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Posts tagged as “3D”

Seven Years of Featured Posts

Let’s begin the celebration of seven years with some of our classic TV Calling featured posts.

It used to be you’d pin a post to the top of your blog, and call it featured. Well–
“Featured Post” is somewhat of an outdated concept with this site, especially since we’ve never really had a slider to begin with (*shudder*). TV Calling has been a mostly linear design, with a few in-depth articles highlighted occasionally. And since I now only post worthwhile content, everything is highlighted (i.e. everything is a de-facto featured post).

We’ll take a closer look at the TV writing and TV business sides in more details (starting tomorrow), but in the meantime, I wanted to take this opportunity to highlight a few forgotten gems from our earlier days.

Our very first featured post was, unsurprisingly, a crazy rant of mine on why I hate French “television”.
Although the French TV industry still has a lot of catching up to do, it’s refreshing to see the amount of progress from 2008. In fact, I’m writing this very post from Paris (not the one in Texas) so I’m getting to see a few recent French TV shows. Not the worst.
It’s also funny to see that a few French shows have even made waves in the US (namely Les revenants).
I also attended last October at the Writers Guild Theater the second edition of “Direct to Series”, a “showcase dedicated to French television series”. No, I didn’t bawl my eyes out.
Speaking of International fanfare, a few of my other earlier featured posts were about visa/green card issues. We’ll get back to those when I post about “Seven Years of My Life 101 (or Life of Alex)” on Saturday.

When it comes to story issues, I wrote back in 2008 about mythic structures and hero psychology.
The instigating post was mainly focused on The Dark Knight (I had just seen it), in relation to the concept of flawed (super)heroes.
The second one, still an off-shoot about hero psychology, was on Joseph Campbell’s books–and how others have tackled a variety of issues through the prism of screenwriting.

Vices, virtues and dilemmas should also not be forgotten in the world of screenwriting. Identifying the “moral premise” behind a story is essential to understanding why this particular story touches us, affects us. It is also what will ultimately give dimension and consistency to a great story. Few books deal with this in direct correlation with screenwriting. The Moral Premise by Stanley D Williams appears to be right on target by clearly and easily linking past and present stories, both in theory and practice.

On the other side of mythical stories and structures we have what is inside the character’s head, the character’s psychology. A lot of books have been written on the subject but few aimed at screenwriters. William Indick’s Psychology for Screenwriters seems to be one of the only books I have come across dealing exclusively with this. Comprehending the psyche of your characters can only benefit your writing and your story, especially in the television medium where characters are the medium.

Deep stuff.

As pointed out previously, the concept of “featured post” has been phased out, with most articles now relating to TV writing or the TV business. We did have occasional floaters to mark events.

In 2009, Lordy had a series of very interesting guest posts on unsung artists (at the time): Don Bluth and Craig Ferguson. Of course, Craig Ferguson has since become more well-known, but Lordy’s posts are still worth the read.

I talked about technology, with the iPhone, the iPad, and the future of eBook readers.
I had a one-off interview with CSI:NY’s Hill Harper. Because why not.
I ranted about the unsavory televised spectacle that was Michael Jackson’s funeral.

During the first year of TV Calling, I wrote 11 movie reviews (8 based off of the screenplay).
My most popular was The Cabin in the Woods, which finally came out in theaters over three years after my article.
Others include The Box, Watchmen, Star Trek (the reboot), Inglorious Basterds (Cannes 2009 version), Buried, Prisoners (four years before it came out), Orbit (still waiting on production), Unknown White Male (two years before release), MacGruber, and Paul.

Movie talk still continued after. In the days of Ed Norton’s Bruce Banner, I took a look at “The latest about Marvel and DC Movies” and I brought up “five under-the-radar movies you should watch.” (A few of those have since gained notoriety.)
Given Hollywood’s fascination with IP, I had a talk about “Hollywood’s Trivial Pursuit of Games” (get it?), and most recently how “You die a brand or live long enough to become an IP“.
I also wrote about the advent of 3D (and Avatar) in a big way with three dedicated posts on the issue.

And, for some reason, there were these two amazing posts about: the Weinstein Company being on the verge of bankruptcy while doing a movie adaptation of the 1970 Broadway musical Pippin (“Pippin my studio: The Weinstein way of dealing with problems“); and Taylor Lautner trying to be Stretch Armstrong (“Taylor Lautner: Badder, Bulkier, and Sparklier“).

Good times. I can’t wait for the TV writing advice.

