Monday, October 14, 2013

The comic book idea that I pitched to STAN LEE

In episode three of Fangasm, my fellow interns and myself were given the opportunity to pitch original comic book ideas to Stan Lee. 
STAN. LEE. The man who invented the X-men. The intensity of this gift was not lost on any of us.

Going into his office one by one to present was nerve-racking. It also really felt intimidating to try to present my little comic idea when there are giant portraits of Superman and the Silver Surfer on the walls. As if. Stan himself was SO nice though, though he misheard my name when I said it, and thought my name was Daley, not Dani. I knew I only had 5 minutes, and I tried to get through it quickly. I know you can't see it on the show, but we weren't in the room alone with him, there were multiple producers, camera operators, and audio guys in the room watching us. ADDED PRESSURE.

I thought every one of my house mates did an outstanding job, and I happen to be very proud of my own character. I noticed though that our pitches were all edited due to time constraints. There were a few facts about my character and story that did not make it on the show, so I'd like to put them all here for anyone who is interested. This is my FULL pitch, and a few extra explanations. I'm pretty proud of it. It's not the greatest idea out there, obviously, but I would read it if it were a real comic!
"Cadence Cassina is a rare case of a young person with debilitating arthritis.
At 27 years old, she is an entomologist in grad school, helping study insects and their medical uses. While studying the medical benefits of the cicada, she learns that the Chinese drink powdered cicada skins as an arthritis treatment. Inspired by this idea, she utilizes the cicadas in the lab, creating a serum from their enzymes. She believes the cicada serum could cure her arthritis, and begins injecting herself with it under the medical supervision of friend and med-student Miles Landry.
She keeps the injections pretty routine, partially to have an excuse to see Miles, but mostly to see if the serum improves her condition. She'd been upping her dosage in small increments, but once Miles go on a date with a healthy, attractive girl, Cadence gives herself an unusually large dose, wanting nothing more than to rid herself of her arthritis and her crutches.
The next day in the lab, a strange gas begins to pour through vents, filling the room. Cadence watches her lab partners all succumb to the gas, coughing and choking on it's poison. They die quickly. The unknown attacker who gassed them, then sets the lab on fire, and she sustains a burn to her face as she pull herself out of the smoke and flames.
Realizing that the attack on the lab was meant to kill her and the other scientists, she goes to Miles' apartment instead of her own. He sends his date home and bandages her burned face before they even realize she's standing and walking without her crutches. Her arthritis appears to be gone.The deadly gas meant to kill her reacted to the cicada serum in her blood, backfiring and making her strong and fast.
With her newfound strength, and concern about the attempt on her life, she begins investigating, trying to get to the bottom of who killed her lab partners, and why their research was being covered up. Inspired by the insect cicada's three eyes on the top of it's head, Miles helps her build a pair of goggles that equip her with X-ray vision, telescopic vision, and night vision.
She's ready to begin a no-mercy investigation, but her crime-fighting has one weakness; Like the cicada's 17 year long hibernation underground, every 17 days her strength wanes and she reverts back to her weakened, crutches-reliant self for 24 hours. This gives her a huge window of opportunity for enemies to attack her, so she and Miles build an impenetrable case to reside in on her weakened days. They call this case, of course, the cicada shell. When she emerges, she is strong again and ready to continue her fight for answers and vengeance. "
I would like to add now, that I worked so hard in the days leading up to our meeting with Stan. There was a night Molly begged Kristin and I to go to a bar, but Kristin and I just wanted to stay home and finish writing our pitches. I was researching like mad, because if I'm going to present an idea, I want it to be thorough, and I want my info correct. I researched arthritis, I made sure a girl as young as Cadence could have such crippling arthritis, and it turns out, while it's rare, it's possible. I researched cicadas. They are laid as eggs, hatch and stay underground for 13-17 years feeding on sap from tree roots, come up out of the ground, make a shit-ton of noise, mate, then go back underground and lay eggs. These new eggs hatch and the new brood stays underground for 17 years before they come up. It's fascinating.
I got my inspiration for Cicada because I wanted to utilize what I had costume-wise. I had a shiny green dress, and I had a pair of welding goggles I'd painted silver. The dress reminded me of a shiny beetle, and the googles I felt could serve as the vision of some insect. Thats when I started researching and decided upon the cicada. I really liked the idea of a hero who's powers completely LEFT now and then, giving her a major complication as far as fighting crime.
I also liked the idea of her going from plain and feeble, to strong and beautiful when she got her powers. If this were an actual comic, when she wasn't fighting crime, she'd be learning how to deal with her new 'normal' body and her sudden good looks.
I myself felt very plain growing up, and it wasn't until a few years ago, when I was 23, that I started to receive noticeable attention for my appearance. I still think I'm pretty average looking (leaning towards cute) and I have a hard time accepting compliments about my looks. It always makes me feel uncomfortable to be told I'm attractive, I am not used to it, and I never know if I should respond with a confident "thank you" or respond with severe humility and self-depricating humor. It's a weird place for a girl to be, and I think it would be interesting played out in a comic.
I would love to write out more of Cicada's story. I want her to find her confidence, I want her to find out who killed the other grad students, and I want Cadence and Miles to go through the dance of not really knowing what their relationship is. I see his character as being her Alfred Pennyworth, assisting her crime-fighting endeavors, always checking her health during her weak times, and one of the few people to know about her secret. Unlike Bruce Wayne though, when she's not fighting crime, she's not strutting around confidently, she's pretending she still needs her crutches. I think this would be interesting.
Thanks for reading it through, if you did, I wish my thoughts and writing were more organized, but oh well :)

