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Dear TRON2 Filmmakers, This is What We Want in a TRON Sequel…

Thursday, July 23, 2009

Dear Mr. Bailey, Mr. Lisberger, Mr. Silver, & Mr. Kosinski,

Congratulations on wrapping production on the new TRON film, and good luck this weekend at Comic-Con. I’m sure everyone will be lining up to see any footage you managed to sneak off to San Diego. Oh, and nice viral site, too. “Flynn Lives” isn’t quite as catchy as “Frodo Lives”, but it’s a good tip of the hat and a nice way to start building up the ol’ mythology.

With the film in the can, it may be a moot point to discuss this, but as a fan of the first film, I have concerns about this movie. To put it bluntly, this could be a terrible film. And by all respects, it appears to have all the ingredients of a colossal failure. The original film is highly revered and considered a classic by those in my generation; any future productions related to it would have extremely high-expectations from its intended audience. TRON2 is a studio-driven project (rather than a director-driven) with a massive budget (rivaling POTC:At Worlds End, from what I hear.) I’m sure Disney is expecting to bring in massive box office receipts to match the POTC franchise. A lot of money is on the line. TRON2 headed into pre-production without input of the original creator and director. Whispers of the “R” word were making the rounds. And, no disrespect to Mr. Kosinski, a director was hired who hasn’t had a single film attached to his resume.

Not looking favorable.

Then you guys pull off that unannounced “test footage” with Jeff Bridges (leading actor of the first film). Mr. Lisberger (the primary creative force/director of the first film) is now on board as a writer and producer. Bruce Boxleitner has a role (co-lead of the first film). You announce this movie as a sequel and not a reboot. An excited fan base is beginning to form. Plot points have been revealed that make the story intriguing. Two years in post-production will undoubtedly produce eye-popping wonderment from the visual effects teams.

This could be a very good film.

However, these developments do not assure a good film. As a courtesy to you, and speaking on behalf of movie fans everywhere, I’ve compiled a list of the things I feel is important to consider as you craft this sequel. This will not guarantee that your film will be as beloved as the first one, but it may get you in the right direction.

1. Preserve the simple real world/electronic world communication perspectives established from the first film. In the beginning of TRON, there is a scene where our intrepid hero, Flynn, is at home hacking into his former employer’s computer system using a software program he wrote called Clu. Since this is 1982 - before modern graphic interfaces - Flynn is typing commands MSDOS -style into his computer. As we see him silently type, the movie dissolves into the “electronic world” where a humanoid figure is piloting a futuristic-looking tank. This humanoid looks exactly like Flynn, so as an audience we connect the two together subconsciously, even before we hear Flynn’s disembodied voice confirming the figure as Clu. Clu responds in a monotone voice, but we don’t see Clu’s mouth moving. We assume that Flynn is “speaking” to Clu through Flynn’s real world typing and what we are hearing is Clu’s own translation of the commands in the electronic world, and vice-versa for Flynn. It’s a simple technique that is tedious to explain in words, but worked brilliantly and helps us as an audience to resolve the connection between the real and electronic worlds. There is another example later when Tron communicates with Alan at the I/O tower. We would hope that this type of visual storytelling is also used in the second film, and not become needlessly complex.

2. Preserve the faith/spiritual themes & mythology established from the first film. In TRON, much of the conflict in the electronic world is centered on a clash of ideologies. EnCom’s MCP, for all purposes is a powerful artificial intelligence shaping the electronic world into an Orwellian regime; imprisoning those who profess faith in the “users” and tout free will. Flynn, who is a “User” a.k.a. “god”, arrives in the electronic world as sort of a digital Christ - taking the form of the programs. In the end, he even sacrifices himself and, if you will, “ascends to heaven.” The I/O tower is an Old Testament tabernacle, where one may communicate with their “user”. All Judeo-Christian imagery aside, the world of TRON is certainly rooted in the spiritual realm. Plus, TRON doesn’t get goofy crazy like The Matrix mythology. I would like see that aspect continued in the sequel, as faith-based issues & myths can resonate across all cultures.

