Thursday, August 4, 2011

Up The River -- With A Paddle This Time

Happy Summer (or winter where some are) Magnum Fans! After 6 months to the day of no work, I started last week on a fantastic new TV production called "The River." The what?? Well, 7 years ago people were saying what's "LOST??" It's a new series (mid-season January 2012) from Dreamworks (aka Steven Spielberg) and Disney. They have kept the lease on the Hawaii State Film Studio for another year after "LOST" and the recently cancelled "Off the Map." I have joked that on our show they are both lost and off the map as part of the plot so we are sure to be a hit! I believe there is a trailer on youtube that gives a little background to the story. I will say this, there is nothing like it on TV today and if you're tired of shows that have lots of abbreviations in the title (S.U.V., N.C.I.S., C.S.I. or even 5-0) this will be a real change. I've seen the pilot twice at the studio and I can pay it the highest compliment, I would actually watch this show!
The next great thing I can say is that the people I am working for are fantastic! Talented, creative, respectful, willing to listen and work things out and SMART enough to hire all of us who were fired off of "5-0" after 12 episodes. As a postscript to that, none of the people who replaced us are back for season 2......but enough on that dirty laundry.
So what does this have to do with Magnum? Well, the soundstage where all 8 seasons of Magnum were filmed is now the home to the set dressing warehouse! It's funny opening that same old metal door that still sticks and walking into that building each day. Unfortunately the building is no longer air conditioned and even with fans blowing, it's over 100 degrees in there by noon. The building is still divided by a wall that separates the back 1/3 for State owned set dressing from our front 2/3. but it is also one of the best collections of set dressing we've ever had--of course it's all technically owned by Disney. Other than a little of the falling insulation from the ceiling, there is really nothing left from Magnum days of interest. It's funny, though, because I can still remember seeing fog on the little window in that sticking metal door we all came through dozens of time a day because it was always so cold on that soundstage. They had to turn off the air conditioning whenever they yelled "rolling" because it was so noisy. So they kept it extra cold so when it was off the actors wouldn't cook in front of the lights.
Thanks again for all your kind thoughts, wishes, prayers, and encouragement! It was 28 years ago this month I got the call to work on Magnum full time and being back at the studio where it all began for me and looking forward to working with great people is a great feeling!

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Photo Update on flickr

I've gone ahead and loaded a lot of new photos (unfortunately none of them new from "Magnum") primarily of sets I did for "Hawaii 5-0"

I think I might actually have too many photos, but it's always hard to decide what anyone might be looking for in my work and ultimately it's about diversity and range and that covers quite a large area. I spent 12 hours and watched several movies while doing it and I see now it's 2:00 a.m. so I guess it's time to quite.

Aloha, Rick

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

OMG - A Big Blog Blast!!

Thanks again for your continued comments about me and the show. I do have some news and pictures to share.
One of our loyal fans who built his own model of the Bridge on the River Kwai sent me these screen grabs from the episode where Tom blows up Higgins' model. As you may recall from an earlier post, I built 3 versions of this model for the show when I was still working up the hill at what's now Diamond Head Theatre as their last resident designer. There was the just started model, the halfway there bridge, and finally the completed one. I was there just off camera when they filmed the scene with Higgins building it. He'd go to place a piece and then they would yell "CUT" and I would take it off, wipe off the glue and get another piece ready. Sure glad I spent 7 years in college for that one!
I wasn't there when they filmed the scene with Tom blowing it up. Well, actually Jack Faggard, the special effects coordinator, did the actual explosion. These screen grabs are great since it really shows the pieces being blown up in the air. What I don't actually know for sure (and yet can still sleep at night) is who built the model they really did blow up? My guess is they completed more of the half done model and blew that one up. The reason I think that is that when I did start working on the show full time in season 3, my Higgins' model was already established on one of his bookcase shelves. Also don't know when the decision was made to place my completed model on the set as permanent dressing.
Well, I hope the gentleman who bought my invoice for the bridge sees these photos. When I was selling off anything I had left from the show on ebay, one person purchased my copies of the invoices I'd sent to the show for building the bridge and a couple of other things and framed them all together. Don't forget you can click on any of the pictures to make them larger. I blew them up a bit and corrected the colors.
Next bit of news for those of you with $10-15 million or so that you don't know what to do with. The estate where the pilot of "Magnum" was filmed (not to be confused with the Anderson Estate where the series exteriors were sometimes filmed) is being sold again. The estate had been owned by the State of Hawaii for decades, then a division of the Teamsters Union (another interesting story best told over a mai-tai) and finally a private owner is now for sale. The man who bought the estate in a very sad condition and spent many millions restoring what was one of the grandest estates ever built in Hawaii (for Clarence Cooke in the 30's) is having to sell it. I did get to tour it last year and gave him photos of some of the sets I had done in the house over the years (sorry, all post "Magnum"). The room with the brick where they did the first Higgin's den is there along with what became the drive-up and entry for Rick's Bar (aka Kamehameha Club) all look fantastic. He also restored the pool house, pool, servants quarters, all the decorative tile on the lanais and put in a kitchen any 5-star restaurant would envy.
The line is amazingly short for those who want to purchase it so you still have time to think about it. I may have some other news soon about my lack of career since "Alvin 3" ended in January. I did join the film board at the Honolulu Academy of Arts--the main film art house in Honolulu at the Doris Duke Theatre. Hope you're all having a great summer! Aloha.

