Not a Blog

Scary Stuff

September 14, 2020 at 11:19 am
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Just watched a Netflix documentary about social media called THE SOCIAL DILEMMA that terrified me more than any horror movie I have seen in the past twenty years.

I have never been a fan of Twitter or Facebook or any of the other social apps out there.  My Not A Blog remains my main (and really my only) method of interfacing with the internet.   The accounts I have elsewhere largely just echo stuff I have already posted here.   I do think the social media is having terrible effects on our society… on political discourse, on journalism, on the fabric of our democracy itself.   But I do not think I ever realized how bad it was until I saw this doc.

I do hope we can find our way out.   But I am pessimistic.

But then, I am pessimistic about a lot of things these days.

 

Current Mood: scared scared

C-C-Claudius, aka I, CLAVDIVS

September 10, 2020 at 8:16 am
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The BBC made their adaptation of I, CLAUDIUS — based on the classic novels by Robert Graves (I, CLAUDIUS and CLAUDIUS THE GOD), which were in turn based on the histories of Suetonius — in 1976, but I did not encounter them until a few years later, when PBS picked them up and ran them (in a somewhat censored form, to shield Americans from seeing nipples) in the USA.  I remember, I was still living in Dubuque, Iowa at the time, teaching college.   I loved the series then, and I love it now.   I have probably watched it a dozen times in the years since.   When it was rerun on TV at first, then later on VHS tape, and most recently on DVD.

I just finished watching it again.  Up in my mountain cabin, I discovered that my assistant had never seen the series, so of course I had to break it out and show it to her.   It is just as brilliant as I recall.   I am pleased to say my assistant, seeing it for the first time, loved it just as I did, seeing it for the… I don’t know, the tenth time?  Twentieth?  I have not kept count.

This despite the fact that the budget for BBC drama in the 70s was… let us say… not large.   There are no special effects here.   No battles.   No exteriors, in fact.   It was all shot on a sound stage, and most of it takes place in one or two rooms, repeatedly redressed.   When these Romans go to the arena for a gladiatorial show, you do not so much as glimpse a gladiator, you just see the actors sitting watching carnage offstage.   This is not HBO’s ROME nor even SPARTACUS (both great shows in their own right).  I, CLAUDIUS is more akin to a filmed stage play.   I think the craft services budget on any HBO series is probably ten times what the BBC spent on the entire thirteen episodes.

And you know what?  IT DOES NOT MATTER.   If you have great writing and great acting, that is really all you need.   And I, CLAUDIUS had that in spades.  A single writer, Jack Pulman, scripted all thirteen episodes.   Pulman is long deceased, I fear, which I regret.  I would have considered it an honor to meet him and shake his hand.   His dialogue sparkles from beginning to end, with so many unforgettable lines… and throughout he remains true to the genius of Robert Graves and his great novels.

And the acting here is equal to the brilliance of the writing.   This was the series that made Derek Jacobi a star, and rightly so, but the supporting cast around him was sensational as well.   Sian Phillips as Livia, Brian Blessed as Augustus, John Hurt as Caligula, the criminally underappreciated George Baker as Tiberius, Patrick Stewart (with hair!) as Sejanus, and more, and more, and more…. there’s not a false note here.   They were all great.

And yes, from time to time a marble pillar ripples when someone passes, revealing itself to be painted canvas, but so what?   If you are like me, you are too deeply involved with the characters to notice or care.

If you have never seen I, CLAUDIUS, you owe it to yourself to have a look (though be warned, this a dark show, and there is lots of violence and sex, especially by the standards of 1976).  You should read the novels too, they are terrific.  And then give thanks you do not live in ancient Rome.

Even now, deep in the Second Golden Age of television, I would rank I, CLAUDIUS as one of the greatest television series ever made.   Certainly in the top ten.  Probably in the top five.

Current Mood: satisfied satisfied

Stuff to Watch

September 4, 2020 at 10:00 am
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I write most days, sometimes into the evenings.

At night, after supper, I read, watch television, or screen movies (I used to love going to the movies, since the best place to see a film is in a theatre with an audience around you, but the pandemic has put an end to that for the nonce).

