Saturday, July 26, 2014

2014 Comic-Con: Saturday's TV Fun

Saturday was a lighter day as far as panels go, but we still managed to fit in a nice variety of television activities. Two pilots, an off-site experience, two state-of-programming television evolution discussions, another behind-the-scenes writers' session, and a scavenger hunt of sorts filled the day. Included below are some highlights from these events - look for more in-depth articles in the future. And, be sure to follow us on SmugMug, on Twitter or on Facebook for the latest throughout Comic-Con!

Why Not Serious? Comedy vs. Drama in Animation, with Craig Miller, Ted Biaselli, Brian Hohlfeld, and Jim Krieg.
- comedy episodes are more re-watchable than drama or adventure installments.
- sometimes descriptions don't translate well when animators are from a different region. Example: there aren't marshmallows in Spain, so there's a scene around a campfire with someone toasting a piece of bread instead!
- Mickey Mouse is a lot like SpongeBob... both are exuberant and love the world.
photo: Amy K. Bredemeyer
Inside the Writers' Room: Earth's Mightiest Writers Re-Assmble, with Chris Parnell, Michael Narducci, Steve Holland, Sarah Watson, Bill Harper, Christine Boylan, Ashley E. Miller, Steve Melching, Jose Molina, and Mark A. Altman.
- The Vampire Diaries and The Originals allow support staff to submit scenes. If the make it into the script, they get a credit, and some even wind up joining the staff!
- Series that the panelists really enjoy currently include Game of Thrones, Justify, The Americans, Orphan Black, Orange is the New Black, Korra, Adventure Time, Penny Dreadful, The Good Wife, The Walking Dead, The Leftovers, and Fargo.
photo: Amy K. Bredemeyer

NBC's Off-Site Constantine
We also went off-site to check out the Constantine experience (if you're looking out from E lobby, across the train tracks, it's the blue dome near the Omni). At the time, the wait was about 25 minutes, which was definitely worth the unique four minutes you watched the trailer. It was similar to a theme park atmosphere, actually, as there were 4D elements such as fans blowing wind.
photo: Amy K. Bredemeyer
The Digital Revolution: The Convergence of Television and the Internet, with Daniel Alter, Jasmine Andrevos, Adrian Askarich, and Jeff Krelitz.
- you can be raunchier in an online format like Hulu, Amazon, or Netflix.
- The way the digital age affects television may show up again in the near future, as people don't want to deal with the hassle of driving to a movie theater if they can have a good time at home.
photo: Amy K. Bredemeyer
The Strain Screening
- During specific times throughout Comic-Con, you could stop by three booths (FOX, Dark Horse, and Harper Collins) and collect wristbands promoting The Strain. Then, you could take them to a specific theater downtown and see what could have been done better. We scored autographed The Strain comic books and had our faces morphed so we'd know what we'd look like if something similar happens. After photographing a few of the props that were places around the room, we bailed on viewing episodes 2 and 3 in favor of hitting something more closely aligned with our interests...
photo: Jonathan Bredemeyer
Warner Bros. Television and DC Entertainment: The Flash, Constantine, Arrow, and the World Premiere of Gotham, with ~35 members of talent on the stage at once! *We'll discuss the pilots later, but here are some highlights from the panel itself:
- Arrow will bring in Wildcat this season, who will interact with Laurel.
- Grant Gustin likes to dig as deep as he can with the emotional rawness of The Flash.
- Jesse L. Martin is excited to play a detective who actually gets to shoot people, as he apparently never did that in his ~200 episodes of Law & Order.
- Constantine's basic plan is to try a spell, fight, con, kick, then run away... he's no Superman! 
photo: Jonathan Bredemeyer
** find more pictures of these panels, plus others, the exhibit floor, and off-site events at our SmugMug site
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Friday, July 25, 2014

2014 Comic-Con: Friday's TV Panels

Yesterday we saw television panels for three series and a scholarly approach. Today, our television panels included three for series, two for behind-the-scenes writing, and one on the translation of television to comics. Nope, this isn't exactly what we planned initially... we didn't make it to iZombie due to a time-ticketed exhibit, but learned that they weren't able to show the pilot in its entirety anyway (due to re-casting), so no major loss. We purposely chose to skip The Unexplained Files due to the additional information that was released describing the panel. But, we thew in another series and two different sessions discussing how pilots come to be, and what it takes to write one, so that's different. Included below are some highlights from these  events - look for more in-depth articles in the future. And, be sure to follow us on SmugMug, on Twitter or on Facebook for the latest throughout Comic-Con!

