I can't believe I forgot to post a "TV Main Title of the Week" for the last few weeks. Better late than never. So, to make up for it, here's all three versions of THE MAGICIAN main titles — from the pilot, the first 13, and the back nine — with a great theme from Patrick Williams:
CBS has greenlit production on a pilot for a new version of HAWAII FIVE-O from a dream team of scribes — red-hot feature writers & FRINGE producers Alex Kurtzman & Roberto Orci and CSI: NY executive producer Peter Lenkov. You may recall that CBS passed on a take from CRIMINAL MINDS showrunner Ed Bernero last season and, several years before that, scuttled a filmed pilot from Steve Cannell & Kim LeMasters that starred Russell Wong and Gary Busey (the main title from that unaired pilot is below). Kurtzman and Orci know a thing or two about reviving old TV concepts…they wrote the feature versions of STAR TREK, MISSION IMPOSSIBLE and TRANSFORMERS.
There’s something about a resort vacation that makes you appreciate home. For the characters living in the getaway destinations of Tod Goldberg’s latest collection, Other Resort Cities, leaving home is a desperate imperative. A Chicago hit man hides in Las Vegas, where 15 years later he’s a respected rabbi of a money-laundering temple. Trouble is, he wants out of all of it—the mafia, faux Judaism and especially Vegas. “Mitzvah” indeed. A cuckolded father abducts his children and ends up squatting in model homes, and another deserted husband converts his gated-community home into a Starbucks. Bad decisions come as naturally to Goldberg’s characters as his incisive wit is a natural part of his storytelling.
My movie FAST TRACK: NO LIMITS is finally available on DVD in the U.S. (the movie was released almost two years ago and has been available since then just about everywhere in the world except here!). I wrote and produced the movie in Berlin at the end of 2007…with an American, British, French and German cast. It was one of the best professional experiences of my life…one I hope to repeat in 2010 by working on another action movie with the same team. Here's the FAST TRACK theatrical trailer:
and if you want to know more about how the movie was made, here's part one of "The Making of Fast Track" documentary.
I just got back from EB Live Interactive Webcast to promote my MONK books and the DVD release of my movie FAS T TRACK. It was the first time Expanded Books has tried to pull off this feat — a live web broadcast integrating text chats, live Skype webcam calls, in-studio hosts, pre-recorded clips, music, graphics, and virtual sets. And they asked me to be their guinea pig.
Although there were a few technical glitches, made worse by my fumbling attempt at being a host, I thought it was a lot of fun. And scary, exciting, and embarrassing. My guests were MONK writer/producer/director David Breckman (who was in studio with me) and FAST TRACK star Andrew Walker and technical advisor Sam Barer (both via Skype webcam). My other guests were the people who called in by Skype webcam during the broadcast. I felt a little like an inept Ted Koppel, talking to people "face to face" in New York, Los Angeles, Seattle and Montreal…while also taking questions sent by "chat" (though my chat monitor kept blacking out).
I have no idea how it turned out…I am supposed to be getting a copy of the show soon and I will post it here. My wife says it was a little rough, and at times I was fumbling, but overall it was fun and it seemed like we were all having a good time, and that compensated for the technical glitches. I'm eager to hear what you thought of it.
But what I found most exciting was the potential of this new technology. It's possible now for someone to have their own live talk show on the Internet…with guests from all over the world on camera …and with the full participation of the virtual audience in ways television doesn't allow (the closest comparison is talk radio). And for a fraction of a TV budget.
It will be interesting to see what happens after Expanded Books works out the kinks….they could really be on to something here beyond promoting authors and their books.
My friend Raymond Benson talks to Buzznews about what it was like to pick up where Ian Fleming & John Gardner left off as author of the Bond novels from 1997-2002. Here's an excerpt:
How did you go about laying the groundwork for your incarnation of James Bond?
Raymond: I was told by IFP (Ian Fleming Publications) that I could "use or ignore" anything that the other continuation authors (Amis, Pearson, Gardner) had done. I didn't contradict anything Gardner did, I just changed a few things back, like the whole "Captain"/"Commander" thing and the gun Bond uses.[…]Basically, the Bond continuation novels should not be taken as an extension of the series that was before it…. they are separate series by individual authors… the only thing we really need to be faithful to is Fleming’s universe. After all, if we were REALLY being a continuation, then Bond would be in his 90s by now.
When you did the novelizations for the movies Tomorrow Never Dies, The World Is Not Enough and Die Another Day … What did you have to do to fit the stories into the reality and you'd already spun?
Raymond: With the first one, "Tomorrow Never Dies", I tried to fit it in with the continuity after "Zero Minus Ten," my first Bond novel, and mentioned that 007 had been to Hong Kong etc…. but then after that I realized it wasn't worth the trouble. EON didn't care about the novelizations fitting in with my original books, and neither did IFP . They were treated like separate entities, just tie-ins to the respective movies, which is what they were. I don't consider the three novelizations part of my "oeuvre", so to speak.
Author Jean Henry Mead interviewed me for the Murderous Musings blog and got me to blather on and on about myself and my books, something I hardly ever get a chance to do with my blog, my twitter page, my Facebook page, my… well, you get the idea. Here’s an excerpt:
Lee, when did you realize you were a writer?
I’ve always known. When I was ten or eleven, I was already pecking novels out on my Mom’s old typewriters. The first one was a futuristic tale about a cop born in an underwater sperm bank. I don’t know why the bank was underwater, or how deposits were made, but I thought it was very cool. I followed that up with a series of books about gentleman thief Brian Lockwood, aka “The Perfect Sinner,” a thinly disguised rip-off of Simon Templar, aka “The Saint.” I sold these stories for a dime to my friends and even managed to make a dollar or two. In fact, I think my royalties per book were better then than they are now.
I have been working on my MONK novel MR. MONK IS CLEANED OUT under the mistaken belief that it's due November 30. Well, I happened to glance at my contract yesterday to double-check when the outline for the next MONK book is due…and discovered the outline for Book #11 is due November 30…and that CLEANED OUT is due November 1. I have four less weeks to write the book than I thought I did. Yikes. My editor is great, she's got no problem with me turning the book when I thought it was due, but I am a stickler for deadlines and I am going to do my best to turn it in on time.
But what really bothers me is how I could have made such a dumb mistake to start with. What happened to my brain? What was I thinking? Or, better yet, why wasn't I thinking?
Meanwhile, this has been, and continues to be, a busy week. I've had lots of pitches, meetings, and non-career stuff to attend to. This Sunday, Oct 4, I'm speaking and signing at the West Hollywood Book Festival and then doing an interactive webcast at 6 p.m to promote MR. MONK IN TROUBLE and the DVD release of my movie FAST TRACK: NO LIMITS. I am really excited about the live, interactive webcast, which is the first event of its kind (at least as far as we know). I'm sure there will be glitches…it's inevitable when you are doing something brand new, relying on all kinds of technology, sites and services working together in-sync, but it's bound to be fun and interesting for me (and I hope for you) no matter what.
I've also received tons of weird, unusual, and idiotic emails this week…at some point, I will get around to sharing some of them with you.