I think today’s comic makes a pretty good point about resuscitated franchises. But, truthfully, I probably wouldn’t have noticed the trend if The X-Files: I Want to Believe and The Mummy: Tomb of The Dragon Emperor weren’t released one week apart.
By the way, do you guys notice that sequels don’t have a number behind them anymore. You never see "X-Files 2" or "The Mummy 3" in any advertising or promotional materials. There’s always a subtitle to suggest that these stories are episodic and not the same old plots and characters being rehashed for a quick buck.
Originally, I wanted to make a joke about how long it was taking to bring these sequels to theaters. The punchline would have been somewhere along the lines of Jared sarcastically suggesting that Hollywood spit out their lame retreads at a faster rate so we can get on with our lives. “Don’t make us wait so long next time!” It would have been a little wordy.
I don’t mind sequels, but I appreciate the films more when they service a larger story. The Lord of The Rings or the Harry Potter movies immediately spring to mind.
Of course, there are those movies that are kind of a one-shot deal, prove popular and then expand into a larger mythology in their sequels. You could put Star Wars, Back to the Future and The Matrix in that category.
But X-Files, The Mummy and – yes- even Indiana Jones are all naked money grabs. The fact of the matter is, if you had a larger story to tell, you would have told it by now.
There are degrees to how critical I am towards some of these movies. Like the comic explains, Indiana Jones was a movie people wanted to see. There was demand for it after two decades. We may not have gotten the movie that we hoped for, but we held out for a pretty long time.
I can see some people who would be excited for another Mummy movie, even though The Mummy Returns was kind of stupid and it’s spin-off The Scorpion King was half-baked. I admire them for taking it another direction with the Chinese terracotta warrior angle. Although I wonder if Arnold Vosloo is pissed. Remember when the media made him “the next big thing?”
But what’s up with X-Files? Where was the demand for this? The last movie was 10 years ago, the television show ended 5 years ago and the last two seasons were crap. I could understand revisiting things further down the line if they answered some of the lingering questions from the established mythology, but from what I’ve heard, they went in a completely different direction and produced what is – in essence – a mediocre, two hour television episode. Whatever.
Lingering doubts toward The Mummy aside, I’m still kind of curious to check it out. It’s August already and summer is slipping through our fingers. I could go for one more lap around the Brainless Romp Amphitheater. Let’s go on a ride.
I don’t know if that’ll happen, though. Cami has no interest in the movie. Henry might be spending the night with my in-laws on Saturday, though and we’re going to have to find a way to fill the time. Cami thinks Swing Vote looks good. She’s a Kevin Costner fan. Personally, I think it looks like Hollywood pandering to NASCAR dads.
But I could get into that on Monday as well.
That’s all for me. It’s been quite a week. I hope you enjoy the weekend and I’ll see you here on Monday!
Today’s comic is based pretty closely to something that actually happened to us about a week ago. Cami and I were cleaning out our basement as part of our great “staycation” and we came across maybe four or five boxes stuffed with old VHS tapes.
“We never watch these,” she said. “We should get rid of them.”
It was hard to argue with her. I don’t even think we have a VCR in the house anymore. I believe we gave it to my sister-in-law for her to use in her classroom.
So instead of listing the individual movies of our collection (or even bothering to list it a as lot) on eBay or craigslist, we decided instead to gather up all the boxes and see what we could get for them at the Half Priced Book Store.
They took over 20 minutes to inventory our collection and, when it was all said and done, laid down the offer on the table: $4.50.
I can’t describe the reaction brewing in me. At first, it was outrage. Because you can’t believe someone else doesn’t place value on something you found so important at one time. Then futility sets in. Because you’re not going to haggle with them. What are they going to give you for the trouble “Oh, okay. I’ll give you $6.00 for it.” Eventually, regret sets in. You can’t believe you spent so much time and money amassing something so worthless. But in the end, you find acceptance. At this point, you just want the damn things out of your house. Nevermind the fact that it’s a dead format. They’ll probably hang onto them for a year before pitching them.
