Tuesday, December 6, 2011

The Drive To Hate and The Reasons To Love

Every so often an ad campaign comes along that really piques my interest. Now, I'll admit, there's a lot of good advertising out there, just as there's a lot of bad advertising out there. But the advertising that I believe works well is the kind that jumps out at you from a mile away and grabs your attention for longer than 3 seconds. It is then that I believe the ad agency is doing a great job.

Now, let's talk about this new "Unhate" campaign by United Colors of Benetton. Don't get me wrong, I could care less about the brand. But, Benetton was once known in the late 80s and early 90s as being this daring, controversial brand that utilized the social issues about race to their advantage to sell clothes. As an ad guy myself, I have to admit, that was pretty smart.

Well, fast forward to 2011, and United Colors of Benetton has done it again. Check out their latest ads featuring famous icons "unhating" each other with a gentle kiss. Not bad, Benetton, not bad at all.

Okay, so what does this have to do with movies, which is what I usually like to blog about?

Well, I'm getting to that, so hold your damn horses. After I took the time to check out the full campaign here,  I discovered a pretty sweet short film by French director Laurent Chanez that depicts the unbalance and complexities between the drive to hate and the reasons to love. Go ahead, check it out for yourself. It's pretty impressive if you ask me.

See what I mean? It's amazing how much a well made film can influence ones opinions on society. How we all have the power to make the world a better place if we just stopped hating each other for whatever reason, and started treating each other like decent human beings regardless of race, gender and sexual orientation. How we should all unite together and stop the violence in hopes for a better place for our children to live.

Or maybe that short film just means that I need a new suit. Yeah, come to think of it, I do need a new suit. But not from Benetton, that shits expensive.

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Those Aren't Pillows

Well, it's Thanksgiving Eve and do you know what I'm looking forward to doing tomorrow. Nope, not eat Turkey. And don't even think about saying watch football.

Hell, I'm gonna do the thing I love to do every Thanksgiving day, which is lounge around and watch the ultimate Thanksgiving movie of all time—Planes, Trains and Automobiles.

Yep, that's right. Possibly one of my favorite John Hughes movies, Planes, Trains and Automobiles is the story of one man's struggle to get home for the holidays while an unbelievable slob gets in his way and on his nerves every step of the way.

I love this movie, not just for its comedic value, but for me, its nostalgia. See, growing up, my family was never sports oriented. So watching football on Thanksgiving was not an option. Instead we would all get together, eat dinner, then sit on the couch and watch this family festive flick while snacking on left-overs all night long.

So, if you find yourself bored as hell tomorrow afternoon, and not in the mood to watch stupid old football, I suggest turning on this gem of holiday memento. It'll have you laughing those extra calories away in no time.

Friday, November 4, 2011

Am I the only Ghost Whisperer fan?

Okay, so I have to admit something here. I am a huge fan of Ghost Whisperer. Yeah, yeah, I know. It's a very, very cheesy show. Jennifer Love Hewitt, looking all sexy, week after week, talking to dead people helping them cross over.

I mean, come on, they spent a lot of money on her extensions for this show. But, seriously, holy crap does she look hot.

However, beyond all the sexiness of that unbelievable goddess, this is a really good show. Seriously, every time I watch an episode I tear up at the end. No really, I tear up for Christ's sake. Yeah, as sad as that sounds, I get all emotional. I know, that's dumb, right?

But I will admit, it gets to me every time. A father, son, wife, daughter, wanting to say their last goodbye to someone they love. You have to appreciate that sentiment. So yeah, anytime I have a chance to watch an episode, you can bet your ass I'm gonna sit down and watch it.

So seriously, am I the only one? Am I the only person who will admit that Ghost Whisperer is a really good show? Please, seriously, tell me. Am I completely wrong on this one? Am I just thinking with the wrong head? Is the fact that Jennifer Love Hewitt is completely gorgeous and I want to like this show because of that one fact a bad thing?

Or, am I right in thinking that this is one really good show. I don't' know. You tell me. I'd like to hear what you all think in the comments below. Let me know. I'm dying to hear your thoughts.

Ciao for now!


Monday, October 10, 2011

What the hell are you thinking, Netflix?

First they raise the price, then they split the service, now they're reverting to a single site? Umm, not very professional guys. I mean, come on, learn to live with your decisions. You're confusing the hell out of us.

Don't get me wrong, I really like your streaming service. I mean, I did cancel the DVD delivery option, but I didn't care for that element all too much anyway. Either way, stop making changes and go with the flow. You might be doing more damage than good with all this flip flopping nonsense.

Thursday, October 6, 2011

Pirates of Silicon Valley airs on TNT tonight!

Okay, if you've never seen the movie Pirates of Silicon Valley, then you're in luck. In honor of Steve Jobs, TNT will be airing it tonight at 8:00 PM, and again at 10:00 PM.

This is a great movie that tells the story of a young Steve Jobs and Bill Gates as they battle each other to introduce the first personal computer.

I've always loved this movie, even though, like any "based on a true story" movie, you can only take it with a grain of salt. But, this film does a great job of telling the story of two of the greatest contributors to our digital world.

So, if you don't have any plans tonight, then I suggest you pop some popcorn, plop yourself on the couch and tune-in to TNT at eight. You'll thank me later for it.

