Tuesday, April 20, 2010


"Greatness is not measured by what a man or woman accomplishes, but by the opposition he or she has overcome to reach his goals.
-Dr. Dorothy Height

My blog today is an excerpt from the Associated Press:

WASHINGTON — Dorothy Irene Height, a pioneering voice of the civil rights movement whose activism stretched from the New Deal to the election of President Barack Obama, died Tuesday. She was 98.

Height, who marched alongside Martin Luther King Jr. and led the National Council of Negro Women for 40 years, was known for her determination and grace — as well as her wry humor. She remained active and outspoken well into her 90s and often received rousing ovations at events around Washington, where she was easily recognizable in the bright, colorful hats she almost always wore.

When Obama won the presidential election in November 2008, Height told Washington TV station WTTG that she was overwhelmed with emotion.

"People ask me, did I ever dream it would happen, and I said, `If you didn't have the dream, you couldn't have worked on it," she said.

Height dedicated most of her adult life to the National Council of Negro Women, where she first worked under her mentor, Mary McLeod Bethune, who founded the group. Height took over in 1957 and led it until 1997, fighting for women's rights on issues such as equal pay and education. She developed programs such as "pig banks" to help poor rural families raise their own livestock, and "Wednesdays in Mississippi," in which black and white women from the north traveled to Mississippi to meet with their Southern counterparts in an effort to ease racial tensions and bridge differences.

To celebrate Height's 90th birthday in March 2002, friends and supporters raised $5 million to enable her organization to pay off the mortgage on its Washington headquarters on Pennsylvania Avenue, just a few blocks from the White House. Herman said Height "believed very strongly that we as black women deserved to be on this corridor of power."

Rest in peace, Dorothy. You helped open the eyes of the ingnorant and changed the world for the better.


Sunday, April 18, 2010


Jeff Foster, who wrote The Green Screen Handbook, which devotes ten pages to the special effects of my period version of War of the Worlds, just won a Telly Award for one of his “Documercials”.

Jeff just returned from a very successful NAB to here the news of his winning the Telly.

"Visions Of America" - Joseph Sohm
Here's the link to the video.

Jeff was the producer/director/editor on the project and with the help of videographer, Michael Anderson (Extra Mile Films) they shot several hours of interviewing the book's author, Joe Sohm. Jeff spent about 2 weeks in editing to pare it down to under 10 minutes for the online video production. The award is a Bronze Telly (second placing) in the "Professional Infomercial" category.

Panasonic provided the P2 HD cameras and Reflecmedia provided the green screen setup. Editing was done in Adobe After Effects and Final Cut Pro. Music by Roger Kellaway, Lyrics by Alan and Marilyn Bergman

Good work Jeff!

Also check out the press release for our new Mock-Documentary version of H.G. Wells' seminal novel, War of the Worlds - The True Story. The new War of the Worlds - The True Story has a projected release date of October, 2010.


Thursday, March 25, 2010


Jeff Foster’s signed copies of the Green Screen Handbook arrived yesterday. He sent two copies. One was signed to Susan Goforth and me. The other was dedicated to Anne Gallo, the mother of my co-producer, John Gallo, who passed away on Thanksgiving. One of the last things John worked on was to supply and help shape materials from Pendragon Pictures to Jeff Foster, who was compiling The Green Screen Handbook.

I will send it out to you, Anne.

Jeff Foster has toured and lectured on special effects and special effects software. He was the guest speaker at the 2010 Macworld Expo in San Francisco in February. Jeff Foster included ten pages of behind the scenes green screen work we did for the 2005 War of the Worlds in The Green Screen Handbook. He acknowledged our film’s shortcomings, but also shows some of the more successful moments and how they were created. The book is exactly what it says it is. The handbook of how to do everything and anything with green screens. The book is filled with effects shots and explanations from some the best effects guys currently working in the industry. It comes with a tutorial CD. The book is a must for any professional working with green screen effects today.

Good work, Jeff.


Wednesday, March 17, 2010


A good friend, Randy Rogel, invited me, producer Susan Goforth and actor/producer Donovan Le to the final dress rehearsal of his comedy music spectacle, The Gypsy King at the Village Theater, where he has been developing the show.

