variants

Screenwriter and director John August has made a detour into prose with his new short story The Variant. He says it “was and maybe still is supposed to be part of an anthology of short stories written by well-known screenwriters” but, in the meantime, you can purchase a copy from August directly for only 99 cents.

Of course, at that price I couldn’t resist and I immediately pumped in my card details and downloaded the pdf – all 25 pages, 156 kb or 7,176 words of it…

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Cool Stuff: Lasseter Family Wines

lasseter winery

Did you know: Academy Award winning animation director and Disney/Pixar cheif creative officer John Lasseter owns a Sonoma Valley winery? Lasseter bought the 27 acre Justi Creek Vinyard in 2002, embarking on a environmentally sensitive restoration the historic property and converting the vineyard exclusively to organic farming practices.

The Lasseter Family Winery is now open for business, offering three wines: Syrah Rose, Rhone Style Red Blend, and St. Emilion Red Blend. The Lasseter Family Winery logo features the character Wally B, which some of you animation nuts might remember from the 1984 LucasFilm computer animated short The Adventures of Andre and Wally B. Bottles range from $20 to $40, which isn’t that bad, and would certainly make a good gift for a hardcore Disney or Pixar fanatic.

I mean, who wouldn’t want a bottle of wine crafted by the guy that brought us Toy Story and returned hand drawn animation to Walt Disney Animation Studios?

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indiana jones raiders of the lost ark

Last year LucasFilm released this incredible book called The Complete Making of Indiana Jones (if you don’t have it and love the original trilogy, you must pick it up — its available on Amazon for around $23). It has all sorts of concept art, early script pages, notes, never seen production photos, its incredible.

One of my favorite parts of the book is a page which contains excerpts from the original story conference between George Lucas, Steven Spielberg and screenwriter Lawrence Kasdan in January 1978. It’s like being in the delivery room while Indiana Jones is born. For example, there is a conversation about if Indiana Jones should be afraid of anything, and if so what he should be afraid of. Spielberg suggests that the character should be afraid of snakes but it should be a surprise later on in the film, and Lucas suggests that you reveal that he’s afraid of snakes in the beginning of the movie and later play it for comedy when he opens the tomb “I can’t go down there. Why did it have to be snakes? Anything but snakes.” And later Lucas suggests the character’s name should be Indiana Smith, but thankfully later changes his mind to Indiana Jones because he likes that people can call him “Indy” or “Jones”. I’m not sure if it’s just the screenwriter hidden inside of me, but I find it extremely cool to read these conversations.

Unfortunately, the book I mentioned only contains a page or two of excerpts. I’ve always been really interested to read the full transcript. Well guess what? /Film reader Jackie R has pointed me to a site called mysterymanonfilm which links to a PDF document that contains all 126 pages of the Raiders of the Lost Ark story conference. It must have been made publicly available at some point, although I’ve never seen it myself. And for those of you who don’t want to read the whole thing, mysterymanonfilm has written a longish post (but very shortish compared to the 126-page document) compiling 10 screenwriting lessons he took away from the transcript. It’s a very interesting read, especially if you’re interested in the creative process.

Cool Stuff: Pub Corn – Alcohol Flavored Popcorn

Cary Silverman, a Missouri college student has developed “Pub Corn”, an alcohol flavored popcorn. Unfourtunately the popcorn doesn’t have any alcohol content, but comes in various alcohol flavors such as beer, pina colada and Irish cream.

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Cool Stuff: Nerdcore Calendar Goes Sci-Fi in 2009

Nerdcore merges hot women and geek concepts for the coolest geek pin-up calendar around. In 2007 it was video gamer-themed. Last year, they took on Superheroes (click here to see our previous cool stuff post on the 2008 calendar). Nerdcore has announced the theme of the 2009 calendar – Science Fiction! We’ve been provided with some exclusive NSFW photos, which you can check out after the jump.

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Cool Stuff: Hal 9000 Magnet

Sometimes it’s the simple things that make us smile. I found this HAL 9000 refrigerator magnet which is being sold on eBay. Badge Bytch is selling it for £3.50, which translates to about $7 American, plus who knows how much shipping. And who wouldn’t want to a Heuristically programmed ALgorithmic Computer? Now if only it had a motion activated sound-clip which would greet you with random sound-bytes from the film like “I’m Afraid I Can’t Let You Do That, Dave.”

Cool Stuff is a daily feature of slashfilm.com. Know of any geekarific creations or cool products which should be featured on Cool Stuff? E-Mail us at orfilms@gmail.com.

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Cool Stuff: Iron Man Spotted at the Arclight

Iron Man at the Arclight

Thursday we posted about the life-sized Incredible Hulk Statues that Universal sent to multiplexes nationwide. And of course, as always, The Arclight in Hollywood has something cooler. 52878 has posted photos of the Iron Man Mark III Suit which is on display now at the Arclight. Did I mention that The Arclight is probably the coolest theater outside of The Alamo Drafthouse in Austin Texas?

Iron Man at the arclight

Iron Man at the Arclight

Cool Stuff: Indiana Jones Desk Accessory Set

Indiana Jones Desk Accessory Set

This has to be one of the geekiest desk accessory set ever created, but I want it. Gentle Giant ltd will be releasing an Indiana Jones Desk Accessory set in Summer 2008. The set includes a golden fertility idol pen holder, an Ark of the Convenant business card holder and a Holy Grail paperclip holder. The Idol and Grail will retail for #35 each, and the Ark will put you back $40.

golden fertility idol pen holder

 Cool Stuff is a daily feature of slashfilm.com. Know of any geekarific creations or cool products which should be featured on Cool Stuff? E-Mail us at orfilms@gmail.com.

Photo credits: IndyCast Flickr and Figures.com

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