Tagged: drama



Press Release-
May 28th, 2011                                                              Batesville, AR
Pro Se Productions, LLC.,  a Publisher of New Pulp books, anthologies, and magazines, as well as the sponsor of PULP ARK, a Creators Conference/Fan Convention that debuted in Arkansas May 13-15, 2011, announces today plans to offer Pulp convention programming to other Conventions, Pulp and otherwise.
Dubbed NEW PULP CONVENTION PROGRAMMING, Pro Se Productions Partner and Editor in Chief Tommy Hancock states, “With the success of PULP ARK in terms of programming, education, and entertainment all in a Pulp vein, there has been much discussion on how to share this with others that can’t get to Arkansas. PULP ARK 2012 is already being planned, but we began looking at avenues to do even more than that.  Out of a discussion about possibly hosting other NEW PULP conventions came an extremely interesting idea.

“So many conventions,” Hancock continued, “that have or should have aspects related to New Pulp already exist.  Comic conventions, old time radio and new audio drama shows, genre specific gatherings like Horror, Western, etc., the list is probably endless.  Instead of adding a whole roster of NEW PULP Cons to that, Pro Se Productions now offers NEW PULP CON PROGRAMMING PACKAGES.  Essentially what this means is Pro Se Productions will provide any interested convention or show with Pulp related programming.  These packages will range from a single one hour session to a full blown multiday experience, including panels, classrooms, interactive theater drama, and other special events.  Although this is New Pulp programming, panels and classrooms will also include sessions on classic Pulp as well because without those at the beginning, there would not be a New Pulp Movement today.”

These packages, according to Hancock, will include Panel and Classroom presenters, actors for any dramas and participants from other activities drawn from some of the biggest names in New Pulp today. The packages emulate the program used for the first PULP ARK, one that received rave reviews from guests and fans in attendance.  And location is not a concern.  “If your show is in Colorado for example,” Hancock explains, “then we would draw our presenters for various panels and classrooms from the New Pulp community that exists there.  The same goes for Georgia, New York, other states, and even Canada.   Our plan is to provide conventions with the best New Pulp programming possible at the best rate possible. However, if you want a full line up of top of the line New Pulp writers and artists and are willing to cover expenses, Pro Se will at the best of our ability arrange to partner with the best possible and get them to your event.”
The Packages are as follows-(NOTE-All packages depend on Author/Artist availability.  No financial exchange will occur until the Convention Producers, Pro Se Productions, and the Staff Pro Se will dispatch are in full agreement)
NEW PULP PACKAGE ONE-Introduction-Basic
If a New Pulp Artist or Author is within 50 miles of your convention/show and you are interested in a one hour Classroom or Panel, then Pro Se will set this up.  The only cost is that the attending NEW PULP Author/artist be provided a table at the convention free of charge, if requested.
NEW PULP PACKAGE TWO-Single Day-Full Basic Programming
Three Classrooms and/or Panels utilizing a minimum of Three NEW PULP Artists/Writers. (If more than three are wanted/necessary, then cost may be higher)
Cost-$200.00 plus free tables for each Artist/Author Attending as well as any travel expenses incurred by Authors/Artists more than 50 miles away from Convention site.
NEW PULP PACKAGE THREE-Single Day-Deluxe Programming
Three Classrooms and/or Panels utilizing a minimum of Three NEW PULP Artists/Writers. (If more than three are wanted/necessary, then cost may be higher)
A fully produced Pulp Drama done onsite or another similar event (total time 1.5-2.5 hours
Cost-$300.00 plus free tables for each Artist/Author Attending as well as any travel expenses incurred by Authors/Artists more than 50 miles away from Convention site.
NEW PULP PACKAGE FOUR-MultiDay Deluxe Programming
Three Classrooms and/or Panels  each FULL DAY utilizing a minimum of Three NEW PULP Artists/Writers. (If more than three are wanted/necessary, then cost may be higher) (One-two panels/classrooms on partial days)
A fully produced Pulp Drama done onsite (total time 1.5-2.5 hours) that can either be performed in one setting or throughout the convention’s run.
An event to be determined in negotiation (Old Time Radio recreations, further drama, Pulped! Game Show, and other possibilities exist)
Cost will include free tables for each Artist/Author Attending as well as any travel expenses incurred by Authors/Artists more than 50 miles away from Convention site and Hotel expenses incurred by those who are not local to the area.   Cost beyond this must be negotiated due to multiple factors, including number of days expected, etc.
Hancock also reports, “Although we have a beginning list of writers and artists from one coast to the other and beyond that will participate in this Programming, schedules allowing, any New Pulp Writer/Artist interested in participating can contact me and if they fit what we’re looking for, we’ll add them to our list of available personalities to participate.”
Hancock states, “What we want to do with NEW PULP Programming is allow any Convention or Show interested in having a Pulp line of programming included in their regular schedule of events, programming that they do not have to plan, design, recruit, or set up for.  We will come in and all we’ll require is to be pointed in the direction where we’ll speak, teach, and perform from.  This will be beneficial to not only New Pulp, but also to the Convention itself as well as bringing new fans to each and introducing existing fanbases to another entertaining aspect of Pop Culture-New Pulp!”
For More information, contact Hancock at 870-834-4022 or at proseproductions@earthlink.net.