The show opens tonight. It was hysterical and a continual delight. But before I share about that, I need to take a moment and speak of Randy.

Randy is a rare and amazing talent. As a performer, actor, dancer, singer, his talents draw comparison to the late comic genius, Donald O’Conner. His sense of comic timing and quick wit drew the attention of Steven Spielberg. He helped create TV shows, such as Steven Spielberg’s Animaniacs, Pinky and the Brain, Batman, Histeria! and at Disney he wrote on Tarzan, House of Mouse, The Three Caballeros, Cinderella, Peter Pan – Return to Neverland, 101 Dalmatians II, The Three Musketeers and Winnie the Pooh.

Randy Rogel is a ten time Emmy Awards nominee, three time Emmy Awards winner, as well as the winner of a Peabody Award, and two Annie Awards for his work as a television writer, composer, and producer. He won a daytime Emmy Award for outstanding achievement in animation. Randy composed most of the original songs for Animaniacs and his crazed twists with words will forever be immortalized in characters such as Dot. Randy’s abilities as a writer and as music composer shine in Batman Sub Zero and Two-Face (Batman: The Animated Series). Randy spent nine years on staff at Warner Bros. before moving to the Disney studios.

While continuing to juggle writing and producing for television, this gifted dynamo has written and mounted a comedy spectacle being shaped for Broadway. As I said above, Randy invited me, Susan Goforth and Donovan Le to the final dress rehearsal of his new show at the Village Theatre. Randy was simultaneously bouncy and cool when we met him at the theatre. And true to Randy’s sense of whimsy, he was wearing a new jacket with the tag still on his sleeve. He was aware it was there and planning to remove it. Randy just makes you smile. His air is one of immediate calm and the safety of someone who sees things as they are and can show you the humor and joy in things. The show started with an announcement that as it is a dress rehearsal, things may go wrong. If they did, it was well concealed.

Randy Rogel’s The Gypsy King, is nothing less than a visual, audio and full sensory delight from its opening moments. Set in a mythical fairytale time, the magical production shows off the many talents and facets of randy’s fertile mind. The show is filled with word-twisty-wit and fractured plot deviations, not to mention swirling double entendres, bending this way and that, flying out of the mouth of a range of characters that are like the best of zany animation brought to life. The music and lyrics are always spot on and a joy.

But much more is at work in randy’s show than hysterical comedy. Painless, but profound messages of the heart and the choices we make that we think others want us to make, slip up around us as we enjoy the well timed pratfalls, sword fights and identity switches. Just when you think you are ahead of the plot, you discover Randy has set you up and the actual twists are hysterical as well as sublime. This show is perfect for these hard times. You never, for a moment, think of the outside world while you are within the cloak of randy’s magic world.

Thank you Randy, for the peak into your amazing, complicated and joyous mind. You are the true alchemist and poet. Talk with you soon.

See Randy’s show if you want an experience that will stay with you and lighten your world.


Tuesday, March 16, 2010


A press release has gone out about my new movie in post production, WAR OF THE WORLDS - THE TRUE STORY. We tried to touch all the bases to let fans get a clear picture of what we are up to. You can read about it in Space Daily amongst other news sources. When we shot the scenes with actor Floyd Reichman in Mukilteo, at the Hogland House, Paul Archiplay from the local Beacon hung around the set one day and did this nice little story on us in his paper.

The new movie is done as a mock documentary that blends fiction and reality, much as Orson Wells did with his famous 1938 radio broadcast. The plot of War of the Worlds - The True Story is that in 1965, a film crew captured the memories of the last living survivor of the war between Earth and Mars that took place at the turn of the twentieth century.

Nothing was done with the footage until, in 2006, it was discovered in the basement vault of a condemned house. Also found in the vault with the interviews, was previously unknown footage of the actual Martian invaders and their machines of war.

The documentary is a motion picture presentation of that eyewitness account.

It's late. That's all for now.


Tuesday, March 9, 2010


From Robert Downey Jr. on the Academy Awards:
"It's a collaboration between handsome gifted people and sickly little mole people."