There's nothing quite like an enjoyable blast from the past. Especially if you forgot all about it.
The other morning, while flipping through the G4 schedule, I found an episode of Game Makers featuring George Lucas' gaming division. I sat my ass down to watch it, and enjoyed the history of it, but it reminded me of something I hadn't seen in ages: Maniac Mansion II: Day of the Tentacle.
I LOVED this game in the mid 90's. It was the funniest, coolest game out there, and I'm ashamed of myself for forgetting it.
I'd went so far as to install DOTT on a high school computer, and we played it during art class on slow off days.
So, Georgie if you're out there, instead of remaking Star Wars over and over again, and re-releasing even more versions of Indiana Jones on dvd (and Blu-Ray! Where's my Blu-Ray releases, damnit?) why don't you direct the smarties in your organization to get together to make more Maniac Mansion games?
Or, dare I say it, why not a Day of the Tentacle inspired movie?
But, my dear Georgie, you can't write it, or direct it, or cast it. Just set it in motion and walk out the door. No sense in screwing up another good franchise.
Oh Maniac Mansion, how I missed you. Actually I don't miss the first one, but I do miss Day of the Tentacle. It was more fun.
Who's with me? Why have we not heard more from the mansion lately? What's Purple Tentacle doing these days?
Surely there's more to be told.
I must say I love you, Mania.
I loved you when you were Cinescape.
I especially loved the sister site, Phenomena (which coincidentally provided me with lots of interesting articles about all sorts of paranormal happenings and such that has appeared in my Interesting Times series.)
But now, I type in your address into my browser, and the first thing I get is a window that says I have to make a choice of which sponsor I plan on ignoring for this session of Mania.
Why is it I have to now choose which commercial I'm going to ignore?
Sure times are tough these days, and new Nintendo Wii's don't come cheap, but come on.
Who's brilliant idea was it to sell your soul? And why are they not burning in the everlasting flames for making said decision?
Not sure if I've ever mentioned it here before, but one project I'd like to seriously follow through on is writing a script for a video game.
And I've started, although I must admit it's very, very basic. Even the story hasn't been fully fleshed out.
I tend to be of two minds about all the projects I have: either I'm doing too much at once and therefore can't do anything, or I'm doing nothing in general.
Once upon a time I had a list of things I wanted to do: "World War Now," among several other projects. "WWN" was a silly idea about Britain declaring war on Australia after somebody claimed all things Australian were a ripoff of all things British, then when some Aussie kidnaps the Diana's kids, it's all gloves off when the British kidnap Savage Garden.
Yes, this idea is that old.
But doing a video game has been in the back of my head for a long time. And in between "Life and Times of Igor," "Interesting Times," "Unbitten," "Sweet Dreams," and a few other things (namely the book chronicling all the paranormal hot spots and lore of Arkansas and the other book of photography I was working on) I tend to get lost in the shuffle.
And from my research I've seen writing the script is like writing everything else. But, there's a problem: I'm used to my old Nintendo and Super Nintendo. I tend to still think on those terms. I have my N64, and I regularly play all four games I have for it: Dr. Mario, Mario 64, Starfox 64, and Legend of Zelda - Ocarina Of Time.
I've had it since the summer of '99. I still haven't beaten Zelda. I guess I made a wrong turn in the palace under the lake somewhere and haven't been able yet to retrace my steps. It's quite sad actually, cause I was considered the best at all things Nintendo 12 short years ago.
I've never touched a GameCube. I'm still lusting after them. Zelda Windwaker looked fun. Cartoony but fun.
Now there's the Wii, and I still haven't touched it yet. And they have a new Zelda game. And Mario Kart Wii which is still dancing in my dreams and behind my eyes. I keep the Best Buy advertisement for it up here on the wall next to my computer. "Sell any project, doesn't matter which one, and That will be your reward."
Well, that and a Blu-Ray player. And a few choice films starring Jesse Jane. (Don't look her up if you're under 18.)
