People who love awesome things around the world are all breathing a collective sigh of relief. Game of Thrones has returned!
The occasion is so wonderful and so epic that I’ve decided to begin a brand new weekly feature here at The Athletic Nerd: The Game of Thrones Weekly Moment.
Every Monday (or Tuesday) I’ll look at the single moment that stood out from each episode of the massively anticipated second season. It begins… Now.
This week’s moment?
Tyrion arrives at King’s Landing… And pisses off everyone.
Fresh off an Emmy for Outstanding Supporting Actor, Peter Dinklage picks up right where he left off. Tyrion’s presence in King’s Landing is immediately felt as he reveals he has been named the Hand of the King in his father’s absence. As his crafty dialogue gets under the skin of the King he is simultaneously sympathetic to Sansa given the loss of her father. It’s a brilliant way to introduce one of the series most beloved characters.
But it didn’t end there. Tyrion vs Cersei was even better. Here the writer’s successfully remind us why Tyrion is awesome while summing up key events of season one. Tyrion has an answer for everything and it’s the truth. Cersei messed up big time handling Ned Stark and his children and Tyrion is quick to point out that she is now ‘the disappointing child’.
Going forward, I can’t wait to hear what he has to say about Cersei’s love affair with her brother Jaime. Actually, I can’t wait for him to weigh in on a number of gossip in the South. His feelings are made pretty clear later on in the episode when he talks about the abundance of liars in the kingdom.
This week’s moment goes to Tyrion Lannister and I have a feeling it won’t be the last this season.
The North Remembers
The rest of the episode was fascinating as both a fan and an aspiring writer. How these writer’s manage to juggle so many characters and locations so brilliantly is beyond me. It’s hard enough when it’s original material but this is an adaptation of a massive series of novels. They even managed to introduce several entirely new characters.
True, the main characters couldn’t be any further apart but I think that’s the genius of this series. In one scene, we are in the Red Waste with baby dragons and a starving Daenerys Targaryen. In the next, we’re following John Snow in a winter wasteland. Everyone has a claim to the throne and I’m so happy we get to watch them all fight for it again.
This was a fantastic return for a series that blew millions away last year.
I’m a proud Canadian and I love hockey. I’m a fan of the Toronto Maple Leafs. That’s the basic information. I’m actually shocked it isn’t featured prominently on my driver’s license. Now, when I say fan, I mean I’m the type of person who says ‘we’ when referring to the Leafs. ‘We’ lost a big game on Saturday night. ‘Our’ new draft pick is kind of a big deal. ‘We’ will win the Stanley Cup before I turn 30. (I’m 28)
I grew up in Northern Ontario where there are just as many hockey arenas as there are Tim Horton’s. Every single one of my friends played hockey… But I didn’t. You see, hockey and I have always had a strange relationship. Like many most Canadians, I know the game inside and out yet I’ve never actually suited up and taken the ice. Other than street hockey and occasional games on outdoor rinks, I’ve never been a part of the game directly. But that’s the beauty of this this country’s love of the sport. You don’t have to lace up a pair of skates to love hockey. It’s in our DNA and it found a way into mine as well.
So while I haven’t scored a goal in my life, I still I grew up surrounded by hockey.
Today, I work for a Canadian sports network and we show more hockey than any other network in this country. There are days when we show as many as 5 regional NHL games simultaneously. That may not sound like a lot but when you factor in pre game shows, intermissions, updates and post game shows for each game, it’s a ton of work. It’s our job to know hockey and produce the best coverage in the world. So it’s safe to say that as an adult, I’m still surrounded by hockey and I wouldn’t have it any other way.
I MISSED THE GOLDEN GOAL
One of the proudest moments I’ve ever had as a sports fan came when Sidney Crosby scored the Golden Goal to win Hockey’s Olympic Hold Medal on home soil. Except I missed it…
I would have loved to add my voice to the collective roar of this country when ‘we’ won that game. Here is what Vancouver sounded like:
No, I was at home getting ready for work when USA tied it. It was devastating because I had to leave or risk being late for my shift. When I emerged from the subway it was over and people had flooded the streets. There were flags everywhere. I’ve always loved my job but on that day, I REALLY loved my job.
