Thursday, December 27, 2007

I Miss Letters Pages...

The fine folks at Titan Publishing in the U.K. have been reprinting a bunch of recent DC material in neat packages, comic-book sized but with more pages than U.S. "floppies" and with really cool cardstock covers. My recent run on the SUPERMAN/BATMAN series is currently being reprinted in "DC Universe Presents", where, with the most recent issue (#4), Titan is including a good, old-fashioned letters page.

DC in the U.S. killed their letters pages a few years back, reasoning that fans are interacting aplenty on the internet (and, I suspect, the time it took to assemble the pages was just one responsibility too many in a busy editorial schedule), but bandying opinion back and forth on a message board just not the same as seeing your name in cold print in your favorite book.

When I was a kid, I had letters published in several comics, including X-MEN (first series, of course), RAWHIDE KID, PHANTOM STRANGER, GREEN LANTERN and others. For someone with aspiritions toward professional writing, these "appearances" were a real thrill. And when I was running my own letters pages (for THE AMERICAN, mostly), it was usually fun to go through the mail and see what people had to say. (Note that caveat, "usually.") E-mail has pretty much put an end to pen and ink letters, but not the sense of investment that came from seeing your name or other fans "up in lights" and discussing their favorite books.

Anyway, kudos to Titan for bringing back the letters page!

WGA Strike - Day 53

Check the url below for some interesting financial analysis of the WGA/AMPTP standoff from the number crunchers at Bear Stearns. Bottom line; even if the AMPTP gave the WGA everything currently on the table, the effect on corporate "bottom lines" would be negligible. And yet the WGA's being assailed as the spittle-flecked bomb-throwers out to destroy Hollywood. Hmm. I think a rewrite may be required on that particular (bad) script...

Wednesday, December 26, 2007

EVIL DEAD The Comic #1 - Friday Jan. 4!!

It's been four years (!) in the making, but it's finally coming out! Because of the New Year's holiday, comic book shops are getting new books on Friday Jan. 4 next week, and that is when Ash and friends will be ready to CHILL YOU TO THE BONE. Or something like that. Solicitation material below:

Artist John Bolton returns this January with his adapatation of Evil Dead in a four issue comic book series written by Mark Verheiden.

"We're gonna get you! We're gonna get you!"

Verheiden and Bolton present an exciting expansion on the classic horror film that introduced us to the powerful Book of the Dead, the relentlessly violent deadites, and Ash -- one resilient, blood-stained survivor. Now an iconic horror hero, relive Ash's first visit to the cabin that brought him face to face with the delectably deranged deadites who possessed his girlfriend and friends . . . and turned "the perfect place to get laid" into a house of fear and fury. Return to the original nonstop gore-fest and experience the thrills, gags, and gagging anew, with unexpected new directions, additional scenes, and Bolton's jaw-dropping new paintings.

32 pages, $2.99, in stores on Jan. 4! The first of four glorious issues!

WGA Strike - Days 51, 52

Nikke Finke's dour words of warning on Christmas Eve were moderated by my friend Mark Evanier's more moderate commentary, so Christmas was celebrated with a smile after all. As Mark often points out, it is in the AMPTP's interest to claim they're ready to write off this TV season, the next TV season, the 2009 movie schedule and whatever else puts the fear of God into the WGA. Click on the appropriate links at the right for all the conflicting info...

Tip of the hat to Mick Betancourt, strike Captain of the Barham Gate Strikers, who welcomed his daughter "Untitled" to the world on Christmas Day. (Mick and his lovely wife are still trying on names for the youngun'.)

Tuesday, December 25, 2007

SKIDOO Alert - Don't Miss This Movie!

It really IS Christmas! I've written about the miracle that is "Skidoo" The Movie before, but now you can actually see it! TiVo it! Watch again and again and again and...

This never-released-on-DVD and rarely screened epic is going to break in 2008 big time with a one time showing on Turner Classic Movies. 2:00AM, Jan 4.

Otto Preminger directs. Groucho Marx plays "God." Carol Channing does a strip tease. Jackie Gleason takes acid and fantasizes about Mickey Rooney (!). The Turner people make a brave attempt to write a synopsis, but this is one movie that has to be seen to be believed.

All the info is at:

Monday, December 24, 2007

WGA Strike - Days 48, 49, 50

An unfortunate landmark in this standoff, it's now been 50 days since the AMPTP walked out on negotiations (the first time) and the strike commenced. I doubt there will be much action during the holidays, but I intend to continue the day by day count. Here's hoping negotiations resume soon...

But this headline from today's Nikke Finke column doesn't offer much cheer...

Permission to be grumpy on Christmas, granted.

Early Christmas Present

If you love live music, the word "free" and the idea of not stealing illegal downloads, then check out this site. Hundreds of live shows from hundreds of bands, and according to the site it's all legal and approved by the performers. Thanks and a tip of the hat to for the heads up...

I'm just starting to poke around, but the 3/6/94 Wheeler Opera House show by Warren Zevon is pretty amazing, and there are a couple of fantastic Was (Not Was) shows...

Saturday, December 22, 2007

BLADERUNNER The Briefcase of DVDs

That makes two fancy "briefcase" DVD sets in the last month (between this and the MAN FROM U.N.C.L.E. collection)... what next, the complete SUPERMAN series packed in a phone booth?

At any rate, this latest 5 DVD BLADERUNNER release offers what one would hope is the final, absolute, definitive director's cut of the film in uber-quality, along with all the previous cuts (including the original release with narration) and, most interestingly to fans, a 3 1/2 hour long documentary on the making of the movie. This exhaustive study has new interviews with director Ridley Scott, writers Hampton Fancher and David Peoples, actors Harrison Ford, Daryl Hannah, Edward James Olmos, Rutger Hauer and many others, and a host of behind-the-scenes folks. This is not a sanitized "everyone loved one another" piece; the on-set and post-production tensions are fully explored, as well as many details of set design and special FX.

There are some great finds, including screen tests (with actor Morgan Paull playing the Harrison Ford character against multiple actresses vying for the role Sean Young eventually landed), cut scenes and outtakes. But mostly it's a textbook look at the stresses and problems involved in doing an epic, expensive, visionary piece of work. If you're looking for a gift for the Replicant in your life, you can't go wrong here!

Mary McDonnell Talks BSG...

Courtesy a link from

A lengthy and fascinating interview with Mary (President Roslin) McDonnell, touching on many things Battlestar. No spoilers, but some teasing about what we were up to when the writer's strike hit. Read the interview at:

Friday, December 21, 2007

The Beatles Sing Stairway To Heaven?

Or a reasonable facsimile thereof... part of a series of Stairway/Zep tributes done in Australia in the mid 90's.

WGA Strike - Days 45, 46, 47

As we approach Christmas week, there's still no real public progress on resuming talks. Rumors abound about an AMPTP "February strategy" (see Mark Evanier's blog for more), which doesn't exactly bring tidings of comfort and joy to all those currently out of work.

And the propaganda war continues, especially the charge that WGA members are all so rich that this strike is little more than a welcome, extended vacation for the membership. I'm sure the folks applying for emergency loans, in fear of losing their homes or apartments, appreciate this characterization. It's an especially interesting charge given that it's being promulgated by several enormous multi-national corporations whose CEOs make millions. I don't think you have to be Milton Friedman to understand that the conglomerates are the ones with the deep pockets here, not the writers. Or to remember that it was the AMPTP that walked away from the negotiating table twice now, not the WGA team.

Strange thing is, I don't "hate" the studios or the CEOs... or anyone, actually. I've worked with too many great people on the other side of the table to go there. So I watch all this transpire with something more akin to sadness than rage. Sadness that we've come to a place where charges and counter-charges have to be lobbed in the first place...

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

BATTLESTAR GALACTICA - Popcandy says #2!!

Unlike my now deleted mistake re: TIME'S Ten Best List (I accidentally took the 2006 list for 2007), this one IS 2007. USA TODAY and Popcandy! We're #2! Yippee!

MY NAME IS BRUCE - Poster Art!!

You can feel the interest building... the passion... the majesty of Mr. Bruce Campbell. Check out some possible poster art at:

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

WGA Strike - Days 42, 43, 44

Day 43 (Monday) was a busy day. It started with another successful picketing session at the Barham Gate at Universal. Our favorite parking patrolman was there (seriously, the police who have been assigned our gate have all been helpful and protective), spirits were up, and Chase Masterson (hi Chase! Thanks for reading my blog!), Mary McDonnell and several wonderful BATTLESTAR fans made appearances along with valuable donut/bagel/coffee contributions.

There were at least two location pickets during the day, which seem to be making a real financial dent against whatever's still out there shooting.

And finally, Monday night there was a major membership meeting at the Santa Monica Civic to discuss the current state of affairs re: the strike and the future. There seems to be a fixation by some of the press to focus on WGA dissenters, but the closest thing I heard to "dissent" was the guy politely suggesting a change in negotiators, and even that was met with strenuous and vocal disapproval from the assembly. I left before every question had been asked and answered, but if people were wavering or demanding the guild capitulate, I sure wasn't hearing it. What we did hear was that it's very difficult to "negotiate" with a group that resorts to bullying tactics and ham-fisted P.R. offenses instead of anything resembling a good-faith discussion.

There is also continued bewilderment among some over the fact, verified by the major advertising agencies, that the studios would rather lose a billion (with a "b") dollars in advertising losses/give-backs AND simultaneously destroy two television seasons, than negotiate over the modest proposals on the table from the WGA. And the AMPTP keeps saying OUR leaders are crazy?

It was also great to hear from Alan Rosenberg, the President of SAG... if you think the WGA is cranky, wait until 100,000+ SAG members decide to hit the bricks if this mess isn't resolved by next June. Of course we all hope things are resolved well before that...

Saturday, December 15, 2007

WGA Strike - Day 41

More activity on the strike front, including the WGA's decision to push to negotiate with each individual studio as opposed to the monolithic AMPTP. Be interesting to see if this gets any traction (seems unlikely, at least at the moment), but as always, Mark Evanier has an eloquent and interesting take on the siutation at his site.

MORE Live Crowded House?!!

Long time readers are unfortunately familiar with my Crowded House obsession, which neither strike nor sleet nor dark of night has diminished. Neil Finn and crew released 28 (!) live shows from their 2007 U.S. tour, all still available from those fine folks at, and now there are five more live gigs up for grabs, this time from the Euro legs of their tour. One set has already sold out (Wembley) and these are strictly limited to 1500 copies, so the obsessed must move fast. Check it out at:

These guys also have a pretty great live Gang Of Four show from 2005, worth checking out as well!