Writing for TV: From First Draft to Getting Staffed, with Spiro Skentzos, Karen Horne, Keto Shimizu, David Schulner, and David Slack.
- The more television you watch, the better you will be at identifying event triggers, character goals, and the stakes of a dilemma, which will improve a writer's ability to create those things.
- It's helpful to write a character description in both the first and third persons so you can get into their head and think of how they'll say things.
- You need more than just a spec script for a currently airing show and your pilot. Create content to showcase your abilities. With that, write what you know.
photo: Amy K. Bredemeyer

The Chair: One Script, Two Visions, One Winner, with Zachary Quinto, Dan Schoffer, Josh Shader, Shane Dawson, and Anna Martemucci.
- Martemucci was paranoid about being filmed as she directed, knowing that similar things have wreaked havoc on families.
- Dawson really learned to be patient through this project. He's accustomed to just putting an ad on Craigslist, getting an actor, and paying them. Now, he had a month to cast, a budget to work with, etc.
- Dawson won't be leaving YouTube behind after eight years of videos, but he thinks he'll need to change it, even if that's just slowing down to one video each week.
photo: Amy K. Bredemeyer

The 100 Special Video Presentation and Q&A, with Jason Rothenberg, Eliza Taylor, Isaiah Washington, Ricky Whittle, Lindsay Morgan, Devon Bostick, and Marie Avgeropoulos.
- The second season has fewer than 68 people alive. BUT, the title of the series doesn't refer to the number of people, but rather the name of the project.
- More information about the languages of the Grounders will come out - we even heard Avgreropoulos speak a bit in the tongue!
- Getting dirty happens much quicker than getting clean, so the actors don't mind wearing rags, because they're not spending hours in the makeup chair!
- If they had to spend a week with a castmate, Taylor would pick Bostick because he's funny, Whittle would pick Morgan because she can cook, and Avgreropoulos would pick Bostick because Canadians know how to survive!
- Most of the characters are now on the ground, so there will be some strange pairings in the near future. 
photo: Amy K. Bredemeyer

Falling Skies Season 4 Panel, with Noah Wyle, Moon Bloodgood, Will Patton, Drew Roy, Sarah Carter, Maxim Knight, Doug Jones, Scarlett Byrne, and David Eich.
- Sarah calls the second half of the season "gnarly"!!
- Yet another variation on the species we've seen will come about.
- Bloodgood liked working with different actors this season, because although it was unfamiliar, it was also refreshing.
- Wyle thinks that the structure of this season allowed for a lot of the characters to develop their leadership skills.
- Anne will have a flashback to her life with a son.
- Patton noted that "Weaver feels a certain amount of things in his heart as Lexi makes him think about Jeanne." The character becomes one of Lexi's biggest proponents because of that. Also, he wants his character to have one more shot at love before the end of the series.
- Wyle hopes that Tom will get to be a founding father in the next society.
- Jones would like Cochise to understand what peace is and have a heart-to-heart with his father, then remain behind with his human friends. (and maybe move to Atlanta and become the head of programming at TNT, haha!)
photo: Amy K. Bredemeyer
Roar Comics: Saved by the Bell, Punky Brewster, and More, with Adam Staffaroni, Chynna Clugston Flores, Anne Toole, Lesley Vamos, and Brandon Easton.
- In the Punky Brewster comic, Henry becomes the title character's mother's cousin. I had never thought about society no longer accepting a young girl living with an elderly unmarried man!
- Henry's job has also been upgraded to him being a successful traveling photographer, so the storylines will take them out of Chicago.
- Original characters like Alan, Margeaux, Cherie, and Betty are still there.
- The Saved by the Bell comic maintains the Zack-Kelly-Slater love triangle.
- They will be starting a Care Bears comic book in 2015! Also, be on the lookout for Madballs and Packages from Planet X.

