story - Mark and Olivia (12 beats/scenes)
C-story - Olivia/FF (5 beats/scenes)
D-story - Dominic/FF (3 beats/scenes)
E-story - Bryce/FF (3 beats/scenes)
F-story - Aaron/FF (3 beats/scenes)
G-story - Nicole/FF (3 beats/scenes)

What's interesting to me is the economy of the smaller stories. Four of them with only 3 beats! And for once I actually feel pretty good about the way I've labeled the letters. The investigation definitely feels most important, followed by the general scenes about Mark and Olivia's relationship; secondary to those general relationship scenes is Olivia's FF and the people connected to that... and then so on and so forth for the other stories. What's great is that the number of times we come back to each story backs up that feel. Awesome!

Act I - B, B, B, F, F, E, G, D, A, A, A, A
Act II - A, E, G, A, A
Act III - A/B, B/C, A, C, A, A, A
Act IV - A, B, A/B/D, A, C/E
Act V - G, B, F/B, D
Act VI - B, B/C, C, A, B

(Note: where beats include a / mark, this means that the scene has elements of both stories. In the scene/beat count above, every appearance of A, B, C and so on is counted as one full beat rather than a half, even if there is a slash mark.)

45 story beats. In 38 scenes. For the most part, each story gets to live on its own, especially in Act I, where it seems more important because we're just being introduced to this world and these characters. Also, the beats reflect the way I felt about the opening as well -- you meet these characters in their normal lives and just start to get to know them a little bit and get invested (all the B and below storylines you see dominating Act I) when WHAM! this huge event changes everything (represented in the four A-story beats to end Act I).

Pretty cool stuff. Tomorrow (or Monday, maybe?) I compare the script to what actually aired. And I've gotta say, reading over it again today to do this breakdown, more changed than I actually realized...

Thursday, September 24, 2009

(Auto) Pilot: A review of the Flash Forward pilot script

I made a promise a while back to review a bunch of the one-hour pilot scripts I read for the fall shows now premiering, and so far I've been really bad at following through on that promise. But better late than never, right? Maybe?

Today, in honor of its premiere tonight, I'd like to review the pilot script for a little show I like to call Flash Forward. Because that's the name of the show.


When I heard the premise for Flash Forward (that everyone in the world blacks out for 2 minutes and 17 seconds, during which each person sees what is happening 6 months into their future), I wasn't interested. It didn't seem like an idea that could sustain itself. I mean, 6 months, really? Next I saw the trailer... and came away similarly tepid. Generally I'm a huge fan of speculative fiction, but this just wasn't doing it for me.

Then I got my grubby little mitts on a bunch of one-hour pilot scripts for new shows this season. Flash Forward was, hands down, the best written and most interesting. Goyer and Braga remembered the one thing I had forgotten about TV, the thing that unites almost all great, classic shows: it's about the characters.

Duh, you say? Well, of course, but thinking about the premise had pushed that to the back of my mind, and for whatever reason the characters just didn't come through to me in the previews.

Thank goodness they do in the script, where Goyer and Braga spend the first four pages letting us live with Mark and Olivia Benford as they go through their normal lives: the morning run, fixing breakfast for their daughter, repairing the garage door, going to work, etc. The couple even have the too-cute habit of telling each other they hate each other as a way of saying "I love you." Schmaltzy? Yes. But oddly endearing as well.

Over the first ten pages we're introduced to the rest of the main characters, most going about the mundane tasks of daily life (even if, for Mark and his partner, Dominic, daily life includes stakeouts and dangerous criminals). Only Bryce Varley is shown to us at any truly important moment of his existence -- as we first see him, he stands at the edge of a pier, about to shoot himself.

But regardless of what they're doing before, it's about to be an important moment in the life of every single person in the world. Because as Bryce starts to pull the trigger on his gun, and Mark and Dominic dodge traffic in that car chase you've seen a million times in action movies -- it happens.

We FLASH to another time and place, and Mark sees what's he's doing 5 months, 3 weeks, and 2 days into the future. He knows the date precisely because he notices it on his desk calendar. Future Mark is working on a case involving things his present-day self knows absolutely nothing about, but he's clearly anxious and "been through hell." And that's before two masked men appear with guns and...

And we're back in the present, where the car chase has morphed into the largest, most horrifying traffic accident ever. Every single car on the freeway has crashed, and people are screaming everywhere. Fires dot the landscape as Mark climbs onto a car to survey the damage. Was it a natural disaster? A terrorist attack?

Over the course of the rest of the episode, we learn that every single person in the world blacked out for the aforementioned 2 minutes and 17 seconds. Anyone driving at the time crashed their car. Planes fell from the sky. Patients in surgery died. Carnage and disaster everywhere. We also learn that it wasn't really a black out, because Mark's experience was not unique -- people everywhere saw 2 minutes and 17 seconds of their future. And all of them who happened to see the date and time confirm that it was exactly the same as the date Mark saw.

More importantly, we learn what future each of our main characters saw, and how it affects them. Mark will be driven by the mystery of the case he saw himself working on. Olivia will be haunted by the knowledge that she won't have a life with Mark in six months. Bryce will take what he saw as a second chance at life, and a reason to keep going. And perhaps most interesting is Mark's partner, Dominic -- he didn't see anything in his future. Literally. It was just... black. Does this mean he's asleep in six months? Dead? Does he really want to know?

Questions like these are what made the script so affecting for me, and finally answered my unspoken question about why I should care about the show: because I'm invested in these people figuring out their lives and trying to live with their newfound knowledge. Are they trapped by "fate"? Can they change things now that they know about them in advance? Are the things they saw even real? Will their relationships survive, knowing what they know? Or at least... what they think they know?

And as everyone deals with the emotional repercussions of these revelations and chooses to accept or deny what they saw, Goyer and Braga throw another curve ball at the audience at the end of the script that advances the mystery of the phenomenon and calls into question everything we've seen. I won't give it away, but suffice to say it's an intriguing bit of info that could take the plot in many interesting directions.

As much as the characters and plot drew me in, I would be remiss as a writer if I neglected to mention how good the actual words on the page are. The dialogue is crisp and affecting. Characters react in believable ways. The act breaks actually feel dramatic, the way they are supposed to. And, since this is my own personal pet peeve, the action does what action is supposed to do and DESCRIBES WHAT THE AUDIENCE SEES, rather than falling into the trap of novice and uber-successful professional writer alike: telling us what we're supposed to see. I'm looking at you, J.J. Abrams.

Here's hoping the Goyer and Braga have a monster hit on their hands, because I'm incredibly excited to see where they take this story.

Friday, September 18, 2009

Forecast is Cloudy, but with a side of really good reviews

So far, CLOUDY WITH A CHANCE OF MEATBALLS is getting 86% on Rotten Tomatoes and 66% on Metacritic. Go Chris and Phil!

