Shawna is not only lovely and talented as previously reported but also is one of the editors, along with Scott Allie, of the Dark Horse horror comics. She also has adopted the HP Lovecraft Film Festival and coordinates the involvement of Dark Horse Comics. Shawna was nice enought to invite me to participate. Actually she asked if they might show a clip from Sword of Storms with a Dark Horse rep to answer questions.
On a whim, I said I'd come up and show a different clip than what we showed at San Diego since by the time of the festival I would have the finished movie. For awhile I considered making it a family trip and spending a few extra days to visit Dark Horse but the schedules of both Hellboy Animated movies prevented that.
We finished the movie Wednesday (see below) but the technical laydown to the various formats needed for broadcast happened on Friday. That meant I couldn't have a DVD copy for the festival until Saturday morning when they would be producing screener copies for reviewers. No problem, the airport is literally across the street from the studio so I would just stop in, pick up the DVD and go.
Saturday morning: I pulled into work and headed to the Machine Room. There, perched on a black chair was the DVD with a Hellboy label and big "Tad" post-it. Sweet! I was going to head out but since there wasn't time to put chapter divisions on the DVD, I went to my office to get a timing on where "Heads" was since that was the sequence I wanted to show. Popped it in my computer and...
A voice actress I used on Darkwing Duck is a psychic. When I met her, she told me a bunch of mundane stuff, without histrionics, that made me go, "Whoa." Lovely person and a very funny actress who played Binky Muddlefoot on the series. Anyway, she was one of those people who say that everything happens for a reason. I've adopted that philosophy because it sure helps in the rough times. Instead of whining, "Why does this happen to me?" I ask, "What am I supposed to learn from this?" The human mind seeks patterns, trying to put order to chaos. So even if it's just a psychological quirk it pays off eventually in a big sigh of relief. "Oh, that's what it was about."
.... "Isn't the BPRD logo supposed to be round?" "Why are Abe and Liz so tall and skinny?" "F!!! it's in the wrong format!" The movie was compressed to fit a normal TV screen when it was supposed to be letter-boxed. I slumped but thought the Hellboy fans at the festival would understand. It's not like it was unwatchable. It's a trade off between letting them see a sneak peek and OH MY GOD! THEY'RE MAKING A HUNDRED AND FIFTY COPIES OF THIS THING TO SEND TO CRITICS AND REVIEWERS!!!
I raced downstairs and the guys were back manning the machines. I pointed out that it should be letter-boxed. They could make me a correct copy for me but it would have to be made in real time. But due to the usual security concerns at the airport, I didn't have time to wait. That was really frustrating because there'd be plenty of time before I would actually leave.
The guys called the head of post, Rob Weaver, who was in Sacramento for the weekend. He said the lab must have screwed up and that was the tape that was to be broadcast on Cartoon Network! The lab had to immediately make a new tape with the right format so you wouldn't see the tall and skinny version of Hellboy. And bless him, Rob doesn't care if I'm showing the movie to an audience of five people, he wants it to be the right version. Turns out Rob is a man of many connections and knew the person at the front desk of Alaska Airlines and made arrangements for the DVD to be delivered to me on the airplane if need be. It would be tight but they thought they could do it.
That's when it was announced that my airplane had mechanical problems which would delay the flight for an hour. Meanwhile, Felix from the machine shop had to get the DVD to the airport. But there's no temporary parking zone. A baggage guy took pity and said he'd take it in for him but Felix waited to make sure it happened. That's when a cop complimented his car and said, "Too bad I have to give you a ticket." Felix starts telling him about his day and finally the cop says, "Just get out of here." I got the DVD, the plane got fixed, Felix didn't get a ticket and only had to wait another two or three hours before he could actually start his day off.
Whew. So that's how Cthulhu saved Hellboy.
I had enough time Saturday morning in Portland to visit Powell's Books, a store where Mike Mignola has spent many an hour, day or week finding the weird and the arcane. It really is an amazing place. The bookstore is the entire building in this picture. The rooms are color coded and they hand out maps of the store. I went in not expecting to buy anything and walked out with: my own copy of British Folktales by Katharine Briggs so I can return Mike's copy, Not of This World - Creatures of the Supernatural in Scotland by Maurice Fleming, Will Storr vs. the Supernatural - One Man's Search for the Truth about Ghosts by Will Storr and a DC Showcase of The Haunted Tank, packed with great black and white Joe Kubert artwork.
The cool weather in Portland was really pleasant, it rained a little (hey, it's Portland) but not inconveniently. The mass transit MAX line took me from Powell's to within two blocks of the theater and I got there early enough to learn that the DVD actually worked. I was so relieved that I would've shown the whole movie if they had me slotted for another half hour. Everyone from Dark Horse was super nice and said their table was doing well and the audience liked what they saw. Several came up to me afterwards using the word, "Awesome."
Don't ask me what I think because even at that screening I was realizing what I should have done to make certain moments more effective. It's going to be awhile before I can watch it as a movie. In the meantime, we've got five sequences of Hellboy: Blood and Iron to edit!!! Here we go again! --Tad