3. Preserve the “analog” look of the electronic world, while expanding upon its beauty. The first film, although hailed for incorporating computer graphics, was mostly traditional animation - using layers of film, ironically. That gave the characters in the electronic world this weird look that felt “analog” to me. They blended into the painted matte backgrounds well, (and even the CG shots) but it still had this crazy aesthetic about it that I’ve never seen replicated since. I’m sure your digital VFX teams are gonna throw in every kind of wonderment possible, but It would be nice if that “analog” feel was captured… even just a little.

4. Get weird and take crazy risks with the sound. Better yet, just get Ben Burtt, a big ass computer, a long fuzzy microphone, and get out of his way. You got all that Disney cash to pay him, and he’ll love you for helping him net his third Oscar statuette.

5. Avoid “Lucas-izing” CG characters to appeal to a younger audience. Don’t even invite the dude over for lunch to watch dailies… same goes with Michael Bay. We don’t need or want short, cute computer creatures with speech impediments or Ebonics-speaking floating triangles with gold teeth. We already have enough of it in other films. We know you are thinking about it. Resist the urge. Regardless of what happens at the box office, there is a difference between enjoying your film and making fun of it. We want to enjoy it.

6. Avoid Hollywood hacker/programmer stereotypes & computer interface clichés. We don’t want to see Kevin Smith surrounded by Bawls bottles and candy wrappers saying “That’s encryption level 22329A! That’s hardcore stuff!” and he’s the only one in the world who can break it. We don’t want to see some team of “crack” computer experts in blue jumpsuits led by a tall leggy blonde fashion model, and she solves a mystery by running a Google search. We don’t want to see detailed CG computer displays in the real world that can visually track a virus running through a network or some bullshit like that. Keep it real. As I said before, TRON managed to tell the story without all that crap.

7. Avoid pop culture references for cheap throwaway gags; create your own. We don’t want to see some electronic world character burp and/or fart and say they learned it from “Master Google” standing over there, or the “YouTube” street of the electronic world city. I think you get the idea. Step your game up.

8. Pressure the studio to get TRON remastered and released on Blu-Ray sooner than later. We do not want to wait until 2011 when the TRON 2 marketing engine is in full swing. We all want our 1080p TRON now. And while they are at it, can they throw in that “test footage” in HD as well? Just asking.

Thank you for reading this letter and I hope it serves you well as you begin the long journey of post-production. Speaking from the audience, I will not hold unreasonable expectations. But remember these few simple things, and chances are, not only will you have a successful movie at the box office, but a GOOD FILM that will worth re-watching for years to come.

-Erik Stanfill

lavalier podcast episode 014

Saturday, June 06, 2009


Erik & Peter discuss Star Trek, kids, things that grind their gears, and SABOTAGE!


AVAILABLE IN THE iTUNES STORE...

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lavalier podcast episode 013

Saturday, April 11, 2009


Peter and Erik are back in top form, discussing iPhone apps, Battlestar Galactica, funny sound effects, & the songs that get Peter in the mood. (to relax, that is.)

Music on this episode is from:

Starf*cker
Bryan Free
Little Beirut


AVAILABLE IN THE iTUNES STORE...

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My Flip-Flop Rant from Facebook

Tuesday, April 07, 2009
Six easy questions to ask yourself before putting on flip-flops...

1. Are you currently utilizing the services of a day spa?
2. Are you on your way to/coming back from a pedicure?
3. Are you taking a shower at an athletic club?
4. Are you at a swimming pool or the ocean?
5. Are you younger than 16 years old?
6. Are you in Hawaii?

if you answered NO to ALL of these questions... NO FLIP-FLOPS.

No exceptions. This applies to dudes as well. But a note to the females...