And go all of you... to the theatres so that it makes lots of money and keeps my friends and former coworkers employed.

Not convinced? Check out some fun viral marketing featuring Bill Hader, Neil Patrick Harris, and Andy Samberg:

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

I'll be watching

There's actually quite a bit of TV I'm excited about this upcoming season. Below I'm going to put together an awesome fall schedule for you... of the TV Jul and I will be watching. Whee!

If you want a full schedule, go to a cooler site like The Futon Critic. Really. Their schedule is comprehensive and clearly laid out.

But anyway. Below is my schedule. I'm organizing by night and time, and I will mark new shows with an asterisk.


There's nothing on!!! But I guess we might do...

8pm - Heroes (sigh)
8:30pm - Accidentally On Purpose* (I've heard good things)
9pm - Greek (despite the fact that they didn't "want a writers PA who wants to be a writer." Uh, okay.)
10pm - Castle (it's nice to have there on the DVR for fun)


This night will either be very good or really boring, with lots of newness.

8pm - V* (but not until Nov. 3)
9pm - NCIS: Los Angeles* (we'll try it)
10pm - The Good Wife* (the pilot script came very highly recommended); Sons of Anarchy (liked -- but didn't love -- the first season)


Things start to get crowded, but could end up like Tuesday if the new shows suck or don't last...

8pm - Mercy* (Grey's Anatomy with nurses, right?)
8:30pm - The Middle* (you'll hear this a lot, but... I hear good things)
9pm - Friday Night Lights (we might actually get DirecTV in our condo... if we get our condo); Glee*; The Beautiful Life* (I know, I know, but reviews are good); The Modern Family* (reviews)
9:30pm - Cougar Town* (good reviews)
10pm - Eastwick* (the trailer left me less than excited, but...)


The best show of the fall? Maybe? Hopefully?

8pm - Flash Forward* (I'm soooo excited...); The Vampire Diaries* (...that I'm even willing to try this)
9pm - Grey's Anatomy; Fringe (I'll give it another shot); The Office
9:30pm - Community*/30 Rock (Community looks hilarious, and 30 Rock IS)


Poor Betty.

9pm - Dollhouse; Ugly Betty


Double D night. Yes, I'm lame.

9pm - Desperate Housewives; Dexter

Final tally, 13 returning shows we're still willing to watch, and 14 new shows we want to try. Also, this doesn't include things like The Prisoner or Spartacus that definitely have me interested, so that really pushes the balance toward new shows.

What are you going to watch?

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Well, folks, it's been quite a month

Actually, the real time frame is probably a bit longer than a month, but since the end of July...

1. Jul and I opened escrow on a condo. Consequently, we've been spending much of our free time (and some of our not-free time) reading hundreds of pages of documents, signing things, faxing things, calling and emailing people to understand what the heck is going on, and generally worrying ourselves over this big, looming thing that we're not even sure will happen. Which is great.

2. Jul's parents visited. Hence the last gay post. I like Jul's parents, but having people visit always adds stress, even when it's fun too.

3. I flew home to help my mom move over a weekend. She doesn't have a phone yet, so I have no way to contact her. But I'm sure she's fine.

4. We laid a big fat egg in most of the contests we entered... though there are still several to go... and our Pushing Daisies is supposedly in the semis at one place, if I'm to believe the email we received over the website itself, which still doesn't list us.

5. I suddenly had a week to finish up my job on the movie, which was totally unexpected and at first really scary. I had been slowly archiving and wrapping things up because I knew I had another month, and then -- BOOM -- no time. Except not really. Other than transferring the reins over to someone else on the production and putting them in contact with all the people they needed to know, it turned out that my fear was misplaced. I had to close out everything so quickly because...

6. ... I'm now assisting the awesome showrunner of a new animated series coming out... actually, I don't know when it's coming out. Scripts are being written, hundreds of boxes of office equipment from one of the studio's recently cancelled animated series are being opened and sorted through, and I'm settling in and trying to figure out my role.

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Gay Insurance

A sign seen in Palm Springs this weekend as I toured the area with my wife and her parents, looking for a place for the in-laws to retire.

We're still looking.

Also, what does "Gay Insurance" mean? Do they only insure gay people? Does it insure one against becoming gay? Or straight? Is the insurance itself only interested in other insurances of the same sex? Or is it just really happy?

Magic Insurance on Magnolia and Laurel I understand. Clearly, it protects you if you have any of your Magic: The Gathering cards lost or stolen. Duh.

Friday, July 31, 2009

Joss waited in line for Glee -- really, you're surprised?

Joss Whedon Talks 'Dollhouse,' 'Buffy' | Airlock Alpha

Posted using ShareThis

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Epitaph One a Dollhouse double edged sword?

If you followed my tweets during the Con, you'll know that I loved, loved, LOVED "Epitaph One." If not, now you do.

And if you aren't one of the lucky ones who have seen it yet and/or foolishly spoiled yourself by reading reviews... well, either spoil yourself for me or stop reading now. Because while I don't plan to go into plot specifics, it's not unlikely that some things might be spoiled for you simply by reading my thoughts on the aftermath of this episode.

So, for posterity:


Now we can begin.

At nearly every act break, Jul and I turned to each other, mouths hanging open and eyes wide. Yeah, it was one of those experiences. Near the end I whispered to her quietly: "I want to watch this show." She said "Yeah," nodded, then looked at me sadly and repeated: "Yeah."

And there's the rub.

After the episode ended and the thunderous applause died down, Whedon started talking about where Dollhouse is going storywise, saying it would be "a sometimes post-apocalyptic show."

Meaning, while he's not going to drop the future storyline to which "Epitaph One" introduces us, Dollhouse will still be Dollhouse. Meaning, more or less, we're going back to the kinds of episodes that dominated season one. Or, rather, the second half of season one... at least that's what I imagine.

That's not a bad thing, it's just... "I want to watch this show." Holy toe-tapping crap do I want that. And, as much as the show got better towards the second half of the season, I'm not sure how willing I'll be to go back to present day Dollhouse stuff and care much about whether or not Echo will wake up and and realize who she is while she fights crime or plays housewife or blahblahblah... Compared to this it just feels... tame .

Or maybe I'm wrong.

Joss said that "Epitaph One" would definitely be considered canon and that the writers won't backtrack and try to say that what we see in the episode isn't going to happen or can be changed... but he also said that the memory "flashbacks" (yes, I think it warrants quotes here) don't tell the whole story, and he's leaving the door open to potentially contradict what they tell us since they are, in fact, individual memories, and not objective truth about what happened and... hell, it's just really interesting.

One idea that I keep repeating in the hopes that some little birdy flies away with it to Joss's ear is that each season could end with an episode such as this, where we further the future story and get some nice little "reveal" nuggets about our main series characters... only to have those reveals proven or disproven by the following season. Assuming there are, you know, following seasons.