Even though I know how to promote the comics, the movies, the tv shows and miniseries (if Igor doesn't become a comic, it may become a miniseries), but there doesn't seem to be a way to promote game scripts.
I guess you've got to be involved already in that industry.
And I should really update my gaming knowledge before I go any further.
This is going to be more of a rant than dealing with movies and such, although it does involve my career in such matters.
Hollywood is hard to break into. This is an accepted fact, no matter how talented (or untalented) a person is. And all the contradictions for Hollywood apply: agents are looking for fresh new talent, yet they're afraid of new talent. Hollywood looks to outside of Hollywood, yet how many people from outside of Hollywood are really working there?
This entry deals with the second one. I've read countless screenwriting books, and they've all had something to say about "outside talent."
Now I could be making all this up, but I'd like to get others opinions on this matter.
I have a theory that, by living in Arkansas, I'm more likely to be ignored when the agents read my letters (that is, if they even do.)
Over the last few years of promotion, my letters have gotten sharper (though I hate writing them) and, oddly enough, the responses to said letters have gotten smaller and smaller. The letters are not the problem, as they are finely crafted and I spend countless hours just making sure they're right because they are the keys which could unlock the doors.
The letters have to be perfect.
But there may be a chink in that armor, and it's the bit that reads Arkansas. Folks in Oklahoma may also be a victim of this same thing, I don't know though.
When I think of Arkansas, I think of the local dumb asses, of course, but I also think mostly of the scenery and the fact that this is home. My own personal version of The Shire, is how I've described it, complete with Rivendell in my own backyard. Literally.
That is the natural landscape. It has been my home for nearly 31 years. And, when I finally saw a DirecTV broadcast for the very first time in the late 90's, I was no longer the bumpkin some might think I was.
Even before then I could read, I could write, I would wear shoes and not talk with a southern accent. I also wouldn't go around quoting Jeff Foxworthy as if he was some prophet.
But the state may be holding me back when it comes to agents in Hollywood. It also may not be. I can't prove anything here, but I can gather this much: agents aren't looking my way to find something fresh or new, and Hollywood is just as isolated as some might think we bumpkins are.
There's got to be some middle ground out there somewhere.
So I ask you, fellow maniacs, when you think of Arkansas, do you think of hillbillies and moonshine? Or do you think there are those amongst the restless hill living natives who are actually capable citizens living in the 21'st century?
Tags: my life
As some of you may have noticed, I'm highly critical of the big tent pole movies that appear in summer.
I'm very critical of their movies, and I'm also highly critical of mine. You have to expect more, or you'll end up with less.
I've no interest in the next Hulk movie. I do remember when they were putting it together, some exec said "we want more Hulk smash!" And, to be honest, that looks like all the new movie is. The first one committed the mortal sin: it had a story. Gasp! Sin!
And then, and only then, did it delve into Hulk smash.
I couldn't help but laugh at the idiots who wanted more of the laughable action sequences and sobbed about how it took so long to get going.
And so we're in summer movie season. Don't bother trying to reason with it, you might as well tell the wall about trigonometry.
Frankly, I'm reaching for a good book. An odd thing, seeing as how I can't seem to write one yet I spend my time writing movies. I do not see this as hypocritical, although you can if you wish. I'd like to think I'm bringing "literary aspirations" to the faster, bigger, quicker Hollywood mentality.
If you too want to reach out for a good book, here's a few I've read. Feel free to mock my selections openly if you wish, or, to suggest one if you're willing.
Paradise Screwed by Carl Hiaasen.
This is a series of selected columns by a genius living in Florida. It's all good fun, on a variety of topics from religion, to life in Florida, to professional sports and the local antics of corrupt politicians.
Sophie's World (and) The Solitaire Mystery by Jostein Gaarder
Two unique fantasies that have a genuine fantasy tale to tell while weaving the history of philosophy into the story. Go on, it won't kill you. Both are wonderful, and they will surprise you if you give them a chance.
