Project: Iron Man – Iron Man #27 “The Fury of Firebrand!”

PROJECT IROM MAN logo

This is an issue where it isn’t so remarkable how much I remember, but in how much I didn’t understand and what went over my head. The heyday of my Iron Man collecting, and therefore Iron Man reading, was ages 8-12. Ideas like Communism and The Civil Rights Movement existed as unrelatable ideas that were taught to us in history class. It was the mid to late 80’s. Yes The Cold War was still going strong, but it had been 20 years since the Cuban Missile Crisis and neither country was eager to repeat that mistake again. Martin Luther King, Jr. was an acknowledged hero of the Civil Rights movement, we got the day off from school and I had not yet witnessed anything close to real racism in my life. So when I read comic books from the 60’s and early 70’s the ideas in them were like ancient history. They were written for their time and thank God we weren’t like that anymore. Reading them now, however, opened my eyes to just how much issues like this one covered.

IM 27 Cover

 

Let’s start with the super villain in this story: Firebrand.

IM 27 pg1

When I was younger I had no idea what a “firebrand” was. I knew that this bad guy had fire related powers, but no idea that his name was also relevant to the story. Of course now we have the internet for instant definitions:

Firebrand: one that creates unrest or strife (as in aggressively promoting a cause) :agitator
 – from www.merriam-webster.com

And our character makes with the agitating right off the top. He helps some local protesters break into the construction site of a community center that the Iron Man Foundation is paying for. Even though the protesters are excited about their sit-in Firebrand makes it clear he’s looking for a fight and then takes off.

IM 27 Firebrand Agitating

Eddie March, who you may remember did a brief stint as Iron Man, is now out of the hospital and has been selected to be the director of the new community center since he is both a native son of Bay City and also has the popularity of being Iron Man for his short time. As they head to the site, Eddie marvels at the changes to the city, with the exception of the North Side which is just as bleak as he remembers it being when he was a kid.

IM 27 Eddie sees the city

He and Iron Man arrive at the construction site with the city councilman in charge of the community center, Lyle Bradshaw, to see that there is already a bit of trouble between the protesters (black) and police (white).

IM 27 Trouble at the site

There’s almost a Commedia dell’arte feel to the characters from this point. Not that they are directly from the Commedia tradition, but that there are archetypes that each character represents.  Iron Man is the unbiased moral “right” that wants what is best for all within the law. It is worth noting that Tony Stark appears very little in this issue. For 95% he is in his Iron Man guise – a superhero with no definable skin color. Eddie March is the biased “right” who can relate to the protesters more than Iron Man can. The protesters, all black, represent the civil struggle and members of it become the focus of different variations within that struggle. The police, all white, represent the white establishment defined by law without bigotry. Lyle Bradshaw represents exploitative greed and the white establishment defined by bigotry. These are some pretty heavy concepts to toss into what were called, at the time, “funny books.” My 9 year old brain saw them more as:

  • Iron Man = Awesome
  • Eddie March = Was Iron Man = Awesome
  • Firebrand = Bad guy with fire powers
  • Protesters = Poor and Suffering
  • Police = Police
  • Bradshaw = Jerk

So I saw the good guys versus the bad guys in the issue, but I missed all the nuance of how this applied to the times. It is also worth noting that reading this issue with today’s current events in mind, like Ferguson and “Black Lives Matter,” that as far as we’ve come, there is still a way to go.

Taking advantage of the unrest, Firebrand shows up and a riot starts.

IM 27 The riots start

There’s a super villain/super hero fight that happens, but that’s not the point of the issue. Instead, the poignant plot line is between Eddie March and a young woman he saves from the riot, Helene.

IM 27 Eddie saves Helene

After they escape, Helene takes Eddie through the city and they discuss what might actually help raise the community as opposed to just have a community center built for them.

IM 27 Eddie and Helene in the city

While this is happening we get some background into how Firebrand came to be.

