Getting Dark Matter to Trend

17 07 2015

The fans from Fringe ( http://morethanoneofeverything.net/2012/10/01/fringe-twitter-event-all-is-not-lost-theres-got-to-be-anotherway/ perfected the best protocol for getting something to trend. Because the single word “Fringe” never trended (well it finally did at the finale), they got with Fox Broadcasting and instead of using Fringe they used the title of the episode. They trended EVERY SINGLE WEEK using this.  It took a labor intensive coordinated effort to get people on board.

Since Dark Matter has no named episodes, #DarkMatter would work just fine (if it doesn’t, then #DarkMatterTV might be something to try in the future). I am going to post what the rules were for Fringe and I’ll put my comments in bold about Dark Matter).

I tried very hard to get the fans of Enlisted on Fox Broadcasting to follow the protocol and it never worked (and it, like Fringe, had a name of the show as a common word that would never likely trend) but it was next to impossible. The fans think that more hashtags make things better, but it does not. Fringe had a very organized process and anyone they saw tweeting more than one hashtag, they kindly asked the person to just use one. If they saw someone not using a hashtag, they politely reminded them to use the hashtag.

This was an example of the Fringe approach (my comments about Dark Matter are in bold and italics below the Fringe approach):

1) Don’t use #LoveIsTheAnswer before the designated time: 1 HOUR before Fringe airs.

(In this case, don’t use #DarkMatter until 1 hour before airtime; you can use DarkMatter without the hashtag, but don’t start using the hashtag until 1 hour before airtime).

2) One # term per Tweet. (Only one hashtag because Twitter doesn’t count tweets towards trending with multiple hashtags.

If everyone needs to use #DarkMatter there should be a coordinated effort that everyone just use that and not something else. So if someone tweets #FourClan #DarkMatter it won’t count towards trending at all.

3) Lots of people tweeting matters more than the number of tweets.

(Rules apply to Dark Matter as well)

4) Those with lots of followers help out a lot!

(Rules apply to Dark Matter as well)

5) We want to pique the interest of non-Fringe fans. (In our case non-Dark Matter fans).

(This was more because they were using the episode titles. If we could get Syfy to pick a hashtag other than #DarkMatter to describe the episode that people would say, “Hey what’s this” that would be great. But the key is a fully coordinated effort).

6) We can discuss aspects of the show in our tweets -TRY to include the word FRINGE (with no #) in your tweet if possible.

(For Dark Matter, if you wanted for example to trend #WeAreDangerous then only use that as a hashtag and type darkmatter in or Dark Matter as two words without a hashtag– another example:  You always need to worry about the silent deadly types, especially with FOUR #DarkMatter   If you wanted #FOUR to be the trending hashtag, then that sentence would look like   You always need to worry about the silent deadly types especially with #FOUR  DarkMatter  )  See the difference?

7) Private accounts must have their locked status removed, as the tweets from these accounts do not count toward the trend tally.

(Rule applies for any trending event)

8) Retweets are the easiest way to help out the trending effort. Just search for the hashtag, and retweet the ones that are interesting to you (and ones with just one hashtag). If you know how to use a Twitter application suite like TweetDeck or HootSuite, this is made even easier.

(Don’t retweet multiple hashtags (or before retweeting correct them by removing all hashtags except #DarkMatter)

9) Thank the sponsors.

(This is true for ANY show.  Sponsors do pay attention to this. Often with DVR viewing, commercials are skipped. When people go out of their way to thank the sponsors means a great deal to them. For example: @subway Thank you for sponsoring #DarkMatter. It s a fabulous show. I think a sandwich would go well with it! 

 

Let’s help Dark Matter trend every week. Fringe got 5 years even though the network wanted to pull the plug on the show much sooner. It was because of the coordinated efforts of these dedicated, knowledgeable fans that made the difference.





My Letter to Mr. Reilly of Fox to Save Enlisted

15 04 2014

(This is what I’m mailing to Kevin Reilly of Fox Broadcasting today to save ENLISTED in case you need some inspiration to write YOUR letters)

Dear Mr. Reilly

I do not write letters often to save shows as they are often futile. In the case of “ENLISTED” I feel like I it is worth the effort. I know you (or your decision-makers) felt the show was worth a shot. Shows like “Us and Them” that were shown in the May 2013 upfronts never made it to air. Everyone knows the ENLISTED pilot had problems. The energy that has been put into the show both by the network and the cast has been amazing–hiring a military consultant to get some things corrected that bothered our military viewers, the principal cast going to Boot Camp to experience what our soldiers go through and bonding over it just as a troop does, the phenomenal app that shows exclusive videos, but mostly the cast who week after week engage the fans in live tweeting events that blow my mind. There are individual cast members of other shows who might take one week in a rotational schedule to live tweet but never the sheer numbers we’ve seen the cast and crew of ENLISTED do. It is TROOP SPIRIT. They have done so many interviews. They have done some wonderful things for our military families. Here is the problem: It was put into the Friday death slot. Then it was interrupted by the Olympics. None of these things are your fault. I imagine Friday was the only slot you could give it. But it deserves a second season and a time slot where it can flourish, such as pairing it with Brooklyn Nine-Nine. The comedy is similar–it’s smart, it’s unique. It deserves to have a Tuesday comedy slot. If after a season 2 it doesn’t do well, then I can understand if the network decided to cancel it. But it deserves this chance. Every week the scripts have improved.

