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Archive for February, 2012


Hey folks, with this being the last day of Black history month, I thought I’d close it with talking about two of my favorite people in the film and TV industry, Dwayne McDuffie and Bruce W. Smith.

Dwayne McDuffie, is an African American comicbook and screenwriter. He’s written a number of comics for Marvel, DC comics and Archie comics and has written and produced the popular animated series Justice League Unlimited and his own animated series, Static Shock, based on the teen African-American hero, Static. The series which ran for four seasons, was inspired by many of the comics featuring the character, Virgil Orvid Hawkins who is also the hero, Static. Dwayne also co-founded, Milestone Media, a pioneering comicbook company started by Black artists and writers, who believed African Americans were underrepresented in comicbooks and the goal was for Milestone Media was an attempt to help the imbalance. The company did open the door for many artists and writers who had been turned down by other comicbook publishers. One of them being, African-American comicbook artist, Jamal Ingle who later worked on DC titles including, Action Comics, Superman and Supergirl. In the Static Shock series, Virgil is a fan of another hero, Black Lightning, who is also one of the first African-American comicbook heroes. Although Black Lightning never made an official appearence in an episode, the hero, simply called “Juice” was based on Black Lightning, Juice appeared in the episode of Justice League Unlimited titled “Ultimatum”. Dwayne was nominated three times for an Eisner Award for his work in comicbooks and was given an award by the animation writers caucus division of the Writer’s Guild of America(West Coast branch). In 2009, he won an Inkpot award at the San Diego Comic-Con. Although it’s been a year since Dwayne passed he’s still one of my favorite screenwriters. I saw him in person in 2006 but was unable to speak with him. I did however contact him on Facebook prior to his death last February. Nice guy.

Bruce W. Smith is an African American character  animator, film director and TV producer. Despite being one of the few black animators working in the industry, Bruce’s credits including directing his first animated feature film, Bebe’s Kids and co-directed the animated scenes in the film, Space Jam. Bruce also created the hit Disney series, The Proud Family which ran for five seasons. The series was the first line of work from his production company, Jumbalaya Studios.Bruce’s goal was to introduce characters of different ethnic backgrounds to animation.

I also have the same thing in mind with my own characters and stories and hope to share them one day.

Though Static and Black Lightning aren’t the only black characters that have appeared in comicbooks and television. Others include: Chuck and Nancy(Archie Comics), Nam-Ek(Smallville, Season 5, 2005),  to add more diversity to the series, Smallville’s version of Clark’s friend and classmate, Pete Ross is African-American.  At one point, there was a black version of Superman and Supergirl.

Going back off-topic for a moment.

Richard Pryor opened the doors for many black comedians, including Bill Cosby, Chris Rock and many others. Both Richard Pryor and Flip Wilson had their own weekly TV series.

Don Cornelius was the first African-American to who produced, created and owned his own television series which was the long-running hit, Soul Train.

As for any remaining Black History month projects. I have few in mind. Including a personal essay/memoir titled Rootz which explains my decade long research on my heritage and in sense, ‘finding myself’ and other projects.

Stay tuned for details and updates!

Rather than close with my usual see ya I decided to take a different route…

Stay black!

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Hey folks,

Yes… it’s that Monday again… the day after the Oscars.

As always here’s this year’s winners:

http://oscar.go.com/nominees

Years ago, I thought the Award Shows, especially the Oscars were the most boring thing on television. Why? well, when you’re  five  the last thing you want to watch on a Sunday night are people giving a speech while holding a small golden statue. In 2005, as my interest in writing and television grew, I began paying more attention to the award shows and other aspects of TV and film.

Since then, I’ve learned different industry terms, names of my favorite studios, production companies, writers, directors, producers, actors, actresses, composers, etc…

In the long run, it made a difference since now I know who’s worked on my favorite TV shows and movies after all these years.