IM 27 Firebrand Origin

And how he built his suit (a bit of unintentional foreshadowing to The Armor Wars and The Five Nightmares).

IM 27 Armor Wars foreshadow

Battle aside, Iron Man, Eddie, Helene and Councilman Bradshaw eventually all end up back at the councilman’s office and discuss what might be best for the community – which leads to an impasse. Naturally, Firebrand shows up, raises hell, and kidnaps Councilman Bradshaw.

IM 27 The impasseWe also find out that Bradshaw is completely corrupt and is profiting on the community center.

IM 27 Firebrand kidnaps the truth revealed

Normally, in a comic book, we’d expect to have everything wrap up all nice an clean, but it doesn’t. Firebrand escapes.  The riot is stopped, but so is construction of the community center. Eddie and Helene get jobs at the Iron Man Foundation. But the comic even mentions that it is a very slow matter to get back to healing and understanding.

IM 27 Last 2 pages

The last panels bring the whole thing home.

IM 27 Last Panels

I don’t know that we have the same kind of material created for children that addresses issues like this in the same way that they did back in the 70’s. It was a time for experimentation and breaking established rules and that lead to some great filmmaking, music, and storytelling. It’s also strange to me that a story this on the nose still found a way to get over my head. I guess there’s no stopping a pre-adolescent brain that’s obsessed more with the super hero than the stories that he is featured in. Regardless, it is very eye opening to re-read this now and get a whole new sense of meaning from it. Although not the original point of this project, it has been a very nice bonus.

See you next time.

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Filed under comic books, fanboy, iron man, Iron Man 27, Marvel, Project: Iron Man

Fun Video Friday: “Show Me That” Pokemon Battle

Fun-Video-Friday

The one thing I can say about re-branding yourself and becoming a “startup” is that you find all kinds of things as you troll through your social media and online accounts. Let’s say you are going through your YouTube page so you can re-brand the channel. You may find that there were some videos you had forgotten about, like this one from an Improv Shmimprov show many years ago. Heads up – maybe a little NSFW and if the kids are under 13 you might want to watch it first.

Let’s see what else we can find this weekend!

See you next time!

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January 23, 2015 · 9:11 am

The Joy of Paper

Books

Our modern world offers wonders of technology that would boggle the minds of people even just 30 years ago. If you would have told 8 year old me that I could have every Iron Man comic book ever written stored and readable on a device the size and depth of an actual comic book I don’t think that I would have believed you. Likewise that there was even something like the internet! All of these new devices and machines make jobs easier, have brought about changes in entertainment unseen since the television revolution, and keep us all connected.

But, for all that, I find that I have been going back to an old technology: paper.

That’s right good old fashioned wood pulp paper. And pens, a wide variety of pens.

My paper habit really got going again back when Rene and I got married in 2010. I was looking for groomsman gifts and was having a problem finding something that I thought would be A) not cliche and B) something useful. That was harder to find that you’d think. My search ended with me at a Borders Books by my parents house (like I said, 2010, before Barnes and Noble was the last big bookstore). I didn’t know what I was looking for while I was there so I just wandered around hoping that inspiration would just fly out and hit me in the face.

It didn’t…

…until I was walking out of the store when a spinner rack by the door caught my eye. It was full of journals in a few different sizes. Mostly the size that would fit in your pocket, but some larger. They all had a funny name: Moleskine. Moles-kine (with a hard “i”)? Mole-skin? Moly-skiny? However it is pronounced (and the current CEO of the company stated in an interview on NPR that he doesn’t care and pronounced it three different ways during the interview) it is apparently famous!