I would like to point out that this past week I helped engage the fans to promote the advertisers of the show. Fans had a healthy discussion with Applebees and Charmin people. Charmin is not yet a sponsor but after the response they got from the “Parade Duty” episode, if they were given a season 2, they might consider it. Many people on Twitter have already promised to switch to Charmin and they haven’t even signed on to advertise yet. People have said they will go to Taco Bell this week. Others have said they will go eat at Applebees (because they hosted on the Fox.com viewings). Fox commissioned a study about the power of Twitter on advertising.

The network is ahead of the curve by not just looking at the standardized numbers of the antiquated Nielsen’s system. With “The Following” for example, Fox looked at viewing across all platform media. People rarely have time to watch things live anymore. Binge-watching is becoming more common. I don’t understand appeal of the demographic of an 18-year-old male who in this job market likely is living at home with his parents, unemployed, with zero buying potential. I am a 50-year-old, white woman, born in Brooklyn, NY and now living in Texas who has tremendous buying power and understands the economics of television broadcasting. Perhaps that 18-year-old was married already 30 years ago, but that just isn’t the reality of our modern times. Taking the cues from Bart Smith who suggested to Maureen Ryan that instead of us buying useless tokens to flood your offices (like fans of Jericho did with CBS by flooding the office with peanuts) fans make a donation to the Wounded Warriors Project, I did and you should be receiving that confirmation letter soon.

ENLISTED is a show the entire family can watch (and there are not many shows out there where people can). It is about love of country. In a world where people are brainwashed into thinking they need to be rich to be successful, the show sends a message that you can have a job that is less glamorous but your job is important in the big picture and you can do that job with love and joy. Not only is it about family (whether you are related by blood or together by other forces), but it also is about supporting each other. It is about choosing happiness in whatever job you have to do, even Doody Duty. Women adore strong female leads and Angelique Cabral does a wonderful job as Staff Sgt. Perez.

X-Files had an initial cult following, an audience that grew and benefitted the network in many ways. ENLISTED seems to also have a cult following for now, but with a better time-slot I see it growing.

Decision time is upon you with the upfronts coming in May. Please take our pleas into consideration. Thank you for your time reading this letter and have an amazing day.

Respectfully submitted,

Hilda Bowen
AKA @PBMOM on Twitter
AKA Call Sign Ninja Mom

——————

To readers of this blog:  If you need addresses or ideas to help save this ENLISTED, please see my previous post.  Click here.





Save Enlisted

11 04 2014

1379556_224068451090943_1320552361_nTroops! Rally! Our beloved show is definitely in trouble. I really don’t understand the ratings game. As a 50-year-old woman I have a TON more buying power than a 25-year-old unemployed young man. While the industry is definitely trying to change from the old Nielsen model, it isn’t going fast enough to catch up to the quality shows we want to keep around.

When ENLISTED was shown at upfronts in May of 2013, it got feedback from a critical audience. To the network’s credit, they didn’t just scrap the show after the pilot. They decided to regroup and fix it. The premiere originally moved to November was now moved to January. Some of the principal cast members attended boot camp at Fort Bliss. They made fun of themselves. They invited the audience at the premiere in January to spot their mistakes. They engaged the military audience and made each script better. They brought on a military consultant to help them get basic things accurate so they did not alienate the military audience. They created an awesome app with literally hundreds of videos you cannot see anywhere else.

But ENLISTED faced an uphill battle. It was given the Friday death slot where shows go to die. ENLISTED also faced more hurdles. They showed some shows out of order. In the episode “Homecoming”, Derrick had the girl and a few weeks later he was trying to get the girl. Then the Olympics happened and the show was not shown for several a few weeks. How you are supposed to build a fan base without a consistent show I will never know. Fox found this out after the first season of “24.” There were too many interruptions of the show which is why the following year they went to a January premiere date.

The cast and crew have worked tirelessly to promote the show. They have done interview after interview. I do not ever remember a show where most of the cast and crew are live tweeting week after week. And every week it is trending, even when there is no live show and the fans are watching the show on Fox.com. Fox even did a study on the effect of Twitter on advertising potential. Partial information from that press release:

1. The majority of those who are exposed to TV-related tweets not only have taken immediate action around a given show, but are also highly likely to watch a show they’ve never watched before, or resume watching a show that they’d previously stopped watching, as a result of a TV-related tweet.

2. TV show viewers who recall seeing tweets mentioning a show’s brand partners are much more likely to view that brand as appealing and pay more attention to that brand’s on-air ads than the general Twitter TV audience.

Specifically, FOX, Twitter and the ARF found that the majority of those who recall seeing TV-related tweets have searched for a show (76%), have taken action on Twitter (78%) – such as click on the show’s hashtag, follow a talent handle or retweet TV-related tweets – or have taken action to watch TV show content (77%). In regards to watching TV show content, 42% have made a plan to watch the show later, 38% have watched episodes online and 33% have changed the channel to watch the show. In fact, viewers who live-tweet with the linear broadcast are more likely to take action to discover content than those that don’t live-tweet.

