Tuesday, May 12, 2015

Producer Randall Dark and Director Howard Lukk on "Moving Images"



Producer Randall Dark and Director Howard Lukk discuss the forthcoming SMPTE documentary "Moving Images" at NAB 2015.

Tuesday, April 21, 2015

Featured Playwright Q & A with Randall Dark


















Playwrights Guild of Canada recently talked to Randall Dark about his love for theatre and technology, turning a play into a mobile app, and finding new ways to reach a broader audience. His "Tale of Sasquatch" is now available in the iTunes store and for Android in the Google Store.

iTunes - https://itunes.apple.com/us/app/tale-of-sasquatch/id976735663?mt=8 

Android / Google Play - https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=com.everaftertales.sasquatch



Q: Your play "The Tale of Sasquatch" is now available on the Apple Appstore and Googlestore. What was it about this particular play that made you think it would lend itself to being transformed into an interactive ebook?

A: During the 80's "Tale of Sasquatch" was produced many times throughout Canada both as a stage play and a touring play that was performed in city parks and schools. I found that the interaction between the audience and actors enhanced the play and I saw how the children became more animated. A few years ago, I did a major re-write and added an additional character to the the play that would further increase the interaction. When Hal Waite told me about his interactive ebook initiative I immediately saw the potential for this play to be a great fit.

Q: You are recognized for your work as a technological visionary. Your work in High Definition projects have included feature films, documentaries, music videos and corporate presentations. Additionally, you have also been the recipient of the International Electronic Cinema Festival's Pioneer Award and are a member of the Television Arts and Sciences Academy and the Consumer Electronics Association's Academy of Digital Pioneers. It's safe to say that you are very tech-savvy. How did you come up with the idea to create an app from one of your plays? How involved were you in the design process?

A: A few years ago, I had a conversation with Hal Waite, who is an extremely talented filmmaker with a stellar resume in the world of children's content. Hal told me about Ever After Tales and his plan to create this cool app for kids. He was looking for stories and invited me to share my work with him. Although I've written a number of children's plays over the years, I thought "Tale of Sasquatch" had the most potential for fun images and unique interaction. Panagiotis Rappas created the illustrations and I'm so pleased with his vision. He was very generous, seeking my feedback along the way, but it was largely unnecessary since he brilliantly interpreted my characters.

Q: For other playwrights who might be interested in making their plays into apps, where should they begin? What suggestions do you have for those who might not be as tech-savvy and are making their first foray into new media?

A: Although I have a reputation of being "tech-savvy" in the world of high definition, in this instance I was able to enjoy being the writer while the Ever After Tales team forged the technology journey.
(Hal White, Executive Producer of "Tale of Sasquatch" adds): Obviously a playwright must start with a great story. A story with a message that makes children laugh, has the potential to give them an interactive experience and will stimulate a child's imagination. A writer doesn't need to be tech savvy, however it helps to understand who the audience is they are talking to. Look at what apps are out there, understand the app market and learn to write succinctly.



Q: What have you learned from the experience of turning your play into an app? Do you think that by doing so, "The Tale of Sasquatch" can still be considered a play?

A: The most important lesson was staying true to what originally worked as a play. I didn't try to re-invent the story or alter the characters. I believed that what made my story unique in the world of theatre would carry over into the world of app technology.
Hal and Panagiotis kept the play format when they created the app and in the "About / Info" section, I describe a Three Act play and created "Rupert's Ten Acting Words Of Wisdom" as well as "Rupert Dictionary of Theatrical Terms From A to Z". I thought a young reader would find it interesting.
I think a good story crosses over the boundaries of technology and as writers we owe it to ourselves to push not only the traditional writer/audience theatrical relationship but also embrace new ways of getting our plays to a broader audience. I honestly don't care if my plays are seen in a theatre or on a iPad, iPhone or Tablet. I just want to share the world I created with as large an audience as possible.

Q: Is integrating your theatrical work with new media a priority for you? Has it changed your writing process in any way? How important is it for you to find new ways for audiences to interact with your work?

A: My career has be defined by being on the bleeding edge of technology (especially in the early years of high definition), so it seemed only natural to combine my love of theatre and my fascination with technology. My writing process hasn't changed, but my writing has. Understanding the technology allowed me to write scenes that are enhanced by these new tools. It has allowed me to find exciting new ways to interact with the audience.

Q: Now that you have an interactive ebook under your belt, what can we expect next from you?

A: I'm currently producing a documentary feature titled, "Moving Images" which will explore the contributions of SMPTE (Society of Motion Picture and Television Engineers) to the last 100 years of film and television. I'm also working on two new children's plays that are intended exclusively for app distribution. One of the two is being co-authored by William Lucas and will include original songs full of fun, clever lyrics.

courtesy Playwrights Guild of Canada

Saturday, January 24, 2015

A First Look


A proposal for Rupert in the interactive ebook "Tale of Sasquatch" written by Randall P. Dark. Soon to be available from Ever After Tales as an app in Applestore and Googlestore.

Tuesday, January 20, 2015

"Tale of Sasquatch" to Become an Interactive E-Book


Stage design of "Tale of Sasquatch" from Ever After Tales

Ever After Tales is also delighted to present: "Tale of Sasquatch", by Randall Dark, acclaimed Canadian theater and film director and high definition TV pioneer. This great story, which has been very popular in Canada as a theater play, is published for the first time worldwide in interactive e-book format. "Tale of Sasquatch" will soon be available in English, Spanish and Greek via Applestore and Googlestore.

