17 August 2006


One fall, I checked out "The Beat Generation" cd/book box set from the library in St. Louis. This is a great set, full of wild jazz, music by beat musicians, radio interviews with folk from the whole Greenwich Village scene, etc. I was inspired.

So grab a cup of joe and pull on your trusty old beret! Here are . . .

The Crazy Rules of Writing Beat Poetry

(it's rules-city cats!)

1. Treat words for emotions and all non-physical concepts as physical objects.
Ex.: "Drink Down Hate"
"Shovel Love off the Driveway"
"Wash all the Infinity off of Your Hands"

2. Use colorful, exotic nouns as adjectives.
Ex.: "Take Dragon Steps"
"Kiss Flamingo Lips"

3. Mix metaphors artfully. In Beat poetry things that are similar are quite often treated as if they are identical.
Ex.: "Swing your Bat in the Cave at the Shadows on the Great Wall of China"

4. Twist relationships.
Ex.: "Drug Addict is a Money Pusher,
Drug Dealer Addicted to Dealing."


Soldiers marching in where
Angels fear to soldier
And devils do their laundry
Fear moistens the brow

* * *

An old van is the brothel
Hell on cement blocks
Wheels retired
She's barely attired
I just can't bear the
Bare skin whore

16 August 2006

DAHT Update

So the ensemble has officially arrived! Recently purchased at the L.A. Zoo:
  • wolf
  • hippo
  • zebra
  • alligator
  • polar bear
. . . plus the giraffe and flamingo I started out with, the ensemble is now seven characters strong!

It's much easier to come up with ideas now that I have the players to play with. Season one was more about the show itself rather than "bringing the arts and culture back to the internet in a [tongue-in-cheek] dignified fashion." The best episodes were the ones that dealt more directly with Shakespeare (ep. 1 - Othello, ep. 2 - Hamlet, ep. 5 - Measure for Measure.)

In a couple of weeks I'll pick up a new rubber chicken to tear apart and put back together again for Tex ver. 2.0. I'm also devising more of a set for Tex . . . sort of a Masterpiece Theatre/A&E Biography type thing.

Oh yes . . . and the DVD. This may turn out to be too much work for a handful of crappy episodes, but what the hell. I need to recapture all the footage and re-edit at a higher rez. I may even shoot some new footage. So I'm thinking "Disembodied Animal Head Theatre Season One: Special Edition" for the title. I haven't decided if I want Greedo to shoot first or not.

14 August 2006

Happy Anniversary, Pam!

I consider myself very lucky to have you in my life!

You rock!

11 August 2006


I'm a pack rat, and in recent years I've learned how to (sort of) organize my random scrawlings. For some time now, I've been packing composition notebooks full of whatever passing fancy comes my way. Sometimes the idea develops into a Torrid Affaire or a "Disembodied Animal Head Theatre." Sometimes the ideas wither on the vine, never to be heard of again.

I thought it'd be fun to air out a few of the dead-end ideas I've had over the past few years. Fun for me. Maybe fun for you, I don't know.

So anyway, here's a little blast from the past. I was developing an idea for a Mr. Rogers-esque children's show. I had some sort of a line to local television (a friend of a friend of a friend) and thought I could pull something together. At the time, I was babysitting my wife's nephew, a very sweet autistic boy who got me hooked on "Grandpa's Magical Toys" a direct-to-video gem. In fact, he wore out his first copy of the tape, and my sister-in-law bought a new one just after I started working for her.

I had also just built (with the assistance of my lovely wife Pamela) and sold my first "professional" puppet! Okay, I sold it to my dad. He was a minister back then, and he used it (a goat puppet with wicked awesome horns and ears) to teach Jesus to the kids.

Anyway, that's what was going on in my life at the time. Here's the idea in all of it's rough-hewn glory, taken more or less verbatim from my notes at the time:

"Pandora's Garage"

Needs to convey scope and intent. It needs to express the feel of the show.

A taste of things to come? Crazy quilt episode. Cover a mess of things.

I'm sure it's just the residual effects of the poppy seeds, but I'm seeing a neutral space with a counter top of some sort. [I was really into poppy seed bagel dogs at the time.] I had thought a living room would be cool. Platforming up for puppets? Nah, too costly. Kneel, boy!