Amazon, Ain't It Cool News, Cheap DVDs

I'm not sure how long it will be going on, but Amazon has been putting some interesting DVD sets on sale recently, in one day "Gold Star" events that are actually pretty good. Yesterday I picked up all three seasons of ARRESTED DEVELOPMENT for the total price of $29.99. This morning (Saturday), they're offering both seasons of ROME for $59.99. (Retail for both was $200.00). The TV reviewer at, Hercules, spots these sales and gives a heads up when he can, but again the sales are for one day only or until supplies run out... they sold out of the ARRESTED sets around Noon. More ways to spend your money!

Friday, December 14, 2007

MY NAME IS BRUCE - The Trailer!

Years in the making! No, not the trailer, the epic adventure everyone has been demanding! Yes, Bruce (EVIL DEAD, BURN NOTICE, BUBBA HO-TEP) Campbell IS "MY NAME IS BRUCE." Or something like that. Written by yours truly, directed by Mr. Campbell, produced by Dark Horse Indie.

And now, the first trailer has finally been posted on-line! So here you go. Bruce. Guan-Di. "You wanna move that hand?" Ted Raimi. "Hooch for the pooch!" Watch, then prepare yourself for the full experience SUMMER 2008!


How about some good news for a change? Nice photo of Grace, Lucy and Tricia too!

WGA Strike - Days 39, 40

Day 39 picketing was a change of pace, as the BSG contingent took a later shift so we could congregate for lunch with Chicago Tribune columnist Maureen Ryan. We were joined on the picket line by Kate (Ellen Tigh) Vernon and Chase Masterson and a whole bunch of great Law And Order SVU writers and other WGA/SAG folks. At the end of the picket we were given an update on negotiations by Neal Baer from the negotiating committee, but even he didn't spill the latest development, which was the WGA filing unfair negotiating charges against the AMPTP. Details of that situation are available in depth at Nikke Finke's Deadline Hollywood site (see my sidebar for the url) and at the United Hollywood site. Interesting times, indeed...

Thursday, December 13, 2007

Man From U.N.C.L.E. - 41 DVDS!

It was one of my favorite shows when I was kid, so it was a no-brainer when Time-Life announced this nifty MAN FROM U.N.C.L.E. collection -- all four seasons + the unaired original pilot ("Solo") plus all sorts of extras. All packed in a cool attache case with the U.N.C.L.E. emblem front and center.

Just goes to show, tastes DO evolve, and the stuff eight-year-old Mark loved comes off just a bit silly today. Well, more than a bit. In a way, these U.N.C.L.E. shows are like silver age DC comics come to life. There are adventures with gorillas, the abominable snowman, ridiculously unscientific "science"... frankly, a Bizarro Napoleon Solo would have fit right in. And then there's the cheese factor; as other blogs have pointed out (most notably Ken Levine at the wildly unconvincing back lot was getting a serious workout back in the day.

It probably proves that I've got striking on the brain, but my favorite catch so far was in the first episode of season two, starring a very young and stiff Rip Torn as "Alexander", a maniac who steals a military passifying gas (!) so he can rule the world like Alexander The Great. At one point, for no discernible reason, there is a picket line in the background as our hero Napoleon chases after the unbearable Dorothy Provine (don't ask). What are the very well-dressed strikers picketing? Who knows; all the signs say is "UNFAIR!" in different handwritten styles. Well. That explains that!

Jane Espenson = Good Blog

Jane Espenson, writer de la magnifico (that probably doesn't make sense, but I like the sound of it), has a much more reflective piece on the strike and our encounter with Frank McFurious re: residuals. Let me add that you don't want to get Jane mad. You won't like Jane when she's mad.

When Jane's not prepping to pound strike-breakers, she offers up some of the best screenwriting advice in the racket. Check out her site!

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

WGA Strike - Day 38

Another freezing day on the line, literally! The temperature at day's start was a brisk 39 degrees and there was crunchy frost frost on the grass. Okay, so it isn't NYC nasty, but it was still cold!

Still, the "temperature" went up dramatically when our rag-tag picketers were confronted by a remarkably angry fellow who launched into a salvo about "residuals." As in (and this is paraphrased, but pretty close), "you writers, you all get residuals, right? So when the networks all go into reruns in 2008, you'll all make a ton of a money! Meaning you'll actually do better during the strike! You're not risking anything while you're putting everyone else out of work!" He ramped this up to a self-satisfied crescendo, like he had divined the subterfuge of the writers and figured out the DiVinci code all in the same moment.

This one's right up with the costume designer who complained on the radio that writers shouldn't bother striking because they all make "five million dollars a year." Which is kind of like suggesting all costume designers must be making millions, because Ralph Lauren is doing pretty well, right? I'm not sure the point can be made any clearer -- not all writers make millions. Not all writers make thousands. And anyone with any sort of career has experienced wild ups and downs regardless, so "doing well" one year can be followed by "nada" the next.

But I'm not pleading poverty here, and the members of the WGA are painfully aware of the damage wrought by a strike. More painfully aware, I might suggest, than the negotiators on the other side who have walked away from the table twice now in a manufactured huff over some issue or another. If you're going to be enraged, how about saving a drop of spittle for the other team?

As far as the residual issue goes, well, a few points. One, the networks aren't planning to flood the airwaves with drama/sitcom reruns in 2008, they're putting together a flotilla of really exciting reality shows. But to answer Mr. Really-Angry's question, yes, if a WGA covered show is rerun, then there are residuals paid to the writer who wrote that particular show. But "writers" are not some monolithic group who all get residuals all the time, so the vast majority of writers who haven't worked in television or aren't currently working on a show that's UP for a rerun won't see anything from this supposed boon. Same goes if you're a feature writer (unless your feature is run on television), haven't anything produced yet, etc., etc.

So if you want to talk about what strikers have put on the line, here's the deal. Staffers who had been working on television shows aren't getting paid. Guys who were in the middle of writing features aren't getting paid. Show-runners who were running shows aren't getting paid. Yes, some residuals may still trickle in, but to suggest they will make up for the shortfall from the other losses is specious to say the least.

I guess Mr. Furious will have to work up a new talking point for his next visit...

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

You Know You Have Too Much Stuff When...

I've been "taking advantage" of my enforced strike-based hiatus to go through my varied and sundry pop culture collections, startled to discover that I have purchased and repurchased any number of DVDs, CDs and funny books over the last few years. It's beginning to get ridiculous; I was bidding for a CHARLEY VARRICK one sheet on eBay (one of my favorite movies, see it!) and lost to a last minute sniper. And lucky I did, because a few days later I found a sweet VARRICK one-sheet tucked under some other movie stuff in a forgotten nook.

I've actually reached the point where it's sometimes easier to buy something again than to try and find it in the stacks of the Verheiden, *ahem*, "estate." I am hoping to rectify that this Winter with a serious purge. I'm talking about a Stalin-like campaign to pare down, clean, free up shelf space, etc. Maybe even find room to hang that cool VARRICK poster...

WGA Strike - Days 35, 36, 37

I don't know about days 36 and 36 (Monday required my attentions elsewhere), but days 37 was friggin' cold. It was a brr-chilly 45 degrees when we started, much warmed by the time we ended. A tip o' the hat to thespian Steven Culp who joined our line this morning, and to all those who offered friendly honks and waves. (And a hearty "what the f?" to the teenage kid who leans out the passenger window of his Mom's SUV every morning making screwy gibberish sounds.)

Nothing much to add that hasn't been said better on the United Hollywood blog. One day longer, one day stronger...

Monday, December 10, 2007

Re: Strike: Marc Guggenheim Sums It Up...

Writer (and my collaborator on a Superman/Batman story just a few months ago) Marc Guggenheim has an interesting piece on the United Hollywood website that pretty much sums up the attitude of most writers I've been commisserating with, following the latest breakdown in negotiations...

Sunday, December 09, 2007

Michael Trucco Will Be Fine

Since a few people have asked me about it -- yes, Michael Trucco, who plays Sam Anders on Battlestar Galactica, was in a serious car accident a week ago and fractured his neck. The good news is, he's had surgery, he's already out of the hospital and we've been told that the doctors expect a full recovery. So there's a little "good news" story in this otherwise unpleasant time for the entertainment business...

Saturday, December 08, 2007

WGA Strike - Days 32, 33, 34

Well, THAT didn't go so well, did it? Talks have collapsed once again between the AMPTP and the WGA, with press releases, charges and counter-charges flying left and right. I've added both Deadline Hollywood and the United Hollywood blogs to my blog-list to the right. For details on the recriminations, these sites convey the lowdown better than any truncated version I could cobble up.

So how does this lowly "writer in the trenches" feel about all this? I would much prefer to get back to work, of course, but on the other hand, I've always had this problem with authority figures. (Thank goodness none of this comes across in my work on BATTLESTAR GALACTICA). I also don't like being gamed, and when the AMPTP back-channel informs reporter Nikke Finke that they plan to orchestrate a walk-out a week before it actually happens, regardless of progress, well, suddenly I feel like I'm in a David Mamet play and Mamet isn't allowing any ad-libs! I'm also a little baffled how a business that is all about making complicated deals can't figure out a way to make this one, and that goes for both sides.

Oh well. It's back to the picket line, and the hope that cooler heads will prevail and get everyone back to the table (and more importantly, to work) ASAP...

Wednesday, December 05, 2007


Unfortunately, I have yet to step up to a high def television system. But with the finger's crossed optimism that has become a hallmark of the Verheiden household, I've picked up the BSG Season One High Def set, and the season one original STAR TREK set. Assuming that one day, I too will enjoy high def.

Fortunately, the TREK set can be viewed in high def and regular def, so I was able to enjoy some of the new "remastered" FX, music and etc. I was surprised at how unobtrusive the changes were (at least in "The Corbomite Maneuver", the one episode I've sampled so far), and frankly I have little problem with the spruce-up. (I also have the entire original series on DVD already, so if I want to see/experience the original version, they remain ripe for the plucking).

WGA Strike Days 30, 31

Another two days of picketing, today under the watchful eye of Security Dudes as well as the ever-present parking police. Yes, writers, the mad dogs of the protest world. After today's session I took advantage of Drew Carey's very generous offer and enjoyed breakfast "on him" at Bob's Big Boy, then the week of 4:30AM wake-up calls finally caught up with me and I took advantage of this off-time to guhhhzzzzz...

