Tuesday, February 27, 2007

Writing Haze and Dean's Diner

I've been slow to post a new blog update in a while. Maybe its the weather. Or maybe its the fact I'm in the middle of writing my new film about George Westinghouse and have been pretty much "writing'd" out by the end of the day.

All is going well though. I'm working on making the film informative and entertaining at the same time. George Westinghouse was an interesting man who did some pretty exciting things. There are a lot of amazing pictures and I've got to weave all this stuff together into a good documentary film. So after writing for 4-8 hours a day I can't think about history or anything else complicated anymore....

Dean's Diner always has pies on tap!

...which is why this week's blog posts are dedicated to my home state of Pennsylvania and all the awesome stuff in it. Starting with Dean's Diner in Blairsville.

This place is about an hour and a half north of Pittsburgh on Rt. 22. It's one of the best diners in the world and I highly recommend going there and indulging in their burgers, cole slaw, fries and pies. You can also buy a green sweatshirt while you're there.

Dean's Diner is my kind of place

At Dean's Diner (and most other quality diners) you always start your meal off with a nice hot cup of Joe. And they give you a placemat with their menu and prices and a slew of ads. So you have something to read while drinking your coffee. I'm not even being sarcastic, I love these placemats. I have one somewhere with an instructional diagram on how to eat a lobster from when we were in Cape Cod.

So good... Hamburger Deluxe...

Pictured above is the Hamburger Deluxe. It tastes as good as it looks. And Dean's Diner is world famous for its cole slaw. When you order the platter you get a small cup of it, but you can also order a larger portion. Search online, you'll see other people raving about this stuff. No other cole slaw in the world gets me excited about cole slaw. I'll talk for hours about reubens or pancakes or beer, but here I'm talking up cole slaw. Its that good.

Eating at Dean's Diner is worth a road trip

That's one happy diner right there. Armed with a Hamburger Deluxe and cup of coffee (note I'm wearing a Yuengling t-shirt) I'm ready to write away. Nobody does old school eating and drinking better than Pennsylvania.

Pie pie pie pie

See you soon with my next blog post where I take a group of guys from Philadelphia on a pub crawl through Pittsburgh. Its a "Keystone State" adventure you won't want to miss.

Next week I hope to be back into some production with more photos and updates on the upcoming films like Westinghouse and Classic Game Room.

Wednesday, February 21, 2007

New Game Room Vblog

Slow on production news this week as I've been busy working on the script for my documentary film on George Westinghouse. However big news on the video blog front! My 2nd Classic Game Room video blog is up showing some behind the scenes action in the editing suite.

This clip shows some outtakes and editing work for my upcoming film on our cancelled 1999-2000 video game review show, Classic Game Room, which was the FIRST online classic video game review show. Cancelled in its prime.... The comedy documentary film is called Classic Game Room: The Rise and Fall of the Internet's Greatest Video Game Review Show. The official website is:


In other news I posted a video of the official Classic Game Room mascot on YouTube and she took the world by storm earning over 1800 views in under 48 hours. My experiment was to see if a cute puppy video would get a lot of hits... and you know what? It does.

The following is our German Shepherd/Chow Chow mix, Stella the Wonderdog!

New Classic Game Room material and Stella the Wonderdog material may appear on YouTube soon... The Classic Game Room DVD release date is also coming soon.

Saturday, February 17, 2007

Westinghouse Editing Begins

Amid all the Classic Game Room hooplah this week on YouTube and on my blog, I took some time off that film and begin editing my documentary film on George Westinghouse.

Feed me.

...And yet Stella continues to wait patiently for food and/or the return of the Classic Game Room. Actually we were taunting her with a piece of lunchmeat for this photo and her ears were trembling she was so excited. This dog just loves sliced ham and turkey.

Anyway, the editing on the Classic Game Room is complete for the 1st draft of the film. I always take a week or two away from a project before I complete it, just so I'm not looking at it EVERY SINGLE DAY OVER AND OVER AND OVER... you get the idea.