But, yeah… When Cami made the observation that we probably spent more in gas bringing them to the Half Priced Book Store than we did earning any money for their sale, I was a little annoyed. We literally would have made more money (and saved more time) if we had simply dumped them in the trash.
Not much else to talk about this morning except to remind you to check out The Triple Feature talkcast tonight at 9:00 PM over at TalkShoe.com. Tonight we’ll be talking aboutSwing Vote and The Mummy: Tomb of the Dragon Emperor. Be there!
Every once in a while the universe gives you an opportunity to correct a wrong. And – as unfortunate as the accident was – Morgan Freeman’s recent car crash in a weird way provided me the opportunity to make fun of myself after last week’s poorly received anti-Shia comic.
Again, however, I paint myself into the corner or “What if things had ended differently?!”Thankfully, as we all know by now, Mr. Freeman is in stable condition and expected to make a full recovery.
Interesting how fast the news spread on this one. People were sending me e-mails about it before I even had a chance to read the news. Of course, Mr. Freeman’s condition went from critical to stable and back and forth. I also find it odd how the news reports couldn’t seem to get it right regarding his injuries. I heard everything from broken arms and ribs to broken hands and feet.
We talked about this a little bit during Monday night’s Triple Feature podcast and I commented on how I thought it was cool that Freeman flipped a 1997 Nissan Maxima. In some way, I saw that as him "keeping it real." Turns out the car belonged to the passenger of the vehicle. I guess Freeman was driving her home. Who knows?
What matters is that everyone is recovering and doing well.
And that Morgan Freeman cannot be killed by conventional means.
Shifting gears for a moment, I’m in a bit of a situation.
If you happen to be one of my LiveJournal friends or Twitter followers, you know that I suffered a catastrophic failure last night in regards to my external hard drive. It’s a real problem. This hard drive contains every single Theater Hopper comic produced since 2003. Not to mention the work I was doing on Theater Hopper: Year Three and basically every other piece of art I’ve produced in relation to the site for the last five years
The drive also contains over 15,000 MP3 files, and all of our download photographs and videos. Henry walking, for example. Important stuff.
I don’t know what happened. The drive was working fine on Monday night. I tried firing it up on Tuesday to work on today’s comic and it wouldn’t connect. The light is on, so I know it’s getting power and the driver appears in the device manager so I know my desktop is at least aware of the external drive. But when it fires up, it clicks three times like it’s trying to turn over and then powers down.
I don’t know a lot about computers, but I know that clicking sound isn’t good.
I’m gathering consensus from around the internet and people are helping me troubleshoot it. Most everyone thinks that the drive has failed and I am screwed.
I’ve had a few suggestions like "Leave in the freezer for 8 hours, boot it up and then try to move the data over." Kind of sounds like a wives tale, but I’ve had at least two people suggest it. Problem is, even if it works, I don’t have enough storage anywhere else to move it to. More importantly, if an attempt is made, I cannot accept anything less than 100% recovery.
I really need your help with this. If you have any suggestions, please e-mail me at firstname.lastname@example.org. Even if it’s just suggesting a data recovery firm that you’ve worked with and had a good experience with. I’m completely directionless on this. I literally feel sick to my stomach.
Once I decide a course of action (which will probably be sending the drive to recovery) I’ll probably start some kind of fund raising drive or art auction. From what I’ve been told so far, data recovery doesn’t come cheap and I have no way to cover the costs right now. So, I guess keep an eye out for that in the future.
I appreciate your help and consideration. Have a great week and I’ll talk to you soon.
The clueless old woman an the stereotypical black guy are all talkative cliches savvy movie goers know to stay away from. The chatty stoner is an unfamiliar breed of annoying and I figure that since there aren’t that many stoner movies in theaters these days, tokers will be out in force this weekend for Pineapple Express.
I’m not exactly sure where the idea for today’s comic came from except I had a roommate in college who was high almost all of the time and he would not. shut. up! He once came home one night blitzed out of his skull and mumbled the them to Green Acres over and over again. Charming.