One thing's for sure: I haven't thought or cared about Dollhouse this much since I read the original unaired pilot.

In Joss We Trust.

Friday, July 24, 2009

The San Diego Comic-Con doesn't mean to keep hitting me, I just make it so angry...

Wednesday, 11:30pm: We arrive at our hotel...

Which is not a hotel. It is, in fact, a hostel-hotel, which really just means HOSTEL. Like, the Eli Roth kind. Okay, okay, there's a little less torture. So far.

But you think the website would clearly mention things like your room being smaller than a Cracker Jack box, a complete lack of air conditioning or garbage can in the room and oh, I almost forgot -- COMMUNITY BATHROOMS AND SHOWERS. Now, I liked college, and shower caddies and shoes have a place in my heart, but I wasn't planning on ever going back. Certainly not this weekend. But here I am.

Fine. Whatever. It's only four days.

Thursday, 8:45am: We get in line to register...

Except that there are three lines, all of which we're told are registation lines. They're all long, but we've been through this before. 20 minutes, max.

Ha. Ha. Ha.

Our line snaked around 17 different corners of the building (okay, 23 corners), each one of which looked like it could have been the end of the line. I repeat: Ha. Ha. Ha.

Finally, after walking a half mile (no, really), past the building, the parking lot, past the marina and the orchestra rehearsing there, and wrapping around the other side so that we couldn't even see the Convention Center, we came to the end of the line.

At this point I called our very nice marketing head who had offered me Thursday tickets just two days ago and whom I had run into at breakfast and left a voicemail begging for said tickets. Alas, it was not to be.

All of this would have been fine except that, an hour into our wait in line, I called a friend of mine who got into a different registration line after us... He was already inside, waiting for a panel. Buh-wuh?

Oh, wait, there's more. His line took 15 minutes. FIFTEEN MINUTES!!! And why did this occur? Because the ELITE Comic-Con staff (I'm not making fun of them, I swear, that's just what their shirts say) had neglected to cut off the line, despite the fact that people were literally WALKING RIGHT IN on the other lines. You know, as opposed to standing for two hours in the ever-warming sun. (Okay, I am making fun of them a little bit. I get that this is a tough job and people here can be dicks and there's, oh, 150,000 of us, but still... get it together.)

I won't even talk about their decision to have all the lines for the bigger panels outside this year.

But people seemed to love the Cloudy panel... and I got a Star Trek com badge/USB drive... okay, Comic-Con, I still love you.

You knew I couldn't quit you. I'll be better, I promise.

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Fury of Solace Con-ned

All of you Fury of Solace fans out there attending Comic-Con, keep your eyes peeled for some familiar faces...

Who knows, maybe they'll lead to some interesting revelations.

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

What we've been up to

I'm totally taking a page from Red Right Hand here, but sometimes it's fun.

Over the last six months, Jul and I have completed two new pilots, one a comedic sci-fi actioner, the other a historic comedic drama... about castration.

For your enjoyment and/or ridicule, here's a page or so from each (see if you can guess which is which!):


Three SUVs flank a semi as it speeds down an empty highway.


The DRIVER is nervous. His passenger, JOHN SAVAGE (mid-30s), a grizzled warrior in the Bruce Willis mold, pats his arm.

Relax. We're just a few miles away.
What we’re doing here is important.

Suddenly the rear SUV explodes upwards in a fireball.


Four HELMETED BIKERS dressed head-to-toe in leather and riding Ninja motorcycles burst through the fireball.

Savage pulls out a gun and slams in a clip.

Do not slow down.
We can’t let them get their hands on it.

Terrified, the Driver floors it.


GUNMEN fire from the two remaining SUVs. The Bikers dodge.

One SUV protects the rear of the truck; the other stops, then REVERSES INTO THE BIKERS. They SCATTER around it -- except for the largest, MUSCULAR BIKER -- CRUNCH! The SUV runs over both Biker and bike.


The Biker hangs on under the SUV Indiana Jones-style, somehow unhurt, plants a bomb, and lets go. BOOM!

Another Biker drops back to pick up the muscular one.


The Gunmen are wide-eyed, completely freaked out.

Who the hell are these guys?


The Bikers converge on the last SUV. Two Bikers ride close until their bikes CONNECT to form a DOUBLE BIKE. They pull alongside the SUV and the SMALLEST BIKER jumps onto the roof.


Immediately the Gunmen spray the roof with gunfire.

Got him that time.

One of the Gunmen opens his window to look out, and the Small Biker leans down and HEADBUTTS him back inside.


The Biker mimes blowing them a kiss, tosses something into the SUV and leaps onto the double bike. The Gunmen look down at the object, realize it's a bomb just before -- BOOM!


Savage sees the Bikers race up the driver's side of the semi.

Damn it.

He stands and heroically cocks the gun... then leaps out the cabin door and rolls into the bushes by the side of the road.

Hey?! But! You can't--!

TAP, TAP. The Driver turns to his window: one of the Bikers hangs on outside the door with a gun aimed at him.


Savage watches from the distant bushes as the Bikers tie up the Driver, take the semi, and ride off. He takes out a cell phone and dials:

We've got a problem.



The DIRECTOR stands in front of a throng of SINGERS in everyday clothes, as well as the great MARCHESI (30) in an elaborate gold costume. Marchesi slams down his headdress.

I will not sing this part. It is beneath me.

You’re Moses!

The man was a sheepherder who wore boring clothes
and tromped about in sandals. Sandals, for God’s sake!

He’s the messenger of God.
He freed the Israelites from the Pharaohs.

And then told them to honor Mother and Father
and stop lusting after their neighbors. Fine. Great.
But do I really need to sing an entire aria about his silly rules?

Silly rules? The Ten Commandments?

It’s boring, he’s boring. Can’t this Moses person
be doing something more exciting?
Why don’t we have him fight a dragon?

A dragon?!

Yes, we can replace the Commandments
with a daring sword fight!

Impossible! The Ten Commandments
are essential to Moses’ story!

Then I will not perform. We’ll see what’s essential.

He storms offstage. The Director slumps into a seat in the audience and shakes his head at the remaining Singers.

Apparently Marchesi won’t be joining us today.
Again. No matter.
It’s not like it’s important for the lead to rehearse!

Marchesi LAUGHS off screen, and the Director takes a deep, calming breath.

Do we at least have Consolino?

He had an... errand to complete.

The Director sighs and rubs his temples.

I'm sure he'll come soon.

The Singers chuckle.


LADY FARINA (20s), naked, gorgeous, MOANS as CONSOLINO (mid-20s), also naked, also gorgeous, pounds her into her headboard. As her moans crescendo, he thrusts a final time, YELLING, then collapses atop her.


Lady Farina lies in afterglow, grinning ear to ear.