Tweets that mention brands also generate significant action: 54% of those who recall seeing such tweets have taken action by tweeting, searching for the brand online, or considering to try the brand mentioned. This jumps to 58% when measuring actions taken by the live-TV-tweeting audience.

“This groundbreaking research has allowed us, for the very first time, to understand and quantify the very real value of the enormous volume of tweets generated by our shows and our brand partners every week,” said Judit Nagy, FOX’s Vice President of Analytics. “The level of engagement, activity and perceptual impact we’re seeing from these results far exceeds what we’d expected, and that’s really good news for networks and brands alike.”

Maureen Ryan (@moryan) did a story in the Huffington Post about why the show should be saved. She invited people to send her ideas. Bart Smith offered up a wonderful suggestion: Why don’t we donate to the Wounded Warriors Project in honor of ENLISTED? So Maureen did. She put in honor of ENLISTED and her father who served in the military, and sent the receipt to Fox. I did as well. My father-in-law served in the Navy in World War 2 and my father served in the Navy during the Korean War. I have many cousins who served in the Army and Air Force. I decided to make a donation as well. Here is the link to The Wounded Warriors Project and the screen shot of how I filled out the “in honor of” just like Maureen did.

EnlistedDonation

 

I still have the March 28th episode of ENLISTED on my DVR (Paint Cart 5000 vs the Mondo Spider). I made a list of all the companies who bought an ad that aired during this show. And I’m listing the email address or link to where you can leave a comment for them. There were multiple wireless companies. I’m certainly not going to switch my company, but my company is among those who supported the show. I’ll write to them. Here is a sample: Dear _____. I want to thank you for supporting the Fox Broadcasting show “ENLISTED.” I am a __-year-old male/female. ENLISTED is a wonderful comedy. It is a show that can be watched by the entire family. For me it symbolizes ____________________. (And if you feel like you are going to support the advertising because of this you might say something like this for example: “I have always shopped at Home Depot because it is closer to my home. Because you are supporting ENLISTED, I will drive a little further and shop at Lowe’s to thank you for that support.” Sincerely,

Here is the list of advertisers for that episode:
AT&T
208 S. Akard St.
Dallas TX 75202
http://www.att.com/contactus/

Dr Pepper/Seven Up, Inc.
Attn: Consumer Relations
P.O. Box 869077
Plano, TX 75086-9077
http://www.drpepper.com/contactus/

Esurance
650 Davis St
San Francisco, CA 94111
http://www.esurance.com/contact

Ford Motor Company
Customer Relationship Center
P.O. Box 6248
Dearborn, MI 48126
http://www.ford.com/help/contact/

Lowe’s Customer Care
P.O. Box 1111
North Wilkesboro, NC 28656
http://www.lowes.com/cd_Contact+Us_347544179_

NET10 Wireless
9700 N.W. 112th Ave
Miami, FL 33178
http://www.net10.com/contact.jsp?nextPage=contact.jsp&task=contact

Nissan Consumer Affairs
P.O. Box 685003
Franklin, TN 37068-5003

http://www.nissanusa.com/apps/contactus?next=footer.contact.link

Sleep Comfort Corporation
Media Relations
9800 59th Avenue North
Minneapolis, MN 55442
(Their email contact us link is not working properly)

Sprint
6480 Sprint Pkwy
Overland Park, KS 66251
(Their contact us form isn’t really clear which one to use).

Taco Bell
1 Glen Bell Way
Irvine, CA 92618
http://www.tacobell.com/portal/site/tacobell/account/template.CONTACT_US

Verizon
1095 Avenue of the Americas
Floor 7
New York City, New York 10036
(Their contact us form is not really the place to send thanks).

Walmart
702 SW 8th St
Bentonville, AR 72716
http://corporate.walmart.com/contact-us/

 

You can also write letters. PLEASE KEEP THEM RESPECTFUL AND POSITIVE.  A network executive is much more likely to listen to something you have to say versus one where you tell them why you will never watch their network again if they don’t renew the show. Send them to:
Kevin Reilly
Fox Broadcasting
10201 W. Pico Blvd
Los Angeles, CA 90035

Or email them: askfox@fox.com

As well, I was thinking about taking a page from Save Farscape campaign where people made a commercial and said, “I am Farscape” and they had their age. On Twitter tonight (or in the comments below), list your age and sex and if you want the part of the country you live. Use the hashtag #IAmENLISTED

 

Now get to work troops!

 





Celebrity Corner: Bart Montgomery: Promotional Wizard (Part 2)

4 11 2013

Please read here for Part 1 of the interview:  https://pbmom.wordpress.com/2013/11/01/celebrity-corner-bart-montgomery-promotional-wizard-part-1/

How long do you get to work on a particular preview before it goes to air? Have there ever been close calls to deadlines? Can you share anything specific if you did?

Usually you get a week to work on promos for a show during the regular television season. You want to finish promos for an episode at least a week before the episode airs so there’s time for viewers to see them. On launch promos for new shows you get a longer time frame, perhaps weeks or months because you have the pilot episode already. For returning shows, you have to wait for production to start before you can get material to cut promos with.

