Book Review: “Confess The Autobiography” Rob Halford

“Confess The Autobiography”

Author: Rob Halford
Hachette Books
Hardcover: 368 pages

Our Score: 4 out of 5 stars

Most priests hear confessions; this one is making his. Rob Halford front-man for the legendary heavy metal band Judas Priest tells his story in “Confess The Autobiography”. From the Walsall council estate to musical fame via alcoholism, addiction, arrests and, personal tragedy through to rehab, coming out and, redemption The Metal God’s story winds through his working-class roots to finding his calling in music, including his experience as a gay man in the macho world of rock.

If that lead in doesn’t grab your attention then you might want to check your pulse. . “Confess The Autobiography” by Rob Halford takes readers on a unique journey the likes we have never seen. From meeting bassist Ian Hill through his sister to receiving a life time ban from Madison Square Garden and coming out in 1998 “Confess” covers immense territory. Halford is candid and direct with his approach leaving no subject off limits. While “Confess” not only recounts Rob’s success with Judas Priest there is also another storey set just slightly in the background which readers will find quite interesting. How did the singer for one of the biggest heavy metal bands in history deal with being gay? Not only were the times not as accepting of alternative lifestyles but heavy metal certainly was not seen as leading the charge for acceptance during these times. Over the course of the books 368 pages Halford takes readers first hand through his countless struggles and fears over.  “What if it got out he was gay?” forever ruining the bands career. It’s at these times that the book takes a more emotional turn as the author recounts just what it was like to be an apart of Judas Priest becoming the biggest band in the world while at the same time having to live the other part of your life in secrecy. Given the high profile nature of the band talk about a difficult situation!

Through all the highs and lows “Confess” is comes out ahead making for an enjoyable read. You don’t have to be a Judas Priest or heavy metal fan to appreciate the book Rob Halford has put together. Though the story might not be completely relatable on all levels there are certainly points where every reader will be able to think back to a time where their success may have been over shadowed by something else going on internally or out of fear of what others may think you acted one way and not another. “Confess The Autobiography” though it showcases one man’s journey will speak to many.  

Book Review: “Get in the Car, Jane!”

GET IN THE CAR, JANE!

  • Author: Billy Van Zandt
  • Publisher: Van Zandt/Milmore Productions
  • Paperback, 248 pages
  • Our Score: 5 out of 5 stars

I first flew to Los Angeles in 2015. After I landed I picked up my rental car and headed to a restaurant to meet Billy Van Zandt.

38-years earlier, Billy Van Zandt did the same thing. Only instead of heading to lunch, he headed to Lucille Ball’s house. Ms. Ball wasn’t home. Billy was informed of this news by a butler who proceeded to slam the door in his face. But fate soon lent a hand and, before he knew it, he and his then-girlfriend Jane Wilmore would soon embark on an amazing four decade journey through Hollywood.

Brilliantly written, “Get in the Car, Jane!” is a hilarious look at what goes on behind the scenes in the wonderful world of television. From wide-eyed kids who wrote their own theatrical shows and aspired to be actors to show runners of their own shows, Billy and Jane’s adventures will keep you in stitches as they work their way up the ropes, rubbing elbows with many of the greatest performers in history, including  Lucille Ball, Brooke Shields, Frank Sinatra, Don Rickles, Martin Lawrence, Andrew Dice Clay, Richard Lewis, Bob Newhart, Jamie Lee Curtis, The Wayans Bros., Richard Mulligan, Alan Arkin, DL Hughley, Dorothy Lamour, Elaine Stritch, Olympia Dukakis and Penny Marshall,

Billy and Jane’s writing samples earn them a spot on the writing staff of “Newhart” and soon they begin working on and writing shows for many of the popular television series of the 1990s, including “Anything But Love,” “Martin,” “The Wayans Bros,” “Suddenly, Susan,” “Yes Dear” and “The Hughleys.” All of these tales are terrific. The pages dealing with the birth, and death, of the Don Rickles/Richard Lewis series “Daddy Dearest” is worth the price of the book alone.

Sadly Jane Wilmore passed away earlier this year but Billy Van Zandt is still writing and still knocking them dead in the aisles. Today’s times require a healthy dose of laughter to help get us by and “Get in the Car, Jane!” is the perfect prescription!

Book Review: “Do What You Want: The Story of Bad Religion”

“Do What You Want: The Bad Religion Story”

Author: Bad Religion w/ Jim Ruland
Hachette Books
Hardcover: 336 pages

Our Score: 4 out of 5 stars

From their beginnings as teenagers experimenting in a San Fernando Valley garage to headlining major music festivals around the world Bad Religion has been bringing anthemic punk rock to the masses since 1982.  “Do What You Want: The Bad Religion Story” tells the whole story of Bad Religion’s 40-year career in irreverent style and detail.

Over the course of the books 336 pages author Jim Ruland and Bad Religion members Greg Graffin, Jay Bentley, Brian Baker and Brett Gurewitz among others take readers on an explorative narrative of the bands career the likes of which we have never seen nor read. From the earliest meetings of transplanted Wisconsinite Greg Graffin  and his long time song writing partner Brett Gurewitz and on up through the release of the band’s most recent 2019 studio album “Age of Unreason” the book serves as a up to date document which leaves no stone unturned. Personally I enjoyed the chapters recounting the creation of albums like “Suffer”, “Stranger Than Fiction” and the often forgotten “Into The Unknown” an album which we learn was nearly the end of Bad Religion all together. Included amongst the 27 chapters are a collection of photos from all different eras of the bands career along with early show flyers and magazine covers. Needless to say very cool!

“Do What You Want: The Bad Religion Story” is not just another warts and all band biography. Fans of the band will certainly enjoy hearing the full history of the band which until now has never completely been shared. If you are looking for another tale of the cliché sex, drugs and rock n roll then this is not the book for you. Yes those topics are talked about however not to the extent other books of similar format have. Instead the focus (as it should be) is on the members themselves and their sheer determination to make great music. No matter if you are a casual listener or the most diehard BR fan “Do What You Want: The Bad Religion Story” is an enjoyable read which keeps you turning the pages chapter after chapter.

