Blog Archives

Watching Between the Lines

Remember, “the force” started as two words on a page.

The Star Wars universe (movies, TV, merchandise, theme parks, etc.) is not only seeing a massive pop culture resurgence akin to its 1977 fanfare, but this franchise/brand is restyling movie promotions and marketing. For instance, Jimmy’s Daily Planet featured the release of Star Wars: Episode VIII‘s production announcement three weeks ago, which was a video teasing the first scene in the follow-up to The Force Awakens. That was a first; a hype video of the first day of shooting for a new film.

For marketers (and movie fans like myself), this new, dare it be said innovative, kind of announcement is exciting. However, too many teases too early does result in frustrating fatigue. Fortunately, the savvy marketing team for Star Wars has followed up their Episode VIII teaser with another video that will give fans a much quicker return than December 2017.

Remember that picture of the very first table read of The Force Awakens? The one that brought together the original cast and new blood for the revival of a globally beloved series? It appears as if curious fans will be able to get (and hear) the full experience of that now famous moment.

Ladies and gentlemen: Star Wars presents…a table read.

Star Wars has, once again, changed the way we watch movies.

Come April 5th, you can watch this iconic table read and more (as in the actual movie) in Blu-Rey.

Happy Throwback Thursday!

Watching my 8-year old nephew read his favorite book series with excitement and dedication (anywhere and everywhere) is a wonderful sight. The fact that he willingly takes long breaks from the intoxicating glow and varied selection of high-definition electronics at his disposal is a genuine flashback to the days when my friends and I chose books over Nintendo (for at least a couple weeks).

The bookstore > Media Play (there’s a blast from the past!)

The greatest book series when I was his age was Goosebumps by scare master R.L. Stine. He was the best at sparking imaginations to run wild in suspense and mystery. His creative elasticity to write so many books is impressive and his legacy endures to this day.

Need proof?

We all know a book/book series isn’t truly worthy until Hollywood projects it on the big screen. From books to TV to the silver screen, R.L. Stine’s next chapter will be coming to a theater near you, with Jack Black portraying the famous author.

Goosebumps comes alive this October.

Welcome to Stine’s House.

Where Imagination Cannot Be Hushed

Italy v. Costa Rica (Noon, ESPN)

Switzerland v. France (3:00 p.m., ESPN)

Honduras v. Ecuador (6:00 p.m., ESPN)

Listed above are the three World Cup matches scheduled for today. However, it’s Friday and because I’m a little bit random, this post will focus on a subject 180 degrees the other way.

Why not?

When I arrived at work this morning, I typed, “bing.com” (as usual) to take a gander at the picture of the day. The photograph selected for June 20, 2014 was of the exterior of the Bodleian Library at Oxford University. But click on the box farthest to the left and the library opens its doors with sophisticated grandeur. This elite academic institution clearly provides its students and faculty with an inspiring setting for reading, studying, learning and curious sightseeing. What strikes me by the classically-aged interior is how the room contains as engaging a story as the books it holds. Whether the pursuit is serious or leisurely lighthearted, it’s amazing when just a room can transform you into a place and state of mind typically reserved for movies like Harry Potter.

(Photograph: John Downing/Rex)

(Photograph: John Downing/Rex, The Guardian)

Dreaming is golden.

Books of Epic Proportions

Dan Brown. J.K. Rowling. Tom Clancy.

And now J.J. Abrams apparently.

Reading books is still a popular leisure activity, despite how it may pale in comparison to venturing off to the movie theater to see the next big blockbuster sensation. The bottom line is that people enjoy stories of all genres with varying temptations and hooks. One day it may be action or adventure, the next could be drama and romance and the weekend may be primed for mystery or humor. The imagination has no limitations and is, therefore, eternally receptive to stories of all variations and styles.

In recent years, the word, “epic” has flown into our lexicon as nearly the same speed as Superman himself. There was even an animated film titled, “Epic” released earlier this year. While book releases rarely create epic fanfare or global pandemonium, there was one yesterday that just might expand literature into an unseen dimension of creativity.

Famed filmmaker J.J. Abrams, who is prepping the Disney reboot of “Star Wars,” had his book (co-written with established writer Doug Dorst) debut to the public yesterday. The title of the nearly 500-page mystery, “S,” may be the beginning of a new style and era of creative writing.

Yesterday, it was J.J. Abrams releasing an original novel. Who will be next? Steven Spielberg? James Cameron? Kathryn Bigelow?

Dare I dream for an original novel by Christopher Nolan?

There is no singular style, method, genre or process to writing, acting, directing and producing an epic blockbuster. There are unequivocal similarities, no doubt: original story, great characters, plot twists, big, yet believable action for the setting, stunning cinematography, hints of ambiguity, etc. But each crew has done it differently with a certain trademark.

Imagine this formula translated into an original novel that reads like an epic Hollywood movie that instinctively provokes intrigue and that relentlessly illustrates vivid scenes in our minds like the flow of some of our favorite movies?

Incredible books with the similar qualities listed above have and are being written. However, the scale of these literary adventures, mysteries, romances, etc. would be new with a particular cast of writers.

Try to envision a movie in IMAX with a powerfully unforgettable soundtrack somehow captured and placed within the binding restraints of a book.

There is a grandiose expectation with J.J. Abrams’ book because of his acclaimed cinematic skill set and storytelling accomplishments behind the camera. People will be expecting that “it” factor that will definitively distinguish “S” above the other available mysteries on the shelf.

Adapting popular books into movies is a common practice in Hollywood. And these scripts usually sound as if it were penned by an author instead of a screenwriter. The pace and style of the dialogue and the patience paid to character development is discernible. It’s not always absolutely good or bad, but it certainly is noticeable to the audience.

Last year, in late November, director Christopher Nolan made a rare public appearance to participate in a solo forum in New York City with a small audience to discuss his current, “Dark Knight” trilogy, his past movies and his then upcoming role in “The Man of Steel.” In fact, it happened on a Wednesday. Due to a contradictory statement given to me about a conflict at work that Wednesday and following Thursday, I had to refrain from securing one of those rare tickets when one was remarkably available.

I digress.

Christopher Nolan had agreed to answer a few questions from fans and/or attendees during this gathering. The question I submitted was essentially this: “Have you ever created your own original superhero with a corresponding universe and enemy(ies)? If so, who is it? What are his or her superhero powers? If not, would you ever be interested in such a venture?”

I was interested in not only my question, but all of the questions, plus his responses of course.

Maybe he read my question, maybe he didn’t. But if he did and the answer is yes, the possibilities and excitement among his fans would be difficult to contain.

The aura that surrounds “S” was palpable the moment I held it in my hands. There is a unique power and influence that radiates and thrills from the work of creative cinematic storytellers. Imaginations simply run wild with the stories they tell.

I just hope more will soon put it in writing.