Top 5 Moments: The Desolation of Smaug Trailer #1

June 13, 2013 at 9:58 am

Top 5 Moments: The Hobbit The Desolation of Smaug Trailer #1

The first chapter of Peter Jackson’s Hobbit trilogy was a fantastic return to Middle Earth but not without a few problems here and there.  Still, returning to Middle Earth was inspiring and visually stunning.

In the end, I think my expectations were far too high.  I loved The Lord of the Rings trilogy but, even though I wasn’t blown away by An Unexpected Journey, I’m excited to see more.

Thankfully, if this trailer is any indication, the majority of my minor complaints have been left behind.  The Desolation of Smaug looks awesome.  Here are 5 of my favorite moments from the film’s first trailer:

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The sweeping wide shots of this series are breathtaking and they get better with every film.  Middle Earth has never looked so good.

Top 5 Moments: The Hobbit The Desolation of Smaug Trailer #1


It’s always nice to see an old face especially that of an immortal elf.  I wonder if he’ll have a ‘Leggy’ moment in this film though they can’t top the Mumakil sequence…  Can they?

Top 5 Moments: The Hobbit The Desolation of Smaug Trailer #1


I’m a big fan of this villain.

Top 5 Moments: The Hobbit The Desolation of Smaug Trailer #1


Obviously, this moment leads directly to #1 on this list but seriously, I’m very excited about seeing Smaug in action.

Top 5 Moments: The Hobbit The Desolation of Smaug Trailer #1


Finally!  We get a glimpse of Smaug the Dragon.  It’s not the most revealing look but I’ll take anything at this point.  Next step…  Smaug’s voice must be revealed.  With Benedict Cumberbatch behind the beast, Smaug will be menacing indeed.

Top 5 Moments: The Hobbit The Desolation of Smaug Trailer #1

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Top 5 Moments: The Hobbit The Desolation of Smaug Trailer #1

Why The Lord of the Rings Continually Inspires the Screenwriter in me

December 12, 2012 at 9:56 am

Why The Lord of the Rings Continually Inspires the Screenwriter in me


I love writing screenplays.  I always have.  It’s always been a distant dream to write a film that gets made and shown to audiences around the world.  I say distant because it’s not a simple task to accomplish and it’s easy to lose your way.  But that doesn’t mean it’s impossible.  Last year, for a time, I lost my way.  I was still obsessed with screenwriting but I wasn’t making time to actually write.  There was always something else to do.  It’s a poor excuse.

That’s why I dropped everything and challenged myself to do better.  As soon as I applied myself, I finished a new screenplay within two months.  It’s amazing what you can accomplish when you actually sit down and write.  What does that have to do with The Lord of the Rings extended edition DVDs?  There is a chapter in every film’s documentary that focuses on the screenwriting challenges they faced.  Three half hour chunks dedicated to each film and the passion required to realize get the screenplays done.  I.  Love.  Those.  Documentaries.

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Adapting The Lord of the Rings was an exercise in commitment and screenwriting precision.  With such a wealth of information at their disposal, it fell to Peter Jackson, Fran Walsh & Philippa Boyens to weave it all into three movies.  What I love the most is their devotion to the world of Middle Earth.  They care so much about these characters and that’s why they were so successful.  They knew the world and the characters well enough to deviate when they needed to in order to make the movies work.  It takes supreme command of the craft to pull off a screenplay based on a beloved book AND having the confidence to change things.

What’s even more inspiring was their constant need to make the screenplays better.  There were always places to improve.


There have been many instances when I felt disconnected from the characters I created.  The Lord of the Rings inspires me to continue searching for a story I believe in.  Last summer, that search led to an idea that I finally sat down and finished.  It was an amazing experience and immediately led me to another concept I care deeply about.  That’s the most inspiring thing about these films and the talent behind them.  These people cared deeply about J.R.R Tolkien’s work and wanted nothing less than perfection.  They wanted to treat every single detail with the respect it deserved.

That’s the dream.  Looking at a blank page and seeing a blank page doesn’t work.  You have to see something there.  Something you care about.  You should see new worlds, characters and the little details worthy of your passion and dedication.  It should be fun.

That type of thinking makes the blank page an inspiring sight indeed.

Why The Lord of the Rings Continually Inspires the Screenwriter in me

Hobbit Hype: 10 Things I’m Looking Forward To

December 10, 2012 at 10:09 am

Hobbit Hype: 10 Things I'm Looking Forward To | An Unexpected Journey


With less than a week to go until The Hobbit’s release, the anticipation has officially reached ridiculous heights.  I absolutely adored The Lord of the Rings trilogy and the idea of 3 new movies makes my brain hurt for all the right reasons.

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But what is it about The Hobbit that has people so excited?  I can’t answer that but I can name 10 things that I’m excited about!


This is going to sound bad…  But I’ve never read The Hobbit.  There…  I said it.  I haven’t read it okay!  Having said that, I’ve heard good things about the events that unfold in Gollum’s cave.

Hobbit Hype: 10 Things I'm Looking Forward To | An Unexpected Journey


Giant dragon.  Good.