The Future of eBook Readers

Today I went to the 2010 French Book Fair in Paris which usually has great debates dedicated to new problems relating to e-publishing and eBooks.
This year was no exception with an incredible array of talks on the future of publishing (one even about Augmented Reality).
I went to a few, though the one that caught my eye and found most interesting was the last:
E-Readers, where are we now?
The panel was comprised of Jacques Angelé (Nemoptic Vice-President), Pierre Geslot (Head of E-paper and Digitization projects at Orange), Alex Henzen (R&D Vice-President at iRex Technologies), and Anthony Slack (Commercial Development Vice-President at Liquavista).
As you’d expect, it was mainly about the future of e-Readers, and as a matter of fact, not only were we able to see with our very eyes amazing prototypes (pictures below), but a couple of announcements were made.
I will go over what was discussed in a minute, but first, let’s check up on some basics.

What is not an eBook E-Reader?
I’m sorry to break it to you, but first and foremost, the iPad, and all other tablets of its kind, are not e-Readers (more on that later).
Neither is your iPhone for that matter.
If they were, then your current computer, or even your TV, would be considered eBook Readers.
The truth is they do not contain the one key component to it all: e-paper.

What is e-paper?
As the name implies, it’s basically a display imitating to the fullest and ordinary piece of paper (with ink).
That also means it does not use backlight (unlike, say, LCD/LED screens). Given that, it doesn’t strain the eye.
E-papers actually act like a normal piece of paper, meaning they reflect ambient light.
In addition, once an e-page has been set, it remains static and can’t be changed, simply because it does not at this point need any electricity to sustain (it’s in stasis).
You could set your e-Reader on a specific book page and theoretically leave it like this for months (years?), and it wouldn’t switch off.
This of course sharply contrasts with any other battery-based devices that barely can stand a day without a charge.
The only time a Reader needs electricity is when it needs to change the screen (like when you turn the page), but even then, you’d have to do about two weeks of continuous change for the battery to drain.

It might shock you to learn that not all e-papers are using E Ink (yes, it’s a brand).
Different technologies are used, each with their advantages, and disadvantages.
In fact, although last year it controlled about 90% of all sold e-Readers, it is expected that, by the end of 2011, E Ink will only be carried on 50% of displays.
As for the actual technology involved, I won’t bore you with how this stuff works, as it has been detailed much better elsewhere.

Suffice it to say that E Ink is part of a bigger group named Electrophoretic Display, or EPD. Such displays use charged pigment particles (pixels) that get rearranged based on an electric field: black or white.
The two main problems with E Ink are its response time, and its lack of color.
Ironically, E Ink was originally tested using other bi-colored pigments:

Constant R&D is able to increase each year the E Ink refresh rate by about 30%.
As for the color, that’s a different problem entirely.
iRex‘s Hanzen did however announce that colored E Ink would be arriving later this year (albeit at a different company).
For now, it’s not in their priority as colors on E Ink are simply not that efficient at the moment.
At best, you would get a sombre screen, since brightness would be limited. RGB additive color uses a third of the available pixel space, so you would only get a ninth of available brightness for “true white”.
Reflectivity would also be pretty limited.

Nemoptic presented prototypes of its BiNem (Bistable Nematic) Displays (manufacturing starts at around end of 2011):

Display size: 6.1 inches (73 x 107 mm)
Resolution: 300 x 400 x RGBW (QSVGA), 100 ppi
Color depth: From top to bottom, 16 colors, and 32,768 colors (32K for real)
Contrast: 12:1

Perhaps the most promising new tech are what’s called Electrowetting Displays (EWD), represented at the panel by Liquavista.
Like E Ink, it works via electric fields. However, instead of pigment particles, it uses colored oil and water. The liquid therefore becomes wettable.
EWD has been described as “the most versatile,” with multiple use going from reflective applications to transmissive and transflective ones.
The tech can also go from low refresh rates (less than one frame per second) to super-high ones like 200 frames per second!

Liquavista presented three of these EWDs.
One was B&W:

Display size: 6 inches (92 x 123 mm)
Resolution: 800 x 600, 166 ppi
Grey levels: 16
Brightness: 60% higher than standard EPD
Contrast ratio: 2 times higher than standard EPD

The other was color:

Display size: 6 inches (92 x 123 mm)
Resolution: 800 x 600, 166 ppi
Color levels: 4,096; 30% more reflective than standard EPD

They were both announced as being released in Late May/Early June of this year (no price tag yet), and named Liquavista Pebble.

