Thursday, 19 November 2015

WATCH: SINGULARITY [short film] 2015

SINGULARITY [short film] 2015

In the midst of a war between humans and sentient androids, a Delta
Force team must battle a dangerous enemy to rescue the US President.

Directed by Samuel Jorgensen

Produced by Jeremy Pronk

© The Bicycle Monarchy

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Wednesday, 18 November 2015

WATCH: Sci-Fi movie short 'The Last Man'

For a movie short the production quality is superb, if you're into sci-fi, short stories and badass gear then this one's for you. lets hope we see more from Gavin Rothery.

Tuesday, 17 November 2015

Latest Project: Custom Star Wars Stickers

Thought I'd have a crack at creating some custom vinyl stickers, the great thing about print on demand services like is that you can pretty much print as many or as little as you need. 

Being the geek that I am I chose to base 3 of the designs on specific Star Wars references, The Thundering Herd ATAT's from Empire Strikes Back, Vaders Death Squadron from Empire Strikes Back and a fictional Delta Unit Special Weapons Squad patch from Star Wars A new Hope.

Here's a link if you wanted to buy

STAR WARS : 10 Things You Probably Collected


I have vague recollections of my childhood, that is to say I remember key moments, but alarmingly there are large voids I simply cannot remember. I'm hoping this large expanse of mental fatigue is not the onset of dementia but then there are times at home I can forget what I went upstairs for in the space of 12 steps, this is normal right?
We take for granted that our kids have digital devices like phones and tablets and are creating moments of their lives and storing memories on things like Facebook and YouTube, for my generation its carefully navigating the perils of a darkened loft hunting through musty cardboard boxes for frayed photos or scrapbooks. 

1977, I was 7 years old,and now at 45 years of age I stand witness to my own son enthralled at Star Wars, albeit in a more digital format, (even he's grown out of figurines ). These days fads come and go, there's the odd revival here and there but I have to say that Star Wars has outlived everything else I was into as a kid. I still have a boxed Millenium Falcon and numerous figures, and like a complete sucker all those years ago fritted away cash on Episode One dolls of Queen Amidala (still boxed and loftbound) and Darth Maul (also boxed).

But after the crushing disappointment of the prequel trilogy which were at best animated effect driven nonsense Star Wars went away. In fact forme it went away for a long time, then something changed, this year I bought my first Star Wars collectible in over 15 years, a Black Series Sandtrooper figurine, I'm 45 for gods sake and I'm buying toys!!

Here's my own run down of 10 Things the avid Star Wars collector probably bought into. Feel free to comment below if I've missed anything glaringly obvious.

The license for Star Wars action figures was offered in 1976 to the Mego Corporation, which was the leading company in action figures in the 1970s. Mego refused the offer and the license was subsequently picked up by Kenner, a subsidiary of General Mills. Vader and Kenobi had those awful vinyl capes ( a mint vinyl cape Jawa is worth $2000) and the lightsabers slid out of the grooved sleeve area and had that really thin pointy bit that always bent. To top it off you could never have enough Stormtroopers. The holy grail of all the figures was the missile firing Boba Fett , which if you had a prototypes in mint condition can easily fetch up to $20,000.

It was either or during the late 70's, you either had the Millenium Falcon as your cornerstone vehicle or you had the AT-AT Walker which had that awesome firing mechanism where the laser canons lit up and moved when you pressed the button on the neck area. For Millenium Falcons owners you had the removable smugglers floor, the engine noise button and the central footstand which doubled as a hand grip to 'fly' it around the lounge.

The beauty about these things is that they never really went away but the original trilogy set were the ones that people remember most. The size of a playing card with a blue, red,orange, green or yellow border ( 5 sets in all) and an image from the film, on the reverse side of the card they made up a larger Star Wars image.
Highly coveted among collectors who hunt for full mint, unopened sets and all five sets equates to 330 cards, the more recent Clone Wars and prequel trilogies just aren't the same, however, I defy anyone not to croon over a modern foil or hologram effect card these days.


