November 21st, 2002

smokin'

Hollywood calls.

So, I finished up some work, which I'm not sure went well. And I'm overtired and in a mood so it's a perfect time to post. Right? Right. I guess.

Anyway, yesterday there was a message on our studio answering machine from some guy who said that he got my name and number from Paul Levitz at DC Comics, and would I call him back at such and such a number. I think I may have actually scratched my head in puzzlement. I didn't know what to expect, maybe DC was suing me or blackballing me or something. Anyway, being an ignorant sort, I didn't realize the number had a Los Angeles area code, or I might have had a slightly better clue as to who I was calling -- i.e. Hollywood. Now, Hollywood's called here a few times, and we've called them back a few times, but it's never led to anything except a few halfway decent anecdotes and a very nice comp tape of Michele Gondry (sp?) music videos (he's the guy who did several memorable Bjork videos, the Foo Fighters video with the giant hand bit, he's one of the few directors who justifies making videos imho).

Anyway, this one falls into the "anecdote" file. I keep a file in my office called "Hollywood: Offers, Goofball, Bullshit", which contains the dumbest job offers/option offers on our work that we've ever received. The phone conversations are often the most ridiculous. In this case, I called the number the guy left, and I get a secretary who says, Mr So and So's office, etc. I say, "Hi, my name is Evan Dorkin, I received a call from Mr so and so and I'm calling him back.". She asks me what the call is in regards to. I tell her I don't know, he called me. And then she asks me -- in a very snotty tone of voice, "Well, what do you do?" This throws me off, for several reasons, one of which is that one thing I despise about L.A. is that the few times I've been there, everyone wanted to know what it was that I "do". Or "did". Whatever. Producers, friends of producers, cabbies, the 18-yr old jerk with capped teeth. serving pie at Johnny Rockets, all asking you what you do (when I'd tell them that I "did" comic books, they pretty much left me alone very quickly). So, I'm kind of put off by her and I basically tell her that what I do is return people's phone calls when they ask me to. This puts her off some, but eventually she pries Levitz's name out of me and she finally gets wise to the fact that I'm not some capped-tooth pie-serving Johnny Rockets jerk trying to break into Hollywood. And she transfers me to her Hollywood boss, who tells me that he got my name from Paul Levitz because he's looking for an "off-the-wall" writer to work on a project he and his two associates are developing. Now, upon hearing the phrase "off the wall", I'm already dreading the rest of this conversation. And with good reason, as the big idea concerns -- get this! Hold on to your hats!! Wait for it!!!

Fart warriors!

Or something like that. Space adventures with characters who fart. And crap. And have diarrhea. And I'm told with a straight face (*voice?) how it could be for a video game, or a tv series, or a film -- but they need to develop it further and put it all together and get a story arc going for it. And while he's pitching me on this, all I can think about is:

a) it took three people to come up with this horsehockey (?!?)
b) somebody's getting paid a lot more money in a month than I make in a year or three to come up with this shit (!!!)
c) s-s-story arc?!?! About farting?!?!
d) if this is the kind of project people think I'm good for, then I suck soemthing fierce.

And while these thoughts run through my head like crazed bulls through the streets of Pamplona, I'm trying desperately not to laugh out loud. I mean, hey, it's not polite and why ruin my multi-media career? I just start taking notes and writing a lot of ?!?'s all over a post-it while biting the inside of my cheek. When the spiel runs down, I politely tell the guy I'm too booked up and that I appreciated the offer. He says "that sounds like a rejection", in a humorous, nice way, I admit. So I then say the usual dumb stuff one says when one doesn't want to sound insulting, "Oh, no, if I wasn't so busy I'd probably be faxing you my resume right now", etc (I don't actually know how to use a fax machine) , -- anything to not have to actually discuss the merits or lack thereof of the farting and fighting in space concept. Somehow we get on the subject of my animation credits (the guy had no idea of anything I ever did, which I understand, but then why call me?) and he tells me that he's at Warner Brothers (!?!), so I must know him because I worked on Superman and Batman Beyond. I told him I didn't know him, sorry, the only people I dealt with at WB was Paul Dini and Alan...Alan...Alan the guy who was in charge who's last name I can't remember Alan. He then seems even less interested in me now and makes with a few "this conversation serves no further purpose, I want to hang up" verbal gestures. So we say goodbye to one another while crumpling up each other's phone number, and he hangs up. And I hang up. And I burst out laughing and run into Sarah's office to tell her all about my latest failed attempt at conquering Hollywood.