There have been some close calls when it comes to a promo making air. Back in the day when I was doing promos for “America’s Most Wanted,” we would promo the specific fugitive that the show was looking for and sometimes viewers would see the promos, recognize the fugitive, call the police and the fugitive would be arrested before the actual episode could air. This would throw everything off and we would quickly have to produce new promos featuring a different fugitive. I remember having an hour to produce a new promo and finishing just in time for the new promo to be slapped into a tape machine and broadcast. Haven’t had to do that in a long time, thank God.

(X-Files Promos)

How do you decide which way to take a preview? I noticed that just recently on Twitter you asked viewers what they wanted to see in a preview and you got a pretty good response–no spoilers, action, explosions, relationships, which I think pretty much covers all aspects.

Ideas on how to approach doing a promo will usually come to me while I’m watching an episode. I take lots of detailed notes on dialogue and shots that I like. For “Fringe” alone I’ve taken around 2000 pages of notes. Notes make things move faster during an edit session because it’s easier to find what you need.

During most of my career I’ve never really had an occasion to ask fans of a show what they’d like to see in a promo / trailer. Twitter provided the perfect opportunity to learn what fans thought about how a favorite show is being sold to them. I asked fans questions when I was working on “Fringe” and the responses were very helpful. The music we used in the final “Fringe” promos was suggested by a fan. Fox has always been a leader in embracing new technology. Twitter is a wonderful tool for promotion and linking fans together and with “Fringe” it really showed. There are some AMAZING “Fringe” fans in the Twitter-verse and I am still awed by what they were able to pull off.


(Fringe Promo–Thanks @NataliaQuique)

I think that in some aspects part of your job is sales. You have to sell a show in a very specific short period of time. I think it is very reminiscent of commercials for products except people are usually flipping through commercials on their DVRs. Would I be right to think that while flipping through these commercials they have to see this preview of an episode and want to stop and look at it before they continue flipping through the products to get back to their show? If so, that’s pressure!

Television promos and trailers can be considered an art form but in the end yes, you are selling something. Promo producers are acutely aware that viewers are very adept at wielding the DVR remote. I try to have at least one shot in whatever promo I’m producing that will entice a viewer to stop fast-forwarding through a commercial break and rewind the DVR to watch the entire promo. Sometimes a few frames of a promo will be all you have to promote a show so you’ve got to really think about what you’re putting on the screen. It has to be interesting. It has to be compelling because most everyone is an expert at watching television and people know when you’re messing with them. The audience knows when you’re not being honest. They may not be able to quantify exactly why something in a promo or trailer isn’t quite right but they know something’s wrong. Make sense?

Alcatraz Promo

Have there ever been moments where after a piece airs you feel you could have done things a little differently, or is there no second guessing yourself in this line of work?

Yeah, I have thought of better ways to do a promo after the fact. Sure, there are a times when I feel that I absolutely nailed it but they’re rare. Given time you can find a million different ways to make a promo so there is some second guessing, I suppose.

I remember a particular promo I did for “The X Files” that had a shot in it that I thought was really cool. I didn’t stop to consider that younger viewers might be frightened by this shot. It was just a cool creepy shot to me. So the promo aired and I got a few irate e-mails from some parents who didn’t appreciate having to explain the “coolness” of this particular shot I’d used to their children. They were right. I learned from that mistake and don’t think I’ve ever repeated it.
Second guessing has its merits the trick is to do your second guessing before the promo airs.

With all the changes coming so rapidly in the way people view television, do you have any thoughts about the future for promotional clips?

Yes, things are changing fast in the world of television viewing. I think the future of what a promo will look like and how it will be viewed will evolve depending on one thing and that is when a viewer records a show on a DVR or streams it off the internet, will that viewer be able to fast-forward through promos. We all know that right now if you record a show on DVR, you can blaze through anything by fast-forwarding. Will that continue to be possible? We’re already starting to see disabled fast-forwarding in video on demand and streaming. Will that extend into all viewing options? Only time will tell.

Regardless of what happens, my personal philosophy regarding promos is this: Most everyone who watches television is an expert at watching television. Even if they can’t quantify why what they’re watching promo wise feels wrong or out of place, they will know something is not right. Viewers know when they’re being messed with because they’re experts at watching television. So, if you’re viewing a recorded show and a promo begins to play, that promo had better somehow grab your attention from the first frame and be compelling enough so that you don’t fast forward through it, you just have to watch it. It’s as simple and complex as that.

The future of promos will be interesting. I suspect there will be many new options explored for enticing viewers to watch new shows as well as established ones. Ten years from now who knows what the promo world will look like? It’s certainly changed a lot in the last ten years. One of the most exciting things to me is fan participation. It’s amazing to see fans up-loading promos of their favorite shows to the internet and sharing them with others or creating their own fan made pieces. It’s really cool. When fans get involved in this way, great things happen and as a promo producer, it’s really a lot of fun to watch!