Although I’ve only met a very small number of people in the industry, via in person or on a social network like Facebook and Twitter. There’s several pluses and minuses. Many of these people are interested in their fans, also I’ve heard many times before if a person knows someone in the industry whether he or she is an actor/actress, producer, director or writer, it comes in handy later on. TV writer, Chad Gervich and many other people have pointed out the best thing to do is develop a relationship with the people you’re working with. Start by doing small favors, offer to buy lunch or coffee,   etc…

I’ve found when meeting certain people, I start with a brief hello and introduction. It helps to mention what you know about him or her; which is basically what television series or movie they worked on. Another thing is commenting on how much you like his or her work, whether it’s a script they wrote or their acting.

After getting a couple of words in that’s when I throw in a few things about myself and start a(often short) conversation. Then, it usually ends with taking a photo, exchanging contact information and a “Thank You”.

As a good rule of thumb,if the person I meet has an email address, facebook or twitter account, I do a follow up.  Not only does it keep the line of communication open but also shows that you appreciate him or her taking the time to talk with you one-on-one.

I’ll go into the whole meet and greet/networking topic in another post.

Getting back to the Oscars, thought I’d share a little Academy Award/Black History:

The first black actress to win an Oscar was Hattie McDaniel. She won the Oscar for best actress in a supporting role for her role as ‘Mammy’ in Gone with the Wind in 1939.( Back then, African-Americans sat in the back of theater.).

Since then, many black actresses have gone on to win an Academy Award, among them are: Halle Barry(2001), Mo’Nique(2009) and now Octavia Spencer(2012).

The film, Guess Who’s Coming to dinner? won Best Original Screenplay and was nominated for Best Picture in 1967. At the time, the film was considered groundbreaking because the premise was centered around interracial marriage which was a subject of controversy in the 1960s. Though it was a positive portral. Since then, the film was given a spot on AFI’s 100 movies, 100 years list. Since then, the film has become the subject of pop culture and many references have been made in TV shows and movies.

Black film director, Spike Lee’s film Do the right thing was nominated for Best Original Screenplay in 1989 and his other movie, Driving Miss Daisy, starring Morgan Freeman took home Best Picture that same year.

African-American Actor, Samuel Jackson broke the record for highest grossing film actor of all-time.

Michael Jackson, performed at the Oscars in 1973 and was given a huge round of applause at the 2010 Academy Award, Memorial tribute.

Also, if anyone thinks Viola Davis should’ve won Best Actress, I have to agree on that one.

Still, how about changing the song used for the Oscars? Don’t get me wrong, Hooray for Hollywood is a classic but there aren’t too many people who know the song. It’d be nice if this was used for a change. Hey, they used in an episode of Martin and the movie Roll Bounce, so why not?

Hollywood Swingin’- Kool & The Gang (ft Jamiroquai)

Seriously though, if my script/movie gets snubbed one year, watch out and be prepared to duck some hot grits!

(For those that live down south, you get the idea).

Found this monologue by Chris Rock from the 77th Academy Awards from the 2005/2006 movie season.

Enjoy!

Chris Rock Oscar Monologue

 

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Hey folks…

and it’s Friday… ok for those who are wondering why this is titled black friday, I’m not referring to the big sales the day after Thanksgiving. I’m talking about Black History month and in this case it was a ‘black’ friday.

Anyway, went over to the recreation center on the West Side of Vegas. Saw a lot of albums and historical African- American pieces on display. All of it was authentic and museum quality.

The highlight of my day though was meeting Antonio Fargus. For those that don’t know Mr. Fargus played Huggy Bear in the original Starsky & Hutch and Doc in Everybody Hates Chris. Nice guy and a great actor. His more recent appearance on TV has been on the hit TV One series, Life After.

Got a photo with him and an autograph. Overall, it was a great day. I got to meet to an actor from one of my favorite TV shows!

Here’s Antonio at his best(well to me at least).

Everybody hates Chris- Doc’s Girlfriend

Enjoy!

See ya on Monday!

 

 

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Hey folks, it’s Wednesday!

Also, today marks the 7th anniversary of my main website going online.