How to Write a Pilot, with Gray Jones, Jen Grisanti, William Rabkin, Bill Taub, and Carole Kirschner.
- Although it's tough to sell a pilot without being established, Extant was written by a nobody. Mad Men also didn't sell until the creator had done other things.
- Writing your own show demonstrates an original voice, which can be great... but some showrunners want to see people who write in their tone, so specs are sometimes better.
- With that, you should really have a dossier of 2-3 original pilots and a few spec scripts so if anyone wants to read more of your work, you have it available!
- The series Bible has gone from the 40 pages of the 90s to just 6-15 pages now, but you should still know everything about your characters.
photo: Jonathan Bredemeyer
* find more pictures of these panels, plus others, the exhibit floor, and off-site events at our SmugMug site!
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Try It Out: WGN's Manhattan

Most people probably either learned about The Manhattan Project through real-life (it took place 1939-1947, so living memory for some) or high school history class, but my introduction to it happened around Christmas 1992. We were over at my cousins' house, and they had received the NES game Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles III: The Manhattan Project. We were playing when some relative came in and saw the box, and asked what the game was about. Only being on the second level or so, our description was fairly vague, I'm sure, but the well-meaning adult took the opportunity to teach us about what "The Manhattan Project" might reference. As it turns out, there are no atomic bombs in the video game, but I learned about it anyway, which gave me a leg-up in eighth grade history.

It seems like only yesterday we were covering WGN's Manhattan panel at TCA, but the series is already debuting, so it's worth another mention, as it really has great potential. Not just for viewers, either, but for the state of New Mexico, where it was filmed. Governor Martinez is "excited that this series will highlight New Mexico's celebrated history and [their] amazing, picturesque landscapes." Natural beauty aside, one of the more entertaining tidbits about filming is that, during location scouting, the producers found an old Army hospital that was about to be torn down. So, they cleaned it of asbestos and it's been working well for their needs!

The characters are another reason to tune in. Not only does it mark the return of Daniel Stern (of Home Alone wet/sticky bandit fame) to the screen, but the drama will also depict a nice variety of 40s personas. The leader of the project is a self-destructive scientist, there is both a female botanist and a female scientist, and there are others who are notably upset about a move from the riches of the northeast to the middle of nowhere. Plus, Manhattan doesn't shy away from the truth of the times, either - Spanish-speaking natives are seen around the area, acting as migrant workers and housekeepers. But, don't keep your eyes peeled for historical figures - although Robert Oppenheimer appears in the pilot, no other notables are found at the beginning of the series.

When you watch the pilot, here are some fun things to be on the lookout for:

- The prices/items in the market
- The technology
- The design styles... of everything from household interiors to hairstyles.

Watch for Manhattan to premiere on WGN America on Sunday, July 27th at 9pm ET/PT. If you're not a regular viewer of the network, look for it on 307 DirecTV, 239 DISH,  568 FiOS, 180/1180 U-Verse, and on other carriers.
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Thursday, July 24, 2014

2014 Comic-Con: Thursday's TV Panels

So, we had initially planned our Thursday TV panels to start in the Indigo Ballroom, but when the line for Ballroom 20 was super-short at 8am, we headed into that instead. So, rather than see Betty White and the USA Dig panel, we were treated to 24 with Kiefer Sutherland, Under the Dome with a good chunk of the cast, and a screening of CBS's new drama, Scorpion. Not sticking around for Reign, we headed out and about to do all sorts of fun Comic-Con things before hitting an evening panel on the Psychology of Cult TV Shows. Included below are some highlights from these four events - look for more in-depth articles in the future. And, be sure to follow us on SmugMug, on Twitter or on Facebook for the latest throughout Comic-Con!

