Archive for June, 2013

Other Ten Percent 6/10/13

Jun 10 2013 Published by under Daily Posts

So most of Sunday was spent filming a sketch thing with Nikki but due to some technical stuff it seems more like a dry-run than something ready for public consumption and even when it gets ready it might not be an OTP jam. So let’s talk about what I did Saturday instead because on Saturday I went to see Joss Whedon’s Much Ado and it’s really good.

I could go into detail on why but honestly most of the positive reviews you can find online are pretty much on target on this one. There’s a few moments that don’t quite work (Clark Gregg can’t quite pull off Leonato turning on a fucking dime to slut shame his daughter to the verge of death but at this point I’m not sure that scene can be played by anybody) and a few “sets” that are obviously just Joss’s hall closet or something but overall it’s better than a movie shot in 12 days has any right to be. Oh right, that brings us to the important point here:

Dude shot this movie in 12 days, basically on a lark, in the middle of post production on basically the biggest summer movie of all time. As I said to Nikki after we left, I really wish I could make a movie armed with nothing more than the thought “Hey, I bet Amy Acker would kill Beatrice’s Act IV monologue.”

Critics seem split on if the weirdness of the movie’s filming makes it a bit of a failure due to its low production values or THE FUTURE OF MOVIES since it’s cheap as fuck and actually good.

I’m somewhat split on the issue. Personally the moments where the movie’s budget is showing seems to be totally outweighed by an infectious “let’s put on a show!” vibe from the whole thing. On the other hand I’m not really sure how replicatable this is as the future of movies. “Let’s put on a show!” is way easier when you’ve got a huge fucking house, a couple million in the bank and 50 great actors in your rolodex who’ll come film a movie at your place for two weeks in exchange for some booze.

That’s not to say Joss Whedon hasn’t earned those things or I don’t want him to have it, it’s just saying we aren’t all Joss Whedon so it’s going to be tought to make movies this way the same way nobody’s really managed to make something like Doctor Horrible despite a hell of a lot of people trying.

…Man, I was really hoping a brilliant conclusion to this would come to me while I was writing but it’s late and I’m kinda burned out from filming/editing all day so NOPE. It’s just a really good movie.

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Other Ten Percent 6/7/13

Jun 07 2013 Published by under Daily Posts

So I started working on today’s little rant as a video entry but then the more I fiddled with it the more I thought “why am I doing a blog post as a video?” and the answer turned out to be “to prove that I can.” That started seeming like a pretty stupid answer around hour 4 of messing with this when it became clear that I could do it but I could also do a lot of other things with my life and even my video editing software that actually lead to me being able to do some new things so I think when video entries do show up they’re maybe going to be WEIRDER than Monday rather than more like traditional entries. Anyway, here’s some talk about the guy that makes Adventure Time.

How do you measure how important somebody is in the realm of television? There are tons of talented creative people working to make this the “new golden age of television” or whatever we’re calling it this week but is there anybody who’s really more important than anybody else?

And even if there is how do you figure out who that is? You could pick the guy who’s got the most critically beloved show on television but that’s gotta be Vince Gilligan and despite his many talents Gilligan actually hasn’t done much in television besides write for the X-Files and create Breaking Bad. You could go by objective metrics like the number of shows they have on the air or how good the ratings are but either of those gets you a guy like Chuck Lorre creator of Two and a Half Men and while there’s a tragically decent case to make there let’s…not make it.

Instead I want to make a case that the most important creator working in TV right now isn’t Chuck Lorre or J.J. Abrams or even Joss Whedon it’s this guy and to explain why I’m going to need to explain a slightly different way to judge a creator’s importance…and also explain who that guy is.

See, instead of judging people for their own person output maybe we should be asking who the most influential creators are on television. In this light a guy like Joss Whedon didn’t just create a few good television shows (Buffy, Angel, Firefly) he assembled a team of writers who’ve gone on to create a bunch of shows like Supernatural, Pushing Daisies, the 4400, Tru Calling, Grimm, Alias, Lost, Warehouse 13 and Caprica or at least fill up their writers rooms . The influence of Buffy the Vampire Slayer isn’t that it was the best show ever made, though it was quite good, it’s that almost everything on TV looks kinda like a Joss Whedon jam lately, even the ones he isn’t actually creating.

A similar case could be made of the reach of J.J. Abrams but since he’s made the jump from TV over to movies about TV he’s gotten kinda hands off and his writers rooms don’t tend to churn out writers that end up as tiny J.J. Abramses in quite the same way.

That brings up back to that dude. Who is that dude? That is Pendelton Ward, creator of Cartoon Network’s Adventure Time and within the next five years probably the most influential creator on TV.

See, Ward’s domination of Cartoon Network has already started with storyboard artists like Natasha Allegri who created the gender reversed Fiona and Cake and Julie Sugar who created most of Adventure Time’s signature awesome songs getting pilots for their own shows. Considering Adventure Time’s success and the influence it’s already had on shows like Regular Show it’s pretty safe to say a lot of Cartoon Network’s going to have Pendelton Ward’s fingerprints on it soon.

