Geoffrey Long
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Notepad: 10.23.06.

Both Neil Gaiman and Warren Ellis do these little roundups of the blogosphere every so often, presumably for eventual use in upcoming projects. Today I'd like to try resuscitating an old Inkblots feature, The Note Pad, to follow their lead and jot down little discoveries to share with my readers (which includes my own later self). Creative stuff, designer stuff, C3 stuff, and so on. Comments, as always, are welcome.

  • Del Toro follows Spielberg and Jackson into games.
    According to Joystiq and Eurogamer, Guillermo del Toro is another big-name director who is considering video games as a new platform for telling stories. The two games he's currently consulting on are the Hellboy game being developed by Konami (which Mignola also has a hand in) and Sundown, a zombie game by the folks who did Bloodrayne. Part of me thinks this is quite cool, but another part remains skeptical, in part due to some of the same thinking in another Joystiq piece, Why Games Based on Movies Suck. Also of note: Hellboy 2: The Golden Army is nearly green-lighted. Woo-hoo!

  • Shakespeare coming to a virtual world.
    Once upon a time, the mother of a student walked up to Edware Castronova and said, "I want my kid to say, 'Wow, Shakespeare!'" Castronova walked away scratching his chin and mumbling, "WoW? Shakespeare? WoW? Shakespeare?" And then he promptly marched out and landed a sweet MacArthur grant for almost a quarter mil to build it. Yes, friends. Academia can be a pretty awesome gig. (And the official site for the project,, is a beautiful piece of work.)

  • Potion Factory presents Tangerine.
    The app is pretty cool, insofar as it is analyzes the beats of the music in your iTunes library and matches them up to autogenerate playlists to match your mood, sort of like a digital DJ. What made me grin, though, was the name of the company. Right up there with Delicious Monster as best-in-show brands.

  • Warren Ellis writes for sixteen hours a day.
    Given that he does a lot of it from his local pub while swilling Red Bulls, I can see that. A lot of interesting bits on dialogue in this interview; I myself have taken to listening to eps of Studio 60 on my iPod while walking to class.

  • Fitch: a Modern Design Company – in Ohio!
    I've had my eye on Fitch for years as a forward-thinking Ohio company where I might like to work after I get out of here. I swung by their site this morning in the first time in a long, long while to find they've redesigned it. Nice stuff.

  • Studios abandon Halo film.
    Apparently both Universal and Fox have yanked funding for the Halo film, citing a trifecta of concerns, including uncertainty about a whopping budget, uncertainty about a fledgling director, and uncertainty about Microsoft demanding a friggin' huge slice of the profits. This is one area of transmediation (THESIS!) that I hadn't previously considered: when a property starts out in one medium (like, say, games) and migrates over to other media (like, say, movies), if the company from which the property originates doesn't play by the rules inherent to the new media form, trouble may ensue. I'm fascinated to see where Halo goes from here; according to the article, Microsoft is "already in talks with other distribution partners". Honestly, I wouldn't be surprised if the film didn't get distributed by a newly-formed Microsoft Films.

  • Sam and Max are back!
    The dog-and-rabbit duo from the old LucasArts games have returned in a new episodic gaming venture distributed by Turner's GameTap and produced by TellTale Games, the same folks who did the Bone game for Jeff Smith. Chaos, hijinks, and a boatload of bad jokes inevitably follow. Some interesting notes to be made here about episodic storytelling in the game environment.

  • On TV as in Hollywood, little breathing room for the modest success.
    I actually have a lot I want to say about this, and I may launch into it either here or in a future feature for the C3 blog or newsletter, but the main upshot of it is this: the continued demand of networks for nothing but big blockbuster hits, especially in this day and age of long tail content, is just plain stupid. Yes, the Big Four need megahits in order to justify the megacosts of some of their shows, but NBC's announced plans to slash all unscripted TV shows from the 8PM time slot seems like a misstep. All the networks seem to be slashing shows that aren't becoming huge megahits from their schedules, but I'm curious as to why they don't just move those shows? If I were NBC and had shows like Studio 60 that were proving too expensive and highbrow for mainstream television, I'd create a new premium channel like HBO or Showtime and move those shows there – or take a page from CBS and mak those shows available exclusively online. Man, I wish Apple would open up their sales records for the iTunes store. I'd love to know how many people are downloading Studio 60 every week. Some fascinating stuff in this piece – it's a must-read, just for the sound bites from the TV execs alone.

  • Ford reports loss of $5.8 billion.
    My Lord. This loss is 20 times worse than last year. $5,800,000,000, just to see the numbers spelled out. "Ford conceded that its sales will probably be surpassed soon by surging Japanese rival Toyota and that it does not anticipate a profit in North America until at least 2009. To shrink its workforce, Ford is offering buyouts and other incentives worth as much as $140,000 each to all 75,000 of its hourly workers in the United States to persuade them to leave their jobs." I'm sure this doesn't have anything to do with the skyrocketing price of gasoline this summer. If I worked at Ford, I'd be voting Democrat this fall.

  • Journal of Mythic Arts summer-autumn issue is out.
    On a happier note, and one that pertains to my THESIS, the summer-autumn edition of Endicott Studio's Journal of Mythic Arts is up, with links to pieces by artists Charles Vess and Brian Froud. Also of note: Fantasy Magazine looks ineresting. Cool stuff all around.

  • Google faces copyright fight over YouTube.
    I recently wrote about ways in which Google could monetize its recent acquisition of YouTube for C3, which was only a fraction of the ink spilled on the subject in recent weeks. Also of note: the NYT piece, "We're Google. So Sue Us." From that piece: "The Internet ethos of the 90’s, the expansionist ethos, was, ‘Just do it, make it cool, make it great and we’ll cut the rough edges off later,’ ” Professor Zittrain [professor of Internet governance and regulation at Oxford University] said. “They’re really trying to preserve a culture that says, ‘Just do it, and consult with the lawyers as you go so you don’t do anything flagrantly ill-advised.’ ”

  • The Starbucks Aesthetic.
    I definitely have more to say on this one, but I wanted to punt the link up here anyway. It's a piece from the NYT on Starbucks' recent inroads into the content business. This whole enterprise is fascinating to me, for obvious reasons. Hmm – it looks like they're hiring. I could totally live in Seattle for a while...

  • Battlestar Galactica goes Transmedia.

  • Zappa's down at Fraggle Rock.
    Henson-related, but not quite transmedia in the way that I intend to study. Therefore, it gets two out of three: THESIS THESIS THESIS.

  • Webisodes: A Battle Against the Empire.
    A lot more to say on this one too, actually, but it boils down to this: if networks get away with shafting the creators of spin-off content like mobisodes and webisodes, it's going to kill nascent new media forms and set a nasty precedent for authors of other, more established spin-off forms like novels, movies and games. Under the network's current argument, which states that the webisodes are just marketing tools, any transmediation can be seen a marketing tool for the primary media property. This is dangerous.

  • Peet's Meets Timbuk2.
    I'm a sucker for all coffee-branded merch (I probably have dozens of coffeeshop T-shirts in my closet now), but this new Peet's Timbuk2 messenger bag is hottt.


MagritteBook Pro.

MagritteBook Pro. The Son of Mac?