Saturday, January 1, 2011

I made an Extra Credit Video for my Media Aesthetics class. It's had a warm reception by the people I've shown it to as well as the people that helped me to make it. I hope you enjoy it also.
Jefferson Stokley: Boy in Bed -
Jonathan Shroyer: Camera - I can't find him on Vimeo, but he says he has an account
Adrian Svircic? I'm not entirely positive:

Friday, October 29, 2010


I'll be at the Long Beach Comic Con this year with my good chums Jeff Stokley ( and Kevin Castaniero ( Though I have to go to prison from 2pm-7am on Saturday and 2pm - 10:30pm on Sunday, I am going to be there from open until about 12:30pm. In my absence though, I will have a mini-comic for sale with short stories I wrote for the low low price of $3.00! It stars Tim Kelly ( and the aforementioned Kevin Castaniero, with a bonus preview of Jeff's pages for GUN BABE! A story he and I are working on for Heavy Metal magazine. CHECK IT! Also at the table will be a Sketch Book by Kevin, and prints, Prints, PRINTS! For CHEAP CHEAP CHEAP! SUNDAY SUNDAY SUNDAY, WE WILL GET BEER! and BROADS!!!!

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

NEW POST!!!!!!! NEW NEWS!!!!!!!!

School has stared again for another semester. Lots of homework and studies, which means less writing and project making. However, before the semester started I set in motion for a mini comic to be made. And with a little overhead luck it just may come into fruition. It really all boils down to the artists holding up their end, along with finding a letterer, and then my financial obligations to all parties and printing. If all goes well it should be ready for the Long Beach comic con where you can check it out and take one home with you if you'd like for a yet to be determined price. More news to come on the matter so stay tuned and check back soon.

Saturday, August 21, 2010

The American Astronaut, a critical essay

So I applied to the CSU Long Beach Department of Film and Electronic Arts for their Narrative Production option last year. When you apply you have to submit a portfolio with a creative writing sample, work sample, personal statement essay, letters of recommendation and a critical essay of a film of your choice. All of that on top of the GPA requirement makes for a monumental amount of work to organize and complete. I’m a very big procrastinator, but I managed to finish all of it coming into the last seconds. The question for the critical essay was as follows:

Critical Essay on a Film or Television Show: Although applicants are not expected to have a sophisticated knowledge of media criticism, they are expected to be able to make reasoned written arguments in support of a thesis. For this reason, applicants should choose to explicate a film or television show that they find to be particularly meaningful and interesting. Emphasis in this essay should be on the relationship between form and content in the film or television show being analyzed. A minimum of three print sources should be cited in the essay.

Rather than writing about a film with plentiful research and just regurgitate the information outright I tried to find a film with almost none. The American Astronaut is one of my absolute favorite films and has gone relatively unnoticed, so it had little research and analysis on it. The largest source for this was the live commentary on the dvd and a few articles with little or no relevance. I don’t like to explicate films I admire because I always think it ruins them. I did it once with The Way of the Gun and it totally killed it for me. Luckily this film was able to avoid this tragic effect as I still watch it today.

I’ve been debating on whether or not to post this online because I don’t want to sound stupid, wrong, or a pretentious asshole. But right now I don’t care and who knows, maybe someone will find this helpful. I ended up getting into the program but I think that it was just a good stroke of luck. However, below is the essay I submitted for you to peruse and critique for yourself. Enjoy!

The American Astronaut

What makes The American Astronaut such a fascinating film is that it can be wholly enjoyed on multiple levels. On the surface, it can be seen as very simplistic, childish, and random. However, it reveals surprising depth upon recognizing the theme. Michael Walker identifies theme as, “… the subjective storyline behind all the action, dialogue, and exposition, unfolding onscreen.” (Walker 23) The theme of father-child relationships develops behind all we see in The American Astronaut, demonstrating McAbee’s talent for visual storytelling. In The American Astronaut we will see the visuals develop the father-child relationships, and the characters reflect Professor Hess’ final summation at the end of the film that, “children seldom live up to their parents expectations” (Sisto) due to their childish actions.

Cory McAbee utilizes cinematography to develop the theme of the various father-child relationships. The first development takes place in the scene where Eddie trades his daughter, the girl clone, to Curtis in exchange for the freedom to continue following his dream of being a musician. The two adults are set off-screen while the girl is displayed in the center of the frame as Curtis and Eddie’s shadows project onto the wall. During the exchange in the bar Eddie is far more excited to perform at the dance contest than he feels remorse from abandoning his progeny. The second example is when Samuel Curtis arrives on Jupiter. Mr. Vilensky exchanges The Boy (who actually saw a woman’s breast) for wanton lust and greed. Instead of orphaning to fulfill a youthful dream, Vilensky orphans for increased wealth and a sex life. The compositions of the two scenes echo one another. Curtis, off screen to the right, will take a child, placed in the center of the screen between the two guardians. The guardian off-screen to the left is more concerned with their own personal gain rather than their child’s well being. Placing the child in the center of the frame turns the adolescent into an object rather than a person. The parent is set off-screen due to their lack of connection with the child. This leaves the child isolated within the frame. Samuel, placed on the right is the deciding factor of the child’s fate. This is because Americans read images from left to right. We leave the parent on the left, and end with the parent on the right.

