Newsletter 08 – March 2012
March madness is upon us (and if you want to see what Mark is really mad about, check out his “Mind Your Business” article below). And we don’t know about the luck of the Irish, but Mark heard from one of our clients at the NATPE convention in Miami this year, and he’s been having a very lucky year with his project…
“It was great seeing you at NATPE. Last year we closed a distribution agreement with Rose Entertainment and that has helped us a lot. As you know, my television show has been running on local TV for 14 years and that also helps. We are currently running on a new Hispanic station called SOiTV in 15 states in the US and PR and closing a deal with Olympusat to air the new series in HD in two of their networks. At home we are also really busy since we are launching the first commercial kids channel SONRISA TV on February 14. I am really happy to be part of the industry and for me NATPE is the place to meet. I wish you and your wife the best on all your new projects.”
IN PRODUCTION with MARK & JEANNE
Write the date March 6th down and put it under your pillow to remember because that’s when Tooth Fairy 2 arrives on DVD. Larry the Cable Guy is the star this time around (Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson starred in the original), and Mark was the animation producer for the animated segments of the film.
Here’s a trailer that includes a small piece of Mark’s animation:
And if your grinding your teeth to get a hold of a copy, here’s the DVD on Amazon (and, no, Mark does not get a percentage of the profits).
We’re very excited to be working with one of the top radiologist in the country, Dr. Jesse Cole, developing a new medical drama series treatment and script that will turn the entire genre on its head, stat.
The stories Dr. Cole has been providing about real life medical misshaps and the goings on behind the scenes of a hospital can be filed under ‘unbelievably-scary-but-true.”
Mark also just wrapped an animated pilot for the comic book Cyber Optics. You can see the animation online at:
And his latest set of training videos for Toon Boom’s Storyboard Pro are now online for FREE:
Mark also spent part of his weekend judging the Best Comic Strip category for the 2012 Reuben Awards as a part of the National Cartoonist Society (NCS) conference coming this may. “What a great way to spend a Saturday, laughing and reading great comics with other cartoonists.”
Judging Reuben Awards
Mark and Jeanne will be featured on a live radio interview coming up Wednesday, March 14 from 6:40-7 p.m. on Boomers Rock with Tom Matt, streaming live online at FTNS.co
They also have another live radio interview on It Factor with Alycia Kaback, March 7th at 7:15 p.m. Find it at… http://www.alyciakaback.com/it-factor/
If you haven’t taken advantage of our Free Laser Sessions, for first-time clients only, this is a great opportunity to jump start that show idea you’ve been toying around with in a focused 15-minute phone session. Times are available for 8 weeks out, but grab them fast because they book quickly.
Book your session at: https://my.timedriver.com/H1HQR
And if animation is your thing, and you hope to make it your big ticket, you won’t want to miss our big webinar coming April 10, called “Producing a Profit in Animation.” We brought back the legendary Max Howard for Mark to Interview and take questions live as part of this event. Stay tuned for more details.
Looking further ahead, Mark will be giving his lecture “How I Got Over $2 Million in Free Publicity” at the National Cartoonist Society Reubens Weekend conference in Las Vegas on Friday, May 25, 2012.
MIND YOUR BUSINESS
Here’s an excerpt from Mark’s latest article on the Animation World Network website.
Your Art Isn’t Worth Shit…If You Fall For This!
The all-mighty New York Times has done it. They’ve pissed me off! And I’m not the only artist. Lots of cartoonists are pissed.
Why, because the giant NYT wants artists, seasoned and professional artists, to work for them for FREE. That’s right, to spend their valuable time and talent working for free producing cartoons which will never be printed. It shows that while the NYT wants your work, they don’t feel it has any value.
Let me explain.
On Monday, February 6th, the New York Times (NYT) sent an insulting email to the top editorial cartoonists around the United States. This email is indicative of how many large institutions view our creative work. They want it, but they don’t want to pay for it.
At first glance, the email is quite positive. It states that the NYT will start running a political cartoon again each Sunday, starting on February 26th. The good news stops there.
The NYT then states that they expect the top cartoonists in the world (around 80 cartoonists received the email according to reports) to write, edit, sketch, ink, refine and finish custom editorial cartoons for the possibility that JUST ONE of the many they receive may get a pittance of just $250. Oh, and they want a new batch every week and they want all the rights and they want every artist to clear their Friday schedules for the remote chance that their single cartoon is chosen and the paper wants them to make any changes by 4 p.m. on that day.
Do they also want to take my frontal lobe? Because I’d have to have a lobotomy to agree to a deal like that.
Big business has been trying to reduce the value of creative works for years (see my previous article “You’re About to Lose All The Rights To Your Own Art”). We artists cannot allow this to happen. We can’t give an inch.
Hundreds of thousands of artists (many of you, thank you very much) worked together to defeat the Orphan Works bill (details in the links article above) because you took action and made yourselves heard.
Tom Richmond, MAD Magazine artist and president of the National Cartoonist Society (http://www.reuben.org/) agrees in a response he sent to the NYT editors.
