Thursday, July 19, 2012

Comic-Con Day 4 (Hall H Part Three)

It's been really slow-going getting these Hall H pages published, partly because as the day went on, I typed less and less, and partly because I took so many pictures, it's hard to wade through them, finding one or two that doesn't suck.

Then, it was THE HOBBIT.  It turns out, I ain’t so jaded after all, kids.  I cried through half of that.  There was lots of magic in what they showed, both literally and figuratively.  We saw some specially-produced behind-the-scenes footage for us, then Peter Jackson came out, then they showed eleven minutes (I believe they said) of the movie (with a tiny bit from movie two sprinkled in*).  It was really great.  Emotional.  Then out came Phillipa Boyens (writer/producer), Martin Freeman (Bilbo Baggins), Andy Serkis (Gollum/2nd Unit Director), Richard Armitidge (Thorin), and Sir Ian McKellan (You shall not pass).  It turns out Elijah Wood was in the audience, so they had him come up and join the panel.

    Dang, this new movie looks like such an experience.  I really loved the LORD OF THE RINGS movies, coming to them as a non-Tolkien fan (still am), but now, my expectations and emotions will put me in a totally different place than I was in 2001 (I was so unfamiliar with the book that I believed Gandalf was truly dead).  Maybe it’ll be like the (first two) Star Wars prequels, and my love for the franchise will enable me to enjoy them.  Or heck, maybe it’ll just be that good, and I won’t have to strain myself internally.

Hey, it worked for AVENGERS.

Unfortunately, my battery is almost dead.  I have tried, though, to keep up with the panels and keep writing in this (though I’ll admit I become paranoid when the lights dim that this screen will do to me what cellphones in movie theaters do to me, so I stash it as fast as I can).

The Marvel Studios panel ended the day.  The footage for IRON MAN 3 looks good, but it’s hard to say whether it’ll be a good movie or not.  Did you know that when AVENGERS came out and made so much money, that Marvel raised the budget for IM3, just because they could?  To me, this was a head-scratcher.  Having twenty-five extra million dollars doesn’t make a movie better.  Six months extra to work on the script, sure.  An inspired screenplay and a really visionary director, definitely.  But just throwing money at a film isn’t a way to improve it.  For example, the 1997 STAR WARS cost exactly twice what the 1977 STAR WARS cost (twenty million versus ten million).  How much better was the Special Edition than the original?

When AVENGERS made a buttload of money, some of that money should have gone to bankrolling a future film (or films), and some probably should have gone to the people who made it such a success.  But I’m no businessman; it’s possible that most of that money was already spent when it came in, and they’re just now making a profit, which will be spent on real estate, narcotics, and underage prostitutes.

Speaking of which, Robert Downey Junior is really, really gung-ho about the Tony Stark character.  He has so much charm and coolness, as well as arrogance, playfulness, and a healthy irreverence, he seems as much that character in real life as Christopher Reeve did as Superman.

Ugh, now I’m thinking of MAN OF STEEL again.

The end of the Saturday night always brings us a panel with Kevin Smith.  He is a vulgar dude, but he’s not at all full of himself, and is so passionate that I’ve never once been bored listening to him talk.  And oh, he loves to talk.  He weaves a tapestry of colorful language that is merely talk of penises and obesity and love of bottoms when you look at it up close, but when you step back, seems to be a work of unique art.  And just between you and me, that is exactly what art is.

Smith had no projects to promote this year.  He has his TV show and his podcast, and another podcast (Hollywood Babble-on) is soon to be a TV show as well, but he seems to have retired from the movie- and comic-making business, and is all about selling what he does best: talk.  It’s inspiration, boys and girls.  Because I’m a podcaster too, and I always seem to be able to put out way more episodes of just me talking than the ones of stories and music and sound effects and acting.

Gasp. It’s like the difference between scripted television and reality TV. I guess that makes me a whore too. Sorry, Mom. Please donate via the PayPal button on your right.

Kevin Smith inspired the heck out of me last year, telling us how he was no longer surrounding himself by people who criticize his stupid ideas (I think the head of The Weinstein Company was very high on that list), but choosing instead to spend his time with people who encourage him to do what he wants. Eww, writing that, it sounds like I was inspired to surround myself with yes-men. But he basically was saying that there are too many people who bring you back down to earth, and few who will encourage you to soar.
That's what I chose to take from it, and it helped me accomplish one or two things last year, before I eventually reverted to my regular, miserable self. Which reminds me, I was going to produce a really horrible little audio drama on the show, and I never did. Hmmm. The problem with that is, if I know it's stupid, do I want to waste my time on it? Not without a guarantee of some sort, either that people WILL like it, or that huge piles of money will come of it. See, that's what a whore is.

Also, Kevin Smith talked about being in his forties, and that there are fewer days ahead than behind.  He inspired me last year by talking about choosing to be around people who say “Why not?” when he pitches them an idea rather than the ones who say “Why would you want to do that?”  Evidently, Harvey Weinstein was either THE person he was talking about, or one of the people who would ask him why, and he hasn’t talked to Harvey in a couple of years.
What Kevin really ought to do is hire somebody to direct something he wrote, where he can concentrate fully on his writing, and that person (preferably someone young and hungry) can concentrate on turning the words into interesting visuals, but if Kevin is making good money just putting out podcasts, I can totally understand him doing only that.  I had a conversation with Big once about making money with our podcast, that if we were making enough money with it that he could quit his day job, would podcasting start to feel like work instead of play.  He said, “Of course it would.  It already feels like work instead of play.  But not as much work as what I’m doing now.”

It would be pretty great to get paid to tell stories, or write them, or just to complain about things on the internet.  But I don’t have the ambition to do what is necessary to make that happen.  Heck, I could barely tell people to go out and vote for the story I have in that Masters of the Macabre contest.  And maybe the squeaky wheel gets to win that contest, just like the many Oscars that Harvey Weinstein has won/bought by his constant jockeying for awards and politics.
Heck, maybe I’ll still win that contest (since the deadline for voting is still out there**) because my story is the best.  I don’t know, I haven’t listened to the other contestants.  If it does, I’ll know that it was because people liked it better than the other four, and not because I brow-beat people (friends and strangers) into voting for me.

I did recently win a writing contest, and I’m terrified that people will think I cheated to get there.  I’d like to think that the story speaks for itself, and when they read it, they say, “Well, okay, that was a pretty great piece of work there,” instead of saying, “That Outfield douche bought the election, ‘cause so-and-so story was way better than his.”
You know what, fuck those guys.  I know I won fair and square, and that really should be the most important thing at the end of the day.

Man, I need to grow a pair.  That I could have lived this long with such a thin skin is appalling to me.  I need to grow a Piotr Rasputin-like shell around me so I can send stories anywhere, and not care if someone thinks they’re weak, and ask any gal to the malt shoppe, and not care if they say they’re washing their beehive hairdos that night.
The only way I can see to do that is to continue to send my work in, and do whatever I can to make this year’s stories better than last year’s.

Or to get a personality transplant.  Maybe with Robert Downey Junior.  That would be nice.

Rish “Rambling Man” Outfield

*Now there's three films, but who knows how they managed to decide that, and where to split things.

**At the time I wrote this, the contest was still going.  By the time I published this blog post, the contest had ended, and I had indeed lost.

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