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Rest in peace Steve Jobs, you will be missed

Can't say I didn't see this day coming, but now that it's here, it makes me really sad. See, I've been working on Macs my whole career. I even used them in college.

For years its been said that Macs are for creatives. People who need to do real work need a PC. Well, I do real work, every day. Been doing real work for what seems like forever. And, every step of the way, it's been done on a Mac.

Even today, Kick A Rock, my pride, my joy, was built on a Mac. The videos we create are edited on a Mac. Our Kick A Rock logo was designed on a Mac. The website itself, built from the ground up on a Mac.

Well, thank you Steve Jobs. If it wasn't for your hard work, inspiration, and drive, I wouldn't be the creative person I am today. Thank you, so very much!

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Forget Netflix, stream movies directly from the studios

Did anyone rent Transformers: Dark of the Moon last Friday? I did. But, had I known I could stream it to my iMac, I may not have bothered.

Get this, Paramount is giving moviegoers the option to stream the new Transformers directly from them.

That's right! Forget waiting 30 days for Netflix, or renting from a dying Blockbuster brick and mortar store. You can watch it instantly from this link.

Only catch, you have to have a PC to get it in HD. Nonetheless, I find this very interesting for the future of streaming movies. I mean, if Paramount is already figuring out ways to get their content to the people without the need of other sources, then who knows how long until all the studios offer this option. Only time will tell.

Update: per Dick Stokes, it's "mortar" with an "a" not an "e." He is correct.

Thursday, September 29, 2011

IMDB Trivia App—awesome!

Okay, if you're like me you watch a ton of movies. You're also like me if you have an iPhone. And, you're even more like me if you have an iPhone but don't play many games because, quite frankly, you're not into Angry Birds.

However, if you like games that require a little more use of that gray matter locked away in your noggin, then you're gonna love the new IMBD Trivia App. Once you download this app and start answering questions, you'll be hooked on that touchscreen like Carol Anne in Poltergeist.

The game is rather simple, really. Upon initial startup you only have one choice of questions to begin with, which is referred to as "Sneek Peek". But, as you score more points you unlock more trivia packs allowing you to test your knowledge of movies and TV shows. You do have the choice to buy more packs, but I'm too cheap for that. Which is why I really love the fact that this game is free.

Nonetheless, it's rare for me to get all geeked out about something so "trivial," but if you're looking for something to help you murder time while waiting for the bus, avoiding homework, or just not doing your job, you gotta download this app. Unless you have an Android phone… but I'm sure you guys will get it soon.

Monday, September 26, 2011

Who doesn't love Elmo

It amazes me the drive and will that some people have. To just know what you want to do, and then go out and do it, that's inspiring. Like the story of Kevin Clash, the creator of Elmo. I have to see this movie when it comes out. The preview alone feels heartwarming.

Friday, September 23, 2011

The Album Leaf Pre-show

Right now, as I type, I'm at The Album Leaf concert at The Bottom Lounge. Well, I just have to say that this is the first time that the two opening bands were phenomenal. Del Ray and Sister Crayon were an absolute pleasure to watch. Can't wait to go home and download their albums.

Anyway, back to the show. I think the leaf is coming on. Later!

Monday, September 19, 2011

Netflix…umm, I mean Qwikster?

Okay, so yes, we all know that Netflix has changed their pricing. And yes, a lot of people think it sucks. But, for me, I have to admit, it makes a lot of sense. And I don't mind the price increase because the reasoning behind the change in price is for the better.

No, seriously, it's a good thing, particularly when it comes to streaming. See, the studios run the show right now. And I completely respect their point that their content is worth more than the 99¢ that Apple wants to sell a TV show for, or the monthly fee that Netflix Charges. So, where does that leave all these new streaming options. Well, pretty much at the mercy of the studios.

Therefore, when Netflix decided to separate their DVD service with their streaming service, it made sense. In the long run, we, as Netflix subscribers, will get so much better content because Netflix can now afford to pay the studios the money they want for licensing fees. It's crazy, but it makes good business sense.

Now, one thing I wasn't expecting is this open apology and explanation from Netflix, straight from their CEO. Kind of nice to see that they're trying to reach out and let us know what's going on. Makes this whole price change situation a little bit easier to handle. Know what I mean?

Saturday, September 3, 2011

The art of advertising

The one thing I've gotten good at by working in advertising is being able to take criticism. I'll never forget the time I went on a presentation for a client in New Jersey. We presented our work to the Marketing Manager, he took it to his boss, and two minutes later the President of the company walked into the room, threw our work across the table and said, “What the hell is this crap?” OUCH! Talk about feeling like a little worm on a big frickin’ hook.

Now, not all of my presentations go this way. If they did, I probably wouldn’t have a job. But, advertising is subjective. It’s opinionated. And sometimes people don’t agree with your ideas. But when you do get a client to agree with you, to appreciate your idea, things can go pretty well.

One movie I think shows how well things can go when the client agrees with the agency is the documentary Art & Copy. In this film, Director Doug Pray interviews some of the best minds in the business, all the way back to the hay day of Madison Ave to today. It’s pretty sweet, too, because you get to listen to these geniuses—who created legendary campaigns like Just Do It, Got Milk, and Where’s the Beef—talk about what it was like to create these great ideas.