A couple of things I have really enjoyed lately…

Parris and I binged on HBO’s adaptation of Philip Pullman’s HIS DARK MATERIALS when I was back in Santa Fe, and loved it.   Gorgeous production, great cast (loved Lin-Manuel as the aeronaut), and SO much better than the feature film.   Plus armored bears.   Can’t go wrong with armored bears.  The world needs more armored bears.    All the daemons are cool too.   (Hate that damn monkey).   If you’re a Pullman fan, give this a look.  And if you’re not, watch it anyway, it may make you a Pullman fan.

And for something completely different, there’s BLINDED BY THE LIGHT, a lovely little feel-good film (based on a true story) about a Pakistani kid in Luton, England who becomes the world’s biggest Bruce Springsteen fan.   I think I’ve seen this one four times already.  Every time the shift changes and a new minion arrives at my fortress of solitude, I watch it again so they can see it.   When I am feeling down, this one brings me back up.   The Boss knows all the secrets of life… but, hey, he’s from Jersey!   The music canNOT be beat, and I like some of the choices the filmmakers made, like the lyrics coming up on screen.   With rare exceptions, I am not usually a big fan of musicals… but this one rocks.  (If it even counts as a musical).

 

Current Mood: geeky geeky

Virtual Drafts and Computer Football

April 28, 2020 at 2:47 pm
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I had a few nice days watching the NFL Draft.   Both the Giants and Jets did quite well, I think.   Not many exciting skill players drafted for either team, admittedly, but they both picked up building blocks to fortify their offensive lines, which I think is key.  Games are won and lost in the trenches.  Of course, even though the talking heads have all been busy “grading” each team’s picks, no one will really know anything for a year or two.   The history of the draft is littered with sexy “can’t miss” college stars who totally flamed out in the NFL.  See Vernon Gholston, Blair Thomas, Eric Flowers.   The list is long.   So… proof, meet pudding, let’s wait and see.   But I am hopeful.

What was really fascinating this year was the format.  Instead of thousands of screaming fans gathered together in New York City or Chicago or (as planned this year) Las Vegas, and the draftees parading up on stage to get a hug from the commissioner and a jersey, the NFL went virtual.   But that was fascinating in its own way.   We got to see the homes of the coaches, players, and talking heads, from Kliff Kingsbury’s palatial digs to the commish in his basement man cave to the very modest apartments of some of the young men being drafted, we got to see their families, their pets, the pictures on their walls…

… and their bookcases.   For whatever reason, a lot of the commentators  sat in front of bookcases.   I could not help peering at the titles on their shelves, being a writer and all.   Alas, I failed to spot any copies of my own books on anyone’s shelves.  But Marshall Faulk seems to be a big fan of Harlan Coben, and on other shelves I spotted Edgar Allen Poe and Philip Roth.   A lot of football books too.   Many ex-players and coaches had ONLY football books visible behind them.   Which still trumped the guys who owned bookcases, but (seemingly) no books.   Just pictures, trophies, footballs.

I hear that next year, if COVID-19 is no longer a factor, the NFL may combine elements of this year’s draft with the traditional format.   That would be cool.  This was the most viewed draft in history.   Maybe because the country is desperate for SOMETHING sport-ish to watch.

I was impressed at how well the virtual draft worked.  Very few technical glitches… though the time lapses were noticeable from time to time, as commentators waited to make sure the previous speaker had finished.   This bodes well for the forthcoming virtual worldcon, I think… hope… pray.   It proved it can be done.   Of course, ESPN and the NFL channel have considerably more resources and expertise than fandom, but still…

It still remains to be seen whether we will actually have an NFL season this year.  Which puts me in mind of a story I wrote back in 1971, called “The Last Super Bowl.”   Eventually it saw print in GALLERY magazine, surrounded by naked Girls Next Door  (none of them actually lived next door to me, I should hasten to add).   Computer sports were still a dream back then (PONG would not appear in my local bar for several more years), but they were coming, so I donned my prognosticator’s hat and predicted that by the far future year of 2014 computerized football would have become so much more exciting than the real thing that actual football would go extinct.

Well, that didn’t happen.   Turns out we were wrong about the flying cars, the household robots, the cities on the moon, and a whole lot of other things as well.   Never mind about that, though.