CANADIANS LOVE HOCKEY MOVIES TOO
A big part of my life is also devoted to movies and it’s in this area where hockey and I truly see eye to eye. So you can imagine the impact films like The Mighty Ducks, D2, Miracle and Slapshot and more had on me. For me, nothing beats The Mighty Ducks and D2. I was and always will be obsessed with those movies.
“One, two, three… Triple deke”
I can’t be the only one who paused to announce the ‘Knuckle Puck’ was imminent. It drives goalies crazy!
The flying V was a staple in local rinks back then. It even found it’s way into video games. And more than ever, little league teams around the country sang ‘We Are The Champions’ after the USA Ducks won it all.
I was even humming the ‘Ducks’ theme song when I wrote the championship scene of a basketball film years ago. (Which was a badass basketball scene by the way.)
DOES GARY BETTMAN LOVE HOCKEY MOVIES?
Lately, I’ve been curious how NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman feels about two prominent hockey movies being released in near future. Right now, fighting and hitting in hockey is a heated debate. Players are faster and stronger than ever and it seems someone goes down with a concussion daily. (Including ‘our’ goalie James Reimer) Does fighting belong in the game? How can you limit head shots? These are questions that dominate the headlines regularly. Don Cherry weighed in recently and it blew up into a massive story. Some people would argue that Slapshot is all about the big hits and fights but those were simpler times and it’s a different world today.
Note: How do you think Brenden Shanahan would rule the hit from behind around the 1:48 mark? Different times indeed.
I’m sure Mr. Bettman wants the discussion and especially the injuries to stop. Is he thrilled about new films that focus on the rougher aspects of the game? Or will Kevin Smith’s 2 part epic Hit Somebody and Goon starring Seann William Scott prove that hockey is hockey and it’s all part of the game.
In the old days, hockey movies like The Mighty Ducks focused on the love of the game and what it’s like to be a part of a team. Both Goon and Hit Somebody seem to focus on the spirit of the game but their stories are based on bruisers and bullies… It’s no secret that people in my country (myself included) will flock to see these movies but will they capture the Hockey starved imaginations of Canadians? Will they bring hockey to the forefront in the US and expand the NHL’s audience? Will they bring up the violence in hockey debate once more? Or will they truly recreate the hockey experience fans are addicted to?
STIFLER IS A GOON
At one point, Kevin Smith wanted Seann William Scott to star in his hockey movie but he ultimately chose Goon. (Hopefully there are more tributes to Canada other than ‘oots, aboots and eh) I want this movie to be a love letter to hockey fans. Sure it’s about a fighter who doesn’t understand the game but what if it’s also about a fighter who discovers the game?
KEVIN SMITH IS A GOALIE
Hockey has found it’s way into many of Kevin Smith’s movies. It think it’s fitting that his final directorial effort is a two part hockey film.
Hit Somebody: Home tracks the rise of a bruiser from his humble beginnings to professional hockey player.
Hit Somebody: Away is about the players pro career.
Kevin Smith is a die hard hockey fan with a true appreciation of the game and quite frankly, an honorary Canadian as a result. He loves hockey. (and Wayne Gretzky) So if I had to choose which film will truly capture what hockey is all about I would have to go with Hit Somebody.
Forget the fact that both movies focus on enforcers. Hockey fans love the big hits and the fights. Personally, I think the league is doing a great job cracking down on cheap shots and hits to the head. So lets get away from the violence in hockey debate and enjoy the game for what it is. An exciting and fast sport full of moments like Crosby’s goal that make me proud to be a sports fan.
I hope both (technically there is three) of these movies deliver unique and entertaining entries into the hockey movie universe. I think it’s about time a great hockey movie came along especially for us Canadians. Hockey fans can be found all around the globe but the best hockey fans are Canadian hockey fans.
Like I said, hockey and I have always had a strange relationship because I never played the game. My entire life, I’ve experience the game by watching it on television, sitting at the edge of my seat in arenas or settling in for a fantastic hockey movie. But that doesn’t mean that I don’t spend weeks mourning another year without playoff hockey Leafs! The only thing that helps the grieving process is reliving my favorite hockey movie moments as I wait for a Stanley Cup or another moment like the Golden Goal.
