Jul 7 2011

One more pic from the Star Wars: Episode VII set

Here is a pic of the full set, unobstructed by yours truly:

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Jul 4 2011

On the set of Star Wars: Episode VII

Recently I got to visit the set of the newest film in the Star Wars franchise. Here is a pic of me on the set; it was pretty much as exciting as you might expect:

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Aug 11 2009

Sandcrawler Steve

One of my more comically miserable memories involves Star Wars nerds, and lots of ’em.

The year is 1997. My friend Dave calls and says he knows this guy named Steve who was trying to put together a big fat Star Wars convention in Kansas City, and the guy needed artists to help. I had tons of sci-fi sketches and the project sounded pretty kewl, so I said I was in.

Soon, our friend Brenton, another artist and Star Wars fan, was in as well. We made an appointment to meet Steve at his house, this guy that was going to put this amazing convention together. Brenton and I rode up together, and Dave rode with one of the other guys who was invited.

Brenton and I followed the directions we were given, and we kept driving into seedier and seedier neighborhoods. We found the house number. While Steve did live in a house, he more accurately rented the upstairs. We walked in.

People frequently caricature Star Wars fans as poorly-dressed nerds living in their mom’s basements, surrounded by scads of expensive action figures and other toys and collectibles. That would be a dishonest and unfair characterization of our experience, as Steve did not live in his mom’s basement.

Soon, we were joined by other fanboys, and anyone who would have accidentally walked into the room would have concluded that we were getting ready to play an epic round of Dungeons & Dragons, not planning a major creative business venture. The three of us were starting to be a little apprehensive, but hey, you never know, give it the benefit of the doubt, it might turn out to  be amazing.

It didn’t.

Steve gave us his spiel: he was going to organize a giant Star Wars convention in Kansas City, fly in all the original stars, and present George Lucas with an honorary Oscar.

I know what you’re thinking: Why would George Lucas want an award from nerds? Why would Harrison Ford want to be involved, when he has distanced himself from so many other Star Wars events? You’re thinking this is the dumbest thing you’ve ever heard.

No it’s not; you haven’t heard the finale.

The convention was just Phase 1 of Steve’s Awesome Plan. Phase 2 was this: he was going to take the proceeds from The Convention and move to Nevada, set up a Star Wars collectible store. In the desert. Built to resemble a life-size Jawa Sandcrawler.

No, I’m not kidding. This idea was the conflation of crossing the Rubicon and jumping the shark at the same time.

We all decided to go get some lunch. Dave went with Steve, and Brenton and I left and went to Taco Bell, where we drew cartoons of Sandcrawler Steve and howled in laughter at his Sandcrawler store.

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Jul 24 2009

Hardwood, books & movies

I love books, and have for a long time. I think a lot of it stems from when I was a kid, when we would go to the mall. Mom and my brother would go somewhere, and dad and I would go to the bookstore.

I don’t know what dad was looking at, but I spent a lot of time sitting on the hardwood floor of Walden Books reading. The only book I remember reading was a book of behind-the-scenes stuff from Star Wars: how they did the effects, actors’ names, etc.

This book is what started me on a path of memorizing useless trivia (actors, directors, special effects guys). But it also got me to watch any movie that had actors from Star Wars in it. I first watched Dr. Strangelove because it had James Earl Jones in it, and Bridge on the River Kwai and Lawrence of Arabia because they had Sir Alec Guinness in them.

Guinness later said that he hated Star Wars and that George Lucas’s dialog was awful, and he barely mentioned any of the Star Wars movies in his autobiography. It’s really too bad, because I wouldn’t have watched any of his “good” films if it weren’t for his work in a space opera that he detested.

But besides the movies and trivia, I developed a love of hardwood floors. My house has hardwood throughout most of the main floor, including my office. Soon, I plan to line the walls with shelves for my books, including my books about movies.

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