So, if you get board over this holiday weekend, and want to watch an interesting documentary about advertising, I’d say give this one a try. Trust me, you won’t be disappointed.

Monday, August 29, 2011

I want to adapt "A Clean, Well-Lighted Place"

If I was ever given the opportunity to make an adaption of one's written work, it would have to be Ernest Hemingway's short story "A Clean, Well-Lighted Place." 

I first read this story my Junior year at Columbia. I remember this moment so vividly because, when I read it, I felt I could relate to the young waiter. 

Let me take a step back for a moment and give you a quick synopsis of the piece. "A Clean, Well-Lighted Place" is a story of three men. One old, one middle-aged, and one young. The middle-aged and young men are waiters at a café, while the old man is merely a patron who sits, every night, in this clean, well-lighted place, and drinks. 

At first, the young waiter talks about how the old man is in despair. About how he has no respect for others, and the fact that he, himself, wishes the old man would just go home. The older waiter defends the old man and understands his need for a place to drink. Who wants to drink at home alone, right?

Well, like I said earlier, when I was college I could relate to the young waiter. I was always in a hurry and looking forward to getting on with my life. But as I get older, I start to see myself as the the middle-aged waiter. Understanding the importance of a place like this café. A place to sit, in silence, yet, in public, and drink. 

Yeah, I would love to make an adaptation of "A Clean, Well-Lighted Place." Then again, maybe one day I'll just be the old man. Who knows. Maybe. 

Anyway, if you've never read this wonderful short story by Ernest Hemingway, I really think you should. I feel it's his best work, in regards to short stories, of course. And if you don't feel like buying the book, you can always read it here. Then again, you really should buy the book. I do prefer the feel of bound paper in my hands so much more. 

So, what book would you turn into a movie if you had the chance? Let me know in the comments below. I'd love to hear what you feel deserves to make its way to the big screen.

Sunday, August 28, 2011

Ode to movie theme songs—Part 5: Lose Yourself

My fifth and final top fav' movie theme song has to go to Eminem's Lose Yourself—the unbelievable hit from the film 8 Mile, which also starred Eminem as the lead character. Not only did this song have a 12-week run as number one on the US Billboard Charts, but it also won the 2002 Academy Award for Best Original Song.

Written mostly during the filming of 8 Mile, Eminem cleverly depicts the story of the lead character, B-Rabbit, throughout the song. And if you've never seen the movie, you really should. It's a great flick with an outstanding performance by Eminem. It also stars one of my favorite actresses, Brittany Murphy, who's been in a ton of great movies throughout her short career. Anyone ever see the movie Freeway? It's killer.

So, if you've never seen the video for this song, check out the embedded YouTube video below. And if you've never seen the movie, jump on to Netflix and start streaming it now. Trust me, it's a great flick.

Don't forget, let me know your thoughts in the comments below. And if you haven't read my previous "ode to movie theme songs" posts click on the links below.

Part 1: Blaze of Glory
Part 2: Coo, coo, ca-choo Mrs. Robinson
Part 3: Singin' In The Rain
Part 4: Don't You (Forget About Me)

Friday, August 26, 2011

Ode to movie theme songs—Part 4: Don't You (Forget About Me)

If there was ever a song that could define an era, it would have to be Don't You (Forget About Me). Featured in the cult classic, The Breakfast Club, this song would catapault The Simple Minds from a couple of New Wave pop-stars from the UK to a World-Wide phenomenon.

The thing you might not know is they didn't even write the song. It was handed to them in a bright shiny box by songwriter Keith Forsey, who also won an Oscar for Flashdance's What A Feeling.

But wait, it gets better. The Simple Minds wanted to turn it down. As far as they were concerned, Forsey had already offered it to Cy Curnin from the Fixx, Bryan Ferry and Billy Idol, all of which didn't want to do it either.

Fortunately for them, their label, A&M, encouraged them to record the song in hopes to gain popularity in the US. And what do you know, The Breakfast Club went on to be a box office hit, while Don't You (Forget About Me) propelled to being the number one song for three weeks in row in the US and around the world. Not bad for a UK band that had no leverage in America.

So, if you've never heard the song, watch the video below. And, if you've never seen The Breakfast Club, what are you waiting for? It's an 80s classic for Christ sake.

Well, thoughts? Let me know in the comments below. And if you haven't had a chance to read my other "ode to movie theme songs", check them out. You might find something new to like.

Part 1: Blaze of Glory
Part 2: Coo, coo, ca-choo Mrs. Robinson
Part 3: Singin' In The Rain
Part 5: Lose Yourself

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Ode to movie theme songs—Part 3: Singin' In The Rain

What came first, the chicken or the egg? I'm not really sure, but I do know which came first between Singin' In The Rain the musical and Singin' In The Rain the song. Oddly enough, it was the song.

According to our friends at Wikipedia, Singin' In The Rain originally debuted in the movie Hollywood Revue of 1929. Now, I've never seen Hollywood Revue, mainly because I don't like musicals. But, the thing I love about Singin' In The Rain is that it's a musical that pokes fun at the transition from silent movies to "talkies".