EXCLUSIVE INTERVIEW WITH MICHAEL HOLSTEIN PRODUCER OF THE REGULARS
What do you get when you take the concept of Food Network’s Diners Drive Ins & Dive’s but substitute them for Bars, Taverns & Watering Holes? You get THE REGULARS, a new web series that explores what it takes to become a regular at a local pub. In the show, Oscar & Tanner are on a mission to discover the most unique bars and fit in with those who inhabit them.
But what goes into creating a web series? How do you pull it off? I interviewed producer Michael Holstein to find out more.
What inspired The Regulars?
Me turning 40 — it’s a big scam so I can escape my house and babies and go to a lot of cool bars. No, really, as a fan of quirky bars, of travel, and as a producer of reality TV, it just sort of evolved naturally. Diners, Drive Ins & Dives (DDD) was absolutely an influence - I love that show – and it just felt like there should be a bar version. Originally this program was going to have elements of DDD mixed with Man vs. Food – for example, the host(s) would have to do certain contests or challenges – but instead we decided to make it more organic and more about fitting in and becoming a Regular. So ultimately I think where we landed was DDD meets Cheers. The show is ideally about people as much as it is about places, and for every cool bar in the country, there are 1000′s of unique and interesting people who hang out at them. Hopefully on the road, we’ll discover those people and the places.
When did you decide to make the project a web series? Was a full episode format discussed as well?
We’re still in conversations and negotiations about TV vs. web, and there are merits to both. TV obviously gets us more easy access to viewers, bigger budgets and opens up some nice sponsorship and branding opportunities, but the web allows us some more freedom of content and more freedom to monetize the show. I think where this show — along with others we’ve done or are working on — will land is somewhere in between TV and web; something highly interactive and available anywhere, any time. We think that’s ultimately where media is headed and we think a show like this, along with Spotlight, the music show we’re developing now, can be the tip of the spear. We’re probably just a few years away from it not mattering if the show “lives” online or on-air, since viewers will be able to watch it however and whenever they want regardless.
How did you go about funding the project?
It’s a pretty low cost program to produce – another reason we loved the concept so much – so it’s self-funded with some of our funds and some investor cash for now. We’re in conversations with potential sponsors, but I think that decision will come after we decide if the best home for this program is on cable or on-line. Obviously there are some natural fits — travel boards, beer or liquor companies, autos, etc. — but we’ll figure out the stage two funding at the right time.
Casting is critical in a show like The Regulars. How did you discover Oscar and Tanner?
We did a nationwide casting and came out of the process not wowed by anyone — too many anchormen or stand ups, and this role required a more natural presence, not forced schtick or phony sounding interviews. It’s a tough role to play. Tanner and Oscar are both regionally well known. Oscar is a very talented radio personality – he was on a PM drive show in DC for many years, and now stars in two huge podcasts (The Big O and Dukes Show and the Mike O’Meara Show). I was a fan of his radio work and thought he’d be great on TV as well. After meeting with him I knew he was right for the part. I knew Tanner from some of his media appearances as well – he’s done a lot of radio, some reality pilots, and as the brother of Chris Cooley from the Redskins, he’s just a guy you see out and about. He has a great dry wit and subtlty that plays perfectly against Oscar’s more gregarious nature. I think they’re a great team, and their chemistry is pretty natural. They’re also very, very different personalities, so there’s always the potential for some conflict on the road as well. We’re also lucky to have a kick-ass musician, Benny Marchant (www.bennymarchant.com) who will contribute original music to the show, both for the road trip and when we can work it out, in the bars we go to. He’s awesome on camera too, so really we have an amazing team in place, and we’re lucky to have them all.
The Regulars is dependent on the bars Oscar and Tanner visit. How did you find them?
