Sunday, January 12, 2020

Dime-A-Dozen Project #16 - Ruby, Galactic Gumshoe

Dime-A-Dozen Project #16 Ruby Galactic Gumshoe is a brief recounting of my effort to pitch and produce an animated project of the ZBS Foundation produced Adventures of Ruby: Galactic Gumshoe, a series of Sci-FI Fantasy audio adventures. ZBS Foundation is a non-for-profit organization that has been produce quality audio entertainment since the 1970s. I came across Ruby from an ad in the old Comic Buyers Guide, for the cassettes of Ruby's first stories, which aired on Public Radio stations across the country. I fell in love with the characters, the writing, music, and audio production.

I was inspired by Ruby and thought it would make a great animation project. While working in the animation business, I wanted to pitch original ideas and properties of others worthy of better exposure. Rudy was one of those properties. I did some concepts of the characters and wrote a brief series proposal to pitch to Disney TV Animation, where I was Co-Producer/Director on Disney's Gargoyles series. Disney passed on Ruby, so I set out to secure the rights myself, with the help of my agent, at the time.

I contact ZBS and they informed me the media rights for film and TV projects were sold to a Los Angeles producer, Lex Nakashima of LX Ltd. They were very helpful and encouraging, even sending me a copy of the original Ruby script. I contacted and met Lex was kind enough to give me a shoot at pitching Ruby around to studios, since his own efforts were in a dormant state. Once the rights were secured, I did a storyboard and animatic of the first Ruby story, to support the written proposal. I also, used the images from the animatic to made a Dragonfly Flipz book. Unfortunately, after several years of trying no project could be secure. (it didn't help my last pitch meeting was cancel as it fell on 9/11/ 2001, yes that 9/11) My agreement with Lex ended and last i heard another producer had taken the rights. That was well over 12 years ago, and I haven't seen any mention of a Ruby project. So, Ruby enters my Dime-A-Dozen Project archive.

Happily, ZBS Foundation is still going strong. i still hope someone makes a Ruby movie or TV series someday. This video is the latest installment of my Dime-A-Dozen Projects, so named from a conversation with creative friends of mine as we lamented that when we were working full-time for someone else, like Disney, Warner Bros , and Sony, we get these (in our minds) original million dollar ideas, that would, somehow, turn into "dime-a-dozen" ideas when we were out of work and on our own. I have tons of unfinished projects in the form of character sketches, incomplete written outlines, half drawn comic pages, and full illustrations. You get the idea, a "dime-a-dozen" idea. I'm feeling the need to catalog for my own sanity and for a simple record to leave my kids, and as I said above, along the way rekindle my creative juice and start drawing again. Enjoy.


Sunday, January 5, 2020

Sunday Music Muse Day - Nicki Parrott, David Finck

This Sunday Music Muse Day find us heading the New Year, for better or worst (depending how much you follow current events) with a sense of hope, or dread.  In any case there is alway music to ease our anxiety.  Today selections were actually prizes won by ruffle at the Jazz90.1 radio station Holiday Party for staff and volunteers, just before Christmas.  Both are a little out of my jazz comfort zone, but pleasant.  First up is Nicki Parrott From New York to Paris, a collect of vocals and tasty bass playing from a musician I hadn't heard of before. Although the liner notes states she was the bassist for guitar legend Les Paul for ten years.  That fact alone was worth a listen.  Plus, and she has 27 albums releases. This CD is more "lounge jazz" for my taste, but the quality of her singing, playing and recording production is top notch.  In fact, the CD is listed on a best jazz of the year list I've seen online.  It will make for dinner background music for the most part, for me.




My second selection David Finck BASSically Jazz, again a bassist lead group, featuring Joe Locke on vibes.  This CD also is more "lounge jazz" for my taste, especially the three vocal tracks, but well played.  But, I just may wrong about these two CDs and maybe they'll grow on me.



So, here wishing everyone a Happy New Year, and here's hoping sharing a little music will give you comfort in these uncertain times.

Friday, December 27, 2019

Dime-A-Dozen Projects #15 - Comic Book / Video Adaptations - Concrete, Warrior in the Mist (Eternal Warrior), Valiant Promos


Comic Book / Video Adaptations.