Tuesday, September 17, 2013

Fangasm! That time I was on a Syfy reality series.

Syfy is a week away from premiering a new reality show called Fangasm, which features a group of geeks living in a house together as they get to know each other and intern for Stan Lee. 

I personally have a lot to say about this show because I was one of the seven geeks. I applied for the show online over a year and a half before filming even began, and it's been a long, exhausting, but truly rewarding ride. 
While my friends, family, and coworkers are all very excited for the show, I am not blind to the amount of online hate this show is getting.
  I have tried not to delve deeply into the barrage of premature criticism, but a quick visit to the Syfy page on Facebook is all you need to get the full effect.

Of the comments in negative favor of Fangasm, most of them reiterate the same thing over and over. 

1. That it's being called the "real" Big Bang Theory    

2.  That it's done by the same producers behind Jersey Shore.
3. That the cast of Fangasm are "fake nerds" 

Now, these are random stranger's comments on the internet, and I know, from years of putting content on YouTube, that stranger's internet comments on ANYTHING should not be taken too seriously. 
I'm not writing this article because I really took to heart anything negative said about Fangasm on facebook. A thing like that wouldn't deserve my time or worry.

I'm writing this for anyone who isn't happy with what they see of Fangasm so far. I can give a little insight into what the show was like, and why I think people should watch an episode or two before hating it. (Don't worry Syfy/495 Productions and Krista the magnificent, I won't be giving away any spoilers)

 First off, The Real Big Bang is what Fangasm's promos call it.
I for one, know that while the sitcom The Big Bang Theory is doing well in ratings, it's VERY NOT popular with a lot of real geeks and nerds. Most nerds, and nearly every nerd I know HATES that show. They have even referred to it as "nerd blackface". While a TV show's portrayal of stereotypical nerds is not NEARLY offensive as a white actor dressing and acting in racial slurs, it is an interesting term (even if not very PC).
 Fangasm is being called the 'reality' version of a show a lot of real geeks do not like so I understand the backlash here. I think once people watch our show, they'll see how very non-stereotypical we all are, and the fact that one of our shows themes is that anyone can be a nerd about anything.


  Secondly, I'd like to address the complaint that Fangasm is produced by the company who did Jersey Shore. 
 I can see how this might look promising to your average nerd. The lifestyle of the stars of Jersey Shore is not usually something that would interest people who like watching epic space battles in a galaxy far away or the fight to reclaim King's Landing. (Mom, that's a Game of Thrones reference.)
I too was wary of this when I was applying/auditioning for the show and almost didn't agree to do it once I was cast.

HOWEVER, 495 Productions has ALL my confidence and respect, now that I've worked with them. These producers and crew were all incredibly professional and good to work with. Yes, their number one priority was shooting an interesting show, but along the way they did a great job of taking care of myself and my fellow cast mates. 