The Hitchhiker's Guide To The Galaxy, The Restaurant At The End of The Universe,
Life, The Universe, And Everything, So Long, And Thanks For All The Fish, and Mostly Harmless by Douglas Adams
The famous Hitchhiker Trilogy. I should say the famous, increasingly inaccurately named Hitchhiker's Trilogy. Throw the movie in the trash and read the books. Then go dig the movie out of the trash and watch it again.
The Salmon of Doubt: Hitchhiking The Galaxy One Last Time by Douglas Adams
Posthumous collection of Adams' various lectures, interviews, and such. This brings out Adams' intellectual side, and you can truly appreciate what a brilliant mind we had behind a bunch of silly hitchhikers.
Discworld by Terry Pratchett
No book in the series is called Discworld, and there's over 30 of them. Maybe closer to 40. I love the "Witches of Lancre" series, and those books are as follows (and in correct order I might add.)
Wyrd Sisters, Witches Abroad, Lords and Ladies, Maskerade, Carpe Jugulum.
There are numerous topics that are covered here. Wyrd Sisters resembles Shakespeare, Witches Abroad tears apart fairy tales, more Shakespeare in Lords and Ladies, Phantom of the Opera in Maskerade, and finally religion and vampires get it in Carpe Jugulum. You'd really just have to look it up to get a better sense of the entire Discworld series.
Good Omens by Pratchett and Neil Gaiman
The end of the world is coming, but one angel and one demon really wish it wouldn't. Can they keep the apocalypse from bringing it all to an end?
A Salty Piece of Land by Jimmy Buffett
Take a trip to Cayo Loco as Buffett spins a dreamy sun soaked tale about restoring a lighthouse, and all the adventures that go along with it.
The Discovery of the Grail by Andrew Sinclair
This is NOT a novel. It IS a book of history tracing the sources of the Holy Grail. If you couldn't stay awake in a history class or while watching the History Channel you may as well pass this up. It is one of my sources for a project I'm still trying to finish, and research is the name of this game.
The Historian by Elizabeth Kostova
Research was the name of this game too. Maybe too much towards the latter third, but this is still a good book about the history of Vlad the Impaler and such. Imagine "DaVinci Code" only thicker, more thought out, much more history, and such. Take your time reading this one because you will need the time to absorb all that's going on here. Trust me, I should know.
I'm still hoping to find the next great novel. I thought I'd found it in Labyrinth by Kate Mosse, and it may still be, I just haven't had the opportunity to sit down and read my copy. Shame too, seeing as I've had it for a year now.
I still want to know when Dan Brown's next book will be out. No one seems to be able to tell me that, and I have checked.
Some of you may ask why I'm recommending books. It stems from my niece and nephew.
I constantly hear "when's the next Harry Potter movie coming out? What's it about? What happens in it?"
They ask me cause I've read the book. I tell them "it won't be out for X monthsyears, and if you want to know, go read the damned book."
Then I get that look that says "book? What's a book?"
Then they ask about the next Narnia movie. Exact same questions, different answer. "What's it about? I don't know, I haven't read the chronicles yet. But I bought you the omnibus edition with all the books in it two years ago. You've got the entire series, so you can read the book and find out."
Another spaced out look. Oh lord.
So, wall, here's the thing about trigonometry...
I've never hidden my lack of knowledge of comics. In fact I've openly asked for help simply because my experience in dealing with them is severely lacking (as is my interest to be painfully honest.)
I have just two or three from my youth, besides the death of Superman series my dad bought me because he thought they'd be a great investment. Those that aren't Superman related are Super Mario Brothers, and one Legend of Zelda comic.
I also used to read the adventures of Archie and Jughead, not to mention the rambling love lives of Betty and Veronica and how Archie would go from rich girl to nice girl and back again.
Due to my hereditary, I'm not exactly the most physically robust. I was the smallest, and then thinnest in my class, not by choice, but by nature. 90 to 95 pounds was about what I weighed in my senior year, and keep in mind I'm nearly six foot tall.