Maybe this is the year that my predictions come true.   If the virus does not relent, and we have to cancel the 2020 NFL season… why not go with an ALL VIRTUAL season instead?  We know who is on each team, we know who they drafted, we can MADDENify the entire league and play out the schedule week-by-week on television, with SFX and animation.   MADDEN has the player stats.   The actual coaches can sit by their own computers and call the plays and the defenses.   The play-by-play announcer and the color guy can sit by their screens and do the commentary, just as if they were talking about a real game.  And we can all watch our favorite (virtual) teams.

Hey, the networks need something to televise, after all.   And all us hopeless football addicts need something to watch, besides reruns of SuperBowls past.   And maybe, if we go all computer, the Jets will finally get back to the SuperBowl.   I wrote “The Last Super Bowl” only two years after their last (and only) appearance, as it happens… and I put them in that bowl, against the Green Bay Packers.

 

Current Mood: mischievous mischievous

This, That, and T’Other Thing

April 14, 2020 at 3:41 pm
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No big news here, but it has been a week or so since my last blog post, so I thought I would say hi.   I am still up in the mountains, doing the social distancing rag, and writing WINDS OF WINTER.   I have good days and bad days, but I am making progress.

Most of the world remains closed, including my theatre and bookshop, the Jean Cocteau Cinema and Beastly Books.   I had originally announced that we would re-examine the situation come April 15.   That date is now upon us, and it is obvious that I was wildly optimistic in hoping we might even consider re-opening then.  No.  Won’t work.   We’re going to remain shut until JUNE 1.  Then, once again, we will revisit the question, once we see what state the world is in.

I am continuing to pay my staff during this closure, something I wish more small businesses would do.   Beastly Books is still selling signed books by mailorder.  Every order helps keep us afloat, so please take a look at our offerings: https://jeancocteaucinema.com/product-category/signed-books/

Along the same lines, though we cannot of course open our theatre to the public while coronavirus still rages, the JCC has gone virtual, and is screening new and old movies that way.  For details on our Virtual Feature of the Week, go to https://jeancocteaucinema.com/

Hollywood has largely closed down as well, at least as far as actual production is concerned.  (If this pandemic goes on long enough, I wonder if the pipeline will go dry, and we will start to run out of new films and television shows.  If so, sheltering in place is going to get an order of magnitude harder.  Television right now is doing a lot to keep us all sane — and no, not the news, which has the opposite effect).   But while nothing is being filmed right now, development is continuing apace, since writers can still write at home.  The only thing I am writing myself is THE WINDS OF WINTER, as I have said many times… but with my producer’s hat on, I am still involved in a number of exciting new shows for HBO, and a few film projects as well.  When and if any of these make it to the screen, well, that’s always the question… but I do know that Ryan Condal and his team are roaring ahead on the scripts for HOUSE OF THE DRAGON, and that one has a full season’s order from HBO.  As for the other stuff I may or may not be involved in, I could tell you, but then I’d have to kill you all.

Oh, of course, I am doing a lot of reading these days.  Rereading too.  Some of my favorite writers are Robert A. Heinlein, Roger Zelazny, Tony Hillerman, Nnedi Okorafor, Howard Waldrop.  Oh, and that GRRM guy did some good stuff too, before he started that fantasy series.   Some of his old stories might even make good movies, donchaknow.  (No, seriously, you guys should check out DREAMSONGS.  Signed copies available from Beastly Books).

I have also been trading emails with my friends down in New Zealand.   CoNZealand, this year’s World Science Fiction Convention, has also gone virtual in response to the crisis.   A prudent move, but a challenging one.   As this year’s Virtual Toastmaster, I am still going to be hosting the Hugo Awards… virtually.  That should be… interesting.  Especially for me, since I am one of the least tech savvy guys in fandom.   I still write my novels with WordStar 4.0 on a DOS computer, after all, and when I interface with the internet it is mainly through this blog.  (Good thing Howard Waldrop isn’t going to be hosting.  He still works on a manual typewriter).

