Saturday, December 4, 2010

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Sprint Epic Contest

Click below to vote for my video. 
Michael Bay will choose from the top ten who wins the 25,000 dollar prize!

Monday, November 1, 2010

FILM FIGHTS interview

I was interviewed by Griffin Mclain for FILM FIGHTS BLOG. Check it out.

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Friday, October 15, 2010

Director's Commentary

I recorded a new director's commentary for the first episode of THE DANGER ELEMENT. Next week I'll release a new commentary for episode 2
Episode 3 is coming soon! Look for a new update on Wednesday!

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Vote after November 2nd!

Hey, everybody. I need your help.
I entered this little piece in the Sprint Epic Contest.
. The top ten will be judged by Michael Bay. The winner gets 25,000 dollars toward their next project.

Voting doesn't start until November 2nd at www.youtube.com/sprintepic

The DANGER report! #1



Sunday, September 26, 2010

Saturday, September 18, 2010

Nerds Are Amazing podcast interview

I was interviewed this morning for the Nerds Are Amazing podcast. I'm the last segment on today's show. Check it out!

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

The Other Woman

Funny mew GO SUKASHI promo

Saturday, September 11, 2010

Fourth of July video

Some stuff I shot on the fourth of July

Monday, September 6, 2010

THE DANGER ELEMENT: Episode 3 trailer

Starring Cassie Meder and myself.
I hope to be filming the rest of this before the month is over.

Monday, August 23, 2010

THE DANGER ELEMENT: Episode 2!


I just finally finished the second episode of THE DANGER ELEMENT (more than a year after the first episode) and I am super pumped about it.

For those of you who were there on the very first day I ever did anything with these characters almost 11 years ago, some familiar faces are back. In a really odd way, I did this just for you. Every little word I wrote for them was pretty much scribbled out of excitement for how the five or six of you who remembered would react. If you love them and the rest of the world hates them, I'll still be happy.

I have to draw special attention to some of the people who contributed literally thousands of dollars worth of their magical talent to this particular project with an inexplicable lack of any damands in return:
First, of course, my partners who have worked on just about everying with me since 1999, Justin Spurlock and Ben Beames.
These men make sacrifices you cannot imagine for reasons I can't quite explain to help me get my work done. They are involved at every step of the process, from consulting with me on how things should look when I am planning to hurting themselves trying to shoot it.

Second, Glen Gabriel, who composed the entire musical score for this episode in spite of an insane schedule and family concerns on the other side of the planet in Sweden. You will remember that Glen's work appeared along side that of Kyle Santos' in the first episode. I attribute a huge percentage of that short's success to the talent of both of these guys.

Third, Ben Page, who not only took time out of his professional set and prop building work to appear in these films, but also built Enki's spectacular rifle prop from a crummy sketch I did on a crumpled up piece of paper.

Fourth, Hal Forsstrom, who stayed late after work for a month and many times stayed awake all night (as we all often do) to create the Westhavenbrook Logo and the opening credits which are both used in both episodes. Working with him on this was one of the biggest learning experiences I have yet had in the collaborative process of making films. You can still find him losing sleep to this day doing special effects and motion graphics for our other show on MyDamnChannel.com: Go Sukashi!

Finally, My Sister, Kato. (Yes, Mom, I have a sister you didn't know about. We were going to tell you when we were filming at your house, but there was just so much going on.)
Kato was literally too busy to work on this project. I don't care what she tells you, she didn't have time to do this and she still did it. in the middle of some of the biggest promotional work for Doctor Steel and right as her own company, steampunkcouture.com , began to explode in popularity with no one to design, construct and fill orders but herself, she decided to design and fabricate an entire costume for my actress on this episode of The Danger Element. On top of that, she then decided she had time to fly up here from LA to fit her, do her make up, do script supervisor duties and even pick up a camera to film me crashing through a wall. If I did the math, I am pretty sure I would owe her like 20 thousand dollars.

There are others I could talk about, but it is these people who are truly the reason this looks the way it does. Without them, it would not be the same. I am sure you are all bored by now and just want to watch something, so here it is!
Don't leave before the end of the credits. There is a sneak peak of episode 3 that i am rather proud of.

