Sunday, August 13, 2006

Snakes on My Blog!

Blogs. Wow, they are pesky things.

They are pesky because once you start one, there are those who, you know, feel that you have an obligation to update it on a regular basis. And that's not as easy as it sounds.

My dear friend Beth has a blog; it's bookmarked to your right (donate to her breast cancer walk!). She managed to blog about something at least once a day. It may be a review of a DVD she just saw or a musing about the state of the world, or even something as silly as an update on her hair. But she sticks with it. Considering she's a writer by trade, and that she's good at what she does, that's not that surprising. But I'm a writer by trade, and I've been told that I'm pretty good at what I do, and yet I've dong exactly one posting in the past two months. The spiders who have spun cobwebs on this blog are going to be pissed that there's disruption going on.

So what's my excuse?

Well, I have been busy, you know, writing my first book and seeing it actually published for consumption by the public. You can see the book pictured to your left, along with the curious face of the author. The book is called Snakes on a Plane: The Guide to the Internet Ssssssensation.

No, really, it is. Can't you see the cover?

It's a long story to explain what it's about and how it happened. Suffice it to say that there is a movie that's about to be released called Snakes on a Plane. It is about ... well, snakes on a plane - more specifically, the crate of poisonous snakes that has been smuggled onto a jet plane going from Hawaii to Los Angeles. The plane that is carrying a witness to the murder trial of a notorious crime lord, with federal agent Samuel L. Jackson covering his ass. The snakes are there to kill everyone on the plane, especially the witness, with no fingerprints from the crime lord remaining. Well, Mr. Jackson gets wind of the plot, and then everyone else did, which explains the flood of SoaP material that has turned up on the Internet, created not by a marketing department but rather by ordinary people with vivid imaginations about what they want this movie to be.

In fact, the fan reaction became so rabid that New Line did the only sensible thing they could - they got out of everyone's way. In the past, other studios have become very protective of their intellectual material, often showering industrious online fans of their projects with cease-and-desist orders to remove any material that comes to close to comfort in their eyes. But New Line went the other way. In fact, they went so far to authorize five days of reshoots back in March based mostly on the ideas of the fans. The result should be a gorier, sexier and much more profane SoaP than the studio was planning for. Soon after than, New Line coordinated a contest to pick an up-and-coming musical act to contribute a song to the SoaP soundtrack. And the official Web page now includes images and mini-apps that people can use for their own sites.

And now, a book about the phenomenon that has been thrust upon us by SoaP. It wasn't my idea. An agent called me out of the blue in early April, had an idea that a book about this would be a big success. I agreed, especially after a cursory review of the stuff that was out there. And so I wrote the proposal for the book, then it sold, then I had basically the month of June to churn out a 96-page manuscript, complete with the images that would accompany the text. That meant a lot of interviews, a lot of transcription, a lot of everything except for sleep and healthy eating.

And the result? Hopefully not only a compendium of the best, brightest and oddest that is out then in terms of SoaP fandom, but also an examination of how a simple, silly movie can motivate so many to put their own brains to the grindstone to produce thins such as a movie short or a song, or a poem or a children's story, or a line of T-shirts. You don't see anyone doing this for Mission: Impossible III now, do you? This is heady stuff we're dealing with here. And by this time next week, we should know how ultimately effective it all was. Personally, I'll be surprised if SoaP makes less than $40 million for its opening weekend. And the worse it is, the better. Just as long as it's not boring.

So that is primarily where I have been for so long. The book kind of took over my life, and it's still there. Because now comes the publicity. Actually, it's been going on for a while. Already I've been interviewed by E! Online, Reuters, The Christian Science Monitor and the Toronto Star. Entertainment Weekly quoted me in their big SoaP cover story last week. And in about five minutes I do the first of several radio interviews set for this week, which is the big push for the book. Oh, and I'm going to be on TV with Keith Olbermann on MSNBC on Wednesday. Olbermann has been a big fan of the film for months now, so me being on with him is to be expected, I guess. This is all so weird for me. I hope I never get used to it.

By the way, if I get a big head about all of this, you'll let me know, right?


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