Tuesday, June 2, 2009

My voice seems to be all over the podcastosphere this week (is that even a word?)

Jimmy J. Aquino takes Manhattan.I don't have the cash right now to travel around with the Secret Identities crew on their publicity tour in New York and more recently, L.A., so I've had to stick to plugging Secret Identities without leaving the Bay Area.

On big WOWO's podcast, which you can listen to right now on WOWO's blog or as a direct download, I discussed with podcast host Byron Wong the Secret Identities novel and the development of "Sampler," as well as the need for more Asian American scriptwriters, whether in the comics industry, TV or sketch comedy.

I revealed to Byron that right before I wrote the treatment for "Sampler," I was going to make the title character the daughter of a tailor who caters to superheroes, but then I remembered that a J. Michael Straczynski Amazing Spider-Man story introduced a similar tailor character, so to avoid turning into the Carlos Mencia of comic books, I changed the characters from tailors to dry cleaners.

I wish Byron kept the digital recorder rolling after the interview was over because we then shared some funny wisecracks about the 1998 Asian American indie movie Yellow (what's up with the lead actor's shouty acting?) and my own self-portrait, which I drew for both Secret Identities and my blog profile page (Me: "My picture probably scared away your site's readers from posting questions to me [in the comments section]. Maybe they're like, 'Who the fuck is he? An untalented Basco brother?'" Byron: "It looks like a mugshot." Me: "Yeah, the photo I based it on had me wearing a beret, but I wanted to draw myself with a more gangster-looking hat." Byron: "Maybe I should have said you're dating a white woman. Then I would have gotten some comments.").

The same week I recorded the podcast with WOWO, I also guested on The Ben and Joel Podcast, hosted by conservative Scripps Howard columnist Ben Boychuk (a longtime fan of A Fistful of Soundtracks) and his liberal fellow columnist Joel Mathis. During their roundtable chat about the summer movie season, I talked mostly about a subject that's unrelated to Secret Identities: film and TV scores. At one point, Ben even asked me to briefly discuss Secret Identities, and I explained how my Secret Identities experience made me see the advantages the comics medium has over film and TV. For instance, when you create a comic, you don't have to worry about a ginormous budget like the one Fox lavished on X-Men Origins: Wolverine.

Ben and I are from opposite ends of the political spectrum, but there's one thing we agree on: the awesomeness of the scores of Yoko Kanno, Michael Giacchino, Jerry Goldsmith and Basil Poledouris. Many of the scores Ben and I like are ones that are listenable outside of the movie or TV show. During the chat, I admitted that some of the scores I enjoy and have chosen for airplay on A Fistful of Soundtracks are from movies I've never even seen, like the 1999 cannibal horror flick Ravenous. It's an interesting discussion about music in movies, and I got to talk about aspects of film music and AFOS I haven't even addressed on this blog yet!


  1. Thanks, Jim. I'd bet money* that we probably agree on more than just the awesomeness of Giacchino, Goldsmith and Pouledoris. I mean, you neglected to mention Ennio Morricone, James Horner and Carter Burwell.

    And, of course, James Brown.

    The podcast is posted here. http://infinitemonkeysblog.com/?q=node/6436

    It was a real honor and a pleasure to talk to you, and I hope we'll have a chance to do it again before too long. Cheers!

    * Zimbabwe dollars

  2. Ben, great choices for beds (High Anxiety, Midnight Express, Venture Bros.) on your podcast, although it's missing the Signs main title theme that Joel went into detail about.

    Horner's not one of my favorite composers, but I love his Star Trek II, Glory, Rocketeer and Zorro scores. They're terrific "pull out the action figures from the movie and make them fight each other" scores.

    Sorry, I forgot to answer your question about how I got involved with Secret Identities, which I went into detail about on Byron's podcast. The SI editors announced in 2007 on the blogosphere that they were looking for writers, so I pitched to them some story ideas, and they liked the "Sampler" pitch the most.

  3. Gah! Yeah, a Newton Howard cue probably would have been a better choice. I would agree with you about Horner to a point -- most of his recent output leaves me cold. I love much of his '80s work -- Trek II and III and, of course, Aliens. I really love that Land Before Time score, even though Horner himself evidently considers it sort of a piece of hackwork. For me, I think it has to do with the experience of watching the movie with my son, who was 2 or 3 when we saw it the first time and was completely enthralled. I think I've seen that movie about 20 times now. That's really why I used that piece.

    If I'd had my druthers, though, it would have been all Giacchino -- going back to the video game stuff.

    I'm going to listen to that other podcast later. Thanks for the link. And, oh yeah, I just ordered Secret Identities from Amazon.

    Say, did you make it to UP? What did you think?

  4. Thanks for buying a copy of Secret Identities. I haven't seen UP in 3D yet. I will not see that (or the DVD of the My Bloody Valentine remake) in 2D. I've heard the 3D version of UP is the superior version. Monsters vs. Aliens was pretty fun in IMAX 3D.

    Re: Giacchino's video game stuff: I have a copy of Giacchino's score from Secret Weapons Over Normandy. I bought it a few years ago because it was requested by a listener (Erik Woods of Cinematic Sound, I think). I'm kicking myself for not buying that used copy of the Lost World video game score CD that used to always sit unpurchased in the soundtrack section of the used CD store near my university in 1997, long before Giacchino became popular.

  5. Hey Jimmy,

    I meant to comment earlier, but great podcast! Keep us all updated on your latest deeds!


  6. Again, Byron, thanks for having me on your podcast. Also, thanks for helping me finish my sentence when I got tongue-tied during the part when I talked about Asian parents who don't see any merit in creating comics or being a writer. I shouldn't get plastered before recording a podcast. (I'm kidding, mom!)

    I wish there were more comments below our podcast than below your post about David Carradine, but I'm a virtual unknown. Plus I didn't steal a TV show from Bruce Lee and try to pretend to be Asian.

  7. Hey Jimmy,

    In my experience, I've found that people mostly post comments on stuff that they either disagree with or have a strong point to make. People post on David Carradine because he promoted Orientalism, they post on IR because it's controversial, and they post on Laura Ling and Euna Lee because they disagree with one position or the other.

    So if it makes you feel any better, few comments indicates that people probably like you!

  8. I just blogged about SI again:


    Man, you guys are pushing the conversation all over the place!