Michael Crichton, author, died from cancer yesterday, November 4, 2008. Crichton was born in Chicago in 1942. He graduated from Harvard University, and later Harvard Medical School. He wrote his way through school as a peddler of trashy paperback adventures under various pseuodnyms. Eventually, he developed a unique style that played only-slightly-fictionalized cutting-edge technology (and consistently a decade ahead of the mainstream in that regard) against our deepest fears in the name of high-concept fiction, in books which often read like dialog-filled operations manuals.
Crichton was an instant Hollywood darling. For over three decades, everything he wrote was adapted for the big screen, often with tremendous success. He wrote, produced, and directed, movies and television, pioneered visual effects, developed video games, and more. Crichton was a unique voice. His style has never been imitated and his omnimedia success has never been matched.
The Personal Angle
After initially being shut out of Jurassic Park the film (thanks, Mom), I picked up the book at the library, then quickly devoured everything else Crichton had to offer. Jeremy picked up on this soon after, and took it to greater heights, reseaching (and later collecting) every edition of every book, article, and film, he had anything to do with. I do believe, and don't feel I am overstating this in the least, that Jeremy is (or was at one time) the world's greatest authority on all things Michael Crichton.
In December 2006, on a trip to Phoenix, Jeremy and I constructed the Michael Crichton Information Page, a single-page data dump on the author. This became the Michael Crichton Collector's Site and then crichton.org. Beyond the wealth of information the sites contained, they had a unique feature: Crichton would offer a clever quip when you mouse-overed his image on the front page. The following messages were manually changed from time time, but later, through the wonders of PHP, rotated on each page visit.
Jeremy was also active on the alt.books.crichton Usenet newsgroup for some time, and not just under his own identity. He created a character named SalaS to provide some anonimity. Eventually, in an homage to the "Moonkids" personality that trolled the Smashing Pumpkins newsgroup, he created an antagonistic character called Slotnick who never saw the light of day, fortunately.
Jeremy and I spent quite a lot of time cruising greater Phoenix area used bookstores in search of neglected special editions and paperbacks, that could be often had for pennies, but sold online for significantly more (this was in the days when Amazon.com had a text-based front page with a green logo). Exploring the old films, especially the made-for-TV films (all spectacular, for better or worse), introduced us to great actors like Donald Sutherland and Ben Gazarra. We noted Crichton's penchant for gratutitous nudity in all his visual works. The year 1998, in particular, was marked by the heated anticipation for the film adaption of Jeremy's favorite book, Sphere, which had taken eleven years to make it to the big screen. The way the book was adapted and visualized was debated long and hard.
Eventually, we both moved on to other pursuits. Nevertheless, Crichton carries fond memories of shared experiences and the shared language of his writings. He will be missed.
The tent set is basically three sides of a 10' x 16' canvas wall tent. It is 8' high and designed for studio use. It is built of sturdy 2x4's with thick natual/yellowish fireproof canvas. It was design in four sections that fold up for easy transportation in the bed of a standard pick-up truck. There are a variety of ways to support it. We did so with a bunch of C-stands and lots of sandbags.
We are including lots of dark bamboo to look like supports, a bunch of extra canvas, and we even have two smaller A-frame tents as well. We may have some additional items left over from our film that you might be interested in for dressing up the tent.
The tent set cost around $400 to build from raw materials. We are asking $60 for everything. Buyer must come and pick it up in North Phoenix.
Among the first discs available is Wong Kar Wai's iconic 1994 film "Chungking Express." I'm excited to see this in HD, considering I was never able to catch it on the big screen. There look to be some interesting special features as well, including an interview with Wong and Chris Doyle.
Yet, one line of the description disturbed me a little:
New and improved English subtitle translation
- Voiceover - The voiceover is intended to be in Chinese. This is the shared vision of Jeremy and I (and Tim Nm). In the Tim Nm film, it was never clear how he would achieve this voiceover. He was always more focused on his yellow subtitles than the logistics of performing and recording a Chinese voiceover. Jeremy at some point, with reasons grounded in Tim's psyche known only to him, determined that Tim would haved toughed it out and recorded the voiceover himself, no matter how poorly it turned out. Well, that was all well and good when DoBWF was a real ramshackle affair, but it's actually turned out to be a polished effort in the end, and it deserves a better (and less potentially insulting) voiceover.
- Sound - We shot the film with absolutely no regard for sound. In fact, Jeremy and I can be heard talking (sometimes debating) during the meat of many of the best shots. In a way, this is somewhat key to the film, because we were actively talking the character through many of the scenes. I guess we thought since the film would be told in voiceover, that we could just toss all of the audio. Even that isn't a great excuse, though, because there were three spoken lines in the film, and the audio on them is completely unacceptable.
- Score - After getting an original score done for Wildlifeless, is there any turning back? No pre-canned music is going to capture the feeling of this film, and no music would fit it's 8.5 minute run time, anyway.
Well, I'm very excited that we have pulled in some very talented people to address these needs:
- Voiceover - Wuzhi Lu will be doing our voiceover. He is a consumate professional with degrees in broadcasting and journalism, 16 years of experience, and completed work for Volvo, BMW, Intel, LG, Ford, GM, Heinken, Gucci, DuPont, the NBA, and Xbox. Wow! He is also a great fit to voice Captain.
- Sound - Alden Fahl is a rising star in the world of sound in Arizona filmmaking community, having recently completed work on The Governor, and comes highly recommended. He will be doing the foley and sound design, bringing the real life sounds of the laundromat to life.
- Score - Luca Antonini is back, having won Best Original Score at the Almost Famous Film Festival 2008 for his work on Wildlifeless. It's a joy to have him on board, and while we have worked with him before, his connection to this film was quite surprising. It turns out that he is a big fan of WKW's BMW Film The Follow. It goes without saying that this entire film is an homage to WKW, but beyond that "Unicornio," the song from The Follow, was top on my short list of musical inspirations for this film. When Luca and I realized this confluence of cirmcumstance, we knew it was meant to be.
There you go, three problems and three talented individuals to make it happen. This film is coming together fast. Film festivals, here we come! Now I have to figure out exactly what film festivals would be perfect for DoBWF.
were busted right off. Hopefully we'll be able to find some
replacements. There were some other assorted dings and scrapes but all
and all we survived. Now we're in the midst of the unpacking nightmare.
is done. Darrell is Googling local restaurants as I type this. We hit
tons of traffic but we managed to bang out almost a full third of the
drive. Hopefully I'll check in tomorrow as long as the next hotel has
PS: I'm typing this on my brand new 16GB iPod Touch. I'm loving this
I've been told that 1password alone is worth the price.