Monday, February 9, 2009

Interview with Charlaine Harris from Arkansas Educational Television Network

Steve Barnes sits down with New York Times bestselling author Charlaine Harris this month and discusses her Sookie Stackhouse Southern Vampire series.

Born in Tunica, Mississippi and growing up literally in the middle of a cotton field, Charlaine has been writing since she was a teenager. While her early writing consisted mainly of ghost stories, she began writing poetry and focusing on plays as a natural expression of her talent during her young adult years at Rhodes College in Memphis, Tennessee.

In her interview with Steve, Charlaine recounts how she was given the opportunity to stay at home and write. She wrote and published a couple of mysteries and after having three children created the two different book series, “Aurora Teagarden” and “Lily Bard”, ultimately winning an Agatha nomination for the Teagarden series, but according to her online bibliography “began to realize that neither of those series was ever going to set the literary world on fire,” that is until she decided to mix-up genres and offer a very unconventional take on the vampire mythos. An interesting twist allowed Charlaine’s vampires in the Sookie Stackhouse series to ingest a blood substitute and integrate into everyday society. As imagined this creates all sorts of problems for vampires and non-vampires alike.

The success of Charlaine’s Sookie Stackhouse Southern Vampire series captured the attention of HBO who turned it into a made for television series called True Blood. This series earned favor with the Golden Globe voters, garnering a nomination for best dramatic series and a best dramatic actress nod for star Anna Paquin.

Please stay tuned to AETN for this interesting interview and check out Charlaine’s website for the latest news concerning any of her books, her blog or events calendar at

Loving True Blood in Dallas Blogtalk Radio: Season 2 Spoilers Let's look at Ep 3 and 4 (Episode 10)

Tonight we talk spoilers !!

What do we know about True Blood Season 2 from the spoilers we've seen ?

What have we found out about Episodes 3 & 4 ?

Loving True Blood in Dallas Blogtalk radio tonight 9 pm central chatroom will open here at 8:45pm call in (646) 929-0825

Thanks to everyone who can join, the podcast should be up in a hour or so and the show will be available on iTunes tomorrow -
Here are the links we talked about:

Spoiler TV HERE

Season Two HERE

Episode three HERE

Episode four HERE

"Hey, Babe, What's Your Blood Type?"

In Japan, "What's your type?" is much more than small talk; it can be a paramount question in everything from matchmaking to getting a job.

In Japan, Whether You Are A, B, AB Or O Can Determine Your Mate, Job, Even Your Fashion Accessories

By type, the Japanese mean blood type, and no amount of scientific debunking can kill a widely held notion that blood tells all.

In the year just ended, four of Japan's top 10 best-sellers were about how blood type determines personality, according to Japan's largest book distributor, Tohan Co. The books' publisher, Bungeisha, says the series - one each for types B, O, A, and AB - has combined sales of well over 5 million copies.

Taku Kabeya, chief editor at Bungeisha, thinks the appeal comes from having one's self-image confirmed; readers discover the definition of their blood type and "It's like 'Yes, that's me!"'

As defined by the books, type As are sensitive perfectionists but overanxious; Type Bs are cheerful but eccentric and selfish; Os are c

Read on

Things I've learned while watching True Blood (6)

They make sawdust pies in Texas.

If you find a giant hole in your yard it's possible a vampire was just hatched.

Dead folk are piled up around Jason.

Rejection causes vampires to lose their fangon.

If anything were to happen to Sookie during Bill's absence then Eric would then be without Sookie's helpful skills.

Do you still need to read some of the Sookie books ? Or do you have some you'll trade ? Try Swaptree

Try Swaptree

Books, magazines, DVDs, movies and more can all be swapped around on this website, free of charge. All you have to do is join, put in the items that you want to swap and Swaptree will generate a list of thousands of items that you can receive in trade for any of your items, from all over the world. You don't have to search for trades, negotiate or anything of the sort. Swaptree does everything for you and all you have to do is choose what you want to shop for.

Once you are ready, you print off the postage on your computer, provided through free software with Swaptree and mail your item to its new destination. All you have to pay for is shipping, nothing else.

You could even set up a network of friends that would like to swap just Charlaine Harris books ...

Did I mention it's free and media mail postage is only $2.50 -what a bargain !

So get busy today loading up your swaptree account with what you have to trade ( I noticed over 30 Charlaine books available ) and you are also saving trees...

True Blood behind the scenes : Bruce Dunn, co-producer talks about shooting True Blood in Lousiana and Dallas !!