The news from the negotiations seems vaugely hopeful, but I'm trying not to set my daily moods by early morning e-mail and article reviews. I'd have the settled emotional state of a Jeffrey Dahmer if I let myself rise and fall on the waves of each day's progress (or lack thereof)...

More as news develops!

Monday, December 03, 2007

WGA Strike - Day 29

It was exceptionally cold on the picket line this morning, until the sun exploded over the hills around 8:30 AM and suddenly... well, it was warm. Despite (or perhaps because of) the frustrating news from last week, attendance was actually up and enthusiasm/determination remains high. After getting an update on the state of the talks from a member of the negotiating committee (in our case we were briefed by Neal Baer, showrunner from LAW AND ORDER SVU), I'll just say that I'm confident in our leadership and look forward to, fingers crossed, some productive talks.

One of the news outlets had a quote from someone on the studio side complaining that it seems like writers would rather "rally than make a deal." Trust me, writers would like nothing better than to get back to work. If I felt the Guild was asking for something unrealistic or pie-in-the-sky, I'd be the first to push for a quick settlement, but the simple fact is, the WGA's demands are modest. So I'll cross my fingers once again and hope we can get this settled!

New... Split Enz?!

Just received a copy of "The Rootin' Tootin' Luton Tapes", a two-CD collection of demos from a celebrated series of 1978 studio sessions by Split Enz. As in the New Zealand band that included Tim and Neil Finn and eventually spawned Crowded House and myriad other musical ventures. A single-disc version of this session will be out from Rhino sometime "soon", but members of the "Frenz of the Enz" fanclub got this special two CD set, with lots more songs. Despite demurs in the liner notes that these are demos and hence less finished, they sound perfectly realized to me, and sound quality is superb. So it comes highly recommended to fans of the Enz, though that endorsement will be frustrating to those not in the (excellent) fanclub!

Sunday, December 02, 2007

WGA Strike - Days 27, 28

Interesting letter from Joss Whedon on developments, this from the always informative United Hollywood blog.

The United site also has a FAQ letter sent out by the WGA negotiators in response to the AMPTP offer that was presented last Thursday. Give that a read to see why an offer sometimes doesn't feel like much of an offer at all...

FInally, one other "silver lining" to this otherwise unfortunate situation is learning about other writers. Who knew, for instance, that the fellow who wrote BAD DAY AT BLACK ROCK (one of my favorite movies) also created MR. MAGOO (!). Millard Kaufman, take a bow!

Friday, November 30, 2007

WGA Strike - Day 26

No picketing today, and since it's pouring rain in Los Angeles maybe that's a good thing. The blackout on official strike news was finally lifted last night and the news on the negotiating front was not great, but then expectations of a quick resolution were probably unrealistic from the start. Hank Steinberg, creator of WITHOUT A TRACE, sent out an excellent open letter that I've reprinted below. We live in interesting times, indeed!


To my fellow writers,

I'm sure tonight's email from the Writer's Guild was a
tad disheartening, particularly after expectations
were raised this week that we would be close to making
a deal and that the studios were prepared to make
substantial concessions.

I spoke to a member of the Negotiating Committee
tonight to get more enlightened myself as to what the
hell happened: what was the disconnect between the
rumors and expectations and the dismal results of this

The answer, apparently, is that this is precisely the
studios' strategy: raise expectations through
disinformation in the media and elsewhere, get us
feeling comfortable, get us psychologically used to
the idea that the strike will end, and then dash those
hopes. This is essentially what they did on november
4th and they are trying to do it again. That is why
they leaked the news to nicky fink on monday that the
deal was essentially done. If we go soft and get
comfortable, the thinking goes, we'll end up accepting
a shitty deal. Apparently, this strategy has worked
for them in the past but we can't let it work now.

As long as we understand what they are doing and why
they are doing it, we should not be disheartened. The
studios' real mandate is to close this deal by mid to
late december to get the tv season back on track in
january and to save their pilot season. They have no
urgency right at this moment to resolve this. Their
coming back to the table now was part of a p.r.
mislead and was actually meant to raise our hopes,
then thwart them as a means of psychological warfare.
To wear us down. They will, in fact, probably not
negotiate for real until closer to their mid-december
deadline and in the meantime will try to work on our
collective resolve.

So although the idea of picketing for a couple of more
weeks doesn't sound particularly glamorous to any of
us, we're still in good shape to make a fair deal and
we shouldn't allow their tactics to dampen our spirits
or forget what it is we're striking over in the first
place. They need to make a deal, they will make a
deal, they just want to gauge us as much as they can.
I thought it enormously helpful to understand where
they are coming from and hope it will help you too.

The leadership understands that an informed
constituency is a motivated constituency and members
of the leadership and negotiating committee will be
out on the picket lines on monday to elucidate some of
this and to answer questions, but no reason to churn
and stew all weekend til then.

So rest up this weekend and don't despair.

And by all means, feel free to forward this email to
any of our brethren.

We're all in this together!


Thursday, November 29, 2007

WGA Strike - Day 25 (early report)

Yes, I'm posting at 5:00AM, if it's Thursday it's time for another early morning of picketing. And coffee... a LOT of coffee...

Odds and ends. First, here's a pretty funny video telling the "AMPTP's" side of the story.

Now, you're probably asking yourself, "Mark, what do you listen to this early to get yourself revved up and ready for duty?" Here is a small list of today's favorite car tunes:

Dexy's Midnight Runners/"BBC Radio One Live", a small label release from 1995, this is a great live show by the Dexy's at their peak.

Robert Gordon/"Reunion 2005." Gordon's manager has released a series of limited edition live shows from throughout Gordon's career, and if you're into rockabilly you'll want every one. Check out for the details...

Squeeze/Extra tracks from 2007 tour. Five live tracks, complimentary to the new live CD, are available for download from Including a nice, 8 minute-plus version of "Black Coffee In Bed", a personal favorite... especially on mornings like this...

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

WGA Strike - Day 24 + this is post #300 (!)

No weather report or reports of any kind today, since I'm under the weather and trying to recuperate. I suspect my comrades on the Barham gate soldiered on despite my infirmity, and with any luck I'll be back out with them for day #25. Meanwhile, rumors continue to abound about settlements close and yet so far; the scattered reports provide fodder to discuss on the line but otherwise don't mean much.

In other news, this is indeed my 300th posting on this blog. Who could have imagined? If I felt better I'd expound even further, but I'm afraid this is the special "man down! Bring the bloodstopper!" edition of FMVOF. FYI, "Bloodstopper" is nasty medical powder that will be featured in an upcoming season-four episode of BATTLESTAR. Evidently it's something you pour into bad wounds to quickly cauterize the area; i.e., it burns like an S.O.B. This lovely bit courtesy the diabolical medical/military mind of BSG writer/producer Bradley Thompson. Now, whenever someone on staff is feeling sick, the call goes out for "bloodstopper! More bloodstopper!"

Though I don't think it would have much effect on my sore throat, so back off, Bradley!

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

WGA Strike - Day 23

Another early morning on the picket line. I almost feel like doing a weather report these days, since I'm seeing more of it than usual as I trudge the Barham gate. Enthusiasm continues to be high, rumors continue to fly, and that's about that for strike news. Info gets a little sparse when there's a news blackout on all sides.

On other fronts, the reviews for RAZOR continue to come in and I'm waiting for someone to do the cliche Sally Field riff, "you like us, you really like us!" Fingers remain crossed that the WGA will be able to come to terms with the AMPTP and we can finish BSG as intended, with 20 more episodes for season four.

Monday, November 26, 2007


As in the English rock band, popular in the late 70's and 80's, recently reunited for a tour. Songwriters/singers Difford and Tilbrook have been faves around here since their first album, and so anything unleashed from these folks is welcome indeed.

First up, a new live disc, "Five Live", featuring performances from their 2007 tour. Sound quality is exquisite, performances are great and if you like Squeeze, you're probably already trying to find it. (I got mine from, but I believe Amazon UK also has it on sale).

Next, Tilbrook's releasing the second in a series of five (!) discs of demos. The first bunch, "The Past Has Been Bottled", was from the 80's, the next one is going to be from the early 90's. Don't have this in my greedy paws yet, but if the first release is any indication, it'll be a must-have item.

Finally, and definitely least but what the heck, the entire Squeeze catalog has been reissued in Japan in paper sleeves, as in identical reproductions of the original vinyl LP sleeves. Nothing new about that, there are hundreds of these paper sleeve reissues available for an incredible array of bands (Rubinoos? Rachel Sweet? Raspberries? Check!), but I admire the anal retentiveness of this particular release. The album "Cool For Cats" was original released in five different colored jackets, and the Japanese reissue actually comes with all five sleeves (though just one disc). I guess I just love that someone's actually more obsessive than me when it comes to this stuff!

WGA Strike - Days 20, 21, 22

We're in the middle of day #22, but I've completed my early morning picket duty, and besides, the news of the day is that a settlement is imminent. Or so says Nikke Finke in today's Deadline Hollywood column. Ms. Finke is careful to caveat the report, but she's been pretty good at reading the tea leaves so far, so... I guess we'll see. My idea of a great Christmas present would be a resolution of the strike and, oh, a nice bottle of Hirsch Rye Whiskey. In that order.

We had quite a crowd at this morning's strike line, despite this being week four and some expectation (in "some" quarters) that folks might start peeling off. I don't get that sense at all, in fact, all signs point to the contrary. I'm seeing new faces on the line all the time, and our resolve remains steady.

Boy, it gets cold in the Valley at 6:00AM, but on the other hand there is a beautiful sunrise coming, and NO TRAFFIC (on the way out).

Going back was another story, since I was caught in the middle of a high speed car chase on my way home. Apparently some carjacking lunatic was going 120MPH (!) down the 101 freeway. He passed me, tailed by a caravan of police cars, then evidently took an exit and doubled around, because I saw him backtracking in the opposing lanes a few moments later. I was just mad I couldn't get home and watch it on teevee (talk about a guilty pleasure!), but I guess the lunatic wrecked his car going over some sort of barrier, took off on foot and was grabbed by the cops. A happy ending!

Saturday, November 24, 2007


It's been awhile since I've been able to announce a new episode of BSG, and it's going to be awhile before I can do it again, so...

RAZOR. A double-length slice of BSG history, dealing with the Pegasus, Admiral Cain, young Adama and a significant piece of Cylon history.

