Cool Dad will always be cool!

I made a tweet or two about how much I loved Cool Dad-Official Trailer on [adult swim].  I expressed simply what I wish I knew more about it and amazingly co-director/writer/creator Ariel Gardner sent me a message asking what I wanted, then proceeded to give an excellent Post-Mortem, stating I could contact him if I had follow-up questions.

ME: Everything Ariel, from conception to the final product. How it was devised, why, developing the full on crazy logos, getting the actors, having it be an [adult swim] “infomercial” versus anything else. I’d love an entire post-mortem.

Ariel’s long thread reply:
It’s something we’d been giggling about for years to do as a sketch, but we knew we couldn’t do it without money. Adult swim brought us in to pitch ideas and fortunately they liked that one best, it was our favorite too.

Initially it was built around the idea “Jelly Daddy”, which was in the script as the second beat after cool dad until just before shooting.

We were having trouble executing the concept and then we realized family guy had already done a dad with no bones concept anyway, so we scrapped it, restructured the script with planty daddy

Also the climax of our first draft had to be completely rewritten at the last minute as it was becoming clear it would be unfeasible to shoot with our budget.

The initial idea was the trailers would start coming faster and faster with all sorts of daddy premises until it devolved into sort of This Boy’s Life evil stepdad story until he wishes for his dad back. Would’ve been fun and more chaotic, but I prefer how it turned out

Jerry was our first choice and we were so happy he said yes. He’s a great guy. Andrea we’ve always been a fan of from her work on Stella. Parker the son is someone we’ve been working with for a long time, initially on our web series “fishbowls are definitely my thing”

Nathan the cop is a long time friend, the others were suggested to us by abominable and they were perfect

As to why it was devised, idk, as long as I’ve been alive there’s been so many father-son centric family fantasy comedies, the repetitiveness of these concepts seemed like a fun idea to play with and was right in our wheelhouse to write

It was ambitious but accomplishable and we laughed a lot throughout the whole process. A fun culmination of all the sketch work we did over the years. V grateful adult swim took a shot on it.

And here are the follow up questions I sent.  I actually sent them all at once, but for ease of reading have it broken down and edited structure by question/answer where applicable.

ME: When was Cool Dad shot? Jerry has been so focused on his new cop show that I wonder if it was awhile ago? How long was the shoot?

ARIEL: We shot late last year, maybe late October or early November.  It was a one day shoot. The original script had a lot more to it and we had to do everything we could to wrap it all in one day.

ME: In terms of structure of something with a more complicated linearity in which it might take a viewer a second to get it, how was the shoot structured for continuity?

ARIEL: Not sure if this question is what you mean, but the shoot was structured by location. We would shoot all the pieces in one part of the house with two cameras then quickly change wardrobe and shoot the next one. (ed note: this is exactly what I meant.  Knowing it was shot location to location helps perspective of editing)

ME: Do the fake names of the director, writer, etc. have any significance?

ARIEL: I came up with a list of fake names and those were the ones that happened to be cleared legally. No significance but fun to do. Stan Loriette is something our editor uses a lot apparently. Timothy Michael-Creeksy is my personal favorite.

If you haven’t seen Cool Dad!-Official trailer yet, go do so here:
http://www.adultswim.com/videos/infomercials/cool-dad-official-trailer/

Selling and Killing and Killing what you Sell (again and again)

Retail work can be hell. Especially when you run your own business shop. There’s ordering, pricing, displaying, selling, keeping customers happy; Keeping track of trends, supply and demand, influx, stock, reorganizing, running the register. To some in Japan that in itself would be a good game. I’m sure that game even exists, but imagine if on top of running the store you also had to go and get your own supplies and products to sell? What if those products could only be procured by fighting monsters and getting strong enough to get more and more product to sell while also helping see your surrounding village and merchants grow and succeed as well? What if you had a dream of escaping the duldrum life of running a strom and just adventuring and discovering mysteries without the worries of that store work life? Yet, the only way to ever reach that dream was to actually make the shop so successful your adventure becomes everything it entails.

 

That is what MOONLIGHTER from developer Digital Sun (published by 11 bit studios) is a fanciful nutshell. Yet, that is a narrative painterly description of the game. While the game is ambitious, and very ice to look at, it definitely doesn’t reach the platitudes I have presented. That is not to say the game isn’t worth your time, as it definitely is.

Before I get to any of the praise let me discuss some of the “downfall” the game suffers IMHO.