We also did get to see a prototype of a functioning touch-screen colored EWD, with such a high-refresh rate it could do video (let alone be able to handle an iPod Touch-type interface).
Although still a prototype, Liquavista‘s Anthony Slack did say the touchscreen could be compatible to both Projected Capacitive Touch (fingers) and Resistive Touch (stylus).
By June, the prototype should achieve at least a 24-bit color depth.
Later this year, manufacturing will be announced, with a release date slated around mid-2011.
The presentation on the touchscreen e-Reader was not unlike the one used here (right-side; the one on the left is Sony’s PRS-600BC).

When talking about the (currently) sole competitor in the color e-Reader market (Fujitsu‘s newly-released FLEPia), all the panel guests unanimously bashed the Reader, stating it was “too slow” and had “washed colors.”

The panel then shifted to the iPad, discussing if it was going to be a big e-Reader competitor.
This is when Orange‘s Geslot stepped in.
He talked a bit about several focus groups his company had recently made around the iPad.
The tablet had been pitted against major e-Readers (Kindle, Nook, etc.), not for a spec comparison, rather to see which one the various users (of all ages) would feel more comfortable reading books on.
He disclosed the results which were, as he puts it, “surprising.”
The focus groups revealed that two core opposing sides were emerging:
– Half the people loved the idea of a multimedia platform that could also let you read while still being connected (therefore preferring the iPad)
– The other half, in total opposition, considered that reading was sacred and a private journey that shouldn’t be interrupted by ringtones, pop-ups, or IMs (therefore preferring a dedicated e-Reader)
Geslot was keen to point out that the latter group actually wasn’t made up of only seniors but actually youngsters too.

At the end of it all, the panel agreed that there would probably be two kinds of usage that would call for two different devices.
A dedicated e-Reader, that has perfected its sole function, will be preferred for heavy-reading. Multimedia tablets (with or without e-paper), will offer more flexible use than their counterpart, but will only be used for quick reads here and there.

The moderator concluded by asking the guests what they thought an e-Reader will be like in ten years.
One jokingly replied: “I’m betting on a flexible 3-D e-paper display that can play Avatar.”
James Cameron would be so proud.

The latest about Marvel and DC Movies

From the recent weeks, it looks like we’re going to get a Marvel vs. DC movies war in the next few years at the box-office. Development news are quick and can be confusing, so here are all the latest wrapped in a neat little article, along with my two cents.

We start small (franchise-wise) with this an upcoming film based on a limited series created by Warren Ellis and Cully Hamner.
The movie, directed by The Time Traveler’s Wife‘s Robert Schwentke and written by Whiteout‘s Jon & Erich Hoeber is slated for a an October 22 release.
It stars Bruce Willis, Mary-Louise Parker, Helen Mirren, Morgan Freeman, John Malovickh, Karl Urban, Brian Cox, Richard Dreyfuss, Julian McMahon, James Remar, and Ernest Borgnine.
Now that‘s a cast.

Red is the story of Frank Moses (Willis), a former black-ops CIA agent, who is now living a quiet life. That is, until the day a hi-tech assassin shows up intent on killing him. With his identity compromised and the life of the woman he cares for, Sarah (Parker), endangered, Frank reassembles his old team (Freeman, Malkovich and Mirren) in a last ditch effort to survive.

The Losers
Based on Andy Diggle’s comic book series of the same name, the Sylvan White-helmed pic was written by Peter Berg and Zodiac‘s James Vanderbilt.
The film comes out next month (April 23), and stars Jeffrey Dean Morgan, Zoe Saldana, Idris Elba and Chris Evans.

Five members of an elite United States Special Forces team are sent into the Bolivian jungle. The men find themselves the target of a betrayal instigated from inside by a powerful enemy known only as Max. Believed to be dead, the group makes plans to even the score when they’re joined by the mysterious Aisha, a beautiful operative with her own agenda.

This sounds like opposite-A-Team.

Moving on to actual DC Entertainment-related movies…

Green Lantern
The Martin Campbell pic has begun shooting with Ryan Reynolds as the lead. Co-stars include Blake Lively, Peter Sarsgaard, Mark Strong, Angela Bassett, and Tim Robbins.
The script was written by Everwood/Eli Stone‘s Greg Berlanti, as well as comic-book writers Michael Green & Marc Guggenheim. Contact‘s Michael Goldenberg subsequently rewrote the draft.
The film will feature Hal Jordan as the main character and Sinestro as the villain. It is expected to come out on June 17, 2011.

The Flash
Apparently, Lantern-writer Greg Berlanti is the leading contender to direct the cinematic adaptation of The Flash, based on a script by Jonny Quest‘s Dan Mazeau. Nothing is really known at this point as the script was still being written back in October.

