Friday, March 27, 2009


I attended a fascinating book reading in Seattle last night where three co-authors read from their book, OUT OF DARKNESS INTO LIGHT, Spiritual Guidance in the Quran with Reflections from Christian and Jewish Sources.

The three authors are Jamal Rahman, a renown Muslim Sufi Minister, Kathleen Schmitt Elias, a former Roman Catholic Nun who is now a Sufi Jew and Ann Holmes Redding a Muslim and a Christian with a doctorate in Christian scripture. Ms. Redding is also an Episcopalian Priest.

It was an experience to hear them read and share the many crossover points and similarities of the major world religions. At one point Mr. Rahman, in talking about interfaith thinking said, "If one is flexible, one can never be bent out of shape." After the reading we were able to mingle with the authors and have one on one questions and answers.

Here’s what Desmond Tutu, winner of the Nobel Peace Prize and Archbishop Emeritus of Cape Town, South Africa has to say about the book:

"The writers of this thoughtful and wise book take us gently by the hand and show us, `Here is the one God, the God of us all, right here in the Quran.' This message is actually quite good news, although it challenges the assumption that God is wholly owned by Christianity, or any one religion. I hope that Out of Darkness Into Light is read widely and taken to heart so that we all can widen our circles of embrace and recognize the God of love and compassion in more people and places."

If you have questions about the validity of keeping Kosher in a modern age, or how your particular faith may fit with the world religions or if you are an agnostic with questions of the various faiths, this book is an excellent guide map.


Sunday, March 22, 2009


Just for kicks, I plan to occasionally link to commercial productions I’ve worked on over the years. Commercials, features, industrials, etc. I have worked in nearly every position in film production in the last 30 odd years. And some might be interested and/or amused by my roles in these. Lou Ferrigno will forever be THE INCREADIBLE HULK to my generation. Mr. Ferrigno is currently in a new comedy with Jason Segel, I LOVE YOU, MAN.

So, today, I was going to put up a link to a pilot for a FOX television series called 555 EXPOSE, starring Lou Ferrigno and Lauren Sinclair (Face-Off). I was one of two cinematographers on the production.

However I couldn’t find a link to it on the internet, and for the life of me I couldn’t locate my copy of the screener and I ran out of time. So I thought somebody reading this might know where a link is to a clip or the actual pilot, (if its legal), so I could link to it for amusement. If I don’t get a quick response on this from someone out there, I’ll contact the producers to get another screener.

Ms. Lauren Sinclair, some may remember, in FACE OFF, was the FBI agent that Nicholas Cage forces to eat a peach with before he throws her out of the cargo hold of a plane. Ms. Sinclair had the palest blue eyes that were just vivid on the high def camera it was shot with. I see why John Woo cast her in his film. On the 555 EXPOSE project, I actually came on as an alternate. The prime Director of Photography fell ill and had to bow out, so I was called in for the second half. I lost track of the production and I’m not sure if it got picked up, though I do not believe so.

But in any case, it was a very good experience and I loved the state of the art studios at Microsoft where the project was posted for some reason.

If you find the link I'm looking for and want to share, write to with it here. Thanks.


Thursday, March 19, 2009



But, before I talk about WATCHMEN I want to say that, concerning my legal actions with DARK HORSE COMICS, nobody knows what was said between myself, the top executives at DARK HORSE and our respective attorneys. And none of the parties involved are talking.

Anybody who says otherwise, or implies that they are privy to private legal conversations my company had with DARK HORSE, is lying. Outright. I was not FORCED, by any imagination, to apologize. The apology came out of a complex series of conversations between my company and DARK HORSE, who is the third largest comic publisher in the world. Through these talks, I became convinced that the people at DARK HORSE did nothing wrong and they did not plagiarize my film. People may want to keep this matter alive, but it is over. Water under the bridge.

DARK HORSE is a fine publication and one of the few outlets for the creative flow of today and tomorrow’s great comics and graphic novels. HELLBOY, for example is entirely unique and fascinating.

People should check out the DARK HORSE website.

Back in the late sixties, a time some now call the silver age of comics, when I was a boy, I had collected 8,000 comic books. My favorite comic series was THE AMAZING SPIDER-MAN. I had SPIDER-MAN issues 1-120 without a break in the sequence. Lots of number ones. DAREDEVIL, IRON MAN (in TALES OF SUSPENSE), etc. I used to love the old paper smell of the comics. I would study the staples and reread the comics constantly, finding new subtle nuances each read through. I still have a modest collection of some of my favorites to this day. Like so many kids from that era, Stan Lee, Steve Ditko, Johnny Romita, and Jack Kirby helped keep my soul intact during a time of tremendous unrest in the country. Kennedy had recently been killed.