I was hoping to see Pineapple Express on Wednesday when it came out, but that was a day after THE GREAT HARD DRIVE CRASH OF ‘ 08 and my mind was a little preoccupied with that. I knew I wasn’t going to be able to enjoy the movie without dealing with that first.
I think I have things sorted out in terms of a plan of action. Sorted out enough that I should be able to see Pineapple Express tonight without being completely distracted.
I’m sending the hard drive off to a data recovery specialist in hopes of getting everything back. Once that’s done, I’m upgrading my system, getting a larger internal hard drive for immediate storage and another back-up external hard drive to save copies of files to.
I’m also looking at external hosting services to keep copies as well as plan on making DVD copies of everything.
I’ve been working with computers for over 15 years and it’s shameful how lax I’ve been about making backups. It’s never really bit me in the ass before now. Sucks I had to learn the hard way.
I wanted to take a moment to thank everyone that wrote in with their advice. If you sent me an e-mail and I didn’t reply, it’s not because I didn’t find your input helpful. It’s because I was bombarded with messages and it’s just impossible for me to get back to everyone right now.
Know that I read everyone’s message and I appreciate the time you took to help me with this problem.
The biggest obstacle left now is to pay for the data recovery service. It’s expensive. It can be anywhere between $500 and $2,500. Granted, the high end is for people who lost their data to a flood or fire. But the consultant I talked to estimated that I would be somewhere in the middle.
The problem is, I don’t have the money to cover it right now. So, come Monday, I’m going to launch a Donation Drive – probably in the form of original artwork. You pay a nominal fee and you get original artwork from me.
I felt a little cheesy asking for a handout. If you guys are able to help me at all, I want to give you something in return. But, yeah… look for details on that next week. I’m still making the final tweaks to copy and images I’m going to post on the site until the fund raising goal is met.
I’m also planning on approaching the webcomic news sites and serving myself as an advocate for data management. A sort of “what not to do” story that hopefully other people can learn from.
I find that, in webcomic circles, data management is not a topic that comes up very frequently and it is MISSION CRITICAL when you think about the long-term aspirations of your creative output. You have to back this stuff up. Period. It’s not a question of if a hard drive will fail, but when.
So, yeah. I’m going to try and make myself the spokesperson for that. We’ll see if it gets any traction, maybe bring a few people to the site and, hopefully, contribute to the cause.
That’s it for me today. Thanks again to everyone for their advice and encouragement. It’s done a lot to help me calm down and solve the problem rationally. With a little luck, we’ll be back on our feet in no time!
Have a good weekend, everyone. Take care!
Dudes, seriously. Four girls wear the same pants and they fit each of them perfectly. I’m telling you! MAGIC PANTS!
Now who wouldn’t want to see a movie about that?
I wish I could spend more time riffing on The Sisterhood of The Traveling Pants 2 with you, but I have to move on to more serious subject matter.
You might recall last week that I announced a great personal loss when the hard drive storing the last 5 years of original Theater Hopper artwork failed. I reached out to you and asked for suggestions on how to recover it. Many people wrote in with excellent ideas and, if they couldn’t extend any technical expertise, expressed sympathy and hope for the data’s retrieval.
I can tell you now that the wheels are in motion to put that data back in my hands. I have opted to send the hard drive to Ontrack Data Recovery. They aren’t the cheapest, but they just might be the best. And, in this case, I can’t risk anything less. It not only the last 5 years of Theater Hopper we’re talking about here, people. It’s years of family photos and videos that I need to get back. It sucks that I had to learn this lesson the hard way, but those are the breaks.
Unfortunately, data recovery is an expensive endeavor and I would be placed in dire straits financially if I attempted to absorb the cost on my own.
That is why I am reaching out to you. Starting today, I am promoting a donation drive to help me cover the cost of this unforeseen expense. I sincerely hope you take the time to look over my proposal and contribute in any way that you can.
I am not looking for a handout. I want to make your donation worth while. I wouldn’t reach out you unless the situation was absolutely critical. With hope, your donation will help bring about closure to this very difficult period and set things on the right track for the future.