The producers, those of them that weren't already familiar with comics, video games, and sci-fi classics, really did their research on geek/nerd-culture. They set out to celebrate uber-fans, not make fun of geeks, which is why I resent any geek-exploitation claims. 
At times, half the crew was walking around wearing superhero shirts, and when we visited a comic shop, one of our producers let us help him pick out some reading material.

495 productions, yes, the very company that brought you Jersey Shore, has it's own geeks working among the ranks and is run by people who really do give a damn about what they're trying to portray. What they didn't know about the things that were important to us, they were completely willing to learn about. You have to respect that.

The third thing I'm addressing is the claim that the cast of Fangasm is "a bunch of fake nerds"

It took 495 almost 2 years to cast for the show. They watched thousands of audition videos, narrowed their favorites down to hundreds, then flew MANY of us out to LA for the in-person auditions/interviews before they eliminated and eliminated until they got down to their favorite seven.

They weren't looking for perfect-looking eye-candy to visually please an audience; I saw a lot of REALLY good looking geeks on the casting day that didn't end up on the show. At the same time there were some stereotypical-nerd-looking guys and girls that weren't picked either. 

Yes, they picked kids that they thought would be entertaining and stir-up a bit of drama, but THEY PICKED HONEST TO GOD NERDS.

Kristin may just know more about comics than anyone I know, and that includes slews of men who've been reading comics since the 80's.
Sal, has played every video game ever and like me, crushes hard on anything Tolkien wrote. 
Paul owns every movie ever made and has his favorite comic issues framed on his wall.
Mike loves Superman more than anyone on Earth.
Molly cosplays at every convention she can get to and wants to marry Boba Fett.
As for me, I am not the leading fan in any category, I just love anything that is an escape from reality, so sci-fi and fantasy are my havens. 

I grew up watching Star Wars, obsessed over The Lord of the Rings and Harry Potter movies, and have the biggest Martian Manhunter collection of any comic fan I know, so I feel worthy to stand toe-to-toe with the biggest super-fans. Oh, and I also used to tour conventions across the US with a geek-comedy troupe called The Damsels of Dorkington. 

My intention here is not to brag about my nerd-cred, or try to convince you that we, the seven cast members of Fangasm are the only kids out there who know a thing or two.
But each cast member legitimately adores the things we say we love. The claim that any of us are 'fake nerds' is just not true.

If you've read this far, congrats! I can be long-winded and a little unorganized in my thoughts and my putting them into text.
If you were wary of Fangasm's intentions, hopefully I've cleared some things up.

I DO think that the haters may change their tunes once they see an episode of the show, but it's a fact that some people will simply not like it. 
I just know that I'm glad I took the leap and decided to go on the show, and I'm pretty proud of what we made. 

I'm Dani Snow, I'm a geek, and I hope you enjoy the six episodes of my journey there and back again :)

Tuesday, September 3, 2013

The 5 most ridiculous messages I received on a dating website

Let me start out by saying that I would never want to ridicule or mock anyone for putting themselves out there and sending a genuine message of interest to someone they liked on a dating website. Nor would I mock anyone for using online dating, I do it myself.
I just happened to receive a few very unusual messages that either so perplexing or shit-stirring enough to win a public posting on my blog! Congrats gents! (I've covered their faces and usernames)
Woah Woah wee-wow let's go.

1.   U interested?
 I found it kind of hilarious that he thinks I'd be better suited for his brother, and asked if I was interested in said brother without knowing ANYTHING AT ALL about the guy. It's certainly not an offensive message in any way, but it definitely didn't strike my interest.

2.   Twizzler Commercial
 I'm not even saying anything about how random that is.

3.   Shark Cactus Bear Spaghetti Webcam Date
 Now that I look at this, it's actually pretty sweet. I'm still maintaining that this message was ridiculous, but in a positive way.

4.  If You Know What I mean...
 THIS guy seemed to really have some nerve. Of course, upon receiving it I immediately wondered which picture of mine he could be referring to, but I got the feeling he just uses this as some kind of opening line that is more guaranteed to get a response than most. I almost responded with some snarky comment, but decided just to ignore it.
I have a friend who is also on this dating site and she also received the same message from the same guy, it's obviously his weird line he sends to everyone.