Iced Earth’s Jon Schaffer Discusses His New Book “Wicked Words and Epic Tales”

Photo Credit: Tim Tronckoe

Iced Earth founder, songwriter, guitarist and producer Jon Schaffer has announced the release of his first ever book, “Wicked Words and Epic Tales”.The book is the debut release from Schaffer and his new publishing company Wicked Tales, LLC and is the first of many original concepts planned for future release by Schaffer. Media Mikes had the chance to speak with Jon recently about the books creation, the accompanying music and his plans for future releases.

Adam Lawton: Can you tell us where the idea/opportunity to do this book came from?

Jon Schaffer: The idea for the book came to me around Christmas of 2019. I was at home with my family and I all of a sudden had this idea to do an anthology of all my lyrics. I have always been a big fan of comic and graphic novel art. It’s actually something I have been doing for years on the Iced Earth album covers. We have so much bad ass art that has been done for us over the years and have made contact with a lot of great artists that I thought I could commission a bunch of new material and put something together for the die-hard fans. I had never really seen anything like what I was thinking of doing but I know that if Steve Harris, Geezer Butler or Roger Waters put out something like this as a fan I jump on it. I ended up deciding to use Kickstarter to get things going because it allowed me to gauge the interest and figure out how many copies to make. After I decided I was going to add new art I thought it might be cool to do some spoken word audio tracks to go along with it. What ended up happening was I decided to create some new music as well. What we ended up with is this something in between an audio book and a soundtrack. I call it a narrative soundscape and that comes as a bonus with the book.

AL: Is this all new musical content?

JS: No. These songs have been written over the course of my career specifically with Iced Earth. I think the oldest song is “Angels Holocaust” which was written around 1991. With the exception of the song “Wolf” all the material is based off of the original compositions. What I did was instead of the album being this loud, ripping heavy metal work I took verses and choruses and turned them into string and keyboard pieces. I did play some guitar but not that much and we programmed in some theatrical drum loops to give things dynamic. For the spoken pieces I really tried to get into character and make things dark an eerie or very emotional depending on what each piece called for.

AL: Will a reader/listener be able to put the music on and have it match up with the book chapters?

JS: It’s broken up a little differently. The book has over 250 pages. The lyrical content alone is well over 100 songs and features lyrics from more than just Iced Earth. The music portion is 15 tracks picked from just my Iced Earth works. If a reader wants to match things up they will just have to go to the index and find the page number for each song to make that happen.

AL: How did you go about selecting the artists who have work featured in the book?

JS: Some of those guys like Todd McFarlane and Greg Capullo I have worked with in the past on Iced Earth album art so I knew them. All of the artists who I have worked with through all my projects and career are credited. I worked with an additional 15 new artists specifically for this book. I just started reaching out to people. I reached out to Jim Balent on Instagram and he came on board I then reached out to Jonboy Myers and he was interested. Richard Ortiz did four pieces of art which are killer homage pieces. Roy Young who was in charge of the layout of the book is a guy I met when I was working with Todd McFarland in 1994. Roy has been very instrumental in this. There is tons of great stuff in this book.

AL: We the artists given free reign or did you have specific pieces you wanted each person to do?

JS: I went to each of them with a specific plan. From there the artists will generally take that idea and run with it. If it ends up being something I am not happy with we make edits and changes until it’s where I want it to be. Each artist put their own unique spin on “Set” who is kind of Iced Earth’s mascot. They all had their own interpretation of the character which is something I really loved. You could tell it was Set but the Set character does not have one specific look or logo like Batman or one of those other superheroes. Everyone added their own style which made this part a lot of fun.

AL: The book features two different covers. Does each of the books feature something different that the other does not aside from the alternate cover art?

JS: The books will all be the same on the inside. There are actually four covers in all. Two main covers were done and then did two nude variations of Jim Balent’s cover. Those covers are limited to 100 and 150 copies. The slip case for each book is the same but inside is where you will find all the virgin art aside from the spine which has to include an identifiable marker denoting what the work is. I had a chance recently to see some of the test and it looks amazing! It’s all printed on nice heavy paper with lots of colors. Even the text pages are predominately color.

AL: “Wicked Words and Epic Tales” is the first book to be released via Wicked Tales LLC which you own. Can we be expecting more books from you in the future?

JS: This was my first step in to learning how to self publish. There will be more books however they will not be lyric books. Going forward the timing will depend on what happens with the music business as it relates to what is going on in the world right now. My band is international and I am not sure when or if we will be able to travel freely again. With the members being spread out and living in various places putting together or planning an Iced Earth tour production just can’t happen right now. My plan since 1997 when I first created the “Something Wicked” universe was to always end up being in comics and graphic novels once I retired the band. It’s a killer story with a lot of potential to dive in to so that’s always been my plan. This book was a test and something I started before the world went in to lock down. When that I happened I just continued to work. There will be more things coming out however I don’t have a specific date as it will be after Iced Earth retired. I am getting close to that time but I still want to do one or two more records before that day comes.

AL: If someone did not pre-order the book via Kickstarter will fans still be able to get a copy?

JS: We will have some extra copies available through the Iced Earth merch store. We are in negotiations with Plastic Head who handles our merchandise in Europe about our options. Shipping an item this heavy is quite pricey so we are trying to figure out a way to get to more than just the United States where a majority of the sales have occurred. We hope to have that figured out very soon. In the future we may release a digital and/or trade paperback. There also could be a second printing if the demand is there.

To find out more about “Wicked Words and Epic Tales” click here                  

D.J. MacHale talks about “Are You Afraid of the Dark?” TV series and “Pendragon” Book Series

D.J. MacHale is a writer, director, executive producer and creator of several popular television series, including Nickelodeon’s “Are You Afraid of the Dark?”.  As an author, his ten-volume book series:  Pendragon:  Journal of an Adventure Through Time and Space became a New York Times #1 bestseller.

Other notable television writing credits include the ABC Afterschool Specials, the pilot for the long-running PBS/CBS series Ghostwriter; and the HBO series Encyclopedia Brown, Boy Detective for which he received a CableAce nomination for writing.