By Tommy Hancock
Pro Se Press
180 pages

One of the most widely recognized facts regarding American comic book heroes is that they actually evolved out of the Depression Era pulp magazines.  Fans of both media are well aware that the likes of Batman and Superman were the literary children of characters such as the Shadow and Doc Savage.  Tommy Hancock employs this historical theory against which to set his first novel, “Yesteryear.”  Hancock, the winner of this year’s Pulp Ark Award for Best New Writer, had earned that title based on his short fiction. Now with this novel length drama, he cements that position soundly with a work of deft imagination heralding past days of American glory.

J.C.Smithenson is a one time crime fighting boy detective who has grown up to become a writer and publisher.  He has put his hero days behind him, though his good friend, Detective Donovan Bradley, suspects he still harbors longings to get back into the fray.  Then one day a mysterious package is left on Smithenson’s steps containing the journal of newspaper man, Ramsey Long, who was part of the Golden Age of Heroes back in the 30s and 40s.  Thought to be a myth, Ramsey’s musings are said to be a tell-all book that honestly rips aside the veil of public relation mumb-jumbo to detail the true history and exploits of those early mystery men and women.
Which is why when it is learned that Smithenson possesses the book, factions both political and private, begin targeting him and his loved ones to guarantee the journal never sees the light of day.  For J.C., it is an eye-opening revelation that some of the people he once admired are flawed enough to want to destroy him rather than have their human failings exposed publicly.  Still, he is determined that the truth will be told regardless of the consequences.
“Yesteryear” is a marvelous homage to all those great pulp characters and golden age comic heroes who followed in their footsteps wonderfully told with a true sense of time and place.  Hancock knows his history and the richness with which he paints the times adds much to the book’s plot and appeal.  So on a purely literary basis, I recommend this book highly, it was tons of fun to read.
But I do have one criticism and it deals with the book’s packaging, not the story.  I don’t often make mention of actual production values but in this case felt compelled to do so because in the end, it did lessen my overall enjoyment of “Yesteryear.”  Hancock is also the book’s producer and he’s filled many of its pages with some truly fantastic drawings of many of the fabulous characters described in the text.  All to the good.   Alas, that’s where his design musings should have stopped.
Instead he also chose to change the fonts and styling of the text throughout the entire book so that the reader is confronted with bold type, cursive scribbles, light, thin fonts constantly changing, many difficult to adjust to after finishing a chapter presented in an entirely different way.  I understand the concept he was trying to achieve with this mixing, but it does not work and instead becomes a physical flaw to an otherwise stellar offering.   Hopefully his next book will have a more conservative presentation.

