My friend Jennifer attends the San Diego Comic Con, leading and organising the zombie-walk beyond its gates and joining thousands of other revellers in weird appearances and fandom discussion panels,
But besides the costumes and the parties, one of the exciting features are the reveal trailers for upcoming movies, televisions series and videogames, and this year’s banquet is no exception. So here’s a pick of some of the best.
Stranger Things 2
The boys are back in 80’s America and the thrills and spills get creepier than ever, as young Will Byers reveals more about his experiences in the alternative reality than the sleepy townsfolk are willing to admit, and powerful Eleven makes her dramatic return.
Star Trek Discovery
To me, it’s still a Abrams-esque show rooted more in extended human emotion than full blown facts and theories which made the originals so lovable, but seems Michelle Yeoh, Jason Isaacs et al might be able to pull off a fantastic new reboot for TV once more.
A horse, a horse, my kingdom for horse, cried King Richard as he lay bleeding on the battle field.
But when you hear the hooves of a horse trampling the dirt in the distance, the only thing you should be doing is running and getting the heck outta there. Love this show.
And just out of the blue, legendary comedian Seth MacFarlane comes through with a homage to the original spinoffs with the Orville, mimicking everything about classic Star Trek but with a humorous twist.
I like popcorn movies; they’re fun and genuinely escapist from all the drudgery we deal with daily. So let’s indulge and watch short-haired Chris Hemsworth get bromantic with Mark Ruffalo’s CGI.
And let’s all welcome the beautiful Tessa Thompson to her full-blown action hero role.
It’s been a while, Will, whatcha been up to? Separation still messy? Ah well, nevermind, we’ll console you by reminding you how “Will-esque” you portray yourself in a separate rendition of “Alien Nation”, but this time with orcs and elves.
Daredevil raised the bar, Jessica Jones and Luke Cage hung on its coattails, and Iron Fist barely hung on with a lit-up finger. Combine it all together and we’ve got a new series teaming the four up against a brutally honest Sigourney Weaver. And Stick. And Electra. And the Punisher.
Might as well call it Daredevil Season 3.
If you haven’t listened to Willem Dafoe speak, watch this trailer just for his voice, then head to the bathroom and try to watch the fear from your heart. So lovable, so gorgeous.
So your boss wants to know 7 things about South Africa, but is completely too afraid to ask.
And we’re talking relevant questions by the water-cooler in case he looks stupid or worse. Like bankruptcy, divorce and gout.
Don’t fret though, here’s a fantastic list of alternative facts about South Africa you can pass along to your employer in the form of an anonymous Post-It note sitting underneath his mouse. Keep Reading
Every podcast with most veterans will include a soundbite that goes something along the lines of “I love playing the villain.”
The antagonist is the best thing about a movie, regardless of the protagonist chosen as the film’s blockbuster drawcard. From Gary Oldman in Dracula, to Darth Vader in Star Wars.
And in comedy, it’s no different. Here’s my Top Five Classic Comedy Villains you have to see.
Alan Rickman in “Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves”
While Jesse Eisenberg’s performance as Lex Luthor in Batman v Superman “chewed the furniture”, Alan Rickman gorged upon his lines with relish…and mustard.
It had tremendously help from Kevin Kostner’s wooden Robin Hood to make Rickman’s antics and larky comments that much richer.
Gary Oldman in “The Fifth Element”
In stand-up a joke can be told the same way throughout, yet the performance will constantly change the nuances of the punchlines. And one could’ve delivered a better “Jean-Baptist Emannuel Zorg” quite like theatre great Gary Oldman.
This multi-layered Brit lavishes his character with a Southern drawl and neurotic energy that can never be copied, imitated or perfected.
Thomas F Wilson in “Back to the Future”
Range is a gift and a talent for any actor, and Thomas F Wilson’s many turns as “Biff Tannen” in Back to the Future.
Consider this: he played a rambunctious teenager twice, a self-made business bully and a subservient lacky, a conniving old man AND a villainous, dirty cowboy. Across three movies. I’m still trying to think of a more widely known role any other actor has yet achieved.
Oh and coolest fact I’ve found about a movie yet, Back to the Future is banned in China as they consider time travel “disrespects history.” This means that, potentially, half of the world has never seen Back to the Future.
Rick Moranis in “Spaceballs”
For all the choices above, this list needs a campy, straight-shooting actor who knows when to have fun, and Rick Moranis shone in Mel Brook’s Lucas-blessed parody “Space Balls”.
He provided everything a comedic director would ask for, “Just go out there and be funny.” and Moranis definitely did.
