Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Star Wars For the New Generation, Feminine Mystique, and The Land Before Time

Okay, who remembers where we were? That’s right, we were sitting down with the CEO and the Editorial Lead of Starlight Runner Entertainment, Mr. Jeff Gomez and Ms. Caitlin Burns, respectively, and they were telling us about how smart, creative geeks are forging new worlds in media for some of the biggest properties on the scene! In this installment, there will be more of that, as well as an insider’s take on some of the themes of Jim Cameron’s upcoming Avatar, and a geek out over animated dinosaurs.Of particular interest to us here at All Things Fangirl, however, is the deep investment on behalf of Starlight Runner’s creative heads in the development of balanced and exciting media that remembers and represents the ladies—and the little girls.

Jeff Gomez, CEO and Geek Dad: One of the things that is actually a fairly common thread in everything that we do, and this reaches back for me to my work previous to Starlight Runner: When I was in the comic book and videogame industry, we were often bought properties where the goal of the client is, “We want this to explode around the world, huge audience, help us make that happen.” And then you look at the property and it’s almost entirely from a male sensibility. That’s a problem. We were brought Hot Wheels. We examined the essence of the brand, we interviewed with Mattel and had talked about it at length and we started developing a bible, a kind of description of this universe—

Caitlin Burns, Editorial Lead and Geek Mom of one and ¼: It outlines canon and all the details of canon—

JG:The storylines, the characters and so forth, and we naturally started putting female characters into the stories. There was some resistance to our doing this, but we insisted. There was going to be hours and hours of entertainment based on this franchise, and we couldn’t imagine telling this massive story without significant female characters—even though this was a property for boys. It took some doing, but we got what we wanted.

Jeff and Caitlin’s daughters, both of whom are unreasonably adorable and bound to be either ginormous geeks or intensely dedicated jocks/cheerleaders when they’re older, provide the creative directors of Starlight Runner with yet another perspective to consider, to degrees they otherwise might not.

JG: One thing that I’m kind of re-geeking on is introducing my daughter, six years old, to the StarWars movies. She came home with the question that I’ve been waiting for all my life: “How did the Clone Wars start?” Because the cartoon is on the air and of course her friends at school are talking about it, and she doesn’t know. And I said, well, you know, there was a queen, Amidala, that this all kind of rotates around, and she goes, “Really?” And I said, “Let me show you!” We started watching the films. And to look at the films from the perspective of a child, first of all, and from the perspective of a child who is gravitating not to young Anakin but Padme, and watching her progress through the films trying to contend with the decisions Padme’s making, particularly about this “Ani” guy, who seems a little shifty, well it was fascinating. So when Anakin comes back form murdering all the Sand-People and he tells Padme what he’d done, I ask my daughter, “Well, what do you think? I mean, was it okay for him to do that? He killed women and children Sand-People.” And [my daughter] goes, “Well…” She’s trying to side with Amidala, who kind of overlooks this horrid massacre for the sake of her romance with Anakin. So my girl is like, “Well, if it was my mother, I’d have killed them all too.”

The force is strong with this one.

JG: But then I go, what do you make of Senator Palpatine? And she goes, “I don’t know about him, every time he promises Padme that he’s gonna fix her planet, he never does.” There’s no follow-through. So the forbidden movie is number three, because three is the game changer. Her friends aren’t allowed to watch number three. Because to a generation of children, Anakin Skywalker is a hero, they love him. And parents are funny, they’re not letting the kids watch that third film. They’ll let them see everything up to the Clone Wars. Now the animated series is airing, and there are rumors in the school yard starting to spread about something bad that happens to Ani.

CB: Is Darth Vader the new Santa Claus? I’ll tell you, though, I have a daughter who is two. I’ve been going back and trying to watch the movies I remember absolutely adoring, with her, as a kid. I cannot get through them without breaking into tears. First ten minutes of The Land Before Time? I’m done. I’m looking at these, and I’m thinking to myself, you know, strictly speaking there’s a lot harsher stuff going on in children’s movies than people want to give them credit for. And I loved The Land Before Time, I really did, just as an example, but it’s really tough stuff. I mean, I couldn’t even get to the point where the crises began. I was just like—Littlefoot! And he loves his mom!

EC: The scene where he’s like, in the foot print? With his tree star?

JG: (laughs)

CB: (sad noise)

EC: And it’s just like—I can’t handle it.

CB: But at the same time, there’s something wonderful about the fact that, looking back on it, people have always asked kids to process some really hard facts in storytelling, and you know, it’s going to be interesting to watch my own daughter going through and asking fantastic questions like Jeff’s daughter is asking. A big question for me, because I’m really into the Disney Fairies property and personally, I think Tinkerbell is a really cool movie. I like that there is more gender parity in that than in most other girl’s movies than I’ve seen. Fairies are judged on their talents, they are friends with both male and female fairies, they’re really neat, they’re all doing things they love, and being supported by a community doing that for a greater purpose. It’s a really fantastic movie, I’m glad my daughter likes it. But at the same time…what’s gonna happen? If you read Peter Pan you know that Tink is kind of the only one left. Will Disney address the great question of what happened to the fairies? I suspect Disney will probably not address that, but I know—I’m reading Peter Pan with my daughter. And she’s gonna ask me that question, what’s gonna happen next? Also, Dot and the Kangaroo is fantastic—

EC: Oh my God, you have that?

CB: I have the three DVDs that are released. Dot and the Kangaroo, Dot and the Bunny and Dot and the Whale are the three that are out in America. There are another six in the series, I think. I really wanna see the Dot and the Kangaroo series re-released.

EC: Because that’s on my list of “Shit I Watched When I Was A Kid That Messed Me Up In The Head.” And like, it’s Dot and the Kangaroo, The Last Unicorn, Unico and the Island of Magic

CB: I definitely forgot how condescending the kangaroo was, but at the same time she’s been through a lot. The songs are great…

EC: BUNYIP. Song. Messed me up. I would have to run to the top of my staircase, and my mom would have to wait for it to be over and call me down.

CB: Oh yeah. There were bunyips, in the closet. That door had to remain closed. But at the same time, it’s a fascinating piece of cultural anthropology that’s woven into the fabric of Dot and the Kangaroo.

[Geeky giggling while Jeff looks on, bemused…]

CB: I also have to do a lot more looking at it—is she going to want to sit through the MuppetMovie? And she likes muppets, but she doesn’t have the endurance, at two, to sit through TheMuppet Movie. So I have a DVD collection of movies I want to watch with her, but she’s not old enough!

JG: I had to sneak Poltergeist, with my daughter. But boy was it cool, watching it with her.“Look at that kid getting sucked into the television!”

CB: Well, that would teach her to stand away from the TV. Geek girls in recent years have been blessed with the likes of Joss Whedon and Brian K Vaughn, heavy hitters that produce works with strong, realistic female leads. We are also finally seeing female teams on comics, like Kathryn Immonen and Sara Pichelli on Marvel’s Runaways or, finally, the first ever female writer to helm Wonder Woman, Gail Simone. However, in the world of fantasy and science fiction, and most noticeably in the marketing of those worlds, there regularly seems to be a lack of consideration for us girls.

CB: I find myself a lot more interested in the relationship of media to girls. There aren’t a whole lot of franchises for girls out there that have strength of narrative. I mean you see Barbie, who has narrative, but there’s not the same through line. She’s a fascinating character, because she’s had a million jobs and is so loaded, but she doesn’t have a storyline.