See, the overarching premise is a war between two studios trying to get their talking picture released first. Unfortunately, Lina Lamont, a silent film star, has a voice that is high-pitched, annoying, and definitely not made for this new art of sound in pictures. One of my favorite scenes is watching Ms. Lamont struggle through her lines as she practices with a diction coach. Cracks me up every time.

Now, aside from the hilarity of this comedic musical, you can't argue that Singin' In The Rain is probably one of the most recognized theme songs in all of history (okay, that's a big statement, but you get my drift). One of the most famous scenes of this film has been parodied and popularized in mainstream culture for decades. Go ahead, check it out. Even if you've never seen the movie, I bet you're familiar with this scene.

Of course, as I said before, it's been parodied in several movies. And my favorite rendition has to be in Stanley Kubrick's genius adaptation of the book A Clockwork Orange. If you want to check it out, by all means, click here. But, if you have a sensitive stomach, you might want to pass this one by. Not me, though, I'm gonna pop that sucker in my DVD player right this second. I love that flick!

So, any thoughts regarding my third favorite movie theme song? Let me know in the comments below. And if you haven't already, check out my previous "ode to movie theme songs" when you get a chance. You might find a new fav' of your own.

Part 1: Blaze of Glory
Part 2: Coo, coo, ca-choo Mrs. Robinson
Part 4: Don't You (Forget About Me)
Part 5: Lose Yourself

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Ode to movie theme songs—Part 2: Coo, coo, ca-choo Mrs. Robinson

For those of you who didn't grow up in the 60s, myself included, there was a time when studios rarely worked with recording artists to cut tracks for their films. However, during the filming of The Graduate, director Mike Nichols was so enamored with Simon and Garfunkel, his producer, Larry Turman, actually convinced Paul Simon to write three songs for the film.

Well, according to a Variety article by Peter Bart, Paul was too busy touring to write three songs, and only wrote one song about Mrs. Roosevelt, Joe DiMaggio and how time pasts. After hearing just a few notes, Mike Nichols changed Roosevelt to Robinson and a legend was born.

Now, whether this side of the story is true or not, you have to admit, it’s a pretty damn good song, even if you don’t like the folksy sounds of Simon and Garfunkel. And if you never heard the song, or watched the movie, I highly suggest checking them out. But for now, here's a nice little YouTube clip for your listening pleasure.

Now, if you have seen The Graduate, you could probably argue that a second Simon and Garfunkel song was more of the movie’s theme than Mrs. Robinson. That song would be The Sound of Silence. Again, another phenomimanl song—however, I don't believe it was written for the film. But, it did make its appearance several times in the flick, including the intro, outro and a famous pool scene that has been parodied throughout movie history.

Which movies, you ask? Oh, I don’t know, like, Old School. Yep, my favorite scene in that movie has to be when Sean William Scott shoots Will Ferrell in the neck with a dart. I laugh my ass off watching this scene. Not only is it hilarious, but they cleverly capture the essence of the pool scene in The Graduate. Brilliant!

Don't believe me? Take a look for yourself below. Enjoy!

Well, what do you think? Pretty damn sweet, right? Either way, leave a comment below and let me know your thoughts of this great film and great theme song. I'd love to hear what you think. And, if you haven't had a chance, check out my previous "ode to movie theme songs" post at the link below. Ciao for now.

Part 1: Blaze of Glory
Part 3: Singin' In The Rain
Part 4: Don't You (Forget About Me)
Part 5: Lose Yourself

Monday, August 22, 2011

Ode to movie theme songs—Part 1: Blaze of Glory

I like movies. And I like music. Yeah, who doesn't, Sergio? But there's something oh-so-wonderful when a recording artist works with a studio to create a beautiful backdrop for a film, elevating it from a mere flick to a motion picture masterpiece.

Not to be mistaken for a soundtrack—a collection of music used in a film—a movie theme song is the element that carries the story, both within the picture and throughout other mediums (i.e. radio, music videos, etc.). And, with so many theme songs being created every year, I decided to pick my top 5 favorite and share them with all of you.

My first pick has to be the song Blaze of Glory by Jon Bon Jovi for the movie Young Guns II. If you haven't seen it, or the first Young Guns for that matter, I suggest adding them both to your Netflix queue. However, I personally like the second one better than the first, which is weird because sequels rarely win my choice for best of.

Now, regardless of Young Guns II being such a great movie, its theme song is what I believe helped make it such a huge box office blow out back in 1990. I mean, come on—you have Jon Bon Jovi, at his pique, writing a song for a movie about Billy "The Kid". Bon Jovi—a man who just 4 years prior won the world over with his runaway hit Wanted Dead or Alive from the album Slippery When Wet. This classic combo didn't just happen by chance. Hell no! The marketing geniuses over at 20th Century Fox knew exactly what they were doing. And trust me, it worked. So, without further ado, I give you "Blaze of Glory".

So do you agree? Should this theme song be on my list? Comment below and let me know. And, check back later to find out my remaining four theme song favorites. Or not…it's really up to you.

Part 2: Coo, coo, ca-choo Mrs. Robinson
Part 3: Singin' In The Rain
Part 4: Don't You (Forget About Me)
Part 5: Lose Yourself

Saturday, August 20, 2011

The lonely tower

There's no story to tell here. At least not one that I can think of. But imagine what stories this tower could tell as it stands here desolate and dreary withering away to nothing.