Mmmm, that was wonderful.

Monday, July 20, 2009

Time Management?

Reader Ryan wants to know... you know what, I'll let him ask in his own words:

Hey, Josh. Hope everything is going well. I was hoping you could write a blog post to help those of us who have an issue with time management. As in, how do you find time outside of work to write your scripts, keep up with your shows, write blog posts for fledgling wannabes, etc.? Do you have some sort of efficient, meticulous calendar, or do you just wing it every day?

Now, what you don't know is that Ryan sent this to me in June. 4th. Which, some quick calculating will tell you, is almost two months ago.

Admittedly, when I read his email, I chuckled a bit and decided a question such as this is just begging to be put off -- you know, for comedy's sake -- but the joke is really on me, because I had meant to wait a few days before replying. Not, as was said above, two months.

Sorry, Ryan. I'm a dick.

But if you look at my posting patterns for most of this year, you'll begin to get an answer to your question: sometimes I have lots of time; other times, not so much.

However, that doesn't seem like a fair answer to your question, so here goes...

When my wife and I are in the middle of writing something, we often spend weekends -- and at least one night a week after work -- actually writing. We are able to do this because 1) we really enjoy writing, 2) we're a little obsessive, 3) we push each other, and 4) for the last year and a half, we've had deadlines -- we've been taking UCLA Extension classes that required us to turn in work on a weekly basis. Now that we're done... well, I think we'll be okay, but time will tell. The biggest positive I think we have going for us is that even before the classes, when we do get into a script, we're pretty damn good at keeping it going. The biggest negative? How to keep going when you're between scripts and/or get yourself back into the groove. As I said before, I think we'll be okay, but blahblahblah.

In terms of watching TV, aka keeping up with shows, we DVR everything and make sure to watch at least one show every night. Sometimes, we watch more than one. DVRing helps with this a lot, because you aren't tied to the shows' schedules and you save time by skipping commercials. We've also been doing a weekly Friday TV night with friends for the last year or so, which is a nice excuse to get three or four hours of shows off our DVR. As you can tell, we have a full life with lots of excitement and variety.

Blogging happens, for me, when two things occur. First is having time. That one largely depends on my job. If I'm busy, chances are it's not going to happen or the posts will be extremely short -- often even simply just links to other things I find interesting. Second, and perhaps more important, is actually wanting to post. Sometimes it's hard to make myself do it. Sometimes I just don't have anything to say.

What all of these things really come down to, of course, is discipline. In terms of blogging, I don't have as much as, say, Amanda. Or, dear god, Ken Levine.

But my lack of discipline here is also a choice. I know that I only have a certain amount of bandwidth, and I'm not talking about the internet. If I make it a rule that I will put up one post every day, something else will suffer. Or, more likely, the quality of the blog itself will suffer as I put up even more links to random crap just to make sure I meet that goal.

Instead, I choose to post when I feel like I have something to say, and otherwise leave well enough alone. This is not the best way to build an audience, but it does help to keep me sane, and it certainly doesn't hurt in helping me to find time to do the other things you mention. Things that, to me, are far more important in the grand scheme of, you know... things.

Friday, July 17, 2009

Animation World is Cloudy

My bosses sound smart and funny... what happened?

You're not reading this, are you guys?

(Also, this is not an official poster. I have no idea where it comes from, but I stole it from the Movie Poster Database... interesting.)

Last three days of Mastermind

Hey there, gang. A little while back I told you all about an amazing play my friend wrote and directed called Mastermind. If you've got the time, click here to read my giddy ramblings.

If not, here's a much shorter description I totally stole from the Facebook event page complete with info on where it's taking place and how to get tickets:

Mastermind, written by Michael Patrick Sullivan and directed by Susan Lee. A tale of love, villainy and bombs.

Starring Brad Wilcox and Beth Ricketson.

Six performances: July 10-12 and 17-19 Fridays and Saturdays @ 8PM, Sundays @ 2PM.

Email for reservations:

Online ticketing:

I cannot tell you how much I recommend getting out to see this. In fact, if I know you, I probably already have tried to tell you, and hopefully will see you there this Saturday.

Everyone I've talked to who has seen it gushes praise. Don't do yourself a disservice. Be there.

Thursday, July 16, 2009

A link to a blog about Emmy nominations that links you to the Emmy nominations


(Yeah, that's it. What, you didn't believe the title?)

Wednesday, July 15, 2009


So, I shouldn't be surprised by this, but Fury of Solace artist and good friend Evaun Wallington has a webpage with his work.

He's, um... good. And I suck for not knowing about about his page.

Anyway, check it out.

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Comic-Con Cometh (Sunday)

Last year (and maybe the year before, I don't remember) I posted aTV viewers' guide to Comic-Con... which basically means I went through the full schedule and pulled out all of the TV-related panels and did a nice little cut-and-paste job.

I'm talented, what can I say.

This year, however (as I previously reported), Kristen over at E! Online stole my bit and has been compiling her own TV list. Whatever, Kristen.

Now, I could just content myself with linking you to these other places that generally do a much better job than I do at this sort of thing, but this is a blog, which means there's got to be an inherent sense of "look at me! look at me!" to it.

Therefore I bring you:

Josh's San Diego Comic-Con 2009! Whee!

That's right, folks. It's a list of the panels I'm pretty sure I might be going to if I can actually do so... possibly including (lamenting?) panels that sound interesting but conflict with my A-number-1 choices.

What's great about this is three-fold:

1) You get a handy-dandy list of what are undoubtedly the best panels at Comic-Con, since I'm interested in them.
2) You get an insight into my brain and get to wonder why the Gossip Girl panel is on my list instead of Avatar (not true, merely a hilarious example of what could happen!)
3) You have the tools to stalk me!

Here we go!


This last day of Comic-Con is often a dead day. A day where little is going on. A day where people drive home. And since I am a people, that is likely what I will be doing. However, here are things I COULD go to if we decide to stick around longer this year.

10:30-11:30 The Art of Adapting Comics to the Screen— Jeff Goldsmith (senior editor for Creative Screenwriting magazine) examines the in-depth process of adapting comic books to the big screen with a stellar panel including David Hayter (Watchmen),Gregory Noveck (Sr. VP of creative affairs, DC Comics), and Josh Olson (A History of Violence). Room 5AB

This panel sounds interesting, and I always love hearing Josh Olson speak.

11:45-12:45 Supernatural Screening and Q&A— Supernatural stars Misha Collins (24) and Jim Beaver (Deadwood), creator/executive producer Eric Kripke (Boogeyman), and executive producers Ben Edlund (Angel) and Sera Gamble (Eyes) present an exclusive sneak peek at footage from the highly anticipated fifth season premiere of this thrill-ride series. They'll also answer questions and show a portion of the special features from the upcoming fourth season DVD release. Produced by Wonderland Sound and Vision in association with Warner Bros. Television, Supernaturenal airs Thursdays at 9:00 PM ET/PT on The CW, premiering September 10. Supernatural: The Complete Fourth Season will be released on DVD and Blu-ray Hi-Def September 1. Room 6BCF

I've never really gotten into Supernatural, but Ben Edlund is a golden god.