JG: Well, she’s an anthology character. And that’s okay, but it doesn’t give you something to hold on to over the long haul in terms of a narrative through line. Barbie is often proactive but still more often locked up in a tower somewhere needing to be rescued. So it’s a big concern of ours. Given our own resources and our own future, we want to do something about it.

EC: I did a sit down with Bruce Timm and the gang who just put out the Wonder Woman animated movie, which is rated PG-13. It’s awesome that it exists, but it’s not necessarily accessible to girls who right now have things aimed at them more along the lines of Hannah Montana. And High School Musical.

CB: Something that has been very interesting and controversial is that Mattel is releasing a new, older Dora the Explorer. And it’s possible the story they’re going to be telling… Dora is not necessarily going to be exploring the mall. At the same time, if you look at the Dora franchise’s track record, you look at their consumer products, within the first twenty pages of searching for Dora the Explorer on Amazon.com you won’t find a compass. You won’t find a map. You won’t find binoculars, you won’t find things Dora actually carries on her in the animated series.

JG: You’ll find Princess Dora.

CB: You’ll find Princess Dora, you’ll find Princess Adventure Dora. You’ll find washing machines, kitchens…it’s a question that you have to ask [with] young girls and young children in general,[they] are playing less with a DVD or a doll and are playing more with an intellectual property. So playing Dora could mean going onto your Leapfrog and learning something with Dora or it could mean watching a video. But the question is, looking at the whole brand, what is the message that’s being sent. And while Dora’s initial thrust was very interesting, very engaging as a parent, you then have to ask the question, well, what is the rest of it saying, too? And that’s something we have to look at when we’re looking at properties to make sure the themes and messages are being carried forth effectively. And there wouldn’t be as much controversy about this new Dora if the parents didn’t feel somewhat let down by the consumer products.

JG: A lot of what we do here is sit down and correct lopsidedness. Let’s look at the work of James Cameron. Always a very strong female character in his work. No one can forget Ellen Ripley. And what we try to take care to remember in all of this is that there is going to be the temptation to look at Avatar and think guns and think monsters and military paraphernalia, as you see in lots of Cameron films, but there is also this very, very powerful feminine mystique to the film, and feminine power that needs to be remembered in order to make all the spin-offs and ancillary content as powerful as the experience of watching the film is going to be. So part of our job as kind of franchise stewards is to defend and protect those notions. Another thing that we have to keep in mind, that’s worked really well for us, is remembering that the Millennial generation, that’s just coming into power right now, everyone born from basically Star Wars forward, that they’re looking at the world in a slightly different way, this kind of Post-Post 9-11, the Obama thing, where we want our heroes to be powerful but we also want them to think, that we can’t run rough shod over our enemies—

CB: Or that there are consequences to running rough-shod over our enemies. It’s less black and white, for Millennials. There has to be more of an exploration of the full story, of the meanings and consequences for every action taken.

JG: Yes, and I’ve been wondering about the distinctions between some of the movies that have come out recently that have been big hits and something like Watchmen, which is kind of from a darker sensibility. The Millennials don’t seem to be connecting en masse to Watchmen as they did to Iron Man or even Dark Knight. So these are things we have to be careful of and inform our clients about. You know, if you go this way—it can be artistically full of integrity and really really well done—but you might lose some of your audience. So gauge what you’re gonna do based on that possibility. Keeping our fingers in the zeitgeist and monitoring everything is a big part of what we do here.

We would like to extend our sincerest thanks for the time Jeff and Caitlin took out of their considerably madcap schedules to talk with us, and are greatly looking forward to their continued expansion, both of their own company and of the worlds in their capable hands. We are also jealous as hell that they actually get paid to do this, I mean are you serious? Whatever. Fine. They’re nice people, so it’s okay. Check out http://www.starlightrunner.com to keep up with Starlight Runner’s latest doings, and follow Jeff on the tweeter at @Jeff_Gomez and Caitlin at @Caitlin_Burns.

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Of Adler and Signing-In: Da7e and Muse Correct Gossip Girl

Back at NYU, Georgina and Dan have been hooking up, Scott’s secret is coming to the forefront and we actually get to see Jenny Humphry this week, which is nice…but has nothing to do with NYU.

This episode is the first that involves actually living in the NYU dorms and hanging out around campus, even if we haven’t seen anyone in class yet (though, now that we think about it, we didn’t see that much class at Constance either). Also a negative on NYU student buildings, and – though we are talking about “Manhattan’s Elite” here – we’re still waiting for our first foray into the dining halls. If that doesn’t happen, maybe it’s Fan Fic time, right Gossips? “Dan and Serena make out after some scrumptious patty melts from Weinstein.” Sounds tasty in more ways than one.

Once again, Gossip Girl has run afoul of NYU policy for the sake of soap opera drama and this week they decided to add an entire building to the campus rather then cover up the real location (like last week’s debut of Ehrlich Residence Hall).

Not as many offenses against New York University reality this week since the plot revolved around a Sotheby’s auction instead of a rooftop dorm party, but that doesn’t mean Gossip Girl has decided to get NYU right. Let’s go!


Season 3 Episode 3:
“The Lost Boy”
We Went To NYU:

Gossip Girl’s NYU:


Blair starts the episode on the phone with Chuck, wandering through fictional Ehrlich Residence Hall. There’s a window behind her.



Interior windows in dorm room hallways? Not likely. Think about the exterior of New York buildings and all those windows. If you’re going to pack as many students as you can into a building, wouldn’t you make all your hallways windowless, interior corridors? Corridors that kill the soul of the student when they are retuning home or leaving for early class?

More after the jump

Gossip Girl’s NYU:


Dan stumbles, shirt unbuttoned, out of Georgina/Blair’s room. Serena surprises him in the hallway, so Dan lies and says he was hanging out with Vanessa. His lie is discovered when Vanessa exits her room.



There are no surprises in NYU dorm room hallways. NYU has a very stringent sign-in policy for students and socialite-Brown-dropouts alike. While entering most dorms, a resident must sign in each guest (maximum three guests per resident) at the front desk with their student ID and the guest’s student/government-issued ID, which the security guard will keep. You then need to sign out when you leave the building, making any Serena surprise completely impossible. What’s worse, story wise is we see all our NYU-enrolled characters before Serena an no one signed her in.

Da7e: If a semi-famous socialite that looks like Blake Lively wanted to be signed into my dorm as I was leaving or re-entering, I’d totally do it for her. Policy be damned. Although my Freshman Year, some homeless guy wandered into the dorm and molested a girl while she slept, but I doubt a VanDerWoodsen has to stoop to molesting Freshman Year boys. Even if that’s what they all hope.

Muse: To be totally honest, I'd sign her in too. Giiiirrrlll cruuuussshhh. I never did experiment with lesbianism in college. Must have been due to lack of Blake Lively and/or Madeline Zima lookalikes. (Oh come on, as if Zima's "I'm gonna make out with Claire" bit ISN'T the best part about Heroes right now)

Gossip Girl’s NYU:


Vanessa finally gets wise that Scott might not be attending NYU, so she rushes to the Bursar’s office.



The exterior shot is of building 51. It’s hard to make out the writing on the door. It says Quinn [?]bourne Hall: Campus Administration, Office of the Bursar, University Health Center, [something else]. NYU’s main Bursar office is located at the Student Services Center at 25 West Fourth Street, the administrative office is on the 7th floor at 7 East 12th Street, the business school Graduate Program bursar is at 44 West 4th Street, the Dental Program bursar is at 345 East 24th Street, and so on and so on. There is NO bursar office on any street with the address number 51. NYU’s Washington Square Campus listing doesn’t even have ANY building with address 51, nor any halls that start with the letter Q.