I'm 230 miles from Chicago right now in a small town called Bitely. Yeah, Bitely, Michigan. Ever hear of it? Neither did I till my buddy asked me to head up to his cottage over 10 years ago.

We came up here this weekend to get away for a bit. You know, hang out on the lake and enjoy the rest of summer. Unfortunately, weather didn't agree with our plans. It rained all morning.

Luckily, we decided to occupy our down-poured day with a drive around the small town. Much to my delight we stumbled upon this tower. This lonely tower standing silent and still beckoning to be found.

Well, I found you lonely tower. Hope you enjoy your 15 seconds of fame. After I send this post, you'll go back to being forgotten and alone.

Friday, August 19, 2011

A long way down...movie? Say WHAAAAT!?!

When it comes to books making their way to the big screen, I have to admit, there's no better author than Nick Hornby. There's something about the way he tells a story that lends itself perfectly for motion picture adaptation. Anyone who's seen the movie High Fidelity can attest to that.

If you haven't seen High Fidelity, trust me, it's a must-see. It tells the story of a middle-aged record store owner who must face the undeniable fact that he's growing up. But, far more entertaining than the main story is the quick-witted banter between Cusack and his faithful sidekick, Jack Black, who are constantly arguing about the likes and dislikes of music. No matter how many times I watch this flick, it doesn't get old.

Another Hornby fav' o' mine has to be About A Boy. Now, I'm not exactly a Hugh Grant fan, but he does do a decent job as his portrayal of Hornby's Will Lightman—a thirty something year-old slacker who's been living off the royalties of a song written by his deceased father. Once again, we find our main character struggling to come to grips with the realities of adult-hood. I guess sooner or later, you gotta grow up.

Of course, out of all of Nick Hornby's work, I have to say that the one book that stands out of the crowd, for me, is A Long Way Down. This novel takes a subject that is rarely talked about and makes it the focal point of the story—suicide. Four strangers meet on New Year's Eve atop a building known for taking one's life, and make a pact to help each other out during the harsh holiday seasons.

Now, I hope I'm not jinxing this, but rumors are abuzz that A Long Way Down will finally join its brothers in Hollywood sometime in 2012. And if this is true, I just suggest running out and getting yourself a copy of this wonderful story. I promise you, once you start reading it, you won't be able to put it down.

Thursday, August 18, 2011

I hate Courier. But love Celtx.

They say the hardest part about writing is knowing what to write. As true as that may be, I think knowing how to format your writing correctly is a close second. Particularly, when it comes to writing scripts. There's so many rules and formats that if you don't follow them people won't take you seriously.

Well excuse me for not using the font Courier to write my script. I was a little busy, I don't know, crafting a masterpiece! Okay, so the things I write are not exactly masterpieces. But they have potential, right?

I remember when I first started writing, I would use Word to create a script. Then I would peruse websites like Script-O-Rama to see how to format the type. All Caps for character names, centered align dialogue, actions in parentheticals, etc. It was a pain in my butt. Sure I wanted to write like a pro, but programs like Final Draft will set you back $250 bucks. Yikes!

Then, one day, I was perusing a fellow local film producers blog (thank you Yajaira and Visual Edge) and there was my solution—Celtx! Holy Crap—an absolutely FREE script writing application. Complete with formatting tools, PDF creation, cast and crew notes, the works. I couldn't believe I was writing in Word all these years.

So if you have dreams of writing the next Citizen Kane or Gone With The Wind, do yourself a favor and get this software. Seriously, it'll let you spend more time crafting and less time formatting. Unfortunately, it won't let you do much with the font. God I hate Courier.

What the hell ever happened to the movie Rad?

Anybody who grew up in the 80s and 90s, rode a BMX bike or skateboard, and watched every BMX and skateboarding movie available, knows that we had some very cheesy films back then. And yet, I love sitting down and watching Thrashin' and Gleaming the Cube every once and while. Hell I'll even sit and watch a 14 year old Nicole Kidman wave her pubic-like hair in the wind in the movie BMX Bandits.

But I have one question. What the hell ever happened to the movie Rad?

If you don't know, and I'm sure you don't, Rad was one of the best BMX movies ever made in the 80s. It even featured a young Lori Laughlin before she made it big as Becky in Full House. Oh, you know what I'm talkin' about.

For years I've searched to find this movie on DVD. I've scoured Best Buys. I've browsed Amazon like nobody's business. But no matter what, I could never find this movie on DVD. So, in order to appease my desire to watch movies of my youth, I took the time to go to my parent's house, dig through the basement, and recover the VHS tape I owned when I was little.

Hell, I even took the time to bust out an old VCR player, connect it to my computer and turn it into an MP4 so I could watch it on my AppleTV. That's right, I'm that dedicated to the film.

So, now that all the work is done, I figured I'd share the fruits of my labor with all of those who've been dying to watch, once again, the tale of Cru Jones—a young man with the intensity and desire to win a BMX race called Helltrac!