“The work of creative professionals today is under siege, being constantly devalued through a multitude of fronts, not the least the internet. Writers, artists, cartoonists, designers and other creatives who are attempting to make a living with their talents and hard work face increasing assaults by “clients” who seem to expect them to do work for either very little pay, or only the hope of being paid. Being asked to do spec work is nothing new in the cartooning world, but when it comes from a publication like the New York Times and it is specifically aimed at some of the industry’s top professionals, it is alarming.”
You can read the entire email sent from the NYT to editorial cartoonists online at ttp://jimromenesko.com/2012/02/07/editorial-cartoonists-insulted-by-nyt-solicitation/#more-8077.
And you can read Mark’s entire rant and the full AWN article at…
WHAT WE’RE WATCHING
Mark, Jeanne and the boys have spent some face time watching Face Off, a great reality show on Syfy where special effects make up masters compete to do makeovers often more startling and gruesome than Joan Rivers after plastic surgery. The before and after shots are a great feature on the show. And one of the judges is one of Mark’s favorite movie designers; Patrick Tatopoulos, who worked on films such as Underworld, Independence Day,Resident Evil: Extinction and the upcoming remake of Total Recall.
Jeanne loves getting her news fix from Fareed Zakaria on CNN. This is hard-to-find, unbiased and in-depth coverage of current events featuring high level guests representing a wide range of diverse opinions. Zakaria is an excellent moderator who knows the issues inside and out, and you can also find some of his amazing writing in the pages of T ime Magazine every week.
And when you brain starts to hurt from keeping up with the level of conversation on Zakaria’s show, you can always completely shut if off to watch Wipe Out on ABC. The jaw-dropping pratfalls, commentator humor, and sheer outrageousness provide great family viewing. And though there hasn’t been much of the real stuff elsewhere, this season has featured a lot of fake snow.
Wayne has holstered the third season of Justified on Tuesdays at 10 p.m. on FX in his viewing ‘must-sees.’ This show, developed from short stories by the great crime novelist Elmore Leonard, has the feel of a contemporary western, as Federal Marshal Raylan Givens takes on back country criminals and thei r big city syndicate counterparts in Kentucky. The writing and acting seems to get better each season, but he wishes the show was shot on location where it’s supposed to take place instead of the obvious California landscapes subbing for the rural (and much greener) mountains of Appalachia.
Alcatraz on Mondays at 8 p.m. on FOX isn’t working for Wayne. This J. J. Abrams-produced attempt to resuscitate some of the paranormal mystery ofLost (they even hired Jorge Garcia to play essentially another incarnation of Hurley) comes across as a standard police procedural with a slight sci-fi angle grafted on. Criminals who disappeared from the island prison in 1963 are mysteriously returning to wreak havoc in modern day San Francisco. We wish the stories were as strikingly original as the premise, but it’s all very predictable characters (including Hurley redux) and plotlines.
Wayne and his wife, Danette, are also hooked on Downton Abbey like fine English crack.
BLAST FROM THE PAST
Where were we in 1993 (to 1996)? Chances are, if you like sci-fi, you might have caught some of Mark’s work on the Steven Spielberg-produced seriessea Quest DSV, starrring Roy Schieder. Mark was the storyboard artist on the series and even did some second unit directing.
As Mark recalls, “Every episode had a different director because this was a one-hour drama and the show was constantly shooting. While one episode was shooting, the next was already in pre-production. We had the top directors in television working with us every week, so it was a master class, where I was mentored by the best every week on how to tell huge stories.
On one episode, “Play Time,” directed by Robert Wierner, Mark worked with him on breaking down all the special effect shots of a giant robot battle. While they were out on location to shoot that sequence with two units, Wierner told Mark to go ahead and take the second unit to shoot all the plates for the effects sequence. “You know the sequence better than anyone at this point,” Wierner remarked.
Here’s a shot of Mark on set going over the shots with the production supervisor and head of our special effects unit.
Here’s a term we haven’t heard before … “OTT.” It stands for “Over The Top” viewing, which refers to TV programs watched online, on Netflix, Hulu or Amazon sources. Mark heard the term in a conversation he had with the industry research firm, Blueshift. It’s not commonly used in production or distribution, but by industry investors. So we’re assuming OTT refers to a device that may be sitting on top of your basic cable box. We don’t think viewers using these devices are diminishing the overall TV viewership – and it’s a small portion at this point – but it is shifting the paradigm of where viewers are watching from.
Jeanne heard a term that caught her ear: Executives at the Realscreen Summit were saying they want big, ‘loud characters.’ Loud, in this instance does not refer to Snookie on a megaphone. It means big personality characters who are opinionated and stand out from the crowd. Bland is boring. Make sure your characters are ‘loud’ enough. And if you don’t know, ask some friendly and convenient industry experts for guidance and advice. Was that hint LOUD enough?
Where are Mark & Jeanne?
Mark and Jeanne will be taking some time this month to escort their tennis playing twins down to the Sony Ericsson Open tennis championship in Key Biscayne, Florida. This will be the first pro tennis tournament Luke and Reece have attended, and everyone is hoping to see some of their favorite players, like Novak Djokovic and Rafael Nadal. This event is considered to be the 5th major, and the top 150 men and women pro tennis players are expected to be there.
We expect the event to provide some ace excitement and inspiration for both the kids and us.