Going back to Canada to do the last episodes of Eureka for season 5 (which isn’t even out for a year, haha). Wanted to share some links with you, and hopefully I’ll get back to regular blogging in a few weeks when I am back in my own home for more than a week straight!!!
Oh, reminder, I’m gonna be at Chicago Comicon next weekend with Vork (Jeff Lewis). Looking forward to visiting the city for the first time!
FIRST: Guild episodes! Episode 1 of Season 5, FINALLY UPLOADED! For Xbox and Zune users, you can get the episode (FOR FREE) here, and there’s a handy video to help you find it on you Xbox Live dashboard (in the US).
Yes, I know the staggered release thing is a bit confusing (Xbox/Zune on Tuesdays, MSN on Thursdays) but I appreciate everyone hanging in there!
Also: Here’s the brilliant season 4 recap that Kim Evey, my co-producer wrote. We got Randall, the Honey Badger dude, to do the VO because I AM OBSESSED WITH HIM!
I was on Attack of the Show Monday, here’s my interview (Kevin asked some awesome but strange questions haha)
I am taking the holiday to update my blog a bit, especially with all the Guild news I need to update about!
Right after Thanksgiving the Guild Trade Paperback was released through Dark Horse!
I am so proud of this compilation of the first three comic books I’ve ever written. The reviews have been so good and I’m so proud of the collaboration between me and the artist Jim Rugg. He brought Codex’s journey into MMORPGs to life in such a beautiful, real way. Also Guild director Sean Becker introduces, which is especially exciting for me because Sean is a big comics fan and also huge collaborator on the show. The fact that he likes the issues means so much to me
I think if you have a friend who doesn’t normally enjoy comics, or doesn’t understand MMORPGs, this is a nice introduction for them into the comics/gaming world, objectively Here’s a review quote:
The New York Journal of Books calls it “Equal parts geeky love letter and cautionary tale … (it) succeeds on a number of nuanced levels and should appeal to most readers, regardless of their own backgrounds in pop culture,” and Tor.com has a great review which calls the book “a well-written, well-drawn mini-series that should entertain new readers and fans of The Guild alike.”
Also today, Guild Season 4 is our on DVD through Amazon, and on iTunes (UK as well!) Read the blog entry over at The Guild website for DVD details, it will be in retail stores on Feb 22nd, and will stream on Netflix and YouTube in a few months. Thank you for all your support! It’s been quiet the last few months, but that’s because I’ve been working on a big project to be announced in January. Can’t wait for stuff not to be a secret! It’s gonna be…cool
It’s out! Game On! The Bollywood-inspired music video we premiered at Comicon is now streaming on MSN and downloadable on Xbox!
MANY people need to be thanked, including@sandeepparikh for co-writing the lyrics,@jasoncmiller for writing and producing the song,@lisashearin for allowing me to use her book cover at the top of the video,@uhr our line producer for putting everything together,@gregaronowitz for getting us amazing sets (including an ELEPHANT!), Chantal Robeson for choreographing, Thom Williams for fight choreographing, Chris Darnell for DPing and@kimevey and@seanbecker for co-directing. Whew! So many other ppl to thank as well, but I should probably give some insight into the video now
I did not want to do this video. There, I said it. I was in the middle of MAJOR writer’s block for Season 4 and the idea that we’d ever make a music video after “Avatar” was just ridiculous to me. I mean, half the comments about Avatar were “How are you gonna top this?” Which is probably the most creatively stifling thing you can say to someone. (Ironically the FIRST TWEET TODAY I SAW WAS “HOW ARE YOU GONNA TOP THIS NEXT YEAR?” HAHAHA).
Anyhoo, last year Sandeep actually said, “let’s do a Bollywood themed video.” And I was like, there’s no way we can afford that. Our budget is pretty low, and we were maxxed out on Avatar, which was shot on one stage, so I was like, it’s never gonna happen. Cut to April 2010, and Microsoft and Sprint asked us if we have a music video this year, and then Kim emails me and wants to co-direct a Bollywood music video with Sean. Errrrrrg. Eep?