Shazam! (aka Captain Marvel)
You should Google him if you dont know who he is.
Although at one time a hot movie, it has now kind of fallen out of grace altogether.
The whole behind-the-scene fiasco was greatly detailed last year in a blog post by John August.
Bottom line is:

The project [is] dead.
By “dead,” I mean that it won’t be happening. I don’t think it’s on the studio’s radar at all. It may come back in another incarnation, with another writer, but I can say with considerable certainty that it won’t be the version I developed.

Batman 3/The Caped Crusader
Apparently, the Nolan Bros. are setting this Batman movie as the last one in their trilogy.

Without getting into specifics, the key thing that makes the third film an great possibility for us is that we want to finish our story. And in viewing it as the finishing of a story rather than infinitely blowing up the balloon and expanding the story . . . I’m very excited about the end of the film, the conclusion, and what we’ve done with the characters. My brother has come up with some pretty exciting stuff. Unlike the comics, these thing don’t go on forever in film and viewing it as a story with an end is useful. Viewing it as an ending, that sets you very much on the right track about the appropriate conclusion and the essence of what tale we’re telling. And it hearkens back to that priority of trying to find the reality in these fantastic stories. That’s what we do.

Dr. Freeze won’t be part of it, but besides that, as you can expect for a Nolan movie, nothing else is known at this point.

Superman Reboot/The Man of Steel
Again, not much (if anything) is known about what this third reboot will be about, only that David Goyer mused with a Superman idea that Nolan…

…immediately got it, loved it, and thought: That is a way of approaching the story I’ve never seen before that makes it incredibly exciting.
[…] A lot of people have approached Superman in a lot of different ways. I only know the way that has worked for us that’s what I know how to do.

Translation: Superman will be set in a bleak environment with creepy mindfucks and an omniscient Lex Luthor.
You know what, I’m not really anticipating this one…

A studio has been keen on pursuing Marvel properties: Tom Rothman’s 20th Century Fox.

Wolverine made Fox loads of cash, so what does it mean for the rest of the franchise?

X-Men Origins: Wolverine 2
Probably one of the top priorities for Fox and its comic-related films.
The sequel will start shooting sometime next year and will focus on the Wolverine/Mariko relationship in Japan.
The fighting style will also be different.
Although they’re using the already-written arc by Chris Claremont & Frank Miller, they called in Chris McQuarrie to “tighten the story”.

X-Men Origins: Deadpool
Don’t worry about continuity, the Deadpool in this movie won’t be the same as the idiotic version you saw in Wolverine.
Says X-Men producer Lauren Shuler Donner:

I want to ignore the version of Deadpool that we saw in Wolverine and just start over again. Reboot it. Because this guy talks, obviously, and to muzzle him would be insane.

And for you guys doubting as to whether or not Reynolds will indeed play the lead rest assured that Ryan Reynolds has been for years the driving force behind the Deadpool stand-alone movie.
Donner herself declared:

I don’t see it as a problem that Ryan [Reynolds] is also playing Green Lantern. I mean, look at Harrison Ford – he was in Stars Wars and Indiana Jones at the same time and everyone was fine with that. Green Lantern could not be more different to Wade Wilson.

The writers behind the project are none other than Zombieland’s own Rhett Reese & Paul Wernick.
Contents of the film are still yet to be fully developed:

We’re outlining it pretty seriously right now. We’re in the early stages. We just absolutely adore the character and the comic. And tonally, it’s right up our alley. He’s the unstable, smart-ass, self deprecating guy — and they say write what you know, so [we’re perfect for it].

What is getting me excited about this is the character will definitely have its same comics attributes, including breaking the fourth wall (not something you usually see in a blockbuster-type film).

X-Men Origins: First Class
Who is writing this? Well our good friend Joss Schwartz. You can feel the “young hype vibe” already.
Okay I’m kidding, the writer has changed: it is Street Kings‘ Jamie Moss.
Although at first a surething for Bryan Singer, it now looks like he won’t be directing the movie after all.
Reported HitFix:

Fox is actively searching for directors to step in and helm the film, with discussions with at least two other filmmakers as recently as last week.
The filmmakers that they’re approaching now about directing “X-Men: First Class” are good names, guys who either have real experience in the comic book movie medium or who have heavy credibility with fan audiences. Names that would make fanboys happy from the first moment they’re announced.

The studio probably doesn’t want to wait long until it gets this thing going.

X-Men Origins: Magneto
That’s one heck of a movie that’s been on the studio’s backburner for some time.
Problem is that it’s really been too long in the making.
The technology used in X-Men 3 to “de-age” Ian McKellen has a prohibitive cost that would financially block the movie. And casting a younger McKellen is proving more than difficult.
In addition, the Magneto storyline is probably the least of the studio’s concerns at the moment.