I've seen both the television cut and the DVD cut, and it's interesting how the same story plays out slightly differently between the two. The shorter TV version moves a little faster, naturally, and gets you where you want to go. The DVD version, due out Dec. 4, is uncut and unrated and features close to 20 minutes of extra footage, giving the story more scope and featuring scenes with folks unseen in the TV cut, including (for instance) a moment with our good friend Baltar and his ephemeral buddy Number Six.

RAZOR'S also chock full of space battles and combat action, so if you've been pining for that, sit back and enjoy.

It's running Nov. 24 on Sci-Fi Channel and probably multiple times after that, and again the DVD will be available on Dec. 4. Check it out!

Friday, November 23, 2007

WGA Strike - Days 16,17,18,19 + BRUCE CAMPBELL!

I'm spending the week in my hometown of Portland Oregon, usually rainy and cold but this year sunny and REALLY cold. I'm sorry I missed Tuesday's big WGA rally on Hollywood Blvd., which from the photos looked like quite an event, but I'll be back on the picket line bright and early Monday morning.

Most of this trip has been spent with family, but I did spend an afternoon with my friends at Dark Horse Comics and Bruce Campbell, who was up to review some MY NAME IS BRUCE stuff. We discussed everything EXCEPT the BRUCE sequel, since I'm on strike, yes, even against MY NAME IS BRUCE LTD., and can't mull new projects until this mess is resolved. Oh well.

For what it's worth, plans are still afoot to get the first BRUCE epic out in the Summer of 2008. There has been some consternation about how long it's taking to get the picture finished, but welcome to the world of indie filmmaking. Bruce likes to say indie films aren't released, they escape, and that's pretty much the story here.

I did take another look at the soon to be released EVIL DEAD comic pages, and once again I was dazzled by John Bolton's amazing art. This book is finished, done, complete, ready to go, so there will be no delays or late issues... a miracle!

Monday, November 19, 2007

WGA Strike - Days 13, 14 & 15

I can post at 6:00AM on day 15 because I'm away from my picketing post as well as the State of California, dealing with family business and medical emergencies. And also because, with negotiations looming next week, there really isn't a lot to say. I doff my chapeau to my friends on the line today and tomorrow, and, honestly, wish I could be there as opposed to dealing with these other travails.

It's becoming almost a strike cliche to say this, but I've met more writers in the last two weeks than I have in my entire 20 year career, and if there is any silver lining to an otherwise extremely unfortunate situation (nobody likes being out of work, and nobody likes putting anyone else out of work), it's been that. There's nothing like walking in circles in a bright red shirt at 6:00 in the morning to bring people together.

In other, free associative news, I think I forgot how difficult it can be traveling around the holidays. Difficult, of course, is relative, but massive lines and traffic jams definitely = consternation. I'm beginning to think they should stagger holidays, last names A-M get Thankgiving on the second Thursday in November, names from N-Z get the third Thursday. Might be a little complicated with larger families, but that's a small price to pay.

Friday, November 16, 2007


Excellent news from the WGA and the AMPTP, they're going back to the negotiating table on Nov. 26. Let's hope a fair deal can be made and everyone can get back to doing what they love, which in the case of BATTLESTAR GALACTICA will mean getting back into the writer's room and finishing up season four!

WGA Strike - Day 12

Somehow the reporter on KNBC thinks the strike's been going on for 17 days, but no, it's just 12, though that's long enough. Looks like the John Edwards appearance at NBC was a hit, and I'm hearing reports that a lot of fans braved traffic to join the BSG writers. I'm sorry I missed it, but I hope a good time was had by all. Well, as good a time as possible given the circumstances.

Nothing much else to say or report, except to cross the fingers and hope both sides get back to the table soon...

Thursday, November 15, 2007

Springsteen, Anaheim, April 2008

Good news for fans of Mr. Springsteen, he's taking another swing through the southland next year. Having seen every tour since (gasp) 1978, I will definitely try to make this next stop, which I think is at a venue that used to be called "the Pond."

Meanwhile, Springsteen's official site has posted some great videos from the current tour. Unfortunately you don't get the complete song, but it whets the whistle AND gives me hope that there are plans afoot to release some sort of official document (DVD, CD, 8 track, I don't care) from the Magic tour.

WGA Strike - Day 11

Another glorious early morning picket at the Barham gate behind Universal. Sure is pretty out at 5:30AM... and MUCH cooler. We've been walking over a peculiar burn-mark in the pavement most of this week... evidently an SUV (as opposed to an SVU, whose writers have been marching with BSG since the beginning) caught fire at that very spot one evening earlier this week. Perhaps scorched by the residual fury of the writers?

Big news is tomorrow (Friday), of course. It is an unofficial "fan day," and here is the poop as best I know it... BSG fans can meet with the writers at the big Universal sign on Lankershim, the one on Lankershim that marks the entrance to City Walk. (There's no gate #). Last I checked, the staff will be marching from 10:00AM to Noon or so, but that's been a little fluid, some may be there a little earlier.

You won't be meeting me, unfortunately, because I have a prior personal committment, but I'll be there in spirit. Hopefully no more cars will erupt in flame, either. Give my peeps a shout-out!

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

WGA Strike - Day 10

Nothing much to report from the picket line, except boy, that's right, NOW I remember -- we're in the Valley, as in "hot."

The big news is what's coming up for Friday. Here's the straight dope as of this evening: folks/fans interested in joining us should come to Universal Studios, Gate #2, which is on Lankershim Blvd. Walk with us from 9:00AM to 11:00AM, then there will be a rally at Noon. There is also a chance that Presidential candidate John Edwards will come by sometime in the afternoon on Friday... more news as it develops!

Also, fans might want to check out, a site that's devoted to fans and shows and all that fun stuff. Thanks to Terry Moore for the info!

In some fun non-strike news, we had a special private screening of the DVD version of RAZOR, the upcoming BSG film, this evening. It was a stunning high def presentation, a total knock-out. The TV version is great, but the uncut DVD version is really something. Coming VERY soon to DVD stores near you!

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Excellent Story On The WGA Strike

One of the better pieces I've seen, from today's Los Angeles Times...

WGA Strike - Day 9

Another day, another early morning of picketing. Contrary to most expectations, our group has been gaining more people day by day, and today we had the biggest turn out ever. Besides writers, there were fans, folks from the NY Film Academy and people from SAG (hi there, Jerry O'Connell) and the DGA. This, I believe, is what they call "solidarity." It's a great bunch of people, and hey, more are always welcome!

Afterward, Jane Espenson, David Weddle, Shamus Fahey and yours truly did an video interview for the Canadian Space Channel, which has been a great supporter of BATTLESTAR GALACTICA through the years. I'll post here when the interview goes up on the Space Channel site. You can see three sweaty writers and the ever cool Jane Espenson chat about the strike, BATTLESTAR and "etc."

And finally, I should have definitive times and places for the big "fan day" gathering this Friday very soon, it's still being figured and plotted and planned, but if you pencil in 11:30AM to 1:00 or 2:00 PM, you'll probably be in good shape.

I'm still a little fuzzy today, catching up after driving to Ventura Monday night for an audience screening of the BSG RAZOR movie. The crowd seemed to have a good time, and it was nice to have a vivid reminder of why we love what we do. If you didn't catch RAZOR on the big screen, remember to watch the Sci-Fi Channel on Friday 11/24...

What They REALLY Think About Internet

Check out this short video and maybe you'll understand the frustration of negotiating with folks who claim they need a three year study to better understand the internet before considering a deal with the WGA...

Monday, November 12, 2007

WGA Strike - Day 8

I can post even earlier than usual because I was on a picket line even earlier than usual, 6AM to 10AM. There's still a lot of press (our line was interviewed by Entertainment Tonight, KNBC and CNBC) and much frenzied honking from passing motorists. Our strike Captain, Mick, is an amazing force of nature who keeps our spirits up with his incredible enthusiasm, but we're all motivated. And what a group, from seasoned feature writers to first-timers, staff writers to show-runners, and every step in between.

There's been some confusion about the upcoming "fan day", but it's definitely Friday and it's open to fans of ALL shows, not just BSG. More details as they become available, but keep Friday open! Meet the writers of some of your favorite shows! Watch them walk on aching feet!

Sunday, November 11, 2007

WGA Strike - Day 7 Battlestar Edition!

We're hoping to gather up as many devoted BSG fans as possible to join us on the picket line THIS FRIDAY, 11/16. Time, studio and gate to be announced, but most likely outside NBC/Universal. If you're a fan of the show and you'd like to show your support (and maybe add a wee more pressure so we can get back to work and finish the final season!), start making plans now!

Saturday, November 10, 2007

WGA Strike - Day 6

First, an interesting article from Media Life Magazine...

Second, a link to Mark Evanier's site and a three minute clip of a remarkable mini-speech that was given at the big Thursday summit meeting just before the strike. A writer named Howard Gould, a self-professed moderate, totally nailed the issues at hand and I remember getting that "yeah, that's right!" feeling as he wrapped up. I wasn't alone, since as Mark notes Mr. Gould got a standing ovation from the writers still in attendance. Well worth a listen.

Once you check Mark's site, read on for his other strike commentary. I've had the same experience that he has; people I never, ever expected to see backing a strike or marching on a picket line have picked up the mantle this time. There is an issue of flat-out unfairness in the studio stance that has trumped the usual, vocal trepidation over taking it to the streets.

Friday, November 09, 2007

WGA Strike - Day 5

Well, THAT was something. 4000 writers converged on Fox this morning, and the street was red with... shirts and signs and passion and all that good stuff. After a few probably interesting speeches and musical performances (I was too far back to hear much of anything), suddenly there was a loud "NOW LET'S MARCH" and brother, we marched. I ran into a lot of friends (old and new, amazing how fast you bond with your picket partners!) and was sort of amazed that 4000 of us could get together and do much of anything as one.

Bottom line? We're not going away. So I end with my customary plea, could we PLEASE get back to the negotiating table and make nice?

Why A WGA Strike?

The WGA's put together a good, short video that explains it all...

Thursday, November 08, 2007

Battlestar Galactica - RAZOR In Theaters!

Just a reminder that BATTLESTAR GALACTICA's two episode epic "Razor" will be getting a one night only theatrical showing at theaters across the country NEXT MONDAY, 11/12. I'm trying to attend the showing in Ventura California, so if you see a big guy with sore feet from picketing, that's me!

WGA Strike - Day 4

Another day, more picketing. The cast from THE OFFICE stopped by our site, so a hale and hearty THANK YOU to them. I got my picture taken with Creed, which some felt only appropriate. I wonder what they're trying to tell me?

