Wednesday, May 21, 2014

EVERYONE Loves Peppa Pig!

     Being the father of a toddler, you realize that there are a ton of children programs out there that are, well... NOT ANY GOOD! But rather than talk about those, lets talk about one of the good ones! Straight from across the pond, it's Peppa Pig

     This is my daughter's favorite show at the moment. She actually claims that her name IS Peppa Pig, and any attempt to argue this fact has repeatedly proven futile. Anyways, I thought it'd be fun to draw the show's characters in the silly way that they appear in my head.

Peppa Pig
Mummy Pig
Daddy Pig
     My wife and I were big fans of Mister Rogers' Neighborhood while growing up. One of the things we love about Peppa Pig is that it, like Mister Rogers, teaches children about everyday life without talking down or shouting at them. I'm also a firm believer that kids learn more from children's programming if the parents watch with them, and Peppa Pig, in our house at least, is entertaining for kids and parents alike!

Plus, my daughter will say random words with a british accent. What's not to love about that?!?

Sunday, May 4, 2014

"Who's More Foolish...?"

     You can't be a fan of something, and not imagine yourself within the context of that something! Or maybe you can, I guess, but not if you're me... which... you're not. Because, I'm me. Let me start over!

     When I was in high-school, right before "The Phantom Menace" graced itself upon us, I had the bright idea to re-write (that's right... RE-WRITE) the original Star Wars trilogy. The purpose of this was mainly for me to practice with the format of screenwriting since, at the time, it was a field I considered getting into. I pretty much knew the films by heart, of course, and thought it'd be fun to go ahead and throw myself into the mix... in the form of this guy.

Meet Ay-Jay Barques!

     Yep. This was my fantasy. Not only did I want to be a gunfighter in the Star Wars universe, but I apparently wanted to have a goatee and smoke those skinny Clint Eastwood-type cigars as well. Whatever.

     Several people really dislike the Star Wars prequels and special editions, but if you ask me, THIS guy makes Jar Jar Binks look like Boba Fett! You may find that hard to imagine. How could anything be worse than the Episodes 1,2, and 3, you might ask. Well, here are a few excerpts to help me make my point.

     First up, we have the scene in which my Ay-Jay Barques is introduced for the very first time. Up until this point, I kept the film exactly as it is. Then, about 20 pages into it...

     Bam! I ruin Star Wars! After this, it doesn't matter who shot first! Han. Greedo. They could've just simultaneously flicked each other in the face and it would've been better than this!

     Ay-Jay doesn't belong. This is obvious as about 90% of these scripts involve him saying or doing things without any acknowledgment whatsoever from the other characters.

     I tried to make up for this akwardness wherever I could, by inserting brand new scenes featuring Mr. Barques... like this gem from "The Empire Strikes Back":

     The character is also a master of "real world" colloquialisms that, like him, have no place in the Star Wars universe.

For example, this:

Or this:

     My computer crashed before backing up my "Return of the Jedi" script, but you get the idea, right? It's crap. Still... I enjoy looking at it from time to time for a little perspective. At the moment, we have a new Star Wars movie on the horizon and, of course, the internet is RIPE with negativity! Announcements about the new film trickle down little by little, and with each one, a monsoon of naysaying! "They better not do this!" or "They better not go there!" Apparently, getting a dynamite cast of new and old faces to star in a film directed by a powerhouse director who's consistently proven himself AND written by the man who wrote the greatest film in the entire Star Wars saga ISN'T GOOD ENOUGH!

     "Why isn't Billy Dee Williams in the cast?" people ask. "Harrison Ford looks too old!" "This movie comes out in December instead of May!" "I thought Chewbacca died on Sernpidal during the Yuuzhan Vong war in an attempt to rescue the son of Han Solo!" ..."Hey, what about those little space bears?!?"

     Whenever I find myself thinking thoughts like these, I like to remember Ay-Jay Barques, and remind myself that making Star Wars is something that belongs in the hands of filmmakers because, in the hands of fans like myself, it would be worse. Much much worse!

...said No Fan EVER.
     To close this post out, here's my favorite of Ay-Jay's lines. It's the final scene from "The Empire Strikes Back" where Ay-Jay explains how he has to put his love life on hold to go and rescue Han Solo from Jabba the Hutt. (Yes. I apparently felt it necessary to give my character a love interest, as well. Sigh.)

     Keep in mind, if High-School Nate had his way, this would be the LAST line of spoken dialogue in, what I feel, is one of the greatest films of ALL TIME!