5.  To Be Honest
 DING DING DING This one is THE WINNER, the most ridiculous message OF ALL TIME.
I have no doubt in my mind that this guy copies and pastes this into many messages. I'm just SO confused as to why this is his approach. 
Ooo I want this girl to message me back, I'm going to tell her that I'm sleeping with one girl but more interested in HER, that will work!

Monday, August 26, 2013

The hidden spoilers in The World's End pub signs

                                       This article will contain spoilers. You've been warned. 

Being a fan of Shaun of the Dead and Hot Fuzz, I'd been eagerly awaiting The World's End's release for a long time. I work for a company whose work revolves very closely around movies, so when the first official trailer for The World's End was released, I was notified instantly and watched it within two minutes of it's hitting the web.
I later stared, in awe, at the 12 glorious pub signs that make up Newton Haven's Golden Mile, wondering how each pub got it's name and if there was a story behind each one. It turns out that instead of a story behind each pub, each one tells of events to come.
As pointed out by Edgar Wright and Simon Pegg at the Arclight cinema's Cornetto Trilogy screening, each pub sign holds a clue as to what is going to happen to our heroes at each pub.

1. The First Post
When Gary King and his four buddies reach the first pub on the mile, Gary subjects them to a quick history lesson about the pub's origins, furthering my mistaken idea that we'd learn some cool fact about each of the 12 pubs.
The First Post is named so for the fact that it used to be a post office. It is also the first stop on our protagonists journey.

2. The Old Familiar
When Gary and his crew enter the second pub, it is oddly familiar, or, blatantly and painfully identical to the first one. It gives the characters Steven and Oliver a reason to quip about "corporate chains" taking over, and "Starbucking", which alludes to the Network's takeover of Newton Haven.

3. The Famous Cock
The third pub on the mile, is The Famous Cock, and here is where the real clues start to show up in the signs. Gary tries to order a drink, but is instead kicked out because of an altercation he had there back when he was 17. Gary got barred all those years ago for acting like a complete cock, earning himself fame on the wall of barred patrons. Gary King is the famous cock. Now when I look at this sign, I don't see a simple rooster, I see the rooster's boots and the lapels of a coat, two things Gary famously sports.

4. The Cross Hands
 Gary and his crew hit up The Cross Hands, and here is where shit gets real. This is when Gary and the rest discover that the inhabitants of Newton Haven have been replaced by robots-not-robots. The Cross Hands refers to the epic confrontation between our five heroes and the robots in the bathroom. The tile on the bathroom floor matches that of the pub sign. Notice the five hands on the sign, one of them wearing a wedding ring. Both Andy and Peter are married, but in my mind, the ring here foreshadows Andy's triumphant retrieval of his wedding ring from "a robot's tummy".
Also note that this is the first fight, first time we see the blue 'blood' from the robots, and this is the first sign "splattered" with blue paint. It turns out that each pub where robot-juice is spilled has blue paint splattered on it.

5. The Good Companions
This is the first pub the buddies visit after deciding that carrying on with the mile is their only hope of not alerting the Network that they know what's going on. I honestly can't remember what it was that Simon Pegg said about this sign's symbolism, if you were there and can enlighten me, I'd be grateful.
The parallels that I draw are the fact that this is really the first moment of the night that they've all been close to being on the same page. That, and while four of the men are scared and unhappy about the night's circumstances, one of them is just delighted to be back with his friends reliving old times. Guess which mask is Gary King...

6. The Trusty Servant
Here at the Trusty Servant, Gary spots their old drug dealer, the Reverend Green. They get him to divulge information about what the robots are, and why some of the town is still human, much to the annoyance of his two still-human friends. It is here we learn that the humans still left in the town are the slaves or servants of the Network. The men on the sign strongly resemble Reverend Green and his friends.
Note that this is also where the Reverend Green is ordered to go and get replaced by a robot-version of himself, and he walks to the men's room right as Oliver walks out. This indicates that this is where the real Oliver has been switched with the Blank. From this moment on, you can see the birthmark on his head, though it's well hidden through lighting and the positioning of Martin Freeman's head until Andy discovers it. Now Simon and Edgar explained that the Trusty Servant refers to the Reverend Green, but I think it might also refer to Oliver's replacement robot. This promotional poster for the movie helps with this theory.