Kim already had the concept for the video down, the walls flying out, the dancing etc. and that seemed cool, but I was skeptical because I didn’t have the song in place yet, and everyone knows a music video without a good song isn’t gonna be great! So I watched a TON of Bollywood videos on YouTube, and the craziness of the genre (and watching some TERRIBLE fight scenes from Bollywood movies) convinced me to at least TRY to come up with something. I guess the key to overcoming creative blocks is to just release the need to “top” or “equal” or “dazzle” and just create. All those pressure are extraneous and don’t allow for anything good or great to happen. It’s my mantra now
Sandeep agreed to write the lyrics with me (because I am not well-versed in Bollywood), we sat down and brainstormed, knowing we had to avoid Avatar comparisons at all turns. I also wanted to avoid indicating that Zaboo and I were romantically attracted to each other, since that would confuse ppl, but since Bollywood is ALL about a girl and boy in love, we decided an outright parody would work and not be confusing. Then we sent the lyrics to Jason Miller, who, with his production team, came up with a crazy slick tune and awesome electronic touches that make me laugh to this day!
I just want to say, Kim and Sean pulled a miracle out by getting all this done in time and on budget. Gabe Uhr, our line producer, pinched every single penny, and Greg Aranowitz did INSANE things on almost no budget. That elephant has a MAN INSIDE IT! And that temple was built on a friend, Travis Oates’ BBQ area, lol. Also, the costumes were spot on, Michelle scraped up great colors that stayed true to our Avatar-selves.
The day of the shoot was probably the most stressful day ever. We had 3 cameramen, Chris Darnell pulled in every favor ever, and we had a JIB, which we’d never had before, and allowed us to do those cool overhead-y shots. We actually shot two days, one for the temple/fountain and one for the fight/gazebo. The scale of it was enormous for web video, and the whole time I was excited but on edge, because with a crew that big anything can go wrong at any second. Thankfully everything but a generator blowing up went awesome. Thom Williams, our fight choreographer, brought in a trampoline and Sandeep actually did those flips! I was so impressed!
My favorite parts are: Vork coming out of the fog (Why does he take his jacket off and THEN PUT IT BACK ON?!?!) and Bladezz coming BACK THROUGH on the end vocal. It makes me laugh SO HARD. The most comments I’ve gotten though are about Zaboo using my butt to type on, which I just pitched out during one of our MANY dance choreography sessions. It was totally ridiculous and exactly in the spirit of what we were doing: Not taking ourselves seriously and trying to have a good time.
The video will be for sale on iTunes IN HD next Tuesday, along with the mp3 everywhere for sale and streaming on iTunes. I’m extremely proud of it, and it turned out to be a collaboration that everyone helped make the best possible. Thank you to my Guild team, the best co-workers in the world
I will try to list all the amazing things that happened this weekend briefly, but honestly, it would take a novel. So I’ll skim the highlights day by day. I literally slept 14 hours last night, all the stress and rush from the Convention put me in a coma…but in a GOOD WAY!
Drove down to San Diego early in the morning because we had to set up our booth. Had banners and DVDs and posters in the car, along with 12 pairs of shoes (half of which I didn’t wear, but I was comforted by the fact that I had them with me ) Took several hours to get everything arranged for the booth, extra table and chairs (thanks@egspoony for scamming about a dozen chairs for us, and a backstage pass somehow!) After the booth was set up, I rushed back to the hotel to get dressed, and then ran BACK to the convention center to do a preview night signing from 6-8pm. Then Jeff and Sandeep and I went to perform with our improv group@hammerimprov at 9pm. The whole group was there,@brookseguin,@alexalbrecht,@tonyjanning and@taraperry! We had a great night, and Jeff Lewis playing a character called “Butters Johnson” will forever stick in my mind. If you’re in LA, be sure to follow us on Twitter and come see us perform, we do it pretty much every month and it’s a blast!
Our morning 11-1pm signing was PACKED! We had our booth facing a major door this year, so literally the lines were so long we had to turn people away towards the end, I’m sorry guys! Mid-day I ran over to do a photo shoot for EW and interview with Ausellio, then back to the booth for more signings and some interviews. That night we had a great birthday cast dinner because Sandeep and Robin and Jeff all celebrated birthdays recently, so that was a nice evening within the storm of the con.