Media Mikes had a chance to chat with D.J. about “Are You Afraid of the Dark?”, “Ghostwriter” and “Pendragon” via Zoom and the video is posted below! Please enjoy and leave comments below of your favorite episodes of “Are You Afraid of the Dark?”.

Digital Review “Infinity Train: Book One”

“Infinity Train” is a new show created by Owen Dennis (former writer and storyboard artist from “Regular Show”) which aired on Cartoon Network. The show was split into two books, the first book will take you on a journey will all 10 episodes from the first season. Also included with Book One is an hour of epic bonus features including commentaries, documentaries, animatics, and more! I love the animation style from this show, it is simple yet extremely complex. The colors are so vibrant. I can’t wait to see what season two will bring as each episode literally draws you in deeper and deeper into the mystery of the show.

Official Premise: Join Tulip on a mind-bending journey aboard the mysterious Infinity Train, alongside her companions Atticus, the canine king of Corginia, and One-One, a robot with dueling personalities. With puzzles and perils awaiting them in every car and the relentless Steward on their trail, will Tulip ever find a way off the train and return home?

The voice cast is also very impressive Ashley Johnson aka Chrissy Seaver in “Growing Pains” and tons of other voice over projects including “Teen Titans” and the video game “The Last of Us”. Also included is Ernie Hudson aka Winston Zeddemore in the Ghostbusters film series. Reocurring characters include Kate Mulgrew aka Captain Kathryn Janeway on Star Trek: Voyager, Lena Headey aka Cersei Lannister on Game of Thrones and Dee Bradley Baker from Phineas and Ferb, SpongeBob SquarePants and 100’s of other shows.

Infinity Train: Book One is available to own on Digital. Digital purchase allows consumers to instantly stream and download all episodes to watch anywhere and anytime on their favorite devices. Digital movies and TV shows are available from various digital retailers including Amazon Video, iTunes, Google Play, Vudu and others.

SPECIAL FEATURES

  • Animatics
  • Infinity Train Gallery
  • Commentary
  • The Mix of the Final Episode
  • The Train Documentaries

10 EPISODES

  1. The Grid Car
  2. The Beach Car
  3. The Corgi Car
  4. The Crystal Car
  5. The Cat’s Car
  6. The Unfinished Car
  7. The Chrome Car
  8. The Ball Pit Car
  9. The Past Car
  10. The Engine

The Thriving Book Market

We’re seeing the impact of the coronavirus outbreak ripple throughout many different types of businesses across the world – where some are having a hard time staying afloat as they rely on the foot traffic of tourism and visitors, and others struggle as event closures force them to adjust periods of time where they would see increased numbers of business – we’re also seeing others manage to thrive and perform extremely well given the circumstances. Some of the more successful ones are the usual suspects – digital media is a huge part of our lives as we are more than ever connected with our mobile devices, whether you’re looking to play at a casino not blocked by Gamstop, or some of the bigger strategy games that are being advertised everywhere right now, but also if you’re looking for somewhere to watch movies or videos – you have an ever growing library of options.

An industry that many may not have thought of as one that would look strong during the crisis however – book sales. As many are asked to stay in an effort to reduce the spread, many are finding ways to distract themselves without the use of their mobile devices and laptops, and as a result we’ve seen an increase of fiction book sales within the UK rise by over 33%. The increase in book sales has also seen an increase in puzzle books, handicrafts and true crime novels also. 

As schools have seen closure and children have had to also remain at home, many parents are having to find ways of home-schooling – children’s education books have seen an increase in sales by 234% since lockdowns went into effect in early March.

Now this primary increase may be solely focused within the e-book industry as brick and mortar stores remain closed – and many may be asking what this means going forward. Physical book stores had started to see some recovery through the last couple of years after falling on hard times and many finding closure – but after a change in attitude toward e-books and toward the more traditional paperback, to now having to go through another struggle so soon. With the efforts to keep people indoors seeming to be extended for longer periods of time as numbers grow and concerns grow alongside, it’s likely that we’ll see sales numbers continue to increase alongside them, but can the market remain strong when we return to some normalcy?

The good signs will likely continue for our video media however – Netflix has continued to remain strong throughout as they provide entertainment for the masses, and Disney+ seemingly had a perfectly timed release as it came as the lockdown begun, giving many an option for something new with a huge library to capture nostalgia – many will remain thankful however that our technology and innovations allow us a way to escape from the everyday bleak news around us, and disappear in to a long story to captivate the imagination of millions, and to engage the minds of those stuck at home.

Book Review: “A Long Time Ago In a Cutting Room Far, Far Away”

  • A LONG TIME AGO IN A CUTTING ROOM FAR, FAR AWAY
  • Author:  Paul Hirsch
  • Hardcover
  • 384 pages
  • Published by Chicago Review Press Fo

A few years ago I had the pleasure of hosting a test screening for director John Hancock’s film, “The Looking Glass.”  After the film, as I drove John, his wife Dorothy Tristan (the film’s star and co-writer) and film editor Dennis O’Connor back to their hotel, I was amazed by the conversation between the director and editor.  They discussed certain scenes in the film, curious whether they had gone a beat too long or perhaps not long enough.  What impressed me the most was that even the suggestion of removing ONE FRAME of film – 1/24th of a second – could have a true impact in how the film was presented.

Armed with this very limited knowledge, I was eager to read the new book “A Long Time Ago In a Cutting Room Far, Far Away,” written by Academy Award winning film editor Paul Hirsch.  Where to begin?

The book is a rare inside glimpse into the careers, and minds, of three of the most acclaimed filmmakers of their time:  Brian De Palma, George Lucas and John Hughes. 

Mr. Hirsch got his start with De Palma, editing the director’s first five features, including “Phantom of the Paradise,” “Obsession” and “Carrie.”  It is while editing “Carrie” that he is shown photographs from a currently-in-production space opera called “Star Wars.”  Impressed with what he’s seen, Mr. Hirsch secretly wishes he could work on “Star Wars.”  His wish is granted when Lucas invites him to help edit the film alongside co-editors Marcia Lucas (George’s wife) and Richard Chew.  Soon Mr. Hirsch realizes it’s just him on the project and his stories about the finalization of the film, right down to the color of Darth Vader’s light sabre, are amazing. For his work on “Star Wars,” Mr. Hirsch, Mr. Chew and Ms. Lucas were awarded the Academy Award for Best Film Editing.