Bart next to the Headless Horseman costume from Sleepy Hollow

Bart next to the Headless Horseman costume from Sleepy Hollow

I’d like to thank Bart for being SO generous with his time and his answers and to @NataliaQuique for being the ultimate uber-Bart-fan who gave me an idea and a push in the right direction.  I hope you enjoyed getting to know him better.  I sure did!





Celebrity Corner: Bart Montgomery: Promotional Wizard (Part 1)

1 11 2013

For a brief period of time from August 2008 until November of 2008 I had the tremendous opportunity to be part of a live newscast for Fox 26 Houston for a segment once a week called “Your Family Matters.” Other women within the community were also invited. While I was not on every week, because I had a unique perspective of being a mother of a child with a disability or politically because of my no-party affiliation, I was often selected for a particular topic as part of a group. I was captivated by all the elements that went into a production of a newscast. Every job is important. About the same time, I found a blog by Joseph Mallozzi who was an executive producer and writer on the series Stargate. Oftentimes he would feature a Q&A of different people working on the show. It was a wonderful opportunity to learn more of all the elements that went in to creating a popular series. Occasionally I get a chance to ask questions of people working on a show. Occasionally they graciously indulge my request for an interview. What I am learning is that their stories are far more fascinating.

One such person is Bart Montgomery. Many of us on Twitter got to know him as the man behind the promotional pieces for Fringe on Fox Broadcasting. He became a rock star to us (although the modest man he is, I imagine that he would blush that I have said that). I wanted to know more about his career and how he makes certain decisions that lead him to create the videos that lead the viewer to decide whether or not it is something they might want to view. The answers were so terrific that I had to break this up into two parts. Here is the first of two. Enjoy!

What is your official title at Fox?

Senior Writer/Producer, Fox On-Air Promo Creative.

How long have you been with Fox?

I’ve been with Fox for 16 years, first from 1990 – 1999 then from 2006 to present.

BartsEditBay

Where the magic happens!

How did you get into this particular field of work? Was it something you studied for in college, or something that you got on-the-job experience? If you didn’t study for this particular field in college, what was your major?

I studied Film and Television production at the University of Missouri-Columbia. There isn’t a university level course that I know of that deals with producing television promos. It’s kind of a specialized thing that you learn on the job. I mean, you can learn the basics of television and film production in college and that will help you in promo work but in my university experience, I never studied anything as detailed as promo or trailer production.

To tell the truth, I kind of fell into producing promos by chance. I had moved out to Los Angeles to get into the film and television business in some capacity. I didn’t know what I wanted to do yet but just wanted to get involved. Unfortunately I arrived in L.A. during a writer’s strike so there was no work to be had. Every show and film set was shut down. After a couple of weeks looking for work, a friend of mine from college who was living in Florida and knew I was looking, told me that a friend of hers in Florida had a sister who was working at a promo / trailer production company in Hollywood. She told me that I should contact her friend’s sister so I did. I met her the next day and she hired me on the spot for the high profile job of runner / tape librarian. I had a masters degree and I was running around Hollywood picking up and delivering video tapes. Exciting huh? It does prove, however, that when it comes to getting a job in Hollywood, it IS who you know.
After several months working as a “runner” I was delivering tapes to an edit session for one of the company owners, a man named Geoff Calnan, who is a legend in the promo business. I kid you not, he is a promo master and anyone reading this has seen his work. I had dropped off the videotapes that were needed for the session and Geoff turns to me and asks me what I wanted to do in the company. Without thinking I replied, “I want to do what you do, produce promos and trailers.” I remember he looked at me for a moment and said, “Okay, you’re doing the next promo for “Superboy.” “Superboy” was a syndicated show that we had the promo contract for at the time. So, that was the first show I ever produced a promo for and it launched my career. I’ve even found some of my “Superboy” promos on YouTube— Go figure.

You do/have done the previews for episodes like The Following, Sleepy Hollow, Fringe, Almost Human, Touch, and X-Files. What are some other shows?

Well, in addition to the shows you’ve listed, I can give you a short overview. I’ve produced promos for “America’s Most Wanted” “Beverly Hills 90210” “The Simpsons” “Married with Children” “Millenium” “Harsh Realm” “24” “Family Guy” “Terminator: Sarah Connor Chronicles” to name a few.

Is it a team effort to produce the one preview or do you work on a particular project/episode by yourself while others are working on other episodes?

Usually each producer is assigned a show to write and produce promos for. Sometimes, especially when a show is first launched on the network, several producers will be assigned to produce multiple launch promos. But, most of the time, there is a single producer for each show.

Fox is a very creative place to work. They give you a lot of freedom to try different approaches. I’m biased of course but I think Fox is the best network on television and I’m proud to work here. There, I said it.


(Space Above And Beyond within a commercial block)

Do you get to choose the music for a particular preview? If so you must have to listen to quite a variety and be very knowledgeable about current trends. Do you hear something and think, “That would be great for such-and-such show” or do you file it away for a different time in the future?