Our numbers continue to grow day by day, as we're joined by more writers, friends, family and fans. Enthusiasm remains high while my feet remain sore, but so it goes...

Not much else to say, except to reiterate that I'm proud to be a member of the Writer's Guild, and continue to hope for a quick, fair resolution so I can toss the Dr. Scholls and go back to work!

Wednesday, November 07, 2007

WGA Strike - Day 3

Another day, another fun filled picket at Universal Studios. The weather continues to cooperate, even if the feet are getting sore and cranky. The sun came out sooner than the last two days, but there was a nice breeze.

Today we had semi-permanent traffic police assigned to our corner(s), all of whom who were very nice and frankly welcome. Again, the vast, vast majority of passing cars and trucks honked and waved and gave us thumbs-up signs (sorry, Mr. Ebert), there was a lot of noise and traffic at our location. Universal security came out in force (well, three guys) at one point, but I'm not sure what that was about and we just kept marching.

No real rumors tore through the line today, just more of the same. A trio of CAA agents dropped by with much appreciated water, and a couple of struggling-to-be writers came by with chow and intend to join us tomorrow in solidarity. Thanks to all of them, sincerely, every ounce of support is appreciated. By the way, ANYONE can join us if you support the writers, walk for an hour or stay through an entire shift, come on down!

There continues to be this assumption that all the writers in the Guild are super rich and spoiled and etc., but the truth is writing is a mercurial business where you can have one good year and then three bad ones. It is not a regular pay day, which is why residuals (for reruns on the air, DVD and internet) are so important. They sustain a lot of writers through the lean years.

And I'll end with my constant refrain -- I urge the WGA leadership and the AMPTP folks to get back to the table as soon as possible and start hammering out a deal that's fair to both sides.

Tuesday, November 06, 2007

WGA Strike - Day Two

Another fine day picketing outside Universal Studios. Different location, MUCH bigger reaction, 99.9% positive from passing cars and traffic. Much honking, noise, shouts of encouragement. In fact, the only overt anti-strike sentiment was expressed by some asshole wearing a halloween skull mask as he (I think it was a "he") drove by in a Universal truck flipping us off. So it appears the hellspawn Ghost Rider a), works for Universal and b), has a problem with the Writer's strike.

Went to a nearby restaurant afterward, where we bumped into John Stamos and Maura Tierney, both of whom said they would be joining us on the picket line in the afternoon. Big thanks to them, we need all the help we can get!

Nothing new to report in terms of negotiations, but I continue to hope that the WGA and the AMPTP get back in a room together and get back to finding a solution that works. Until then, "Writers United, Never Divided!"

Monday, November 05, 2007

WGA Strike - Day One

Okay, so it's still mid-day, but I've finished my shift on the picket line, so... it's update time! The entire BATTLESTAR staff worked corners outside Universal Studios, covering a gate a little off the beaten track, but that's okay. Lots of folks honked in solidarity, and a few of Jane Espensen's fans dropped by in support, which was great.

A very friendly policeman dropped by to give us some instruction on how to handle ourselves and to ask if we had had any problems, since a picketer at the Sunset/Gower lot suffered a broken leg after being hit by a car. We didn't have any problems like that, but we were certainly being scrutinized by Universal security.

No celebs at our location, no cameras and no shade. At least the weather cooperated today, it was cloudy until almost Noon and temperatures were mildish.

Not a lot more to say. I hope this isn't a "long haul" situation, and a contract agreement can be reached ASAP, but we are definitely in it for the long haul, if that's what it takes.

Sunday, November 04, 2007

Strike Prep Day 0

Barring a miracle of negotiation, WGA writers are hitting the picket lines Monday in full force. I have my red shirt (STAR TREK humor is NOT appreciated), my comfy shoes and perhaps most importantly, a sense that we as a union have that mysterious alchemic ingrediant called "resolve" in spades. I will try to post something every day as the strike goes on, sort of a running journal on these complicated and unsettling times...

Apocalypse End Times Have Arrived

The Sex Pistols performed "Anarchy In The U.K." on the Jay Leno show last week...

Saturday, November 03, 2007

Strike One...

As everyone pretty much expected in the wake of the big WGA membership meeting Thursday night, the WGA strike has been called for 12:01AM Monday 11/5. Personal belongings have been packed up, the last bits of work turned in, and now...

Well, now it's time for both sides to try and make a deal. The posturing continues (new drinking game, take a shot every time Nick Counter with the producers/studios calls the WGA "reckless"), but it would be nice to see that end and some actual negotiating begin. Negotiating that doesn't start with "take it or leave it", since obviously at this juncture the writers have decided to leave it.

Oh, and I guess you can expect more blog entries. I've got the time!

Friday, November 02, 2007

WGA, Strikes and "etc."

Guess I'll be able to remove the modifier "potential" when discussing the WGA strike pretty soon. I attended last night's gathering at the L.A. Convention Center, and all signs point toward a walk-out, possibly as early as Monday 11/5. We'll know by mid-afternoon today (11/2)...

Walk-out means walk-out. Shows will stop being written, production will stop soon after, and picket lines will be established.

I've been in the WGA for 17 years, having joined just after the long 1988 strike, so I've seen calls for strikes before, but I have to say, this feels different. There is a real solidarity out there, mostly because we all know how much this negotiation will impact our future. We really need to have some realistic payment structure for internet, webisodes and etc., because that's where the market is going. And our backs are up because we got burned back in '85/'88 by taking a lowball "we need time to study this!" number on home video. (Incidentally, that's no slam on the folks who agreed to that deal back in '85/'88, they paid quite a price to get what they did.)

Now that a strike looks inevitable, my new hope is that it is over quickly and we can all get back to work, not necessarily with big happy smiles, but with a new deal in place that addresses the future of this business...

Thursday, November 01, 2007

HOSTEL 1 and 2, Alternate Ending... SPOILERS!!

Maybe it's my grim mood recently, but I recently watched the DVDs of HOSTEL and HOSTEL 2. Reviews can come later, but the new double-dip version of the first HOSTEL film features an entirely different ending, one director Eli Roth shot but later re-considered after some intervention by Quentin Tarantino (!). There are some


DO NOT read on if you're trying to keep the twists and turns of the two movies to yourself.

HOSTEL the feature currently ends with the surviving victim coming across one of his torturers in a train station, following him into a bathroom and killing him. One thing that intrigued me about HOSTEL was that for all it's horrific violence, Roth opted for some version of "retribution" in the end. The tables get turned on the murderous, sadistic killers big time. Unlike so many hardcore horror movies (TEXAS CHAINSAW MASSACRE THE BEGINNING, anyone?), there is actually some redemptive comuppance for the evil-doers in HOSTEL, and I appreciated that.

The alternate ending, which is quite clever in a very sick psychological sense, is considerably less "audience friendly." In the alternate, our victim comes across one of his torturers in a train station, just as the torturer greets his young (six year old-ish) daughter. When dad and daughter split up to use the restroom, the daughter disappears and nasty Dad tries to find her, only to spot her in the clutches of our torture victim as they choo-choo away from the station on a train. The clear and unsettling implication from the little girl's struggles is that our victim intends to do her harm, hence becoming as cruel and demented as the torturer himself.

Obviously, the moral triumph deriving from the original ending would have been significantly, umm, "muted", in this version. I'm frankly not sure which ending I prefer, but in terms of "audience pleasing" (if such a term can be applied to a movie that features a kid getting power-drilled), seeing the torturer get his just desserts up close and personal probably trumps the little girl version.

Continuing on the theme of survivors and redemption, HOSTEL 2 opens pretty much where the first movie left off, catching up with the last survivor. And while I think Part 2 has, in many ways, a more compelling story than the first, something happens here that really bugs me. Call it the FRIDAY THE 13th PART 2/ALIEN 3/MANIAC COP 2 syndrome -- it's where the filmmakers wrap up the story from the last film by offing the last "survivor." What bugs me about this story-telling device is that it completely negates whatever sense of triumph the audience may have realized from the earlier chapter's resolution. So our victim survived the horrors of a torture chamber, so what? In HOSTEL 2, the bad guys track him down and take his cabeza off with a chainsaw anyway.

ALIEN 3 opens with virtually all the survivors from Cameron's brilliant ALIENS getting killed off camera. MANIAC COP 2 has the audacity to off Bruce Campbell's character (the BASTARDS), and FRIDAY 2 dispenses with the only survivors of Momma Jason's rampage in a jiffy. Guess it's just a pet peeve of mine, but can't we just leave some of these poor, troubled survivors alone?

More WGA Strike Stuff

As usual, Mr. Evanier interprets the latest machinations between the WGA and the studios better than I ever could...

Various WGA Strike Related Sites Of Interest

As I write this, it's still a "potential" strike, but even playing the eternal optimist, I have to say things ain't looking good. Here are a couple places I go to keep up with the latest: This is a blog formed by WGA strike captains, I believe, to discuss the latest state of the state. Mark Evanier's site, where he has been doing a running commentary on the situation from the perspective who someone who was intimately involved in the 1985/'88 negotiations and strike.

Tuesday, October 30, 2007

My Niece Makes THE DAILY SHOW!

My niece Jenny Hamel is a reporter on the Fox affiliate in San Diego. In this DAILY SHOW clip, she's one of the reporters Stewart cites during his riff on reporter chic. Jenny's the one in "goggles and fire jacket!"

It's the "Californincineration" clip from 10/29. I'm so proud!

Monday, October 29, 2007

Razor Screenings...

FYI, barring disaster, I hope to join the fine folks who make it to Ventura California for the Los Angeles "Razor" screenings, Monday Nov. 12. Check the Sci-Fi website for more info on getting tix to these events, which sound very cool. See you there!

My Latest Thoughts On The (Possible) Strike...

Actually, I've been so busy I haven't had time to consider it that much. That said, if stress and tension and general atmosphere means anything, it feels like we went on strike three weeks ago.

The problem is, nothing's really changed. The producers took the rollback of residuals off the table, but it never should have been there in the first place. As I told a friend, I guess now the writers can pull back on their "one million dollars a day" salary demands.

I think what baffles me a little is the reluctance (a kind word) of the studios to even entertain formulas for sharing the wealth on the internet, i-tunes, downloads, webisodes, mobisodes and whatever-a-sodes. It's not like the WGA's demanding advance payments on money that hasn't been collected yet via these new distribution systems. We just want a (small) piece of whatever DOES come in. And yet somehow this is all too complicated, possibly requiring a three year study (gee, what a coincidence, three years until the next contract negotiations!) to figure out just how much money the networks are making from the new technologies that they can't share because it's all too heady... or something.