Saturday, April 23, 2011

Ignore the tubley email--sorry!

I foolishly opened an email about something called tubely and it sent offers to everyone else within my Magnum email list. I am normally more vigilant, but this time I slipped. At least you didn't get the i-pad offer I supposedly sent out to all my facebook friends! Now if I could just figure out how to get the millions of dollars that keep being left to me by relatives who are constantly dying in Nigeria, I could buy all of you new ipads!


Saturday, March 5, 2011

Happy New Year

I can't believe it's been this long since I've posted anything. It has been an interesting time, however.......

2010 turned out to be the most productive, lucrative, and ultimately frustrating year I've had. I did still manage to keep my 28 years of filing for unemployment record intact, but it was only a matter of a few weeks. The frustrating part came just before Thanksgiving when I was fired from "Hawaii 5-0." This isn't a very good forum to air dirty laundry and since in the real world most people are fired because they probably did something wrong, discussing it in detail here isn't a very good idea. For the record, however, I did an amazing job on a very difficult show that ultimately used my experience, crew, and contacts to set up the first 12 episodes. With no reason or excuse given (since there wasn't any), I was fired in a very unprofessional, undeserving sort of way in the parking lot. Soon, other departments lost their local heads and replacements from other C.S.I. shows or "24" replaced us since that had become the look and style of the show and from where all of the producers got their starts. One big happy family now reunited in Hawaii.

Like any sort of unplanned break-up, the best cure is a rebound! Less than a week later with barely enough time to get another fantastic Christmas tree up and 300' of fresh cedar garland hung with the Thanksgiving roasting pan still soaking in the sink, I started as the Assistant Art Director on "Alvin and the Chipmunks 3: Chipwrecked." Not having seen Alvin 1 or 2, I had no idea that they had made over a BILLION dollars at the box office and DVD sales worldwide! Who knew? The best part was being needed again, finding a fantastic crew, working for a SUPER boss, and basically running the local art department and setting up set dressing as most of the movie was being shot in Canada and on a cruise ship in Florida. The work was all on a beautiful secluded beach, jungle, or water fall and most of the construction went into an ocean going raft. Lots of technical problems like wet coconuts in cargo nets are REAL heavy and matching Hawaii jungle plants to the ones they were putting in their tropical jungle on a Vancouver sound stage were a welcome change. Very interesting to see how they film real sets with real people and no real chipmunks, too. Well, if I'm only as good as my last set, I am very happy it was "Alvin 3" and not the one with another number in it.

I'm back to working on my house and need to also start hacking on my encroaching jungle as well. My productive year for me did not bode well for the maintenance on my house. I've met with the Disney Imagineering people working on their fantastic billion dollar resort, "Aulani," being built out at Ko Olina (west side). Hoping to get something more regular there.

"Magnum" is now airing daily here on one of he stations, ironically just before the original "5-0" comes on. If I were to do a chart graphic based on the work load and enjoyment level of the work then vs. what has happened to the business today........why bother? Moving on!