THE LEGENDARY NOTEBOOK
Moleskine® is the heir of the legendary notebook used for the past two centuries by artists and
thinkers, from Vincent Van Gogh to Pablo Picasso from Ernest Hemingway to Bruce Chatwin.
The anonymous and essential little black notebook, with its unique rounded corners, elastic
closure, and expandable inner pocket, was originally produced for more than a century
by a small French bookbinder that supplied Parisian stationery shops frequented by the
international literary and artistic avant‐garde. This trusty, pocket‐sized travel companion held
their sketches, notes, stories, and ideas before they became famous images or beloved books.

Well, I liked the idea of using things that Hemingway and Picasso did, even if it felt a little pretentious. I liked the feel of the books and since all of my groomsmen were in creative or technical fields I knew they could all use a  notebook to jot things down in. So they each got one and I got a notebook for myself, but I didn’t use mine until months later. It was December 29th, 2010 when I made my first entry, which was all about how I wasn’t sure if I would even use the book at all. In mid-January I forced myself to put words down that ended up being a rambling mess. But then we went to Sundance that year and the little notebook became invaluable.

We had a series of meetings and sessions where I needed to be able to take notes and having a legal pad, like so many others did, was just unmanageable with the coats and gloves and everything else that goes along with a cold weather festival. When I took my notes I felt agile and quick, ready for the next bits of information. I also felt small, like I took up very little space. Which was handy since there usually was very little space to be had. I still keep that original notebook on my desk for reference.

That’s when my habit formed, and my brand loyalty. Moleskine is not paying me for this post (although if anyone at corporate is reading this and feels like throwing some swag my way…) so I can say, just from my personal use and opinion, I really like these notebooks. I am on my third pocket book, an Evernote branded one that came with a three month premium subscription to Evernote, and have a project book, story journal, wine book, plus a few others that are just waiting for things to fill them.

Even though I feel like my “addiction to paper” is new, really, when I think about it, I’m just going back to my old habits, before the smartphone and tablet. When I was a teenager and full of hormonal rage I filled book after book with the rantings and thoughts of my brain. I recently found that trove of tomes in my parents storage facility and, hoo boy, I was definitely a teenager. Have you ever wanted to reach back in time and smack yourself? Go read your old journals and  you just might. Although I no longer compose bad poetry and ponder the existential existence of Bat Boy, writing is still the best way for me to get an idea out of my head.  Even though I can 3D render things on the computer or dictate notes to my phone, there’s something satisfying about the scratch of pen nib on paper that makes everything feel more “real.”

What about you? Are you a paper person? Are you all tech all the time? Let me know in the comments.

See you next time.

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Revisiting Wiggy Webs and Dog Rescue

Wiggy Logo NO Sub Heading

Rene and I are doing a lot of re-branding and building of our web presence since our commitment to take control of our careers this year. This happens to coincide with the end of any contracts that existed with my old production company, Wiggy VonSchtick Productions. The only thing that came out of that dissolution in any way intact was the YouTube channel Wiggy Webs where we auditioned some web content.

The most popular videos were a series called Make-up with the Wolf where award winning make-up and F/X artist Myke “The Wolf” Michaels demonstrated how to do Hollywood level make-up effects on a budget. I’m proud to say that the most popular video is of Rene getting transformed into a Buffy style vampire.

But as I was looking back at the video manager I found a video that I had almost forgotten about and thought was worth featuring today. It was for a group that was trying to rehome over 80 dogs because the rescue that had been their home was being shut down. A group of photographers, including Lori Fusaro, and dog clothing manufacturers got together to take good, happy adoption photos that helped get all of these animals new homes, most at a rescue in a different state.

Watching this again, I remember being at the rescue site and how all the dogs could tell that something was going on, even before all the photoshoot started. Some were nervous, but many were so happy to have as much human interaction as they got that day. With the number of unwanted animals in the United States, rescues and shelters serve as savior to many animals that would otherwise die. If you would like more information about how to help or adopt animals check HERE.

Even though Wiggy VonSchtick is shut down, Wiggy Webs is going to stay up as long as people keep watching it. And if we make the odd nickel every few months from Google AdSense that’s ok too.