John!

Friday, August 20, 2010

Friday, August 13, 2010

Go Sukashi! on MyDamnChannel.com

Episodes 2 and 3 of our show, Go Sukashi!, are running strong at MyDamnChannel.com right now!

Thursday, August 5, 2010

Thursday, July 29, 2010

Go Sukashi on MyDamnChannel


Go Sukashi is now part of the MyDamnChannel family. Check it out!

Monday, July 26, 2010

Comic Con 2010

I got home from San Diego last night around midnight and am trying to recover from the exausting week.

Here is a breakdown of what we had going on.
Thursday:
Directly following a screening of The Action Heroes Guide to Saving Lives starring Patrick Warburton, my film, The Danger Element screened at the Comic Con international film festival. It was followed up by a Q and A session with myself and my crew including actor Doug Jones (Pan's Labyrinth, Hellboy), fellow Westhavenbrook founder Justin Spurlock and Composer Glen Gabriel, who traveled out here from Sweden just to spend the week with us.


The Danger Element was followed by a film made by Phil Tippett, who introduced it himself. That was kind of surreal.

Saturday:
Screening of our web series, GO SUKASHI!
The panel included our producer, Doug TenNapel, co-creators and directors, Justin Spurlock and myself, and our actress, Brooke Brodack, who was also in town for the screening of another film she acted in that you might have heard of: THE HOUSE THAT DRIPS BLOOD ON ALEX.
I also spent part of the day filming my material for the Kevin MacDonald documentary, LIFE IN A DAY.

Throughout the course of the week we were able to get DVDs and pitch material into the hands of Mike Mignola (creator of Hellboy), Zach Snyder (Director of 300 and Watchmen), Gerard Way (writer of one of my favorite books, UMBRELLA ACADEMY and lead singer of My Chemical Romance), and Guillermo Del Toro (director of Pan's Labyrinth and the Hellboy films).
So if any of those guys are reading this, I'm waiting for your phonecall!

On that note, I think I am going ot go pass out for like 20 hours.

Saturday, July 3, 2010

The Last Airbender

As I always do when I make a bad decision like the one I am about to make, I am going to start this with a disclaimer: I really dislike reading movie reviews as a guide for whether a person should or should not go see a movie. So if you are reading this hoping to find out if you should or should not spend money on THE LAST AIRBENDER, please stop reading right now lest I become the very thing I hate in all the universe.

Also, if you don't want spoilers, you might not want to read this. If you have watched the series, you already know what happens.

With that out of the way, I want to say that I am a huge fan of the AVATAR: THE LAST AIRBENDER television cartoon. I had the privilege of watching the entire thing on DVD in a condensed amount of time (several episodes per sitting) and I think I have actually been quoted as saying that its story is as good as the original Star Wars films. A bunch of people just read what I just said and think I am stupid, but I don't care.

I've been talking about how excited I have been for the movie adaptation ever since I read the first interview with Shyamalan. (Who many people are surprised to find is a director that I do not reflexively hate in the way that group-think would prefer that I do) I was very excited about his love for the series and his enthusiasm and have expressed this pretty emphatically. Its for that reason that I feel compelled to write this in order that I might be specific about what I liked and what I did not as I am not very good at saying outright that I just liked or disliked a movie. Its more complicated than that. It always is.

The story is alarmingly faithful to its source material, which is a fact that, in the opinion of many, seems to work against the pacing of the movie because 'so much material is jammed into one movie'. I disagree with that particular opinion. I don't feel like the movie was paced badly. Rather, I feel like an hour's worth of important material that would have made it into an actual movie was shot and edited into a comfortably longer and more enjoyable cut and then arbitrarily cut out of it by someone. You can feel this in the editing and the performances. There are evolutions in plot and individual performances that are literally missing from the narrative. . . not because someone forgot to put it there, but because someone else got rid of it after it was done.

I'm gonna dig the hole the reader has put me in at this point even deeper by saying that I don't believe Shyamalan was responsible for this. There is a load of evidence that suggests that the film we saw in the theater is not the film that Mister Shyamalan made. That someone else that had final edit authority did a chop job on his vision after it was finished and not a very thoughtful chop job at that. I'm only going to go through a few of these points.

