Friday, October 31, 2014

Mousey Movie Preview - How the Age of Ultron Teaser Should Have Ended!

The How It Should Have Ended Crew have done it again and this time it's just a spoof of a trailer.  But it is a Disney/Marvel film and it is a parody that will make every Disney fan chuckle, or be really creeped out.  I give you "How the Avengers: Age of Ultron Teaser Should have Ended.":

Have you stopped laughing yet?

Well, just remember you have a friend in me here at Between Disney and have a fun Ultron free Halloween!

Monday, October 27, 2014

Between Books - Words for Pictures

As I am getting more and more back into comics I have become very interested in how they get made. And I hope to learn lessons, or reinforce lessons, that can be used in my own professional life.

Words For Pictures: The Art and Business of Writing Comics and Graphic Novels
by Brian Michael Bendis provides an overview of how comics are made, advice on writing and practical advice about working in the comics field. Bendis being an accomplished comic book writer provides a writer’s perspective based on his own experiences. He explains how to pitch a project; both an original story and a work for hire licensed story. He explains what goes into writing a script and how artists, letterers, colorists and editors work together. While Bendis is an author, he spends quite a bit of time discussing how to work with artists, including what they like and do not like in scripts.  And he details how to interact with an editor. To help expand the focus away from just writing, Bendis includes round tables and interviews with artists and editors to provide color to the comic creation experience. A theme that runs throughout the books is collaboration, since unless a creator is doing all phases of production they must work with other creative people. Bendis sets the expectation that everyone must be credited and how to get the most out of the collaborative experience which vary from team to team and project to project. An aspect of the team that Bendis does not ignore is the business side of creativity providing key lessons from his own business failures. The book ends with exercises to help get writers writing. The majority of the book is heavily illustrated, largely with Marvel illustrations, typically with art that links to the process or creators he is discussing on the page.

Words for Pictures is easy to read thanks to clarity, interesting personal experiences and illustrations. The text is broken up with interviews and profiles being interspersed throughout the book. The only thing that I found odd is that the writer FAQ and writing exercise chapter are not illustrated with margins that are stark white. While these plain pages may be a blank slate to motivate writers, for a general interest reader like me the pages seemed stark and different enough from the heavily illustrated pages that it seems like someone just forgot about these pages.

The Marvel illustrations let a Disney fan know early that Bendis has strong ties to the company. One feels like they are reading the inside story from a Disney insider, much like one would with an Imagineer, because Disney owned art is everywhere. A good example of how this enriches the experience for the Marvel fan is Bendis' detailed description of the development of the Spider-Men storyline.  And while it was originated decades before the Disney purchase with Stan Lee there is an interesting discussion of what the Marvel method is and who if anyone likes it.

Words For Pictures: The Art and Business of Writing Comics and Graphic Novels
by Brian Michael Bendis does a good job of explaining the comics creation process and providing tips and tools for getting into the comics industry. However, for the general public, Bendis does an excellent job of showing the power of collaboration. Being someone who works on teams everyday, it was nice to see that even in my beloved comics collaboration is key. And as a Disney fan, I loved reading how the Marvel arm functions as an artistic endeavor. While this book may not be a Between Book for every Disney fan, for those interested in creativity and Marvel should look at picking up this title.

Review Copy Provided by Publisher 

Friday, October 24, 2014

Mousey Movie Preview - Avengers: Age of Ultron Teaser Trailer

During the credits for Marvel's Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. it was announced that the world premier of the first Avengers: Age of Ultron trailer would be played the following week.  Instead it was leaked 6 days earlier and Disney reacted by providing the full HD version of the trailer online.

My initial reactions are:
  • Ultron is scary and this movie feels darker than the original.
  • Disney fan freak out moment, I hope they keep the ties to a Disney animated classic in the soundtrack and dialogue.
  • I want to see this right now!
  • I loved Disney/Marvel's reaction, Hydra leaked it!

With nearly 30,000,000 views at the time of this posting, I am thinking I am not the only one who wants to see this.