I thank you personally for your continued support and will notify you with updates during the course of the drive. Please click the image below to learn more about the drive and what you can do to help
Back in March I did a comic about Tropic Thunder when the first teaser image was released and received some pretty harsh criticism for it.
Last Friday I did a comic about Pineapple Express partnered with a bit about annoying people in movie theaters and was criticized for that one, too.
When Tropic Thunder came around again and there were news reports of advocacy groups representing the mentally handicapped picketing the premiere (they object to the film’s repeated use of the word "retard"), I knew I was setting myself up to put my foot in my mouth once again. So I decided to beat my critics to the punch and have my characters silence me before they could.
I don’t feel like I’m kowtowing to the vocal minority by editing myself in this way. Truthfully, the reaction of these critics played only a very small role in my decision.
Basically, I decided that when it comes to matters of race, gender, disabilities or any other sensitive subject, I’m simply not intelligent enough to create comics that tackle the issues in a constructive way. Invariably, I am always left to explain myself and what the comics actually mean. And, frankly, I think I’m doing a piss-poor job representing myself to you, the audience.
I don’t consider myself to be racist, sexist or discriminatory in any way. I don’t harbor ANY ill will toward anyone because of superficial differences.
However, I will admit to being ignorant and not often understanding the complicated facets of a given issue. As a white guy in my 30’s, I’m not often forced to approach things any differently. I try to remain open to different points of view. But in my attempts to learn and eliminate my ignorance, I believe intent and context are shoved to side and what’s left is an irresponsible cartoonist left to explain himself to angry readers.
You have to understand the kind of guy I am. I’m not the kind of guy who seeks to offend anyone. I don’t get off on making people uncomfortable. And while I like to comment on controversy, I don’t like to be the center of it because that’s not the kind of attention I want to attract.
I know some of you will read this blog and think to yourself "What’s wrong with those comics? I thought they were funny!" If so, thank you. Sorry for wasting your time with this entry.
But, like I said, I’m starting to cultivate a reputation that is in conflict with who I really am and what I really feel as a person and I seek to reverse that course.
I want Theater Hopper to be a positive experience for everyone who reads it and I think I am setting up road blocks in regards to reaching that goal by making jokes that really have nothing to do with movies directly. So, moving forward, I think it’s best for me to stick to what I know and resist the temptation to make an easy joke that might end up offending someone unintentionally.
With that said, the controversy surrounding Tropic Thunder will not be enough to keep me from seeing it. But, at the same time, the controversy is not what attracts me to the film, either. As I perceive it, the movie is about the self-centeredness of actors and the bloated entitlement of big-budget Hollywood films and I think the subject matter is always ripe for parody. I feel sorry for anyone who might be legitimately offended by certain aspects of the film, but I’ve decided to reserve judgment and see the film first. That’s really the best I can do.
Moving on, I wanted to let you know that response to the donation drive for my crashed hard drive has been strong out of the gate and I want to thank everyone who has donated so far! Right now I’m trying to respond to the e-mails and get started on the initial batch of custom artwork. If I haven’t contacted you already, you’ll be hearing from me soon.
To help keep people up to date on our progress, I will be uploading a progress bar to the homepage with a rough estimate of the money we need to cover the data recovery process. With luck, I’ll be hearing from my representative at OnTrack Data Recovery today. So keep your fingers crossed!
Thanks again to those who have donated and for those of you who haven’t, click here to learn more about the drive and what your donation can get you. Custom art all around!
Even if you’re not able to meet the minimum donation amount for custom art, please consider other ways you can help spread the word. Link to Theater Hopper through forums, web sites and social bookmarking sites like Digg, Reddit, StumbleUpon or del.icio.us, buy advertising on the site or buy merchandise from our store. Every little bit helps!
If you have suggestions for other ways we can raise money, please e-mail me and let me know. I’m entertaining all ideas!
That about does it for me. Thanks for stopping by and I’ll see you here on Friday!
