Yes, I’ll admit it: it’s been quiet around here lately. During my vacation in Denmark I’ve been online sporadically, and ever since I came back (a little over a week ago) I’ve been taking it easy. Apparently, I needed the rest…

Meanwhile, the comment section of Negative Space #26 stimulated some great responses on the subject of movie cliches. Like many of you, I have a real love/hate relationship with these. Night scenes bathed in blue “moonlight” irritate the hell out of me, but I always perversely enjoy a cheesy line of dialogue like: “It’s quiet here. Almost… too quiet.” And the inevitable shriek of feedback whenever a timid character grabs a stage microphone always puts a big smile on my face.

Some of these cliches just feel so “right” that it almost feels unnatural when they don’t occur in real life. I once shot a scene where someone before the camera had to flip a coin, and I made a big deal out of it that the sound man had to properly record the metal “ping.” Everyone on the set knew what I was talking about and we collectively held our breath during the first take. Of course, there was no “ping.” Go ahead, try it at home. There’s no way you’ll hear it. It’s at moments like these that you realize we’re more conditioned by the movies than we’d like to admit.

OK, so what’s next?

Well, there’ll be a new Negative Space cartoon up real soon, but that’s not all… I’m preparing a brand new online project that will (hopefully) dominate most of my blogging time in the months to come. Perhaps some of you regular readers will remember Andy Horbal urging me on this site to dig deeper into the fertile ground of drawn criticism. Believe it or not, but the recent passing away of Bergman and Antonioni inspired me to give it a try…

(Drum roll)

Picture it: A weekly multi-panel comic strip, no less, by the name of DIRECTORAMA. I don’t want to give away too much just yet, but expect me to take the idea of graphic film criticism to the next level, albeit in very unexpected ways. That is, if I can make this thing work at all. It may very well mean the start of a whole new Web site besides this one (along the lines of what you find on Webcomics Nation). Watch this space to be the first to know.

Good idea? Bad idea? Let me know what you think!