Yes, as a producer I usually select the music for the promos. There are times when someone at a higher level will have a specific music idea or there may be a new music track being offered at a reduced rate by an established band looking for exposure that we’ll use but most of the time it’s me listening to various production music libraries. I’m always listening to current popular music tracks looking for ways to use songs that that I think would be good for a show I’m working on. More often than not, I’ll find something really good that I’ll file away in my mind for possible use later. I remember listening to Pandora one morning on the way to work and hearing a song by the band Collide called “Am I Here? I just had to use it and it became the track I used for the “Fringe” Season 4 launch promos so sometimes it’s just pure luck that you find exactly what you need musically. I’ve used music from Trent Reznor to Johnny Cash and everything in between. One band I’m dying to use in a promo / trailer is Garbage, just haven’t found the right situation yet.

(Come back for Part 2 in the next day or so.  The best is yet to come!)





Celebrity Corner: Comicpalooza Houston 2012

27 05 2012

By Hilda Clark Bowen

Compicpalooza2012

Expecting 15,000 people this weekend, Comicpalooza’s mission “is to provide the best and biggest annual multi-format pop culture convention in the southwest region of the United States, serving not only the fans of comics, science fiction, fantasy, video and table top gaming, anime, music and film, but also as a trade show and showcase for the studios, publishers, and manufacturers in those industries.” Now in its fourth year, it is still showing some growing pains. People were complaining about the length of the line just to buy tickets to get in. Some were complaining of the disorganization of lines for people with prepaid tickets versus those waiting to get in versus those with VIP passes. While some truth may be in those statements, coming this far in 4 short years is phenomenal. The community needs to continue to support this group by attending and by providing them with some constructive feedback.

Last year I found out quite unexpectedly that Houston had its own convention. Here I was spending money to go out of town when I could support a wonderful event in my own backyard. On my Twitter feed, some in the Houston, Texas area did not know it was going on this weekend. It’s not too late. There is one more day. Let’s spread the word for next year. Memorial Day weekend seems to be the date, much like Dragon*Con is over the Labor Day weekend.

This was my second convention. Last year I attended Women of Sci-Fi in Plano, Texas. When I saw how empty the convention center was (because I lucked out and got in the right line at the right time), I immediately went to work on my new collection of pictures. I got the most important things done first. I wanted to tell the people who affected my life in some way over the years how much I appreciated them. Why the urgency? I did this because my 16-year-old son, Patrick, who is severely affected with autism and other disabilities, was having an enormous amount of difficulty lately. Being nonverbal, he is really unable to share with us what is wrong–like if he has a headache, stomachache, etc. The last 3 days have been rough. His communication comes out in the form of behavior and not the good kind. I was unsure if our respite care worker was going to be calling for us to come home, or worse yet, that he had a seizure, which might also account for his behavior of late.

And you wonder how a cute kid like that can go from Gizmo to Stripe in a matter of 30 minutes? The pretty lady on the left was his teacher this past year (she actually stayed an extra year to work with him–isn’t that sweet?)

First stop was to Christopher Judge. Stargate has had a profound impact on my life. I was a bitter Farscape fan, pissed off that the SciFi Channel (now Syfy) cancelled Farscape to take Stargate from Showtime. Thinking that my boycotting the channel would make any difference whatsoever, my narcissism prevented me from discovering a terrific show for years. Yes, years. When my 500+ satellite channel offering one evening revealed NOTHING ELSE to be on, I started turning it to this show for “background noise” while I was working. I don’t remember which story it was, but I remember one show caught my attention, and slowly melted the bitterness in my heart. I caught up on all the episodes pretty quickly.  On March 25, 2009, I joined Twitter because Stargate Universe was in production and Joe Mallozzi said on his blog that David Blue was there. I wanted to be able to hear all the details about the new show, so I joined. The rest is history. I have made more than 165 Stargate-fan connections, have met some of these people, and some of them have become a tremendous support system for my personal life.

Christopher Judge

Turning the corner, Rachel Luttrell from Stargate Atlantis was not there yet, but Richard Hatch was. I became a fan of his at the tender age of 7 or 8. We were living in Hillside, New Jersey at the time and my sisters and I would come home from elementary school for lunch (you know, back in the OLD days). “All My Children” happened to be on. There were no DVRs let alone VCRs so if you weren’t live-viewing, you missed it. My sisters needed to use my body as an antenna to get better reception because the rabbit ears with the rotary dial weren’t working all too well. They were cruel to me like that. Yes, I cried when they said Philip Brent died in Vietnam, making the war as real as it possibly could to a child that age.  I grieved with Tara Martin grieving for Philip.  Flash forward to 1979 when the original Battlestar Galactica became one of the most ambitious shows of that time with these amazing visual effects that rivaled Star Wars (Episode IV). I had split crushes on both Apollo and Starbuck, Apollo the hero figure, Starbuck the beginning of my attraction to bad boys. My foster father would often threaten me that I would not be allowed to watch it unless I did XYZ. That’s behavior modification at its finest–immediate compliance. However, he thought that was quite funny, so the list of XYZ things I had to accomplish in order to watch the show bordered on the absurd. The editor in me noticed that Comicpalooza misspelled “Galactica” as “Galatica” on his sign and he made me laugh as he tried to climb the chair to fix the mistake. No one was more thrilled when he signed on to the reimagined Battlestar Galactica as Tom Zarek, a character with so many dimensions. It was thrilling to see the evolution of his career from Philip Brent to Tom Zarek.

