The Internet moves pretty fast. If I dare blink or put a find off until next week, the relevancy will be missed.

Shot during the writer’s strike last year, THE REMNANTS follows the lives of 5 strangers who’ve become friends in post-apocalypse LA. What I’ve gathered from this 11 minute pilot is:

John August wrote and directed this gem of a potential web series during the strike’s darkest hour. This may explain why everyone seems to click very nicely. It could also explain how he got so many fairly well known names to appear.

5 Years On and What have You Learned?

Cecil Vortex interviewed Ze Frank about a year ago and what a wonderful article that turned out to be.

zefrankheadshot.jpgWith The Show project, I’ve also been thinking a lot about this culture of authorship that we’re entering into. You’ve got so many people that are making things now, whether it’s emails or instant messages or uploading images to Flickr, making movies, creating audio on cheap prosumer technology. What’s really interesting to me is that, as anyone knows who’s gone into a creative discipline, the second that you start doing those things, the world around you changes. If you draw, you start seeing the edges of things, and you start seeing the deformities of their shape when you move around them. When you start playing guitar, you start noticing notes in all the music you play, and in fact, the music that you listen to never sounds the same from that point on. I think that a lot of people are focusing on the content that’s being produced right now. And I think it’s the wrong thing to look at. It’s actually the pursuit and the perception change that I think a lot of people are experiencing about the world — that’s the thing to focus on and the thing to celebrate.
Ze Frank

(Editor’s note: This rambled on longer than I expected or even dared. There’s an old saying, “Talking does not cook rice.” This here is a lot of talk but I also consider it as filling the pot and lighting the fire.)

The very minute I got serious about becoming a writer, it’s as if everything I had seen before, everything I knew or thought about them was different. I’ve seen movies from the 90s that, at that time I enjoyed, but now I notice all the lazy gags and simple-minded tricks. That style of “storytelling” has ceased to amuse.

What I’m saying is my enjoyment of movies has morphed. This is to the chagrin of friends who don’t really care about things like beats or story logic or plot holes you could steer an oil tanker through.

The summer blockbuster has it’s time and place but nowadays I want something juciy. I crave ideas that are more than filler. My taste buds have gone exotic. They’re starved for information that goes beyond the norm. I just want something more. I want to make something more. If it’s going to be a stupid silly thing, I want it to be stupid and silly on it’s own merit. There’s nothing worse than lazy talent.

So when I bitch about a movie or book or comic being beyond worthless. I’m really disappointed and angry about the time I spent on that failed idea. Then I have the urge to make something worthwhile but I get this fear about sharing it.

Can I make anything that is worthwhile?

That’s the only way the Michael Bay’s and Jerry Bruckheimer’s of the world have beaten me. They have the audacity and sheer force of arrogance to sell us their “works”. The bastards make millions off us with their poorly thought out plots.

While I, and so many others like me, sit here afraid to test the waters for fear of rejection or worst yet, becoming the next Michael Bay. The pay may be good but I’d rather not sell off my spark one crappy movie at a time.

Fuck that shit. Let’s cook some rice.

Happy birthday, Who knew five years later, I’d still be doing this. Whatever *this* is.

Photo courtesy of “Scott Beale / Laughing Squid

Writers: Mad as Hell. Not Taking it Anymore

The much talked about amongst entertainment makers and watchers Writer’s Strike has struck. The last time I remember such a thing happening MOONLIGHTING was already slowly fizzling out of its concentrated funny. The strike didn’t do them any favors. The only reason I cared about angry writers back then was because it disrupted the hell out of my viewing pleasures.

That was some time ago. A time when watching good TV shows was my only ambition. Sad times, indeed.

Nowadays I’ve a different interest in creator’s getting what they’re owed. Seeing that I’m working on being one of those creators of one of those shows that you’ll hate but it won’t matter cause it’ll be popular and I’ll be rich and doing blow off strippers’ bellies in my palatial Kyoto Farmhouse on the Oregon coast which will be fully stocked with Bare Knuckle on tap.

I have lists. So many lists. The year 21st century has news sources(mostly New Media: irony not ignored) spilling the beans on this century’s creative revolution. The following(some of them now under the cut) are quotes from news sources and the blogs of creators whose work I admire. If you’re interested in such things, I suggest you click on the relevant embedded links for full opinions on the matter.

