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I know how they feel.
Occasionally, with great effort and little to no reward, I write screenplays. Dead Serious is one of these flights of folly.
I started Dead Serious with my RingTales partner Jim Cox back in 2000. It’s been through many iterations along the way. Iterations is screenwriter speak for endless drafts for nervous, risk-averse executives.
Dead Serious is about a work-obsessed/family ignoring insurance salesman who dies, meets Death and agrees to show him what makes life worth living in exchange for his life back. In other words, “It’s Not Such a Wonderful Life.” Oh, and it has a zombie penguin in it.
Jim dropped away somewhere in 2002 for a paying gig while I soldiered on. It was optioned by Core Digital Pictures in 2005 for Beacon Pictures to produce for Disney. Which is an impressive way of saying it went nowhere. Eventually, I got it back and was fortunate to have the good folks at the Austin Film Festival arrange a live reading with actors and audio visual embellishments. The reading went great. Friends had that confused, incredulous look on their face that says, “You did this?” Like I said, it was great. The reading was recorded with a static camera. I’d post the video, but it’s basically unwatchable to anyone other than the screenwriter and his mother.
You can read a pdf version here or go to the Michael Fry page under my credits to find another link.
Apparently we’re 15 years old today. I was reminded by this nice acknowledgment
at the Daily Cartoonist blog.
LEWIS AND FRY’S OVER THE HEDGE TURNS 15
Posted by Alan Gardner
June 10, 2010
T Lewis and Michael Fry’s Over the Hedge will celebrate its 15 years in syndication on this Saturday. The feature currently runs in 250 papers and has been made into a full feature computer-animated film starring the voice talent of Bruce Willis, Wanda Sykes, Avril Lavigne, Steve Carell, Eugene Levy and William Shatner. The movie took in $335 million.
“If 12 year old T Lewis could have known what the grown up T Lewis would get to do, his mind would’ve melted,” Lewis said. “From bringing Mike’s words to life, to joining in the lives of RJ and Verne and Hammy, to nudging black and white lines together to create a unique world, working on Over the Hedge has daily been a childhood – and adulthood – dream come true.”
There have been four Over the Hedge book collections: Over the Hedge, Over the Hedge 2, Over the Hedge 3: Knights of the Picnic Table, and Over the Hedge 4: Stuffed Animals.
I recorded this last night at about 11 PM on our back porch.
We live southwest of Austin, near Buda, TX on the edge of the hill country. What you’re hearing is our nightly cacophony of insects and the occasional frog from our pond. When I hear this I’m reminded of how outnumbered we humans are. Outnumbered and ultimately outmatched by a menagerie of nightlife that hums and croaks and chatters and sings without a care whether we’re listening or not.
One summer (and the summers are HOT in central Texas) we went without air-conditioning because we couldn’t afford a repair. It wasn’t that awful. Sure, it was uncomfortable, but by 1 or 2 AM with the windows open it would cool down to the mid 70’s. And in the sticky darkness I would finally fall asleep to this living lulabye.
Today, our AC works just fine and manages to successfully drown out this nightly serenade.
Not all progress is progress.
The renowned comics and fantasy illustrator Frank Frazetta died today. He was 82.
I’ve been a fan since I first saw his work in college. His command of gesture (the explosive flow of his line) just leaves me in awe. His figures ignite off the page. Yeah, there’s too many muscle bound barbarians protecting too many helpless, naked damsels in distress, but so what? He was the master at bringing fantasy to life.
We often say in comics to never draw anything the reader can better imagine for themselves. Unless you’re Frank Frazetta. No one’s imagination could compete with his brush.
We had to put down our yellow lab Max today.
His back end had become paralyzed. His hearing was gone and his eyesight was failing. He was clearly miserable. That always chilled stoner glint in his eye was dim and getting dimmer.
Someone dumped Max on our property when he was about a year old. This happens a lot out in the country and we don’t immediately take them in. Most dogs move on after a few hours or maybe a day. Max stayed. He wore us down. And we’re glad he did.
Max was a great dog. Not a big fetcher (a likely indicator of high intelligence), but a huge licker. He’d lick your hand, your face, your ankle, your big toe…. until you had to push him away. Didn’t like baths. Give him a bath and he’d head straight for the nearest, freshest cow patty and roll the stink right back on.
I envy all dogs their placid, scratch and sniff lives. But of all the dogs I’ve had in my life, Max seemed the most content with being, you know, a dog. Like being a dog was his highest form of reincarnation and he had attained enlightenment.
Next stop: Nirvana.
I hope they have cow patties.
Okeanos was (is?) the Greek god of Rivers. The painting above, Okeanos V, is by my good friend and fellow Buda-ite Kathleen Holder. I like her work a lot. It’s not exactly abstract and it’s not exactly impressionism. It’s abstrapressionism! (Forgive me, I’m a cartoonist, not a painter).
Her work reminds me of a lot of pre-production concept art you see for a feature animated film. The big studios like Pixar or DreamWorks Animation do a “temperature color chart” of the film. It’s a color graph accompanied by concept art that depicts the tone (or temperature) of each scene in the film. They’re looking for a good mix of cool and warm colors.
For Over the Hedge, the painting above could have been a depiction of where RJ’s soul was going to go if he didn’t redeem himself in the third act and help out his new found furry family.
To see more of Kathleen’s wonderful work go to the David Lusk Gallery
Or check out Kathleen’s web site.
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I scrapped this vid of former NBC co-chairman Ben Silverman (now head of Electus) speaking at the MIPTV market in Cannes off Deadline.com. I use the term speaking loosely because I have no idea what he’s talking about.
I’ve been in the online entertainment business for a few years now and I’ve heard a lot of jargon masquerading as a business plan, Continue reading
This is super-keen cartoonist (and fellow Daily Texan contributor) Chris Ware’s rejected cover for the May issue of Fortune. Chris took the opportunity to editorialize about the recent financial meltdown. Notice the Treasury being looted and Milton Friedman’s Payday Advance. Apparently, Fortune had something else in mind.
This reminds me of when Nelson Rockefeller commissioned Diego Rivera to paint a mural in the lobby of Rockefeller Center in 1933. Part of the mural was a depiction of a May Day demonstration. One of the parade participants was Lenin. Rockefeller objected. Rivera refused to remove Lenin, but offered to add a great American like Lincoln. There was a standoff and in 1934 the mural was painted over and destroyed.
“Art is the lie that tells the truth.” – Pablo Picasso.
Click on the cover or here for a larger version
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This is impressive. A lot of time and attention to detail went into this. Congratulations to all involved.
The Goofy Movie is one of my favorite Disney films. It’s surprisingly good. Released in 1995, it was directed by Kevin Lima who went on to direct Tarzan (produced by Over the Hedge producer Bonny Arnold) and Enchanted.
The Goofy Movie is one of those rare instances where a modern update of a character actually worked. It worked because they didn’t update Goofy. They gave him an updated son.
If you haven’t seen the original, you should. Mike-Bob gives it four lone stars.