Ladies, please.... with the emmense power of bazillion-dollar footwear marketing campaigns directed towards you, I am sure that you can find a suitable replacement for a bright nasty $5 piece of plastic and rubber you found in a barrel at Wal-Mart. Try a nice strappy sandal with a kicky heel. Or a low/medium-heeled open-toed slingback. Those would look so much better on your feet, and would make your legs look longer. You will see a distinct improvement in your "hey-cute-guy-noticed-me!" ratio. GUARANTEED. Flip-flops are no better than attaching a couple of ping-pong paddles on your feet and slapping your way around town. Not attractive. Seriously, ladies, flip-flops are NOT EVERYDAY WEAR. But if you must, please, PLEASE, FOR THE LOVE OF ALL THAT IS HOLY, don't wear them at restaurants that feature >$15 an entree. CLASS IT UP, LADIES.

lavalier podcast episode 012

Wednesday, March 11, 2009


12!

ERIK!

PETER!

& KEVIN!

WOWSERS!

Music on this episode is from:

Alela Diane
Laura Gibson
The Thermals
Wow & Flutter

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lavalier podcast episode 011

Sunday, February 08, 2009
details forthcoming, but benji is back!

els.020309

lavalier podcast episode 010

Thursday, January 15, 2009


10 is the new 9! In this episode, Peter and Kevin (filling in for Erik) talk about fake suicide, Vancouver, whiskey, and meatheads.

Music on this episode is from:

Alela Diane
Oh Captain My Captain
Hello Morning
Inside Voices
The Online Romance

SUBSCRIBE IN iTUNES...

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If you have already subscribed, iTunes should download 010 automatically the next time you start up/refresh.

iTUNES STORE UPDATE:


Well, we were up for awhile, but got pulled due to "technical issues" with the feed. Erik is now using FeedBurner to handle all iTunes Store-related issues and it should be back up real soon. If you have subscribed via iTunes Store, you may have to re-subscribe again when it is back up. I'm not sure yet. In the meantime you can manually subscribe as described above, or direct download as described below. Thanks!

TO DIRECT DOWNLOAD:

Get it here...
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lavalier podcast episode 009

Wednesday, January 07, 2009


It's a new year episode 009 in 09. although we spend most of the time talking about 08.

This episode features music by these fine portland artists... lackthereøf, hello morning, the shaky hands, james low, & microfilm.


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If you have already subscribed, iTunes should download 009 automatically the next time you start up/refresh.

iTUNES STORE UPDATE:


Well, we were up for awhile, but got pulled due to "technical issues" with the feed. Erik is now using FeedBurner to handle all iTunes Store-related issues and it should be back up real soon. If you have subscribed via iTunes Store, you may have to re-subscribe again when it is back up. I'm not sure yet. In the meantime you can manually subscribe as described above, or direct download as described below. Thanks!

TO DIRECT DOWNLOAD:

Get it here...
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lavalier podcast episode 008

Thursday, December 18, 2008


The Christmas Episode! A short show this time around, but Peter shares his fond holiday memories and Erik nods a lot.


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iTUNES STORE UPDATE:


Well, we were up for awhile, but got pulled due to "technical issues" with the feed. Erik is now using FeedBurner to handle all iTunes Store-related issues and it should be back up real soon. If you have subscribed via iTunes Store, you may have to re-subscribe again when it is back up. I'm not sure yet. In the meantime you can manually subscribe as described above, or direct download as described below. Thanks!

TO DIRECT DOWNLOAD:

Get it here...
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lavalier podcast episode 007

Thursday, December 04, 2008


We are back! Both chairs are now firmly filled by the regular hosts' buttocks for the 007 episode which is licensed to.... urm... thrill?

In this fine production, the lads discuss bad james bond films (there is a bunch), some stuff about thanksgiving, leaves on the patio, and goofy cartoons. That is, the character Goofy, not general goofiness.

The bumper music features these fine Portland artists...
Mattress, Aan, Life At These Speeds, Blue Giant, Ethan Rose, & Bra Strapz

Clicky clicky to get all myspacey or official webby with them.

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You are subscribed! Copy to your iDevice of choice.

If you have already subscribed, iTunes should download 007 automatically the next time you start up.

iTUNES STORE UPDATE:


You will be able to download direct (and still free) from iTunes store NOW; Erik just messed up the xml tags and he's gotta get them fixed, so no link just yet. Erik needs a web person, anyone interested?