Moonlighter is a grind if you’re not a seasoned and never fail gamer. I have seen speedruns and videos showing folks getting through this game easily, I am not one of those people, nor will I ever be. There is a lot to keep track of as you attempt to make money by selling your wares, yet keeping aware of what you have as items you procure are equally needed to upgrade your armor, weapons, and spells. The combat isn’t inspiring, there are no combos. You dodge and you hit, you remember patterns and you hope your fingers are fast enough to follow those patterns as you press buttons. Yes, that is like much combat but it offers no variety or ingenuity, but it does look good.

The store management is not as exciting as one would hope. The reactions from customers, knowing if an item needs to go up or down in price or kept the same, placing the items in a four grid, how many of an item, not accidentally selling an item you need to get the better word so you can survive longer in dungeons to get better items. None of it as actually fun. It can even be aggravating at times. I found myself yelling out loud at the customers, but they can’t hear me cause it’s actually just me yelling at my computer screen. Yet somehow it’s still fun. There’s something inherently fun about it.

That’s the big thing. Even when frustrated the game is a lot of fun. Helping that happen is the excellent pixel art along with an incredible soundtrack and sound design. These two things and the concept propel the world of Moonlighter into being a game you don’t mind having to go back to dungeons and to the store and to the dungeons over and over and over. If life in retail had a soundtrack and visual appeal like Moonlighter even more people would love it. It’s that feeling that makes me recommend the game to pretty much anyone who seeks a gaming experience both familiar and like nothing they have never had. Give it a spin… you’ll get sucked in even as you want to quit, which is a strange but great feeling.

MOONLIGHTER is available now on Windows, PS4, Mac, Xbox One, and Switch.

You can also get the OST on Bandcamp.

 

 

Over the Garden Wall and Into Hollow Town (Press release)

 

BOOM! Studios is proud to announce OVER THE GARDEN WALL: HOLLOW TOWN #1, beginning a new five issue limited series set in the world inspired by the Emmy® Award-winning Cartoon Network animated series Over The Garden Wall.

Writer Celia Lowenthal (The Storyteller: Fairies) and artist Jorge Monlongo (Powerpuff Girls, Rugrats) send Wirt, Greg, and Beatrice on an all-new adventure in the Unknown as they stumble on a small town inhabited entirely by eerie porcelain doll-people. After Greg loses a shoe to a pond-turtle, it’s up to Wirt to earn money for a new pair, leading him to babysit some doll-children that may cause Wirt to stay in town forever…

OVER THE GARDEN WALL: HOLLOW TOWN #1 features a main cover by Celia Lowenthal, along with variant covers by Natalie Hall (Adventure Time) and Miguel Mercado (Saban’s Go Go Power Rangers).

“With OVER THE GARDEN WALL: HOLLOW TOWN, I’ve been trying to lean into and expand upon some of the great aspects of the show: adolescent social anxiety, patterns and tropes from fairytales, and – of course – spooky things from the woods that aren’t quite what they seem,” said Celia Lowenthal. “Over The Garden Wall is just such a good story; it’s really awesome to get to play around in its universe and, hopefully, do something new and fun!”

“I love everything about Over The Garden Wall –  the characters, colors, music… and the way horror and tenderness blend together,” said Jorge Monlongo. “Working on this new series so exciting.I enjoy drawing old houses and antique clothes, malefic trees, sinister creatures and frogs. But what I love the most is drawing Greg!”

OVER THE GARDEN WALL: HOLLOW TOWN is the latest release from BOOM! Studios’ award-winning KaBOOM! imprint, home to comics for middle grade and younger readers including licensed series such as Adventure Time, Steven Universe, Peanuts, and Garfield, along with original series like Mega Princess by Kelly Thompson and  Brianne Drouhard, Bodie Troll by Jay Fosgitt, and The Deepby Tom Taylor and James Brouwer.

“I’m excited to head back to The Unknown for more adventures with Wirt, Greg and Beatrice,” said Whitney Leopard, Editor, BOOM! Studios. “Pat McHale created an amazing world with Over The Garden Wall and we’re really excited about this chance to introduce readers to more adventures with these amazing characters. Celia and Jorge have created a special story in OVER THE GARDEN WALL: HOLLOW TOWN about family, responsibility and the true dangers of strange dolls, you don’t want to miss is.”

Print copies of OVER THE GARDEN WALL: HOLLOW TOWN will be available for sale in September 2018 at local comic book shops (use comicshoplocator.com to find the nearest one) or at the BOOM! Studios webstore. Digital copies can be purchased from content providers, including comiXology, iBooks, Google Play, and the BOOM! Studios app.

For more on OVER THE GARDEN WALL: HOLLOW TOWN and more from KaBOOM!, please visit www.boom-studios.com and follow @boomstudios on Twitter.