The book is written in a very simple style.  Not a lot of technical jargon, just great stories told to you as if Mr. Hirsch was sharing them over dinner.  There are many chapters devoted solely to one film, including “Carrie” (we learn about De Palma’s love for the split-screen), “Star Wars,” “The Fury,” “Blow Out,” “Ferris Buehler’s Day Off,” “Planes, Trains and Automobiles,” “Ray” and so many more.  A veritable journey down the Yellow Brick Road to revisit some of the most popular and influential films of the past four decades.

If you’ve always wondered about how a film is put together, or just want to learn some behind the scenes secrets of your favorite films, then this is the book for you!  You can order “A Long Time Ago In a Cutting Room Far, Far Away,” which will be released on November 5th, by clicking HERE.   

Book Review: “A Professor’s Guide to Writing Essays: The No-Nonsense Plan for Better Writing” by Dr. Jacob Neumann

Many students feel too overwhelmed with their curriculum to do any additional reading. It’s understandable as they have millions of tasks that need urgent focus, so fiction and non-fiction genres are left in their past, freer life — as long as they aren’t assigned them in college or uni. This trend is depressing since reading is essential in many ways, from cognitive to social. Researchers from Psychology Today Schwanenflugel and Knapp confirm that reading improves brain function and helps in studies. Interestingly, it might happen both directly and indirectly.

 “A Professor’s Guide to Writing Essays: The No-Nonsense Plan for Better Writing”written by DoctorNeumann is a non-fiction book with the power to bring benefits in two ways at once. First, it’s deeply engaging and stimulating. Second, it’s essential for studies because regardless of whether you are still in high school or if you’re tackling complex uni challenges, writing essays is a task that will follow you everywhere. Knowing how to do it will save you tons of time.

The Content of Neumann’s Book and What Makes It Stand Out

DoctorNeumann has worked as a professor in many areas and on different educational levels. He’s seen the struggles his students face with crafting their essays personally, and it encouraged him to write a book that would help them improve their writing. So, Neumann’s book explores the concept of academic essays and provides useful tips on how to structure ad compose them. He raises such topics as the creation of helpful outline, effective introduction, strong thesis, and logical paragraphs. Neumann also explains how to avoid plagiarism, which is essential since unless your paper is 100% unique, you risk facing a disciplinary hearing and even suspension. This way, his book presents a complex of suggestions aimed at facilitating your writing.   

But what makes this book special? Neumann discards the idea of each essay type differing from one another. Instead, he promotes the idea that writing principles stay the same in all cases, claiming that if you get a grasp on them once, you’ll be able to apply them over and over again.  He uses practical demonstrations and builds excellent and relevant associations that stay in the memory of his readers for a long time. For example, when explaining transitions and their role in the structuring of the paragraphs, Neumann draws the comparison with road signs. Such vivid examples help demonstrate the rules much better than long theoretical explanations.

The Audience Neumann’s Book Targets

Published in 2016, Neumann’s book has quickly gained popularity because of how relevant and useful its central topic is to different groups of people. Since it revolves around academic writing, all people involved in this sphere can benefit from reading it. There are four specific groups that can be seen as its target audience.

·         The youth. Young people of all ages study in schools, colleges, or universities, and all of them have to inevitably write essays. Nearly all of them face problems on their way to a good grade, so Neumann’s book is perfect for them. They’re the primary audience since it’s students who inspired the author to write his guide.    

·         Professors. Teachers are also an important audience since they might grow frustrated with having to explain the rules of writing to their classes repeatedly. With Neumann’s book, they have a chance to save their time and make explanations rich and on-point. 

·         Academic writing professionals. The area of academic writing is fast, and many specialists are joining it daily to help students with their tasks. Some essay structure nuances might be a novelty to them, which is why Neumann’s book is a recommended reading in such places. To understand the rules intimately, people working for admission essay writing service from EduBirdie all read this book thoroughly before they start working. This helps them avoid mistakes and achieve the best results for their clients.   

·         Adults entering the education sphere. Many adults who didn’t have a chance to graduate go back to school or get jobs where knowing how to write academically is essential. Neumann’s book targets them as well. It’s written in a way that will be engaging to people regardless of their age, so they will all find it worth their time. 

The Best Kind of Books: Easy and Beneficial Reading

Best books don’t underwhelm you — they stimulate and relax you at the same time, capturing your interest and teaching you something useful. “A Professor’s Guide to Writing Essays: The No-Nonsense Plan for Better Writing”by Neumann is a great example of such books. Dunn from Psychology Today mentioned how academic writing doesn’t have to be boring or stuffy, and Neumann has met this particular goal brilliantly. If you wonder how to cope with your essay tasks, just give it a try. It’s short but extremely illustrative.

Biography

Robert is a writer from Edubirdie who unwaveringly stays in touch with the modern content market. He understands the reasons underlying the popularity of books or research and the uniqueness of their creation. The world of literature is diverse, and Robert strives to make it brighter by adding his own contributions to it.  

Oscar Winning Film Editor Paul Hirsch Talks About His Career and His New Book

Oscar winning film editor Paul Hirsch has been fortunate in that he has worked numerous times with two of Hollywood’s best known filmmakers, Brian DePalma and John Hughes.  He also won an Academy Award for his work (along with Marcia Lucas and Richard Chew) on one of the most popular films of all time, “Star Wars.”  With a book highlighting his career about to be released, Mr. Hirsch took the time to answer some questions about his lengthy career.

 

MIKE SMITH:  What drew you to become a film editor?

 

PAUL HIRSCH:  A number of things.  I was fascinated when I first saw a Moviola.  I was blown away by a festival of Orson Welles films.  I liked working with my hands, and was drawn to the tools.  I loved movies.

 

MS:  Other film editors I’ve interviewed had mentors they admired.  I recently spoke with Arthur Schmidt and he told me that he learned under Dede Allen and Neil Travis.  Did you have someone whose work you admired and/or who took you under their wing?

