Geoffrey Long
Tip of the Quill: Archives

May 2005 Archives

Congratulations to Kevin!

A quick shout-out to my friend Kevin Smokler, whose new book Bookmark Now!: Writing in Unreaderly Times hits the shelves this week. Kevin founded the sadly-missed Central Booking, is a regular speaker at SXSW, maintains a weblog at Where There's Smoke and is an Inkblots alum to boot. Attaboy Kevin!

Kevin kicks off the party this week with a Virtual Book Tour of his very own (another thing which he created). Inkblots will tie into the festivities in our next issue (!) which should show up here in the next week or so.

Right now I'm getting ready to head back to Ohio for my five-year college reunion (!!!). I'd promised a couple of sketches for some old friends of mine, so I had to dive back into my sketchbooks and dig them up. That was sort of a harrowing experience – I'll post more about that when I get back, I'm sure. For now, be good, have a great weekend, and go pick up a copy of Bookmark Now! Try it, you'll like it. :)


On Episode III: Revenge of the Sith.

Wow. I just got back from the midnight showing of Star Wars: Episode III: Revenge of the Sith, and it was incredible. No spoilers here – unless you somehow missed that this one doesn't have a happy ending, which would mean that you've either been living under a rock or somehow waiting for Episode III to come out before you watched Episodes IV, V and VI.

Others have said it before, but I'll repeat it here – Episode III is utterly tragic and heartwrenching. Lucas pulled out all the stops on this one, and for two and a half hours we're hoping against hope, praying that Anakin will somehow come to his senses, but of course that isn't going to happen. Lucas does an amazing job making Anakin's fall utterly believable, and even sympathetic. The emperor is so convincing in his sale of the Dark Side that I was ready to sign up for a red lightsaber too.

I'm not going to say any more here because I don't want to ruin it for any of you. Suffice it to say that this movie must be seen if you're any kind of Star Wars fan at all. It's easily the most action-packed of the three prequels, and some are even calling it the best of the six. I'm not sure if that's true, if only because so much of it simply wouldn't work in a vacuum, but it is a masterpiece of hybridization, a masterfully built bridge between the old trilogy and the new one, and provides an absolutely stunning amount of closure. I think everything I wanted to know or see in this one came to pass, or at least almost everything. One spoiler: there's no explanation as to why we never see any Gungans in Episodes IV, V and VI, no throwaway line by Senator Binks on how their people would retreat underwater and never be seen again or anything of that sort. Aside from that, all the loose ends were tidied up and we can now pretty much close the book on the Star Wars saga.

Except for the TV shows. Bring on the TV shows!


On narrowcasting.

Lately my mind has been all over the map. Client work lately has been paling in comparison to the lure of school this fall – I am so ready for this – and my recent adventures with Tohubohu and Untyped have me feeling restless and itching to do more creative work. Our most recent film, The Big Lie That Solves Everything, is now available for watching on the Tohubohu site, and we should have big bright new shiny QuickTime 7 versions of our films up here soon. (Further, if I can get out from under this project that will not die, I hope to get the next version of the Tohubohu site out the door soon as well.)

Anyway, my film producing experiences with Tohubohu are leading me to think a great deal about other, similar projects. Last night I spent some quality time hanging out at the Borders over on Lincoln, where I started sketching out a plan for What Comes Next in this regard, and it blew my mind. The pieces are all almost in just the right places – it's time to strike.

In my sideblog today you'll see a list of links to articles discussing narrowcasting, the practice of distributing video over the Internet. Hook this to the ever-expanding TV-on-DVD market, observe the success of Red vs. Blue and their DVD, and you'll see where I'm going with this.

I still have a lot to work out in my head and on paper, but there is some seriously interesting stuff going on here.


Shannon's at Cannes!

Holy catfish – my friend Shannon has one of her films, Persistence of Vision, screening right now at Cannes! Wow! You go, girl!

The Power of the Dark Crystal.