The Best Movie You’ll Never See

You gotta watch Cool Dad-Official Trailer from the team of Alex & Ariel Productions starring Jerry O’Connel, Andrea Rosen, Jay Jackson, Jay Lambert and more.  It claims to expire July 6th.  Hopefully it’ll be uploaded to Youtube or elsewhere.  It needs to live forever.

 

 

Phoenix Online is Going To The Stars

Adventures games are rarer and rarer these days so when one comes along, especially beautiful. indie and from a quality publisher I take notice.

The debut game of Spanish developer Risin’ Goat, A Rite from the Stars is a fun and clever point & click adventure game about Kirm, a young mute boy chosen by the Stars to undertake a mystical rite of passage to become a legend among his people.

In this coming-of-age story, players will explore the Mystical Island of Kaikala, home to the Makoa tribe, and pursue the three paths of Wisdom, Courage, and Spirit in any order they choose. Each path introduces new mechanics to solve unique challenges, ranging from action sequences to musical puzzles, with Kirm’s playable meerkat companion Mirk and guiding star Hoku on hand to collaborate on puzzle solutions and lend insight along the way.

A Rite from the Stars features beautiful 3D environments, a fully orchestrated soundtrack recorded with a live chorus, and a complete original Makoan language developed for the game! A Rite from the Stars will be released for PC, Mac, and Linux, and feature French, Italian, German, and Spanish translations on release. Learn more at www.risingoat.com.

The game is releasing later this year on direct download, Steam as well as other channels from Phoenix Online Publishing.

We will walk with Clementine one last time

Telltale’s The Walking Dead: The Final Season

Premieres August 14, Pre-Orders Available June 8

Clementine, now a fierce and capable survivor, has reached the final chapter in her journey. After years on the road facing threats both living and dead, a secluded school might finally be her chance for a home. But protecting it will mean sacrifice. Clem must build a life and become a leader while still watching over AJ, an orphaned boy and the closest thing to family she has left. In this gripping, emotional final season, you will define your relationships, fight the undead, and determine how Clementine’s story ends.

  • Emotional, Gut-Wrenching Story – See Clementine’s journey through to the end. As she builds a new life, you will have to grapple with new types of choices and live with the consequences as AJ looks on, learning from your every move.
  • More Control, More Tension – A new over-the-shoulder camera system, greater freedom to explore detailed environments, and scenes with unscripted combat capture the fear of living in a world overrun by the undead and create the most engaging The Walking Dead game yet.
  • Striking New Visual Style – The all-new Graphic Black art style rips the ink from the pages of the Eisner Award-winning comic book series and brings the world of The Walking Dead to life like never before. Supports 4K resolution and high dynamic range on compatible devices.
In addition, The Walking Dead: The Final Season will be fully dubbed in French, German, Latin-American Spanish, and Brazilian Portuguese. It will also be subtitled in French, German, Latin-American Spanish, Brazilian Portuguese, Italian, Russian, and both traditional and simplified Chinese. Episode one voice packs and translations will be available for download on launch day.

Episode one of The Walking Dead: The Final Season will be available for download starting August 14, 2018 on PC, PlayStation 4, and Xbox One across all regions. The Final Season will also come to Nintendo Switch later this year.  Starting June 8, players will be able to pre-order the game on PC, PS4, and Xbox One for $19.99. All players who pre-order The Final Season will receive download access to each of the season’s four episodes as they become available. Players who pre-order on PS4 and Xbox One will also receive immediate access to The Walking Dead: The Telltale Series Collection, which gathers all 19 existing episodes of the award-winning series into a single package.
PC players who pre-order on Steam, GOG, GamersGate, or the Humble Store will receive 10% off the full retail price. Win10 pre-orders through the Microsoft Store will unlock season one of The Walking Dead: A Telltale Games Series. All pre-order offers expire August 14.

Book Expo/Book Con 2018 Video Haul

I recorded a very long display of things I picked up at BookExpo & The Book Con 2018. Along the way telling stories, detailing the books and more. With over 120+ books a cataloging is also planned, but for now enjoy this video.

Book Expo Collage Previews

BookExpo 2018 runs Wednesday (5/30/2018)-Friday (6/1/2018) followed by The Book Con on June 2nd and 3rd.  In advance of excitement I have made two “collages” of books being featured at the shows in some fashion.  This is not everything I am interested but it as example of the show in many showing middle grade, young adult, comics, cook books, memoir, non-fiction and traditional adult fiction.  If you love books keep your eyes open for these covers when they hit your local stores and other places.