Anyway, the Kiwis have some smart guys working for them, and they assure me everything will go fine.   They are working out the tech now, and we hope to have several trial runs before The Big Night.   We are all certainly going to try to do our best.  I expect there will be glitches and mistakes, many of them doubtless mine, but I do hope all those looking in will be patient and understanding.  In any case, the rockets will be handed out one way or t’other, though the actual delivery may have to be entrusted to DHL or Federal Express.

Some cool stuff happening with WILD CARDS that I should mention.   Check out our Wild Cards website, if you haven’t seen it in a while.  Lots of great content there for you to explore, including a new blog post every two weeks by a rotating cast of our amazing Wild Cards writers.  You will find it at https://www.wildcardsworld.com/   

We also have a brand new Wild Cards original coming out at the end of this month from Harper Collins Voyager in the UK.   The title is THREE KINGS, and it’s a full mosaic,  was edited by Melinda M. Snodgrass (yours truly assisting), and features contributions from  Peter Newman, Peadar O’Guilin, Caroline Spector, Mary Anne Mohanraj, and Melinda herself.  It’s a sequel to KNAVES OVER QUEENS, and like that volume it is set entirely in the British Isles and features an English and Irish cast.   (More on that one in a later post).

There’s more, of course.   There’s always more.   But this post has grown long enough, and Westeros is calling.

Current Mood: busy busy

Crossovers and Cameos

March 26, 2020 at 9:57 am
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I got a message from my friend Jonah Nolan last week.  Jonah is one of the creators and showrunners of HBO’s WESTWORLD, along with his wife Lisa Joy, and he told me to be sure to catch Sunday’s episode, there might be something that would amuse me.

Truth be told, I would have been watching in any case.   WESTWORLD is a terrific show, and I’ve been watching it since the beginning.   In any case, I was indeed watching, and I was indeed amused when we came on the cameo of The Three Ds: David Benioff, Dan Weiss, and Drogon.   I thought it was a fun moment, and it made me smile.

Subsequently, of course, the internet has blown up over the cameo, as the internet is wont to do.  Some people loved the cameo, some hated it, and everybody, it seems to me, is making way too much of it.   Hey, folks, c’mon.   It was just a bit of fun.   A sort of Easter Egg.  You all like Easter Eggs in your video games, don’t you?  If you blinked, you could have missed it… kind of like the appearance of Yul Brynner’s “man in black” robot from the original WESTWORLD movie that appeared first season.   I have been known to do that sort of thing myself.  Sharp-eyed readers of A SONG OF ICE & FIRE long ago noticed the appearance of the Three Stooges in the first novel, and my subsequent mentions of how giants devoured Triarch Belicho and a knight wearing Dallas Cowboys heraldry.   And if you missed those… as 98% of the readers did… that’s fine, they were just a tip o’ the hat.   I also have houses named after the great fantasists Jack Vance, Roger Zelazny, and Robert Jordan, for what it’s worth.   More tips o’ my hat.   (I wear a lot of hats).

I’ve done my own cameos over the years as well.   You can catch a glimpse of me (young, dark-haired me) in two different episodes of BEAUTY AND THE BEAST.  The first one you’d need to be blind to miss; the second one you’ll miss if you blink.   More recently, I played a zombie version of myself in Z NATION (still signing books), and had my head bitten off by a shark in SHARKNADO 3 (though they cut all my lines, pfui).  I also filmed a GAME OF THRONES cameo in the pilot, as a guest at Dany’s wedding to Khal Drogo.  They gave me an enormous hat and really big balls, which might have been some sort of commentary.

But  that was when Dany was being played by Tamzin Merchant.   When we recast, the whole wedding had to be reshot and I wound up on the cutting room floor.   A little later, I wanted to be a severed head on the walls of the Red Keep next to Ned Stark (and David & Dan, ideally), but our budget was not so robust first season, and those severed heads are damned expensive.   I also campaigned to die horribly at the Red Wedding, which seemed only fair since I was responsible for it, but it was felt that my presence in that powerful, wrenching, bloody scene might have taken the viewers out of the moment.   Fair enough.   And not wrong.

One thing led to another and I never did appear in a cameo in GOT, but that’s cool.   I’m a writer, not an actor… or even an extra.  And standing around in costume for all those hours in Morocco while we filmed Dany & Drogo’s nuptials gave me a helluva backache.  (Ian McNeice, our original Illyrio Mopatis, gave me some great advice afterwards: when filming a long sequence like a feast or a wedding, make sure you have a comfortable seat).