Go ahead. Click the link and enjoy! "Rad" The Move

Things to know! First, umm, yeah, I don't think we're allowed to play this for you. But, you know what, maybe the owners of Rad will brighten up and actually sell it on DVD. Am I right, or what? Second, it'll only be up for about a week, so you better watch it now or you'll miss out. Last, but not least, because I couldn't use a licensed player, you have to deal with slow load time. Sorry about that, but if you really want to watch it, you'll have to be patient.

Monday, August 15, 2011

To me, old movies are like comfort food

When I was little I couldn't wait for Friday night. Why? Because Friday night in my household meant pizza from Papa Pizzano's and movies from Video One. Yeah, Video One—a Pre-Blockbuster, mom and pop video store that would fine you if you didn't rewind the VHS tape. Please be kind rewind, anyone?

Those were happy times for me. Not so much for my dad, though. He was the one stuck driving to pick up the pizza and then having to endure me renting Back to the Future for the hundredth time—weekend, after weekend, after weekend. He finally smartened up and bought me a copy for Christmas.

To this day I can sit down and watch Back to the Future and not get bored. As a matter of fact, when I'm sick, one of the first movies I turn on is Back to the Future. When I'm stressed out at work, I'll go home and pop it in merely to have it as background noise as I sit in front of my computer.

It's weird. There's something so damn comforting about hearing Marty McFly proclaim his ignorance to the definition of a gigawatt. Or hearing Doc Brown recount the fateful night he slipped on his toilet seat, smacked his head and envisioned the key to time travel—the flux capacitor.

Yeah, I really love that movie. As a matter of fact, I love a lot of old movies from when I was growing up. To me, old movies are like comfort food. When you're feeling blah, you can pop one in, watch the TV screen, and slip away to a time when the problems you had were so petty. So unimportant. I miss those days. I guess that's why I'll always have a copy of Back to the Future close at hand. Thank you, iPhone!

So tell me, what's your motion picture comfort food? You know you have one.

Sunday, August 14, 2011

Sorry beauty, I would have passed you by

It amazes me how much we miss when we don't take a moment to enjoy everything around us. It's like Ferris Bueller once said, "Life moves pretty fast. If you don't stop to look around once and while, you could miss it."

I've always been a firm believer of that philosophy. Ever since my days at Columbia, I would spend hours sitting in Grant Park, or along Michigan Ave., watching, staring, gazing. It wasn't until after College I began to bring a camera everywhere I went to document my surroundings.

It's hard to capture the moment. You know, to snap a pic that completely encompasses everything you feel when you see something absolutely captivating. It's difficult because your eyes see something beautiful, yet, everyone around you simply walks on by.

When I walk through the city, I see art. I see shape. I see color and design. When I walk through this city, I see the work of a designer, a sculptor, an artist. Work of someone who spent hours, days, maybe even years to create. It's beautiful, really. Like the picture in this post. It's a roof. A cover. It's something that shades the ground beneath it.

But damn, when I looked up, and saw the shadows, the depth, the design, I thought it was beautiful. So I captured it. To share with you. Had I not looked up, well, sorry beauty, I would have passed you by.

Friday, August 12, 2011


Kick A Rock is now live! You can watch our videos right on our site, then "like" us on Facebook, "tweet" us on Twitter, watch us, again, on YouTube and Vimeo, if you know what Vimeo is. ;)

Either way, we hope you like what you see. And if not, well, at least give us an "A" for effort! :)

And, if you're in the neighborhood, come party with us at the Kick A Rock Launch Party at 115 Bourbon Street. We'd love to have you join the celebration.

Ciao for now!

Fail or flourish

Well, it's just around the corner. We'll be launching the site tonight, just before the launch party.

In a way, I'm not too concerned about that. You see, my drive has always been about the ideas. About the creativity. I love being creative. I love taking what's in my mind and making it tangible. Making it real.

What happens to this site once it's real, well, only time will tell. Either it'll fail or flourish. Who knows? Should be one hell of a ride, though!

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Less than 48 to go...

After a very productive meeting last night I think we all feel much better, and ready to go, for the big night on Friday! I can't tell you how much better I felt when Tony, Bill, and I left Sergio's last night, then how I felt when I was wide awake by my self just 24 hours prior.

I have a tremendous amount of confidence in Kick A Rock, and in the people that are coming. Because, truthfully, they are the reason this party is gonna be an amazing night...I hope. Even before we get there, I want all of you that are coming, and all of you that have supported us, to know how much I personally appreciate it.

I also want my KAR brothers, and extended KAR family, to know that my level of gratitude to each one of you is off the charts! Thank you...now c'mon Friday! Get here already! THIS IS IT!

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Oops. My goof. Your profit!

As some of you may know, we have been beta testing the site this week for any glitches, bugs, hold ups, or random crap that may occur in the real world.  Hey, it's hard as hell to make sure websites work properly on every type of machine running several different operating systems.

Nonetheless, my one rule that I've been telling everyone, don't click the "like" button. I know it works, so whatever you do, don't click the "like" button.

Yeah, well. As I was making adjustments to one of the pages, I hovered over the "like" button, and like an idiot, I clicked the "like" button.

Oh crap! I'm logged in to Facebook. The "like" is gonna end up on my wall, then everyone's newsfeed. Then people can access the site. CRAP!