12:30-1:00 Overture Pictures: Paper Heart Despite professing a belief that she's incapable of love, comedian and actress Charlyne Yi finds herself falling for "Michael Cera," played by Michael Cera, in this intoxicating mix of documentary, improvisation, and romance. Charlyne Yi, producer/co-writer Nick Jasenovec, and co-star Jake Johnson will be onstage to show clips and pursue the ultimate question: Does true love really exist? Ballroom 20

This movie looks kind of awesome. That is all.

4:00-5:00 Buffy the Musical— Let's end this show with a bang! The powers that be behind Fandom Charities Inc. and present a screening of the Buffy the Vampire Slayer musical episode "Once More With Feeling" as Comic-Con 2009's big closing event! Many say this is the finest, funniest, most ingenious episode ever to come out of the Buffy-verse. But remember, the best part of the show is up to you! This episode was made for talkin'—back, that is—and singing and shouting and dancing in the aisles, with or without your dry cleaning! Audience participation: it isn't just forRocky Horror and mob riots anymore. For more details on the screening visit, then show up for music, singing, surprises and dancing crazy!Ballroom 20

There's just no better way to end your Comic-Con experience...

...except possibly by already being home.

Excelsior! Or something.

Monday, July 13, 2009

Episode 2 of Fury of Solace is up

In comic form.

Check it out!

Comic-Con Cometh (Saturday)

Last year (and maybe the year before, I don't remember) I posted aTV viewers' guide to Comic-Con... which basically means I went through the full schedule and pulled out all of the TV-related panels and did a nice little cut-and-paste job.

I'm talented, what can I say.

This year, however (as I previously reported), Kristen over at E! Online stole my bit and has been compiling her own TV list. Whatever, Kristen.

Now, I could just content myself with linking you to these other places that generally do a much better job than I do at this sort of thing, but this is a blog, which means there's got to be an inherent sense of "look at me! look at me!" to it.

Therefore I bring you:

Josh's San Diego Comic-Con 2009! Whee!

That's right, folks. It's a list of the panels I'm pretty sure I might be going to if I can actually do so... possibly including (lamenting?) panels that sound interesting but conflict with my A-number-1 choices.

What's great about this is three-fold:

1) You get a handy-dandy list of what are undoubtedly the best panels at Comic-Con, since I'm interested in them.
2) You get an insight into my brain and get to wonder why the Gossip Girl panel is on my list instead of Avatar (not true, merely a hilarious example of what could happen!)
3) You have the tools to stalk me!

Here we go!


10:00-11:00 Chuck Screening and Q&A— Chuck returns to Comic-Con! executive producers and co-creators Josh Schwartz (Gossip Girl) and Chris Fedak are joined by series stars Zachary Levi (upcoming Alvin and the Chipmunks ), Yvonne Strahovski (upcoming I Love You Too), Joshua Gomez (Without a Trace), Ryan McPartlin (Super Capers), Mark Christopher Lawrence ( The Pursuit of Happyness ), Vik Sahay ( This Is Wonderland ) , Scott Krinsky ( The O.C. ), Sarah Lancaster ( Everwood ) , and Adam Baldwin (Serenity) for a Q&A to discuss season three and screen an exclusive retrospective highlight reel. Plus, don't miss a special surprise from some of your favorite characters! Produced by College Hill Pictures, Wonderland Sound and Vision in association with Warner Bros. Television, Chuck airs Mondays at 8:00 PM ET/PT on NBC. Ballroom 20

I like Chuck.

11:00-12:00 Lost: The Final Season Begins, with Damon Lindelof and Carlton Cuse— In appreciation of all the fan support through five seasons of Lost,
co-creator/executive producer Damon Lindelof and executive producer Carlton Cuse will pay homage to all the fans at their final Comic-Con appearance for Lost. Questions will be answered. Fun will be had. And you won't want to miss the surprises in store for the audience! Hall H

Bleh. It will never happen, getting into Hall H from Ballroom 20 with no time in between. I suppose I'll have to choose... and line up early.

1:00-1:45 Futurama: Life or Death?!— Be a part of sci-fi history! Join executive producers Matt Groening and David X. Cohen, and stars Billy West, Katey Sagal, John DiMaggio, and Maurice LaMarche for high-stakes thrills as a top-ranking FOX executive decides live, on stage, whether Futurama will make yet another triumphant return or whether it is gone forever! The very fate of Futurama hangs in the balance! Paramedics will be standing by in case the intense excitement causes any panelists to collapse. Raucous celebration or abject despair to follow the news. Ballroom 20

I may or may not go to this, but... pretty awesome.

1:30-2:30 Miramax: Extract Mike Judge, the creator of such comedy classics as Office Space, Beavis and Butthead and King of the Hill is back with his latest film Extract starring Jason Bateman (Arrested Development), Mila Kunis (Forgetting Sarah Marshall), and Kristen Wiig (Saturday Night Live). Join Judge and his cast for a discussion and first look at scenes from their new film. Hall H

This is in Hall H? I mean, cool, but... wow. Methinks I may forego it and get into the sure-to-be long line for

2:45-3:45 V Pilot Screening and Q&A— Already one of the most talked-about new series of the upcoming television season, catch a special screening of the pilot episode of V, a re-imagining of the groundbreaking miniseries, followed by a Q&A with stars Elizabeth Mitchell (Lost), Morris Chestnut (The Cave), Joel GretschThe 4400), Morena Baccarin(Firefly), and Scott Wolf (Go), along with executive producers Scott Peters (The 4400), Jeffrey Bell (Alias), Steve PearlmanRelated) and Jace Hall (Chadam). From HDFilms in association with Warner Bros. Television, V will premiere midseason on the ABC Television Network. Ballroom 20

Futon Critic says the pilot's only s0-so, but damn if I'm not excited for it.

4:00-5:00 We Control The Vertical: Writing and Producing For Television— Some of TV's most talented writers and show runners discuss the writing and production of your favorite television shows, past and present, and share amusing anecdotes from the television trenches. Starring Dave SimkinsWarehouse 13, Blade: The TV Series, Dresden Files), Javier Grillo-MarxuachThe Middleman, Day One), Charles Murray (V, Criminal Minds, Castle), Sarah Watson (The Unknowns, Parenthood), Gabrielle Stanton (Vampire Diaries, Moonlight), Steve Kriozere (NCIS, Dead & Deader, V.I.P.), Steve Melching (The Clone Wars, The Batman), Matthew Federman (Human Target, Jericho), and Ashley E. Miller (Fringe, Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles). Moderated by Mark A. Altman (Free Enterprise, Castle). Room 8

Well, you know, I am a writer... but it does mean skipping Fringe, Iron Man 2, and Human Target, so... decisions, decisions...