Why is all this important? It'll make sense in a moment.
All my life has been dealing with one sickness or another in some fashion -- I'd get sick, I'd lose weight, I'd go to the hospital. I've spent more time in one hospital or another than the doctors that worked there was my running joke, but I never was bemoaning the existence. It's just what my life was like.
I am getting to the point. It's all background info that's necessary.
Now also keep in mind I live in one of the most backward areas of the country. We used to attend one of these nut job churches in the area, and frankly I never had any use for them. Even as a kid I didn't see the point.
But they saw the point in trying to save my soul or keep me in line or whatever.
So another sickness came, into the hospital bed I went, and here comes the preacher man (who was a nice enough guy) and in his hands were two comic books. (Told you there was a point.)
Apparently the ladies in the church felt I needed something to read while I was recovering. And, hey, one of them is Archie. heck yeah, they did something right for once.
I don't know where they found them, but this wasn't the Archie I knew. This was Archie flying in some red baron type of plane shooting down clouds that held "innacurracies" that were contradictory to the church. One said cloud said something like "I can worship god wherever I want." POOF. Down it went.
Archie betrayed me. He was one of those nuts. The other was a dramatization of what I think was called The Cross And The Blade...or Knife....or something like that. Another Christian nut job comic.
I promptly turned Nickelodeon back on because it was far more interesting, and I'd never seen cable tv before.
Why is all this important?
Well, in "Life and Times of Igor," I'm not afraid to make religious jokes. Mormons, Christians, Scientologists -- they're the first on the chopping block. So if anyone's going to be offended, please go ahead and be offended. I'm not changing it.
In this scene, Igor has just won second place in the science fair after having reanimated his beloved dead dog. And the first religious player is being set up for the chopping block, so Tommy if you're out there, please hate it with a passion.
And maybe for chapter 2 we can get some polygamists in there.
EXT. TRANSYLVANIA HIGH SCHOOL - LATE MORNING
Igor is carrying his contraption out of the school. His dog, Sparky, is now very much alive. Momma and Poppa Igor are walking alongside Igor.
It okay you not win.
It not okay you not win. Hot science
chick might've kissed you if you won!
Now she never come over. Now I never
see her chest humps.
Another whack of the purse upside of the head.
Stop that. I not in mood to chase my
head down the street again.
At this moment, a man known only as the HEAD GRAND MYSTIC steps up to Igor.
HEAD GRAND MYSTIC
Mr. Igor, may I speak to you for a
HEAD GRAND MYSTIC
I just want to say I was very impressed
with your science fair project.
You impressed with Igor?
It not matter. You don't have chest
humps. Good day.
HEAD GRAND MYSTIC
No, sir, you don't understand.
HEAD GRAND MYSTIC
Your son has a wonderful grasp of
things my...organization...is only
beginning to explore.
Who are you?
HEAD GRAND MYSTIC
Here, this is my card.
He hands a business card to the Igor family. All three examine it. It reads HEAD GRAND MYSTIC - SCIENCEOLOGY - (NOT A CULT. We Promise.)
Are you head of cult?
HEAD GRAND MYSTIC
We're not a cult. We promise. It says
so on the card.
How could you argue with that? It's in
such friendly lettering too.
HEAD GRAND MYSTIC
Young man, there is an opening in our
organization for a person of your
unique abilities. Are you interested?
Well, Igor could use money. And
graduation just two weeks away.
HEAD GRAND MYSTIC
Excellent! Just come by our offices
after graduation and we'll get you all
set up. How does that sound?
HEAD GRAND MYSTIC
We'll do great things, young man. Great
The Head Grand Mystic gets in a black limousine, and is driven off school property.
See? Igor come out on top after all.
Chest humps more fun.
What was that?
Nothing. Let's go home.
Igor loads up his machine in the back of the vehicle. Igor gets in the back seat, while Momma Igor gets in the passenger seat. Poppa Igor drives. And off they go.
The vehicle runs over something.
POPPA IGOR O.P.
What I hit?