A garage? (i.e. Dad's garage?) Lots of junk in storage, handy counter space. Acoustics? Lights? Garage lends itself well to erratic nature of show - boxes of junk can be rummaged through for fun stuff.

I wonder what Brad is up to? [Most likely I meant Brad Parker, an old high school chum and current teacher of at a arts magnet school in Texarkana. Great guy.] Can I snag Pam? Pam - only if everything is in place.

It would be quite swell if I had a costar who assumed different personas as required by the show. [Reminiscent of Speedy Delivery?]

Think about Jumpy and Skip's abode [Jumpy = dalmatian puppet, Skip = mudskipper puppet.] Apartment over the garage? "I wonder who might live up there?" Figments of the imagination?

Puppet sequences do not have to be logical, just loosely related to the main focus of the particular episode.
5 - 13, but enjoyable by all.

A chest (old, ancient, enticing) full of relics which get the ball rolling. Sample list of items:
- Clown figurine
- Dinosaur model
- Magic wand
- Drama masks
- A book
- Toy blocks
- etc.

Chest doesn't have to be very large - one item at a time may fit. [The idea was for a simple idea to spark off a wild goose chase, lateral-thinking adventure.]

If I tire of chest, switch to a big cardboard box of my dad's hats.

Audience/host relationship: casual, informal. Audience members are "friends" who like to come over to hang out with host.

Figure out how to work in vocab word each episode. Maybe an old, out of date (phony) "word a day" calendar. [I had read something at the time from Mensa that said there was a direct connection between the size of a person's vocabulary and their IQ.]

I just moved back to town after college and come back to get some of my stuff that I stored in my dad's garage. "Neighbor Kids" (audience) come in to han out as I rummage for my lost box. Dad is a pack rat, so I manage to get sidetracked every time. After 30 minutes or so I have to leave (go to work/pick something up/meet someone, etc.)

[When I'm rummaging and discovering and having a little adventure, I'm little more than a big kid who has a bunch of cool stuff. But each episode begins and ends with me as an adult with adult concerns.]

There you go! Tune in next week when I share my unrealized plan for a cold fusion generator!

09 August 2006

DAHT Update

It seems like I'm always selling something these days!

I'm throwing around the idea of making available the first season of DAHT as a limited edition DVD. The first five episodes, with commentary tracks, in a higher resolution for viewing at home. I'm thinking $10, plus shipping. I recently fixed the framing bug that plagued episode 5, and started feeling really good about the work I did on the first 5 eps.

Oh yes, and I've decided that the first 5 eps are "season one". This coming fall I'll be starting up "season two". Hopefully, it will be uploaded on a more consistent basis.

One thing for sure, the puppet will be better - I'm designing Tex 2.0 at present. Tex 2.0 will have more bells and whistles - practical wings (arms), a practical head, a more eloquently controlled mouth mechanism that eliminates the visible mouth wire, and maybe - just maybe - an eye blink mechanism.

Part of me thinks that Tex could become a minor celebrity, in a "global microbrand" sense. (If anyone else out there can point to another time someone has used a rubber chicken as a puppet, I'd love to find out about it.) I may be getting ahead of myself, but I could probably job Tex out. Seeing him on "The 5 Minute Show" really sparked the idea. Tex could do commercials . . . maybe do interstitial bits on a network like A&E or PBS. The key is expanding the Tex brand.

Tex actually fits into the universe of The Felties as I envision it, as a puppet celebrity who lives with other latex "snobby" puppets at the fancy condo complex "The Palm", just down the street from our main characters. I imagine Mimey and the gang will watch DAHT from time to time. If Tex really took off as a "global microbrand", I could use that leverage to help launch The Felties.

Well, that's all very nice and forward-thinking, but it depends utterly upon shooting more and more episodes of DAHT, and striving to improve the quality.

This is what they call "bootstrapping" but I prefer to call it "pegboarding", in reference to those pegboards P.E. instructors use to torture kids:

You have to keep placing the pegs up a a notch and pull yourself up to the next level. This sort of thing (building a "global micro-empire" if you will) is done in gradients, not overnight. It involves much strain, sweat, and cursing, but like Coach said, it builds character.

I hope.

04 August 2006


I'm building up capital, friends. Unfortunately is does take money to make money. I thought I could do this on a shoestring and still make it look slick and professional. Well, I was wrong.