5:15-6:15 True Blood Panel and Q&A session— Just as it seemed things were settling down in the backwoods Louisiana town of Bon Temps, deadly new twists and evil forces have begun to threaten Sookie Stackhouse and everyone around her. Mixing romance, suspense, mystery, and humor, True Blood kicked off its 12-episode second season on June 14 on HBO. The series, which earned a Golden Globe nomination for Best Television Series—Drama for its debut season, follows the romance between waitress Sookie Stackhouse (Anna Paquin, the X-Men films; Golden Globe-winner for True Blood season one; Oscar-winner for The Piano), who can hear people's thoughts, and her soul mate, 173-year-old vampire Bill Compton (Stephen Moyer, The Starter Wife). Alan Ball (creator of the Emmy-winning HBO series Six Feet Under) created and serves as executive producer of the series, which is based on the best-selling Sookie Stackhouse novels by Charlaine Harris. The series also features Nelsan Ellis (The Soloist) as Lafayette Reynolds, Rutina Wesley (How She Move) as Tara Thornton; Sam Trammell (Medium, Law & Order: Criminal Intent) as Sam Merlotte; Michelle Forbes (In Treatment, Battlestar Galactica) as Maryann Forrester; Alexander Skarsgård (Generation Kill) as Eric Northman and Deborah Ann Woll (The Mentalist) as Jessica Hamby. Moderated by Kate Hahn of TV Guide. Ballroom 20

5:15-6:45 Kevin Smith— Direct from New York City, where he's directing the new Warner Bros. film A Couple of Dicks starring Bruce Willis, Seann William Scott, and Tracy Morgan, Kevin Smith returns to the Hall H stage for his annual report to the masses. And remember: he flew in just for YOU. Hall H

Balls. I'll never get into either of these if I go to the TV Writers thing. Lame.

5:55-7:00 The Vampire Diaries Pilot Screening and Q&A— The Vampire Diaries stars Nina Dobrev (Degrassi: The Next Generation), Paul Wesley (Killer Movie), and Ian Somerhalder (Lost) appear with executive producer/writer Kevin Williamson (Scream), writer Julie Plec (Kyle XY), and executive producer Bob Levy (Gossip Girl), as the series makes its Comic-Con debut with a screening of the much-talked-about pilot, followed by a Q&A. This edgy and romantic new drama, in which two vampire brothers—one good, one evil—are at war for the soul of one girl, is based upon the bestselling book series of the same name. Lynette Rice of Entertainment Weekly moderates. From Bonanza Productions Inc., Outerbanks Entertainment and Alloy Entertainment in association with Warner Bros. Television and CBS Television Studios, The Vampire Diaries airs Thursdays at 8:00 PM ET/PT this fall on The CW, premiering September 10. Room 6BCF

I guess I could go to this if I DO decide to attend the writers' panel...

8:00-9:00 Showtime: Weeds If you are addicted to Weeds, this is the panel you don't want to miss! Find out everything you want to know with a Q&A and interview with the series creator and its stars! Featured panelists include Jenji Kohan (creator/executive producer), Hunter Parrish (Silas), Justin Kirk (Andy), and other cast members. Weeds airs on Mondays at 10:00 pm on Showtime. Indigo Ballroom / Hilton Bayfront

I don't know that I'll actually go to it, but... what's with the Weeds panel at 8pm? Weird.

8:30-12:15 Watchmen: Director's Cut—Live with Zack Snyder! Plus Sneak Peek of Batman: Arkham Asylum with Mark Hamill & Kevin Conroy—Watchmen: Director's Cut and a first-look panel for the breakout Warner Bros. Interactive Entertainment game Batman: Arkham Asylum. The festivities will open with a Batman: Arkham Asylum panel led by the benchmark voices of Batman and the Joker, Kevin Conroy (Batman: The Animated Series) and Mark Hamill (Star Wars), as well as award-winning writer Paul Dini B(atman: The Animated Series). Then Watchmen director Zack Snyder, legendary illustrator Dave Gibbons and actor Jackie Earle Haley discuss the nuances of the film's Director's Cut— which hit stores on July 21. And for the pièce de résistance, Snyder will host a BD Live Community event—providing a real-time, in-person director's commentary for Comic-Con attendees (and BD Live viewers at home) as the film rolls. Audience members will have the opportunity to ask questions of Snyder via computer kiosks within the room, making for an entirely interactive viewing experience. Room 6BCF

I think I'll be dead by this time, but extended Watchmen is hard to pass up.

Stay tuned for Sunday!

Sunday, July 12, 2009

Comic-Con Cometh (Friday)

Last year (and maybe the year before, I don't remember) I posted aTV viewers' guide to Comic-Con... which basically means I went through the full schedule and pulled out all of the TV-related panels and did a nice little cut-and-paste job.

I'm talented, what can I say.

This year, however (as I previously reported), Kristen over at E! Online stole my bit and has been compiling her own TV list. Whatever, Kristen.

Now, I could just content myself with linking you to these other places that generally do a much better job than I do at this sort of thing, but this is a blog, which means there's got to be an inherent sense of "look at me! look at me!" to it.

Therefore I bring you:

Josh's San Diego Comic-Con 2009! Whee!

That's right, folks. It's a list of the panels I'm pretty sure I might be going to if I can actually do so... possibly including (lamenting?) panels that sound interesting but conflict with my A-number-1 choices.

What's great about this is three-fold:

1) You get a handy-dandy list of what are undoubtedly the best panels at Comic-Con, since I'm interested in them.
2) You get an insight into my brain and get to wonder why the Gossip Girl panel is on my list instead of Avatar (not true, merely a hilarious example of what could happen!)
3) You have the tools to stalk me!

Here we go!


(Before we get started, you should know that Friday is Star Wars day. No, really.)

10:00-11:00 Batman: The Brave and the Bold Screening and Q&A— Gotham takes over San Diego as Diedrich Bader (Surf's Up), the voice of Batman, returns to Comic-Con alongside John DiMaggio (Futurama), the voice of Aquaman, and executive producer Sam Register (Teen Titans), producer James Tucker (Justice League Unlimited), producer and story editor Michael Jelenic (The Batman) and voice director Andrea Romano (Superman Doomsday). Fans can catch the world premiere screening of the upcoming "Mayhem of the Music Meister" episode—featuring the voice of Neil Patrick Harris (Dr. Horrible's Sing-Along Blog) as the Music Meister—and enjoy a lively discussion and Q&A with the show's dynamic creative team. From Warner Bros. Animation, Batman: The Brave and the Bold airs Fridays at 8:30 pm ET/PT on Cartoon Network. Batman: The Brave and the Bold Volume 1 will be released on DVD August 25.Room 6DE

Gotta admit I'm a little bit tempted by this. NPH in a musical Batman?