Chicago’s new mayor isn’t the fake one we actually wanted.

Listen up, you mutha-cluckers… Chicago has a new boss in town. Why does this matter to you? Because I said so. Why did I say so? Because the Second City is known for a few big things: The Chicago Style Hot Dog, Deep Dish Pizza, Da ’85 Bears, and maybe just an eensy-bit of good old fashioned corruption. But now it can be known for one more big thing. Our new mayor? Former White House chief-of-staff Rahm “The R-Bomb” Emanuel. When our current boss mayor, Richard Daley announced he’d retire this year from his post… Emanuel left his job in Washington to take his home city by the horns. But it’s been a long journey to get there. He took 54% of the vote, despite having his Chicago residency being challenged. He beat out the former city chief of staff, the former city clerk, and a former U.S. Senator for the title. But if you ask me? He didn’t beat one important candidate, his psuedo-self. In a paradoxical sub-dimension high atop City Hall, in a secret greenhouse known only to our beloved Mayor Daley… and @MayorEmanuel, the dimensional doppelganger of Chicago.

What’s that you say? You’ve not heard? @MayorEmanuel is the twitterverse’s Rahm Emanuel clone. The account started shortly after the “real” Rahm declared his intention to run. And boy did things escalate from there. @MayorEmanuel’s story unfolded over the months, and became an epic yarn with a full cast of characters. It began as a string of foul-mouthery perhaps poking a jovial jab towards the obvious; Rahm is known for his temper, his drive, and his competitive nature. He raised 11 million dollars to take his campaign to the streets of Chicago. He shook hands and kissed babies. We can only assume he attended secret cabal meetings, and struck backroom deals that we kindly city-folk won’t find out until they hit the nightly news a few years after his mayoral run ends… if it ends. His twitter counterpart followed the whole ride, as only a comedic four-letter-word-dropping twitter clone could do. And as the race for mayor drew closer to the vote, so did the drama.

Twitter to many is just that little corner of the interwebs where we drop a snarky one liner, or tell people where we are at. It might be a place for celebrities to tell us how normal they are, shopping for soup and whatnot, or how not-normal they are, like other Chicago Celebutaunt Kanye West. @MayorEmanuel used twitter to create a piece of short fiction (OR IS IT!?) that was truly original. A few bloggers followed the best of the posts and relayed just how awe-inspiring they were. And important people took notice. The “real” Rahm made and attempt to bribe his twitter-sibling with a donation to charity, to “out” himself. Smartly the anonymous fingers behind the 140 character-at-a-time hasn’t shown his face. Perhaps he escaped down the aforementioned time well in his tweets.

Give a gander at the saga, and kick yourself for not living here (that is, if you don’t…) and living through this live alt-meta-super fiction happening. In the mean time, the real Rahm is prepping his mayoral suit, and perhaps, setting aside a bit of our future city tax dollars towards a special “find @MayorEmanuel and break his hands” task force. I think I’ve said too much. All Hail Rahm! All Hail Rahm!

Review: ‘Fame’ on Blu-ray

Review: ‘Fame’ on Blu-ray

Our pop culture-obsessed world can catapult people at any time from obscurity to fame. It could be a flash in the pan or something longer lasting, with timing and circumstance determining someone’s longevity. Actual talent may help but over the last decade has proven to be less and less important.

A movie exploring these themes would be an interesting experience and deserves to be made. The remake of Fame could have been that but chose not to be much of anything instead.

The Alan Parker movie was a product of its times and was an R-rated, tough drama about the difficulties standing in the way of those lucky enough to attend New York’s School of Performing Arts. In addition to their artistic pursuit, it was still high school with academics emphasized since those who did not “make it” had a grounding to help with alternate options. It was a little bit grim, and it showed us that not everyone was cut out to be a performer. They were teens who shed inhibitions, perfected their craft, or made horrible mistakes. The teachers were tough and the battles lasted four years.