With this being my site’s 7th anniversary, I decided to  do a timeline on how far my Hooked on Mutts series goes:

1997- Gwendolyn “Wendell” Dalmatian. Originally a fan character but later established as an original character. 1st of my of Hooked on Mutts cast.

1998- Story idea with Sienna (Female Beagle Harrier/Hamiltonstovare mix) Caesar(Male Rottweiler) and others as characters is developed but then forgotten.

2000- Stan (Male Dalmatian/Beagle mix), Mouse( Female Silver Tabby American Short Hair cat) Calico(Male American short hair), Lorraine(Female Persian/ Egyptian Mau mix) become characters also the year I began writing and became interested in screenwriting.

2001- What I consider one of the golden years for creating original characters, Kenny(Male Red Wolf), Lisa(Female Red Fox) Nevada(Female Gray Wolf) Shiba(Female Basenji) Kennedy(Male Bald Eagle) Espresso(Female Canaan Dog), Dorthia(Female Arctic Wolf), Tia, Tara & Kara(Female Bengal Tiger triplets) and many other new characters are added to the Hooked on Mutts cast. Idea for the animated feature film, West Coast Wolf National Forest is developed after being inspired by Dr. Dolittle 2, Disney Animation and Don Bluth Animation.

2002- New characters are added including, Mitzi(Female Hamiltonstovare/Beagle Harrier mix). Gia(Female Mute Swan) and her son, Shaw(Male Mute Swan) Another golden year. Previous character backstories are either established or revised. 2nd golden year

2003-  Kennedy’s family is extended with the addition of brother and sister, Rene and Eddie(Red wolves) parents Mama Lena & Smokey (Also Red wolves) and a wife/mate Wanda( Female Beagle Harrier), Orlando(Male Osprey), Yakitty-Yak(Male Alaskan Reindeer), and his parents Juniper and Kirby(Also Reindeer), Ted(Male Betta fish), Knuckles(Male Pitbull), Elvis(Male American short hair), Ralphie(Male Chinchilla) and others, including members of Sienna’s family are added to the cast.  Another good year for creating characters. Real life Ted passes away March 30th at the age of 1 year and 8 months.

2004- New characters: Akeelah,(Female Striped Skunk),Owen(Male Ocelot), Igloo(Male Honshu wolf/Indian Wolf mix), Mustafa(Male African Wild Dog), Lamont(Male Beagle/Airedale Terrier mix), Samson & Jessie(Brother and sister Border Collies), Dallas(Male Mountain Lion) and others are added to the Hooked on Mutts cast. Story premise for West Coast Wolf National Forest is still in development. Hooked on Mutts cast is pretty much developed and established. Real life, Sienna passes away September 28th at the age of 11(99 in dog years).

2005- Series featuring Sienna and my other animal characters is officially titled Hooked on Mutts, title is inspired by a combination of the coffee shop, Chock Full O’ Nuts and the ’80s/’90s literature program, Hooked on Phonics. My main website Freewebs.com/sienna-beagle goes online Tuesday, February 22nd, around 9:30 am.  Other new characters, Checkers(Female Gray Wolf), Panther(Male Side-striped Jackal), Ivana(Female Barn Owl), Radika(Female Iranian Wolf), Allen(Male American Short hair) and more are added. Characters from 2004 and further back are revised, including changes in name, design, breed/species, gender and back story. Real life Knuckles and Elvis pass away at ages 5(45 in dog years) and 4(32 in cat years). Began watching Academy Awards and writing movie reviews.

2006- 1st Anniversary of Hooked on Mutts and freewebs.com, Hounddogg Studio is Founded. Joined YouTube in November.

2007- Posted trailer for West Coast Wolf National Forest, (renamed Dogwood) on YouTube. Script for Dogwood is developed, Synopsis is written.

2008- Pilot episode for Hooked on Mutts is in development. Learned more about the movie industry from doing research and reading the book, Screenwriting for Dummies.