Hilda Bowen (a.k.a. PBMom) and Richard Hatch

Another iconic figure for me has been Claudia Christian, whose portrayal of Commander Susan Ivanova on Babylon 5 secured a place in annals of role models for women in science fiction. My sister turned me onto the show. Seasons 2-4 were my favorites. I sobbed during the Shiva scene; I felt my heart break when Marcus died (Oops! Spoiler alert.)  Chills went up my spine when she said, “Who am I? I am Susan Ivanova, Commander. Daughter of Andre and Sophie Ivanova. I am the right hand of vengeance and the boot that is going to kick your sorry ass all the way back to Earth, sweetheart! I am death incarnate, and the last living thing that you will ever see. God sent me.” I thought of this dialogue every time I battled the school district to get my son the services he needed. As we chatted, I learned new things about her, totally oblivious to the line that was forming behind me. She has a CD out “Once Upon A Time” which I bought. Her new book, Babylon Confidential is expected out November 6, 2012, a biography of her life which I am eager to read. Click on that link to preorder your copy now. There are free excerpts available and more will be emailed to you per the instructions on that page. I find it ironic that she discovered “The Sinclair Method” that helped her overcome her addictions (and maybe I’m watching Touch on Fox a bit too much looking for connections).

ClaudiaChristian

Claudia Christian of Babylon 5 with her new book coming out November 6, 2012 called “Babylon Confidential.” About a journey in her own life. Links are in the body of the report.

I backtracked to Rachel Luttrell who was looking lovely and was pregnant (which I did not even notice until the panel later in the day). Here was yet another woman who was able to be a powerful female lead without becoming too Ripley-like. We talked about her trip to Berlin and discussed why she is not on Twitter more!  Ivon Bartok’s Captain Starship was discussed.  It was such a pleasure to meet her, and obvious what I said above about Stargate applies to her as well and all the connections I have made. Conscious of the line forming behind me, I took her picture and then left.

Rachell Lutrell

Another picture of Rachel in the Raw

Last stop was to Michael Biehn and Jennifer Blanc-Biehn who are here to promote The Victim, a new psychological thriller coming this fall. Read more about it at the link and follow their links on Twitter.  

Finally we were off to meet my Twitter friend @etee and his family.  We are known to each other from having pithy Tweet-Ups about American Idol and other shows.  He is as funny face-to-face as he is on Twitter.  Although social media is the norm these days, face-to-face interaction is still required to make those connections complete.  His face will remain mysterious since he did not one taken of him (at least he thinks there wasn’t).  Snicker, snicker.  I would not do that to him.  I always get permission.  He will be blogging for Tubular TV soon.

Throughout the day, people passed by that had some wonderful outfits. Here are some of my favorites:

The best way to look “In cognito” would be to look like Johnny Deep in a costume. Maybe Johnny does that all the time. He is a dead ringer for him. Dead Ringer? Will that be the name of the Pirates 5 movie? Pirates of the Caribbean:  Dead Ringer.  I call Trademark.

Only in a Fringe Alt Star Wars universe where the world has gone mad and Elmo giggled too much.

The first panel was Babylon 5 with Claudia Christian and Julie Caitlin Brown (Na’Toth). Without any introductions from Comicpalooza staff, they jumped into things. When they discovered that the audience would have difficulty asking questions, Claudia handed her microphone over to the volunteer for people to come up and ask. (Note to Comicpalooza: Have microphone stands with a microphone in the middle of the row for people coming up to ask questions next year). Their panel was supremely entertaining. Having only been to two conventions in my lifetime, I had not heard the story of the psychofan who actually shot Claudia during one convention (and she didn’t press charges!). I have their panel on video and will put it up on YouTube soon, as soon as I chop it down into smaller segments. Caitlin Brown shared how she got the role of Na’Toth.

Claudia Christian and Julie Caitlin Brown of Babylon 5

My husband and I decided to head over to Hilton Americas to have lunch at The Cafe. At mid-meal we looked up and Claudia and Caitlin were coming to eat. I waved as they passed our table. After hearing that story, I was thinking in the back of my head–okay, not stalking–we were here first. We finished our meal and departed, stopping at the bathrooms on the way. I guess when I came out of the bathroom Claudia had already come in, but I was outside the men’s room waiting for Jeff. When she came out, still having the stalker story fresh in my head, and made sure to comment that husbands complain about their wives that take so long in the bathroom. The story about the psychofan was terrifying. I admire her bravery because if I had been in her shoes, I likely would never attend a convention again. People do not understand the concept of boundaries.

We saw some more great outfits. I took more pictures, but I think my camera had a malfunction.

Lizzie and Jennifer

James and Magi

Maicie Rawlings. Love her hair color, costume, ink and smile.