Jeff Zucker said today that NBC made "only" made $15 million from i-tunes. Okay. All we want is a percentage of that $15 million, then...

That said, it remains to be reiterated that the last thing ANY working writer wants is a strike. This is a tough, time sensitive, mercurial business, and work stoppages can have ramifications beyond the checkbook. And writers, especially in television, are not blind to the downside of what happens when shows go out of production. Besides the damage done to the production staff, when the shows stop coming it's possible audience eyeballs will go with them. So I'm still crossing my fingers that wisdom trumps... something... and next week finds us all busy at our keyboards.

That said, if I had to lay odds, I'd be hoping for nice weather Friday, because picket signs don't hold together very well in the rain...

Saturday, October 27, 2007

MY NAME IS BRUCE: Summer 2008

We're starting to get definitive about the MY NAME IS BRUCE release. Check out the piece on the FANGORIA website for the details...

Free Nick Lowe!

No, he's not in prison, but Nick Lowe the singer/songwriter/famed producer of Elvis Costello has been touring this year, and NPR has one of his concerts up on their website, for listening and/or download. Lowe's style has shifted with the years, from New Wave pop to country to laid-back swing, but it's all worth a listen.

Thursday, October 25, 2007


It's COMING! The book that's been two years in the making! An expansion/adaptation of the first EVIL DEAD movie, written by yours truly and painted by the astonishing John Bolton. Four issues, all in the can, so start saving your $$$.

More details at the link, and some lovely art from this month's Diamond Previews backcover.

Skidoo The Movie is Coming...

I posted about Otto Preminger's astounding film SKIDOO some pages ago... suffice to say, the 1968 production is one of the strangest and most confounding big budget Hollywood movies ever unspooled. Rumor has it that Otto's estate has been keeping the movie under lock and key, but those fine folks at Turner Classic Movies have scheduled a run on January 4, 2008. Viewers will have to decide if this is a sign of the coming apocalypse or a wonderful New Year's treat...

Jackie Gleason goes on an LSD trip that includes, as a hallucination, Mickey Rooney. Carol Channing strips and sings. An elderly Groucho Marx plays "God." And when the thing's finaly over, you'll have the lyrics "Skidoo, skidoo!" implanted in your brain. See what all the hub-bub is about!

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

Strike News? Here's Strike News...

Battlestar Sitrep pointed the way, and they're right -- Nikke Finke's column in the L.A. Weekly has some good info on the ongoing WGA labor negotiations. (And a lot of other interesting Hollywood gossip, but hey, who's interested in that?)

24 - Season 7 Trailer

Soul patch is back (umm, but he's dead!), Chloe gets a cameo and evil Senators wanna know why mean ol' Jack keeps torturing people. Sounds like another politically messed up but gloriously insane season to me!

The U.K. preview trailer can be viewed at:

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

Hello "Blogs Of Note" Folks...

If my sitemeter is to be believed, I've got a lot of new folks checking out my blog this week. As a quick look will tell, it's an eclectic mix of personal ramblings along with information on my professional projects. Look for updates on BATTLESTAR GALACTICA, TEEN TITANS the movie and MY NAME IS BRUCE starring Bruce Campbell, along with my personal pop culture obsessions -- Elvis Costello, Smithereens, Swamp Pop and whatever else piques my interest.

The impulse to blog comes out of my life-long self-publishing jones; I've been writing small personal 'zines for (gasp) over thirty years, and I guess I just can't shake the impulse. I'm not big on design, just the facts, ma'am. (Did I mention I also love DRAGNET?)

Anyway, welcome!

Swamp Pop? Yes. Swamp Pop!

I've been a devoted fan of "swamp pop", an upbeat style of Cajun music, since coming across a compilation of Tommy McLain's best tunes a few years ago. McLain's big hit was a version of "Sweet Dreams", which has sold over three million copies since 1966 and continues to get air play.

Well, it seems Tommy and fellow swamp masters Warren Storm, CC Adcock and many others got together for a live show back in 2005, the results of which are available on an official release from the fine folks at the link below. If you're even vaguely familiar with the genre, you're going to know some of these songs.

1. Shirley (3:48)
2. Prisoner's Song (2:38)
3. Lonely Nights (3:19)
4. Cindy Lou (2:07)
5. Irene (3:49)
6. Life Problem (2:45)
7. Jukebox Songs (3:19)
8. Before I Grow Too Old (3:23)
9. Baby Doll (3:22)
10. First You Cry (5:06)
11. Mama, Mama, Mama Guess What Your Little Boy's Done (3:09)
12. This Should Go On Forever (3:58)
13. I Hear You Knockin' (2:11)
14. Sweet Dreams Of You (5:17)
15. Seven Letter (4:42)
16. Sea Of Love (3:25)
17. Verdi Mae (2:28)
18. Sea Of Love - Reprise (2:42)
19. Mathilda (3:22)

Swamp Pop Review:
Warren Storm
Tommy McLain
Phil Phillips
King Carl
David Egan
C.C. Adcock & His Band

I'm a firm believer that it's important to support the music (and television shows and films and comic books) we like with more than praise and/or criticism... a little $$ helps ensure that these artists can continue to perform and small labels like the JazzFest folks can continue to record and release their music. Check out this release and a whole bunch more at:

More WGA Strike Thoughts... by someone else

My friend Mark Evanier continues to write some of the best and most thoughtful pieces on the looming possibility of a WGA strike. This piece, which includes a link to Nikki Finke's story on the current mindset of the studio bosses, does not paint the warmest picture of future events. But for those interested, it's definitely worth a read...

Sunday, October 21, 2007

MY NAME IS BRUCE - More Updatin'

From the 10/20/07 Portland OREGONIAN, a long, interesting interview with Bruce Campbell and Mike Richardson about the long developing saga that is MY NAME IS BRUCE. And no spoilers, not that you could EVER spoil MNIB...

Friday, October 19, 2007

Battlestar Galactica - Season Three Soundtrack!

Okay, so the DVDs are still a ways off, but you can still savor the musical genius of Bear McCreary with this new release, which includes the wonderful, controversial but musically exquisite version of "All Along The Watchtower." BUY BEAR!

Steeee-RIKE! Or not...

Seems to be some confusion about the announcement that the Writer's Guild membership has overwhelmingly approved giving our negotiating team authorization to strike. That does NOT necessarily mean there will be a strike, or that it's going to happen exactly on Nov. 1. It DOES mean that our negotiators go into their next work session knowing that 90+% of the membership will back them if they decide a work stoppage is the only way to be heard.

Also, it should be made clear that the vote does not mean that 90% of the membership WANTS to strike. I certainly don't! We're fully aware that a strike not only hurts our bottom line, but rolls through the rest of the entertainment community as well. Still, after being a member of the WGA for many years now, I also don't want to settle for rollbacks, or even the status quo.

I was on the periphery for the 1988 strike, which lasted four months, and it was devastating to far too many people, not to mention the business in general. Let's hope that cooler heads prevail and we can make a deal that's fair to both sides.

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

30 Days Of Night... THE PREMIERE!

My buddy Mike Richardson at Dark Horse Comics/Productions got me into the premiere, and a good, scary time was had by all. After a hug from my pal D'Anna The Boxed Cylon (AKA Lucy Lawless, married to Rob Tapert, one of the producers on 30 DAYS, is that enough Kevin Bacon-ness?), we enjoyed two hours of vampire intensity. The story is in the title; when 30 days of night fall on Barrow, Alaska, a crew of vampires decide to "take advantage." Danny Huston is especially nasty as the lead vampire, who speaks a very bizarre Hungarian-ish dialect while chewing up every human in sight. Indeed, the vampire designs are fun, and clearly napkins are in short supply up North because they guys NEVER wipe up after a meal...

I've seen plenty of horror pictures so I'm pretty sanguine when it comes to gore, but 30 DAYS revs it up into high gear, with many spectacular "kills" and one especially spectacular/grueling on-camera whacking.

Vampires, blood, TWO giant mulching/grinding machines, and if that's really what Barrow Alaska looks like, I'm giving up on my plans to develop my "Alaskan Hideaway" vacation resort. Opens Oct. 19!

Monday, October 15, 2007

Elvis Costello & Clover - LIVE

That's right. Clover! The back-up band from Elvis Costello's seminal record MY AIM IS TRUE will be performing the entire album, with Elvis, live for the first time ever this November in San Francisco. It's a charity event and if I can possibly find my way North that night, I'll see you there!

Sunday, October 14, 2007

WGA Strike Heats Up! Ooo, boy, it's hot!

Not sure who wrote this, but it's been flying around in various e-mails. And I resent the comment about "surly, over-paid, bearded nerds." I shaved my beard YEARS ago...


Writers Guild drafts really hardline regulations this round!


The WGA clearly wants to send a signal. The guild has formulated strike rules that would impose an exceptionally aggressive stance on its 12,000 members.

In addition to a ban on any guild-covered work in features and TV, a draft recap of the WGA rules said the guild plans to prohibit any writing for new media and declare that writers can't do animated features -- even though that realm is not under WGA jurisdiction. Included in non-guild covered restrictions, writers are further prohibited from writing personal letters, emails, texts, greeting cards and even from writing personal checks. Signing one's signature is not considered a violation, but writers are absolutely barred from filling out the amount of a check, who it's made out to, and from filling in the memo section. "Writing is writing," said guild Executive Director David Young, "that's our stand!" Many writers are understandably confused as to how they will be able to pay their mortgages and utility bills in light of this oppressive mandate. "Just fill out all your checks and holiday greeting cards through '08 before November first", suggests Young, "I did, now all I have to do is sign them."

The WGA didn't specify what the penalties would be for violating the rules, but would only somewhat ominously state that punishment would be swift and severe. When asked to elaborate, the guild would only respond with a sinister chuckle. It's also asserting that non-members who perform banned work during a strike will be barred from joining the guild in the future.

News of the rules began circulating Wednesday as the WGA and the Alliance of Motion Picture & Television Producers met in the afternoon in their eighth face-to-face session; they plan to resume talks next week. The two sides have achieved no progress during the previous sessions and have simply blamed each other for taking untenable stances. Violence broke out at the most recent sit-down when WGA West prexy Patric Verrone leaped over the negotiating table and tackled AMPTP head Nick Counter in a headlock, after Counter threw his beer in Verrone's face. Security had to break up the melee and the session was cut short as a result. While being escorted form the premises, Verrone and Counter continued to hurl insults at one another, Verrone was heard calling Counter a "parsimonious Philistine!" While Counter was overheard shouting, "You're all a bunch of surly, over paid, bearded nerds!" In light of such unprofessionalism, the industry was left scratching their heads Wednesday, wondering why drinking has been allowed to occur during such tenuous and heated debates.