Comic Book /Video Adaptations was my attempt at what as come to called "Motion Comics", done back in 1991 when computer graphic and computer based editing was just starting. My inspiration was the low budget limited animation TV show of my youth (1960s), Space Angel, Clutch Cargo and the early Marvel Comic TV series that used actually art work of jack Kirby and other artists.



I love the art of Alex Toth on Space Angel, although I didn't know his name at the time as I watched as a kid. I remember making hand drawn flipbooks and drawing cut-away diagrams of the Starduster spaceship,


The first Marvel Comic TV show had a special appeal to me, as they featured the same art I was seeing in my comics at the time.   Other superhero animated shows, although better quality always looked so tame compared the comic book art. It would take decades for the TV animation to get it with Batman: The Animated Series, and X-Men.

My concept was to blend my love animation with my renewed interest in comics after putting comic aside for several years before (late '70's).  While working on the Adventures of the Galaxy Ranger in the mid-80s, my younger co-workers introduced me to the new independent creator-owner comics like Steve Rude's Nexus, and Paul Chadwick's Concrete.  I planed to interest companies like Dark Horse in doing video promos for their comic convention booth, and the longer form videos, for VHS sales.  I actually had contacted Dark Horse and sent them a proposal, with a budget, but nothing happen with. But, that wasn't the last dealing with Dark Horse, I contacted they again for my Dragonfly Flipz Books project, the subject of a future Dime-A-Dozen Project blog.

I choose a story of Paul Chadwick's Concrete as my first attempt. I was a big fan of Paul's work in Dark Horse Presents and the Concrete titled comics DH published during the B&W indie publishing craze of the mid-80s.


"Watching a Sunset" simple graphic presentation seem prefect for animation. My Comic Book / Video Adaptations were done on my Amiga 2000 computer, by using a hand scanner to digitize the comic book panels into Deluxe Paint, an early digital paint and animation program. The color palate was limited to 64 colors. I remember doing the color still shots first, and liking the way they came out, I tried animate shot of Concrete walking underwater and like that, too, So, I committed to doing the whole story. Of course, I never fully finished the coloring, not sure why.

Warrior in the Mist (Eternal Warrior)

Warrior in the Mist video was featured in my DIme-A-Dozen Project #14. The version in the post features the original planned introduction text crawl. The quote seem to fit with the "Eternal Warrior" title better than the "Warrior in the Mist" title, so I cut it from the Warrior final video.

Valiant Comic Book Promos.

The Valiant Comic Promo was attempt to offer my Comic Book / Video Adaptation for comic con use.  I had worked on several Valiant Nintendo comics, and made my promo based on ads for the Valiant relaunched Gold Key comic characters Magus Robot Fighters and Doctor Solar.  all the animation and sound was produced in the Amiga 2000 computer. Somehow, the interest was never there to follow up on the video promos, so this is all that was done.  I concentrated on trying get my Warrior in the Mist comic published (see the full story in Dime-A-Dozen #14}



I also used the graphic images for a ashcan flipbooks.  I give several a couple of Valiant artists.


Here's the Solar: Man of the Atom I pulled the art from for the Solar promo.


About the Dime-A-Dozen Projects:

This video is the latest installment of my Dime-A-Dozen Projects, so named from a conversation with creative friends of mine as we lamented that when we were working full-time for someone else, like Disney, Warner Bros , and Sony, we get these (in our minds) original million dollar ideas, that would, somehow, turn into "dime-a-dozen" ideas when we were out of work and on our own. I have tons of unfinished projects in the form of character sketches, incomplete written outlines, half drawn comic pages, and full illustrations. You get the idea, a "dime-a-dozen" idea. I'm feeling the need to catalog for my own sanity and for a simple record to leave my kids, and as I said above, along the way rekindle my creative juice and start drawing again. Enjoy.

Friday, December 20, 2019

Warrior in the Mist - Revisited - Comic Book / Video Adaptation - Dime-A-Dozen Project #14 Special Addition

Here's new edit of my Warrior in the Mist Comic Book / Video Adaptation (early Motion Comic). I had posted a lower quality version in 4 parts on my Youtube channel many moons ago.  In doing my Warrior in the Mist Dime-A-Dozen Project, personal archive posts, I thought it was time to do a better version, if possible, given the original VHS source is 28 years old.  It was inspired by Space Angel and the old first Marvel Comic animations in the 1960s. 