10:00-12:30 Warner Bros.— Join WB for a look at their much anticipated slate of upcoming genre films, including Where The Wild Things Are, The Book of Eli, A Nightmare on Elm Street, The Box, Jonah Hex, and Sherlock Holmes. Hall H

Unfortunately, it directly conflicts with this! Although, this is really long and probably conflicts with lots of other things...

10:30-11:30 Meet The Guild Come chat with the creators and performers from the hit online video series The Guild. Felicia Day (Codex), Vincent Caso (Bladezz), Jeff Lewis (Vork), Amy Okuda (Tinkerballa), Sandeep Parikh (Zaboo), and Robin Thorsen(Clara) talk about the series and answer questions from the audience. They'll also give attendees a sneak peek at Season 3 coming to Xbox LIVE this fall, plus a bonus Comic-Con exclusive video! Room 5AB

Like this, which some friends have worked on...

11:30-12:30 AMC: The Prisoner Jim Caviezel (The Passion of the Christ), Jamie Campbell-Bower (Sweeney Todd, The Twilight Saga: New Moon), Lennie James (Jericho), writer Bill Gallagher, and Vlad Wolynetz (VP, production, series & movies for AMC) discuss the making of AMC's miniseries The Prisoner, a re-imagining of the 1960s cult classic by the late Patrick McGoohan, premiering in November on AMC. Join Jim, Jamie, Lennie, Bill and Vlad for a one-on-one Q&A session and an official sneak preview of the six-part mini-series The Prisoner. Room 6BCF

And this, which is going to be difficult to pass up even without McKellen in attendance.

11:45-12:45 FlashForward Be among the first to see exclusive, never-before-seen footage and scenes from upcoming episodes of ABC's new show FlashForwardpresented by David S. Goyer (Batman Begins), Brannon Braga (24), and Marc Guggenheim (Eli Stone). Joining them on the panel are cast members including Joseph Fiennes (Shakespeare in Love) and John Cho (Star Trek). And look for a surprise guest that you won't want to miss! Room 6A

Oy. So much happening at once. Maybe go to a bit of the WB thing and then cut into this... if possible. I'll have to scope out the line, because I think this might just be the winner.

12:45-1:45 Spartacus: Blood and Sand The world of gladiators comes to life as the Roman Republic's most brutal fighters clash in the ultimate arena. Lucy Lawless(Xena: Warrior Princess, Battlestar Galactica) introduces star Andy Whitfield, along with actor Peter Mensah (300, Avatar) and executive producers Rob Tapert (Evil Dead 1-2,Drag Me to Hell) and Steven S. DeKnight (Angel, Buffy the Vampire Slayer). They will discuss the fresh narrative approach to the ancient legend and offer exclusive first look footage, which utilizes virtual environments to give the show a unique graphic novel look and style. Debuting exclusively on Starz in January 2010. Room 6BCF

Don't know if I'll be able to get in if I'm in the Flash Forward panel right before this, but I have to admit I'm curious.

2:30-3:30 Focus Features: 9 Focus Features and Comic-Con present an exclusive look inside director Shane Acker's animated fantasy epic 9, the feature-length expansion of his short film of the same name. Directors Tim Burton and Timur Bekmambetov are among the feature version's producers. The action-packed adventure—opening nationwide 9/9/09—takes place after our world fell to pieces, when a group of "stitchpunk" creations must summon individual strengths well beyond their own proportions. While showcasing a stunning steampunk-styled visual brilliance, 9dynamically explores the will to live, the power of community, and how one soul can change the world. Join Shane Acker, Tim Burton, Timur Bekmambetov, and actorsElijah Wood and Jennifer Connelly LIVE for this panel presentation! Hall H

It just looks awesome.

4:00-5:15 Dollhouse Join Dollhouse creator Joss Whedon and star/producer Eliza Dushku for a no-holds-barred Q & A about what they have planned for season 2, after they unveil a special screening of the never-before-seen "Epitaph One" episode of the Fox hit, which releases on DVD just four days later. Ballroom 20

I had Legion and District 9 here, but... well, it's Joss. This one's debatable, since Jul will definitely be stalking Joss all weekend, and maybe it would be wiser to split up and cover more ground... dunno. Also, note that The Mighty Boosh panel starts at 4:45, because Boosh is the awesome.

5:15-6:00 Joss Whedon— After the Dollhouse presentation, stick around for 45 minutes of information and Q&A with Joss Whedon about his upcoming Dark Horse Comics projects! Ballroom 20

Well, I'll probably already be there...

6:15-7:15 TV Guide Magazine: Sci Fi Hot List— TV Guide magazine takes an in-depth look at some of the most buzzed-about new and returning TV series, featuring the hottest talent from in front of the camera and behind the scenes. TV Guide executive editor Craig Tomashoff moderates this panel that offers the inside scoop, along with special surprises. Scheduled participants include Johnny Galecki (The Big Bang Theory),Zachary Levi (Chuck), Jim Parsons (The Big Bang Theory), Scott Peters (executive producer, V), Rebecca Romijn (Eastwick), Kevin Williamson (executive producer, The Vampire Diaries), Scott Wolf (V), John Cho (Flash Forward), Marc Guggenheim (producer,Flash Forward), Allison DuBois (the real person behind Medium), and others.Ballroom 20

Hmm, same room as Whedon. Well, now I'm staying.

7:15-8:15 RiffTrax Live— Michael J. Nelson, Kevin Murphy and Bill, Mystery Science Theater 3000) perform a live, hilarious riff to a classic short! The panel is hosted by Veronica Belmont (host of Tekzilla on Revision3 and Qore on the PlayStation Network). Join the gang for fun, laughs, and the latest news from, the site where MST3K-style humor meets mainstream movies, TV shows, and vintage shorts! At they don't make movies, they make them funny! Room 6DE

Maybe. But dinner will probably happen instead.

Stay tuned for Saturday!

Saturday, July 11, 2009

Comic-Con Cometh (Thursday)

Last year (and maybe the year before, I don't remember) I posted a TV viewers' guide to Comic-Con... which basically means I went through the full schedule and pulled out all of the TV-related panels and did a nice little cut-and-paste job.

I'm talented, what can I say.

This year, however (as I previously reported), Kristen over at E! Online stole my bit and has been compiling her own TV list. Whatever, Kristen.

Now, I could just content myself with linking you to these other places that generally do a much better job than I do at this sort of thing, but this is a blog, which means there's got to be an inherent sense of "look at me! look at me!" to it.

Therefore I bring you:

Josh's San Diego Comic-Con 2009! Whee!