BUSY! Signings, then my panel “Girls Gone Geek”, an amazing panel with inspiring women, including Marni Noxon. I feel like that panel could have been an hour longer, I forgot I was actually ON it a few points because I was so interested in hearing what the other panelists had to say! Then I went to meet the Sprint/Xbox sweepstakes winner for a little Guild party, screened some secret episodes with the winner, Shawn, then rushed back to the convention center at 11:00pm to intro the premiere of the RED Syfy movie trailer. So excited for people to see it, I hadn’t seen the trailer beforehand, so that was exciting! Here it is embedded for your pleasure!
PANEL DAY! Omg I was so nervous. While waiting for our time, we hung out in the green room back stage, and saw the whole cast of Community. Strangely enough, Kim and Jeff knew Joel McHale from ACME theatre, and I knew Danny Pudi from a pilot we did years back, so it was a weird reunion of sorts. (And I saw Chevy Chase from afar, that was a thrill!)
Our panel started pretty much on time, Kim went on stage and introed Episode 3 preview. And, during the episode THIS appeared:
The sound of the crowd laughing made me soooo happy! This is my favorite gag of the season, and I can’t wait until all of you see the episode on August 3rd to know exactly what I’m talking about, hehe! FARK has already done some funny mashups (and typical internet comments, lol).
Then Kim and Sean brought us on stage! The whole cast arranged to wear a custom Squid Hat (a-la Episode 1 Season 4) from Obey My Brain and we walked out to over 2000 people cheering. Um, that was AMAZING GUYS! I announced that everyone in the audience was getting a button with Wil and my faces on it from the painting. It was the most expensive piece of promotion/advertising we’d ever done for the show, but the thrill of giving it away and how funny the buttons looked on people’s lanyards was the best reward ever!
Then we previewed the music video. I will write more about that tomorrow when it comes out on Xbox/MSN/Zune (it will be on iTunes/YouTube in a week). Suffice it to say, there was a very warm reception to the video! Sean and Kim co-directed and they did an amazing job! We also did Q&A, announced that Guild Avatar skins are coming to Xbox Live later this year, and I slipped in that I’ll be doing a big guest arc on EUREKA with Wil Wheaton later this season! So excited to work on that show, it’s one of my favorites!!
After another signing I RAN to the Eureka panel to announce officially I was joining the cast for a recurring part later this season. I was so relieved the audience cheered because I had an anxiety dream the night before that no one would know who I was when I walked out. I wake up in cold sweats with neurotic thoughts like this a lot, actually. After that I ran to Dark Horse to do a signing with Joss and Jed and Maurissa and Zack for the limited edition DOLLHOUSE comic poster, available if you pre-order the DVD set. The colors are BEAUTIFUL in the poster, so it was a neat, unexpected Comicon experience, I didn’t know I was on the cover until a few days before the con! NEAT!
Saturday night I went to the awesome SyFy/EW party with my penguin purse , and then danced until 3:30 am at Zachary Levi’s (Chuck) NERD party. My feet still hurt, but favorite party night I’ve ever had! Ran into Michele Boyd (Riley) there randomly, shows how small this world is!
11-1pm we had our last Guild signing. Posters of the “Team Cawkes” painting were flying off the table, which is amazing, and it was neat that Greg Aranowitz, the artist, was there to sign them too. See what a funny whim of an idea gets you? On someone’s wall, haha! After that I FINALLY got to walk the Con floor and buy a non-virtual edition of Carcassone, some comics and I ran into@nerdist and@paulandstorm on the floor. We took turns photo bombing each other as we walked around, hehe.
After that we had to break down the booth and I drove home! Whew. After a year of prep, this was an amazing 5 days. Thank you to everyone who stopped by. Now…it’s back to work to get more stuff to show for next year!
Farpoint: Baltimore, Feb 15-17th
Emerald City: Seattle, Feb 28th-March 2
C2E2: April 26-28 in Chicago
Ottowa Comicon: Ottawa CAN, May 10-12
Denver Comic Con May 31-June 2 in Denver, CO
Comicon: San Diego July
NYCC October 13-15 in New York City
Creation Supernatural November 22-24 in Burbank