The first, I have already mentioned. You can just feel huge chunks of the film missing. You can see the scars from the scalpel. Just for instance, anytime you hear Katara narrating the film, I can almost guarantee you that three or four fully fleshed out and important scenes were cut out of the film. The narration device was a post production fix for the fact that someone felt the need to get rid of plot information that actually drove the story. Take, for example, the scene in which Sokka and Katara and Aang ride into the Northern Water Kingdom, introduce themselves to the royal court and Sokka falls in love with Princess Yue. All of this information is jammed into about one minute of spectacular footage that is clearly collected from at least three different fully produced scenes for which incredibly elaborate sets were built in which full dialogue sequences had been shot. Scenes in which you would have gotten to know characters and developed an attachment to them. Does anyone really expect me to believe that all of that was built and shot to accompany a minute of conventionally out-of-place narration?

The second is that big moments that we remember from the tv series are in the Trailer, but not in the movie. For instance, the scene where Katara embraces Aang after his ordeal in the Avatar state at the end of the first season. This important moment is depicted in this spectacular revolving Steadicam shot in one of the trailers and is nowhere to be found in the movie. Other important character moments are missing, but are evidenced by scenes that connect with them in a linear way. For instance, the moment in which Iroh is acting almost motherly toward Zuko as he leaves the ship in his little boat to sneak into the Northern Water Kingdom, telling him how to keep warm and whispering at him to stay safe when he is out of earshot. Its hard to make sense of this scene in the movie without realizing that its only half the scene. That literally a second before that, Iroh told Zuko, embracing him on the verge of tears, "ever since my son died at Ba Sing Se, I've thought of you as my own," Do you honestly expect me to believe that M. Night Shyamalan thought it made sense to cut that out of the movie? Why? For time? Did he think it was too sappy? After writing and directing scenes like this?
Come on.

Then there's the things that we didn't even get a hint of in trailers or the film, but that we know were shot like the Kyoshi Warriors.


There are no Kyoshi warriors in the film. We know scenes were shot with them, but someone somewhere decided they shouldn't be in the final cut of the movie. How many other pieces of the pacing puzzle are lying on a cutting room floor somewhere for no good reason?

Then there is the whole issue of the spirit world.

When I watched the climax of the first season on the TV series (on which the movie is based very faithfully) I expected Aang's journey into the spirit world to be downplayed quite a bit when it was translated to movie form. That maybe he would just talk to Roku twice in the course of the film and a lot of the spirit world imagery could be condensed and would have to be since it is introduced later on in the story and wouldn't have played well in a movie. When I watched the film, though, I was really excited when I started to hear Grandmother give a really compelling introduction to the Avatar's relationship the the Spirit World during the first act of the film. When I watched this scene, I started thinking to myself, 'this movie is going to be amazing.' That scene was not something I expected and ended up being a perfect way of getting the audience started down the path they'd need to be on in order to accept the things I thought would need to be cut out of this movie. I realized, however, that something had gone awry when every one of Aang's forray's into the spirit world had been simplified from their spectacular surrealist landscapes of the cartoon to a simplistic cave in which Aang talks to Roku's dragon. . . And he never meets Roku. . . and there is never a connection made between the dragon and Roku. . . There is just something seriously wrong with this. That scene with Gran Gran opened the door for something that never stepped through. I just can't believe that the same person who wrote that scene in the first act would find these grossly muted abstractions as a fulfillment of the vision that the scene was preparing us for. What I am saying is, don't blame Shyamalan for this. The evidence points to a disconnected culprit.

Now, jump past all of these points and you are left with a collection of things that I don't hate. I loved every single thing about the first half hour or so of this movie. Seeing Appa lying in the ice as Sokka and Katara climbed over the ridge was a magical moment for me particularly. Of everything I saw in this film, the revelatory moments of that creature generated some of the most emotional reactions in me. I would have accepted it if someone had just told me they went out and filmed the real Appa. Zuko's demand that the village's elderly be brought before him lended a dignity to the concept of Aang's disapearance without changing a single thing in the overall adaptation. Little things like this and seeing Sokka lead the line of little boys across the village during the approach of Zuko's ship were all subtle winks that made me feel assured that this film was very carefully thought out.