Visually, the American Astronaut is a gritty, tough as nails science fiction, western. However, to showcase the final summation Hess imparts at the end of the film, McAbee’s characters wear thin visages over a pre-teen adolescent mentality. Their tough guy ruse is shattered by their actions in the first location Samuel Curtis visits – the Ceres Crossroads. We first see the characters undermine our traditional expectations in the bathroom scene. While Samuel Curtis is using the bathroom, two goons enter in after him. Following what we know of the traditional western genre, we assume these men are here to rough Curtis up and rob him. However, once in the bathroom they plug in a record player, terrorize him with a song and dance routine that crescendos with the thugs taking a Polaroid of him on the toilet, and leave him with his pants around his ankles in the dark. This scene sets the tone of the film and the characters we are introduced to in it. The characters seldom live up to their initial presentation, and in fact are polar opposites of what we expect from them. We see this to be especially true with the beguiling narrator Professor Hess. Initially Hess seems well spoken and appears to be the most mature character of the cast. However, he reveals himself to be the most childish, and the worst person to be our guide in The American Astronautuniverse. We see the depths of his childishness in his song and dance number on Jupiter. In this scene he begins on stage in the spotlight, then proceeds to prance alone in the ashes of the former populace singing a childish song.

The only characters that match their appearance with their actions are Samuel Curtis and the Boy. Curtis maintains a tough demeanor and navigates the universe like a pro. He is the archetypal western hero Bernard Dick describes in his text, Anatomy of Film: “The western hero is a loner, often fiercely independent. If he is to develop as a person, he must assume a sense of responsibility…” (Dick 124) Samuel Curtis fits this characterization perfectly; not only does he look the part, he acts it as well. He travels the universe alone, changing his personality when he assumes responsibility of the Boy. We see this to be true when he saves him from death at the hands of Professor Hess. Curtis saves the Boy and Bodysuit, then takes him to Earth to raise him. Rather than develop their relationship off screen, McAbee chooses to develop it on-screen to denote their connection. He does this with a montage of still photographs and music. The montage mixes the past and present, as well as the tone of their future relationship masterfully. The past in its presentation of still photographs representing a nostalgic time of memories, the present, as their relationship grows before us during their voyage to Venus, and finally the future, as the montage foreshadows their relationship at the end of the film.

At the end of the film we see the beginnings of a failed father-child relationship contrast with a successful one. If Curtis and the Boy are the successful pair, than Hess and Bodysuit are their antitheses. Where the Boy will learn and fully mature from his father figure, Bodysuit will learn nothing and join the ranks of immature citizens littering The American Astronaut universe. We find evidence of this stunted development from the work of Joseph Campbell, “…the fixating idolatry of that pedagogical nonthing is itself the fault that keeps… the potentially adult spirit from a better balanced, more realistic view of the father, and therewith of the world.” (Campbell 107)

Works Cited

1. Walker, Michael. Power Screenwriting: The 12 Stages of Development. Los Angeles,

CA: Lone Eagle Publishing Company, LLC, 2002. 23. Print

2. Sisto, Rocco, Perf. The American Astronaut. Dir. Cory McAbee.”

Perf. Sisto, Rocco. BNS Productions: 2001, Film.

3. Dick, Bernard. Anatomy of Film. 5th ed. Boston, MA: Bedford/St.

Martin’s, 2005. 124. Print.

4. Campbell, Joseph. The Hero With a Thousand Faces. 3rd ed. Novato, CA: New World Library, 2008. 107. Print. (Campbell 107)

Wednesday, August 11, 2010


I was recommended over to by Jefferson, and I must say that it is a fine place to be; very sleek. So go ahead and click over to check it out. ME JEFF

Thursday, March 25, 2010


There are tons of oil refineries scattered around Torrance and Carson. This one is planted ominously right next to the 405 and I drive by it at least once a week, usually at night. The first time I passed it I was taken back and terrified. I remember thinking about how ominous that thing was, and how audacious the ties must have been to decide it was a fantastic idea to put an American flag over their giant, polluting, complex. (It reminds me of the second level of Sonic 2) I'm pretty sure that Dr. Robotnik lives in here and he swivels his mustache while he and Dr. Light chuckle about some sort of evil surprise attack on the greater Los Angeles region. Nobody would suspect an attack on the South Bay, everyone here is too busy hiring crosswalk guards at every major intersection and driving around their Lexus SUV's to even notice such a plot brewing right there in their backyard. Jesus Christ!? Sometimes productions excrement permeates over this giant fortress so thick it looks like the skin of the earth in the Matrix, but with more lights. I'm not too sure where I'm going with this so I'll just stop here and cut my losses. For all I know Dr. Robotnik saw me snap this and has drones scouring the internet for any kind of lead!

Monday, February 1, 2010

The unheard voice of my nether's backyard

For those that know me, I've heard this interest scoffed at as an unhealthy, childish obsession. My rebuttal for this is that my body is indeed a sacred temple. Everything that goes into it shapes and determines the state of my everlasting perfection, and, as a result, everything that comes out of it, divine lyric. I personally think that I should be endowed with a personal stenographer who, viscously takes notes of my uncensored thoughts. So they can one day be collected into a large book that people cramp themselves in a large, hot room with solid, uncomfortable benches and, after really listening and searching for a hopeful meaning, will drop money onto a plate, shake hands with strangers and splash themselves with tap water. My words are that important to me. So coming out the other end, my farts are incoherent messages that whisper to crazy people, give their lives meaning and cause them to stand out on street corners condemning everyone.
This leads me to my poops- I just took one, a really healthy one that almost clogged the toilet by its sheer mass and consistency. I mean, this was a large log that, if it were a tree to be chopped, would take Paul Bunion a week just to break up and send to freezing villages for firewood. Anyways, this thing was staining my bowl with sacred marks. After i got up i thought about taking a picture of it. So that one day, the images would be stored on digital and hard copy microfiche and studied by only the highest scholars. They would sit around confounded by their complex patterns and scoured for the boons of truth. The general public would have no interest in them except for maybe rich people interested in mounting high art over their fireplaces. Just a thought before i flushed the sucker and washed my hands of it forever, looking up to get lost in the infinity that is me.