 

PH:  Brian DePalma was my mentor.  He encouraged me, empowered me, validated my work and deeply influenced me.  I was cutting his films from the age of 23, and so never worked under a professional feature film editor.  I learned by doing and studying how films I admired were cut.  I was sort of like the art students you see in museums, copying the masters.

 

MS:   How did you come to edit “Hi Mom” for Brian DePalma?

 

I had cut the trailer for “Greetings,” thanks to my brother.  When they got the money to do a sequel, titled “Son of Greetings,” Brian hired me to cut it.

 

MS:   Five or your first six films were with DePalma.  He is well known – and often criticized – for his use of split-screen (the prom from “Carrie” being a great example).  Was that something you discussed in the editing room or was that his original vision?

An example of the split screen process used in “Carrie”

PH:  Split screen is Brian’s thing.  I can’t take credit for it, but I do love and appreciate the tension that can result from juxtaposing images on the screen, even if, or rather, especially if, the screen isn’t actually split.  I’m referring to deep focus shots, which have become a lost art, where you have a near object on one side, and a distant one on the other.  Brian did that a lot, using split diopters, with tremendous success.

 

MS:   A lot of the young filmmakers in the 70s (DePalma, Spielberg, Scorsese, Lucas) were very close with each other.  Is that how you were hired for “Star Wars?”

 

PH:  Yes.  Brian screened the final cut of “Carrie” for George and Marcia Lucas on their return from principal photography on”Star Wars” in England.  They needed help, and turned to me.

 

MS:  How difficult was it editing a film where you sometimes had to wait months for a finished special effects shot?

 

PH:  We had ways around that.  We would cut in place-holders or a piece of leader that we estimated was the right length.

 

MS:  You, along with Marcia Lucas and Richard Chew, received the Academy Award for your work on “Star Wars.”  Where do you keep your Oscar?

Richard Chew, Marcia Lucas and Paul Hirsch hoist their Oscars with presenter Farrah Fawcett

PH:  It’s on a bookshelf in my office.

 

MS:  You’ve done eleven films with DePalma but, surprisingly, not ‘The Untouchables.”  Was there a reason you didn’t cut that picture?

 

PH: I moved to the West Coast after “Blow Out.”  I didn’t cut a picture for Brian in the ensuing ten years.  We next worked together on “Raising Cain,” when he was living in California.

 

MS:  You also worked a lot with John Hughes.  How was he to work with and were there any major differences in the way he and DePalma approached a film?

 

PH:  John was a lot of fun to work with until he wasn’t.  He was a brilliant artist, but had mercurial moods.  But I had a great time working with him.  John was a writer, primarily, and his medium was words, by and large. Brian is a great visualist.  His ideas are primarily graphic, both in terms of camera movement, which no one does better, and in terms of visual story-telling, that is to say, how scenes can be constructed in the editing room.

 

MS:   Hal Ashby was a great film editor who went on to become a fine director.  Have you ever wanted to direct?

 

PH:  I did want to for a while, and then the fever broke.  I like working all the time, and editing afforded me that.  To me, directing was like perpetually running for office.  I’m more of an introvert, and editing suits me just fine.

 

MS:   Your most recent film was the Tom Cruise version of “The Mummy.”  What is the biggest difference between cutting a film now and forty-plus years ago?

 

PH:  There’s a lot more reliance on vfx now, which consumes a lot of time and energy.  And when I started out, directors were given much more discretion.  The director was the key creative figure in the package, often with final cut.  That happens less these days.  If a director had a hit back then, the studio would ask, “What do you want to do next?”  Today, the projects are developed by the studio, and the director is “cast” the same way you would choose an actor for a role.  Producers and studio executives are much more involved in the editing process these days.

 

MS:  What can you tell us about your new book?

Mr. Hirsch’s book will be released on November 1st and is currently available to order now on Amazon.com and other sites.

PH:  It’s an account of my adventures in Movie-land, my experiences of the last fifty years and what I learned during that time.  I write about the various projects I worked on, and the fascinating people I encountered.  I share some of the insights I picked up along the way as I made my way into the industry.  It’s not a how-to book, which I consider boring.  And it’s not a gossipy tell-all where I get revenge on the jerks I met along the way, which really weren’t that many when I think about it.  The people I got along with are much more interesting.  I meant it to be entertaining above all.  I hope people will read it for pleasure. I’ve had a number of friends read it.  Editors in particular seem to like it, but I think anyone who is curious about what goes on behind the scenes in our business will find it fun to read.

 

MS:  Are you working on anything new?

 

PH:  I’ve been working on the book for many years, first writing it, and then editing it.  I only just recently finished going over the page proofs.  I’m going to take my time now, reading scripts, and will see if anything pings my interest.  I’m sure it’s only a matter of time.

Author Matt Brady talks about his new book “The Science of Rick and Morty”

Matt Brady is a high school science teacher and pop culture writer based in North Carolina. Prior to working in education, Brady co-founded and was editor-in-chief of Newsarama, which received the first Eisner Award for Best Comics-related Journalism. Brady is also the founder of The Science Of…, a website that uses pop culture to help us better understand science. Media Mikes had a chance to chat with Matt about his new book “The Science of Rick and Morty”.

Mike Gencarelli: When did you first encounter Cartoon Network’s Rick and Morty and why did it spark your interest?
Matt Brady: I think I found it like a lot of its audience – through the word of mouth of the internet – memes, clips and jokes. I got into it shortly after season 1 had wrapped so I inhaled that, and was waiting and then watching along with everyone else for season 2 and 3.

I dug it from the start due to the characters. I guess it’s probably not the best thing to say that every now and then, Rick would have a line or a comeback I wish I had – or rather, could – use with someone, and I love it. The dynamic between all the characters was something new, and went in directions that I hadn’t seen before – which made it even better.

The science was honestly, at the start, gravy. I really liked the call outs and the references to larger concepts with scientific footing, but yeah – it was the characters that hooked me, and the science that helped to keep me.