The Revisited edit was done in Apple iMovie and surprising for it's limited features it has a lot to offer in sound effects,  title options, and ease of use.  I was able to lighten up the video over all and tighten the edits. I'm happy with the results. I lot has changed in tech since 1992.

I'm the issue of name change from "Eternal Warrior" to "Warrior in the Mist" for a future post, if and when, the Valiant characters show up in a movie.  That would be a more appropriate time.

Sunday, December 15, 2019

Sunday Music Muse Day - Jimmy Smith, Gerry Mulligan and Thelonious Monk

This Sunday Music Muse Day finds me enjoying two reissues of classic albums.  First up is Jimmy Smith Bashin' The Unpredictable Jimmy Smith, a 1962 recording by the  soulful organist.  I was 12 yrs old in 1962 and  I remember the first cut, "Walk on the Wild Side", the jazz cover of title song of the movie of the same name (Not to be confuse with the Lou Reed rock classic). I grabbed this CD just for that. The movie original have lyrics written by Mack David and music was by Elmer Bernstein.  The Smith version arranged by Oliver Nelson and features Nelson's Big Band, jumps in into high gear when Smith's organ solo kicks in in the later part of the tune.  It was released as single 45 rpm, with the tune split over both sides.  It reached #21 on the Billboard chart. The CD re-issue  has two cuts not on original LP.  An added plus to Walk on the Wild Side is the beginning jingling bells sound like it's going to be a Christmas,  It would great to slip in the Holiday music play list, to shake things up.




Next up is Mulligan meets Monk, as in Gerry Mulligan and Thelonious Monk.  A great pairing of the famed Baritone saxohonist and the legendary Pianist and composer.  Most of the selections are Monk tunes, plus there are three alternate takes not included on the original LP.  Personally I refer like sound the Baritone sax over the alto sax. So I find this very enjoyable.


So, soon I be picking the holiday tunes to play.  Just the thing to decorate the Xmas tree by.  Until enjoy.

Sunday Music Muse Day - Bob Sneider, John Stowell

The week's Sunday Music Muse day has me pulling out some music as a preview to a duo concert at the Bop Shop Record store tomorrow night.  Bob Sneider, our resident local jazz guitar hero and music educator,  will be doing a duo set with John Stowell, well known jazz guitarist and educator, also.  I've featured Bob many and attend his gigs as often as I can.  I'm looking forward to seeing John Stowell, as I have some of his early albums, his first solo, and several duets with bassist David Friesen from the 70s, and I recent came across his most recent work.



Here a more recent CD by John Stowell.




This Monday night show will be a great way to start off the work week.

Sunday, December 1, 2019

Sunday Music Muse Day - Steve Khan, Tord Gustavsen Quartet

The Sunday Music Muse day finds us enduring a ice rain (sleet) fall, making the driving a dangerous nightmare. So, I'm avoiding going out at all cost, and will stay warm inside, listening to some new music.  First up, Steve Khan Backlot.  Khan has been a favorite guitarist of mine since the 80s. with albums like Casa Loco, with covers by artist Folon.  As described by jazz critic James Nadel, "Steve Khan has undertaken the role of expanding and redefining the role of the guitar in the hybrid genre of Latin Jazz... in the transformation of straight-ahead jazz compositions into unique Khan improvisations drawing deeply from the Afro-Cuban tradition."  Like his contemporaries  Pat Metheny,  John Scofield, and others, he has a unique tone, and you can spot his playing in just a few note.  This a nice addition to my Steve Khan stash and great listening for cold afternoon.




My second pick is Tord Gustavsen Extended Circle, a 2014 ECM released.  It's a spacey, introspective offering, as most of his music is, in a good way.  The laid back, moody feel, and even the extended silence between the notes, draws you in the music.  I admit I'm not totally into the saxophone on this. I find it harsh in spots.  But, all in all, I'm keeping playing this, often. Especially, on day like today.





Well...it's time for another warm cup of tea, and settle in for some good tunes.  Enjoy.