Not a Blog

It’s a Wrap

November 29, 2009 at 11:48 pm
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Another highlight of my time in Morocco was the wrap party.

For those not familiar with the term, it’s a Hollywood tradition to throw a big party when you finish shooting — or “wrap” — on a movie or television project. I attended quite a few great wrap parties during my ten years in LA, but the GAME OF THRONES wrap party blew them all away. We held it in the Ouarzazate Museum of Cinema, a pretty amazing place itself, complete with local musicians, belly dancers, acres of Moroccan delicicacies, and lots of spirits to lubricate the exhausted cast and crew. And when the museum threw us out, we just adjourned back to the Berbere Palace, where the party continued.

These few poor snapsnots don’t capture a tenth of what went on. But hey, what happens in Morocco stays in Morocco, right?

A great time was had by all… except, of course, for the cast members who shot their scenes in Ireland and Scotland, and the Irish and UK crew who did not get to make the trip to Morocco. The drawback of shooting in so many different places… everyone couldn’t be there together to celebrate the end of the shoot.

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November 29, 2009 at 4:46 pm
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I know that you all want to see pictures from the pilot shoot for A GAME OF THRONES, but alas, I can’t show you the sets, the actors in costume, or any of that good stuff.

Which is not to say that I can’t show you a few other things from my recent trip.

Jerusalem in Morocco, f’rinstance.

Here are some shots of the huge city walls and siege machinery that Ridley Scott built for KINGDOM OF HEAVEN, outside the city of Ouarzazate in Morocco. We did shoot some scenes here… but inside, in a court redressed for our purposes.

That’s my assistant Ty perched on the battering ram, which was full sized, made of real wood, and appeared to be fully functional. Ditto the siege towers and trebuchets Ridley left.

The interior courtyards were equally impressive (alas, I can’t show you the one we redressed and actually used).

I worked in Hollywood for a decade back in my checkered past, and these are the most impressive sets I’ve ever seen. Hell, Scott’s fake castle beats about eighty per cent of the real castles I’ve seen, and I’ve visited a LOT of castles.

I’m obviously going to have to put a city under siege sometime soon, so we can go back to Morocco and play with all these cool toys one of these days.

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November 29, 2009 at 4:15 pm
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Life is… well, not magical, but tolerable today.

Jake Delhomme threw more interceptions than Mark Sanchez today, so the Jets beat the Panthers and still have a pulse. A very faint one, to be sure, but still a pulse.

Revis was amazing, completely shutting down Steve Smith.

Obviously my teams can only play well when I am here watching. I can never leave home again.

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Happy Turkey Day

November 29, 2009 at 1:41 pm
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Feeling much better this morning, and off in a few minutes to celebrate Thanksgiving with friends and family.

(I am once again relying on TIVO to record the Giants – Broncos contest tonight, so no commentary about it here, please. I probably won’t watch it until tomorrow).

I have a lot to be thankful for. My readers, my friends, and most of all Parris.

I hope all you reading this are similarly blessed.

Happy Thanksgiving.

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Giants Game

November 27, 2009 at 4:10 pm
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Life is meaningless and full of pain.

Suddenly it seems a thousand years ago when the G-Men were 5-0 and dominating. What the hell happened? Clearly I can’t leave the country during football season. My teams just seem to fall apart without me.

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November 24, 2009 at 2:39 pm
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I am about halfway through watching the football games that were TIVO’d for me while I was overseas.

I came back from my trip sick to my stomach, as I reported last post. These games are only making me sicker.

Life is meaningless and has no joy but the Raiders.

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Home Again

November 24, 2009 at 2:31 pm
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I got home a little past midnight on Sunday night, after a long and gruelling trip from Casablanca. Three flights, changes in NYC/ JFK and Minneapolis/St. Paul, close to twenty-four hours in transit since the wake-up call came through in my Casablance hotel. I was pretty much a zombie by the time I stumbled off the last flight into Parris’s loving arms, and a rotting zombie at that. After being oh-so-careful in Morocco — not drinking the water, brushing the teeth with bottle water, avoiding uncooked food, etc — I made the grievous error of eating at the McDonald’s in the Minneapolis airport during our layover there, and came down with an nice all-American case of food poisoning. By the time I boarded my last flight my stomach felt as if I’d swallowed a lead bowling ball. It was the first time I’d eaten at a Mickey D’s in a decade, and I hope that it’s the last.