MG: Being a high school science teacher, tell us how and why you use pop culture, like Rick and Morty, in your classroom?
MB: After I left Newsarama.com ten years or so ago, I went straight into teaching at a Title 1 high school. “Title 1” has nothing to do with athletics or honestly, anything that…braggy. It’s just a classification that schools are in when a set percentage of their students qualify for free and reduced lunch. In simpler words, it’s an index of poverty.

So there I was, a middle-aged white dude in a class of minority students who were giving me nothing but the side-eye. I figured out fast that I needed some kind of middle ground where we could all meet, and that was pop culture. I was still steeped in it, so I tried it out with my students…I think my first foray was a Flash problem set about velocity. Looking back on it, it was pretty rough, but hey – there was a sheet with a picture of The Flash on it, and some science stuff that they recognized.

Using pop culture helps to engage my kids with the material, and gives them a sense of “ownership” – they feel that they, in a way, “own” say, the CW’s Flash or Arrow (at that time, they were huge with my kids), so their attraction would pull them along. Moving on, I found The Fast and the Furious, Deadpool, Black Panther, Ant-Man, and loads more references that helped to engage my kids.

I mean, when you think about it – pop culture has no native language…it’s just cool. With some judicious picking of samples that are appropriate for your students and aligned to the science standard you’re teaching, you can have kids eating out of your hand. And on top of that, my kids started seeing me as a person, rather than “that white guy,” or just a “teacher,” something just a little bit better than a robot.

Bringing pop culture in was and has been one of the most rewarding things about teaching in my career to date.

MG: Which of Rick’s experiments were you most shocked about being able to becoming a reality?
MB: Easy – altering memories. Memories are largely structure – the connections between various neurons in the brain that make a pathway. Once that pathway is laid down, you’ve got a memory. Want to remember something? That pathway lights up again, either directly “p comes before t in the alphabet,” or indirectly like when you have to sing the alphabet song to find that piece of information. You’re coming in a side door to that particular memory.

But – the thing is, when those memories are being recalled – remembered – they’re vulnerable. They’re open to re-forming their pathways if you repeat the information that made them, but those pathways can re-form in different ways if new information is added in or swapped out for some of the original information. Do it subtly enough, and you can change people’s memories. I mean – not like to the point you’re remembering Hamurai or Cousin Nick who’ve always been around and part of the family, but in pretty insidious ways.

There’s evidence that some “repressed” memories that have put people in jail were memories that had been altered – innocently – by therapists in this fashion. Also, there was a study that was being conducted where the researchers were testing their ability to change the long-held memories of people, and they did it so well, they had to cancel the study, and assure the subjects that their original memories, which they were now questioning, were in fact, real.

It’s fun stuff when it shows up on Rick and Morty, but in real life…yikes.

MG: What do you think makes this show so popular?
MB: The characters and their relationships. They’re so rich, and have grown over the three seasons, and we still have no idea how much deeper they go.

Don’t get me wrong – the science is great, but if the characters weren’t who they are, no one would even tune in to hear about “concentrated dark matter” or uplifting Snowflake into a hyper-intelligent dog.

This show has such an expansive and complicated universe surrounding it. Did you ever this you would be discussing turning yourself into a pickle in the same sentence as dark matter and energy and intelligence hacking?

Well, honestly there were some things I did skip that were just waaaay too out there to consider – like turning yourself into a pickle. But yeah – dark matter and intelligence hacking are in there.

But all in all, I never thought I would end up covering such a wide swath of science, no. But that’s the show for you – anything’s possible, and whenever they can, Justin Roiland, Dan Harmon and the writers like to tag some real science mention to it that gives fans a hint of the real deal that gave the idea in the show its inspiration.

MG: What was your biggest challenge in writing The Science of Rick and Morty?
MB: Leaving stuff behind was one. You mentioned turning into a pickle. Given enough time, I could’ve probably finished thinking of a way to throw some science at it…maybe he placed just a replica of his brain in there, and then…hmmm…

Also – just getting what I got in there in the first place. A lot of the science in the show that I did pull into the book is at the fringes of what we think we might…someday be able to do with it, but that meant going to those fringes, talking to researchers there and turning what they said and what I read into something I could wrap my head around. There were days, after talking to some folks that literally felt like I was stoned, and maybe started to question reality a little too much.

MG: You are the founder of TheScienceOf.org website. How did your idea for the site come about and what can readers learn from the site?
MB: The site is something that my wife and I started (she’s a science teacher too) when we realized that we could use it to reach other teachers who wanted to use methods similar to what we do, and also as a place where I could just write about pop culture meeting science. In all the articles there, I’m always careful to approach the subject so as not to rain on anyone’s parade. I’m not interested in telling people that Superman can’t fly, or Iron Man’s suit is impossible. That’s just not cool.

I want the science in pop culture to do for others what it did for me – inspire. I’m old enough to have watched Star Trek after school when I was young, and – along with a lot of other folks who went on to NASA, JPL and a lot of other places, dreamed about a world where communicators were real things, and we could visit other planets. I firmly believe that we imagine our collective future, and science fiction and pop culture is one of our most important guides. Why would I ever want to throw the door closed on someone who’s thinking that a world with Iron Man suits would be really cool, and is starting to play with their school’s 3D printer and some cardboard, along with some circuit boards and LEDs? I want that kid to build that suit, not have a dream crushed because someone smacked their hero with science. So yeah – please come on by and check out some of the articles. It’s not updated as frequently as I’d like, but hey…that classroom keeps me pretty busy, too.

MG: What can we expect next from you?
MB: More on the site – I hope…and hopefully, another book. Still working out some details now, but there is something definitely on that back burner that’s moving up to the front. I’ve also written science columns in Tom Peyer and Jamal Igle’s “The Wrong Earth” and have more coming up in the Dragonfly Man miniseries this fall. Bits and pieces of science and pop culture all over.