Filming in Dallas !!! yippee!!
Great interview by Markee magazine

Bruce Dunn has co-produced Strange Love, Tell Me You Love Me, Local Color, Kingdom Hospital, and has associate produced Californication, The Path to 9/11, Desperation, Sleeper Cell, The Diary of Ellen Rimbauer, Rose Red, Storm of the Century, The Siege at Ruby Ridge, and Sophie & the Moonhanger.

Markee: HBO's new hit series, True Blood, from Alan Ball, gives a new twist to the vampire legend. With the development of synthetic blood, vampires have come out of the coffin to be integrated with mortal culture in rural Louisiana. Did you shoot there at all?
Dunn: We shot in Shreveport to get big-value local exteriors: the town of Bon Temps, the trailer that a tornado supposedly hit surrounded by those mossy trees we love, the exterior of Jason's and Bill's houses. We're definitely going back to block shoot for the second season - it's important for Alan to be where Charlaine Harris set her Sookie Stackhouse books.
Louisiana's tax incentives are icing on the cake, and the crews supporting us there are top-notch.
Since the second book in the series is called Living Dead in Dallas, it's likely we'll do doing a bit of shooting in Dallas, too.

MARKEE: Right from the opening titles - a collage of images ranging from bayous and evangelicals to sexy dancers and road kill - the audience knows it's in for a different viewing experience.
Dunn: Digital Kitchen did the title montage. They worked on the opening sequence for Six Feet Under so Alan had a relationship with them. Their storyboards for the initial presentation blew us away - they really caught the flavor of what we were looking for. One of the mandates was to sell Louisiana, to let viewers know they were going to see something quirky and visit locations they'd never been to before.
MARKEE: How was the look of the show determined?
Dunn: R!OT colorist Scott Klein and pilot DP Checco Varese set the contrasty look with blown-out highlights. We now have quite a library of looks like Sookie's 'psychic TV' where she sees what others are imagining: We pump up the brightness to bring out the film grain and differentiate it from the norm. In the flashbacks our DPs use a Deakinizer lens, named for Cinematographer Roger Deakins, to vignette around the edges of the frame; when we do that in postproduction Zoic simulates the lens look.

MARKEE: Visual effects play a key role in every episode, don't they?
Dunn: Zoic Studios does the digital VFX and MastersFX the makeup effects.
When vampire fangs are out for long periods of time, they're prosthetics from MastersFX. But when they're retracted and extended, they're digital VFX from Zoic. We latched onto the concept of snakes' fangs which are always there. The vampires' fangs are tucked into their mouths and unfold from the back - you can see the CG mechanics in certain scenes.
Zoic created [vampire] Longshadow's death and deterioration with an entirely CG actor - it's probably the costliest effect in the show. They also did the V hallucinations [which occur when mortals drink vampire blood] which have been a lot of fun - sparks flying out of trees, the love scene swimming through a shared-experience dreamscape. The backgrounds were imagined after the water-tank shoot with the actors; it was Alan's idea that they all be based in nature - in a forest, with waterfalls.

MARKEE: Audio is another key component from using Jace Everett's amazing Bad Things as the theme song to Sookie's ability to hear people's thoughts.
Dunn: Working with Technicolor Sound we did multiple design tests to help sell the concept of Sookie's thought dialogues: We needed a good way to convey that without being confusing. We use sound effects coming in and out of the thought process, then reverse dialogue and EQ it in a certain way to make it very clear that what Sookie hears is specific to her. It's important for the storyline that the process be intelligible when we want it to be and cacophonous at other times.
Composer Nathan Barr has really nailed the spirit and feeling of the show.
Nate's love theme for Bill and Sookie has both an Old World feel, since Bill comes from the Civil War era, and the feel of something timeless. The Civil War flashbacks have banjos and cellos, there's an African sub-theme for the voodoo exorcism, big-string power hits for the scary parts and, always, the flavor of Louisiana.

MARKEE: Are any production changes ahead for season two?
Dunn: We've had a top-notch, efficient team for our first 12 episodes. All the key departments worked so well that I don't really expect changes for season two. I've never worked on a series that has spoken to fans like True Blood has. Thanks to Alan and the material we're all excited to get back to work in January.