Luckily, I jumped on my profile, deleted the "like" and am now praying I caught it in time. Then again, if anyone is familiar with the "wonky-ness" of Facebook, I'm sure that my "like" will end up on someone's newsfeed.

So, if you're one of the lucky ones to find my "like" on your newsfeed, snap a screenshot, post it on our wall, and I'll personally give you $20 bucks! No joke, ask Mo, the winner of our Photo Contest last week. I'm good for it. --- Sergio

Crunch time

We're a few short days away from launching the site and I find myself full of a wave of emotions. I'm excited, nervous, anxious, concerned, pretty much every emotion you can imagine. Sergio has done an amazing job getting us ready for the site. Now it's up to me, well all of us, to make sure the party goes off as well as we hope. I'm having a hard time even sleeping, which is why I'm writing at 2AM. I just can't keep my mind off of Friday night.

I already feel like I've failed to a certain degree. I tried to call in a favor or two and bring in a top notch performance to go along with the already amazing band we have booked, Lipreader. But those favors fell through. I'm afraid we won't have the content we planned ready for the party either. I don't know, maybe it's just the pessimist in me coming to the surface, normally I stay positive and optimistic, right now I feel like Sergio a little bit.

All of this combined with some issues and concerns in my personal life have me in a place I haven't been in awhile, freaking out! I'm sure it will all work out, this party is gonna kick ass one way or another, I just wish it would get here! C'mon Friday!

Friday, August 5, 2011

Breaks and bike rides

Long day. Productive day. Took the day off work today. It's now exactly one week till the launch party. It's gonna be killer.

Then again, we have a ton of work to do. That's why I stayed home. Thank god, too. I finished tweaking 16 of our videos and I should have the beta site ready for testing by Sunday. And if all goes well, launch day will be a success.

Of course, hard work always deserves a break. So I grabbed my bike and went for a ride. I'm typing this out at my favorite spot on the lake right now. It's a small look out just around the corner from the Shedd Aquarium. Best view of the skyline if you ask me. Then again, you didn't ask me, did you. ;)

Thursday, August 4, 2011

Photo guessing contest

Guess exactly what this is and I'll give you $20. No really, I'm good for it. And, go!

Dammit i'm mad!

In life, we all strive for perfection. Well, at least I "try" to strive for perfection. Unfortunately, for me, it's always a journey, never a destination.

We sat anxiously in the dark theater. Joe sat in front of me. Tony to my right. Not sure where Bill was, but that's besides the point.

It was quiet and pitch black. The anticipating beats in our hearts were almost audible in the silence of the theater.

Then, our title card lit up the screen. YES!

All went well at first. Tony appeared on the screen, sharp and majestic. Cut to a giant, beastly man shadowing our hero in the night. Enter Bill Miller, an actor of which his performance was beyond stellar. And all was right with Kick A Rock.

The sound was exquisite. The lighting, villainous.

Cue kick-ass soundtrack from our dear friends Lipreader, and we had one hell of a start to our 48 Hour viewing. 

And then…

...then came the most unsettling sound you could ever imagine (given you have a film submitted in a film festival of course). The sound of our AUDIO DROPPING.

What the hell, man! What went wrong?

Did I accidently lower it before exporting? Did rendering mess with the levels?

I don't know, but all I could hear were the barely audible lines spoken between our hero and the nemesis' henchman.


Side note: did you know that "dammit I'm mad" is also a palindrome? What's a palindrome, you ask? It's a word or phrase that can be spelled the same way forward or backward. Like mom, or evil olive. Pretty cool, right?

Okay, back to the story.


My fists clinched. My teeth gritted. AHHHH! 

Luckily! When the scene cut to INT. OFFICE, audio was back to normal. Voices could be heard. Soundtrack was something fierce. All was right with Kick A Rock again.

Well, like I said, I "try" to strive for perfection.

But, for me, it's always a journey. Never a destination.

Sunday, July 31, 2011

Sleep deprived and excited

That describes me perfectly after this weekend. The 48 Hour Film Project this year has made me feel something I haven't felt in a long time. Normally when I'm on this little sleep, it's working a big event—and by the time it's over I'm just aggravated and bitter.

This time though I have this strange feeling, an emotion you might feel lying awake in bed on Christmas Eve as a child. We're on the home stretch here, and the final result that awaits Kick A Rock makes me think that sleep doesn't matter right now.

I'm waiting for my carpooling companions right now and all I can think is "let's go, let's get this done." Not because I'm tired and wanna be finished, but because I want to see it, I want to unwrap this present. I hope my gut and heart are right and I'm not let down. I don't think I will or can be.

The best part..

I have to admit, the best part of wrapping up a shoot... drinking with the crew. God, it was a long day. Well worth it though. Well worth it.

Saturday, July 30, 2011

Rise and shine...

Okay, been up for about an hour now prepping for the shoot. Four hours of sleep isn't bad, right?

As we speak, Tony and Joe are prop shopping. I'm taking care of remedial duties; printing scripts, picking up last minute supplies, looking for masks in case Tony and Joe don't have any luck.

I know, masks? Yeah, it'll make sense on Tuesday. You are coming to the viewing, right? Right?

Friday, July 29, 2011

It's a bird, it's a plane...

It's "Superhero" as our genre.