24, with Kiefer Sutherland and Jon Cassar.
- filming in London was very different. Sutherland talked about how many rules there are when it came to having weapons on the set, but onlookers were permitted to crowd outside the scenes and watch filming! At one point, 2,000 people watched a scene, then crossed the street for the next one!
- Sutherland wrote the backstory for Jack to become more aggressive and have less to fight for... so he didn't have to cover up his tattoos anymore.
- Sutherland likes Boardwalk Empire and Ray Donovan.
- Sutherland once jumped out of a car to help an elderly woman being mugged in Los Angeles. But, being Jack Bauer didn't work out... he interrupted a student film! 
- If Sutherland was cosplaying, he'd be a stormtrooper.
- He and his father never talk about work, even though they just made a movie together!
photo: Jonathan Bredemeyer
Under the Dome, with Mike Vogel, Dean Norris, Rachelle LeFevre, Alexander Koch, Colin Ford, Eddie P. Cahill (not Mackenzie Lintz), and Neal Baer.
- They just finished filming the season six days ago.
- 16 characters died in the first season. The second won't be quite as high, but once they start to fall, they'll fall fast! But, they can still make appearances, as ghosts and the like.
- It was hinted at that maybe a character will break out of the dome this season... and as Barbie appears to fall into a deep cave at some point in the near future, maybe it's him!
- Speaking of Barbie, his backstory is coming - we'll both meet his father AND learn that he turned away from life as a trust-fund baby!
- A fan asked each of the panel members to state who they would choose to have with them if they had to live under a dome. Vogel chose Chuck Norris, Norris chose Britney Spears, LeFevre chose Clive Owen, Koch said Dean Norris, Ford said his best friend, and Cahill said his wife.
- Viewers WILL find out what was in Melanie's locker when Angie died. 
photo: Jonathan Bredemeyer
Scorpion, with Walter O'Brien, Elyes Gabel, Robert Patrick, Katharine McPhee, Nick Santora, Nicholas Wooten, Alex Kurtzman, Robert Orci, and Justin Lin.
* we will be reviewing the pilot in a future post.
- Walt may have a nemesis in the show, but the real O'Brien no longer does.
- McPhee talks about filming a tough scene by explaining that the car wasn't moving at all but they had to pretend there were high speeds, traffic, etc.
photo: Jonathan Bredemeyer
The Psychology of Cult TV Shows, with Janina Scarlet, Travis Langley, Ali Mattu, and Billy San Juan.
- TV shows can be educational and healing in ways folks don't normally think about. We learn messages like persistence along with the characters.
- The representation of war on TV makes audiences more compassionate and knowledgeable.
- When two people share a fandom (like a television show), they can become fast friends.

** find more pictures of these panels, plus others, the exhibit floor, and off-site events at our SmugMug site!
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Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Mistresses: Not Moving

I'm really happy that Lucy wasn't disappointed in having a nail-art birthday party. With the way she's been acting lately, it would be completely believable that she wouldn't be happy with an at-home party, regardless of the theme. And, nail-art is so simple... I don't know that I could draw out a three-hour event around it, but I'm glad that it worked. However, Lucy taking up half of April's screentime makes me less interested in the shoppe owner, and I think that's a shame. Similarly, I like that Harry is sticking around, as instead of eating up part of Savi's portion, he shares the screen with Joss now, and she's my least favorite. 

Mistresses "An Affair to Surrender" (S02E08): Karen is advised to transfer Anna as a patient so she can keep seeing Jacob. But, she doesn't want to let down Anna, so she breaks up with Jacob by telling him her therapist thinks it's too soon for her to date. [major eye rolls!]
facebook.com/Mistresses
But, Anna disappears. [figures.] Karen admits the truth to Jacob, and then Anna shows up again, thanking Karen profusely. Very soon afterward, Anna sees Jacob and Karen kissing. [ugh. but I should have seen that coming!]

April gets angry at Daniel, but continues to go back to him, despite telling Lucy that they're over. [how annoying!] Lucy's friend gets teased when her parents' unfaithfulness is uncovered, causing April to realize she can't continue sleeping with Daniel, because of how it must hurt his wife. [guess we'll have to start from scratch there!] 

Toni is nice to Savi, but Savi doesn't have time to think about her as she now has to be out of her home in a week because of a pushed-up closure. However, between hating every condo she sees and reminiscing with the girls about the memories being in the house, she realizes she can't leave, ad plans to buy-out Harry. [um, sidenote...Savi has hairy forearms.]

Speaking of Harry, looks like he's staying after all, too, thanks to Joss. After starting the process of moving in with Scott (and admitting she loves him), she learns he owns 10% of a new restaurant, being run by Greta. [can we talk about how quickly they're moving in together? they only met five episodes ago!] When they go to visit, she's offered a chance to plan the opening event, which could lead to a permanent position as the in-house party planner, but she can't stand the food. Scott doesn't want to say anything, so Joss steals some of Harry's dishes to bring over for Greta to try. [how very weird!] Harry is offered the position of head chef, so he'll be staying in town! [but he'll need a place to live now...]

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