Da7e: Not to mention that Vanessa sure knows how to cut through the NYU bureaucracy by going straight the bursar’s office. That’s only where I went to drop off checks, not get any sort of information. And, believe me, the grumpy student assistants who work at NYU offices would be more difficult to deal with then an angry Scott. Just ask the dude. Also, did everyone notice Scott’s last name is Adler? And he’s attending NYU, where Stella Adler Conservatory was one of the first professional schools to align with NYU’s Tisch School of the Arts? Huh? Huh? Of course he’s faking, idiots.

Muse: I've never been to any Bursur's office, nor would I have known how to find one, so I don't have much to say on this subject. Only that I guarantee there would have been way more lines and way more red tape. Because it's NYU. And they like to make your life a living hell whenever possible. Like when they make you pay two hundred grand for a BFA.

On Gossip Girl:


Chuck shows up at Blair’s dorm room with champagne.



Besides the sign-in gripe, this could probably happen if Chuck ditched the bag he hid it in somewhere in the hallway. Also, that’s what book bags are for.

On Gossip Girl:


Blair and Chuck multi-task bidding at an auction and making out on the dorm room floor.



Stay off the floors. You think Freshmen make vacuuming a priority? Also, Blair’s chairs are upholstered, which – according to the NYU Housing Handbook – makes them forbidden.

On Gossip Girl:


Scott shows up at Vanessa’s dorm room to make her cry. We see an unclaimed bed in the background.



Does Vanessa have a single? As a Freshman? With Blair Waldorf money, MAYBE you could pull this off, but there is no way Vanessa made this happen. Maybe this is some new character’s way onto the show. Also, she would have had to walk Scott back to the front desk to sign him out since only NYU students can sign themselves out.

Da7e: I can see that the sign-in/sign-out policy is going to be a frequent victim of this show’s need for characters to dramatically enter and exit other people’s dorm rooms. And that picture is actually my Freshman year dorm room. It was supposed to be a single, but they slammed me in there with another dude. We made the best of it...BUNK BEDS! '

Muse: I can't believe I'm only realizing now how obvious it is that Scott isn't a student. He couldn't get in the dorms without Vanessa seeing that he doesn't have an NYU ID. Unless he paid some Ruben Ehrlich crony to sign him in every time, or has a fake NYU ID with the correct graduation year on it AND a fake dorm sticker (you get a sticker on your ID indicating which dorm you live in) and those are not easy to come by. New York City basically shut down every fake ID establishment I knew in 2004.

Final Thoughts On “The Lost Boy:”

Da7e: Now that I’m watching the show for their NYU gaffs, I was less psyched that it was a Chuck Bass episode. That might be the first time I wasn’t psyched it was a Chuck Bass episode. Oh, wait, scratch that. He had that Eyes Wide Shut rip-off nonsense last season. Drat.

Muse: Something was off this week...new writers? The plot was extremely convoluted. And Georgina is gross. I said it.

Da7e: When is one of Gossip Girl’s episode events going to be an NYU event? Can it at least take place at the Skirball Center or something? Also, where are the Kristen Bell-reading sycophants? My Freshman year we had one of the girls from Spellbound (the spelling bee documentary) living on our floor and we identified her within days. If there really is a website keeping track of these people’s business, where are the inter-dorm clingers-on?

Muse: Oh, I think we get that next week when Hilary Duff joins the show. The GG obsessed NYUers (if they exist yet) will be all over that shit. Speaking of which, I'm actually thrilled they are having a famous person goes to NYU storyline. Duff will fill in the Mary-Kate Olsen-did-coke-off-of-my-suite-mate's-laptop-in-my-dorm-room-Freshman-Year - then-complimented-my-shitty-guitar-playing blank. Or the Chick-who-played-Matilda-is-doing-her-ETW-one-person-show-today-should-we-go-see-it? blank. NYU isn't NYU without random student celebrity sightings.

Da7e: This show had better improve in quality next week.

Muse: I'm counting on it. Don't fuck up, Duff. I almost typed Don't Duck up, Fuff. I think I like that more.

Crossposted from Read It Or Don't
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Monday, September 28, 2009

Starlight Runner, Part the First

The months leading up to the release of The Dark Knight were busy ones. There were codes to decrypt and websites to search, and clown posses and cakes and all sorts of varied components to be experienced before the movie ever hit the big screen. Before anyone knew what True Blood was, there were ads for the beverage on every bus stop in New York. Online, you can book flights on an airline that doesn’t exist, or read the press kit for the Tagruato Corporation, or their subsidiary company, Slusho! In the realm of marketing, it’s become something that fans expect: Products and experiences not necessarily directly connected to the work that spawned them. Viral campaigns to immerse them in the world of the property before it’s even in their hands. Worlds, as the Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy has shown us, require skilled architects and great bookkeeping skills to create. So when a movie needs to expand its world beyond the edge of the screen, where does one go?

Transformers, Pirates of the Caribbean, and the highly anticipated upcoming Avatar all went to StarlightRunner. So: What is a Starlight Runner?

Jeff Gomez, President and Uber-Geek: A Starlight Runner is the kind of friend you can call at any time. It’s corny, it came from when I used to publish a magazine called Gateways and I had a column called The Cosmic Streetcorner—it was a magazine for kids, really, and I used to write about how we can be inspired by stories and apply what we learn from stories to our everyday lives. One of the subjects was friendship, things like that... Some of our clients used to think our name referred to a Broadway musical.

They’re not, though. They’re so much cooler than that. Starlight Runner creates transmedia, of which advertising (including the fun, viral stuff) is a part but hardly the whole. The company doesn’t just find new ways to expose people to product—they find new ways to make that product. When Mattel brought them Hot Wheels, Starlight Runner produced a story that started in comics, continued on the web and in video games and climaxed as an animated feature. The what of transmedia is fascinating. Here, have a breakdown, from the master plan man himself, Jeff Gomez:

The 8 defining characteristics of a transmedia production (by Jeff Gomez):
1) Content is originated by one or a very few visionaries
2) Cross-media rollout is planned early in the life of the franchise
3) Content is distributed to three or more media platforms
4) Content is unique, adheres to platform-specific strengths, and is not
repurposed from one platform to the next
5) Content is based on a single vision for the story world
6) Concerted effort is made to avoid fractures and schisms
7) Effort is vertical across company, third parties and licensees
8) Rollout features audience participatory elements, including:
- Web portal
- Social networking
- Story-guided user-generated content

But in our discussion we were more focused on the who and how in the hell. There are clues to the ‘who’s’ ( I feel like Dr. Suess. …Okay, it’s done) around their spacious Union Square office. A “Powersaw to the People” Dexter promotional poster, action figures, comics and manga and an Xbox 360...

JG: That’s an electromagnetic disruptor hanging from the ceiling, in case there are people with psychic powers coming to menace us.

Clearly, these people don’t *@&%! around. There is a comforting, permeating sense of geekiness.

Caitlin Burns, Editorial Lead: One of our prerequisites for working here is being a fan of things. It helps the process to be able to get really engaged and talk to other people who are fans and be able to communicate on that level, because to really understand the universe of a story, and work within it, you have to like it a little bit!