G.W. Bailey in “Police Academy”
While R Lee Eremy as Gunnery Sergeant Hartman in “Full Metal Jacket” epitomised true military authority most teenagers despised, G.W. Bailey’s turn as the underrated leader Lieutenant Harris in “Police Academy” galvanised the comedic version.
Campy and Napoleonic, the character was the butt of the group’s jokes and the source of recalcitrance for many a youth then and today.
And there you have it. Hope this cheered up your day from the long weekend.
Teehee. Of course you shouldn’t pirate any TV show, that’s horrible and illegal. But, as classic comedy TV shows go, these Top 5 are the best at instigating humour and laughter without feeling outdated and old. Keep Reading
I starting writing my own comedy shortfilm as a way to create something I thought I never could. I realised too that, in order for them to be made, I would have to make them.
So, I may have learnt a couple of things along the way that most would never know, some know only too well and others forget.
1. Write your comedy shortfilm properly…then ask a friend if it’s funny
It all starts with the story. I have no specific way of writing anything well, as I haven’t as yet. Everything I write down is an experience in line with an experiment.
The format is key too. Learn to write in a screenplay format, there’s tons of tutorials out there, like this one for my last sketch, the Driving Test. It helps because everyone knows the format.
Don’t wait. I could easily wait until a buddy of mine would show up at my pad, beers in hand and ready to dish out some cool anecdote I’ll be inspired to write down, but it’s not so easy for those that don’t come around to mine.
Don’t look to anybody else for inspiration, just write your story. You can, and should however, look to someone else for guidance after writing it. Get their take, receive their input gladly and follow along with whatever advice they give.
Most times, they’ll be right.
2. Get a better camera than what you’ve got, cos yours is crap
Filming your comedy shortfilm with an iPhone is actually ok. In our first one I used two when myself and Joe Emilio filmed our Driving Test one, and it was easy to use.
However, you can tell the quality is lacking, with depth of field and quality of view. So, get a better camera.
If you’re lucky, get a friend who knows cameras. Maybe he is a cameraman. I know one, he’s cool and wants to do more sketches. I’ll keep at it.
3. Keep it simple, don’t try to redo Police Academy
The first time was with me a Joe, the next with Nathan and a few more. The following was a huge undertaking and it didn’t pan out as well as I would’ve liked.
Focus on the simpler tasks first. Write all your stories, but then focus on the ones you can practically pull off on a shoestring budget with minimal fuss.
It takes a lot to coordinate extras, props, main leads and continuity. Keep it between friends. The bigger stories can be created later when more people follow and believe in you.
4. No beer on set, your grip will let go
I learnt that from my last big production. Don’t bring alcohol to the set as people will start fooling around and make unnecessary noise while director and cinematographer speak.
Keep to simple snacks, drinks and sandwiches. But no alcohol, trust me. It will spare you time.
5. Learn to edit yourself, cos no one else will
That’s my biggest joy of the whole process, the editing phase. I love taking what Iv’e written down, then organising all the clips into one big mess.
And be prepared, this is the most time-consuming part. You will get frustrated with the files you have to sort, the audio you have to bring together and syncing both all at the same time.
And it’s learning the programs. Adobe Premiere is the industry standard, while Final Cut Pro is the layman’s lazy “professional” movie editor. Go for the latter, it’ll save you time.
As for the art of editing, I can’t teach you that. Watch other things and then mimic them. Reproduce the editing in some of the best films you’ve seen and avoid the worst ones. This will take some research.
6. Take care of the special effects and they’ll take care of you
I mean more about the titles and the lighting, as these affect the mood and how audiences perceive your shortfilm. I’m busy reediting my latest short because the lighting is all wrong on so many places and it bothers me.
Where you can, learn about filters and effects. In one comedy shortfilm I filmed long ago, I’m learning Adobe After Effects to turn it into an old 80’s movie complete with broken film (to hide that we never shot the connecting scenes). It’s excruciating, but in the end worth it.
And invest in taking time to make a cool introduction. There’s plenty of title templates to choose one, so use one that’s right for you.
7. Listen to your sound and make sure they can hear the punchline.
Need I say more? Don’t pass up the opportunity to better your sound. If you feel you can’t hear that one thing, fix it and fake it if you have to.
8. Release it and then don’t expect anything
Marketing your comedy shortfilm is the second hardest thing, as nobody would’ve heard nor care about its premise. And it won’t get many likes.
Mine hasn’t. I know. But I gotta keep trying, as I love the process of taking a story to film. Eventually, someone’s going to like it.