Now back to the new stuff!

See you next time.

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January 21, 2015 · 8:41 am

Am I a Startup? Part 2: The “Don’ts”

Startup Post Art

In part 1 we covered what a startup is and the four best practices to help get that startup moving, with definitions tweaked to work for the entertainment industry (although those tweaks may work for other industries as well). Having an idea of what to do is important and positive and helps get all the work off on the right foot. That being said, it is nice to also know what pitfalls to avoid so you can do your best not to fail on accident. Just like articles on what to do to help your startup succeed there are as many, if not more, articles about what makes a startup fail.

Thinking about it, that makes sense since, by definition, a startup has no guarantee of success so many of them (most of them even) fail. Entertainment careers are no different. In this life you hear “no” a lot more than “yes.” You can have a series go to pilot and then not get picked up. You can be edited out of a commercial after you’ve already shot it. For resilience we all say that it’s, “just part of the biz” but, part of the biz or not, that much rejection can be draining. So the following are four mistakes that can kill your startup inspired by and paraphrased from this article: The 18 Mistakes That Kill Startups. Why are there not 18? Because not all of the mistakes really apply to my topic. Sure, I could shoehorn in a few descriptions and get all symbolic with the language, but that isn’t the goal. The goal is to have strong points that are easy to identify and avoid to keep things moving in a positive career direction. But if you want to read all 18, and I suggest you do, go to the link.

Before we get started with the actual four mistakes, I’d like to point out a overarching general mistake that the author Paul Graham points out that also makes very good sense in an entertainment career:

“In a sense there’s just one mistake that kills startups: not making something users want. If you make something users want, you’ll probably be fine, whatever else you do or don’t do. And if you don’t make something users want, then you’re dead, whatever else you do or don’t do. So really this is a list of (sic) things that cause startups not to make something users want. Nearly all failure funnels through that.”

In his explanation let’s trade out the word “user” for “audience.” Entertainment exists to be experienced by people, there isn’t any way around that. As a general rule of thumb: make and do the things you believe in and have passion for. Those are the things that have the best chance of taking off and if they don’t you can at least feel good about the attempt.

Now on to the mistakes:

  1. Bad Location. The internet and prosumer equipment have really allowed people to make high quality content just about anywhere, but if you want to work on the bigger shows and films (hell even the big online stuff) you need to be in one of the major entertainment hubs: Los Angeles, New York, Atlanta or New Orleans. Although theres also North Carolina, Chicago, Michigan, New Mexico, Oregon and the occasional shoot in Hawaii. And Canada. Puerto Rico is offering some really nice tax incentives so some productions are moving over there… All kidding aside, even with this expansive list there are still very few cities that can actually handle and support a large amount of filming. If you are ok just shooting with your friends and putting it up online then more power to you. Hollywood is decentralizing and I predict that we’re going to see more migration away from Southern California over the next five to ten years, but there will still be industry hubs where the camera crews live and where you can find a guy who can record decent sound. You want those people so you should be where they are.
  2. Derivative Ideas. Don’t just copy. I know Hollywood does it all the time, but those are the things people make fun of Hollywood for doing. I’m not saying that you can’t have your own spin on an existing idea, but don’t just straight up copy. Here’s an example: Zombies have been the dominate movie monster for over a decade now. There has been zombie everything, but the ones I remember: The Walking Dead, 28 Days Later, and Shaun of the Dead all had unique takes on the genre. You don’t need to be the first person with an idea, but you do need to have a way to make it your own.
  3. Choosing the wrong platform. This literally came up in conversation today and it seems like something that I talk about with people all the time. There is both a literal and a figurative meaning to “platform.” The literal has to do with distribution of content that you and your team may be creating. When you decide how to get it out to the audience you either need to build to the distribution you have access to or hustle to get the distribution you feel the content requires. For example: I spoke to a buddy just today about their new project that, in my opinion (which happened to be an opinion he shared), needs to be a web release. It is built in tight little vignettes that are great for online audiences and the pieces all combine together into one big narrative that he could release as a stand-alone product and/or send to film festivals. But there is talk about converting it to feature length and trying to get the funding to do a movie version. In my head, at this time with the options available to them, online seems like the no brainer. Doing this project as a television show wouldn’t work, the premise wouldn’t last beyond a season. Doing it as a movie might work, but it would require a heavy rewrite and a massive investment. Right now they have a completed product ready to launch and it would be a shame not to release it. The figurative meaning of “platform” is for the actor. We can trade out “platform” for “type.” One of the biggest complaints that I hear from my casting director friends is that people submit for things that they have no chance of getting. As an responsible auditioning actor you need to be honest with yourself about your type. If you happen to be a strawberry blond skinny guy who does prat falls and makes faces you should not submit yourself for roles where they usually cast Ian Somerhalder. I promise you, Ian Somerhalder is going to get that part. Overall I think the lesson here is to play to your strengths. Swinging for the fences is great and all,  but you still need to be smart about it.
  4. Not wanting to get your hands dirty. This is probably the biggest crime in all of the entertainment business, especially for people new to it. As great as this job is, there is nothing easy about it. If it were easy everyone would do it because it’s awesome. A lot more people could do it, but most are not willing to put in the amount of work that it takes to do it right. Hell, even thirty years later I’m still finding ways that I’m deficient in my efforts. It’s an ever changing business that requires constant effort. If you’re not up for that find something else to do with your time.