Sony is also looking at its own slate…

The Amazing Spider-Man
Well by now you’re probably aware of the whole Sam Raimi debacle.
Marc Webb is currently set to direct a James Vanderbilt-penned adaptation of Spidey.
Yes, it’s another reboot.
What’s more apalling however is that Sony already announced its intention to release the movie in 3-D (on July 3, 2012).
If you’ve been following this blog for some time now, then you know that I’m a 3-D supporter, but only when put to good use and with good reasons.
When a studio forces down your throat a technology even before a single word has been written, this is not art, it’s pure business.

No real new info at this point on this spin-off, though Topher Grace is still expected to return. The character would be changed to more of an anti-hero, with Carnage as the antagonist.
Seabiscuit‘s Gary Ross has been signed to direct a script by Reese & Wernick.

Besides Iron Man 2, the Marvel Studio is behind some of the most anticipated superhero movies in history.

Okay, bad choice to start us off. It certainly is not the most anticipated movie on this list, though the cast and crew does look pretty good.
Chris Hemsworth has the lead while Tom Hiddleston plays the film’s villain, Loki. Natalie Portman, Anthony Hopkins, Jaimie Alexander and Idris Elba are also present.
The movie is currently being directed by Oscar-Nominated Kenneth Branagh (certainly not someone you’d expect for a superhero movie). The script however was made by Poseidon/I Am Legend‘s Mark Protosevich.
I somehow don’t see the two of them mixing together…
Who knows how this is going to turn out.
In the meantime, here’s the official description:

The Mighty Thor, a powerful but arrogant warrior whose reckless actions reignite an ancient war. Thor is cast down to Earth and forced to live among humans as punishment. Once here, Thor learns what it takes to be a true hero when the most dangerous villain of his world sends the darkest forces of Asgard to invade Earth.

The First Avenger: Captain America
The movie will be helmed by Joe Johnston (from Jumanji and Jurassic Park 3 fame) while Chris ‘Human Torch’ Evans was just announced as the one carrying the shield.
Like Lautner in his time, Evans will surely need to bulk-up for the role, and make the sharp contrast between the 98-pound weakling that is (was?) Steve Rogers and the muscular alter ego.
I’m not entirely psyched about the casting, especially since this is a period piece (the movie starts in WW2 and should end with him being frozen in ice and discovered by S.H.I.E.L.D.).

This one is very uncertain, though Scott Pilgrim‘s Edwar Wright & Joe Cornish have already penned the script.

[The movie is] about Henry Pym and Scott Lang, so you actually do a prologue where you see Pym as Ant-Man in action in the 60’s, in sort of “Tales to Astonish” mode basically, and then the contemporary, sort of flash-forward, is Scott Lang’s story, and how he comes to acquire the suit, how he crosses paths with Henry Pym, and then, in an interesting sort of Machiavellian way, teams up with him. So it’s like an interesting thing, like the “Marvel Premiere” one that I read which is Scott Lang’s origin, it’s very brief like a lot of those origin comics are, and in a way, the details that are skipped through in the panels and the kind of thing we’d spend half an hour on.
[…] Because that character isn’t one of their biggest properties, it’s not like a tentpole deadline. It’s more like me and Kevin Feige saying, ‘Let’s make a really good script.’ We’ve always agreed on that — ‘Lets make a good script that works, that’s all about a great genre film, and that isn’t necessarily relying on anything else.

The Avengers
We finish this round-up with the superhero movie to end them all.
Will Hulk make an appearance (albeit as a baddie)?
One massive thing’s for sure though: Robert Downey Jr. (Tony Stark/Iron Man), Don Cheadle (James Rhodes/War Machine), Scarlett Johansson (Natalia Romanova/Black Widow), Hemsworth (Thor), Tom Hiddleston (Loki), Evans (Steve Rogers/Captain America), and Samuel L. Jackson (Nick Fury), will all reprise their role in this über-pic.
Although there are some issues about mixing the techno-world that is Iron Man with Thor’s more supernatural outlook,
Zak Penn finished a few weeks ago a draft. Whether it is finalized is still to be decided, especially given that there is still no director on board (Favreau is only exec producing).
A few other questions have still not found any answers: Will Hawkeye, Wasp, or even Ant-Man, be part of the team? What about Ed Norton reprising his Bruce Banner role?
I’d say yes to all, if only as cameos.

The plan is for Marvel to release one of the Avengers at a time. First Iron Man 2 on May 7, 2010, then Thor on May 6, 2011 followed by Captain American in July of the same year, and then again in May 2012 with The Avengers.