Monday, October 20, 2014

Between Books - The Unauthorized Story of Walt Disney's Haunted Mansion

When I was in college one particular professor was my role model.  He was knowledgeable, but also allowed himself to have some fun. He could communicate clearly with little confusion.  He spoke about facts and let rumors and off-hand stories be heard but clearly noted for what they were.  I think this is why I have come to respect Jeff Baham for his work on the Haunted Mansion.  He knows the gossip around the attraction, but he also labels it for what it is.  And his own quest to find more truth about the Mansion has helped uncover lost history behind the famous Walt Disney attraction.  And these new truths are one he has been able to communicate in an easy to understand manner. 

The Unauthorized Story of Walt Disney's Haunted Mansion by Jeff Baham is a comprehensive history of the world famous Haunted Mansion.  Baham starts his tale decades before ground was broken in Disneyland, discussing the haunted houses and theme parks that Walt Disney would have been exposed to especially in Kansas City.  The story heats up in the 1950s as Walt Disney builds his first theme park and plans for a Ghost House within his new adventure.  Baham next outlines the evolution of the concept as the Ghost House was transformed from a walking attraction to the Omnimover driven dark ride we have today.  In describing the concept evolution he details the roles of Imagineers such as Ken Anderson, Rolly Crump, Yale Gracey, Mark Davis, Claude Coats and X. Atencio including their disagreements and rivalries.  Much of the inside story follows Crump's tale, with the Imagineer also writing the Foreword.  After developing the ride, Baham takes his readers for a tour through the Haunted Mansion discussing history and variances between different versions.  And finally he provide an Appendix focused on Haunted Mansion themed merchandise.  

I am going to sneak in my two nit picky issues while also pointing out how much I like this title.  First, I really wish that an index was included.  Luckily, this is a short book under 150 pages so it is easy to scan through.  But it is both well-written and filled with excellent history of the Haunted Mansion.  In fact, as Haunted Mansion history evolves it is likely the most complete to date with the inclusion of the Sauer "Castle" and discussions of the homes that inspired the facades of both American Haunted Mansions.  But an index would be such a nice tool for younger researchers who might want to dig into the design story of the attraction.  Second, I wish there was a conclusion from Baham about his thoughts on Haunted Mansion history.  The text as is feels like it abruptly stops with the attraction walk through and then merchandise.  I think it is fair to say that Baham knows more than the typical Disney fan about the Haunted Mansion.  And this deep knowledge and understanding comes out in his very easy to read informative text.  But I would have loved to see his reflections on either the Haunted Mansion or his own personal quest to fully document the Mansion in great detail.  Yes, it may not have added to the facts.  But I feel it would have been a more than fair addition, especially since my experiences listening to his Mousetaliga podcast have shown him to have great insight into Disney history.

Let us be honest, I complain only because I enjoyed this book so much.  And these are really minor quibbles.  

Then there is the ghost in the room, what if you bought Baham's first Haunted Mansion book, An Unofficial History of Disney's Haunted Mansion?  Do you buy the second one?  Baham in interviews makes it clear there is new material and reorganized material.  There are at least 20 additional pages in the newer book.  And it seems to me that there are less images in the updated book, which means there is even more text.  Additionally the new book's page size is around half an inch bigger.  All of this means again more content!  And the content includes greater discussion of Walt Disney and the people who made the attraction.  Another difference is images.  The pictures found in the updated history are sharper and clearer.  If you are considering purchasing between the new history and the older Baham history I would select the newer one just due to the influx of new content.  And if you have the old Baham book, buy the new one too because you are clearly a big Haunted Mansion fan!

When I heard that Jaff Baham was going to be working with a publisher to offer a new updated Haunted Mansion history, I got excited.  Since I heard it mentioned on his podcasts, I have kept this book on my radar despite having reader the earlier book.  The Unauthorized Story of Walt Disney's Haunted Mansion is a must have for Disney book fans, Haunted Mansion fans and parks fans.  It is well written, well produced and filled with fact about one of the most storied Disney attractions of all time.  It is clear for Baham that the Haunted Mansion is a passion.  We are just lucky he is willing to share the vast history he has uncovered. 