Did I miss anything? Are there any best practices that I could have added to part 1? Let me know in the comments.

See you next time.

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Filed under acting, artist, business, commentary, evil plan, failure, getting started, Hollywood, how-to, insight, jobs, learning experience, making movies, productivity, TV, work

Am I a Startup?

Startup Post Art

For the last year or so I’ve been looking at my career and trying to make decisions about which way to move it in the future. Even though I’ve been in the entertainment industry for 30 years now it hasn’t been one long smooth ride. Over those three decades I’ve actually had several “careers.”

  1. When I first started out as a kid doing commercials and voiceovers mostly.
  2. My awkward phase, around 13-15 when I exclusively played “nerd” characters.
  3. Late teens to late 20’s – the Sabrina the Teenage Witch years.
  4. Post 2005 – the producer years.

After this last decade of working almost exclusively behind the camera, with a few on-camera moments here and there, it’s time to start career number five – The “I-don’t-have-a-name-for-it-because-it-has-yet-to-be-defined” Years. For most of my working life many of my opportunities have depended a lot on other people saying “yes” which bred a bit of a reactionary response to the decisions that I’ve made in my work life. I would get a call for an audition, do my best at that audition, and then wait to see if I’m selected for the job or I would pitch an idea, put down a bid for the production, and then wait for the green light. After being beholden exclusively to other people it feels like it’s time to take as much control of my career as I can, especially since 40 is a lot closer than it used to be.

To this end I started thinking about how to make this paradigm shift. Up until now being proactive and taking control meant meeting people in the industry, participating in social media, being caught up on marketing materials like headshots and reels, etc. But this whole process needed to change if I was going to have any real control over what I wanted to do. My brain latched onto the idea of “startups.”  You hear all about startups everywhere, it has become a common term in the business vernacular. Just cruise LinkedIn or business circles on Twitter and you can find all kinds of reports, news and advice about “startups.” But nearly all of those articles and reports refer to tech startups, new apps or other tech that supposed to change our lives for the better; it was hard to see how I could fit my goals into the idea of startup structure. So I did some reading.

What is a “startup”?