In preparation for a strike, the WGA suggests that all members start Netflixing "Norma Rae", as it is the most famous movie in recent years to be about a strike. Also check out, "The Empire Strikes Back", though not about union striking, it does have the word "strike" prominently featured in the title and is widely regarded by many "Star Wars" geeks as the best of the six "Star Wars" films.

More Smithereens! Christmas! Solo Pat DiNizio!

The New Year opened with an album of Beatles covers by Mssr. DiNizio and his cohorts, and now we're ringing it out with a CD-full of Xmas standards (and not so standards). CHRISTMAS WITH THE SMITHEREENS is exactly what you would expect from the boys, which means it is defacto great and deserving of your monetary support. Some pretty insane stuff here, ranging from "Christmas" (from the Who's TOMMY) to a rendition of "The Night Before Christmas" that sounds like a knock-off of Napoleon IV doing "They're Coming To Take Me Away, Ha Ha." If that sounds like something you absolutely, definitely must have, check out the link.

And if that weren't enough, Pat's just issued a solo record that's also tops on the MV hit parade. A little harder rocking than the Christmas CD, it's ten glorious slabs of DiNizio. Only a hard-hearted MONSTER would refuse to support Pat and the Smithereens as they enjoy one of their most prolific years ever!

Friday, October 12, 2007

My Name Is Bruce - Smallish UPDATE

It's coming. Honest. Final version is almost locked and right now we're looking at a release in 2008, hopefully earlier rather than later. Lucky folks at this year's AFM (American Film Market) may actually get a peek at the final product...

Bruce Campbell. Guan-Di the monster. A cast of tens. Hillbilly singers. Dance numbers. The blacksmith guy from ARMY OF DARKNESS. You'll laugh, you'll cry (well, you probably won't cry), but forget that, because I'm telling you THIS MOVIE HAS IT ALL.

Wednesday, October 10, 2007

Enough Strike Talk, How About Something Positive?!

With all the doom and gloom enveloping Hollywood, sometimes you need to pull back and smell more than a few roses.

For instance, it's always interesting to watch BATTLESTAR dailies. For those outside the film-jargon loop, dailies are essentially compilations of all the raw scenes done each day, slapped on DVD and sent to the producers to evaluate. What's fun about watching OUR dailies is a); they're almost always amazing and b), sometimes you get to a moment that just throws you back in your chair and forces you to go "wow."

We've had a bunch of those moments as season four rolls on, but recently we saw the dailies on a scene that was especially heart-wrenching. In my patented "no spoiler" mode, I will not disclose any info, except to say the scene involves one of our main characters in a very bad place (what else is new?), who then sings, to themselves, an acapella lament to help ease their pain. I got chills (and no, I didn't write the episode!), and it's the special moments like that that remind me, as all this other stuff is swirling around, why this is a pretty amazing job on a pretty amazing show...

Monday, October 08, 2007

Battlestar Galactica - Season Four Promo

I am, of course, biased, but there's a very cool promo for what's coming in season four over at the Galactica Sitrep site (see my blog list, "Battlestar News Site", and click to get over there).

Roslin with a gun, CHECK. Tigh with a gun, CHECK. Kara on the deck, CHECK. Ahh, that's my Battlestar...

Sunday, October 07, 2007

BSG and the WGA Strike...

If you've been paying any attention to the on-going machinations between the Writer's Guild and the Producers, then you probably have the idea that things aren't going so well and there may be a writer's strike. Of course, there is inevitably posturing on both sides as we come down to the wire, but this year's negotiations have a harder edge to them than I've seen before (I joined the WGA just after the long strike in 1988, so I missed what must have been considerable drama then).

My friend Mark Evanier has been active in WGA politics for quite some time and he's been posting informative articles re: his view of things over on his website. If you're interested in some background on the whole strike issue and a seasoned perspective, give his pieces a look...

In terms of what a November strike would mean for BATTLESTAR GALACTICA, well, I'm not exactly sure, except there would be nobody writing scripts if a strike is called, and there are still several episodes left to be written. I'm hoping that the waters calm and a deal can be made, of course, but if there is a strike, then a lot depends on just how long it goes. A few weeks is one thing, six months is quite another... and nobody can predict anything.

Wednesday, October 03, 2007

Greatest Elvis Costello Album EVER

If your idea of a rollicking good time is listening to bizarre, inexplicable orchestrations of somewhat familiar Elvis Costello songs sung in heavily accented English by Japanese disco bands, have you got a treat in store! TRIBUTE TO ELVIS COSTELLO is a brand new and really quite amazing collection of E.C. songs (well, technically, "She" was a cover), "updated" in often unintelligible but fascinating style. I've probably heard the original version of "Oliver's Army" five hundred times, but even I had trouble figuring out the lyrics in this version, where the Oliver's Army refrain is mangled into "Olipert's Allami." And I swear to God, "Only Flame In Town" really does become "The Only Frame In Town."

It's an unfortunately pricey Japanese import only, but hopefully some enterprising America company will pick it up and give it the full U.S. release it deserves.

Sunday, September 30, 2007

Apa Nostalgia...

Paul Chadwick (of CONCRETE the comic book and MATRIX THE ONLINE GAME renown) gave a power-point presentation of his work during our talk at the VidFest in Vancouver last Monday, and it brought back memories of our time in Apa-Five, a fan group I organized when I was (*gulp*) 15. Apa stands for amateur press association, and that's pretty much covers it. Like-minded folks would write and publish their own small magazines every month or two, and a Central Mailer would collate them all into one nice book and send the package to all the members. Paul described it as an early, postal based version of the internet, and that's pretty much right. These magazines would comment on current events, offer reviews, and (here's the internet part) comment on other people's comments.

By odd coincidence some early issues of Apa-Five went up for sale on eBay a couple weeks ago, and I picked up a random issue. (I still have my copies, but they are buried in a complex that makes the warehouse at the end of CITIZEN KANE look like a Rubbermaid tool shed). It brought back a lot of memories, most specifically the difficulty involved in printing our little mags back in those pre-computer, pre-laser printer days. The cover of this particular issue (#38, December 1974) is a photo-offset Frank Miller drawing, but photo-copying wasn't that accessible and way too expensive for most members, so the magazines themselves were mostly a wonderful mish-mash of ditto printing/spirit duplication (a crude, chemical process that involved typing onto "ditto masters," attaching those to a roller that transferred purple ink to paper) and mimeograph.

Mimeo was process that involved typing on a blue-wax stencil and literally punching holes through the wax. (Reading this old copy of Apa-Five, I had forgotten that mimeo stencils came in quanities called "quires", 24 to a pack.) You would lay this stencil over a roller barrel filled with a tar-like black ink, which would be squeezed through the stencil holes and onto your paper. This process was an artform unto itself. If you made a mistake on the stencil, you corrected it by smearing a pungent correction fluid (we called it "corflu") over the wax and trying to retype your sentence. Suffice to say, the one thing you learned with both of these processes was how to write on the fly without making a lot of mistakes.

My father picked up a used mimeograph from his office (for $25) and that became my main printing press. I must have cranked out thousands of pages of material on that thing, though "printing day" was often accompanied by much cursing and cleaning and dealing with paper jams. Even the selection of the brand of paper was important, since too thin would allow the ink to soak right through to the other side. I finally settled on an incredibly absorbant type of stock called Fibertone that literally released puffs of paper dust as it went through the mimeo. Fibertone came in all colors and even there, some colors went through the machine better than others. After much trial and error, I settled on green and goldenrod...

In time, I actually got fancier and bought myself a used "thermo-fax", which wasn't a fax machine as we know it today but was a crude, heat-sensitive early copying process. The copying part wasn't so hot (the paper was orange, as I recall, and faded very quickly) but you could buy special heat-sensitive mimeo stencils that would allow you to "burn" images and print them with your high-tech tar machine. There were also all sorts of special mimeo graphics tools designed to help you draw directly on the stencils. Mimeography was an entire industry, supported mostly by the Gestetner company.

Anyway... I still belong to one apa, and I self-publish a small magazine every few months, and I suppose this is where I would say that I miss the old school mimeo process, but actually, I don't. It was awful. Nowadays I can print full color, text-justified small run material for pennies, and that's just fine with me. But it's fun to look back...

Friday, September 28, 2007

Crowded House Live-er Than Ever! continues to offer a gloriously wide selection of live, authorized, straight from the soundboard shows from the current CROWDED HOUSE tour, and for a mere $420 you can get all 27 shows in a nifty box. Definitely only for the truly obsessed, but then I suspect most of the people reading this understand obsessive behavior. Sound is superb and the shows do vary from night to night, so buying all 27 isn't COMPLETELY insane. Just mostly.

Thursday, September 27, 2007

A Week Without Posting... like a day without... something. But I've been busy, honest. Just got back from a visit with our glorious neighbor to the North, no, not Alaska, where shooting has resumed on the season-the-last of BSG. Meanwhile, I'm busy putting together the story for my next script on BSG, episode #15, currently titled "Untitled", as in I haven't figured out a title yet. And we're careening toward breaking the last few episodes and the big finale. It's all very exciting, and a little weird that we'll probably have the entire season close to written before viewers see the first regular season episode... but welcome to the wacky world of television.

Incidentally, I've been getting a few e-mails re: the proposed plan to split season four between 2008 and 2009. Here is my absolutely definitive response to these queries: I have no idea what the plan is and have no ability to affect it if I did. These decisions are made by Sci-Fi channel folks. All I can do is help make the best shows possible; the rest is up to others...

Thursday, September 20, 2007

Battlestar Galactica: The Writer's Room!

Talking about process... ever wonder how the writing staff of BSG works out the story for an episode? Even through we're careening toward the end of the series and have a well defined road-map generated via story meetings with Ron Moore and the staff, each individual episode still requires much care and feeding to get off the ground. Here's how it (generally) works in the BSG --


First, a physical description of our space. Start with long, oak conference table in a big, comfortable room. Laz-e-Boy recliners. Smoked glass windows, a view of the ocean, masseuse in the corner to crack "writer's block," humidor for our cigars, a wet bar to break the tension and... no, wait, sorry, I think I just described the writer's room on HEROES. Our room is a small office with some couchs, white boards and the occasional outbreak of ants. And we love it all the same...