Poppa Igor gets out, and sees Sparky laying on the pavement, motionless.
Damn it. Get the machine out Igor. We
reanimate Sparky again.
Everybody's got a vampire story.
Joss Whedon has several. Anne Rice has her own to tell. Vampires are everywhere and, therefore, are cliche.
Werewolves are also cliche, and nowhere is this most apparent in the (very) short novel I was asked to adapt. Honestly, how many people will write Howl, howllll, hhhowwwwlllllllllllllll? and then a few chapters write Scratch, ssccrraaatttchhhh, sssccccrrrrraaaaaattttttccccchhhhhhhh?
(The howling I can understand. The scratching I can not. Oh well.)
Once upon a time last year, after having watched a very interesting documentary on the vampire "subculture," I was completely inspired. Here was a very dark, intriguing story to tell. Not just I vant to bite your neck! or I'm a vampire! or such.
No, this was real, this was gritty, disturbing, and somehow beautiful.
And I immediately failed to write it. "This would be good for my friend to do" I proclaimed. I said "watch this, you could do this, you SHOULD do this, etc."
But I did.
The trouble is I wanted to keep it as grounded in reality as I could, making use of only the barest amount of herbal magick, and that was it. But for one reason or another I couldn't. It's still firmly based in reality, but it's got its fantasy elements too, which I was dead set against having.
It's also, likely, the darkest thing I've ever written. I also have two minds about it -- on the one hand, "Unbitten" is very good. On the other, it has its problems...and those problems result from the "how much reality should this have" issue.
I was also worried cause I didn't want to look like I was just ripping off my other supernatural stories, "Interesting Times."
My friend has read "Unbitten," and she loved it. She couldn't get enough of it. I still can't understand why. The further along it went, the more I seemed to lose the thread. It's not what I set out to write...and yet it's good. But it's also bad....not in the "cheesey" type but in "these issues need to be resolved, dumbass."
I'm thinking, IF "Igor" is actually made into the comic book format, I'll redo "Unbitten," remove all the needs for basis in reality, and stop worrying about the vampire 'code of ethics' which is known as The Black Veil, if I remember correctly. I wanted to follow the Black Veil code as closely as I could, but the "bad guy vamps" just muddled things up too much, while the Devon character was the epitome of the code.
Oh well. I'll figure it out one day I hope. It's still a good, dark, dramatic story. It's just got a few issue to iron out.
Here's the prologue from "Unbitten." (I should note here that, if I've posted it before, I'm sorry cause I can't remember and I'm too lazy to go check at this moment. If I do find out it's a double posting, I'll just delete this version.)
Blood. The most common substance
associated with the living. Every
breathing creature upon this planet
contains blood within its fragile
Since the first day blood ran through
the bodies of man and beast, a
fascination has surrounded the life
Blood was used as ingredients in the
spells of sorcerers for many reasons.
Pacts with Satan were signed in blood.
The power of witches was said to be in
their veins, so forcing the blood from
a witch was an effort to remove the
power of the witch.
Virgin’s blood was that which a
Hungarian countess bathed in to preserve
her beauty. And a ritual involving the
imbibing of animal’s blood was thought
to share in the strength of that
But, most notably, blood has been
associated with the vampires. The dead
took the substance of life so that they
would live again. But there are vampires
that have no need for blood. They need
something else from the living.
And, for some, if they spill blood, it
isn’t for the reasons mentioned herein,
for there are many different types of
What we need here is a glass of Felix Felicis.
Tomorrow I'll be sending out a copy of the first chapter of Life and Times of Igor to an agent in Oregon.
It'll take 3 - 5 days to get there, I'm assuming.
So think good thoughts.
Igor is shuffling off towards Oregon via Priority Mail.
I just want to take this opportunity to tell the United States Postal Service YOU BASTARDS CAN GO SUCK IT! Two years ago I could send off a 120 page manuscript, complete with necessary self addressed stamped envelope, all for less than seven dollars. And that was it.