TO DIRECT DOWNLOAD:

Get it here...
http://media.libsyn.com/media/erikstanfill/lavalier_podcast_episode_007.m4a

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Goofy's home theater...

Monday, November 24, 2008
I've mentioned this about ten years ago. now you can see it online! this is a fairly accurate representation of how to design a home theater. take me to the goof.

lavalier podcast episode 006

Monday, November 17, 2008

erik is back, but now peter is on tour! sooooo benji is back to claim peter's throne for awhile.

In this fine production, the lads discuss batman vs. batman, an exploding whale, internet trolls, little girl crocs, nice things about airlines, and wilford brimley!

Here's the video that is discussed, btw...



The bumper music features these fine Portland artists...
The Standard, Stephanie Schneiderman, Horse Feathers, Siren's Echo, Holy Sons, Blue Skies For Black Hearts, & Dolorean
Clicky clicky to get all myspacey or official webby with them.

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It is a very easy process to download, don't get scared...

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You are subscribed! Copy to your iDevice of choice.

If you have already subscribed, iTunes should download 006 automatically the next time you start up.

iTUNES STORE UPDATE:


You will be able to download direct (and still free) from iTunes store SOON; we just have to go through the application process first (and create a better logo, too.)

TO DIRECT DOWNLOAD:

Get it here...
http://media.libsyn.com/media/erikstanfill/lavalier_podcast_episode_006.m4a

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yeah i know...

Thursday, November 13, 2008

haven't updated anything in a while besides podcast episodes. But.... you can follow my twitter updates on the sidebar if you'd like now, without being a part of the twitter community. podcast 006 will be up shortly, and i'll get on those movie reviews that have been up since june. Plus, i'll slap up some video and pics from the fall BEDM tour.

lavalier podcast episode 005

Thursday, October 30, 2008

erik was in the basement for a few weeks, so we have a SPECIAL GUEST CO-HOST! benji rickard wipes the mic down for this episode.

In this fine production, peter describes it as "pretty much we talk about halloween." ever a modest one, that peter.

The bumper music features these fine Portland artists...
Gifty, Welsh Rabbit, The Beauty, & A Blinding Silence
Clicky clicky to get all myspacey or official webby with them.

SUBSCRIBE IN iTUNES...

It is a very easy process to download, don't get scared...

1. open iTunes
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3. pull down to "subscribe to podcast..."
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http://www.lavalier.blogspot.com/feeds/posts/default

5. Click "OK".

You are subscribed! Copy to your iDevice of choice.

If you have already subscribed, iTunes should download 005 automatically the next time you start up.

iTUNES STORE UPDATE:


You will be able to download direct (and still free) from iTunes store SOON; we just have to go through the application process first (and create a better logo, too.)

TO DIRECT DOWNLOAD:

Get it here...
http://media.libsyn.com/media/erikstanfill/lavalier_podcast_episode_005.m4a

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lavalier podcast episode 004

Sunday, October 12, 2008

now with 23% more material than last episode! You decide if that is an improvement or not.

In this fine production, we are covering: dudes in high school, p-town's worst intersections, Wine Spectator's phony-baloney "restaurant of the year" award, hipsters who work in coffee shops that annoy Peter, and all things non-sequitur.

The bumper music features these fine Portland artists...
Boy Eats Drum Machine, Super XX Man, A Weather, Parenthetical Girls, Dirty Mittens, & The Mint Chicks
Clicky clicky to get all myspacey or official webby with them.

SUBSCRIBE IN iTUNES...

It is a very easy process to download, don't get scared...

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5. Click "OK".

You are subscribed! Copy to your iDevice of choice.

If you have already subscribed, iTunes should download 004 automatically the next time you start up.

iTUNES STORE UPDATE:


You will be able to download direct (and still free) from iTunes store SOON; we just have to go through the application process first (and create a better logo, too.)

TO DIRECT DOWNLOAD:

Get it here...
http://media.libsyn.com/media/erikstanfill/lavalier_podcast_episode_004.m4a

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