For the record, I haven’t had a chance to see Tropic Thunder yet – even though it was released in theaters on Wednesday. But I read an interview in Entertainment Weekly and they spilled the beans about Jack Black’s birthday suit appearance. It has put me off food for the last two days, but it was great fodder for the comic and an excellent way to deflate some of the seriousness surrounding the controversial aspects of the film.Jack Black’s
I’ll probably see Tropic Thunder either Friday or Sunday. Kind of depends if Cami wants to see it or not and if we can round up a babysitter for Henry. I’d say she’s 50/50 on it. The reviews and the buzz has been good, but some of the controversy has cooled her on it, I think. Or maybe I’m projecting. That’s kind of how I feel, I think.
I know if I go to see it, I’ll probably enjoy it. Before Henry, I wouldn’t have second-guessed it. But once you have a kid, you have to prioritize things. I’m not talking about the subject matter of the movie. I’m talking about just having the free time!
Even though I’m less interested in it than Tropic Thunder, I’ll probably see Star Wars: The Clone Wars later tonight. I know without a shadow of a doubt that Cami has no interest in this one. I’m just crossing my fingers that it won’t suck. I mean, if Harry Knowles bashed it, the movie is in trouble, right?
Deep down I know it’s going to spit on my faithfulness to the Star Wars franchise. This movie is for the kids, pure and simple. I mean, have you seen the TV commercials with the baby Hutt that belches in Anikin’s face? I mean, c’mon! Bodily functions in a Star Wars movie? It’s totally for kids.
Changing gears for a minute, I wanted to say “Thank you” to you guys for a couple of things.
First, the reaction to Wednesday’s comic was really insightful. A lot of people wrote in to lend support, tell me that I’m on the right path, not to cave in to critics and not to beat myself up. It’s totally appreciated and I think people understood the gist of my original message. But, to reiterate, I’m not planning on shying away from the controversial stuff because of anything anyone said. It really was a matter of me taking a step back, reassessing some of those comics and deciding that was not the image of myself that I wanted to present.
Interestingly enough, one e-mail I received pointed out that Wednesday’s comic was a grim departure from the normally happy-go-lucky vibe I put out and the comic really turned this person off. In my attempt to excise something negative, I went further down the rabbit hole.
It was a wake-up call, but I want to stress that I’m not getting down on myself. Wednesday’s comic was not about the characters being violent toward one another. It was about the characters abusing me – the creator – by proxy. That nut shot was meant for me, metaphysically. Does that make sense?
I just want to let people know that I’m doing fine and that I’m excited to forge a new path. Frankly, I’m really looking forward to the end of the blockbuster season so I can forgo some of the more timely aspects of the comic’s commentary and maybe switch gears onto a longer storyline. It feels like ages since I’ve done one and it’s a good opportunity to stretch creatively.
Anyway… something to look forward to.
I also want to send another shout-out to everyone who has contributed to the donation drive. I am ASTONISHED that we have been able to collect nearly one-third of the money needed to reacquire the data lost in the hard drive crashed I experience last week.
You’ll notice that I added a handy progress bar both to the top of the page as well as to the donation page to let everyone know where we stand.
Incidentally, did you know I lost all of my data 6 years to the day from the first Theater Hopper comic – August 5, 2002? I don’t know if I mentioned that her before, but I thought it was interesting.
At any rate, I’ve been in touch with OnTrack Data Recovery and I have good news. Turns out they were able to recover ALL of the files from my hard drive. Well, all of them except for one MP3 and a temporary Photoshop file – neither of which I will miss.
So that means all of my family photos, videos, and – MOST IMPORTANTLY – 5 years of original Theater Hopper artwork is safe and sound.
The bad news is the price (hence the drive, natch), but I’m talking to the sales rep and doing all I can to negotiate a lower price. They seem open to it. The last exchange I had with them, they asked “What did you have in mind?”
Y’see, kids. It pays to haggle!
But just because things are improving doesn’t mean that I still don’t need your help. Even if I negotiate a lower price, it’s still pretty steep! If you’re able to contribute anything at all, please visit the donation page and do so! Even $5 helps!
