Bookshelf Doctors!

In an attempt to keep being creative, I’ve been looking into making comic books. However, my drawing skills are (at this point) minimal at best so I’ve started putting together photo comics using objects I have at hand. Unsurprisingly, that means Doctor Who action figures are being drafted to comedic effect, as seen below:


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Video Free Skaro: the final episode and a post mortem

Here’s the final episode of Video Free Skaro for your enjoyment. It’s much longer than the usual episodes and it’s chock-a-block full of interviews, action figure shenanigans and other goodness!

And if you’d like a breakdown of how and why we made it and why we’re finishing up with it, read on.

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Ever woken up and said “wow, I’d love to see the lowest and dirtiest cinematic offerings Canada had to offer in the 1970s and 80s?” Well, probably not, but here it is anyway. Enjoy!

And if you like this sampler of Canada’s filthiest Z-grade trash, be sure to check out Canuxploitation, the definitive resource for exploitation film north of the U.S. border.

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Comic books!

I’ve recently been on a kick to learn how to create comic books. I have a bunch of ideas rattling in my head for stories and sagas and most of them would require a Hollywood budget and unlimited free time to manifest themselves as moving images.

But where film denies me, comic books provide. The budget of a story in a comic book is essentially limitless, but there is one problem…it requires art. And I am no artist, at least not when it comes to drawing anything past a stick man. So I’ve tried to concentrate on writing, which I can actually do with a modicum of skill.

Of course the best thing about writing is avoiding writing by reading books in a serious, chin-stroking manner, so I’ve tackled Write or Wrong by Dirk Manning, The DC Comics Guide to Writing Comics and How to Make Webcomics, as well as Writers on Comics Scriptwriting, Volume 2.

The most practical advice is found within the pages of Write or Wrong, where author Dirk Manning advises newbies to concentrate not on multi-part sagas but 5 to 10 page, self-contained stories. Make it in black and white, and for the love of all that’s holy…avoid superheroes. He’s right about all these things, and I hope to explore all of these limitations/creative kicks in the pants in the next little while.

Of course, I’ll still need to find an artist, otherwise it’s just all words on a page. So first comes the writing and the agonizing and the giving up and the starting all over again….and then I have to find someone who can draw. Any volunteers?

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Recent happenings: Gallifrey Academy and Gallifrey One

That fine piece of work above is Gallifrey Academy, my latest short Doctor Who film. Every year I try to make a short film in advance of Gallifrey One, the biggest Doctor Who convention in North America (more on that later.) This year I was lucky enough to run it ahead of our Radio Free Skaro live show in front of a big crowd, and it got a pretty decent reception. Kyle Anderson, a friend and writer for The Nerdist, also featured the short in his Gallifrey One wrap up.

The film featured the talents of Eric Fell, Joanna Gaskell and Shaun Stewart in front of the camera, as well as a certain Time Lord whose identity I’m not at liberty to disclose. All those named can be seen here in Vancouver at the Critical Hit Show, a hilarious live Dungeons and Dragons improv that happens every month at the Rio Theatre. Laurel Brown, Vanessa Driveness (who also played an apathetic Shobogan) and Mel Siermaczeski also helped out behind the scenes.

And how was Gallifrey One (or Gally, as its know to its many fans)? Simply amazing. I’ve been for five years running now, and the sheer amount of Whocentric content never ceases to amaze me. Shaun Lyon and the other hard-working people who have been putting on the convention for a quarter-century(!) pour their heart and souls into this yearly event, and it shows. Now matter what you’re into in the Whoniverse, there’s someone else at the convention who digs what you dig.

What’s next? Well, it’s a guarantee I’ll be at Gallifrey One next year, and I’ve got a few ideas for the next short film. I try to be more ambitious with each film, so next year, expect ILM quality visuals and a 6 hour running time. No pressure.

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Backyard Blockbusters!

I’ve always had a certain fondness for fan films. Done right, they can be a great new way to enjoy a familiar universe. Done poorly, they can make you wish you’d never been born. Evidently my love for these homemade homages is shared, as seen by Backyard Blockbusters, a documentary about the people behind some famous and infamous fan films both old and new.

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Video Free Skaro 012: Critical Hits and Pint-Sized Brits

A very special guest host takes the reigns on this week’s Video Free Skaro, and we’re sure you’ll enjoy his sardonic take on all things Whovian. But the main event is the Critical Hit show, a blending of improv and Dungeons and Dragons hosted by the inestimable Eric Fell, star of Blue Meanie and Skaromantic Comedy. Join Eric as he and his merry band of comedians vanquish monsters and concoct shenanigans under the lights of the Rio Theatre in Vancouver!

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Lincoln trailer is here!

Spielberg’s latest historical epic, Lincoln, hits theatres on November. With Daniel Day Lewis as Abraham Lincoln, Spielberg behind the camera and the weighty historical subject matter, not to mention the fact that it’s based on “Team of Rivals,” this one is likely a slam dunk.

Plus I’ll be seeing a re-release of Lawrence of Arabia on the big screen (third time) only days later!

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The return of splatterfests…now with CGI!

While watching Evil Dead 2 last night, I mused to Mel that no-one seems to have combined the Raimi love for over-the-top gore and the obvious possibilities of CGI. How wrong I was! Behold Adam Chaplin, a movie so gory it even has its own name, HABS (Hyper realistic Anime Blood Symulation), for their blood and guts techniques.

I haven’t seem Adam Chaplin, so it could be total crap for all I know, but I give props to any film that takes new VFX technology and does something new, different with it, especially in the low-budget realm.

Any other cool and underexposed horror flicks out there using CG and other techniques to up their game? Tell me in the comments!

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Documentaries about film that you should watch

If there’s one thing I love more than film it’s films about film. Here’s a few documentaries it would behoove you to check out.

Side by Side is all about film, the medium of choice for crafters of cinema over the last 100 years, is slowly but surely being usurped by high-resolution digital cameras. The film is ably hosted by Keanu Reeves, who goes through a bevy of Hollywood heavy hitters both for and against digital. It’s worth it just to hear David Fincher’s epic rant about the Panavision Genesis.

Not Quite Hollywood is a loving tribute to Australian exploitation films, ranging from the sex comedies of the early Seventies that put Ozploitation on the map to gore-soaked horror romps and the uniquely Australian genre of post-apocalyptic car films best exemplified by Mad Max. The entire film is viewable on Youtube (surprisingly) so check it out before it gets pulled.

These Amazing Shadows is a documentary about film preservation, and it goes into pretty serious detail about the importance of preserving film along with just how much work it takes to keep cinematic treasures alive for generations to come.

Other than Side by Side, all these films are on Netflix. Even though Netflix doesn’t have the latest and greatest hits, it does have a lot of hidden gems, especially for film nerds. Have you found any great obscure documentaries (or otherwise) via Netflix? Let me know in the comments!

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