2009- Met Best-selling author, Kevin J. Anderson. Final edit for Dogwood’s premise is finished. Episode ideas for Hooked on Mutts are written, expanding over 5 seasons. Saw comedian, Bill Cosby live at Treasure Island.

2010- Pen & Paper is launched on WordPress.com, 5th Anniversary for freewebs.com/sienna-beagle, attended Comic-Con 2010, met famous animation screenwriter, Earl Kress, producer, Bill Duke, Superman actor, Jack O’ Hallaron, and longtime comicbook artist, Neal Adams, and joined facebook  July 18th.

2011, 1st anniversary for Pen & Paper, entered a movie pitch for Dogwood in the Champion Screenwriting Competition and made the quarterfinals!, took a roadtrip from Seattle to Los Angeles which provided additional inspiration for the setting of Dogwood and Joined twitter March 24th. Favorite writers, Dwayne McDuffie and Earl Kress, pass away in February and September. Received an encouraging and warm email from sci-fi TV actress, Rekha Sharma.

2012- 7th anniversary of freewebs.com/sienna-beagle, 2nd anniversary of Pen & Paper, met Pitboss star, Shorty Rossi and more to come!

Well this is what I’ve done so far… The year is still somewhat new and I’ve got another 10 months of writing and other things to do, so stay tuned for more updates!

See ya on Friday!

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Hey folks, it’s Monday….

Well, without further delay here’s one of my Black history month posts.

This is a follow up to one of my posts from last year, Music of my Heritage, which can be found here:

https://rudybeagle.wordpress.com/2011/02/23/music-of-my-heritage/

This next post features more music from my library:

African

Woza Mfana- Hans Zimmer

The Penny Whistle Song- Hans Zimmer

This next song, I’ll be honest, I’ve had moments where I can’t listen to it without getting teary-eyed. It’s one of the few songs that actually makes me cry at times:

Mother Africa- Lebo M. & Hans Zimmer

Seventh Heaven- Dreamcatcher

Another song that makes me choked up. This was the only clip I could find that uses song. I first heard it in the movie Invictus and loved it. The song can be found and downloaded on Amazon.com.

The Crossing(Osiyeza)- Various Artists

Here’s the lyrics and their translation:

O Siyeza, o siyeza , sizofika webaba noma

(we are coming, we are coming, we will arrive soon)

O siyeza, o siyeza, siyagudle lomhlaba

(we are coming, we are coming, we are moving across this earth)

Siyawela lapheshaya lulezontaba ezimnyama

(we are crossing over those dark mountains)

Lapha sobheka phansi konke ukhulupheka

(where we will lay down our troubles)

Will post more music in a different post.

Enjoy!

See ya on Wednesday!

 

 

 

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California Roadtrip.


Hey folks,

Well, what started out as a promising start to a 3-day weekend turned out to be a day trip.

How so?

After waking up and doing some cleaning and such I got word that my folks had planned to drive down to Rancho Cucamonga to meet with my sister and drive back.

I was shocked but happy. Anything to get out of Vegas and see a change of scenary.

Left town in the afternoon after picking up the rental car.

Stopped in Baker and grabbed a gyro and one of the trademark milkshakes(Peanut butter) then got back on the road for a few more hours.

Saw some great sites, including some ravens and red-tailed hawks. Going through San Bernadeno National Forest was great. Many of the hills and mountains were covered in snow! Photo op, anyone?

Was on the sickside after drinking that milkshake, nothing some Starbucks Coffee didn’t solve.

Overall it was a pleasant trip and it felt good to be on California soil for a change.

Got some ideas to top off Black history month, also my website’s anniversary is coming up.

Will post how that goes.

See ya on Monday!

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Hey folks,

I know it’s kind of late, had I known the BAFTA’s were on I’d have watched. But anyhow, Octavia Spencer won for best supporting actress. Take a gander:

Winners & Nominees

http://www.bafta.org/awards-database.html?award=false&category=Film&pageNo=1&year=2011

Well now all that’s left is the granddaddy of award shows… the Academy Awards!

Look for an Oscar related post the monday after the awards.

See ya then!

 

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