Writer Allison Burnett and director Kevin Tancharoen applied a buffing cloth to the rough edges that made [[[Fame]]] the success it was. As a result, they crafted a PG film that glossed over the difficulties and failed to examine what it was like at PA today. They focused too much on soap opera and gloss, a thoroughly unrealistic portrayal of today’s teens. Little about the role of reality shows, the Internet, the explosion of work opportunities thanks to cable, and technological changes can be found here with the exception of constant texting.

It’s a same since the film, now out on DVD from MGM Home Entertainment, stars Kherington Payne, who rose to prominence thanks to her appearing on [[[So You Think You Could Dance]]] and Kay Panabaker worked on the Disney Channel.

The movie takes audiences from auditions through graduation, compressing four years of dramatic stress and change into 107 minutes. The story works better when it breathes and the Blu-ray disc contains a 123 minute extended version which is recommended (although I urge you to see the original just re-released on Blu-ray from Warner Home Video).

Burnett establishes too many characters, gives them challenges and then fails to actually resolve many of their storylines. Panabaker, for example, is a singer/actress who has trouble loosening up and infusing her performance with heart and soul. Sometime before graduation she improves and takes a lead in the graduation performance but that breakthrough moment is entirely missing. Similarly, dancer Kristy Flores has troubles with her teacher (Bebe Neuwirth) and it hangs there, incomplete. Better served is hip-hop performer Collins Pennie who is verbally worked over by his drama teacher (Charles S. Dutton) to finally let go over his rage at being abandoned by his father and channeling it into his music.

Academics are almost entirely ignored here along with sex and drugs. The parents are barely seen and most are less than supportive, especially the clichés that are Naturi Naughton’s parents. The teachers are a collection of familiar faces including Neuwirth, Dutton, Kelsey Grammar, and Megan Mullally and rarely are given anything interesting to do. Blessing this disappointment is Debbie Allen, who gained her fame by appearing in the original, who appears as the principal.

The Blu-ray has excellent video and sound transfers and comes complete with shiny performer bios, 18 minutes’ worth of deleted scenes (several of which would have helped but none solving the overall dramatic problems), a dance video and a piece on the talent search to cast the film. The package comes complete with a digital copy.


The Point Radio: Life on the set of ‘Law & Order’

The Point Radio: Life on the set of ‘Law & Order’

Surviving two decades in primetime television is on easy task, especially if you are a drama. NBC’s Law And Order has made it’s mark in TV history, and the latest cast appreciates that as we sit down to talk about life on (and off) the set with Jeremy Sisto, Anthony Anderson and Alana De La Garza. Plus J.J. Abrams and Micronauts, V hits a home run that the Yankees would be proud of and Rob and Todd team up on Spawn.

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Webcomics You Should Be Reading: ‘Cyanide and Happiness’

Webcomics You Should Be Reading: ‘Cyanide and Happiness’

Yup. I’m sick. Twisted. Perverse. Warped. Dare I even say (dare… dare….) a little insane in the membrane. Why you ask? Simply put… someone sent me a link to this crudely drawn little webcomic, and after a single strip, I knew I must share this with the six or seven of you who haven’t heard of it. What lay ahead in this article will make some of you angry. Others will throw their hands up in disgust and curse loudly at the screen. But there will be those who see this as a new beacon of hope. Yes my friends, I bring to you something so wrong it must be right. A webcomic that appears to challenge xkcd in artistic merit, and tickle the nethers of the Parking Lot is Full for content. Look quickly beneath this velvet drape and behold the evil hilariousnesstitude of… Cyanide and Happiness!