Star Wars didn't come soon enough for me at school, 1975 and I got stuck lugging a Snoopy flask with soup in it and whatever lunchbox design was current and cheap to buy with Mackeral sandwiches. The Plastic ones were commonplace but all the cool kids, especially in America had these small metal suitcase affairs. The best one you could get was the sandtrooper road block cover. "Move along".

This stuff is currently going for $150 per roll (Ebay), vintage 1978 Star Wars Wallpaper, there was an Empire Strikes back one I remember with a cloud city design but alas, I think for the most part my 1970's and 80's were devoid of such cool bedroom design. Did you have Star Wars Wallpaper as a kid, if so which one?

Who could ever forget the famous Austrian candy and its famous mechanical pocket dispensers.Why Star  Wars versions never really materialized until 1997 is anyone's guess - I still have an Imperial Stormtrooper unopened, ok so its only about 6 years old but I haven't had the heart to open it. I love the Vader one and the full range blossomed with the extremely limited and hard to find Crystal head versions of Vader, Yoda and C3PO back in 2012.


 If you had one of these on our block you were pretty spoilt, everyone else just chucked their figures into the back of the Millenium Falcon or inside their AT-AT but opening one of these babies was like the scene in Pulp Fiction with the briefcase, the room when quiet and your mouth went dry as you waited to see if your buddy had full racks.

I can't claim to ever owning one of these, probably need to ask my mum why she denied me the joy of gracing my bed with this amazing woven delight, I mean, look at that blue, as bright as cobalt, that's enough to brighten anyone's morning.

Okay so you don't really collect a t-shirt as such but ownership was enough to declare your love of the science fiction juggernaught in your life at the time, all kinds of variants but lets not forget, it was the cool brush script fonts with the 70's flair that made it pop.

The art was awful, the characters bore no resemblance to their on-screen counterparts yet somehow the illustrated adventures inside kept us coming back for more. I've never really been a fan of these at all simply because the art sucked. Stan Lee was approached by Lucasfilm in 1975 for the comics to co-incide with the film but Stan Lee wanted to see the film finished. The comics ran from issue #1 through to #107 and lasted from 1977 through to 1986 with three annuals. Renowned comic book artist Howard Chaykin (American Flag) had art duties on issues #1 through #10. 

*As a side note there's a really cool 548 page book available on Amazon for the Topps card collectors called Star Wars : The orginal Topps trading Cards

Friday, 14 August 2015

The Secrets To Self Publishing and Indie Development Startups

After much procrastination and absence on my blog, coffee in hand I am awake and back at the keyboard.After completing my first self publishing title to launch on Amazon Kindle I decided to pursue the non fiction route writing about what I know.

I've worked in video-games for over 20 years, Atari, Midway Games Meteor Entertainment and now Plan of Attack, a video games PR agency and its baffling to see that no one appears to helping the little guys much, the startup guys, the breakaway studio startups craving to unleash their pent up creativity with an app or game into the marketplace.
(Prepare for shameless self promotion in next sentence) That's where Front Towards Gamer : Videogames marketing & PR for Indie Startups and Kickstarters was born, more out of the fact that I see the same mistakes being made now that were being made by development teams at Atari and Midway Games several years ago. For the most part development teams don't need to be told what works and what doesn't work because invariably they are made up of people with lots of experience, they also learn quickly in a volatile marketplace like video games what doesn't fly so good because when you flop with something that doesn't work so well it costs $$$$$.

However, there are teams and individuals out there who clearly need some guidance, speaker conferences are good sharing platforms for hints and tips by educated and experienced industry speakers but what of the group of coders who are starting out with little or no backup from a publisher?
Most of the speaking panels at GDC, Develop, Pocket Connects and Nordic Game conferences promote the same tried and tested 'do's and don't' aspects of self publishing, marketing or PR, in fact you'll be hard pressed to see anything radically new offered up by speakers and what they found worked as a best practice way of working in the marketplace. And yet the same mistakes are being made because creative teams are not geared up for talking to the consumer because they are too busy working on the product. This is nobody's fault, developers are passionate about their product, and rightly so,this book is aimed at guiding bedroom coders,startups, and small dev teams through the myriad of issues and potential pitfalls of taking their product to market.