Mark Evanier: At some point in those few weeks, the Producers will be out there, citing the programs and movies that are still in production, selling press stories that say, “Gee, we’re not being hurt very much.” But of course, even as they’re saying that, execs are meeting to discuss what they’ll do in two weeks or three or whenever the backlog runs out. (One thing to keep in mind is that most of the media is controlled by companies we’re striking. If some development in this story is very bad for the Producers, how fairly do we think it will be reported on a channel owned by Disney or in a magazine owned by Rupert Murdoch?)

Warren Ellis:The WGA go out on strike today. If you’re in LA, give ’em a wave if you see them on picket. Regardless of what you might think of their negotiating team and tactics, the WGA are making a stand over some things that genuinely matter.

James Gunn: The only reason for the strike – and don’t believe anything to the contrary – is that the studios have refused to pay writers (and screen actors, and directors) residuals on new media. When you download a movie from Amazon or a TV show on iTunes, the people who created that content, who devised it, wrote it, acted in it, and directed it, get exactly 0% of the profits. And the studios want it to stay that way.

Stephen Falk: After fucking you once, Big Business certainly isn’t going to suddenly grow a conscience and un-fuck you years later out of the goodness of their heart. And that’s exactly what they’re trying to do right now. Fuck us hard. Not only are they refusing to renegotiate DVDs (claiming giving us 8 cents per DVD instead of 4 would make them too sad), they’re trying to jam all “new media” like streaming and digital downloads under that same equation; they have actually refused “for overriding business reasons” to negotiate at all over new media. (Streaming video would be completely unpaid, even if it’s ad-supported because they claim all streaming video EVEN IF THEY SHOW THE EPISODE OR FEATURE FILM IN ITS ENTIRETY is “promotional”. Seriously.)

A couple of news bits were dropped on the entertainment blogs ONTD and The Superficial.

Twitter has a Writer’s Strike twitter collecting news from all over the ‘net scape.

Wonderful insights on Comics and the WGA by Bags and Boards.

Brian K. Vaughan also suggested United Hollywood for, “consistently dependable source of good information about the strike.”

And wonders continue to surprise. Ze Frank broke his silence/hiatus and said a word or two via his blog.

It’s Norma Rae up in this bitch, people. Or Chief Tyrol if that’s how you roll. Stand up and take notice.

HOTW: 52 Weeks of The Show

With a flash of otherworldly energies and not a pervert spandex suit in sight, the HOTW returns to the city. He didn’t forget his lovely citizens. He merely had that small problem on Chiron Beta Prime to fix.

It’s the last week of Ze Frank‘s, The Show. The Show started, for me, around week 24. Ze Frank’s Show was little 5 minute snippets of absurdist comedy mixed with common sense mixed with one man’s commentary on the wrold around him. It had song. It had dance. It ran 5 days a week for an entire year! It’s got 4 more days before the League of Awesome(aka the LOA) revokes his internship.

Frank’s persistance in getting 5 minutes of creativity finished and ready for world consumption 5 days a week made me envious. His commitment to sharing his brand of crazy on the intertubes was fascinating.

I guess we’ll all have to wait for next week to see what crafty little projects he has planned next.

While I will miss The Show, I’m glad he stuck to the rule of running this experiment for only a year. I’m sure he’s got other plans after The Show.

Come on Ze, it’s me, Sportsracer Groonk. You can tell me anything. What is *your* next power move?

HERO OF THE WEEK: Ray Gives Everybody a Little Strength

Listen, he’s about to whip somebody’s ass.

» The original song by Ray

In September 2006, I learned about the awesomeness that is Ray. He made up a song for his daughter to cheer her up. She had a bad day at work and was ready to quit the gig and be done with their noise.

Her dad, Ray, knew she couldn’t quit the job. He knew that she shouldn’t. He also knew a sermon didn’t have a place here. So he made up a song, on the spot. He sang, “I’m about to whip somebody’s ass.”

That cheered her up greatly. He eventually made an mp3 of the song and threw it onto the internet. Since then it’s become an anthem for all those having a hard time at work.

“If you can’t sing it aloud, hum it,” says Ray.

This one song brought unimaginable joy to thousands upon thousands of hard workers. Ze Frank decided there should be a video and remix album of Ray’s inspired work. The only problem was, no one knew Ray.

Ze and his legion of Sports Racers found Ray in the span of two days. A scary thought, to be sure, but the cause was righteous. The remixes flowed. The video was assembled. And yesterday’s The Show with Ze Frank featured an interview with the one and only Ray. He’s got good things to say. Everyone take 14 minutes and watch/listen.