One of my partners found the Troubadour, which was absolutely perfect. She just stumbled across it online when looking for quirky bars within a days drive of DC, and after meeting Jim McCoy, the owner, we knew instantly it was the perfect spot. It couldn’t have a been a cooler or more inclusive place. We have a growing list of about 100 places across the country we plan to go, and as this show gains viewers, we’re getting more and more suggestions and requests. There is no shortage of funky bars in the country, and we want to see as many of them as possible. Finding them and visiting them is not the worst part of my job, although it may do bad things to my liver. Ideally, we’ll find some bars where the guys really do feel like regulars right away, and some that aren’t so welcoming – that kind of conflict should make for an interesting show, and it’ll be a test to see if the guys can win over a hostile or skeptical crowd. The one downside to the Troubadour is that everyone was too nice!
Delivering new content is key in any web series, when it came time to shoot, did you plan an entire season at once and shoot or break it up one episode at a time?
We shot this as a pilot – just a one-off episode to introduce our hosts and the concepts. When we make the cable or web decision, we’ll map out a whole season plan so we can minimize travel time, stretch our budget as far as we can and get to visit as many cool places as possible. It’s such an easy show to shoot, and there’s such a huge upside to the bars we feature that we’ll never suffer from a lack of options. Also, since the shows stand alone, it’s easy to syndicate, and allows new viewers to jump in at any time. In an ideal world, we’d have each show run 30 minutes, feature two bars, and we’d roll out 20 or so new eps per year.
What are some of the challenges you faced making The Regulars?
Casting was definitely the biggest issue. We spent a lot of time and saw a ton of applicants. The concept was fairly easy to develop, but finding the right hosts was a slog. Of course funding is an issue too, and that’s where we are now — deciding how best to fund the series, and what means of distribution is best for it. Once we get a cable pick up or online sponsorship deal, I think the rest will fall into place. The next big challenge will probably be keeping the guys out of trouble on the road!
How have you promoted the project? (social media, marketing etc…)
So far it’s all word of mouth and social media. And I think that’s where we’ll stay. I’m not a believer in paid media for something like this. I like to grow projects organically, and we have a built-in audience already with Tanner and Oscar, from their other media ventures. From there we’re hoping that the content is engaging and people spread the word about it. And as the show evolves and becomes more and more interactive, we hope that’ll drive traffic too.
What’s next for The Regulars?
It looks like we’re headed south for the next episode, although we have a ton of amazing bars to chose from. We’d love to get to special events too, so we encourage folks in small towns, big cities, and anything in between to submit their ideas about where to shoot to firstname.lastname@example.org. From a business standpoint, what comes next is a deal, and we hope to resolve that part quickly too, so we can stay on the road through the fall.
What advice would you give someone looking to start their own web series?
Go for it. It’s cheaper to produce than you’d think, and if you have a good concept, solid talent, a fleshed out idea and the balls to dive in, your chances of making something of it are pretty good. Just make sure you proceed with care — have a good EP to make sure the pieces you need are all in place, the releases are signed, the financing is right, etc. With the growth of web-based content and the ease of access to social media for promotion, getting a show “on-air” — which can now just as easily mean on-line — is easier than ever. I’m happy to speak to any aspiring producer — they can reach out to me directly at email@example.com. The time has never been better for content producers, so dive in and take a chance on your ideas. It’s not without risk, but in this day and age, it’s probably a safer thing to bet on yourself than to put money into the stock market!
Sooooo, Obi Wan slices the bad ass Darth Maul in half AND he falls into a hole about a million feet deep. Dead right? Wrong. Everyone’s favorite double edged lightsabre wielding foe is alive!
So many fans out there curse the very mention of The Phantom Menace but you have to admit, Darth Maul was cool and sadly underused. So what’s he been up to all these years? And how do you survive being sliced in half?
The first time I saw the movie in theaters people literally stood up and cheered when he fell to his supposed doom. Except he… didn’t… die?
Will you be tuning in to The Clone Wars animated series for the answers? I think I might be willing to give the show a shot and I’m sure that’s exactly what Mr. Lucas is hoping for.
If you haven’t discovered Mandy.com yet it’s an extremely valuable resource for independent filmmakers and artists. We’ve used the site to find people to join our film crews in the past and I have nothing but good things to say about the service.
Recently, I spent some time checking out their sister-company Documentary Guide and had a blast searching their vast library of documentaries and films. Whether you’re a student looking for research opportunities or just a fan looking to find out more about tornadoes it’s a fantastic resource.