True Blood behind the scenes: Poor Bill is a little crispy

More great special effects for True Blood from Master FX

Check it out in action here :

True Blood goes to the movies: Alexander Skarsgard in Metropia

Trailer of the animated film, Metropia to be released in Sweden 9 October 2009
Aexander Skarsgard works with his father Stellen in this film

Stellan Skarsgård ... Ralph (voice)

Juliette Lewis ... Nina (voice)

Alexander Skarsgård ... Stefan

Vincent Gallo ... Roger (voice)

METROPIA is taking place in a not-so-distant, terrifying Europe. The world is running out of oil and the net of undergrounds has been connected, creating a gigantic web underneath Europe. Roger (Vincent Gallo) from a suburb of Stockholm tries to stay away from the underground. He thinks it's unpleasant and sometimes he hears a strange voice in is head.

One day Roger finds out that his life is controlled in every detail. He tries to break free. To succeed he needs super-model Nina (Juliette Lewis) to help him. Or is it maybe Nina that needs Roger?

It was love at first bite

From the Sydney Morning Herald

An Aussie actor gets his big break in the vampire drama True Blood, writes Gabriel Wilder.

Vampires may not like the sun but they certainly have no aversion to the limelight. The cultural phenomenon that stretches back to Bram Stoker's 1897 novel, Dracula, has resurfaced in umpteen guises since. Lately, teens who like their vamps glitter-skinned and their heroines breathless have turned to Stephenie Meyer's Twilight novels and film. Those looking for something meatier, however, can sink their teeth into Alan Ball's new series True Blood.

Yes, it has a vampire romance but this is no Mills & Boon with fangs: the violence is brutal, the sex sweaty, the dialogue salty and the humour dry. As with Twilight, it has its origins in a series of novels. Ball (Six Feet Under) stumbled across one of Charlaine Harris's novels and became hooked on the sultry, supernatural world set in the Louisiana bayous.

The first book focuses on telepath Sookie Stackhouse (played by Anna Paquin, who won a Golden Globe for her performance), her romance with a vampire, Bill Compton, and a serial-killer mystery. But after the first two episodes, Ball began developing new storylines for other members of the ensemble.

"I think Alan's very clever like that," says Stephen Moyer, who plays Bill. "He knows that it can't just be [a romance]. I think that it ultimately is a love story [but] it doesn't mean it can't be 20 other things as well. When I read the script, I couldn't believe how much he'd packed into it."

One beneficiary of Ball's approach is Australian actor Ryan Kwanten, who plays Sookie's brother, Jason. Once a Home And Away regular, Kwanten now lives in LA and was sought out by Ball.

"He'd seen a film of mine and saw characteristics of Jason Stackhouse in the character that I was playing," Kwanten says. "Next thing you know, I was hired."

Ball expanded the character of Jason, giving him his own storyline and one hilarious episode involving a severe case of priapism. Kwanten, 32, has the task of making the self-centred, womanising Jason not seem like a lost cause.

"I threw away the textbook on everything I thought I knew about acting and just flew by the seat of my pants because that's exactly how this guy operates," he says. "It's really liberating to play a character like that because a lot of characters tend to be very brooding."

The brooding territory in True Blood is pretty much covered by Civil War vampire Bill, whom Moyer describes as "completely angst-ridden … your classic tortured hero".

Unlike Kwanten, who was one of the first to be cast, Moyer was one of the last. Ball searched for months for the right "Bill" before Moyer, who had just finished shooting The Starter Wife with Debra Messing in Queensland, emailed an audition. "Alan saw it in the afternoon and I flew [to LA] that night," he says.

True Blood poses particular challenges for its cast. As well as having to guzzle copious amounts of fake blood (apparently some kind of glucose concoction), both Kwanten and Moyer have frequent nude scenes. The first time we meet Kwanten's character, he is butt-naked and engaged in a sex act. In fact, clothes seem to be something of an afterthought for Jason.

"This is by far the most full-on sex and nudity I've ever done," says Kwanten, who has been acting since he was 16. "I was warned but one can never quite be prepared. You sort of sign your life away and go, 'Oh, nudity', then you walk into your trailer and you see a modesty patch and that's what you're wearing for the day."

It should come as no surprise to anyone who has seen any of Ball's previous work that there is a subtext beneath the sex and humour. In True Blood the vamps have come "out of the coffin" and are campaigning for equal rights. Ball is an openly gay man but has stated the vampires can stand for a number of things.

"It can be any group that has been persecuted or felt like an outcast in society," Kwanten explains.

This ambiguity bothers many of the people posting comments on web forums about the show, people who would rather see their entertainment delivered in a tidier package - ethical dilemmas sorted, no shades of grey. "I think they're the people that need to see it more than anyone," Kwanten says. "But we'll get those people one person at a time."

True Blood Music Video of the Day

Uninvited by Alanis Morissette ( LYRICS)