In the comments last week, Jason Penney has it right about the OWH Copies. It's a matter of how many of them there are and whether Your Number falls within that quantity. This was one of those situations that was a "front of the line" program last week (OWH and CAU) -- because I had an interest expressed in managing the program that then fell through -- and is now "back of the line".
I throw it out as an open question: anyone in the Kitchener-Waterloo area interested in doing the (literal) heavy lifting and a lot of "bagging and boarding" of comics on this? I really go by "get back to me" -- which means by phone or fax or mail "Yes, I'm unemployed/under-employed/this is my idea of a really cool hobby" and then (as Woody Allen put it) "90% of success in life is just showing up." phone 519-576-0610, fax 519-576-0955 mail Box 1674 Station C Kitchener, Ontario Canada N2G 4R2.
1. Progress on the fully-inked Cerebus heads on CEREBUS ARCHIVE NUMBER TWO: roughly 12 done and 30 to go.
2. CEREBUS: THE MOVIE: between "No" and "Yes", the Film Festival Option.
1. The idea of getting a fully inked Cerebus head on the front of the CANT folios seems to have spiked relative to CANO. At least, I don't remember doing forty of them last time. This week and next week (and possibly the week after that) this will be occupying the "between noon prayer and afternoon prayer" work slot: 12:30 to 3 pm. I can do either four or five depending on how things go with the materials (Except for today because I'm, you know, writing this :). Interesting to remember that, in doing them on CANO, I seriously degraded one of my Winsor & Newton Series Seven number 2 brushes and then found out that the brushes were no longer available. THIS time, owing to the outstanding and unexpected generosity of Eddie K, Tim W, Margaret L, David B and others, I was able to just dedicate one brand new brush to the task. Works like a charm. Except for the evaporation of the ink during the winter months when "room temperature" is artificially created. Whether I get four or five done in the period allotted depends on how much "mixing of the stew" I have to do to get the consistency right for big bold brush strokes (of which there are very few in STRANGE DEATH OF ALEX RAYMOND but of which there are "nothing BUT" on a five inch by five inch inked Cerebus head):
The ones done so far: Thuy N (CAN); Jason P (USA); Daniel E (SWE); Tristan B (FRA); Erik V (NET); Anne J (USA); Margaret L (USA); Bechara H (CAN); David B (USA); Damin T (USA); Dagon J (USA); Jeffrey M (USA); Eddie K (CAN); Dean R (CAN: 2); Mark N (AUS: 2); Richard P (UK); Anwar G (GER); Tim W (UK)
Thanks to everyone! 42 is a LOT of work, but it's also VERY LUCRATIVE work at a time when every nickel counts for all of us!
2. To clarify the arrangement that I have with Oliver on CEREBUS: THE MOVIE:
I never expected that he would actually get the movie this close to done, so I'm having to do more serious thinking on the subject than I did prior to the DVD coming in the mail.
As I've said already, the answer at the moment is between 95% and 99% "No", but I am working to try to figure out a way to turn that "No" into at least a possible "Maybe". If you remember from last time, the "No" option would have as its consolation prize of a Farewell Tour of comic-book conventions as a means of recouping some of the investors' money and a certain amount of "off the leash" merchandising. And for Oliver and his people to have their moment in the sun. Well deserved.
This ties in with my observations on "fanzine movies" that I wrote about last time, using Tim Burton's 1989 BATMAN as an example. What made it a "fanzine movie" (to me) was that it was obviously a result of the success of Frank's THE DARK KNIGHT RETURNS mini-series three years before. A Known Director with cachet (Tim Burton), to me, read Frank's work and did a Hollywood fanzine version of it. If I'm recalling correctly, it still wasn't going to get made until Jack Nicholson became interested in playing The Joker (which, I assume, was the result of his friendship with Marlon Brando and seeing Brando's big payday playing Jor-El in SUPERMAN: if Brando can do it and still be Brando, Jack Nicholson can do it and still be Jack Nicholson). A major "fanzine" difference that, to me, then eroded into "fan fiction" was the decision to make The Joker the guy who killed Bruce Wayne's parents. "Have you ever danced with the devil in the pale moonlight?"
The Joker didn't kill Bruce Wayne's parents. Joe Chill killed Bruce Wayne's parents.
See, to me, as the custodian of Cerebus, that's the kind of thing that I won't allow to be done in CEREBUS: THE MOVIE. Which, very possibly, makes the movie "un-makeable": it's a graphic novel and can't be successfully "Hollywoodized" without making it, demonstrably, NOT CEREBUS.
I had to look at what Oliver had done and then I had to say, "Okay, IS this CEREBUS?"
I had to look at what Oliver had done and then I had to say, "Okay, IS this CEREBUS?"