The strip starting humbly by a young Kris Wilson, who was then suffering from strep throat (seriously folks, if Wikipedia didn’t exist, I might not know anything.). Kris caught the eye of web hosts Matt Melvin, Rob DenBleyker and Dave McElfatrick. Soon thereafter, the strip was given a home on what is now Explosm.net. While Wilson was the originator of the comic, over time, Matt, Rob, and Dave joined the fray, helping to add strips since it’s inception in 2005. But seriously, enough with the “information”… I know those who didn’t heed my warning above want to know why I’m giggling like priest in an elementary school over this ugly ugly strip.

Cyanide and Happiness by definition is described as “dark, cynical, often offensive, and exceedingly irreverent. Frequent topics of humor include disabilities, rape, cancer, murder, suicide, necrophilia, pedophilia, sexual deviancy, sexually transmitted diseases, self-mutilation, nihilism, and violence. The comic does not always have a definite punchline in each strip, or may have several panels of “awkward silence” after (or instead of) the punchline, with characters simply staring at each other.” (again, kudos to those wikipedia writers… where do they get the time?!). If that description doesn’t make you foam at the mouth for examples, well, you’re probably more normal than I am.

As one cycles through Cyanide and Happiness, it’s obvious there’s a good sense of timing, and a deliberate storytelling ability, despite the art being all but non-existent. Yes, it’s essentially stick figure humor, much like the aforementioned xkcd, but for all of dumb people who find strips like these far funnier than these. And yes, I know I’ve already waxed poetic on xkcd, and now you loyal FOMAFers (again, if you DON’T know, well, look it up.) are getting your panties in a bunch. Did Marc just go back on his word? Is he saying Cyanide and Happiness is somehow superior to xkcd? Is he trying to start a flame war? Yes. I am. I want all of you to get riled up and start a crazy posting war. Tell your friends… get them involved. Tweet about it on your dingleberries, and update your mybooks with your facespace messages. I want to see vile comments lambasting my parents for even giving birth to me, which leads (eventually) to you having to read this article, and now you’re so angry you just have to…. AAAAHHHH!!!


Webcomics You Should Be Reading: “Garfield Minus Garfield”!

Howdy folks! We’re back here today to take a step into the post-modern… a step into the existential… a step into a parallel dimension. No, not the twilight zone. Today’s ‘Webcomic You Should Be Reading” is an experiment utilizing one of America’s most cherished cartoon characters. Who you ask? Why, it’s Jon Arbuckle, the would-be owner of an obese and lazy cat, named Garfield. We’re quite familiar with the Garfield strip, aren’t we? Since 1978, the world has been privvy to the the misadventures of this lazy fat cat and his awkward geek of an owner. Years later, an Irishman (Dan Walsh) took an idea shared by many, and gave it birth in webcomic form. Mr. Walsh graced the interwebs with Garfield Minus Garfield.

In a nut shell, take Jim Davis’ acclaimed comic, and remove the titular main character… What do you end up with? As Dan Walsh puts it… you get “…[the] reveal [of] the existential angst of a certain young Mr. Arbuckle. It is a journey deep into the mind of an isolated young everyman as he fights a losing battle agianst loneliness and depression in a quiet American suburb.” I just say you get to take a cherished comic, and make it a post-modern laugh fest.

Now, obviously enjoyment of the material comes with the knowledge of the source material. When “G-G” works, it works well. Minus his kitty companion (or really any other elements in the strips) Jon is sad, pathetic, and possibly schitzophrenic. Successive reading of multiple strips in a row only makes the joke funnier. But, when the majority of the strip leaves bookended blank panels… this fan grows quickly bored. Why? Well, the joke itself of removing that darn cat can make for some funny asides by Jon. Dramatic pauses add to the humor of most of these situations, but, in these strips in particular… it leaves a little too much to the imagination. Given the decades worth of material though, Walsh has plenty to work with, and there are plenty of funny re-imagined strips to present to we, the surly and overly critical internet population.

So what, pray-tell, does Mr. Jim Davis think of this Frankensteining of his most famous creation?