Had I been in Los Angeles at the time of the filming, I might well have been part of that WESTWORLD cameo as well.   Jonah and Lisa  have also stated that the whole thing was my idea.

Which is true.   Kinda sorta.   No, I had no idea this particular moment was coming until I caught it on HBO… but back during WESTWORLD’s season one, I did suggest to Jonah that, seeing as how the original WESTWORLD film featured a Medieval World, the TV version could easily have a Westeros World.   I never wanted a full crossover, never thought that WESTWORLD’s hosts should adventure in Westeros World as they have in Samurai World and War World… but a brief scene or two could have been fun, and would have been in keeping with the Delos concept.   And, hey, I even suggested that they could bring back actors from GOT, characters we had killed.   The hosts die almost weekly, after all.   The fans might have gotten a kick out of catching a brief glimpse of Richard Madden, Sibel Kekilli, Esme Bianco, Ron Donachie, or Mark Addy again… and I suspect the actors would have been game as well.   But it was not to be.

Jonah Nolan and Lisa Joy mentioned that I worked in television back in the 80s, when crossovers between shows were more common.   That’s true.  Philip DeGuere, the showrunner on TWILIGHT ZONE version 2, who gave me my first job in Hollywood, was also the creator of a show called SIMON & SIMON, and like to tell how his show was struggling in the ratings until they did a crossover with MAGNUM P.I., after which ratings for the Simon Boys went through the roof and he had a hit.   We actually tried to do the same thing with TWILIGHT ZONE, and had several meetings with the writers and producers of MIKE HAMMER, the series that followed us on Friday nights.   Now THAT would have been a crossover, Mike Hammer in the Twilight Zone, like some surreal meeting of Mickey Spillane and Rod Serling.   Not only that, but Phil told me I could write the script, and I had just the story too… I wanted to buy the rights to Robert A. Heinlein’s “The Unpleasant Profession of Jonathan Hoag” and adapt that.   Alas, alack, we could never get around the insistence of the Mike Hammer guys that the whole thing end up being just a dream, so it never happened.   A pity.   That was a script I would have loved to write.

As for the WESTWORLD  cameo… y’know, Robbie the Robot had a long career in film and television after FORBIDDEN PLANET.   Why would we want to begrudge Drogon the same?

Current Mood: amused amused

A Tip o’ the Crown

November 10, 2019 at 9:41 am
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You cannot build a house all alone.   Especially not a HOUSE OF THE DRAGON.

HBO recently announced a full-season ten-episode pickup for HOUSE, the first GAME OF THRONES successor show to go to series.   The show is based on material from my imaginary history, FIRE & BLOOD.  Ryan Condal wrote the pilot script and the series bible, and will serve as showrunner for the series, together with director Miguel Sapochnik.

Even Aegon the Dragon couldn’t conquer the Seven Kingdoms all by himself, however.   He needed the help of his sisters Rhaenys and Visenya.  Ryan and I had some great assistance as well, and I wanted to give a tip of the crown to three talented and hard-working young writers who helped to bring this one home.   WES TOOKE was Ryan’s right hand man on COLONY, where he served as an executive producer and wrote thirteen episodes.  CLAIRE KIECHEL is a young playwright out of New York who came to HOUSE OF THE DRAGON after stints on Netflix’s THE OA and HBO’s new WATCHMEN series.  TI MIKKEL came to the show from my own Fevre River Packet Company, where she’s served as a writer’s assistant, helped in the development of a series of short films I hope to produce, and is spearheading the development of TUF VOYAGING as a television series… when she’s not working on her own novel.

Those unfamiliar with the way television works may wonder… if Ryan Condal wrote the pilot and the bible, what did Wes and Claire and Ti do?  The answer is: a lot.  They sat with Ryan every day in a writer’s room at HBO for months, talking story, going over drafts, giving notes, correcting errors (not that Ryan or I ever made any, no sir, not us), catching inconsistencies, discussing character and plot, offering ideas and suggestions, filling in gaps, breaking down the episodes to come and drawing up a roadmap for the first season and all the seasons to follow.   The HOUSE OF THE DRAGON could never have been built without the help of Ti, Claire, and Wes, three terrific young storytellers.   They have my thanks, and Ryan’s.