Matt will be signing copies of “The Science of Rick and Morty” at the Simon & Schuster booth at NYCC on 10/5 at 10:30 AM

And also be sure to follow him on social media:
Twitter: @Scienceof_org
FB: @thesciof

 

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Actor/Comedian Jason Stuart Talks About His New Book and Latest Projects

With almost 150 film and television credits to his name, I’m pretty sure you’ve seen Jason Stuart on screen.  From small screen appearances on shows like “The Drew Carey Show,” “My Wife and Kids” and “Will & Grace” to his acclaimed performance in – in this writer’s humble opinion – the Best Film of 2016, “The Birth of a Nation,” he continues to add to his ever growing resume’.   He recently added a new chapter to his career story – author – with the release of his book “Shut Up, I’m Talking!”  The book details his career as well as the challenges he faced

I recently spoke with Jason about his new book and about how coming out in 1993 effected both his life and his career.

Photo Credit: Kimo Lauder

MIKE SMITH:  What prompted you to write the book?

 

JASON STUART:  I had a very good friend who worked with me on a comedy radio show I did in the Midwest.    His name was Dan Duffy and he had written a book called “The Half Book,”  He called me and told me I needed to read his book.  I bought the book and read it.  It was about him getting cancer and how he recovered, how he survived with the love of his family.  It was funny and it was touching and I was so moved by it that I told him “I need someone like you to help me write my book.”  And he said he’d love to do it.  So that was it.  I always think when something is put in front of you it’s meant to be.

 

MS:  Any reactions from your friends who may not have known you story?

 

JS:  That’s a great question.  Tons of people.  When I decided to write it I thought about it as a way to get my story out, to let people see me in a different way…to help my career and to possibly get some publicity.  Maybe I’ll make a little money.  But then I realized, “OH!  People are also going to be reading this book.  They’re going to hear all of these things I said about my personal life.  And they’re going to have opinions about it.”  I totally forget about that part.  People have been really candid.  People have stopped me on the street or called me…it’s been a lot of really positive energy.  Much more than I ever thought.

Photo credit: Sean Black

 

MS:  Do you think there is still a stigma in Hollywood that prevents gay actors from getting certain roles?

 

JS:  It’s certainly not what it was 26 years ago, but I still think that when somebody sees you a certain way it’s very hard for them to see that you would be right for certain roles.  Hollywood doesn’t seem to want actors, they seem to want “be-ers.”  My favorite actor growing up was Dustin Hoffman.  He still is.  He played Lenny Bruce.  He played Benjamin in “The Graduate.”  He played the father in “Kramer vs Kramer,” he was Captain Hook.  He was Willy Loman.  He did all sorts of roles.  You don’t really get to do that as much, but I’ve been able to make a career out of doing that.  When something comes along and they tell me I’m perfect for it, it’s not always clear to me.  We don’t always see ourselves as others see us.  Being a gay man over 50 – there are very few “gay men” parts over 50.  They don’t write them.  That role doesn’t exist very much.  So I wind up playing villains…managers…all these kind of characters.  What I want to do is play dads…because everybody has a dad.

MS:  If I can ask my question more directly, do you ever think because they know that you’re gay that you’re easily dismissed for certain roles?

 

JS:  I think so.  People are like that somewhat.  I’d have to say it’s natural.  People have to “see it.”  See you do the work.  Which is why I’ve created several demo reels.  They have to see that you can do it.  You have to be able to prove it to them.  You have to be able to get someone to represent you that is open enough to do that for you.

 

MS; You’ve done both television and film.  Do you have a preference?

 

JS:  Not any more.  Today there is no difference.  It’s about the quality of work.  I ask you a question back:  what is a television show and what is a film?

 

MS:  I think, to me, the difference is that in television, or on stage in a successful show, you have the opportunity to keep developing the character as the series or show progresses.  With a film, you’re only dealing with the role for a few months.  Does that make sense?

 

JS; Yes it does.

 

MS:  What are you working on now?

 

JS:  I have a new film called “Hank” which is now out all over the country.  It’s a short film about a guy in a relationship whose partner decides he wants an open relationship and I don’t.  It’s gotten some of the best reviews I’ve received since “The Birth of a Nation.”  And then I’m in a film called “Immortal” which is opening at the Scream Film Festival.  It’s a thriller and it’s opening on the 16th of October.  I’m also doing stand-up at the Icehouse Comedy Club in Pasadena.  I also just completed a web-series I wrote, produced and appeared in called “Smothered” with Mitch Hara.  I’m also being considered for a recurring role in a big series – I can’t say which one – as well as a national commercial.

MS:  It’s good to be busy.

 

JS:  It is.  I feel very blessed.

IF YOU’RE INTERESTED IN ORDERING MR. STUART’S BOOK, YOU CAN FIND IT ON AMAZON.COM, BARNESandNOBLE.COM OR YOU CAN ORDER IT FROM THE PUBLISHER HERE.

Book Review: “Heavy Tales: The Metal. The Music. The Madness. As Lived By Jon Zazula”

“Heavy Tales: The Metal. The Music. The Madness.  As Lived By Jon Zazula”
Author: Jon Zazula/Harold Claros-Maldonado
Paperback: 193 pages

Our Score: 4 out of 5 stars

“Heavy Tales” details the stories of how one Jonathan Zazula better known as Jonny Z who went from living on the streets of the Bronx in New York City to managing and releasing albums by some of the biggest artists in heavy metal music including Metallica, Anthrax, Testament and Mercyful Fate. Together, Jonny and his wife Marsha built a musical dynasty out of modest beginnings unmatched by any other underground heavy metal label. With a foreword written by Testament vocalist Chuck Billy, plus over 100 rare photographs unearthed from the Mega-Vault and photographer friends worldwide, “Heavy Tales” is the definitive American story of a family man with a dream, determined to prove to the world that heavy metal belonged on the stage, in your car, on the radio, and in your living room.

Growing up around the college town of Ithaca, NY you would always hear rumblings of the fabled Pyramid Studios and how all these heavy metal bands from the city would make the five plus hour drive just to record there. A name that was often attached along with that of bands like Anthrax, Testament and Raven was Jonny Z. It wasn’t until sometime later when I myself had the chance to record at Pyramid Studios that I would go back and dig a little deeper in to the lore that surrounds Mr. Jon Zazula. “Heavy Tales” filled in all the gaps, lapses and holes as it is the story right from the horse’s mouth. With the help of Harold Claros-Maldonado, Jon tells you about how his rough upbringing and  keen business sense put him at the fore-front of the heavy metal invasion of the mid-eighties and into early nineties where he help orchestrate the early foundations of cross over Rap-Metal. Just reading the candid stories about Metallica’s early days (Pre-“Master of Puppets”) would have been more than enough for me but Z takes it further recounting numerous concerts, trips and pivotal first time meetings which until now were stories only heard by select few and/or those who lived it.