STAGE ONE: Staring at the blank cork board. This is depressing. If it's mid-season, moments earlier the cork-board was a colorful conpendium of scenes from the previous episode, all worked out, a masterpiece of hopefully searing drama, and best of all, it's finished! (Well, at least that PART of the process is finished.) Now the board is an arid wasteland, the episode number leering at us, begging for attention. This is usually the time when the hard-working professionals at BSG fasten our seat-belts, gird our loins... and discuss our favorite movies, last night's television, politics, lunch, practice our Walter Brennen and "Sling Blade" impressions, anything BUT the story. Because getting started is always the hardest part...

STAGE TWO: Ideas. Spit-balling. Okay, where are we going? This process changes depending on the type of story we're telling. If it's a two parter, the answers generally come a bit easier. If there's a gap in the timeline ("okay. It's one year later."), the field is a bit more open. This is when we start throwing up general benchmarks, and yes, these are benchmarks we actually intend to hit! What is the story we're trying to tell? Where are our characters in this moment of BSG history? What are we hoping to reveal about our people, about the BSG world, and about the uber-plot?

STAGE THREE: More. Staring. And. Frustration. Okay, there are some ideas up there, it's looking good -- now how do we make it better? What are the emotional linchpins, what are the revelations, and finally, what are we doing in this episode that we haven't done before? This can mean anything from revealing a surprising nuance in a previously established relationship to coming up with a new twist on the action sequense. The best room moments come when there's an idea that turns everything on its head, but still makes sense within the context of the show. Story traditionalist that I am, I find these ideas incredibly scary and hence always worth more discussion. Discussions like these lead to interesting (*ahem*) plot twists like "Tigh is forced to take drastic action with Ellen", or "four of the final five Cylons are...", or, coming soon, "the fifth Cylon is..." There are a lot of these "holy mackeral!" moments coming in season four, incidentally...

STAGE FOUR: Okay, now we've got a sense of the show. It's starting to come together. Now it's the nitty gritty of going through the story scene by scene, making sure we're getting the most out of the drama. Scene cards are swapped, moved, discarded (writer Bradley Thompson, aka "the card ninja", is the master of ripping dead cards off the board with a disdainful and powerful swoop), until the story feels like it's working. Deal with everyone's notes, tweaks, improvements, and then...

STAGE FIVE: Let's see how it flies with Ron...


Tuesday, September 18, 2007

Predator Omnibus!

It's been out for a month or so now, but it's never too late to catch up with the Predator! This Omnibus features all three of my Predator mini-series, published by Dark Horse "back in the day." All full color! The first series, with artwork by Chris Warner, is one of my personal favorites, a straight-ahead action story with all the subtly of a Mack truck. (When it comes to Predator, that's a good thing.)

The first arc was also the series that caught the eye of producer Joel Silver and became the basis (sorta) for the PREDATOR 2 movie. My later mini-series, "Cold War" and "Dark River" are also included, along with some other Predator-iana by other writers/artists.

Predator Omnibus. Available at Amazon and fine comic shops almost everywhere.

Monday, September 17, 2007

I Didn't See THIS One Coming...

2007 Beirut Film Festival Cancelled!

Fest was set to unspool Oct. 3-10, but worries over potential violence brought about by disputes between pro- and anti-government forces over the upcoming presidential elections have led to the event's shelving.

"We like to say the show must go on, but if there's a physical war, we cannot stage the festival this year. We have to be practical," said fest director Colette Naufal.

Saturday, September 15, 2007

MY FAVORITE THINGS - Shock Cinema Magazine

The new issue is out (#33) and as usual, SHOCK CINEMA is chock full of fascinating stuff for lovers of oddball and obscure film. Besides lengthy interviews with actor Michael Ironside, exploitation producer Arthur Marx and others, this issue features the usual wealth of utterly obscure movie reviews. Not the usual "Grindhouse" junk you might see name-checked in mainstream mags, but movies totally off the beaten track. "The Night Dracula Saved The World." "Little Red Riding Hood And The Monsters." "The Removalists." Still only $5.00, this is the best film mag on the market (especially since the demise of the much lamented PSYCHOTRONIC VIDEO) and can be found at most bookstores, or check with editor Steven Puchalski at

Friday, September 14, 2007

The Battlestar Red Carpet...

With one win (for VFX) already in our pocket, the hale and hearty Battlestar staff will be attending the Emmy's Sunday night with fingers crossed, hoping to see Ron Moore and/or Felix Alcala take home some gold. Ron's up for writing the first two episodes of season three, "Occupation" and "Precipice", while Mr. Alcala has been nominated for best director for his work on "Exodus Part 2." Some show called the "Profundos" or the "Castratos" or something has been getting a lot of buzz, but we'll see...

Meanwhile, the march toward the epic conclusion of the BSG saga continues... production resumes in a couple of weeks (Vancouver has been on a long-planned six week hiatus) and then it's straight through to the end, wrapping in March of 2008. It's the RAZOR two-parter, then 20 episodes of BSG gold, "said the jokerman to the thief."

Monday, September 10, 2007

SUPERMAN/BATMAN "Enemies" Review...

A nice review of my Superman/Batman "ENEMIES AMONG US" collection...

I could try to explain what I wanted to accomplish with the series, but this reviewer gets the drift right off and says it better!

The same reviewer also tackles the SUPERGIRL "Candor" trade collection, featuring my out of continuity story from Superman/Batman #27...

Sunday, September 09, 2007

Battlestar Galactica Wins SFX Emmy!

And the winner is --

For BATTLESTAR GALACTICA, "Exodus Part 2" --


Gary Hutzel, Visual Effects Supervisor
Michael Gibson, Senior VFX Coordinator
Doug Drexler, CG Supervisor
Adam “Mojo” Lebowitz, CGI Sequence Designer
Jeremy Hoey, Lead Matte Painter
Tom Archer, Lead Compositor
Andrew Karr, CGI Supervisor
Alec McClymont, Lead CGI Artist/ Animator
Brenda Campbell, Lead Compositor

The best SFX team in television, and an award well deserved!

Wednesday, September 05, 2007

As The World Turns, BSG style...

A few updates --

Work on BATTLESTAR GALACTICA continues at a fever pitch. The two part RAZOR episode is almost locked and loaded (still a few FX to finish, this thing is HUGE!), and it looks great. Hard to believe we're only three months away from the air date, then DVD release. The FX guys have out done themselves on this one, adding some truly harrowing perspective to the original Cylon blitzkrieg.

Meanwhile, the rest of the season is screaming along. The hearty BSG staff is continuing on the rocket ride to the finish, with half the final season scripted and more episodes in varying degrees of progress. There are lots and lots of jolts and surprises coming your way, so don't fall prey to the endless spoilers on line, many of which are totally, sometimes jaw-droppingly wrong. (In answer to so many queries, no, David Eick is NOT the fifth Cylon...) It may be the final season, but we're trying hard to make sure it's also the best...

Saturday, September 01, 2007

What Makes BSG Writers Laugh

...because we're also Peckinpah fans...

More Crowded House News...

For those who missed this current Crowded House tour or can't make a show, fear not. is selling authorized CDs of every show on the current tour, 2 CDs set going for $20 postpaid, or downloads for $9.95 a pop. Liam Finn's live CD is also available at the same site. Well worth checking out... sound quality is superb.

Thursday, August 30, 2007

Bruce Campbell -- ON THE RECORD

The Man himself discusses EVIL DEAD, MY NAME IS BRUCE and more. Check out the audio interview at:


Finally managed to catch my first ever CROWDED HOUSE show, after years of being a fan, and they did not disappoint. The new album, "Time On Earth", definitely catches fire in concert, and the old favorites ("Fall At Your Feet", "Mean To Me," "Don't Dream It's Over", etc., etc.) were given their full due. They're cruising the country so if you get a chance, this is a highly recommended tour. I almost said "reunion" tour, but this isn't some empty nostalgia exercise, they're a real band and I'm looking forward to whatever comes next!

Also, Crowdie front man Neil Finn's son Liam opens for the band on this leg of the tour, and his set is definitely worth catching. He does a wild one-man-band thing with guitar, bass, thermin and drums that's a lot of ear-splitting fun. At the show I attended (Green Theater L.A. 9/28), L. Finn was selling a limited edition live CD that features some of the same set, and it's worth checking out too.

Sunday, August 26, 2007

Battlestar Galactica Frakkin' Sharkin' Jarkin' Video

Courtesy the Galactica sitrep site and Adult Swim: this is short and really funny.


To my astonishment, someone just reviewed my first produced credit, TERROR SQUAD, on a site devoted to rare movies. TERROR SQUAD's never been released on DVD and is long out of print in video, so it was quite a surprise to find someone reviewing the movie in the here and now. The link will take you to the review and to the discussion I've been having with the review's writer.

Thursday, August 23, 2007

More Law and more Order!

After posting yesterday about LAW AND ORDER's occasion flirtation with character arc type stories, I was moved to do actual research (i.e., I went to a couple sites that do episode breakdowns) and discovered that the show tried to break the strict "only business" mold a couple of times. The biggest change of pace episode was the season ender where Jill Hennessy's character Clair (SPOILER ALERT for a fifteen year old show!) was surprise killed in a car accident. According to one website, none of the personal stories left open at the end of that season were actually continued into the next year. Restart button, ahoy!

It's still a great show. According to what I just read on AOL's news blurb (where I get 90% of my news these days, *sob*), L & O is coming back in midseason on NBC with new cast and stuff. I'll be there!

Wednesday, August 22, 2007

Law And Order

Not the concept, the television show. I'm a long time fan and love catching up with an episode (or two or three) on TNT. It's especially interesting to find an episode from the season (1998-ish, I believe) where they tried to run "personal stories" along with the procedural stuff. Because the shows get so WEIRD. It's like LAW AND ORDER from another universe, with Briscoe worried about his kid's drug habit, Benjamin Bratt's family troubles, etc., etc.

The strange thing is, I love personal stories. It's what makes BSG such a joy to write and develop. But the framework of L & O just isn't designed to carry the weight of "my ex is taking my son." There's barely enough time to do the "Law" and the "Order," let alone the extraneous runners.

On the other hand, I applaud the folks on the show for giving it a shot. Sometimes (to quote another fine program) you gotta roll the hard six. But as all gamblers know, sometimes you lose. Extra kudos to those responsible for backing off when it was clear the classic version worked best.

I understand changes are coming to next season's LAW AND ORDER... good for them, I'll check it out! But classic is classic is classic...

That is all...