Is it just me or is that a LOT of Dwarves?



New creatures!

Hobbit Hype: 10 Things I'm Looking Forward To | An Unexpected Journey


I can’t wait to see more epic battles in Middle Earth.



I’m a massive fan of Howard Shore’s brilliant Lord of the Rings score.


At some point, I plan on seeing the film in both formats.  I’m actually planning on waiting to write my review until then.  (I think…) The HFR is especially intriguing.



Not only are there returning cast members but nearly all of the talent behind the scenes have returned.  Let’s not forget these people brought us a trilogy that won about 24 thousand Oscars and changed the fantasy genre forever.


These films have been in development for so long it seems fake.  The Hobbit isn’t getting released in a few days…  And we certainly aren’t being treated to a brand new trilogy…

It’s time to face the sweet reality.  These movies exist! Neat.



I’ve never been to Disney World.  But if I did go as a kid, I can’t imagine how exciting it would be to go BACK!  This is the best way to describe my feelings towards Middle Earth.

What are you looking forward to the most?

Hobbit Hype: 10 Things I'm Looking Forward To | An Unexpected Journey

The Post: Interviews with 11 Famous Directors

December 3, 2012 at 9:54 am

The Post: Interviews with 11 Famous Directors

Have you watched a short film today?


Quentin Tarantino, Ben Affleck, Ang Lee, Tom Hooper, David O. Russell, and Gus Van Sant.  Just hit play.



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A great speech about the merits of creating mysteries.

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Movies That Changed Everything: The Lord Of The Rings

July 12, 2010 at 4:45 pm

Movies That Changed Everything

I’m an aspiring filmmaker.  Like every filmmaker out there, I have a lengthy list of films that have inspired me along the way.  This series will examine twelve of the films that changed the way I looked at movies forever.  Films that have greatly influenced the filmmaker I hope to become someday…

The Lord Of The Rings

The Lord Of The Rings Gandalf

I look at this brilliant trilogy of films as a single inspiring masterpiece. A motion picture event like LOTR doesn’t come along often and I was blessed that it came around when I first became seriously interested in filmmaking.

I knew nothing about the books when The Fellowship Of The Ring opened.  I don’t even really remember the trailers of TV spots.  Truthfully, the only memory I have of the promotional campaign was a cardboard cutout of the Hobbits outside of my local Chapters.

I remember wondering why they had hairy feet.

It’s safe to say, I wasn’t a die hard fan of Middle Earth in book form.  Little did I know the films and ultimately their extended DVD releases would change the way I looked at movies forever.

The Lord Of The Rings definitely raised the bar for film adaptations. It’s impossible to ignore the sheer size of the task Peter Jackson and Co. took on.  The world J.R.R Tolkien created is so rich and detailed that anyone else charged with adapting it could have found the task impossible.  Yet the stars aligned for the New Zealand crew and we were treated to some of the best movies in history.

There are two reasons why these films have inspired me over the years:

  1. The attention to detail in unrivaled and the result is a world that truly exists on the screen.
  2. The documentaries included on the Extended Edition DVDs tell the equally compelling tale of how the filmmakers pulled it off.

Creating A World Many Already Knew

I can’t imagine the pressure Peter Jackson must have felt when he was conceptualizing the films. How can you satisfy the imaginations of millions of fans throughout the world?  Everyone had an idea of what Gollum might look like in their minds.  I believe it was because of that pressure that he rose to the occasion and left no detail unchecked.

The Lord Of The Rings Gollum

The effort of their entire cast and crew to create the world of Middle Earth is a monumental achievement.

It taught me to be dedicated to my films in the same way.  You have to think of everything in order to create a convincing story.

“You’ve got to know what you’re talking about.”

J.R.R Tolkien worked tirelessly to create Middle Earth, it’s inhabitants and it’s history.  The detail is unprecedented.  (I have gone back and read the first book.  The other two remain on my list of things to do.)

Peter Jackson and his talented team HAD to mirror his high standards and passion for the story.

They succeeded.  The movie is full of creatures and locations never before seen on the screen.  As you watch the films you are immersed in an incredibly imaginative and wonderful place.

Middle Earth comes to life and I’m inspired every single time I see it.

The Best Special Features You Will Ever See

Forgive the expression but the Extended Edition DVDs of The Lord Of The Rings are precious to me.

You simply can’t find any documentaries like this anywhere else.

Over 6 hours of incredible stories and personal tales of how the films came to be.

Everything from writing the screenplays to the final premiere are covered. (The editing docs in particular are incredibly interesting.)

By the end you truly understand how hard it was to complete this trilogy of epic films.  I honestly watch the special features more than the movies themselves.

Movies That Changed Everything

It’s fascinating to see the commitment and dedication of the cast and crew.  For an aspiring filmmaker, they are an instant reminder of why I wanted to get into filmmaking in the first place.

I love the collaboration, I love to be creative and I want to pour my heart and soul into the movies I believe in.

Some of the greatest movies of all time exist only because the people who made them believed in what they were doing.

It encapsulates the very meaning of the word: Passion.

Peter Jackson’s epic films have earned a special place in my heart.  Amazing movies.