JG: There has to be at least one torchbearer for every property that we work with amongst our staff. We have to love it in some way or else we’re doing it a disservice, and we’re doing the clients a disservice… I think most of us here, when we were very young, we somehow intuited that we were different from other kids. [Wry laughter.] When you’re looking at things slightly differently than the way your peers are looking at it, and you’re falling in love with things that your peers don’t really understand there’s this inclination to go deeper and deeper into the mythologies that we love. But I think what also creates a commonality here on the staff was that at some point in time each of us made the decision that we would not become isolated from the rest of the world, that we wanted to reach out and connect with people, and so the trick that I had to face was: How do you stay connected to this fantasy environment, these wonderful worlds that I was learning about from Tolkien and all these authors, and Star Wars and so forth, but at the same time stay connected to the popular culture and sensibilities, so that I could have friends who were cool. So I could date girls.

EC: How was the concept of world building appropriated to do more with the property than just create the property itself?

JG: Learning that balance was what made us able to work with our clients who are major companies and need for their fantasy stories to be told to global audiences. The link between geekdom and mass culture was a little keystone that we collectively found here at Starlight Runner. So it wasn’t a great leap for us to jump from Pirates of the Caribbean to Coca-Cola. It’s not a big jump to start with Prince of Persia and end up with Dexter, or a die cast metal toy car and turn that into a giant racing universe. We’re forming that bridge and geek culture, you know, has become…hot.

CB: So much of what companies are trying to do today is figure out how to make use of different platforms, different media, to tell their stories. Monetize what is already there. And what we do automatically as fans is we go in and we look at the deep meaning of the work. We look at the universe; we like to know the details, we like to know the settings. And there are so many stories that can be told within a rich fantasy universe, a rich sci-fi universe, even a really rich dramatic universe like with Dexter, where you only have a sort of quiet, realistic setting. But it has enough emotional resonance, themes that you can look at it and say, “Huh, I wonder what’s going on there,” while we’re following this story. What we posit, and what we’ve been pretty successful in getting across so far, is that instead of just taking one story and repurposing it for each platform, you can tell a number of stories. There are a million avenues into a single property. And transmedia is a fantastic tool for any franchise that’s looking to expand itself into those fields, because it doesn’t bore the fan or the audience and it expands the storyline instead of simply doing the same thing over and over.

EC: Any favorite campaigns so far?

JG: We have a lot of properties that meet us with different kinds of challenges. There are a few that I think transcend everything and are truly favorites.

CB: For me, the first one that I worked on was Pirates of the Caribbean, and I got really into that really fast, because not only is it a really fantastic property, [but] I was just whole hog into studying the history of piracy, and Jerry Bruckheimer and that whole crew are so interested in that actual time period, in going in and finding what really was going on and weaving that into the fantasy universe. So for me personally that turned into a blog about piracy (thepirateologistgeneral.blogspot.com), and it’s been very topical with the Gulf of Aden and the Straight of Malacca. There have been some pretty fascinating contemporary pirate stories.

JG: Now that I can look back on it, Halo was really fascinating, because it challenged me to my limits. A lot of our job is to kind of work with our clients to get them to appreciate the beauty and the spectacle of their own intellectual properties so they can best extend it into all these media platforms.

CB: Halo is a fascinating property as well because there is such a vibrant fan base, and each of the different companies involved with the franchise interact with the fan base a different way. Everyone we talked to there had a slightly different opinion about the universe. But finding those through lines was amazing.

EC: Are there certain types of properties that come in that are more resistant or less understanding of certain platforms you want to bring the property to?

CB: Companies are definitely becoming savvier to the idea of transmedia, and more so than just cross platform repurposing. But you’ll always find points where you have to evangelize what you’re talking about. I think as it enters the consciousness of more people in the industry, and it’s definitely a huge deal, new media, web media, a lot of people will use the word “transmedia” but not necessarily know it’s underlying meaning. In every case you have to explain your story, and when you’re dealing with transmedia, each platform has its own strengths and weaknesses. When you’re presenting a story like that you pretty much have to explain why you’re doing it the way you want to do it. Some groups are more receptive and some are less. People are looking for new ways to tell stories, people are looking for new ways to purpose things onto the internet, onto cell phones... So as a fan, or as a young creator, being able to explain to someone why you’re putting it on a cell phone, or being able to tailor it to a web series, or an alternate reality game, to explain to a group why you’re doing that is an essential skill, and if you can do it, you’re going to get work.

JG: A lot of our clients are also so big that they have their own favorite distribution channels. We adhere to the demands that they have and help to advise based on the set of platforms that are most appropriate to the property.

EC: How much of your artistic work is done in house?

CB: It depends on the company, really. It depends on who we’re contracted with. Some of them have seemingly endless resources and the best creatives money can by, internally. Others are more accustomed to licensing out. What we do for the most part is we have a core staff and then we have a much wider pool of freelancers who we draw from, depending. We do a lot of original work here, a lot of it is based on questions that come up when we’re writing the canon. How would we present this? And often times something we write in the canon will be brought back to us and they’ll say, well, how would you present this? And from there we can pick it up and run with it, and we’ve had great chances to do that in the past, and it’s fantastic amounts of fun.

JG: So if production is necessary, or animation, we’ll go out of house and get a crew or animation team to work with us, but for the most part what we do is develop the work, building a universe and conceiving how it will be implemented across these platforms. It’s a great treat once in a while to actually move into production.

CB: Often times we serve as kind of editors, because a lot of the mediums out there don’t have a formal editing process the way publishing does, so you don’t have a creative voice between the producer and distributor. We’ll come in and do the check work, we’ll look at it against the continuity, and we’ll make suggestions and often times those have been heard with, I think, really nice results.

EC: With the sudden flux in popularity of genre properties, is there a kind of property you’d want to work on that you haven’t yet?

CB: We have a lot of original stuff that Jeff has been working on for a long time that I’d love to get the chance to work on. He has some great original properties that we haven’t wanted to take the chance on until we could do them in as broad a spectrum as possible to do them justice.

JG: We don’t want to just go out and get a movie made of our idea or concept or story, we want these things to be implemented with transmedia, and in order to be very convincing about that we wanted to build a track record working with these wonderful properties and great clients to show people that we do know what we’re doing and that it can be really, really cool. Especially something designed from scratch, to be implemented across these platforms. So that’s one thing we really wanna do. The other is I’d love to work on a project that had a physical component, like theme parks, real estate, a resort. An exhibition of some kind where there’s interactive components, that you can walk through, and so forth.

CB: I used to throw events with all sorts of very theatrical settings, and costumes and storylines, but you don’t see it as much connected to properties. I know True Blood did a series of parties around the world, but at the same time those were not executed with the degree of spectacle that you might be able to gain, and they were only in, I think, five cities. Whereas the ability to get an audience out to somewhere that’s not New York City, where there’s not a party every night would be fantastic. I’d love to take the show on the road.

EC: What are you geeking out over now?

CB: I’m a big Battlestar Galactica fan, I watched it every week and I’m really looking forward to their movies in production, and seeing what becomes of Caprica.

JG: Wait ‘til you see Avatar. It’s going to be absolutely breathtaking.

CB: We got to see some of the early designs, and they blew my mind. And Jeff’s gotten to see more recent stuff… and I can’t even imagine what would be cooler than what I saw.

JG: We’re fans of Zoe Saldana, who appears in two of our projects. She stars in the original Pirates of the Caribbean, and she is Uhura in Star Trek. She will be the female lead in Avatar.