I think once I start producing some of the custom artwork people have purchased through their donations, I’ll scan and post them so you guys can see what you’re missing!
Thanks again to everyone who has chipped in.
That does it for me today, but I hope everyone has a great weekend. I’ll see you here on Monday!
At this point, Star Wars: The Clone Wars has been so thoroughly and universally dismissed, there’s almost no point in joining the chorus. But, dammit, I spent my $8.50 and I sat through this slag heap that calls itself a movie, so I’m gonna have my say!
Before I work up a boil, let my preface things by stating that I understand that Star Wars: The Clone Wars isn’t as much of a movie as it is an extended television cartoon show as it is comprised of the first three episodes that will air on the Cartoon Network later this year.
As such, I also understand that I – a robust man of 30 – is not the target demo for this movie. It’s aimed squarely at the hearts and minds of 7-year-olds instead.
With this information factored in (and my expectations already set low by the advance reviews), I have to state that Star Wars: The Clone Wars is probably one of THE WORST movies I have ever seen. Period. This movie didn’t disappoint in the manner that the second trilogy of films did. Where, as a fan, you watch them and say “That’s cool, but I wish they would have done this instead…” You don’t compare it to the other Star Wars movies and say,”Well, I liked the first trilogy better.”
No. You don’t compare Star Wars: The Clone Wars to other movies in the Star Wars franchise. You compare them against other movies that suck.
It’s one thing to do the nitpicky fanboy thing and complain about how the movie didn’t have the text crawl in the opening moments or how you’re supposed to root for Anakin and his new padawan Ashoka with the full knowledge that Anakin will be the architect of her murder by the next movie chronologically. It fails from a pure narrative standpoint. It’s nothing but a punch of posturing, cliched one-liners that string together one battle sequence with another.
And, OH! Those battle sequences! SO. BORING. Seriously, I fell asleep probably somewhere around the start of the second act. I wouldn’t normally admit that, except I’ve been reading several comments from others that admit the same. Should I be falling asleep during a battle sequence?
That speaks to the larger problem with The Clone Wars. Think back to Episode IV: A New Hope when Alex Guiness as Obi-One Kenobi casually mentions fighting alongside Anakin Skywalker in The Clone Wars. Fans have been trying to imagine what that must have been like for over 30 years!
Along comes the second trilogy and they don’t really address it. They focus more on Anakin’s fall to The Dark Side. Okay, makes sense. All six movies are really about Anakin, his transformation and redemption. But now we have a movie about nothing BUT The Clone Wars! Imagine what they’ll do with it!
And they do… nothing. There’s no weight. No impact. Even the lightsaber duels are tepid and by-the-book. Considering the film is ANIMATED, they had a real opportunity to take the chains off and show us action sequences that stretch beyond the threshold of what would be believable in a live-action film. They had cart blanch to do whatever they wanted and they didn’t take it.
That’s what offends me most about this film. Screenwriter Henry Gilroy (whose resume is rife with mediocre television cartoon credits) was given the keys to the kingdom. He had the opportunity to play around with some of the most inventive cinematic creations and concepts of the last 50 years and he did NOTHING new with them.
I can’t put all the blame on his shoulders. After all, I’m sure Lucas had to sign off on it at some point. But the movie is just one giant missed opportunity in my mind and it really has no business in theaters after being advertised as the missing link in the second trilogy.
Seriously – the ads and trailers for this movie made it look dark and serious. Instead we have “Stinky” the Hutt and a padawan that calls Anakin “Sky Guy” BLECH!
This “movie” should have been relegated to television where the fanboys would have tuned in, still think it was crap, but given it a pass because Hey, it’s for kids. I mean, no one finds The Star Wars Holiday Special, Droids or Ewoks a threat to official movie cannon and that’s because they started on television. People take it less seriously. It’s fun. We get it.
Instead, Star Wars: The Clone Wars gets pumped into theaters to clean more cash out of the wallets of fans who deserve better than to be lied to.
I wish I could compliment the film a little. I give it points for it’s visual style. Which – while chunky – has a nice painterly style and is dramatically and effectively lit.