Big Finish Offers ‘Doctor Who’ Subscription Deal

Big Finish Offers ‘Doctor Who’ Subscription Deal

Big Finish, the United Kingdom’s audio drama producer, announced that the weekly dramas built around the Eighth Doctor and Lucie adventures are now available for pre-order.

This third series stars Paul McGann as the Doctor with Sheridan Smith as his companion Lucie Miller. It boasts a guest cast including Nigel Planer, Andrew Sachs, Miriam Margolyes, Colin Salmon, Samantha Bond, Stephen Moore, Phill Jupitus and dozens of other big names. The series also features the return of the Wirrn, the Krynoids and those eight-legged freaks from Metebelis 3.

The full series of eight two-part adventures are being offered now and for those who buy them online will automatically receive them as downloads as well.

The downloads begin on Saturday March 7 with Orbis: Part One, followed the next Saturday by Orbis: Part Two. Each two-part story is priced at £10.99 but you can get all eight adventures for just £60 if you subscribe to the whole season.

Subscribers will be given a personal RSS feed that will notify them when downloads are available.

Rick Baker Wins Tesla Award

Rick Baker Wins Tesla Award

Rick Baker was honored by the International Press Academy this past weekend in Los Angeles.

Director John Landis presented Baker the Tesla Award for recognition of Visionary Achievement in Filmmaking Technology. It was the young director who first hired Baker in 1971 for Schlock. They have worked together ever since including An American Werewolf in London which earned Baker the first of six Academy Awards.

He later told Sci Fi Wire that his work on next year’s The Wolfman pays homage to the Universal original, not his own werewolf efforts. "I had a lot of trouble with that, because Benicio already looks like a werewolf, especially when he grows his facial hair out," Baker said. "I kept telling them that he wouldn’t look too much different.

"This one is different, and harkens back to the classic Wolf Man  I’m not sure what they are going to do about the transformation; I heard they are going to do it in CG, and I think that is a mistake."

As for the film’s delay from April to November, the makeup wizard was somewhat baffled. "It was a troubled project from the start,” Baker admitted. “The first director [Mark Romanek] left, and Joe [Johnston] took it over, but it looks real good. I saw how they set it in [19th]-century England, and it looks spectacular.”

"I had a lot of trouble with that, because Benicio already looks like a werewolf, especially when he grows his facial hair out," Baker said. "I kept telling them that he wouldn’t look too much different."

Dan Lebental won best editing for Iron Man. The film also won also for best DVD extras.

Richard King won best sound editing and mixing for The Dark Knight.

Best original song went to "Another Way to Die" from Quantum of Solace.

HBO’s True Blood won two acting awards in the television division.  Anna Paquin took best TV actress in a drama while Nelsan Ellis won best supporting actor in a drama.

Tom Cruise Mulls Becoming a Champion

Tom Cruise Mulls Becoming a Champion

Tom Cruise and screenwriter Christopher McQuarrie are becoming a formidable duo with three different projects in the works.

The two met during the production of Valkyrie, opening this month, which McQuarrie wrote for his other pal, director Bryan Singer.

McQuarrie had already been developing The Champions, based on the old BBC series with producer Guillermo del Toro and now United Artists’ co-owner may star in the project, the studio’s best chance at creating its own super-powered franchise.

The series lasted all of one season, 1968-1969, and was syndicated in America a few years later. It featured “the adventures of a team of secret government agents who are rescued from a Himalayan plane crash by an advanced civilization and given superhuman abilities.”

McQuarrie and Mason Alley are writing Flying Tigers, based on the volunteer fighter squadron formed to help the Chinese fight the Japanese before the U.S. entered World War II, for New Regency.  The subject has been near and dear to Cruise who may now be interested in acting in the production.

Finally, Spyglass hired McQuarrie to rewrite The Tourist, an espionage drama, for Cruise to appear in with Charlize Theron.