CB: I’ve actually been geeking out about Gears of War lately. Something that’s interesting about videogames—a lot of them have fantastic novels associated with them. Halo was very successful with its novel series. When the novels aren’t simply retelling stories you’ve seen in the video game, they provide a lot of depth. I played Gears of War, and then I read Gears of War: Aspho Fields, which goes back and forth between the two game stories and provides a lot of backstory. I was amazed at the experience I then had with Gears of War 2, because it made the stakes so much higher for me. It really gave layers that you wouldn’t see otherwise. Another novel just came out at the beginning of the month. There are things you can do with video games and accompanying novels. It’s not something that’s often tapped into, expanding the storyline of a video game. I’m starting the Mass Effect novels next, because I got really into Mass Effect.

EC: Star Trek and X-Men/Marvel have novels, but for some reason videogames and novel reading crowds aren’t necessarily associated.

JG: What’s cool about these new video game novels is that they’re in canon. Most Star Trek novels ‘don’t count’, they’re not part of the official continuity of the universe. The Halo novels and I assume the GoW novels take place in the game.

CB: Don’t get me wrong, I love playing video games. There are some conceits that the storytelling in a video game has for game play, and I understand that, but there’s such potential to work in and around the medium that people are beginning to pick up on and they’ll be really exciting.

Stay tuned for part two, wherein more geekdom is discussed, as well as the state of children's geekery and some of the problems facing today's young geek girls!

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Wednesday, September 23, 2009

I Heart Mystery Team And You Can Too!

Just clickly click and make magic happen!

Demand Mystery Team in Los Angeles!
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Tuesday, September 22, 2009

What NYU Is That? Da7e & Muse Correct Gossip Girl

Gossip Girl, a show we’ve been watching since season one because of its fast-paced soap opera plotlines and endless attempts to remain the vanguard of fashion and hip dialogue; mildly bemusing in its modest successes and endlessly entertaining in its failures.

The first two seasons saw the colorful cast of characters wage social war in the fictional halls of Constance Billard School for Girls (around 93rd st and 5th ave), sleeping with each other, models and members of the teaching staff. The finale this spring allowed Serena, Blair, Dan, Nate, and Vanessa to head to college (though it turns out Serena wasn’t psyched about the idea). When things picked up last week on the season three premiere, Nate was about to attend Columbia while spiting the Archibald name by dating Bree Buckley and Serena was train-wrecking. The rest of our college-bound cast were off to NYU.

Which is great for us, because that’s our alma mater – at least that’s what they remind us during their phone drives for donations.. Now, outside of scoffing at Judy Blume name drops from Dan Humphrey, we can increase my scoff quota to include blatant NYU inaccuracies and Freshman year in-the-city faux pas. Faux pasi? What’s the plural?

SEASON 3, EPISODE 2: The Freshman.
Aired: 09/21/09
We went to NYU: 2003-2007

Gossip Girl’s NYU:
During the move in montage, we get our first look at Erlich Residence Hall, where student assistants in red shirts greet parents and their kids with rolling carts to carry their belongings.


- Erlich Residence Hall doesn’t exist. A sign using a font similar to NYU’s official font was place over the text on the awning that actually spells out the dorm’s address: Thirty Five Fifth Avenue. It’s called Rubin Residence Hall.


- The carts are real, but grey industrial plastic with NYU stenciled on them.

- This is something you’ll learn about NYU very fast: No one comes to you, you wait in line to go to them. Red shirts, my ass.

Both my parents couldn’t make it to my move in date and my mother didn’t want to go to New York alone, so she brought her friend and everyone thought I had two moms for, like, a week.

Chuck makes a reference to the "public showers" at NYU dorms, but one of the reasons NYU is so badass is that all the dorms are like apartments, huge, with their own bathrooms, some freshmen dorms even with kitchens. I hate it when NYU is depicted like it DOESN'T cost 46,000 a year. We do get private bathrooms for wasting spending that hunk of change.

Gossip Girl’s NYU:
Blair lectures other freshman in her dorm when she learns that her and Georgina are roommates. Georgina says this was random, though we saw her request Blair as a roommate at the end of season 2.


- To be nitpicky: that’s not how the dorms in NYU are laid out, especially not in Rubin, but we’re not expecting accurate sets here.

- From the Student Housing License:

Condition Of Premises: (A) You shall maintain the room in a clean, safe, and undamaged condition at all times. You and any other persons assigned to the room shall be jointly responsible for cleaning and maintaining any kitchens, bathrooms, or other common areas. (B) You shall not alter the room or any furnishings therein in any way without Housing’s prior written consent.

That means Blair’s wallpaper is a no-no.

- From The NYU Housing Guide:

Communication is key to a harmonious residence hall living experience. Residents receive their roommates’ contact information along with their assignment notice in early August. Talking with roommates about how to arrange the room, how to decorate, and what items each person will bring (refrigerator, lamps, etc.),

God, what would happen if there were too many lamps?!?!

- If you are going to request a roommate, the Department of Housing requires both roommates to sign a document basically to avoid the exact sort of situation featured this week.

- There would have been a nametag made out of construction paper taped to the doors of the rooms with “Blair W.” and “Georgina S.” or something. That’s like, a minimum requirement of your Freshman RA.

I did not contact my roommate, Ari Friedman, who I pre-judged to be a Hasidic Jew. Ari, a talented guitarist now studying to teach History to high school students, saw: “David Gonzales from Colorado” and assumed I was an overweight Mexican cowboy.

Muse:My freshman year roommate thought I was goth when NYU...or my mom...or someone sent her my picture. Despite my being not at all remotely goth. She was dreading meeting me. I was psyched cause she looks like Angelina Jolie and I thought that was cool.

Gossip Girl’s NYU:
Georgina says: “Go Bobcats!”


- Bonus points. That’s the real mascot, though the origin is kind of lame: The bobcat animal was only chosen because our library, Bobst has a catalog system best abbreviated as BOBCAT. Hence the new mascot. Yup, the fighting library catalogue system. It’s better than the original NYU mascot: The Violet.

There actually is an NYU costume character bobcat. I met the thing (pictured above). I guess s/he goes to sporting events. We’re good at fencing, which is a sport that needed mascots if you ask me.

Gossip Girl’s NYU:
Dan and Vanessa meet Georgina shopping for books at Bleeker and Macdougal streets.


-The Official NYU Bookstore is at 18 Washington Place, just off the park and visible because of its gigantic purple banner. It has a revolving door at the front, which makes lines god-awful and no big windows to let lots of light in like in the show.

Why buy textbooks? For one of my introductory classes, I just made trips to the bookstore every other day and ripped out the pages I needed from a textbook I hid at the back of the shelf. Then again, I wasn’t a Humphrey VanDerWoodsen-Bass.

The bookstore that is providing texts for the Fauxshmen looks to be McNally Jackson books on Prince St. in SoHo. Not on campus.

Gossip Girl’s NYU:
Blair holds a sushi/sake party in the common room.


-For the first few months, people had lots of sex in the common room. You’re not supposed to, but until you know your roommate well enough to kick him or her out, where else are you supposed to hook up?

Also, I don’t think a whole bunch of sake is allowed in the freshman dorm, though I suppose if you signed in a sushi chef and tipped them some sake, the dorm guards will let you in.

If Blair has enough power to throw a sushi and SAKE party in a freshmen room dorm and got in on a favor from someone really important, you'd think she could get in the best freshman year dorm also...which is obviously Hayden :). Or I'm bias? But that's not REALLY relevant.

You’re bias. We used to call you guys the Hayden Hipsters behind your backs…and to your face.

Gossip Girl’s NYU:
Georgina makes friends with a Orientation Week kegger on the roof of the dorm.