Review Copy Provided by Theme Park Press

Friday, October 17, 2014

Mousey Movie Preview - Inside Out's First Trailer

Disney/Pixar's Inside Out recently got it's first trailer so we can start getting ready for my birthday 2015 weekend plans!

Here are my first thoughts?
  • It very much seems like Tron in your brain!
  • Like most Disney trailers recently, we are being reminded of past hits instead of giving us a ton of insight into this film.
  • I like the poster, it reminds me of Epcot!
  • I do enjoy Aerosmith's  "Sweet Emotion"!
 What do you think?  Are you excited Betweenland?

Monday, October 13, 2014

Between Books - Death in the Tragic Kingdom

This morning I was overloaded as I commuted to work. I had my book bag, my lunch, and a really heavy bag of stuff for a presentation. The big bag was making me a little wobbly. So as I walked up to a train platform and found myself walking into the yellow warning area closest to the tracks, I wanted to yell, “come on people, I don’t want to have an accident here.” You see I am at the moment a little hyper-aware of what a simple little fall can do after reading Death in the Tragic Kingdom.

Death in the Tragic Kingdom: The Unauthorized Walking Tour Through the Haunted and Fatal History of Disney Parks by Keaton Moll walks readers through the unfortunate early deaths of cast members and guests in Disney theme parks and the cruise line. The majority of cases consist of a short paragraph. Where newspaper articles and court documents exist, the descriptions of the events are longer. Moll takes his readers through these incidents like a tour guide, walking us through Disney property as we move from death to death. Along with accounts of death, Moll provides information about the urban legends of Disney hauntings. The book ends with a series of maps where one could follow the events of the book as a walking tour.

Moll’s tone is non-judgmental. He explains how deaths occur but generally does not pass judgment. He makes sure to explain that deaths at Disney are inevitable. The parks are cities! Just due to numbers of cast members and visitors, accidents and natural causes will lead to unexpected deaths. He does note some bad maintenance practices that have attributed to deaths in the past. But generally he assumes good will on Disney’s behalf. There are a few typos, but the do not interfere greatly with the experience. My only real complaint about Moll’s writing is that transitions for me are not always clear, but that could be an issue of spacing.

I do not like scary. When it comes to ghost stories, he passes the story along but makes it clear with some stories that he has trouble believing them. Moll makes it clear many of the ghost stories he shares are of a likely fictional nature, though he does share his own creep out moment. But I will say as I read this book I could feel goose bumps on the back of my neck. Honestly, I love these places he discusses. And the idea of any of these locations being haunted creeps me out a bit. But there are plenty of people who like a good scare!

Here is what I have learned from Moll. And honestly these are probably lessons Disney would like us to take note of. Though this is the type of book they would never endorse. Do not get out of your ride vehicle unless a cast member authorizes it. If Disney puts up a sign that states do not enter, don’t! And slipping and falling creates unsafe situations everywhere. Sadly another lesson is that some people chose the happiest place on Earth for their final resting place.

Death in the Tragic Kingdom outlines a piece of Disney history we rarely discuss, death. Keaton Moll provides us locations and stories on how these often sad events occurred. Additionally, he shares Disney’s ghost stories. For me, the last few days I have been careful of where my feet have been taking me. If a surface looks slick, I am going to step carefully. And as I walk with my headphones blaring a Disney podcasts in my ears I am paying more attention to traffic. Because if an accident can take me in my favorite parks, it could easily happen on my commute!

Review Copy Provided by Theme Park Press

Friday, October 10, 2014

Mousey Movie Trailer - Tomorrowland's First Trailer

We have been awaiting a peek for Disney's Tomorrowland for awhile.  And then suddenly boom, there it was on the internet!
Yes, I would like to go there now!  And Yes if I was Disney adjacent I could go there now!  

I think Disney will be selling a lot of pins to non-pin traders in the future!

And for the first time in a long time, a Disney trailer got me excited!