But any compliment I could extend the film feels like a hollow gesture in light of the larger betrayal the movie represents toward the franchise.
I understand the importance of replenishing the well with younger fans. But the WHOLE POINT of the Star Wars movies is that it makes adults feel like kids again. That they can slip into another universe full of fantastic adventure and mystical religions – noble knights and deathly villains.
Instead, they’re spitting on our minds.
That’s enough for now. If you’d like to hear more about Star Wars: The Clone Wars, be sure to tune into The Triple Feature tonight at 9:00 PM CST.
I know Joe isn’t looking forward to the show because he actually liked the movie. But I promise to keep it civil. My negative reactions are personal. If you liked the movie, good for you. But for me… no dice.
Oh, and for the adults, we’ll be talking about Tropic Thunder as well.
Talk to you soon!
I can tell you how long I’ve wanted to do this comic. And that’s a really weird thing to admit.
I don’t know where it came from. But one day I was just sitting around and, for some reason was thinking about the actor that played Rufio from Steven Spielberg’s Hook. I wasn’t even watching Hook at the time. Hell, I haven’t seen that movie in 15 years!
But there it was. Just kind of sitting on my frontal lobe. “Whatever happened to that guy?”
I looked him up on IMDB. His name is Dante Basco, if you’re curious. He’s still out there working – earning a paycheck. He’s done some cartoon voiceover work. Done some stuff for Disney. Good for him! I’m happy he’s still out there earnin’.
But, yeah, man… Rufio…
Rufio! Rufio! RU-FI-OOOOOOOOOOO!!!
So, anyway… There’s your completely random reference of the day.
I didn’t mention it Monday because I don’t want to beat you guys over the head with it (and, truthfully, I’m still responding to e-mails from last week) but I wanted to point your attention again to the donation drive. There have been a couple of e-mails asking for specifics about what donators can expect to receive for their contributions, so I included a few more details on the donation page. Suffice to say, the more you donate, the more you get. From a sketch card, to a drawing, to an appearance in the comic to a full blown custom comic meant for your-eyes-only!
The latter two are extra special because I’ll also send you the original artwork plus a fully-colored 11 x 17″ poster signed by yours truly! It’s going to be great!
Also, don’t forget that EVERYONE who donates regardless of the amount is in the running to win a fully-colored 11 x 17″ poster of the art on the right along with the original drawing. All if it signed by me, of course.
You should also keep in mind that the person who donates THE MOST will receive a special canvas painting of a Theater Hopper cast member created by me and this will TRULY be a one-of-a-kind creation. I haven’t painted it yet, but I want to do it soon so you can see what you’re in the running for!
Things are going along splendidly. I haven’t updated the progress bar, but we are in fact at the half way point! That’s completely amazing to me and I want to thank all of you who have donated so far.
I’m working on some of the sketches for those of you who have donated $25 or more and I hope to have a couple of them posted to the blog on Friday so you can see the level I’m producing at. I want this custom art to be really good for you guys. It might take me a little longer to get it to you, but you’ll get the best possible drawing I can hope to give you. I owe you nothing less than one hundred and ten percent for your help.
That’s all for me today. Thanks again for everyone’s support and kind e-mails. Two weeks ago I was about as low as one could be. I’m happy to say that things are looking up!
Have a Rufio-riffic day!
The indifference Tom displays toward The House Bunny is not actually true-to-life. In fact, in real life, I am very excited to see this film. I personally believe that Anna Farris is hilarious, fearless and a great comedian. It’ll be a treat to see her starring in a feature like this.
Both Cami and I are big Faris fans. I think it was her turn in the woefully underrated Just Friends that sealed the deal. He character is at once both annoying and abrasive, but the screen is a little dimmer when she’s not there to grace it. Even though it’s kinda of supposed to be a holiday movie, we’ll watch it almost anytime we’re bored. It’s a lot of fun.