Holy crap, this is gonna be awesome. We'll have damsels in distress, an evil nemesis lurking in the dark, maybe we'll get a chance to use our green screen. Who knows what's gonna happen.

Either way, we have less then 48 hours to write, shoot and edit this tale. Wish us luck!

48 Hour...YES!

This is it, suckas! In about an hour, we'll know all four components for making our 7 minute film; most importantly, the genre.

Who knows what it'll be. A Spaghetti Western? Maybe. A Musical? Oh god, I hope not. How about a Buddy Cop film? That would be SWEET.

Nonetheless, check back throughout the weekend to see what genre we got, how we're holding up, and to view a few pics of amateurs at work. It's gonna be crazy!

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Big dreams. Small budget.

You ever sit around and think to yourself, "Man… why didn't I just go ahead and do that. I totally could have (insert dream here)."

Yeah, I've sat around and pondered thoughts like that for years.

It's funny how time flies by.

One minute you're trying to figure out what college to go to. And the next minute, you're slaving away for some company letting all your good ideas go to waste.

Okay, I should give you a little background here. So, I'm a copywriter by day. What's a copywriter? A copywriter writes the words you see in a TV commercial, or a magazine ad. We work closely with art directors and come up with ways to get consumers (that would be you) to buy stuff.

That's what I do all day long. But don't get me wrong; during those moments between brainstorm sessions, or meetings with clients, I'm daydreaming.

Actually, it's more like day regretting. Regretting that I didn't try. You know. Try to finish that screenplay that sits on my hard drive collecting digital dust. Regretting I didn't go to LA and try to pitch some ideas. Regretting I didn't move to New York and study film like I thought I would when I was in high school.

Nope, I stayed here. In Chicago. Creating ads. For companies. That make lots of money. From ideas. That I come up with. All while daydreaming. I mean regretting. Between brainstorms. And bathroom breaks.

Okay, that last paragraph was a grammatical nightmare. Don't judge. I'm not working right now. I'm blogging. And in the blog world, grammar doesn't matter.

Where was I? Oh yes. Daydreaming. I mean regretting.

So, enough background. Let's jump to today. With Kick A Rock.

What is Kick A Rock?

Well, Kick A Rock to me is four guys from the Southside of Chicago, getting together because they're tired of dreaming (note: these are my words, not everyone’s). But, I think it's safe to say we all have the same dream. Or at least a very similar one.

That dream, of course, would be to create a film, or video, that people can watch, and hopefully enjoy. No we don't have a lot of money. And no we don't have huge production crews to help us create these wonderful little ideas we have swimming around in our brains. But, we try. We try because, for me, I'm tired of sitting around thinking to myself, "Man… why didn't I just go ahead and do that. I totally could have (insert dream here)."

Yeah. I'm tired of daydreaming.

So… what is Kick A Rock? It's exactly what I said from the beginning of this blog. It's Big Dreams with a Small Budget. Enough said.

Big weekend

Kick A Rock has a big weekend coming up. We're entering the 48 Hour Film Project! Should be a lot of fun but a lot of work too. I hate deadlines!

Monday, July 25, 2011

Anatomy of a launch party: Volume 1

So I have been charged with the task of planning the Launch Party. I don’t mind in the least bit because I love doing stuff like this, it’s actually what I do for a living. I’ve been trying the last couple of weeks to juggle all kinds of things. My day job, Kick A Rock (and the party), my buddy's bachelor party, and a benefit for my cousin who has a rare disease without a cure. Well the benefit has come and gone now, which means a huge chuck of time has been opened up. So hopefully this thing comes together rather quickly.

For the most part, I have a pretty good idea of how this is all going to play out, but I feel like there may be some stumbling blocks coming my way and I’m getting a little nervous. I’m in talks with a couple different options to add a second band/performer and feel like by the end of the week that’ll be off my plate. Thank God! I also have to get things straight with Bourbon Street as far as décor; stage lights, sound, and any other little details that are going to come together. Again, in the next couple of days I’ll have it all done.

The last thing I think we have left to do (and the other guys are assisting with this) is activities, ya know some fun things for you guys to do. We have a few ideas in the works but I am certainly open to suggestions…let me know what you think. We want this party to be talked about for years to come, and, well, be what kickarock.com will be some day…LEGENDARY! So let me know what you think and I’ll be posting here, on Facebook, and Twitter with any news and let you know how it’s coming along. Thanks guys!

Friday, July 8, 2011

The K. Rock Collection

Here I sit, eating a sandwich, drinking a vodka tonic, and creating K. Rocks like it's nobody's business.

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

HTML is fun, right?

Okay, just playing around with the look of our blog. I installed a web font kit so the titles match closer to the font we use for our logo. Now I'm debating if I want the body of the blog to have a handwriting font or the font we use on the main site. You know what? HTML is fun!

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Blogging is amazing!

His first photo blog post!

Isn't it remarkable! Just a month ago he got a smartphone. Now, he's blogging!


The Kick A Rock crew hard at work. Suck it sergio.

Sent from Yahoo! Mail on Android

Design and destruction

This is what happens when you drink and design at the same time. You spill your beer on your wireless keyboard and the keys don't work anymore.

Actually, they work, but the letter B is the volume up and the caps lock is the delete button. May take me a while to get use to this.