The Stargate panel with Rachel Luttrell and Christopher Judge was at 3 p.m. but a line had already formed long before to get in. While sitting in the 2nd row, I noticed a young lady with a uniform on in the front row and asked her if that was an authentic Stargate uniform. Nope. It was the real deal. Her name was Nathalie (last name withheld for her safety) and she was recently commissioned into the Air Force. I hope she felt like a rock star at that moment because I was deeply humbled by her. With Memorial Day weekend upon us, and although I know it is a day we are supposed to remember the service men and women who died to protect us and serve us, I think we should never forget those who are putting themselves in harm’s way now and in the future. The awe I felt and the gratitude–I don’t even remember the fumbling babble that came out of my mouth. I wanted to put my arms around her and give her a hug (because I’m a hugger), but I did not want to freak her out. Claudia’s psychofan story reminded me of boundaries. God Bless You, Nathalie (if you are reading this).

The real deal. Newly commissioned Air Force. Thank you Nathalie for serving. I will keep you in my heart and prayers, always.

The line had become long for questions. There is a great love for Stargate here in Houston.

Once again there was an issue with the microphone in the audience. This time the staff came up with a third microphone and people were able to line up to ask questions. My question was, “I’m a regular on Joe Mallozzi’s blog, and he talks a LOT about all of you. This is your chance. Do you have any secrets you want to out about HIM?” And boy did they let off some steam (just joking). If you follow his blog, and you should, then everything they said about him you already know. Rachel treated us to some of talented vocals.

Lighting here not good; Chris & Rachel’s panel

It was ice cream time. While standing in line, a man and his son walked up behind us and while it seemed 99% apparent to me that his son had autism, I mouthed the words to him so as not to embarrass his son if that were not the case. We started talking about autism and Patrick and our experience and his family’s experience. An hour flew by quickly. As if he left, I told him that some things in life were not coincidence and I think we were meant to meet. I gave him my email address and I hope I’ll hear from him. I really need to stop watching Touch on Fox (doubtful).

It was about 5:15 and time for us to head home after a long day. Comicpalooza is still here tomorrow, Sunday, May 27 including Lasertag with the stars for charity and sword training with Nick Gillard of Star Wars (extra fee).

Thanks for doing all this, Comicpalooza.  See you next year.  Written transcripts will be posted soon as well partial video of the panels.  I thank you for stopping by and enjoying the details.  Before next year, I WILL have size 6 or 6-1/2 combat boots to wear with my Stargate Universe uniform.

Cover Art of program: 

The back cover of the program book.

The creative page of the program booklet. I was impressed with this.





Breaking In Returns on Fox

6 03 2012

“Boom goes the Dynamite!” “Breaking In” is back on Tuesday, March 6, 2012 at 9:30 ET/8:30 Central after “New Girl” on Fox. After being cancelled in May of 2011 to the surprise of many after having brought in 10 million viewers at the premiere and averaging 7-8 million each week, the decision was reversed in August 2011.

The new cast of Breaking_In on Fox

There may be some spoilers ahead.

The new episode, “The Contra Club”, reveals changes at Contra Security. Oz (Christian Slater) is unable to pay the bills and needs to bring in someone to buy the agency. The timeline is a year after Cameron Price (Bret Harrison) was originally hired by the firm. Noticeably missing are Dutch (Michael Rosenbaum) and Josh Armstrong (Trevor Moore). Returning characters include Cam (Bret Harrison), Cash (Alphonso McAuley), Melanie (Odette Annable), and Creepy Carol (Jennifer Irwin). Joining the cast are Megan Mullally as Veronica and Erin Richards as Molly.

My immediate thoughts were, “Oh no, this is just like Human Target where they bring in 2 women, one with an English accent, to try to change the formula in order to increase ratings.” And we saw what happened with that–it was cancelled. Megan Mullally has fantastic comedic timing, but in the first episode, it seemed like Oz was somewhat diminished; perhaps this was the intention. It was the all-knowing, all-powering Oz that was the foundation of the show, but I can see how a one-dimensional character would become stale without some obstacle to overcome. I have to give props to the writers for making light of all that happened when Oz says what he does at the opening of the “The Contra Club.” (I’ll let you enjoy that one without spoilers). The filming of the show has a different feel to it, too. I am not quite sure if that comes from the way the episode is filmed or edited, but it is not like the original series. Understanding that it was necessary to establish Veronica, I’m looking forward to a better balance between dialogue lines for both wonderful actors (Christian Slater and Megan Mullally). It was great to see Cash being Cash, full of pranks and the walking dictionary of geekdom.

By the end of the second episode, “Who’s the Boss,” I was totally invested in Molly, which caught me off-guard. The dynamic between Molly and Cam will be interesting to see evolve as Melanie gets to play the jealous person over Cam’s affections, versus Cam being jealous of Dutch the previous year. By the end of this episode, Veronica realizes that she does not know everything about making the business successful, and she and Oz have a moment of mutual admiration (which obviously will not last) for their respective positions and knowledge-base.

Although I dearly miss Josh and Dutch, I’m glad the show is back on. It is a show that will have a quirky niche in the programming lineup much like New Girl and Raising Hope. It needs to be given some time and lots of publicity to develop its audience. I hope you’ll be tuning in to see it. Live tweet with us at #BreakingIn on Tuesday, March 6, 2012 at 9:30 pm EST/8:30 central.

Thank you FoxVIP for allowing the preview of the 2 episodes.