Anyway, the last day and a half I’ve spent mostly in bed or in the john, but I’m feeling a little better now. This is the first time I’ve felt strong enough to boot up my computer… where, of course, I found five hundred emails waiting.

The trip was great, and I hope to write more about it later, when I’m feeling stronger.

I have to say, though, I am not sure how many of these overseas trips are left in me. It’s great when I get there, but air travel has just become SO exhausting and SO uncomfortable, especially when oceans are involved, that the mere thought of any more just now is daunting.
Where are the rocket planes that I was promised in the SF of my youth?

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Magic in Morocco

November 16, 2009 at 11:19 am
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And here I am in Morocco as the GAME OF THRONES pilot shoot winds down. This is likely to be q strqnge looking post. I am typing it from the business center of the Berbere Palqce in Ourazazate on a French/ Arabic keyboqrd zhere many of the letters qre not where my fingers expect to find them. No Qwert Yuiop here.

Morocco is a fascinating place; though oddly it reminds me of New Mexico in q lot of ways. Architecture especially. The Spanish style of NM showing its Moorish roots.

Marrakesh is amazing qnd I wish we hqd hqd more than q dqy to explore it. From there it was a four hour drive over the high sunk baked passes of the Atlas mountqins to Ouarzazate, the film center of Morocco. This plqce is pretty astonishing as well. The city looks as if it was built yesterday, with wide treeless streets lined by huge pink hotels and apartments and new contstruction everywhere. Outside the desert stretches away to the distant mountains, flat and dry and dusty, dotted with ruins and abandoned cities none of which look even vaguely Moroccan. Egyptian pharoahs stand twenty feet high, crusqder castles loom on the horizon, here’s a Chinese fortress, here Sodom (or maybe Gomorrah), here a Roman ampitheater. I have q felling that Tombstone mqy be over thqt next ridge. From afar they look as if they hqve been here for centuries, but then you get up close and you realize they are all abandoned movie sets. The oldest have begun to crumble beneath the sun and sand, but they are still damned impressive;

Most imposing of all are the walls of old Jerusalem that Ridley Scott built for KINGDOM OF HEAVEN, which loom in the distance as you take the mqin road into the Ouuazazate, still surrounded by a ring of huge wooden siege towers and trebuchets, now crewed by lean brown dogs. One small portion of the Jerusalem set, redressed and repainted, became the courtyard of Illyrio’s manse where Dany first meets Khal Drogo. Thqt was the scene they were filming zhen Ty and I arrived, and it looked gorgeous.

I’d say more; but this keyboard is driving me batty, and my time is running out in any case;

Tonight the wedding!

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INSIDE STRAIGHT released in paperback

November 8, 2009 at 5:22 pm
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INSIDE STRAIGHT, the first volume in our new Wild Cards triad, has just been released in mass market paperback. If you missed the hardcover edition, this is your chance to go and snap it up before the release of the second volume, BUSTED FLUSH, on December 9.

Unfortunately, there’s a rather egregious gaffe on this edition. Somehow the copy on the back cover got screwed up, and the plot details given there are actually those from BUSTED FLUSH, not INSIDE STRAIGHT. We’ll fix those on the second printing, I suppose, assuming there is a second printing. In which case the first printing may become as rare and valuable as that upside-down airmail stamp (but probably not).

Meanwhile, enjoy INSIDE STRAIGHT, but don’t go looking for zombies, hurricanes, and nuclear explosions. Those are all in the second book.

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Alone in London

November 7, 2009 at 10:34 pm
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Parris will soon be on her way home to take care of the cats, before they start rioting and have wild parties. So I’m pressing on by myself. Arrived in London a few hours ago. Signing at Forbidden Planet on the 11th.

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