Trying to give it the benefit of the doubt, I think it can be MADE into CEREBUS: something that actually reflects the book itself and is filled with points of identification for the interested CEREBUS fan that actually adds something to the 6,000 pages. But I might be wrong about that. I think it's a fact that if you stay as close to the source material as possible while making a good movie, the more successful a movie you have. If you change the source material appreciably, it doesn't matter how good of a movie you make, it isn't going to be successful. Already, I'm going back and forth mentally between "IS CEREBUS" and "IS Oliver's movie" -- pulling the latter in the direction of the former (while still using as close to ALL of Oliver's footage as I can manage)...
(Even the dragon. That was the first thing I faxed Oliver. Oliver: there's no dragon in Cerebus. Lose the dragon. Lose the dragon from the music video AND the movie. No, I think I can even get the dragon in there. With some tweaking. So keep it out of the music video right now)
At some point, we're going to be done: here, for good or ill, is CEREBUS: THE MOVIE. There's a very good chance that I'll be so close to it at that point that I won't be able to say "No" or "Yes". Only "I don't know". What I picture at that point is Oliver "doing" the Film Festival route. If he can't get a major film festival to even agree to show it, THAT will tell us something, I think.
One of this week's new releases, Chris Rock's THE TOP FIVE, was (evidently) the big winner at The Toronto Film Festival in terms of getting studio interest. The figure of $12.5 million was quoted. That's our level of interest in Film Festivals. It would be hilarious if we do that just to get a distribution deal and then end up winning a jury prize or something (what the hell are we going to do with THIS?) -- with NO studio interest. But, then, I have a strange sense of humour
So (Big If) we go that route and we are able to get funding from a studio to distribute the film and (let's say) it's $6 million then -- as I picture it -- it would be a matter of dividing that amount between Oliver and his crew of volunteer animators and The Cerebus Trust...
(which took a giant step towards realization this morning when I met with my CIBC Financial Advisor and found out that, yes, all of the structure I have in mind is "do-able": more on that over the coming weeks)
...The idea all along is that we're all volunteering on CEREBUS: THE MOVIE. We all have day jobs, no one is hurting for money (except in that general 2014 way that we're ALL hurting for money), so we can afford to do the movie that we want to do and not have to change anything to fit a studio and/or distributor's whim. That's the "quid pro quo": you take the film that Oliver did and then modified under my direction AS IS or you don't get it.
But, I've definitely emphasized to Oliver that he's to keep track of who did what: how much work they put in and what that work is worth as a percentage of The Big Cheque. By the time it's all broken down, everyone might get $123.69 out of the $3 million "movie half" (how much is voice acting worth? How much does Oliver pay himself? How much does each animator get for their 15 seconds or 20 seconds of footage? All questions for Oliver and all of which will have to be dealt with PUBLICLY: with the numbers adding up so everyone can see what everyone got) (and not questions for me, Thank God -- I just get half of the money for The Cerebus Trust :)).
I can see as far down the line as that. It's Extremely Unlikely, but then the fan of a comic book and a bunch of animation volunteers actually getting most of a movie done is Extremely Unlikely, as well. As in: getting hit by a comet while purchasing a $3 million winning lottery ticket Extremely Unlikely.
But, uh, here we are, eh?
If it goes further than that -- if Extremely Unlikely just ends up being the status quo for CEREBUS: THE MOVIE all the way along -- then we get into "So what if it's a hit?"
Well -- W!E!L!L! -- before that point, the "artistic bookkeeping" rabbit hole would have to be closed off. Studios are notorious for putting other projects on YOUR bookkeeping so -- surprise surprise -- your movie that cost them $6 million and grosses $800 million turns out not to have made a plugged nickel.
I think that can be done LEGALLY by establishing what the criteria is. And in that case, I'd suggest allowing the studio to pick whatever website or industry publication or ranking will be the criteria, but that becomes locked in. If the publicity says the movie made $47 million on its opening weekend then they will be obligated to cut a cheque for a percentage of that. NO OTHER NUMBERS factored in. Obviously a smaller percentage, but an actual small percentage of REAL money is better than a huge percentage of FICTITIOUS money. And to have an agreement already signed that that amount has to be paid within 30 days of the announcement of the figure or the studio is deemed to be in default and will have to pay a financial penalty in addition to the figure.
That's a matter of going All The Way Up The Maypole, legally -- with everything notarized and registered with whatever is the highest legal jurisdiction in the vicinity (presumably Los Angeles County) so we have the papers in hand and it's a gun to the studio's head. If we don't have the certified cheque for x% in the bank on Day 39, they are now officially 24 hours away from being in default, with their agreement to that over their signatures. So that it just takes a court clerk to look at it. "This has already been adjudicated and agreed to, all the t's are crossed and the i's are dotted: you really need to cut a cheque for [checks the agreed-upon publicized amount, punches in the % on his little calculator] by the end of the business day tomorrow or you are, you know, seriously effed to the tune of $x million on TOP of that amount."
And, at that point, I'm all done thinking about CEREBUS: THE MOVIE, structurally, as a business proposition. Everything after that is just "due diligence" on building an impregnable "Studio Trap".
Okay -- back to work on THE STRANGE DEATH OF ALEX RAYMOND.