But what’s really setting Pendelton Ward apart from other creators is that he isn’t sticking to TV. Ward’s also nurturing creators in a whole bunch of different media. He hired Dinosaur Comic’s author Ryan North to write the Adventure Time comic and then hired Meredith Gran to do an awesome spin off comic about the show’s main two female characters. Bringing creators who already shared a lot of Ward’s sensibilities from the web into traditional comics where, given the accolades both of them received, I imagine they’ll be sticking around in that industry.

He’s also been working with independent game designers, creating an Adventure Time themed game creation competition and helping with the campaign for an indy game space in LA. where people can learn about cool games and even how to make their own.

Most recently he’s created a new cartoon series called Bravest Warriors exclusively for the web that’s pretty good on its own but super interesting when you realize it’s anchoring a whole network of new shows called Cartoon Hangout that are bringing animation over to the web TV future.

Is any of this really making more Pendelton Wards? Not really, it’s more finding people who share his sensibilities and empowering to do their own thing. But it’s not like Joss Whedon was erasing writer’s brains and replacing them with his own…though that does put a creepy new spin on Dollhouse. He was just finding people who shared his sensibilities too and those people have gone on to do amazing things with the opportunities Joss Whedon has afforded them.

What makes Pendleton Ward potentially the most important creator on TV is that the people who he’s empowering aren’t just going to go on to create great TV, they’re going to make the next generation of awesome comics, web TV shows, games, and potentially music ALONG WITH great TV. And you’re going to owe it all to this guy.

So, you know, maybe learn his name.

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Other Ten Percent 6/5/13

Jun 05 2013 Published by under Daily Posts

So I’ve got a lot of video projects in the pipeline right now. I’ve got a non-fiction video that plays a bit like a video version of a traditional OTP rant I’m still tweaking the dialogue for. I’ve got another possible candidate for a speed run parody video (people actually seemed to like it okay but agree the execution could use work) in Proteus. I’ve got a sketch idea I’m looking to film with Nikki just as soon as the two of us have a free afternoon and I’m trying to talk a former co-worker into talking me into EVE Online (a sci-fi MMO known for being brutally unfair and having an absurdly steep learning curve) on camera in the MMO equivilent of Analyze Phish.

Unfortunately on a day when I basically can’t use my arms (“I should lift weights again” “Brilliant idea David that always goes so well for you.”) and I’ve got to get out of here at 6pm and basically not come back in time to do any more work today none of those projects are going to be prepped in time for today’s OTP and so instead let’s talk about drones a little bit because guys DRONES ARE DELIVERING PIZZA NOW.

…Okay sure they’re doing it for publicity stunts but what’s weird (besides the fact that Dominos is apparently in the design fiction game these days) is how viable it all seems. Sure the set-up costs are currently not worth doing this outside of test cases but that doesn’t seem like it’ll be true forever. The real problem here is how you scale the damn thing. The future where every pizza delivery is done by drone seems viable until every object that weighs no more than a pizza gets delivered by drone and you start realizing what a horrible technical problem air traffic control for a small army of these things is going to be. I’m starting to wonder if actually the “everybody gets drones” future is even more literal than I’d been assuming. Instead of corporations sending armies of drones out to deliver things to you everybody just programs their own personal drones to go pick up their stuff from various locations and bring it back. Sure it doesn’t solve the technical problems of making sure drones don’t crash into each other but it makes it a hell of a lot easier since at least then everybody could be logging their drone on the same basic database. Or maybe we’ll just have even shorter range control than that and control them all with our minds. I don’t know anymore.

If I have a camera that’s constantly recording everything I do I’d kinda rather it be a helicopter that I can control with my mind than Google Glass but maybe that’s just me.

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Other Ten Percent 6/3/13

Jun 03 2013 Published by under Daily Posts

So today’s video experiment is…I’m trolling you. Sorry. I meant to do something more accessible but like the three seperate ideas I had for something more OTP friendly all fell apart for various reasons so now you’re stuck with an elaborate joke that requires knowledge of gaming replay culture, semi-obscure indie games and a really generous definition of “funny” to work properly. Honestly I kinda need to either commit more or less to a terrible gamer character if that’s what I’m doing here. Also I need iMovie to suck less about audio editing.

I’m kinda glad to just have a straight up total failure with this approach in a weird way though. Back when I started OTP as a small e-mail to a few friends when I moved out to California it took about two weeks to even settle on what the format should look like and way longer than that to have it be…any good. Expect that to happen again with this. This is a failed experiment in the “finding a format” portion of our program but before long we should settle into something that’s at least the right shape even if it isn’t, you know, good yet. Then, hopefully, it will start to not suck.

None of this means I’m totally abandoning text on here of course. I still plan to write things that look like Other Ten Percent-ish things pretty often, just that I’ll also be working out what video on OTP looks like at the same time. For now please enjoy today’s video that is basically tailor made so that none of you will enjoy it. Except maybe like…Chris and Haim. That’s pretty much the target market for this and they’re both going to be super disappointed.

Then maybe consider NOT unsubscribing from my newsletter and we’ll be back on Wednesday with another video only five of you will even possibly like.

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