I'd get two Priority Stamps, one for the outer envelope, one for the return envelope, and that was it. I had my own envelopes, I printed my own labels.
Well today's lesson is "inflation's a bitch," boys and girls.
The script for "Igor" is 65 pages. I added an additional 20 of material to be included in the second chapter as a preview of sorts. I placed in my SASE envelope.
The whole shebang cost me over $15.00. My postage to get there alone was approximately seven dollars.
Hell I'd need to sell the project just to make up the loss from shipping the damned thing. This is outrageous.
PS - Go see NotAFan's "Life and Death of Igor." It's fun.
A long time ago, I bitched and moaned about how bad X project was, and how I had been asked to help X person write the script.
I went under the premise it was me doing scripting duties For Hire (because that's what was needed there in my honest opinion.)
And although I still laugh at the idea of werewolves running unchained in Fort Smith, Arkansas, I'm going to let YOU be the judge.
Follow this link, and Abandon All Good Creative Expression Ye Who Enter Here:
I stand by my original pronouncement of how bad it is, and what bits are good and why.
But when I mentioned to a friend of mine, who also read the book, that this particular author PAID X amount to publish his book, she declared it the literary equivalent of tying a pork chop around your neck so the dog would play with you.
His hopes of making a mainstream movie are still dashed I'm certain, and I'm not saying that as revenge or similar, I'm just claiming if a book shouldn't have been published, it really doesn't deserve the big screen treatment either.Tags: my life
Well last Tuesday I think it was an agent wrote me up, proclaiming how much she LOVED the idea of "The Life and Times of Igor" (uh oh) and how she was already telling her associates about it (double uh oh.)
I've been down this road before, with the Igor script.
That also raises the pressure on me -- it has to be DAMNED GOOD, and that's not something I feel I can do. So, as usual, I'm just doing what I can.
I hope to finish it this week.
I plan on ending Chapter One with the night Frankenstein tries to reanimate the corpse, as (unnamed villains) come take him away to jail. Yes the police are involved.
Okay, so it's the tree huggers that come after Frankenstein. I think I revealed that in earlier posts anyways.
Part of my brain that deals in a very dark sense of humor considers the scenarios where Frankenstein gets his body parts -- missing adventurer Steve Fossett, for example.
Yes, I know, groan all you want. It's still funny in a very dark sense. It's like when I was a child, and Challenger went up, then came back down. The popular joke back then was "how'd they know the lady had dandruff? They found her head and shoulders in the ocean."
I came up with one concept about, how in Evil Medical School, young Victor genetically enhances some vegetables, and making them sing and dance. And, as their manager, Victor would rule the world through, essentially, a pop band singing vegetable craze. The twist would be the vegetables do want to rule the world, but they have another means of doing it: twisting the minds of malleable children with biblical tales and forcing them to obey them.
Yes, Victor invents Veggietales essentially -- except he puts them in the nearest veggie processor and CHOP CHOP CHOP they're gone. (I should note this, and another sequence, were "protested" by a friend of mine, whom I run all first drafts by to see if I'm still on track, or if I've gone insanely off course. I'll likely keep this one, but the other will most likely go.)
Did I mention my humor is very Take-No-Prisoners? Ever see Monty Python's Flying Circus? Ever read Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy? How about Good Omens? If not, then it's no wonder you don't understand. I love British comedic sensibilities. I love the fact that, in "Father Ted," you can have an 80 year old priest who does nothing, except chase women, get drunk, and shout swear words at nuns.
Let's hope I maintain that philosophy as Igor progresses, but more so that the agency isn't disappointed in this madness.
Let's also hope, should they like Chapter 1, I can actually gather the mental strength to tackle the rest of the story. I haven't had a vacation....since my high school senior trip. That was '96.
I need a get away. Hawaii will do. I want to see Hawaii. I want to buy authentic Hawaiian shirts. I want tropical jungles, white sandy beaches, and young women with dark tans and inspired uses for empty coconuts as clothing.Tags: life and times of igor