I finished filming at The George Westinghouse Museum and began working with my footage this week on the editing system. Pulling from my notes and interview with Ed Reis (The executive director) I continued to write the film and edit visuals at the same time. My steadicam shots of the George Westinghouse Monument in Schenley Park turned out really well, as did the shots of the Daniel Chester French bust of Mr. Westinghouse. Below is a shot of us filming the monument.

George Westinghouse Monument in Schenley Park

The shadow is from the statue... not one of us!

The Westinghouse film is going to be very exciting, starting at the beginning of his life and going clear through the present. Covering some cool things like Elektro and Sparko, The Westinghouse Air Brakes, Battle of the Currents, The Westinghouse Electric Car, World's Fairs, Westinghouse Electric, Bertha and Benjamin Lamme, Niagara Falls power generation, Nikola Tesla, Thomas Edison and much, much more. I was working with some original sketches of Westinghouse appliances the other day from the 30's, the real drawings that were used to make the iconic refridgerators and washing machines that we all know today.

Thank you for the blog comment Liam, enjoyed the drawing. And thank you to all the YouTubers who have supported Classic Game Room. I promose the Classic Game Room film will not disappoint!! In response to my "Valentine's Day" Classic Game Room posting I've seen these awesome responses:

Liam said: Hey Mark!
Many thanks for the public valentines day present. ...I look forward to HOPEFULLY brand new future game room episodes.

kolibiri said:
Wow, even better than I was expecting the show to be. Awesome video, I look forward to more :)

robotbling said:
happy valentine's day indeed, lol

chiguy23 said:
great stuff, please put more of these episodes on youtube.

Sashanein said:
Hah, funny that you chose this episode. It was one of the two or three where you gave me a shoutout. (edited out of this one of course). Love this episode to death!

and my favorite... karry299 said:
With reviews like this one - its for a greater good that you guys got "cancelled".

More info to come on Westinghouse. And keep an eye out for new video blog material at my YouTube channel here:


Wednesday, February 14, 2007

Classic Game Room Episode of Contra on YouTube

The first full Classic Game Room episode has been posted on YouTube. We originally recorded it 7 years ago!

As a Valentine's Day present to the Classic Game Room fans I posted our legendary review of CONTRA from back in March of 2000. A lot of people on YouTube have been asking about the show after seeing the DVD promos for the upcoming film.

Regrettably, for a variety of the reasons, the original Classic Game Room episodes came down from their website. Many of the episodes are locked into the deal with the upcoming feature length documentary film that I am producing.... called "Classic Game Room: The Rise and Fall of the Internet's Greatest Video Game Review Show." Trust me, they look great in the film.

However, I wanted people who were not familiar with the show to get a taste of what Classic Game Room was all about, so I was able to put Contra back online from the original tape. So far people seem pleased. Check out the game review:

I made it a "Valentine's Day Special" and fully intended to get it up first thing in the morning but then we got hit with a terriffic snow and ice storm which caused all kinds of problems and schedule conflicts... but I got it up later in the day. I don't mind snow storms at all to be honest, I find them very pretty. And its the one day out of the year I get to use the "all wheel drive" function on my SUV which is awesome.

Classic Game Room

I took this photo from my office while working on the new film on George Westinghouse. Its a "treecicle". More blog posts to come soon.

Tuesday, February 13, 2007

Upcoming Horses of Gettysburg Radio Interview

Exciting news, I will be interviewed about my film, Horses of Gettysburg, on KWRE-AM 730 out of Warrenton, MO. The Interview will air on Thursday, February 22nd at 9:30 am Central Time (10:30 am Eastern Time).

Their website can be viewed at http://www.kwre.com/livewire.html

Horses of Gettysburg

Horses of Gettysburg is a film produced in High Definition about the horses and mules who served in the Battle of Gettysburg and in the American Civil War.

The official site: www.HorsesOfGettysburg.com

The trailer for Horses of Gettysburg is available on YouTube:

I am planning on making a video blog post soon about Horses of Gettysburg, stay tuned!