 “Tale of Sasquatch” follows the misadventures of Rupert (or Woopert, as he would say) and his best friend Mr. Stinky the sock, as they search the woods for food. Faced with wacky challenges and hilarious encounters with quirky characters, the story is really about feeling like there’s something “wrong” with you — and discovering that it’s okay to be different. During their quest, they wrestle with good vs. bad and ultimately stumble upon the origin of Sasquatch!

More at Ever After Tales here.

Tuesday, January 6, 2015

SMPTE Producing Documentary on the Story of Imaging for Its 100th Birthday

For its centennial celebration next year, SMPTE is producing a historical documentary on the human stories behind motion-imaging technology.

The Society of Motion Picture and Television Engineers (SMPTE) will be 100 years old in 2016. To commemorate the event, SMPTE has chosen Randall Dark, a Texas-based motion-imaging technology specialist, as producer of the film. Howard Lukk, former vice president of production technology at The Walt Disney Studios, is directing.

The documentary, which has the working title “Moving Images,” will embrace the excitement and human stories surrounding the development of motion-imaging technology from the turn of the 20th century through the present.

“What makes documentaries compelling are not just fact after fact after fact, but the stories of the compelling people involved that maybe we don’t know about,” said Dark. “We will tell the story of SMPTE even before it was founded. The group came about due to what was happening with early inventions prior to 1916. We want tell the story of the people who made this all happen.”

Among the topics in the film will be the development of color bars, time code, digital cinema standards, timed text and the transport of high bit rate media signals over IP networks. There are plenty of other topics to choose from, since SMPTE has developed more than 800 standards, recommended practices and engineering guidelines over its lifetime.

For Dark, it’s the human side of technology that’s most important to the success of the documentary. “A lot of very talented people are telling incredible stories because of SMPTE. We are in pre-production and meetings and calling people over the next few weeks to determine the actual structure of what we want to do. We are determining who we want to talk to. This project will take a considerable amount of time based on the complexity of the story. It is not a simple story to tell. There are so many moving parts.”

Most of the shooting will take place in the United States, Canada and Europe, Dark said. “To keep the look consistent, there will be a small core crew, though we will hire some freelancers in some cities.”

Dark said many great documentaries are made that shine light on important subjects like poverty and other human plights. But this one, he said, will be different.

“This film is important because it will show how we view our world,” he said. “We have high definition television and cinema and each day our lives are greatly influenced by these technologies. SMPTE helped bring them to the table. At the end of the day, I think this documentary will be important because it shows how we got where we are and the people who made it possible.

“We wouldn’t be able to do this past, present and future story without an organization like SMPTE. These are the stories of the people who made my own career happen. If it wasn’t for this group, I would never have discovered HD in the mid-80s. How cool is that? I’m blown away having the opportunity to work on this film.”

Dark and his team are plowing ahead with the production. The group will produce a trailer to show at NAB 2015. It is his goal to have the film finished by late this year, in time to enter into competition for various film festivals. “We’ll begin shooting as early as mid-January,” he said. “But the full project will take months and months to shoot and edit.”

Read the full article by Frank Beacham at The Broadcasting Bridge.

Friday, January 2, 2015

"Tale of Sasquatch" coming in 2015



Something very exciting is happening with "Tale of Sasquatch," a children's fairy tale by Randall Paris Dark.

The story chronicles the misadventures of Rupert as he begins his search in the woods for food. Frankly, though, Rupert could be anybody, including you. "Tale of Sasquatch" is really about feeling like there's something "wrong" with you - and discovering that it's okay to be different.

Watch for announcements about the latest development later this month!

Tuesday, December 23, 2014

HD and Beyond: A Conversation with Randall Dark


Recently Broadcast Engineering Extra's Bob Kovacs sat down with HDTV pioneer Randall Dark to discuss the state of television production, as well as what to expect from the upcoming SMPTE production of "Moving Images," which looks at the history of cinema and television.

BE Extra: What is it about motion pictures and television that has made them lasting forms of communication and art?

Dark: The traditional motion picture in a cinema is an immersive experience allowing an intense relationship between the story teller and the audience. Television also has this influence to a somewhat lesser degree, while having the advantage of allowing this communication to be immediate. Both art forms are powerful tools in the hands of creative people, and the evolving technology has allowed us to advance the art forms in many different ways that include sound and image quality, ultimately enhancing the viewing experience.

BE Extra: Tell us a little about the film that's tentatively titled Moving Images. What do you plan for it to contain? What is the intended audience?

Dark: Moving Images is the story of the people behind moving-picture technology. It focuses on the Society of Motion Picture and Television Engineers, which was founded in 1916, and will also look into the future. Filmmakers like Orson Welles, Alfred Hitchcock, Steven Spielberg and George Lucas are household names because of the way they managed to bring our imagination to life on screen. There are epic stories of triumph and tragedy amidst the engineers who painstakingly developed the technology and standards that ended up in the hands of creative filmmakers. This documentary will shine the spotlight on the unsung heroes who are the inventors and perfecters of what is arguably the most important communication tool in the history of the industrial age. There are many fascinating stories out there about how some amazing moments came to be, and we're going to pull back the curtain and show viewers how it all happens.

Other highlights include:

   - If HDTV has lived up to its potential
   - The "democratization" of video production
   - Dark's thoughts on Ultra HD/4K
   - Breaking into the business today in the midst of disruption

Read the entire interview on TV Technology.