Unlike what I am hearing a lot of people say, I really liked the cast and their performances. Zuko and Iroh specifically. Sokka and Katara are pretty much perfect, Aang is the weird combination of wise and irresponsible without going overboard. His distractible childish side is well illustrated subtly in his interactions with Monk Iatso. (Iatso was taken in a completely new direction, but still captured the essense and purpose of the character, which is all I ever really hope will happen in an adaptation.) I would dare to say that Azula's single line in the film was inspired.

I loved the way the movie looked. Loved the design, loved the music. I think I liked just about every scene that I actually saw. The real problem I have with the film is what ISN'T in it rather than what actually is.

In the end, the only point I can really make is that I hope there is an extended cut of the movie when it comes out on DVD and that it does well enough to justify the two sequels.

UPDATE: I just read that there was a studio mandate that this film be shortened to under 2 hours. I guess that is the explanation for everything I just complained about.

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Practice!

I'll be honest with you. Its not my favorite thing in the world to do.

Sunday, June 6, 2010

Thursday, May 27, 2010

Episode 2 of THE DANGER ELEMENT is coming!
Next month.
Here is the new trailer with music by Glen Gabriel.

Thursday, May 13, 2010

Production: THE DANGER ELEMENT: Episode 2

Last Saturday, we shot a harrowing 30 second action sequence with Ben Page for the second episode of THE DANGER ELEMENT.
This Saturday, we are completing production on the second episode. So its time to start getting excited.



Friday, April 23, 2010

Timothy

I made a new short film with Ben Page and Justin Spurlock with music by Glen Gabriel.

Thursday, April 1, 2010

GO SUKASHI 2!

The Second episode of our show, GO SUKASHI, is live!

Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Location scout part 2

Second location scout day for the second episode of THE DANGER ELEMENT










Monday, March 29, 2010

Locations and Rough Cuts

Did some scouting for THE DANGER ELEMENT today and snapped these pictures of one of our potential locations.

Mr. Watanabe, Susumu and Doug TenNapel watched our rough cut of Go Sukashi: Episode 2 today and loved it. Good news. Lot's to do before Thursday.

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Hungercide!

Fun commercial thing I made starring Ben Page and Justin Spurlock. Shot it in my house during one of Mister Page's visits.

Monday, March 15, 2010

Battle Jitni update


I know there are people out there who have been waiting for the next episode of the Danger Element series. (Which is flattering and I must thank you. Even the ones who hate me for only giving them one episode for an entire year.) The reality of the matter is that an episode of The Danger Element can be kind of a tedious undertaking, especially considering the bar I gave myself on the first episode. Parts of two additional episodes were filmed very soon after finishing the first, but other commitments and responsibilities have prevented me from giving the project the focus that it needs to become what it was meant to be. For that, I apologize.

Recently, I have been reformatting and splitting the episodes so that they fall into more manageable five minute parts. Two of these are going to be going into production over the next couple of months and you'll be seeing them soon. I hope you are as excited as I am.

I can't tell you much about them or when exactly they'll be out as its a little too early to tell right now, although shoots have actually been scheduled. I'd like to see the first one released online in a month if I could pull that off, but I can't make any promises without a real budget to work with.

Here are some of the people involved:

Kato

Ben Beames

Ben Page

Justin Spurlock

Saturday, March 13, 2010

The Green Randal


Justin Spurlock, Adam Parker and I filmed a fight sequence for Go Sukashi: Episode 3 today. It was the first time we've had a weapons duel in this series and we did not fully predict how tricky this was going to be while wearing vision restricting helmets. Adam and I can generally only make out the general location and movement of the person directly in front of us when we are in our full costumes. This usually works out reasonably when we are doing hand to hand combat, but weapons seem to just become invisible as they spend most of their time swinging around in our periferal vision (and neither of us have periferal vision in these suits.) Add the factor of my lenses fogging up with every breath and you have a situation that just shouldn't work. As Adam would swing his staff at me and I stepped in to block it with an unprotected forearm or (when I was lucky) a sword, it was literally guesswork. I didn't know where the weapon was, so I'd just put my arm in the place I remembered it being when we rehearsed.