- We don’t think we’ve ever been on the roof of an NYU dorm. Yeah, three people committed suicide by jumping to their death our freshman year, so this might be a fairly recent thing. But still. Only one of those three jumpers leapt from a dorm room, the others plunged from the library.

- Lets say you did get on the roof (say you could access certain roof areas in the Third North Dorm by removing some protective window hardware?), you’d have to keep it down, not haul in the keg, the kiddie pool, a DJ who loves Cobra Starship…and Christians.

- Props for the red cups at a kegger, if only the kegger was realistic. It’s be bottles, because that’s what the bodegas that don’t card freshman during Orientation Week sell you. Because they’re expensive and you just want to get wasted.

Gossip Girl’s NYU:


Georgina and Dan wake up on the roof after Georgina’s party. They’re on a couch. There’s a bike in the background.


-What freshman brings a bike to college the first week? Even if you did, who brings it to the roof for a random party? Then leaves it there overnight?

- Moving a couch out of your room is forbidden, unless everyone in the hall moves their furniture against the elevators and stairs. Then you need to quickly draft a declaration of socio-academic autonomy and no one can stop you. Except maybe your RA Andy. But it’s okay, Andy was cool in hindsight.

I’d also suggest to Georgina that sleeping on Dan’s lap while wearing hoop earrings, to me, says that the earring is going to get caught on his fly and rip out of her ear. Just sayin’.

Closing Thoughts On “The Freshman:”

I can only hope this show is going to tackle NYU dive bars and stereotypes amongst the various schools, but who knows if we’ll even get that specific?

This episode wasn’t GG’s best, but I foresee many NYU inaccuracies in the season (seasons?) to come. At least until they move off campus.

Muse: A Lady Gaga reference would have been more fitting than Chuck's reference to Liza (even over Madonna at this point). There's also the fact that at least no one I knew went to any freshmen orientation events whatsoever.

What is that coffee shop they are in all the time? Is it something near campus? Did I miss something?

I also have a complaint that the geeks discussing Battlestar at an NYU party would actually most likely be cool & attractive looking, not obvious dorks. And why was no one smoking cigarettes at a roof party? I guess good for Gossip Girl, but like, kids smoking cigarettes pretty much defines what I was surrounded by Freshmen year.

At the end of the day, even when Gossip Girl gets NYU wrong, it still doesn't come close to the offensive inaccuracies of how LIFE WORKS that is 90210. Blech.

Da7e: Blech, indeed. Want to watch some Battlestar and smoke some cigarettes, you attractive NYU Grad, you?

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Crossposted from Read It Or Don't See full post

Let the new Lost ARG begin!!!

Things that are cool about this: I love Lost ARGs and I love tests!

Things that are not cool about this: I need a Blu-Ray player by December 8th. Effing damnit shit.

Taking the test now. Will report back soon.

Update: It's a Lost trivia quiz. I got 17/23 and was accepted into Lost University! Though of course I have no idea which questions I missed. Sigh. Be sure to sign up and get your student ID number, as I suspect you'll need it when the Blu-Ray is released. See full post

My 50 Favorite Beatles Songs

So a couple weeks ago, EW released their 50 Best Beatles Songs list. I got very frustrated reading it because, well, because it was littered with songs that weren't my favorites and omitted tons of songs that were. Now, obviously, a best Beatles Songs list is a VERY personal thing and no two people will ever ever have the same list. Still, I found it necessary to respond with my own Top 50.

Keep in mind, this list is very personal to me, as yours would be to you. You may not agree, and I encourage you to explain why in the comments section, but just remember I'm not claiming these are the 50 BEST, these are simply my own personal favorite 50.

I have been heavily influenced by a couple factors. 1. I love the movie Across the Universe & Beatles covers in general. A good cover can often put a song in my top 50 that wouldn't have been otherwise (see #50). 2. My parents. My mom's favorite Beatles album is Rubber Soul and I've listened to it probably more than any album ever in the history of mankind. So expect a lot of Rubber Soul on this list. 3. I haven't been able to stop playing Beatles Rock Band for ten days. 4. The psychedelic era of The Beatles has never been huge in my family, plus when I hear most of those songs I get flashbacks of being a 15 year old stoner. So. Don't expect TOO much Sgt Peppers/Magical Mystery Tour

Also, I thought it was COMPLETELY insane to try and rank them, but I'm bored and thanks to Beatles Rock Band, am on the biggest Beatles high I've had since I discovered the White Album in 10th grade. I sort of did it FlickChart style i.e. "Well, I like this song more than this song, therefore..."

And so...

It begins.

(Note: I didn't really proof this....so...expect a lot of redundant diction...cause...that's just the way it is)

Honorable Mentions:

Nowhere Man
Eleanor Rigby
And I Love Her
Eight Days A Week
When I'm 64
Rocky Raccoon
Her Majesty
Lucy In the Sky with Diamonds
Ob-La-Di Ob-La-Da
It Won't Be Long
Ticket To Ride
Strawberry Fields Forever
Maxwell's Silver Hammer

Top 50 after the jump

50. Across the Universe (Lennon, Let it Be, 1969)

A song that only made this list because of A. the association I now have with the song due to the movie and B. all the amazing covers of it (Fiona Apple, Rufus Wainwright, ATU film). I don't particularly care for the version The Beatles recorded, but I still feel enough of a connection to this song for it to make it on my list. Barely. Fun factoid - The song was written in 1969 for a charity compilation album, then modified for Let It Be in 1970

49. We Can Work It Out (Lennon/McCartney, Past Masters, 1965)

Fun, circusy, classic John/Paul juxtaposition in outlook, nice shift between verse & bridge. Originally written in 1965 as a double A sided single w/ Day Tripper, its official album now is considered Past Masters. Let's all try to forget Archie's sad sad version of this song during American Idol season 7. Blech.

48. Cry Baby Cry (Lennon, White Album, 1968)

Supposedly disowned & dismissed by Lennon, it's still a favorite of mine. Lullaby-like & not very well known, it hit just the right spot for me when I discovered it at age 14. The song closes with a short bit by McCartney that didn't fit anywhere else known as "Can You Take Me Back" that acts a proper, semi-haunting close to the all-four-beatles section? of the White Album. Directly afterwards we get NUMBER 9 NUMBER 9 NUMBER 9 and then Ringo telling us to sleep tight & have a good night. Aw. You so crazy, White Album, I love you.

47. And Your Bird Can Sing (Lennon, Revolver, 1966)

Another song dismissed by Lennon after he wrote it, I say I DEFY YOU, LENNON, AGAIN. THIS SONG IS GREAT. Another one I only discovered recently, but now absolutely love.

46. Wait (Lennon/McCartney, Rubber Soul, 1965)

This song is ridica-fun to sing and OHEMMGEE when I get to sing this on Rock Band. Also, the lyrics are particularly poignant to anyone who's been in a long distance relationship or had to be away from their relationship for a while. Like me.

45. Can't Buy Me Love (McCartney, Hard Days Night, 1964)

Just TRY not to sing & dance to this one, just TRY I DARE YOU I LOVE THIS SONG. So fun to sing on Rock Band.

44. In My Life (Lennon/some McCartney, Rubber Soul, 1965)

Obvious, yes, but you can't deny the simple beauty of this song. And the piano break. The. Piano. Break.

