|September 23, 2001.
Robert Abel dies; not in a terrorist act, nuclear accident, or senseless violence, but from a heart attack.
Cherokee Wisdom states: "When you were born, you cried and the world rejoiced. Live your life so that when you die, the world cries and you rejoice."
At Bob's funeral, some of the most creative people in Hollywood; my mentors, my equals, my friends; Artists all... all sat around and cried like babies.
Bob must have done SOMETHING right. He gave ME a JOB in 1976 as the ART PUNK for the Commercial Directors until I could direct a spot myself, and the next three years may have been the happiest and most fulfilling in my life... and I've known a lot of happiness and fulfillment.
We will not see his likes again.
There are many different versions of just what impact he had (or could have had) on the Special Effects Industry, but you had to be there and few were. If he were alive today, I would have to apologize for not always doing what was expected of me. I always seemed to be somewhere else, thinking of what I would ultimately do with the skill set working at ABEL's was providing me. I WAS NEW! I never really got in trouble until I outgrew my office; the first overlooking Highland to be SHARED (Su Casa, Mi Casa...) because I would always do MORE than expected. I came to realize that THAT was how the best work got done, and I have worked that way since. At least now, I don't fall asleep; rapidograph in hand, as I ink someone else's corporate logo.
Tim Allen, at a recent AFI function; realizing just who was in that room quipped: "Man, you could sure ruin a career here tonight!" That was just about the time I first started thinking about the pages that follow and the ease with which I could email them to those very people. There is, however, a current spot that is hopefully closer to the mark (in a completion backward principle kind of way). A guy is doomed to answer too late to any question put to him so is constantly missing the punchline, creating frustration and exasperation wherever he goes. Ever since ABEL's, I have been accused of being frustrated AND exasperated because I demand, or at least hope for a response from an audience that isn't there. An audience distracted by something or someone else. An audience that doesn't have the time to accept what I keep trying to give them.
The destruction of the World Trade Center on National TV changed all that, and the "correlation of forces" the Soviets waited too long for may be finally here. The pages linked to the images that follow began as a tribute to Robert Abel and were originally meant for those who loved him, but in the best ABEL tradition, they have taken on a life of their own, blown past any boundaries that could have hoped to impede them, and grown into something too huge to be appreciated from within a cost-driven frame of reference. Hopefully they now speak to anyone reading them on the World Wide Web; an attentive audience if there ever was one.
Without the crippling schedules and redundant meetings that have ruined every movie since 2001: A Space Odyssey (well, there HAVE been a few good ones... ones that other ABEL DOGS have worked on, and I know SOMEONE is out there making all those killer commercials), I was able to design and control this project every step of the way. Alone in the desert of Arizona, I was able to complete "IT", "TOL TOUR ONE", "The Stealth Film", "I should have never called Richard!", "Kali Yugs Out", "For Bob", or any of the numerous working titles I disguised it with until "VSNRY" slipped into my brain like the proverbial thief in the night. As in "Contact (you go, Ed!), when asked "who do we tell?", I answer with the posting of this FLYBY formatted site: "EVERYONE!".
Something tells me I won't be alone much longer...
I think of ABEL often and have stopped tearing up (except for right now), and if I had to pitch the Supreme Being on Bob's behalf, I'd go with Mirdad:
"Fame rides a fiery chariot abroad but limps on crutches at home."
SEE YOU SOON!
|The Far Shore|
|The Four Worlds|
|The Distant Ones|
|T+23... Well, there IT is; TWEAKED down to the <ALT>
WAY TOO MANY (just enough) pages whose content, context, design, and DELIVERY I am, once again, responsible for.
ALL UP before the WAR starts. Before even, the Sniper is shot.
That should count for something...
It MAY be unfortunate that it took THAT long to put up the "proof" of my claims. The impact of the emails and postcards I sent out during my adventure (and that is surely what it was) may have even been forgotten by the time the people I sent them to see these pages. Once ALX was done helping me with what went INTO the FILMCAN, it was up to me to deliver it, and I used every trick I learned working for Robert Abel & Associates, ASTRA IMAGE, and Visual Horizons, in order to WORKAROUND every problem I encountered in manifesting this Ideal, until there just weren't any. I've used every trick I've learned since to cross off these items until the CHECKLIST could be finally put away.
James Taylor once said: "The Secret of Life is in enjoying the passage of Time". Well, that's never been quite enough for me.
IF THIS / THEN THAT.
In BACKLIT FX photography, one "wedges" the image built of various art elements, filters, and exposure times until you get a HERO. Some will remember what it was like to have to wait until the NEXT DAY to see the results that led up to the final image that was ultimately "handed in". Tedious, but in Con Pedersen's words "repeatable", and any given weeks JOB LIST was proof enough that we knew what we were doing. But, I remember one of my first nights off, sitting with Michael Gibson; waiting to order at the Aware Inn on Sunset across from TOWER (I know... it's not there anymore either), and bringing up what we were REALLY doing working at Rubber Table. I suggested buying the rights to "Childhood's End" as THAT would be worth working on, and that would insure we would. Gibbo just said, "why don't you just write your own?"
I gave a draft of "The Gift" that became FLYBY to Bob at what may have been the last ABEL Christmas party, and now; a year after 2001, and less than a year from the next "last day in May", it's time to give it to the rest of the world.
At least I'll be able to answer Lipton's GOD question when I get to the ACTORS STUDIO...
"So you're the CRATER GUY. Wait till you see where you can play up HERE!"
T+23+8 (FULL MOON GONE)...
Well, the SNIPER isn't dead, but REST AREA'S will NEVER BE THE SAME.
I can't believe I left 23 "CARDS", phoned in the "ALERT" from a public phone, and threatened the President Of The United States!
Maybe ALX was right and IT WAS ART...
STILL may find out as IGNITION is still IMMINENT...
I NEED A VACATION!
I'M ASKED TO GO NORTH TO ALASKA UNTIL 2003.
I ACCEPT, BUT NOT BEFORE I ADD A ROW OF ARTISTS WHO RESPONDED, AND THOSE WHO WOULD IF THEY COULD; PROUD TOO, OF WHAT THEY HAVE ACCOMPLISHED.
AT LEAST ONE, LIKE SPOCK; OFFICIALLY LISTED AS "MISSING".
THIS LAST ROW MAY NOT BE ALL THAT CHANGES IN THE NEXT FEW MONTHS; IN LIFE, OR THE ART THAT IMITATES IT, BUT THE FACT THAT THESE MENTORS, EQUALS, AND FRIENDS, ARE OUT THERE...
... NOW, IS... WONDERFUL