To that end, I don’t know that there is anything particularly revolutionary about The House Bunny from a plot standpoint. Faris’s character is thrown out of The Playboy Mansion and takes up residence in a sorority house full of losers. She teaches them life lessons and everyone feels good about themselves in the end. Beverly D’Angelo shows up as the uptight house mother of another sorority out to spoil their fun. It’s pretty much paint by numbers. But Farris has a knack for making patently unwatchable films interesting. So it’s not completely hopeless.
It’s kind of disingenuous to stock the sorority house with actresses like Emma Stone and Kat Dennings as "the ugly girls." You can see their "removing the glasses and let down your hair scene" a million miles away. Rumor Willis, on the other hand… genius casting for that role.
That’s mean. Sorry, Rumor. It’s just that… well, your jawline freaks me out.
Anyway, Cami and I are hoping to see this sometime this weekend. I’m down for it, but I have to find time to go out and see Tropic Thunder as well. I’m falling behind!
Things are probably going to get a little more difficult for me from an availability standpoint. Today is the day that I start pursuing my Master’s Degree in Communication Leadership offered by Drake University here in Des Moines. There’s a social gathering for all of the people in the program this evening – kind of a meet and greet – before a full-blown introduction to the program itself, class load and expectations for the semester that lasts all day Saturday. After that, it’s one class a week every Wednesday for the rest of the semester. I’m kicking things off with Mass Communications 101, natch.
It’s hard to say how much impact the pursuit of my Master’s will have on the comic. Between my 9 to 5 job, being a husband, being a father and finding time to work out — attending classes and finding time to study is just another thing to add to the pile. But I wouldn’t have bothered applying if I didn’t think I could handle it. Plus, you know what they say about busy people – they get more done.
Speaking of getting more done, I’m starting to fold in some of the custom art requests I’ve received through the donation drive into my regular drawing schedule. I have one in the can and I wanted to share it with you.
This was drawn for a donator who sent $25 and who asked for a simple cast portrait. I wanted to show it to you guys because I wanted to demonstrate how I’m serious about giving you what you pay for. I’m not just slapping something onto a piece of scratch paper and mailing it to you. These drawings are on professionally printed 4 x 6″; cardstock, inked and signed. In addition to the good feeling you get for helping out a brother in need, I want you to feel like you got something for your money.
So there it is. Do with it what you will.
Please keep in mind that in order for me to maintain a level of consistent quality for ALL of the people who donated, it may take me a little longer to get back to you with the finished product. In fact, right now, I haven’t been able to get in touch with all of the people who send donations the week of the 11th.
I have a lot of e-mails to sift through and I’m trying to keep them organized. The system I’m using right now is to contact a small batch of donators at a time and learn what it is they would like in their custom art. Once the art is completely and mailed away, I take on another batch of e-mails. So if I haven’t gotten to you yet, I’m not blowing you off. I’m just trying to keep the influx of e-mail manageable. I WILL get to you eventually!
I also wanted to give everyone an update in regard to the actual data recovery.
The wizards at Ontrack managed to pull together nearly EVERYTHING from the damaged drive. I’m talking, like 99.9% of it. The only thing they weren’t able to recover is a temporary Photoshop file and an MP3 that I’m not going to miss. All of the family photos, video, and, most importantly the archived original Theater Hopper artwork has been rescued.
They had to take the failed drive into a clean room and rebuild it from the ground up to do it… but they did it!
Ontrack delivered the content back to me on Wednesday and I am glad to report it’s home safe and sound. Oh, yeah… and I already backed up copies of it just in case!
Just to be clear, this doesn’t mean the donation drive is over. I paid Ontrack with a credit card so I could get the data back as soon as possible. The goal now is to pay off the card equally fast so I’m not carrying debt and getting tagged with finance charges!
I’m optimistic, though. I mean, you guys helped me raise over half of our goal in less than two weeks. That’s amazing. It really makes me feel good to know that there are people so sympathetic to my problems and willing to help. I already knew I had a great group of readers, but to see it in my e-mail inbox everyday in black and white has been a staggering and humbling validation.
Thanks again, you guys. I’ll talk to you soon. Have a great weekend!