Sunday, February 11, 2007

New Classic Game Room Video Blog

Just a few days ago I uploaded a new "video blog" onto YouTube showing the new editing system that I am editing Classic Game Room on, Edit-Station-1. It was the first new material from Classic Game Room in 7 years and rocketed up to #4 on the top rated video game shorts on YouTube!! You can view it here:

I was so excited that without any real promotion or campaign to announce this new short that we achieved about 500 views and numerous 5 star ratings in 24 hours. Then my wife pulled up a video of a Japanese kitten climbing out of a shoe that had 2,000,000 views which kind of stole my thunder.... However, seeing the popularity of kittens and puppies on YouTube perhaps Classic Game Room needs a puppy mascot?

(picture to come)

Inecom Entertainment Company will be distributing the film called Classic Game Room: The Rise and Fall of the Internet's Greatest Video Game Review Show. It is a feature length comedic documentary film about the rise and fall (hence the title) of the Game Room which ran from 1999-2000 and got wiped out in the dot-com bust.

You can view the original promo that I made for Classic Game Room below. It was made to judge whether or not there was any interest in releasing Classic Game Room on DVD and as it turns out... there is! So get ready, Classic Game Room: The Rise and Fall of the Internet's Greatest Video Game Review Show is coming.

Thank you to all the Game Room fans for spreading the word online! You know who you are (and you're probably at home playing old school Nintendo right now.) I plan to make new video blogs about Classic Game Room and my other films as well. Subscribe to my YouTube channel and you will be automatically notified when new stuff goes online.

Susbcribe to TheGameRoom by clicking HERE.

Also, this is my first blog post with my new computer, thank you Dan for building it for me. I moved from a Celeron processor up to a Core 2 Duo 6600 and it was like trading in my Yugo for a Lamborghini Jalpa. Anyone else remember the episode of Miami Vice with Phil Collins where the Ferrari Daytona was in a car chase against a Jalpa? Yeah... that was awesome.

Friday, February 9, 2007

Horses of Gettysburg to air on HDTV in 85% of U.S.

In exciting news this week, my film Horses of Gettysburg is going to be broadcast on Television this summer to nearly 85% of the United States population!

Horses of Gettysburg

Horses of Gettysburg will be distributed to public television stations nationwide by American Public Television (APT). Beginning in June 2007, the special will air in both standard and high definition formats on up to 243 stations reaching 84% of households in the United States (check local listings for dates/times in your area). Narrated by Ronald F. Maxwell, director of Gettysburg and Gods and Generals, the feature documentary is presented by Penn State Public Broadcasting (PSPB).

Filmed in high-definition with charging horses, period photographs and battlefield panoramas with no "talking heads," this cinematic documentary tells the story of the estimated 72,000 horses and mules that fought at the Battle of Gettysburg and uncovers the strategies employed to ensure that the millions of animals in service with the North and South remained healthy and well-trained for action.

Horses of Gettysburg will air as a 56 minute High Definition program. The "director's cut" of the film is 2 hours long and available on DVD now at you favorite retailer.

I was talking to a program manager recently who asked me "what's in the director's cut that isn't in the tv version, what did you cut out?" I said "I cut out the shower scene". He laughed so I think he knew I was joking.

Charging horses through water at Gettysburg

The full version of the film on DVD comes in a great box set with the 2 hour cut of the film (anamorphic transfer from the HD master), 2 commentary tracks, and a 2nd disc which is 3-hours chock full of special features. A behind the scenes making of Horses of Gettysburg, a short on horses as the 1893 World's Fair in Chicago, 2 interviews with Ronald F. Maxwell (Director of Gettysburg and Gods and Generals), an interview with Doug Sloan a professional horse wrangler and more.

The DVD is distributed by Inecom Entertainment Company out of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.

You can read the Inecom Blog announcing the pickup: INECOM BLOG

Horses of Gettysburg is one of my favorite films that I've produced. You might think "but Mark, don't you like all your work?". Well, let me tell you, after working on a film for 8-12 months straight on a computer without a break I often need a year or two away from them before I can watch them again.