Okay, so it's not such a great anecdote. I should just go get a job at the Johnny Rockets at the Staten Island mall...
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    Sinatra, on Danny Stiles nostalgia radio show (1430 am, NYC/NJ)
smokin'

If you can't sleep, then by all means, post some crap.

I'm not tired. I'm going to keep posting. You can't stop me!

We found a few nice books at the local Salvation Army today, including HG Wells' In the Days of the Comet, an old Daphne DuMaurier novel, a collection of Eugene Ionesco plays, and a collection of Ramsey Campbell short horror stories. Sarah found the sequel to harriet the Spy and some other stuff I can't recall. She also found a very nice vintage (early 60's) mohair sweater for me that was in perfect shape, and the entire haul was less than $10. We didn't find the single measuring cup we were looking for, though. No one sells single measuring cups, and we need one for the Borax we use in the laundry. If you go to the department stores they only sell a full set of cups. We don't need a full set. heaven help us, we don't need a full set!

At Costco we found a swell behemoth of a book called The Art of Imagination, a 765-pg compendium of horror, fantasy and science-fiction posters, paperback covers, comic book covers, et al. It features hundreds of beautiful reproductions and I was especially happy to see the old Universal horror movie posters in there. I love these kinds of books as a fan becaiuse, well, I'm a fan, and as a cartoonist as I have a limited graphic sense and I like to look at old design work for cover ideas, logos, type, etc. If you're a Costco member, snap this baby up, it's a steal at only $25. I think you can check the publisher out at http://www.collectorspress.com. and if I remember correctly they put out the Pulp Culture and Comic Culture coffee-table style books. Very pretty stuff.

I didn't buy any new comics at Hanley's today, nothing shipped that grabbed me. I'm still planning on picking up David B's Epileptic, I just have so many unread books and comics and maagzines cluttering up my side of the bed that I don't want to bring anything else home right now. Sarah picked up some manga collections, I bought the huge Gerber Photo-Journal Collection (volume 2), which features hundreds of old comic book covers (the covers of books we could never afford and nobody will ever reprint, unfortunately). Thanks god for my shop discount, as that sucker's spendy.

Turner Classic Movies just showed Charles Laughton's Night of the Hunter a day or two ago. If you haven't seen it, by all means hunt it down (cripes, that sounded like some jack-ass film reviewer blurb) This is the one with Sleepy Bob Mitchum's homicidal preacher sporting "Love" and "Hate" on his hands, singing and talking directly to god while trying to off two kids over some money. It's a lyrical, dreamlike film, with striking imagery often provided through the use of stark, impressionistic sets, stylized lighting and foreshortened camera shots. I wasn't quite sure about the film when I first saw it -- I liked it, but my expectations were very different than what I saw. On a second viewing I just found it utterly fascinating, this is definitely a movie I'd buy on DVD. It's less of a thriller than an allegorical study of good and evil, and of hypocrisy, but don't let that scare you off. There are thrills to be had, including a pretty startling "even for now" scare sequence (that reminded me of later Mario Bava), and an amazing extended shot of a murder victim that struck me as the best EC Crime/Horror comic cover EC never did. And of course, Sleepy Bob makes a terrific sociopath. The movie was a bomb and was attacked as offensive when it came out in the mid-50's, and Laughton (you know, the tubby Dr Moreau in Island of Lost Souls) never directed another film. This was his sole effort, and it's a classic (as they say), and it would have been interesting to see what else he would have made if given the chance.

Okay, it's late, and I should get out of here. I was sort of hoping that while I typed I'd get an idea on how to end this script outline I'm stiuck on, but no dice. Hopefully I'll hit it tomorrow.

Latersville.