I don't want The Felties to suck. I'd much rather take my time and put together my resources and do the thing right the first time. I blogged once about "protopilots" and how I was gonna "go ahead and just shoot my first episode. No more waiting until I 'really know what I'm doing.'" Something has changed since December of last year: it's become painfully obvious that the online video arena is glutted.

YouTube has somewhere in the neighborhood of 60,000 videos uploaded everyday. 40-100 million videos are viewed everyday, and currently there are about 5.6 million videos on YouTube. Can you say "needle in a haystack"?

The truth is "major" media outlets still rule all. The "first star of YouTube", Brookers, recently bagged a Hollywood development deal. She won't be making free videos for the internet, she'll be making television. Good for her! Most of her videos have been viewed hundreds of thousands of times. A couple broke into seven digits. But note: The payoff for being a successful internet content provider is a television contract.

So here's the new plan: Instead of shooting for an online webseries, I'm gonna shoot a "pitch pilot" and see if I can't get some play around town. Broadcasters are always on the prowl for good content. There are a dozen networks (mostly cable) I can think of off the top of my head any one of which would be a suitable home for The Felties. I live in Hollywood, for crying out loud! Maybe I should try working with "the system" before bucking it -- for a change!

03 August 2006

The Felties vs. The Young Ones

The first time I saw The Young Ones it was a weekend and I was sick with the flu. I clearly remember four insane Brits carrying on like monkeys on smack. I figured it was just a fever dream, but that theme song haunted me. Years later, that theme song would be my first illegal download.


The Young Ones only ran for two seasons, and a whopping 12 episodes total! The episodes are full of slapstick, non-sequiters, and visual puns. The stories are often surreal. The show is a high-octane bit of insanity that picks up the barest of premises and runs circles with it.

The show also has puppets! In fact, there's a recurring puppet character named S.P.G. (short for "Special Patrol Group" a controversial Brittish police unit). S.P.G. was the pet hamster of Vyvyan, the homicidal punk/med student:

Seeing as how the blokes who made The Young Ones also made Spitting Image, it's really no wonder they used puppetry as extensively as they did. (Picture of S.P.G. found on Andrew Morton's website, The Young Ones FAQ.)

Here's the opening credits of the show, courtesy of YouTube. Note the stand-up comedian cat:

The Young Ones was (in my opinion) a successful attempt to take a "Looney Tunes" approach to a live action sit-com. The Felties embodies the same frantic energy and anarachic spirit.

(At the top of this page is a VHS copy I picked up at Amoeba Records in Hollywood the other day. $1.99! What a bargain for such a great show!)
From Hugh MacLeod -
The same could easily be said of Los Angeles!

He posted a very interesting blog about ... well, blogs.

Check it out!

02 August 2006


I booked a zombie movie, and spent the weekend getting my face ripped off by a hermaphroditic zombie named "Sarah" (as portrayed by the very talented and groovy M. Q. Schmidt).

Here I am in make-up, reviewing my lines ("AAAAAGGGGGHHHHH!", "OH GOD IT HURTS!", etc.), and getting some final touch-ups from writer/director Stephen Dunford.

"I could use a stiff drink." The make-up was applied over a gelatin base. This allowed for a full range of facial expression which is good 'cuz I'm a horrible hammy hack who likes to mug for the camera. Not so much in this picture.

"Like I told you -- I am NOT thick-skinned!" The skin around the wound was built up with tissue paper and latex. After my face gets ripped off for the camera, the director well yell cut and they'll pour fake blood over this scarlet patch. Very gruesome.

I had a great time shooting this thing. I love zombie movies, and I've always wanted to do something that involved being in make-up for a couple of hours. Well, other than my usual routine at home before I hit the clubs. I tell you, M.A.C. is the bomb!

01 August 2006

Okay, so Sunday morning I took a picture of the low-tech marketing solution I came up with for my comic blog last week:

Yay! Someone tore off one of the web address strips!

Of course, I managed to screw the pooch by not actually updating the comic blog on Monday. Oops. I had a great excuse though:

Ahhh ... the DMV. I had to renew my tags, which involved a smog inspection. If you haven't figured this out by now, you haven't been paying too much attention to this blog: I tend to put things off to the last minute. That's cool, 'cuz I like living in the charette. (That's a fancy way of saying I like the energy and creativity that comes into play when a deadline looms.)