7. The Two Headed Dog
At The Two Headed Dog, Gary, Steven, and Sam battle the Twins, two of Sam's friends who have been replaced by robots. This is the second showdown in which our heroes spill blue robot-blood, and the second sign to have blue paint smudges.

8. The Mermaid
Before our boys even get to The Mermaid, there are flyers and posters in multiple shots and scenes advertising a "School Disco" which is what the boys walk into when they get to this seventh pub. This is where the Network tries it's hand at luring our heroes into submission rather than fighting them. After all, what man can resist the siren call of the Marmalade Sandwich? The blonde/redhead/blonde trio of mermaid on the sign are the trio of girls they used to drool over back in the day.

9. The Beehive
Gary and the guys meet their old teacher Mr. Shephard here, and it's pretty clear he's been replaced by a robot. "Pretty cool eh guys?"
He reveals the Network's plans to them and tries to convince them that they're in no danger. This reunion with a man they used to look up to and trust is yet another attempt by the Network to 'shepherd' our guys into willingly joining the hive-mind and becoming one of them. A third fight ensues, hence this is the third blue-splattered sign.

10. The King's Head
I completely forgot what Simon and Pegg said about this one, so I won't even begin to tell you what the real symbolism is here. (Again, if you remember, let me know and I'll update this) I have some good guesses, but I could be making things up:
1. The King here looks a hell of a lot like Simon Pegg, therefore The King's Head is literally Gary King's head.
2. This is where Gary, Steven, and Andy have the chance to get in the car and escape, but Gary gets it into his head that he'd rather finish the Golden Mile alone than run away.
3. It could refer to the head on a beer. Gary pours himself a beer after recovering being hit on the head.
This is the first time during the pub crawl that not all 5 men are drinking, and it is in fact, only Gary who is still participating.

11. The Hole in the Wall
When Gary runs away from The King's Head, he sprints here, to the The Hole in the Wall, followed by a devoted Andy. They are attacked by robots and are saved when Steven drives Gary's car straight through the wall of the pub.

12. The World's End
It's no revelation (Get it? Revelations = end times) that this sign is depicting the world's end. What I think is cool about it is the fact that it's showing the spread of fire across the globe in the manner that our loss of electronics and communication spread across our world when the Network decided to take Gary's advice and "Fuck off back to Legoland"
Something to listen for when you watch next is that when the Network first greets Gary it calls him "Gary King, of the humans" and after it's listened to Gary's absolute inability to lose and argument, it calls him "Gary, King of the humans."
Edgar Wright, after the film wrapped, explained that instead of destroying Earth, it decided to just cut off all our technology, hopefully keeping us from going out into the galaxy and infecting other planets with our stupidity.
Unfortunately for them, the Network's muttering of "Fuck it" right before it beams up out of Earth indicates that it's already picked up on our crude apathy and it's taking some of that back to where it came from.

Our world wasn't destroyed, but the world as we knew it did end. We lost all of our technology, but we did indeed live. So thank you Gary King for annoying the invading force SO MUCH that it decided to let us err as humans. "So... err... ?"

Sunday, August 11, 2013

How I became the James Bond fan that I am

If you've met me or visited my twitter or facebook pages, you probably gleaned that I am a big fan of the Bond franchise. I know, I know, who doesn't like Bond?
I claim to be a super fan sometimes, but there are Bond fans out there that put my Bond-knowledge and devotion to shame. Whatever, it's not a competition. Unless it's a James Bond trivia competition. Those happen.

Anyhow, I came to love Bond  the way most Bond fans of my generation did; because of our dads.
Most Bond fans I talk to, on the internet, and in person, can trace their MI6 adoration to sitting in front of the TV with their dads, watching Roger Moore shoot, ski, and seduce. (Is it just me or do dads always prefer Moore?)

I caught bits of Dr. No when I was six or seven, when my Dad was watching it on TV. It was my first introduction to Bond and I remember thinking it was scary. I was scared of the "dragon", although I knew it was some kind of vehicle, not an animal. Can't say the same for Honey...
The hottest person to ever mistake a tank for dragon.
Another time, my Dad was watching You Only Live Twice, and I watched an assassin creep into the rafters and lower a piece of thread down so he could pour poison down the thread and into Bond's mouth. At the last moment Bond shifted in his sleep and the girl was the poisoned one. THIS SCARRED ME FOR LIFE. For the rest of my childhood, I had trouble sleeping in a new place, especially if there were rafters.   
I always thought a ninja was going to drip poison in my mouth.
 I didn't get to see all of the film because my mom had made me go to bed. But I sneaked out of bed and was peeking out from behind the corner of the hallway, secretly watching femme fatal Helga seduce Bond, trap him in a crashing plane while she made her graceful parachute escape.