So check this out – there's a "Dark Crystal" sequel to The Dark Crystal in the works, which is then meant to be followed up with an animated series. I'm not entirely sure how to feel about this. On the one hand, I'm utterly excited to see more stories about the gelflings and Aughra and the Skeksis, but on the other I'm also utterly apprehensive since none of the Muppet movies have felt quite right since Jim Henson passed away.

"Wait a moment," I hear you Henson fans saying. "Skeksis? How can the Skeksis come back?" Apparently the Dark Crystal gets split again in the sequel, which (spoiler alert!) I'm guessing means that they separate from their Ur-sol halves. Can you imagine that morning-after conversation?


Lightly toasted.

I don't want to build websites anymore.


Watch this space.

For my next trick, I will get caught up on all my projects in the next four days.

Impossible? Yeah, probably – but I'm going to try it anyway. Bring on another Finishing Season marathon!


From the lake.

This is the first entry I've tried to post typed on my Treo, so forgive the stilted nature of the writing. I wound up taking most of the day off and walking around Evanston, finally winding up here on the beach, staring out at the lake. I'm thinking a lot today about people, and school this fall, and relationships, and money, and all the stuff that usually gives a man headaches. I'll be fine soon enough, but right now I'm good for little else than sitting here and staring out at the water.


On Mirrormask, and life, and stories.

And hot on the heels of that last post comes another, which reveals precisely why the old to-do list is constantly three steps ahead of me.

Last night I had a meeting in Schaumburg (a suburb of Chicago out by O'Hare) at the recording studios of Thadeus Project, an art rock band for whom I am doing a series of various designerly projects: their website, which I don't believe I've mentioned yet here because it's almost done but not quite yet, almost there, I swear, just one more thing, and now their media kit, which will be quite a cool little thing once it's finished, a combination of textures and visuals that should definitely drive home the point that yes, they are an art rock band. More details as this progresses. In any case, on my way home from the meeting I took a sharp detour to the Barnes & Noble up on Touhy Avenue, as I had a coupon in my pocket and the knowledge that a new book by Neil Gaiman and Dave McKean (the latter link is to the now sadly-defunct; sadly-defunct doesn't even begin to describe it, actually, more like woefully, tragically, apocalyptically-defunct) in my brain.

The new book, a visual script for their upcoming film Mirrormask, was perfectly timed, since I'm still coming down off of last weekend's filmmaking adventure. I spent way too much time last night reading, and then some more time doing so this afternoon when I should have been working. When I finished it and closed it, it made me both excited and sad. Excited, due to the possibilities of creating such wonderful stuff myself someday, and sad because I am presently tethered to so many other things which don't begin to approach that degree of coolness.

I am suddenly wistful for a different degree of creativity, and mourning my unfinished novel, and keenly considering running out to the local Apple Store and dropping Way Too Much Money on more hardware with which to make more magic. This is, of course, a bad idea; if I am to buy more hardware, I should wait until said hardware has appeared in the refurbished list at The Apple Store, or until I have once again reclaimed the official position of student, so that I can enjoy a nice discount. More hardware also flies in the face of several other goals, such as paying down debts and saving money for future periods in which I will once again be blessed with not only the official position of student but also the official accompanying anemic bank account and diet of ramen noodles and too much caffeine.

But. But. But.

In one of the appendicies for Mirrormask Mr. Gaiman describes the home of Mr. McKean, and damn does it sound heavenly. He describes my dream house, a small home out in the woods with a detached studio and lots of trees. I long for that, I ache for that. I dream of tools, and resources, and bookshelves, and stories, and time. One never seems to have all the necessary components at once; how, then, to bring them all together is something of a mystery.

I should work. I should finish the new Tohubohu site, since that is the nearest thing to this particular sensibility currently in my project list. I should finish client projects, since they are the key to having the resources to acquire my home in the woods. I should do many things. However, all I want to do right now is sit here, and plan, and dream.

I have been plunked right back down into my old storyteller's mindset, but the story I most want to tell now is my own.

Half, and half, and half...