43. Come Together (Lennon, Abbey Road, 1969)

Haven't always loved this song but, man has it grown on me. Especially getting to sing it on Beatles Rock Band. Makes you feel sexy even though it's not even remotely about sex :) This, like Day In the Life, is universally recognized as one of the greatest songs of all time and should maybe be higher on my list, but whatever, it's not, deal with it.

42. Here, There & Everywhere (McCartney, Revolver, 1966)

Sappy, melodic, gorgeous, pretty pretty love, not given enough credit for its musical dynamics. WANT on Rock Band. Really gives stuff for the backup singers to do. WE RIDE!

41. A Day In The Life (Lennon/McCartney, Sgt. Peppers, 1967)

Some may argue that this should be higher on the list, and maybe it will be on yours, and maybe it'll jump higher on mine in years to come, but for now, it's doing just fine at #41. This song is EPIC and I appreciate & love EPIC songs even if they don't fit into my normal preferred genre. Rolling Stone lists this one at the #26 greatest song of all time!

40. Dig A Pony (Lennon, Let It Be, 1970)

Wasn't even on my RADAR til Beatles Rock Band. But it's grown on me like crazy and managed to steal the slot that may have gone to Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds for a better "switch", I say. Meaning from verse to chorus. You know what I mean. The part where it switches from nonsense to John singing to Yoko "ALLL I WAANT IS YOOUUUU." Also from the Apple Corps Rooftop Concert. So. +5. Oh and another song Lennon says he hates, even though he wrote it. Siigh. Stop being so self-deprecating, John Lennon in the 70s!

39. A Hard Day's Night (Lennon, Hard Days Night, 1964)

It's a classic that's fun to sing to, dance to and harmonize to. Would be higher on my list if it wasn't so overplayed on my brain radio.

38. I Should Have Known Better (Lennon, Hard Days Night, 1964)

Well, waddya know! The B Side to Hard Days Night edges out Hard Days Night by a hair! Discovered this song fairly recently and I absolutely love it. Features the final harmonica intro from The Beatles. Me LOVE harmonica intro. One of the best bridges ever. PS. Oddly accessible as ...Hawaiian Surf Rock?

37. For No One (McCartney, Revolver, 1966)

I didn't even consider this song until I was going through my iTunes, pressed play and thought "OH GOD, THIS ONE!!!!" I love this song, and ultimately, chose it over the similarly veined She's Leaving Home & Eleanor Rigby. John Lennon loved this one :). Plus french horn solo.

36. I Wanna Hold Your Hand (Lennon/McCartney, Past Masters, 1963)

The song that it started it all - The Beatles' first number one hit, released as a simple w/ I Saw Her Standing There in the US, but not released on an album til Past Masters. Took the ATU cover for me to understand the true sensuality of this song, but god DAMN. Slowing this song down & singing it to a cheerleader was a brilliant idea & completely changed the way I listen to this song.

35. You Never Give Me Your Money (McCartney, Abbey Road, 1969)

Actually part of the epic 16 minute medley that ends Abbey Road, I'm keeping this one solo, as I feel like I'm cheating putting 9 songs in one. That being said, even though it is part of a medley, I had to give this song its own slot, because it's that good. Not only is it incredibly dynamic, but here's a verse for you,

"Out of college, money spent, see no future, pay no rent, all the money's gone, nowhere to go"


34. I Will (McCartney, White Album 1969)

I forget why, but this song has been important to me for a while. It's sweet, romantic, beautiful and one of my favorite sweet ones from Paul. Beatles love songs are so much better than other love songs. Siiiigh.

33. You Won't See Me (McCartney, Rubber Soul, 1965)

"Ooohhh lalala ooooh lalala" is why this song will be amazing on Beatles Rock Band when it comes out as part of the Rubber Soul package in December! Depressing, great lyrics paired with a fun tune & backup singers, You Won't See Me is both musically & thematically similar to I'm Looking Through You. In fact, I believe they are both about the same failing relationship of Paul's, yes? Been one of my favorite songs for a long, long time.

32. Sgt Pepper/With a Little Help From My Friends (Lennon/McCartney, Sgt Peppers, 1967)

Yes, they count as one, shhh. Sgt Pepper is too rocktastic to not include and With a Little Help from My Friends, sung by Mr. Billy Shears (aka Ringo) is sweet, delightful, fun, interactive, eternally covered & equally rocktastic when it appears in Across The Universe.

31. Honey Pie (McCartney, White Album, 1968)

Silly little ditty that I love love love. Musical Hall-y, 20s LOVE! That is all.

30. Hold Me Tight (McCartney, With the Beatles 1963)

It was either this or It Won't Be Long, and Hold Me Tight made it in the end. Not considered a great song in the end by even The Beatles themselves, Across the Universe made me love it. Makes me wanna dance & sing & wear my hair in a ponytail and be innocently in love. Great covers go a long way on my list.

29. Norwegian Wood (Lennon, Rubber Soul 1965)

Beautiful, exotic, dark, and very representative of the switch from early carefree songs like Hold Me Tight to more cynical tunes about love that pop up more often in mid-late Beatles. I was obsessed with this song for a good portion of middle school.

28. Run For Your Life (Lennon, Rubber Soul, 1965)

And here we get sliiightly more dark & cynical with the brilliant (and somewhat scary?) tune off of Rubber Soul. Lennon said he most regretted writing this song, while George once said it was his favorite song from all of Rubber Soul. I'm in the George camp here. This song is amazing.

27. I'm Only Sleeping (Lennon, Revolver, 1966)

Dreamlike, psychedelic, yet still melodic & fun to sing, I'm Only Sleeping perfectly represents Revolver and the musical bridge between Rubber Soul & Sgt Pepper.

26. Mother Nature's Son (McCartney, White Album, 1968)

One of the great underrated McCartney songs. Intricate & simple at the same time, and just beautiful. Inspired by their trip to India.

25. Here Comes The Sun (Harrison, Abbey Road, 1969)

Welcome George Harrison! Harrison only rocks my top 25. He wrote this song while he was going through a rough time in his life. One day he thought to himself "fuck it", and instead of going to the studio, went to Eric Clapton's house and wrote this on one of his acoustic guitars. That moment of escape felt to him like the moment spring finally arrives in London and that sentiment rings very true to me. Me love.

24. Oh! Darling (McCartney, Abbey Road, 1969)

This song really feels like a trip back to songs of a different era, even in 1969. It's the most classically rocktastic number on Abbey Road and can you IMAGINE getting to sing this on Beatles Rock Band next month? CAUSE I CAN AND IT'S AWESOME.

23. You've Got To Hide Your Love Away (Lennon, Help, 1965)

It's been said that this song is just Lennon doing his best Dylan but...well, I can't really complain about that, can you? I'll take Lennon doing Dylan over pretty much any combo ever, sooo...that's fine. Great, simple, lovely song and one of the first I learned to play on guitar.

22. Revolution (Lennon, White Album 1968)

THAT OPENING GUITAR. Nomnomnom. This song marks the beginning of Lennon shifting towards more politically minded songs. And it's also rocktastic. And just awesome.

21. She's A Woman (McCartney, Past Masters, 1964)

Originally the B side to I Feel Fine. One of the most fun Beatles songs to sing, hands down. And I was actually introduced to this song from AMERICAN IDOL. Thank you, Chekezie, for this awesome bluegrassy cover that made me fall in love with this song. And in the same way that #23 was Lennon doing Dylan, #21 here is McCartney doing Little Richard. Not half bad.

20. Things We Said Today (McCartney, Hard Days Night, 1964)



That's my impression of the awesome guitarness that helps make this song so effing awesome.