This brings me to my next Bond memory/association; Goldeneye.
I didn't realize it until this year, but in the title song Goldeneye by Tina Turner, she sings the words "You'll never know how I watched you from the shadows as a child."  Which accurately describes one of my first Bond-film viewings.This was the first Bond film I ever watched in it's entirety.
Goldeneye was great, and really is one of the best Bond films. Top 3. I dare you to argue that.
It became easy to be a fan of the movie when my brother and I owned...that's right...A NINTENDO 64.
And if you're a gamer at all, what was probably THE best game ever made for Nintendo 64? Goldeneye.

Natalya if you run into the line of fire again, I swear to god...

This movie was my first introduction to Sean Bean, playing Alec Trevelyan in Goldeneye. I had NO idea that 6 years later Sean Bean would be in another franchise that became a big deal for me. (Boromir anyone?)

After Goldeneye I started to feel like I knew what Bond was about, I mean, how could you not? Beautiful women, guns, cars, casinos, and espionage. I was not an uber-fan at this point, though I really did like action movies more than the average teenage girl, and Bond films were good action movies. Over the next few years I caught bits of Pierce Brosnan's films Tomorrow Never Dies, and The World is Not enough. Not exceptionally great Bond films, which is a shame, because Brosnan really rocked the role. I remember not being blown away by these two films, but my brother found them humorous and when my brother finds something to be entertaining and funny, most likely I will too.

Brosnan's last Bond film Die Another Day was the first Bond film I saw in the theaters!
I was so excited for it and went to see it with some friends. It was a blast. It's not great, apart from the opening scene, really not. But I was 15 years old, the utter cheese-factor in this movie escaped me.
 I loved it. This was also the first Bond film I bought on DVD.

I remember EXACTLY where I was when I heard that the next Bond was blond.
My brother Cameron and I were at home watching Goldeneye, and he mentioned the news.
Cameron and I were big fans of the Antonio Banderas Zorro movie, and when we pictured a blonde Bond, we pictured this guy:
If you don't remember, this character gets a very Alec Trevelyan-like death.

We didn't really know what to think about a blonde Bond. However when Cam found out that 'blondie' was going to be Daniel Craig, he, being a fan of Craig in Layer Cake, was happy with the decision, and that was enough for me.
BESIDES: Daniel Craig's hair is really not that light, and while everyone purports that Bond "HAS to have dark hair" come on, Roger Moore had really light brown hair. Bond is described as having dark hair in Ian Fleming's novels, but since when have our movie characters always looked the same as they do in books? This is the biggest hair-color issue I've ever seen fans of anything have. (No one fussed this much over redhead Lois Lane in the 2013 Superman movie Man of Steel.)

When Casino Royale was released, it was then that I started to become the fan that I am now.
I saw Casino Royale in the theater with my family and best friend Heather, and Heather was QUITE taken by Mr. Craig. I didn't have a crush on him, but I liked him. I thought Pierce Brosnan was a great Bond, but honesty, I can't imagine him being able to put on the poker face that Craig did in Casino Royale.

Hooray for the return of Felix Leiter!

Heather and I LOVED this movie, and Chris Cornell's theme song You Know My Name, became our phone ringtones for each other.
I bought a read Ian Fleming's Casino Royale, though I preferred Craig's Bond to the Bond in that book.

Since then it's been a steady learning journey though online forums and articles about the franchise. I have books about the franchise written by fans, and a nice little selection of Bond collectables.
The game changed when I ordered a set of all the Bond films up to Quantum of Solace, I was able to go back as see entire Bond films I'd only caught bits of growing up.
I confronted the "dragon" in Dr. No, the poison-assassin in You Only Live Twice, the MANY MANY snakes (my biggest fear) in Live and Let Die, and Bond was there for it all.
I'm not sure how long the franchise will keep going. There will be great movies, and there will continue to be terrible ones as well, but I will love them :)