What's crazy about all this is that it worked really well. Sequences of moves that Adam and I were sure were going to end up looking like two blind men flailing around trepedatiously on the screen somehow ended up being some of our most interesting moments and would only take a few takes to get them looking great.

I'm really glad that this show has such a low percentage of actual fight choreography in its action sequences. I am pretty sure someone would get hurt or something would get broken if that were not the case.

That's it for now. I may have some bigger news later this weekend.

Friday, March 12, 2010

Back in action

Had a really cool conference call this morning with Doug TenNapel, Justin Spurlock and a contact in New York about some really interesting things that I hope end up happening. (If they don't happen, at least I never said they would!)

Right at the moment I am puting some last minute touches on my design for tomorrow's fight scene that I'll be performing with Adam Parker (Who plays the Green Randal!). This one is for Go Sukashi: Episode 3. For those of you who care, you probably know that Episode 2 was supposed to come out on the first. Obviously there have been some delays due to circumstances beyond our control. Its rescheduled to come out on the first of April and will blow your mind. Hal Forsstrom is pulling all nighters on a visual effects sequence that is incomprehensibly awesome AND there is a surprise ending!

I'll get back to you all tomorrow with more news from the set and from the future. For now, enjoy these two fine specimens of anticipatory entertainment.

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Channel 101

A pilot for a DANGER ELEMENT series screened at Channel 101 Sunday night. Didn't make top five, so the audience doesn't get to see the car chase next month.
http://www.channel101.com/shows/show.php?show_id=387

Here's the whole short film

Monday, February 22, 2010

DANGER ELEMENT teaser airs with BACKYARD FX

My old friends at INDYMOGUL ran the teaser for my film, THE DANGER ELEMENT, on their show: Backyard FX


They've been true pals ever since the episode we did together.

Friday, February 12, 2010

Chinese FOOOOOOOOOOD

Here we are (The cast and crew of Go Sukashi) enjoying some lunch at the end of a successful morning of motion picure photography.














Thursday, February 11, 2010

Brooke came back to town today and tomorrow we will shoot one of her scenes for Go Sukashi: Episode 2!

Sunday, February 7, 2010

Indy Mogul ad

10 second spot for my film, THE DANGER ELEMENT, airs with Indy Mogul's BEYOND THE TRAILER (1:13)

Saturday, February 6, 2010

Episode 2, day 1: Go Sukashi


Big action shoot for Go Sukashi today


Fight Rehearsal


Hal Forsstrom: Visual Effects Supervisor



Justin Spurlock (right) setting up a shot.

Thursday, January 28, 2010

Action Design


I just finished planning the action sequences for Go Sukashi: Episode 2.

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

I have been told by several people that I should play Travis Touchdown in a movie version of NO MORE HEROES. I hadn't actually looked up the game until today and the more I look at Travis Touchdown, the more I wonder if they just copied the character I played in Doug TenNapel's Sockbaby series. Who knows. . .

Saturday, January 23, 2010

Go Sukashi part 2

I am finally back home after my trip through LA and San Francisco followed by two days of helping Ben Beames install a floor in Atwater. I am tired and sore, but happy to make the following anouncement.

A second Episode of Go Sukashi will go into production next month!



Brooke Brodack
returns as Bethany, Sukashi's responsible girlfriend.




Justin Spurlock
returns as Brian, Sukashi's annoyed best friend.






And of course, Sukashi returns as. . . Sukashi.
Prepare for mind breaking!

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Tuesday

Spoke at St. Mary's College yesterday to a Film Apreciation class. After I was done, I got to see a pretty interesting French Animation film called THE TRIPLETS of BELLEVILLE.

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Monday


Had breakfast with Hal Forsstrom (Motion Graphics and Visual effects man for DANGER ELEMENT and GO SUKASHI) and Andrew Dickman where we discussed ideas for the next installment of Go Sukashi as well as the subjects of movies, comic books and cartoons

Then Andrew took me over to Union Station in downtown Los Angeles to catch a train for a ten hour trip to San Francisco.