Before I could really get down to business I needed to know what I was getting down to, so I hit the Internet. I did a search: “what is a startup.” This is what you find. Assuming that you exclude the results that are about creating a startup disk for your computer, there are hundreds of pages of results. After narrowing it down to about a dozen articles, there were three in particular that helped me to define what it is to be a startup and the dos and don’ts that go along with starting one. Of all the articles that defined a start up, the one that worked best for me was this article from FORBES.COM. In it “startup” is defined by Neil Blumenthal, co founder and co-CEO of Warby Parker as:

“A startup is a company working to solve a problem where the solution is not obvious and success is not guaranteed.”

This sounded to me a lot like my current situation where the problem Rene and I are trying to solve (my career direction) did not have a clear solution (because I didn’t have one) and success is not guaranteed (because it’s not). They had other technical definitions as well, directly out of dictionaries, but I don’t want to get off track.

The article also discusses how the idea of “startup” is cultural currency. The concept in the zeitgeist is that startups are exciting and innovative and ready to tackle problems in new ways so other industries adopted the phrase even though they technically aren’t startups. Posers aside, this along with the definition presented by Mr. Blumenthal cemented my resolution that I would approach this year as if I, myself, were a startup. Here comes Curtis 5.0!

So what does one do?

Being an entrepreneur isn’t easy. A lot of people like to fancy themselves as one, but few can actually back up the claim. Fortunately when you’re a new startup, like myself, there are lots of places where you can get a nickel’s worth of free advice and one of those places is Entrepreneur.com. I found a lot of advice here about all kinds of things related to starting a business.  A lot of it was retreading well known ideas, but some of the lists were good reminders of the basic principles that are easy to lose track of. The article that was most relevant to me was 4 Best Practices to Avoid Startup Failure. These practices are remarkably applicable to the modern professional actor with just a few minor tweeks to the explanations. I’ll let you go to the original article to read the unaltered breakdowns, but here are my thoughts on the 4 Best Practices:

  1. Maximize your resources. While all of us in the entertainment biz may want high powered agents and PR firms backing us, that’s not always option and since my plan is all about what I can control maximizing the power of my personal resources is key. All of us, I don’t care who you are (and if you want to fight about it I’ll see you in the comments below), have some resources at our disposal. Maybe it’s a supportive family. Maybe you happen to be really good with Final Cut or other editing software. Maybe you just give good “chat” at parties. Whatever you’re good at and have access to is what you should be using.  Not sure what you’ve got? Sit down and write down what you know how to do and what is available to you. And get really basic: a reliable car, a cat that does tricks, an old tuxedo that still fits. You never know what can come in handy and it might be right under your nose.
  2. Leverage your network. I’m really bad at this. I have great friends and family and they are spread all over this fine globe in a variety of different industries. I always feel guilty about asking them for anything, but anytime I don’t they have always, to the person, told me that I should have said something. You probably have these people in your life too (unless you’re, like, a big ol’ mooch). It’s time to reach out. But the key is not to reach out to just anyone, seek out the people who you would like to emulate or who can encourage you on the course you’ve picked. Don’t ask them to just “hook you up,” but let them be a source of advice or even referrals to people you might not otherwise have access to. For example: I would like to do more Think Fast seminars, a seminar that teaches people how to think on their feet using interactive exercises. A resource available to me is a group of friends who work in the corporate sector in H.R. and training. Speaking to them can let me know what materials I need to have to be able to pitch the seminar and, if it makes sense for their industry, maybe even a shot to do one for their employees.
  3. Build a learning culture. Pride. Ego. Asshole. These are all traits that may pop up as you are struggling to get things going – especially if you’re a stubborn son of a bitch who really only changes his mind once he’s figured it out and not when his lovely wife tries to save him some trouble by suggesting it earlier. But I’m not speaking from personal experience or anything…