However Horses of Gettysburg was such a pleasant experience to produce. I had a lot of fun working with the script, the horses and narrator Ronald F. Maxwell. I was very happy with the visuals from the film, the sunsets, the monuments, the horses charging through open fields and down streams.

Filming Horses of Gettysburg

Above - Scene of us filming with Panasonic Varicam in Gettysburg, PA.

It is a collection of great stories of people and animals under fire. The cimematography is top notch, the narration is tremendous and I'm totally biased of course. I dig it. But I've never heard or seen a negative comment about Horses of Gettysburg. Check out the 5 star ratings on Amazon.com HERE.

Filming Horses of Gettysburg in Gettysburg

To see the film in HD keep an eye out for the HD Television schedule at www.HorsesOfGettysburg.com.

We filmed Horses of Gettysburg throughout May 2005 and November 2005. In May it was about 100 degrees outside and humid. But everyone did a great job, including the horses who were very hot and sweaty by the time we were done. We all drank a LOT of water and Gatorade that day. Being an independent film crew we don't get air conditioned trailers and shrimp with cocktail sauce. Its pizza, water and lots of hard work. Cheers to everyone involved. We filmed with Nickel the mule too!

Photobucket - Video and Image Hosting

Me teaching Nickel his lines. Him ignoring me.

That's all for now. My next film is a little different... Classic Game Room: The Rise and Fall of the Internet's Greatest Video Game Review Show.

A new Video Blog for Classic Game Room was just posted on YouTube HERE.

Tuesday, February 6, 2007

Writing Begins on Westinghouse!

Writing began on my new George Westinghouse documentary film today!

Earl Grey, hot.

Have a cup of George! Inventor, industrialist, businessman, patriot and all around good guy.

What could be more fitting than a piping hot mug o' tea when starting a new script. "Earl Grey, hot". Taking a break from editing today I sat down with my notes and photographs and began penning the framework for my documentary film on George Westinghouse and his life and legacy.

I'm working with the George Westinghouse Museum on the film and have been immersed in material, never-before-seen on film photographs and Westinghouse footage. There will be many very, very rare shots of George Westinghouse in the Civil War, with his wife Marguerite and at work. Being that he did not like to be photographed this will add great visual impact to the film.

Blank Screen

See the blank screen? I didn't get very far today except to outline the direction of the script. It was a nice day to hide inside by the warm, warming glow of the computer monitor and stereo system. It's cold out here in Pittsburgh.

It's Friggin' Freezing Mr. Westinghouse!

It's Friggin' Freezing Mr. Westinghouse! But thanks to George's pioneering involvement in AC Power and natural gas we're able to stay warm inside. The alternating current that powered the electric lights at the Columbian Exposition in 1893 also powered my stereo blasting Ministry this morning. All thanks to George Westinghouse.

Allegheny River

Its not often that the Allegheny River freezes up, I braved the cold for this picture.

There will be lots of exciting people featured in the documentary film who were in one way or another involved with Westinghouse the man and company. Including Nikola Tesla, Bertha Lamme, Benjamin Lamme, Elektro the "World's Most Famous Robot", Sparko (the world's most awesome robot dog), Thomas Edison, Henry Clay Frick who lived down the street, Albert Einstein, William Stanley and many more.

Westinghouse first used AC power generators at Niagara Falls to power Buffalo, NY. He invented the air brake, railroad frog, and numerous other products for the railroad industry. He held patents on hundreds of other inventions. He won the battle of the currents against Thomas Edison to electrify the 1893 World's Fair. There are so many interesting details going into the film to illustrate his unique story that I really haven't organized them all yet.

I'll be illustrating the film with rare photos, footage and diagrams from the 1893 World's Fair, the 1876 Centennial Exhibition in Philadelphia, the 1904 World's Fair, the 1933 Century of Progress Fair in Chicago, the 1936 Great Lakes Exhibition and the 1964 World's Fair. Time capsules, robots and Westinghouse Electric appliances will jump from your screen...including the Westinghouse Roaster that everyone in the world seems to own.