Current Mood: pleased pleased

The Dragons Take Wing

October 30, 2019 at 2:33 pm
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The dragons are coming… back.

Last night in Hollywood at the WarnerMedia Day, HBO made it official.    We have a green light for a GAME OF THRONES successor show… not just a pilot, but a full season order for ten episodes.   HOUSE OF THE DRAGON is the title of the new show, and needless to say it will be centered on House Targaryen, set a couple of centuries before the events of A SONG OF ICE & FIRE and based upon Archmaester Gyldayn’s imaginary history FIRE & BLOOD.

The new series will be helmed by a couple of great showrunners: RYAN CONDAL and MIGUEL SAPOCHNIK.

Miguel’s name will be well known to every GAME OF THRONES fan.   One of the hottest directors in television today, he directed five episodes for GOT, and won an Emmy and a DGA Award for his work on “Battle of the Bastards.”  Sapochnik will be directing the pilot… well, maybe it is more precise to call it “the first episode”… of HOUSE OF THE DRAGON, and doubtless a number of other episodes as well.   There’s no one better.

Ryan Condal is new to Westeros, but not to me.   I first met Ryan when he came to New Mexico to shoot a pilot for a fantasy western that was not picked up.  I visited his set and we became friendly.  Later Ryan created and served as showrunner for the SF series COLONY, and we had the honor of doing a premiere screening for the show at the Jean Cocteau.   He’s a terrific writer… and a fan of my books since well before we met.   He tells me that he discovered the series just after A STORM OF SWORDS was published, and “I’ve loved the books for 19 years.”   (He is also a huge fan of my Dunk & Egg stories.   In fact, that was the show he wanted to do initially, but I’m not prepared to bring Dunk & Egg to television until I’ve written quite a few more stories).  Working with Ryan on the development of HOUSE OF THE DRAGON has been a dream.

The news is all over the internet by now, of course, so I won’t rehash the basics here.   But you can find good, informed accounts on a number of websites.  Check here:

https://www.hollywoodreporter.com/live-feed/game-thrones-prequel-house-dragon-gets-hbo-series-order-1250974

https://ew.com/tv/2019/10/30/house-of-the-dragon-thrones/

HOUSE OF THE DRAGON has been in development for several years (though the title has changed a couple of times during that process).  It was actually the first concept I pitched to HBO when we started talking about a successor show, way back in the summer of 2016.  If you’d like to know a bit more of what the show will be about… well, I can’t actually spill those beans, but you might want to pick up a copy of two anthologies I did with Gardner Dozois, DANGEROUS WOMEN and ROGUES, and then move on to Archmaester Gyldayn’s history, FIRE & BLOOD.

(For the autograph collectors among you, signed copies of all these books are available via mail order from the bookshop at my Jean Cocteau Cinema, https://jeancocteaucinema.com/shop/ )

Ryan Condal has already done a considerable amount of writing on HOUSE OF THE DRAGON, but a lot of work remains ahead of us.   There’s a writer’s room to be assembled, episodes to be broken down and scripted, a cast and crew to be assembled, budgets and production details to be worked out.   As yet, we don’t even know where we will be shooting… though I expect we will revisit at least some of the countries David & Dan used for GAME OF THRONES (Ireland, Iceland, Scotland, Croatia, Morocco, Malta, and Spain).  I expect to be involved in all of this to some extent… and, who knows, if things work out, I may even be able to script a few episodes, as I did for the first four seasons of GAME OF THRONES.

But… let me make this perfectly clear… I am not taking on any scripts until I have finished and delivered WINDS OF WINTER.  Winter is still coming, and WINDS remains my priority, as much as I’d love to write an episodes of HOUSE.