    …anyway. It really is important to keep an open mind and to be ready to steer the ship in a new direction when the situation requires it. Also, be open to new skills. With YouTube tutorials and a little elbow grease you can learn just about anything. For example: With Think Fast it became obvious that I would need a website dedicated to just that seminar, which Rene had mentioned about a year ago. I finally got around to it and, in order to be able to make it do look the way I wanted it to, I needed to really expand on my Photoshop skills. Am I ready to be hired out as a graphic designer? No, but that wasn’t the goal. In the end I was able to learn what I needed to to get my the website built in a way I liked and that was the goal.
  4. Have an MVP. This is not a Most Valuable Player, this is a Minimum Viable Product. Actually their breakdown of what that means is pretty relatable:

“No, not an individual. A minimum viable product is the least amount of product or service you can bring to market while achieving two objectives: maximizing value to the customer and minimizing costs.

Good judgment only comes from experience, and experience typically comes from bad judgment. The toughest lessons to learn are usually the most costly in terms of resources and capital, so the best practice for you is the one that keeps your business unique.”

So how does this work for the performer? Focus on what makes you unique or sets you apart and really go for that. For example: you probably recognize a few different commercial actors by defining physical characteristics. The next time you’re watching TV pay attention to the people in the commercials, you’ll see the same people over and over and many of them have defined hair or beards or a general “look” that is clearly their trademark. If we look at the Think Fast example: There are a lot of team building and “outside the box” seminars out in the world, Think Fast is different because it uses interactive exercises that are easy to pick-up and challenging. Take an honest stock of yourself and pick out what sets you apart – then commit to it 100%.

These have all been the “do’s” of treating yourself as a startup, but there are some “don’ts.” Unfortunately I think we’ve reached the point of TL;DR. So next time we’ll look at the don’ts. In the mean time, if you would like to fight me in the comments then get to swingin’ down below.

See you next time.

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Filed under business, creativity, evil plan, getting old, insight, inspiration, new projects, new year, Uncategorized

It’s Funny What Strikes a Chord…

thrift-shop-large

I have been doing a lot of website building and refining these last three weeks as part of my new year commitment, and things have been going well. When all the sites are completed and ready you can bet that I’ll push them like crazy.

First one’s free: AndelonProd.com

As I’ve been refining CurtisAndersen.com I noticed some glitches in my RSS feed and had to go back to my old Blogger page to check some of the old posts. Imagine my surprise when I saw that, even months after having changed sites with the exact same URL, there were thousands of hits on the old version of the blog! Thousands!! I was shocked. There hadn’t been a new post since August, but that didn’t seem to matter.

Out of curiosity I decided to look and see what the most popular post of all time was and it turns out to be my examination of the Macklemore song “Thriftshop.” So since it’s Friday and it’s an appropriate party night I thought it might be nice to revisit that post:

Hey Macklemore, can we go thrift shopping?

I think this still holds water, even if I would write things a bit differently now. What do you think?

See you next time.

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Filed under music, music video, social commentary, Uncategorized, video, YouTube

A Brief History of the Iron Man Hulkbuster Armor

 

Photo from ScreenCrush.com

Photo from ScreenCrush.com

The new Avengers: Age of Ultron trailers are pretty great! I can’t wait until May! And the stand out star so far has been the Hulk-Buster armor that Iron Man fights the Hulk in. Let’s check the tape:

 

Pretty cool, right? There’s something about two big things beating the crap out of each other that just says “blockbuster!” Is there anything else that can explain the success of the Bay-former movies? But I don’t want to get distracted.

The Hulkbuster first appeared in 1994 during a series of stories written by Len Kaminski and penciled by Kev Hopgood where Iron Man was trying to clean up old Stane factories that were polluting the environment or working on hazardous projects. Each issue had a different guest star including Venom (he was being positioned as a hero at the time), Deathlok and Smart Hulk (when the Hulk had the strength of the hulk, the mind of Bruce Banner and the attitude of the grey Hulk… ask a comic geek, they’ll tell you what that all mean. It was the 90’s). The technical first appearance of the Hulkbuster is in Iron Man 304, but it’s just the final page as a teaser for the next month.