The Incident is Unforeseen but Completely Worth it

Traditional point and click 2D third person adventure games at high levels with excellent voice acting are a rarity. Especially in 2018. Unless of course the publisher is Application Systems Heidelberg, who this year are also publishing an HD remake of the first Nelly Cootalot game and the new detective story from Grundislav Games where failure is an option to completion.

In Backwoods Entertainments story, Unforeseen Incidents, things seem pretty innocent at first. You step into the life of a likable, charismatic layabout named Harper who is living in an alternative universe. You quickly learn that things aren’t as simple as they seem though and soon you’re propelled into a conspiracy and mystery of possibly mythic proportions. There’s a group of colorful characters you meet along the way, fully voice acted with a performance showing care and concern for each line and even stupid joke. Visually, it’s really great, especially the backgrounds. The character designs are definitely an aesthetic that will be hit or miss with each person. Art is subjective after all, but the details in each location are impossible to be amazed by.

 An important part about a quality point and click game outside story is game play. How are the puzzles? Do they make sense? Are they too easy? Too difficult? Too illogical? Does lateral thinking apply or out of the box. A combination of obvious and trying to actually have just try things is such a difficult balance, yet the writers and programmers of this game definitely found it. While some thought processes definitely get lost in translating the games native language of German to English, nothing in my playthrough ever felt impossible. Did I get stuck? Of course I did… did it ever frustrate me? Not once, and there were many reasons for that; As stated the art, which I personally find to be extremely enjoyable; The subtle music and sound design are also superlative.

What really kept me going was the plot and the characters going through this intense adventure that keeps getting bigger and bigger. Harper is just a perfect protagonist. In a film he’d be Val Kilmer, Matt Damon, Jake Gylenhaal, Paul Newman, Mel Gibson, Gérard Depardieu or any number of everyman actors. Someone who is good looking but not too good looking, intimidating without being fearsome, someone you can relate to in a variety of situations and want to see succeed no matter the odds. He has great co-stars as well in an older best friend and genius, a no nonsense journalist, a former boss, a tough as nails park ranger, and a cadre of individuals along the way that just add something to the entire environment, each created with as much care and consideration as our protagonist so none feel one dimensional even in their simple roles.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Suffice to say I highly recommend Unforeseen Incidents and consider it worth your time, brain process and appreciation.

The game is available now (released May 24th, 2018) and can be purchased on Steam, GOG, Humble, or direct from the publisher at a cost of $20 usually.

A Quick Pre-Look at Book Expo/Book Con 2018

Although my attendance of Book Expo and/or The Book Con at this time are not guaranteed with the show less than a month away I wanted to use the information currently available to pretend I was definitely going and what excited me most in my personal world of pop-culture.

A full guest list for both events aren’t up yet, but combining the lists for the events, as well as info culled from other sources these particular people’s appearances alone excite me in no particular as date of writing:
Dave Eggers, Rick Riordian, Megan Mullally, Nick Offerman, Trevor Noah, Nicholas Sparks, Jill Lepore, Kathryn,Ellie Kemper, Viola Davis, Benj Pasek and Justin Paul, Chris Colfer, Brad Meltzer, James “Murr” Murray, Brooklyn Allen, Charlaine Harris, Charles Soule, Chuck Palahniuk, David Baldacci, Rep. John Lewis, Kami Garcia, Mariko Tamaki, Scott Westerfield, Shannon Hale, Taye Diggs, Walter Mosely.

Now you may notice a lot of these names of famous actors or personalities. This speaks to me in my world. There are traditional authors too though whom I love and the opportunity to tell them how great their work is, to hear about their latest and then remind you it exists or is coming soon is all tantamount to just who I am as a person. Also, if I can get an amazing photo of them it’s always a bonus as I do pride myself on my photography.

One of the top things is that on top of celebs, arcs, meetings, and more, both Book Expo and Book Con will try to have the feel of a big pop-culture con with the Diary of Wimpy Kid display.

Here’s some current BEA/BookExpo Links that exist from publishers:
https://redlightningbooks.com/BEA2018
https://www.sourcebooks.com/bookexpo.html
http://macmillanlibrary.com/2018/04/25/macmillan-library-lj-slj-day-of-dialog-bookexpo-2018/
http://www.simonandschusterpublishing.com/bea/

If you want this year’s Publisher’s Lunch Buzz Books previeweing the Adult and Middle Grade/YA Books for this years Expo you can download there for Kindle, Nook, etc. over at this link.

And if you’re curious to see what a schedule for ME looks like? Well you got that too.

If there are updates to offer this article will recieve them. Keep an eye on my twitter as well though.