My very good friend and former boss Mark Long, bestselling author of The Silence of Our Friends provided me with a compelling foreword which was the much needed catalyst to self publish this book. Long has fingers in so many pies creatively with apps,books,graphic novels, games and start ups that it's wonder he finds time to sleep. Former CEO of Zombie Studios who developed Blacklight on PS4 and former CEO of Meteor Entertainment who published HAWKEN, the amazing FPS Free to Play Mech game Mark has produced many different forms of transmedia marketing in the course of his career which provides some great insight into spreading the PR and marketing voice of your product to a consumer.

Front Towards Gamer is available to buy on Amazon priced $9.99

Thursday, 9 April 2015

Holy Smokes Batman! - The Official Limited Edition Batman Moleskine!

I'm a total sucker for cross promotional partnerships, you know the kind, when two well loved brands combine to deliver something you just gotta have.
Well this happened with Moleskine and DC Comics, Moleskine have just announced a partnership with Warner Bros and DC Comics to release a limited run of Batman Moleskine note books.
Needless to say I immediately pre-ordered one over at Amazon!

They come in two sizes, a pocket size at 192 pages and large size at 240 pages and come in either plain or lined versions.
The covers also feature some truly great two tone artwork and stickers that comic book fans would love.

Available from Amazon and Moleskine from May 5th

Gotta have them all! - the full range of Limited Edition Moleskine Batman notebooks.

If you've seen the keen doodler and artist Kirby Rosanes work then I'm sure this stuff will feel right at home inside a Batman Moleskine, got a creative urge?

Wednesday, 11 March 2015

San Francisco Heroes, a Roadtrip.


Early in March I got the awesome opportunity to visit San Francisco for a week on a business trip to GDC, my first proper trip to the Bay Area where I got boots on the ground and had a good sniff around.
Being a movie fan I thought it would be fun to explore a couple of places where my favorite cult movies had been shot, namely Bullitt, starring the late Steve McQueen and Escape from Alcatraz starring Clint Eastwood. Using a cool photo technique inspired by the website Dear Photograph where an older photo is merged into the real life setting the original photo was taken I took the following shots.

This shot is on the street corner of Taylor and Clay Street, in the film Bullitt, Steve McQueen parks the Mustang just across from the corner shop and steals a newspaper before going into the store to buy groceries. The fire hydrant, sign post and red cornerbox are still there to this day.

A shot of the actual apartment used by Steve McQueens character Lieutenant Frank Bullitt is literally across the road from the grocery store.

This shot shows the Dodge Charger driven by the hitmen heading West at the corner of Taylor and Union Street as it gets some air.

The 1979 movie Escape From Alcatraz starring Clint Eastwood is another of my cult favorites, the movie recounts the infamous June 1962 jail escape by Frank Morris played by Eastwood and 2 inmates. This was by far the coolest place I think I've been to on any of my business trips. I took the early bird booking which leaves in the morning at around 8.45am, it was on a Saturday and I didn't fancy fighting my way through hundreds of other visitors. The trip also gave me a very cool opportunity to dust off my Canon DSLR which I don't use nearly enough.

This shot is taken outside in the exercise yard where Frank talks about acquiring some items for his escape.

The knife attack by inmate 'Wolf' on Frank Morris takes place in the exercise yard here, I've tried to match the shot up exactly by using the steel door as a guide. You'll have to take my word for it that its still there!

Alcatraz all to myself - probably the photo I am most proud of, I got in ahead of the main tour crowd and had a good ten minutes before they showed up to crowd the walkways.

Useful Links: Dear Photograph  Alcatraz Cruises