Counting in at just over 190 pages “Heavy Tales” is a quick read that wastes no time getting to the good stuff. The book and its authors give you just enough background to nicely set the stage for the bulk of each story. I had no problem reading this book in one sitting and the various photographs included in the book were a nice touch. If you grew up during the time period the book covers and was in to heavy metal you undoubtedly have a record that Jonny Z had a hand in and now is your chance to hear his story.

 

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The Book of Life Sequel Could be Right Around the Corner

The 2014 animation, The Book of Life, is still one of the most unique and unconventional cartoons in cinematic history. The Jorge R. Gutierrez film was renowned for its gorgeous visuals and heart-warming plot, which took viewers into a number of different fantasy worlds. It has been revealed that the story is not over, and the director has ideas which could take place over at least two sequels. So, what could happen in the next instalment, and will it have the same magical feel of the first?

The Book of Life was not up there in scale with some of the huge Pixar films like Toy Story or Finding Nemo, but for a film from an independent animation studio, it was a massive success. The 2014 offering was made by Reel FX Creative Studios, who had only created two films – Cirque du Soleil: World’s Away and Free Birds – prior to its release. The animated adventure, which makes use of wooden figure characters, had some big-name producers, including Guillermo Del Toro. This helped it to gain attention and reach large audiences.

The theme of The Book of Life is well-known, and this is one of the main factors that helped it attract audiences. It takes place during the Day of the Dead, a famous Mexican holiday to celebrate those who have passed on to another realm of existence. While not as ubiquitous as holidays like Halloween, the Mexican festival is prevalent in popular culture. For instance, the Day of the Dead slot is one of the most popular fruit slots at MagicalVegas.com. And the classic video game character Grim Fandango was based on the Mexican holiday, with the main character resembling a skeleton.

The Book of Life centres on Manolo Sanchez and Joaquin Mondragon as they compete for the love of Maria Posada. In the end, Manolo and Maria are happily married, and Joaquin resolves to be a true hero without the need for the Medal of Everlasting Life which had been given to him by Xibalba. The 2014 film finished off Manolo’s arc with a satisfying end, but there is still potential to revisit some of the other characters and see what happens to them.

Gutierrez said that he wants the sequel to focus on Joaquin as the central protagonist, and to explore his relationship with his father. If he was to make a third film, this one would have Maria as its primary focus. Indeed, the 44-year-old claimed that he always envisioned it as being a trilogy. In 2017, it was announced that work on the second instalment had begun, but distributer 20th Century Fox is yet to reveal a release date for the film.

If Gutierrez manages to recapture the charm of the original, while also delivering the amazing visuals, the Book of Life sequel is sure to be a stunning creation. And with the Day of the Dead becoming even more popular as a worldwide holiday, the new film is likely to pull in large audiences.

Review of the book “100 Interiors Around the World”

To begin with, it is important to highlight the fact that “100 Interiors Around the World” is one of the series of books published by Taschen. In this edition, you will be able to see the most impressive, unique and inspiring interiors from all over the world. The book contains 720 pages and is printed on high-quality paper. In general, “100 Interiors Around the World” will be a superb addition to your home book collection or a great gift idea for a person who is interested in interior design.

In order to write this book, the interiors in such countries as Argentina, France, Indonesia, the USA, Brazil, Cuba, China, Morocco, Italy, Denmark, Kenya and many others have been deeply researched. In case you are currently a student at a school of art or are attending an art course at college, school or university, this book will really be of great interest to you. Perhaps, it is even listed as one of the learning materials in teaching instructions provided by your professor.

Photos illustrated in the book have been taken by such renowned interior photographers as Nikolas Koenig, Mark Seelen, Marina Faust, Reto Guntli, Ditte Isager, Ricardo Labougle, Thomas Loof, Paul Warchol and a lot of others. If you find yourself in times of a mild school crisis, take a break and look through this book. You will get inspired right away. Viewing inspiring interiors and seeing how people organize their lives around certain objects is one of the best ways to take your mind off things and simply relax.

Taking everything into account, “100 Interiors Around the World” is an extremely interesting book to read not only for those who are interested in interior design, but also to readers who want to learn more about other cultures. The way in which an interior of a certain house is designed tells a lot about traditions, customs and popular styles within a country under consideration. Therefore, this book offers a glimpse of interior design preferences around the world. This edition highlights how personal taste can be both different and universal at the same time. When reading the book, you will come across classic, exotic, rustic, unusual, experimental and even playful interiors. You will definitely be impressed as you will most likely realize how the personality of a human being is usually reflected in the style of interior design they have chosen for decorating their house.

In case you are currently working on the task of writing a book review on “100 Interiors Around the World” and you are not quite sure what to dwell upon in your piece of writing, there is a superb solution on hand. Instead of racking your brains on this task, try placing an order on the website of a reliable and fast custom essay writing service for a change. A highly qualified writer will be assisting you in the process of completing this assignment. What is more, you will be able to finally take a break. While you are enjoying yourself, the team of writers at one of the essay writing services you choose will be working on your task. You will receive a well-written and properly formatted sample paper right on time.

The main reason why students are looking for a fast essay writing service is rather obvious: the schedule is so hectic it is really difficult to do everything on their own. What is more, no one really knows how to write a 5 page essay fast as the accomplishment of this task requires careful planning and a profound research study. Thus, googling something like essay writing service quick seems like the most reasonable solution. Perhaps, there even exists a fast scholarship essay writing service for those who need to submit a unique piece of writing so that to get that scholarship. Anyway, there is nothing wrong in terms of searching for an essay writing service fast when one is desperate and needs reliable paper writing help immediately. Getting a well-written sample paper will help a student figure out how to complete their own assignment quicker.