I am having one of those days where it feels like no matter how close I get to actually pulling ahead of my workload, it keeps pulling away from me at the last minute and cackling its fool head off. The email inbox keeps hovering between 60 and 80 messages that absolutely positively need answers, and most of those represent some particularly troublesome item on my to-do list. Yuck.


Finishing season: Ron Kelley.

Another little voiceover site, but one whose aesthetic I really love. Check it out over at


Da do run run run, da do run run.

I have returned from Washington, D.C., and am (as expected) having one of those days where there's something that has to be done everywhere I look. I am therefore going to be largely unavailable all day while I catch up client stuff, answer emails, tidy house, work out, etc. Sheesh.

On the upside, I may finally be within sight of finishing up a couple of things that I've been working on for years, so that has me excited. Also, in an explosion of complete lack of self-control, I stopped at The Apple Store on the way home from O'Hare last night and picked up my own copy of Tiger. So far it's pretty cool, with the biggest improvements for me being Dashboard and the new Dictionary tool, wherein one selects an unfamiliar word and presses control-command-D and a definition appears. I'm sure I'll post more about this as the week goes on. Right now, though, there's a huge G signal up in the sky. I'm needed – in way too many places at once!


Finishing Season: The Big Lie That Solves Everything.

Ladies and gentlemen, we have a movie! Those of you who are fans of Scott Andrew (a.k.a. Scott Andrew LePera, or Scott Andrew and the Walkingbirds) will recognize the title of our movie as the title of one of his songs, which Scott Andrew was gracious enough to allow us to use, and, well, sort of adapt.

Here's the thing. There are tons of movies based on other forms of media, mostly books. The Tohubohu film The Big Lie That Solves Everything, however, is sort of a lateral interpretation of his song. It was written independently, but with the knowledge that we had permission to use Scott Andrew's music. On the way back from the writing session on Friday night, the director and I queued up the Walkingbirds on Bill's iPod to pick a song. We already had the rough draft of the script in hand, so the way we were listening to the songs was obviously colored by the story in our minds, but when we hit "The Big Lie..." we were floored. When you listen to the song on its own, the clearest interpretation is that it's a song about a relationship gone wrong. But when you hear it in the closing credits for our film, it's scary how the lyrics transmogrify themselves into something completely different.

It's funny. Of the three films I've produced with Tohubohu, The Big Lie That Solves Everything is probably the closest to my own personal storytelling sensibility. I had a hand in steering the direction of the story, but at root it was the brainchild of Lauren Walsh, Jeremy Sands, Tim Randall, and Ryan Williams. They wrote the story, crafted the dialogue and the scenes, and then Tim and Stuart Scotten (our lead actors) worked with Bill to make the story really live, but it's scary how much this film feels like one of my short stories. It's like experiencing something that another version of me wrote, and thoroughly enjoying it – which is teaching me something new about the world of film production. I create websites and software and stories because there are things out there which I want to experience but can't because they don't exist yet – and this weekend that really extended into our filmmaking. I'm tickled pink.

Is The Big Lie... likely to be as popular as Screening Process was last year? Probably not – its ending isn't exactly happy, it's not an over-the-top comedy, and so on, but at the same time I'm insanely happy with it. For the first time, I got to bring in my old friend Andy Rozsa to compose a kick-ass score for it, my friend Nick Ferraro showed up to help out as a production assistant, David was in town to provide photography services, and of course I got to work with my old friends in the Tohubohu gang – not to mention meet a bunch of new guys who are all absolutely incredible characters that I wish I'd known while I was living in DC. Oh, and I got to design the logo for this one too, and create the closing credits – which might or might not work, since they're only the second thing I've ever made in Flash intended for video output.

All in all, this weekend was amazing. Educational, a lot of fun, and inspiring. Exhausting, too, but I wouldn't trade it for the world.

Stay tuned. We'll try and get the actual film up on our site this week. In the meantime, check out the logo and general aesthetic – the clash of mythology systems, of good and evil, of Arabian and sans serif fonts...

The Big Lie That Solves Everything

Coming soon to a website near you. :)