One of the earlier musically darker Beatles songs, and oddly enough, written by Paul, not John! About the same relationship (with Jane Asher) that inspired Wait, I'm Looking Through You & You Won't See Me. Became one of my favorites when my dad introduced me to it a few years ago.

19. I'll Follow The Sun (McCartney, Beatles for Sale, 1964)

I first fell in love with this song a few years ago when my boyfriend's band performed a cover of it at an event honoring a friend of theirs who had died. Their cover involved 3 acoustic guitars & 3 part harmony, plus the song was significantly slowed down. It was beautiful and I'd link you to it if I could. Luckily, the original version is amazing too :)

18. I Me Mine (Harrison, Let It Be, 1970)

A truly fantastic song that I only discovered oooohhh about two weeks ago when we got Beatles Rock Band. I mean, I'd heard the song before, but I'd never actually listened to it. Now, it's in my top effing 20, people. You know why? CAUSE IT'S A GREAT SONG. PS check out Elliot Smith's cover from 2000.

17. If I Fell (Lennon, Hard Days Night, 1964)

This song gets me right in the heartstrings, whatever those are. I'm sure we've all thought about the proposition being made in this song at one point or another.

"If I fell in love with you, would you promise to be true and help me understand? Cause I've been in love before and I've found that love is more than just holding hands." Siiiigh. Oh, Beatles.

And be sure to listen to this slowed down version from Across the Universe. Tis pretty times.

16. Girl - (Lennon/McCartney, Rubber Soul, 1965)

I've loved this song for a long, long time. Has a similar circusy tone at parts like We Can Work It Out, also written in 1965. Then switches to the swoony, sensual chorus consisting of one word - "Girl." That sound. Let me tell you. That sound. I don't think it's meant to simulate smoking a joint...though yes, it does sound like that...I think it's Lennon & McCartney going"omg this girl, hotttt omg want her so bad ahhhhh!" That was Muse-speak. Anyway. Also, I like what Across the Universe does with it...lalala

15. I'm Looking Through You (McCartney, Rubber Soul, 1965)

Like You Won't See Me, an utterly depressing song set to a jaunty tune. Super fun to sing on Beatles Rock Band, especially if you nail the harmony, but will hurt your hands on expert guitar. Full of all kinds of win.

14. It's Only Love (Lennon, Help, 1965)

Surprise surprise, another Lennon song that Lennon hated. Stop it. I love this song. AND I love the lyrics, John. He didn't. "I get high when I see you go by" Teehee.

13. Two Of Us (McCartney, Let It Be, 1970)

I was first introduced to this song when the I Am Sam soundtrack came out. I was obsessed with Aimee Mann at the time, so naturally HAD to hear her cover of a BEATLES song!!! And I loved it. Paul wrote it for Linda, though some say there are parts definitely addressed to Lennon & their complicated relationship at the time. Well, whoever anyone is singing to, the song is still fantastic.

12. Hey Jude (McCartney, Past Masters, 1968)

Hey duh. The clip linked to above features The Beatles being silly on David Frost. Haha, I'm happy. Originally released as a single in 1968, this song is the longest Beatles song to ever hit number one. Obviously. It's 7 minutes long. 4 minutes of the song involves The Beatles saying "nanananananananananana Hey Jude" over and over and over. It's long. But it's also epic and amazing & the Beatles' most commercially successful song of all time. Plus PIANO!

11. I Feel Fine (Lennon, Past Masters, 1964)

One of the best early Beatles' songs. One of my favorites on Beatles Rock Band and just to listen to and sing to in general. Great great great. And it has that killer guitar riff.

10. Because (Lennon, Abbey Road, 1969)

Because. When originally recorded, they got the 9 parts by overlaying George, Paul & John's three part harmony, three times on the same track. In Across the Universe, they used nine singers (and no real audible music til halfway through) to acheive the same effect and it's also amazing. Oh, also, this song is amazing in surround in the DVD audio disc version from LOVE. I think what I'm trying to say is, this song is...amazing.

9. I've Just Seen A Face (McCartney, Help, 1965)

Heard this song in Across the Universe before ever hearing the original version of it, true story, and I was bizarrely and intensely obsessed with this song when the film came out. Listened to it over and over. And I still love it. Both versions. All versions. I love Beatles songs about falling in love and all its forms!

8. I Want You (She's So Heavy) (Lennon, Abbey Road, 1969)

A sexy rock masterpiece. I don't know if anything else needs to be said. Would be higher on my list if I was more musician than singer (there are 14 words in 8 minutes) but it's still genius and hands down in my top ten.

7. All My Loving (McCartney, With the Beatles, 1963)

This song has always been one of my favorites from the early era of the Beatles. It wasn't until...you guessed it...Across the Universe, that the song became cemented as one of my top ten. I love seeing how creative you can get with Beatles songs. The a cappella opening masked as Jude singing to his girlfriend as he says goodbye just makes me get all mushy. I love early Beatles song about love, don't I? I'm such a girl.

6. Happiness is a Warm Gun (Lennon, White Album, 1968)

Another work of genius from The Beatles and John Lennon in particular and McCartney's favorite selection from the White Album. The song is actually comprised of five totally different, movements, I wanna say?, that Lennon was working on. Apparently the song is also what inspired Radiohead's Paranoid Android and I think that's awesome.

5. Blackbird (McCartney, White Album, 1968)

One of my all time favorite songs. Learned to play it on guitar in Ireland when I was 16. Was the most complicated thing I had ever played on guitar up until that part & has a lot of personal significance to me. Originally written as a response to racial tension in the US, the song has grown to mean something very specific to anyone who hears it. I love this cover and this cover too :).

4. Golden Slumbers/Carry That Weight/The End (McCartney, Abbey Road, 1969)

Epic epic epic epic epic. And in the end the love you take is equal to the love you make. Lullaby-Dance-Rock feat. Ringo's only drum solo!

3. While My Guitar Gently Weeps (Harrison, White Album, 1968)

Still not my favorite Harrison song, but damn close. This song is brilliant. Featuring lead guitar by Eric Clapton. Harrison's acoustic version (with added strings for Love thanks to George Martin) is gorgeous and Across the Universe's cover shows a whole other side to the song. And makes it difficult for me to sing it during Beatles Rock Band cause I just wanna slow it down and riff....Anyway, brilliant song.

2. I Saw Her Standing There (Lennon/McCartney, Please Please Me, 1963)

The first track on their first album and the B side to their first #1 hit, I Wanna Hold Your Hand, I Saw Her Standing There takes the top "Early Beatles" spot for me as I have to dance & sing every time I hear it, sing it if it's at Karaoke or coming up on Beatles Rock Band, and it's plainly put, a perfect innocent, fun rock n roll song.

1. TIE Something & Let It Be (Harrison, Abbey Road, 1969, McCartney, Let It Be, 1970)
The second most covered Beatles song (after Yesterday) and the final Beatles single before they announced the break-up. Am I that cliche? Maybe. But it's fine, it is what it is. Let It Be is the kind of song that, regardless of why it was originally written, can take on many different meanings. I'm currently going through a phase where the song makes me cry every time I hear it. And if it's an option at karaoke, I have to sing it like this, in the gospel style of an amazing cover that makes me cry cry cry. And the harmonies you can add to the song on your own are amazing. Plus PIANO! Something is maybe the sexiest song ever ever ever and makes me go swoooonnnnnnnnn. Also love the ATU cover. Also love singing my own harmonies along with the track. Check out this acoustic version by Harrison that appeared on Anthology 3.

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