Not-So-Funny Videos

Me blabbing off about Comic-Con

So here’s that stuff I teased about on Monday.

The big news is that I am now blogging at Comic Book Resources’ Robot 6. I’ll be doing a weekly piece on whatever big goings-on are going on in the world of comic books. CBR is one of the biggest comics news sites and Robot 6 is one of the best comics blogs, so it’s really exciting for me to be joining their team. In my debut I challenge the notion of who should be going to Comic-Con and why they can’t, along with offering up some solutions and alternatives. Check out the comments too, as there are some good thoughts. Cartoonist Dave Roman offers up an interesting suggestion that really deserves to be explored.

Then I gave Four Tips for Beginners in the following Navigate the Arts interview conducted by Cindy Marie Jenkins:

We also recorded other interview segments on a number of comics-related topics, which will get posted in the near future. I’ll be sure to post them here as they hit the inter-webs, so I can be mortified anew. It’s amazing how uncomfortable I am being myself on-camera and seeing it back. I think Stephen Colbert has the right idea – play a ridiculous fictional character to directly address factual content and the real world. But anyway, Cindy and I had some great conversations.

I’ll be taking Amtrak’s Pacific Surfliner down to Comic-Con for the day tomorrow. If you’re going to be there, let’s meet up! Message me on Facebook, Twitter, or email me.

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The Night Before now online

This moving short film was written by my friend James Cole. His screenplay was inspired by his own childhood with too many hospital visits. Since it’s award-winning film festival run in 2003, the 20-minute film has been used to train nurse practitioners for pediatric services and has screened at medical charity conferences. The Night Before was directed by Jay Holben.

Jim and I lived in the same apartment building in Burbank when my wife and I first moved to Los Angeles. The building was eventually bought up by a studio, which eventually kicked everyone out, renovated the building (painted it a really ugly yellow) and now use it for temporary studio housing. Jim was one of the first people we met and got to know in LA and he has always been so kind to us. It was really inspiring to see his wonderful script get turned into this beautiful short film.

The Starmind Record puts dramatic twist on improv and aliens

I have a guest appearance in episode 6 of The Starmind Record.

Web-series tend to be short comedies. Performance improv tends to be comedic. So this project is a bit unusual: a dramatic web-series improvised around outlines and a mythology written and created by writer/director Tennyson Stead of 8 Sided Films. And to add another level, the show utilizes compelling mysteries that reminds me of the addictive narrative that drew in fans of shows like Lost. It was a great experience to work my improv muscles in a new way, more focused and goal-oriented for a dramatic scene, and more subtle for a camera.

Because of the serialized nature of the show, it’s probably best to watch the episodes leading up to the one above. They’re each about 10 minutes long and are building a cool mystery around a possible alien visitor found by two documentarians played by Gerard Marzilli and Charlotte Gallagher. Matthew McCallum plays the mysterious Dean. This episode also features Shanna Beauchamp, Lisa Russey and Cesar Ramos

Here are the previous episodes:

Video of Dig Comics Q&A panel from Comic-Con

The illegal bootlegger and hardened criminal DaneInLA has posted two more videos to his YouTube account. The two videos capture the entire Q&A panel that immediately followed the screening of Dig Comics at Comic-Con International: Independent Film Festival this past weekend.

So now thanks to modern technology, it’s almost like you were there! Except with poor sound quality and a small yet erratic earthquake no one else but you seems to notice.

The panel consisted of Miguel Cima (host/writer/director), Scott Shaw! (animator and interviewee) and myself (associate producer). Also seen is producer and editor Dirk Van Fleet.

And in case you missed it, here’s the introduction from the panel with a special appearance by Edward James Olmos:

Edward James Olmos makes special appearance at Dig Comics screening

The screening of Dig Comics was a big success! Thank you to everyone who attended!

We had a special surprise for those that made it*. Edward James Olmos helped us introduce the film. Our friend and audience member Dane Hill was there with his fancy flip camera to record the excitement. So here’s some endorsed bootleg video for you:

If you haven’t heard, Edward James Olmos’ Olmos Productions is partnering with us to expand this into a long-form piece. So, his appearance wasn’t entirely random.

In case you’re among the few that have never heard of him, Edward James Olmos is mostly known for being an incredible actor. Most people know him either from the recent “Battlestar Galactica” TV series on the Sci-Fi Channel or from the classic Blade Runner movie. He’s been nothing but immensely supportive and enthusiastic about Miguel Cima (our host/creator of Dig Comics) and our work.

More about Dig Comics.

*Well, OK we ended up having 2 surprises. Stan Lee (spokesman for Marvel Comics and co-creator of Spider-Man) strolled by with a huge mob behind him just minutes before our start time.

Why Chornobyl?

On April 26, 1986, the Chernobyl Nuclear Power Plant had a little oopsie.

Four hundred times the radioactivity that was dropped on Hiroshima exploded less than 2 miles south of Pripyat, a city of 50,000 people. So, imagine Biloxi, Mississippi. Or Ames, Iowa. Or Sheboygan, Wisconsin*. 36 hours later, the city was evacuated. So was Chernobyl, located 9 miles south. So was every village and town within a 19-mile radius.

Ten years following the disaster, author Svetlana Aleksievich conducted a series of interviews with survivors and published it as Voices From Chernobyl.

Nearly ten years after that, director Cindy Marie Jenkins began adapting the book for the stage. Last year, I served as associate producer for a demo of her adaptation Voices From Chornobyl, which has been used to promote a series of anniversary readings this month to commemorate the anniversary of the Chernobyl Disaster.

Earlier this year, Cindy and several of her amazing actors (Aaron Lyons,  Enci, Kappa Victoria Wood, and Shawn MacAulay) were interviewed to explain “Why Chornobyl”. I had nothing to do with this project (although I suppose I was at an early meeting where we discussed having something like this made, so sure, I’ll take credit for it, thanks!), but I think it’s a great companion to what I worked on and is an excellent reminder of why something that happened over 20 years ago is still worthy of our attention. Lysandra Petersson created the following:

During the month of April, the rights to perform the play Voices From Chornobyl are free to anyone who donates at least 75% of their proceeds to a Chornobyl Charity. See the VFC site for more details.

* Yes, I snuck in Sheboygan, one of my favorite goofy words, into something that’s supposed to be serious. I am a disrespectful and heartless punk.

I want you to Dig Comics

“When most people think of comic books, they think of a bunch of lowbrow entertainment for duller minds. Fact is, this art form is the most exciting and vibrant medium happening now. And don’t think just superheroes. Any genre you may fancy – comedy, horror, drama, documentary, the surreal, spiritual, historical, political – anything you want is out there being created by a community of incredibly talented and underappreciated writers and artists. Check out what you’ve been missing!” – DigComics.com

Dig Comics is a documentary about one man’s quest to get America to Dig Comics! (Heck, even if you’re outside of America, he wants you to Dig Comics!) We talked to people on the street to see why they didn’t read comics and to see if we could get them interested. We talked to comic book creators like Jeph Loeb (A Superman For All Seasons, “Heroes,” “Lost”), Dame Darcy (Meatcake) and Scott Shaw! (Captain Carrot and the Zoo Crew, “Flintstones”) and retailers to find out what went wrong with an American art form that was all the rage in the 1940s and then nearly vanished, to see if there’s a chance for it to thrive again today. 

Above is the trailer for the documentary. I served as associate producer. It includes fun animation by Scott Shaw! and Russell Calabrese. We’re looking to spread the word about this documentary and about comics in general. We want to see if we can get you to Dig Comics!