Photo from ComicVine.com

Photo from ComicVine.com

All the actual Hulkbuster action is in Iron Man 305 “Green Politics.”

Photo from Marvel.Wikia.com

Photo from Marvel.Wikia.com

The original Hulkbuster was actual a series of add on bits for the armor that Iron Man used at the time called, believe it or not, the Modular Armor which switched out systems and weapons on a mission specific basis. A lot of different bits and bobs were created and used, but the Hulkbuster stands out and the only truly memorable one.

Since then there have been many versions of the Hulkbuster in both art and action figure form. I was going to post some of those images here but it’s actually worth seeing how much has been created so HERE’S A LINK TO A GOOGLE IMAGES SEARCH.

Film wise, we all thought we were getting a Hulkbuster in Iron Man 3, but instead we got “Igor”:

Photo from MarvelToyNews.com

Photo from MarvelToyNews.com

It was a little disappointing.

Then we got this concept art from Age of Ultron:

Photo from Marvel.Wikia.com

Photo from Marvel.Wikia.com

And all Iron Man geek hearts were a-flutter!

Seeing the Hulkbuster in action is just whetting my appetite even more and you know I’ll be first in line when Avengers 2 comes out in May!

Well, first in line at a reasonable hour, I’m too old for midnight shows anymore.

Are you excited for Avengers: Age of Ultron? Hit the comments!

See you next time.

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Getting to Know: Rene’s World

IMG_8909

My wife is a pretty wonderful woman. She’s intelligent, witty, well read, wonderful with animals and children, a great actress, and she happens to be a pretty good writer as well!

I’ve been bugging her to blog more, and she’s been making an effort, but I find that nothing motivates me more than when I have a whole bunch of people reading the site and hoping for something new. So today I’m promoting her blog, it’s called:

Rene’s World

In it she talks about all the things that are important to her and you might even find it a bit inspiring.

Give it a look and don’t be afraid to hit the deep archives, there are some pretty cool pictures there.

See you soon!

 

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Filed under Andelon, blatant plug, blogs, family, married, rene, shameless self promotion, women

Op Ed: The Future of Entertainment

Image from MediaBistro.com

Image from MediaBistro.com

The entertainment industry is changing faster now than it ever has before. The last decade has seen an exponential change in how audiences consume content, where content is created, how content can be monetized, and what that means for the people who create all of this content. I see this from the perspective of the “working class” trenches: no development fund, need to maintain employment, still keeping up a hustle. For people like me (and there are a LOT of us) we have seen this change in a very real way for a long time and, as much as I hate to admit it, haven’t been as proactive as we probably should have been to be on the front of that wave.

Instead the younger set, those without the idea of “this is how things work” found their place. YouTubers are doing very well for themselves and Hollywood is taking notice, ready to monetize on their popularity. Fan films get national attention and have their own festival circuit. The biggest name in horror for the last seven years has been Paranormal Activity – a series that started with a movie made for about $11,000 in a dude’s house with After Effects.

For those with vision and a camera the future is open and ready…

…that being said, the old model is far from dead.

A lot of talk happened the Monday after the Golden Globes when Netflix and Amazon both walked away with coveted trophies about how the nature of television is changing and that the very business is already inexorably changed. And it is, but not completely. Not yet.

Here are two articles that, for me, were kind of the yin and yang of the future of the business, at least for the next few years especially in the context of wide public distribution, like television.

A Few Caveats About The New World Of Television from Monkey See from NPR

The Golden Globes Tell Us Everything About the Entertainment Industry in 2015 from IndieWire

I’m a “new model” guy who’s ready for the wild west, but it’s hard to pass up the money that can come with “old model” companies.

What do you think? Comment below.

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Filed under actor stuff, Andelon, business, career, commentary, filmmaking, independent film, insight, internet, making movies, money, news, NPR, pop culture, producing, technology, television, the future, TV, working for a living, YouTube