As exciting as the series order is, I would be remiss if I did not also mention the bad news.   HBO also announced that it has decided not to proceed with the other successor show we had in development, the one I kept calling THE LONG NIGHT (though it was, and remains, officially untitled), the pilot for which was shot in Northern Ireland last spring and summer.  Set thousands of years before either GAME OF THRONES or HOUSE OF THE DRAGON, and centered on the Starks and the White Walkers, the untitled pilot was written by Jane Goldman, directed by S.J. Clarkson, and starred Naomi Watts, Miranda Richardson, and a splendid cast.   It goes without saying that I was saddened to hear the show would not be going to series.   Jane Goldman is a terrific screenwriter, and I enjoyed brainstorming with her.   I do not know why HBO decided not to go to series on this one, but I do not think it had  to do with HOUSE OF THE DRAGON.  This was never an either/or situation.  If television has room enough for multiple CSIs and CHICAGO shows… well, Westeros and Essos are a lot bigger, with thousands of years of history and enough tales and legends and characters  for a dozen shows.   Heartbreaking as it is to work for years on a pilot, to pour your blood and sweat and tears into it, and  have it come to nought, it’s not at all uncommon.   I’ve been there myself, more than once.   I know Jane and her team are feeling the disappointment just now, and they have all my sympathy… with my thanks for all their hard work, and my good wishes for whatever they do next.

 

 

 

Current Mood: excited excited

Double Butter, Please

October 6, 2019 at 4:30 pm
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I am tickled to report that GAME OF THRONES has taken another award.

This time it’s the MTV Golden Popcorn Award.

Here’s the list of this year’s winners.

http://www.mtv.com/news/3128177/2019-mtv-movie-tv-awards-winners-list/

The trophy just arrived, and it is certainly eye-catching.  (And heavy!)

I usually take butter (real butter please, not “golden flavor”) on my popcorn, but gold makes for a nice substitute.

Thank you, all.

I want my MTV.

Current Mood: bouncy bouncy

Emmy Times Four

October 2, 2019 at 10:01 pm
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I’m just back from ten days in LA, and the Emmy Awards… where GAME OF THRONES once again won the Big One as the Best Drama.  It’s the fourth win for GOT… and, along with Peter Dinklage’s fourth victory as Best Supporting Actor in a drama, and all the trophies our amazing crew snagged the previous weekend at the Creative Arts awards, helped HBO once again take home more Emmys than any other network, channel, or streaming service.

Of course, we lost a few as well.   Alfie Allen and Nicolaj Coster-Waldau were also finalists in Best Supporting Actor, but lost to Peter.   GAME OF THRONES had three directors nominated (David Nutter, David Benioff & D.B. Weiss, and Miguel Sapochnik), David & Dan were up again for writing, and  we had no fewer than FOUR finalists in Best Supporting Actress in a drama (Maisie Williams, Sophie Turner, Lena Headey, and Gwendoline Christine, all of them superb), but as often happens when a show has more than one nominee in a category, they ended up splitting the GOT vote.  Kit Harrington was nominated as Best Actor in a leading role, and Emilia Clarke as Best Actress, but the Emmys went to others.   The Emmys are nothing if not competitive, and there were some wonderful performances last year… from a whole host of shows.

But it IS a honor just to be nominated, especially now, in this day and age of peak television… a sentiment all of our finalists share.   They can all be proud of the work they did, and of the recognition they received from the members of the Academy.

After eight seasons, GAME OF THRONES leaves the air with more Emmys than any other primetime series, comedy or drama, in the entire history of television.   Not too shabby, I’d say.   I am very pleased to have been a part of setting that record.

Parting is such sweet sorrow, though… it was wonderful to share the moment with all the friends I’ve made during our run, but there was a bittersweet feel to the occasion as well, knowing that this would be the last time all of us would be together.   I could not help but think back to my days on TWILIGHT ZONE and BEAUTY AND THE BEAST in the 80s.  I still see some of the writers and actors I met on those shows from time to time, but others I have lost track of entirely.   That’s the way it goes in television and film.  Will I ever again have the privilege of working with some of these incredible talents who helped bring my books to life?  One never knows…

One thing I do know.   I’m not done with Westeros, and HBO isn’t either.   I have WINDS OF WINTER to finish… and A DREAM OF SPRING… and more Dunk & Egg stories… and the second volume of Archmaester Gyldayn’s history.   And we hope to have some exciting news about the successor shows soon as well.

Stay tuned.

Current Mood: bouncy bouncy