The Vietnam War was raging and the civil rights movement was refusing to back down in the face of tyranny. It is only how the grace of god seems to protect many children from their own idiocy, that I survived dressing up in a painted sweat shirt and black mask and sneaking out at 3AM to meet up with my boyhood friend, who was also masked, to go fight crime. We basically crawled around rooftops and fire escapes looking for villains to thwart. Our weapons were nothing as mundane as a knife or gun, not that we had access to a gun, but screwdrivers and plastic medicine bottles of actual red pepper. Oh dear god, I think how absolutely horrible for us it would have been had we ever encountered a REAL criminal or police officer who might have seen us, with our masks and lurking around on rooftops, as something other than super-heroes.

But what Stan Lee was to many in our youth, was a secret second father. Stan Lee is a man who not only wanted to sell comic books, but knew absolutely that he had the minds and spirits of impressionable youth in his hands. Me and my fellow comics collector friends lived, absolutely lived by the codes Lee expounded through, SPIDER-MAN, THE FANTASTIC FOUR, IRON MAN, DAREDEVIL and others. The most important of all was, "With great power comes great responsibility." It was saying you just can’t do whatever you want. You have to consider others. And the stronger you are, the less bully-like you should be.

I had a particular obsession with what they called GOLDEN AGE COMICS. In 1971, Rod Dyke, became the greatest comic seller in Seattle, (still is), when he started Dyke’s Books and Records in a store deep in the Pike Place Market, later changed the name of his business to honor the classic period, GOLDEN AGE COLLECTIBLES. I’ve often wondered if the comic seller in the SIMPSONS was based on him. Rod mellowed over the years, but back then he ruled us kids with an iron fist in his store. I remember how he used to stop ringing us up while he ate his lunch. We mulled around until he was finished. That gave us time to look around a bit more and created more business for him. I have nothing but love for the man, Rod Dyke, to whom I’m sure I’m just one of the many faces of child fans that flowed through his world.

But the GOLDEN AGE COMICS, these were long lost super heroes mostly from the 1940’s. There were many costume crusaders that eventually fell by the wayside and are today largely forgotten.

That’s why WATCHMEN immediately resonated for me. The mix of sixties music and the way in which the back story was presented, somehow perfectly captures the excitement about comics that I never quite seem to have been able to recapture in adulthood. Most absolutely, the movie CHROME that I’m working on is my humble attempt at recreating the excitement I once felt about the super heroes of my childhood.

THE WATCHMAN, in spite of that it is a movie that makes you have to use your little gray cells and not just have it roll over you like a great wash of, as Shakespeare said, "thunder and furry signifying nothing." The ending to WATCHMEN will be difficult for some. The melancholy undercurrents will detach or bore others. But if you are a true fan of superheroes you will be moved by this movie. The action is top rate and, in a stylistic way, far more violent than the director’s previous work, 300. My hat is off to the creators of WATCHMEN and DC Comics. I thank you for reawakening something I thought lost in me. Thank you for redefining something that had become cloudy. That is that comics were about something to kids. For some of us, they were our life’s blood to surviving the perils of our adolescence.

One of the coming attractions before WATCHMEN was the new STAR TREK trailer. Likewise, I was a huge fan of the original STAR TREK with William Shatner as Kirk. I remember waiting with excitement as a promised poster of Spock next to some glass lab beakers was to come out in the newspaper, The Seattle Post Intelligencer. When the poster arrived, it was a full page spread. I had that thing on my wall until it disintegrated.

So when the new ad began, I could barely contain my excitement. Paramount has really outdone itself this time in reconstructing STAR TREK for ALL the fans…Us from-the-first-series original STAR TREK fans, the Next Generation fans and all those fans that followed. THIS was the movie I was hoping for when the first STAR TREK movie was announced. OMG. To see the Enterprise on the ground. Ahhhhh OMG! I used to have dreams about seeing the Enterprise launch from the ground. I can’t wait. People can talk all the crap they want debating whether or not the new cast looks enough like the originals or whether they honor the NEXT GENERATION too much or not enough, I cannot wait to see this movie!

Gooooo STAR TREK! Gooooo!