That's right, folks. It's a list of the panels I'm pretty sure I might be going to if I can actually do so... possibly including (lamenting?) panels that sound interesting but conflict with my A-number-1 choices.

What's great about this is three-fold:

1) You get a handy-dandy list of what are undoubtedly the best panels at Comic-Con, since I'm interested in them.
2) You get an insight into my brain and get to wonder why the Gossip Girl panel is on my list instead of Avatar (not true, merely a hilarious example of what could happen!)
3) You have the tools to stalk me!

Here we go!


10:15-11:15 Summit Entertainment: Astro Boy A superhero origin story set in a futuristic world, Astro Boy is an all-new CG-animated feature film based on the classic manga about a young robot with incredible powers and his adventure-filled journey in search of his identity and destiny. Director David Bowers, producer Maryanne Grager, and stars Freddie Highmore (Astro) and Kristen Bell (Cora) debut footage exclusive to Comic-Con 2009 and answer your questions about bringing this beloved hero to the big screen. Room 6BCF

This is called scoping out the competition, since our movie opens only a month earlier.

11:00-12:30 Disney: 3D Panel— Walt Disney Pictures presents key filmmakers, select cast members and previously unseen footage from its upcoming slate, includingDisney’s A Christmas Carol, Alice In Wonderland and Tron. Special guests include Robert Zemeckis, Tim Burton, Sean Bailey, Steve Lisberger, and moderator Patton Oswalt.Hall H

Yes, I do want to see footage from Alice. I really, really do.

12:45-1:30 3D Showcase: Cloudy With a Chance of Meatballs, The Hole, The Final Destination Get a first look at 3 brand new films in stunning 3D! First up, it's Columbia Pictures and Sony Animation'sCloudy With a Chance of Meatballs, inspired by the classic children's book, the film focuses on a town where food begins to fall from the sky like rain. See an extended 3D clip from this eagerly awaited animated film!

Next up, legendary director Joe Dante (Gremlins 1 & 2, Innerspace, Explorers, The Howling) makes his return to the genre he knows best with the 3D thrillerThe Hole. Three kids come face to face with their darkest fears after they unlock a bottomless hole in the basement that makes their nightmares come to life. Join Dante—along with actress Haley Bennett (The Haunting of Molly Hartley)—as he discusses his return to thrillers, working in 3D, and The Hole.

And finally, it's The Final Destination, the new film in the popular series from Warner Bros. See an exclusive clip in 3D, from the upcoming film.Hall H

Hmm. Not sure why I want to see this one.

2:00-3:00 Sony Pictures Animation: Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs In 2009, Columbia Pictures' and Sony Pictures Animation's Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs will be the most delicious event since macaroni met cheese. Inspired by the classic children's book, the film focuses on a town where food begins to fall from the sky like rain. Bill Hader (Saturday Night Live, Night at the Museum: Battle of the Smithsonian) is the voice of Flint Lockwood, a young inventor who dreams of creating something that will improve everyone's life. Anna Faris (The House Bunny) takes on the role of Sam Sparks, a weathergirl covering the phenomenon who hides her intelligence behind a perky exterior. James Caan plays Tim Lockwood, Flint's technophobic father. SNL's Andy Samberg plays Brent, the town bully who has plagued Flint since childhood. Bruce Campbell plays Mayor Shelbourne, who figures out that Flint's invention can put the town, and more importantly himself, on the map, and Mr. T plays the by-the-rules town cop, Earl Devereaux. Bobb'e J. Thompson (Role Models) is Carl Devereaux, Earl's son. Appearing in person: Anna Faris, Bill Hader, Andy Samberg, Bobb'e J. Thompson, and directors Chris Miller and Phil Lord. Room 6BCF


3:00-4:15 20th Century Fox and James Cameron present Avatar In this first public screening of footage in 3D from his much-anticipated action/adventure/fantasy, James Cameron, producer Jon Landau, and cast members take you to a spectacular new world beyond imagination. Conceived 14 years ago and over four years in the making, Avatarbreaks new ground in delivering a fully immersive, emotional story and reinvents the movie-going experience. Hall H

Here's where things start to get a little hairy. I probably won't get into Avatar unless I stay in Hall H all day, but if I do that, I miss the all-important previous panel. Conundrum.

4:30-5:15 Terry Gilliam's The Imaginarium of Dr ParnassusCelebrating the 40th Anniversary of both Comic-Con and Monty Python, we welcome the sole American Python, the great animator and director Terry Gilliam (Time Bandits, Brazil, 12 Monkeys) to introduce you to his new film starring Christopher Plummer, Johnny Depp, Heath Ledger, Colin Farrell, Jude Law, Verne Troyer, Tom Waits, and Lily Cole. Dr. Parnassus is a fabulous anachronism, touring the streets of modern-day London in a horse-drawn carnival wagon accompanied by his beautiful daughter, devoted dwarf, and neophyte barker. On stage Parnassus plays a holy man whose Imaginarium can realize the innermost fantasies of all who dare to enter. Backstage, he is a drunkard, a gambler who centuries ago lost a wager with the Devil and must now pony up with his daughter once she turns sixteen. Tomorrow. Yet, there may still be hope for the Doctor and Valentina in the person of Tony, a well-dressed amnesic they rescue from a perilous fate and invite into their world of unrelenting magic and possibility. Hall H

Mmm. Gilliam. Damn you Hall H!

5:00-6:00 Showtime: Dexter Calling all Dexter fans! If you're a Dexter fanatic and can't wait for the new season, you don't want to miss this killer panel! Moderator Ralph Garman (KROQ Entertainment Reporter) presides over a revealing interview and Q&A session with the stars and executive producers of Dexter. Plus, get an exclusive first look at clips from the new season! Featured panelists include series star/executive producer Michael C. Hall (Dexter), Julie Benz (Rita), Jennifer Carpenter (Deb), and executive producers John Goldwyn, Sara Colleton, Clyde Phillips, and Melissa Rosenberg. The new season premieres September 27 at 9:00 PM EST/PST only on Showtime! Ballroom 20

Well, this will be a nice alternative to Gilliam depending on the Hall H situation...

8:00-10:00 Dr. Horrible's Sing-along Blog The California Browncoats host a screening of the original three acts, followed immediately by Commentary! The Musical. See why Joss Whedon's (Dollhouse, Buffy the Vampire Slayer) first foray into webisodic "television" was the talk of the town with critics and fans alike in 2008. Be prepared for a night of singing and surprises hosted by the fans who know what you like best. Dr. Horrible stars Neil Patrick Harris (How I Met Your Mother), Nathan Fillion (Castle, Firefly), and Felicia Day (The Guild) and is written by Joss Whedon, Jed Whedon (Dollhouse), Zack Whedon (Fringe), and Maurissa Tancharoen (Dollhouse). Room 6A

This one's a maybe, but, you know, it's Whedon.

Stay tuned for Friday's schedule...