My George Westinghouse Mug

It should be a very exciting film. No release date has been set but we're looking at 2007. The film will be internationally distributed by Inecom Entertainment Company out of Pittsburgh. It is shot and photographed in High Definition and edited on the Matrox Axio LE editing system. More production photos to come.

Ice Planet Pittsburgh

Its like Ice Planet Hoth out here.

In non-Westinghouse related news another episode of Captain Bucknell has been posted on my comics blog, MarkBusslerComics.Blogspot.com.

Sunday, February 4, 2007

Mark Bussler's Comics Now Online

Long before I was a documentary filmmaker I was a budding cartoonist. I had visions of drawing comic books and comic strips and making a living that way. Then I graduated from college, went to work in the Internet explosion and one thing led to another and I ended up as a digital filmmaker.

These days I no longer draw comics because directing, editing and photography take up most of my creative time. However I still love comic book art and remain proud of the work that I produced back in the day. I decided that I will post all of my comic work online at my new blog dedicated to my artwork: Mark Bussler Comics

I am starting with the entire Captain Bucknell series, my comic strip that ran in the Bucknellian newspaper at Bucknell University from 1996-1997. I'll post a new episode once or twice a week.

Below is the link to Captain Bucknell #1. Originally published in early 1996. Click on the Picture to read the comic at Mark Bussler Comics.

Captain Bucknell #1

The blog that you are now reading will remain dedicated to my filmmaking projects like Expo: Magic of the White City, Classic Game Room and work in progress like the film on George Westinghouse that I have been producing this year.

So bookmark Mark Bussler Comics or subscribe to the RSS feed and read ahoy! I'll be posting new comics every week from my archive collection!

More news and a video blog on Classic Game Room coming this week as well as new Westinghouse information. Stay tuned.

Friday, February 2, 2007

Classic Game Room Editing Nearly Complete

Good news for Game Room fans (and all video game fans). Classic Game Room: The Rise and Fall of the Internet's Greatest Video Game Review Show is nearly complete! The entire film is cut together, mixed, polished and ready to be viewed. I'm fine tuning the details at the moment.

Yars Revenge

Holy crap, its Yars' Revenge!! That's right, the long, lost Game Room review of Yars' Revenge is in full effect on the DVD. Its a very entertaining episode thanks to the animated scene at the beginning of the film which for the first time gives a close up look at the Yars' enemy... THE QUOTILE. I'll post a very rare shot of the Quotile here.... they seldom come out during the daylight hours unless there's a Headbanger's Ball marathon or Lita Ford concert. Their mortal enemy is the Yar!

The Quotile

Saucy! The comic book that Yars' Revenge came with was called the Quotile Ultimatum and provided me ammunition to create an awesome Classic Game Room episode. You can read the full comic book here... but what this comic book fails to show you is how devious and cunning the Quotile really are... And how the Yar politicians and weapons contractors actually started the war by building the Zorlon cannon to line their own pockets.

Yar's Revenge on Editing System

Above is a close up look at the editing system and our un-aired episode of Yars' Revenge!! We reviewed it and didn't even post it online in 2000.... primarily because we got cancelled first.

GREAT NEWS next week! I'll be posting a video blog and some new clips from Classic Game Room: The Rise and Fall of the Internet's Greatest Video Game Review Show. Its a documentary, but the funniest one you will ever see. Assuming you like Atari, beer and Nintendo of course.

A release date and the new updated packaging will be online soon. The new packaging is just like the old packaging except with a NES controller with a blinged out Game Room logo. Tru dat.

Game Room in HD

A behind the scene shot with the steadicam that we filmed a few weeks ago in HD... Stay tuned. More on Classic Game Room next week... so much more. In the meantime, here's another look at the video game reviews featured on the DVD.

Duck Hunt for NES
X-Men for Sega Genesis
Joust for Playstation
Sega GT for Dreamcast
Frogger for Atari 2600
SeaMan for Dreamcast
Missile Command for Playstation
Perfect Dark for N64
Yars' Revenge for Atari 2600
Alien for Atari 2600