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 Post subject: 2nd Part Of Timothy Hines Chat
PostPosted: Tue Nov 01, 2005 3:51 pm 
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Martian War Lord

Joined: Wed Jan 12, 2005 7:01 pm
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For those of you who missed this on the main website....

This is the second part of the Syfy Portal chat with Timothy Hines, CEO of Pendragon Pictures and director of their latest film, "H.G. Wells' The War of the Worlds."...

A small group of anonymous internet chatters has been determinedly mocking Timothy Hines for months. Their comments are sometimes duplicated on several forums. One contributor even produced an expletive-filled edit of Hines' movie, and t-shirts showing lead actor Anthony Piana above the legend "I Survived Pendragon's 'War of the Worlds.'"

"Whatever I did, these guys were there in their little corner of the internet, to meet me with criticism," Hines told SyFy Portal's Michael Simpson. "They fished around and fished around until they found things that the rest of the unsuspecting chatters would warm to ... The myth of me as the great betrayer was created by this attacker bunch ready to pounce on my every move."

Those "attackers" have repeatedly derided Hines for inflating their expectations. A Pendragon press release in September, 2004, spoke of "world class actors" and "state of the art" effects. Variety film critic Joe Lydon echoed the opinions of the most scathing chatters when he said, of the finished film, that the effects looked like they were created on a "secondhand laptop" and the acting "wouldn't pass muster at most small-town community theaters." Hines acknowledged that his film has flaws, but he stood by his cast and crew.

"The acting is great," Hines said. "The acting was slammed in such classic films as 'The Wizard of Oz,' 'It's a Wonderful Life' and 'Casablanca.' This is a subjective area to begin with. You can't name a film that I couldn't go and find a reviewer slamming the acting. It's like anything artistic ... As for the effects, there was a point where we realized that we weren't always achieving a photorealistic look, so we focused on the effects supporting the story...It was mostly effective, though not the photo-realism quality of cutting edge ILM. level effects like in 'The Island.' I commented publicly, early on, that we would achieve 'Matrix' quality effects, and in some cases we did. In a few cases, the effects barely squeaked by."

Hines has made other comments that history hasn't smiled on, too. In an interview on SciFi Dimensions in 2004 he said that "if people think we are making some straight-to-DVD thing, they're going to be stunned at what we've done." However, his film didn't get a theatrical release. He said that distributors got scared of Paramount, which led to accusations that he's paranoid and making excuses. In March, 2005, another press release said that test audiences reacted with "strong emotions ranging from tears to triumphant," and that Pendragon was receiving "thousands of fan letters" every week. The combination of critical reviews and a lack of unequivocal evidence to support such claims have led Hines' anonymous critics to call him a liar. But they have not always been honest themselves, Hines said.

"Another favorite thing of the attackers has been to take my public quotes and rewrite them to say something that I never actually said," said Hines. "They then start chats attacking their own fake quotes attributed to me."

One forum member, who displays the banner "MakePenTimboHistory" beneath their posts, recently criticized Hines on War of the Worlds Online for "insisting" that his period version of "War of the Worlds" was going to be "a big-budget film costing anything from $10m to $42m, with [effects] the equal of Star Trek and 'The Matrix.'" As recently as October, 2005, another contributor said that Hines was claiming that he had a budget of $40 million. Hines says remarks like these are misleading.

"This is one of the areas that the attackers have in some cases deliberately misquoted me and projected words that I never said," Hines said. "We have never shared the budget of our period version of 'War of the Worlds.' Not once. Prior to September 11, 2001, our budget was $42 million. But that was then. We were much tighter with the final production."

The $42 million Hines refers to was for an updated version of "War of the Worlds" that he was planning to make before 9/11. Hines decided to make a period film after the events of that day. Both Hines and his critics may, however, have forgotten Pendragon's March, 2005, press release, which said that a planned book on the making of the film would track "the hit the film took in terms of budget, dropping from $42 million to $8 million and eventually up again to $20+ million."

What those values encompass is not clear and the last one does not match that given by Pendragon's producer, Susan Goforth. She told SyFy Portal that after expenditures for the original version were removed, the budget was "in the $8-$12 million range." Timothy Hines wouldn't reveal the final budget in this interview, but he did give us an account of the film's expenses.

"Every penny was squeezed onto the screen," Hines said. "As examples, for the eight week film shoot, my film crew alone, not including equipment and box fees, cost just over $50,000 per week. Actors totaled around a quarter million dollars in wages. My equipment costs were a few grand per week, not counting the [high definition] cameras we used [which] cost us around $130 grand. Miniatures (construction and filming) came in above $200,000. Sets, props and costumes were well over a quarter of a million dollars. Transportation ran into thousands per week. Meals alone were $20,000 to $40,000 per week."

Claims that Hines said the effects would match those of "Star Trek" seem to originate from a July, 2001, press release announcing that Pendragon had signed a deal with effects house Foundation Imaging. The last three Star Trek series were among that company's credits, it said. But in another release in October of that year Hines said that Foundation had written off some of their work. SyFy Portal could find no indication that Foundation was employed after 9/11, or any subsequent claims comparing the special effects to Star Trek. Rather, Pendragon's assurances in September, 2004, that they had "the best and brightest talent" in their effects department implied that everything was being done in-house.

Hines told SyFy Portal that the idea that the effects were created on a laptop was "another internet myth." They were done on high-end Macintosh computers and dual processor PCs, he said. Sarcasm has been fomented, however, by one sequence in particular: the sinking of a British warship, the "Thunderchild," by the Martians. The ship is obviously computer generated and neither it nor the tripods are properly matted against the ocean waves. Hines said that a lot of effort went into this sequence but things did not go as planned.

"We photographed many actual water plates but when these came in they were photographed from too high of an altitude," Hines said. "We were under such a time crunch that we gambled that we could make it work ... When we saw it coming together, there were all kinds of problems with scale, positioning, lighting and even model texturing. When I finished the rough cut of the scene, we were literally out of time. We all knew there were problems with the scene, but that is the reality of the business ... It was the low point of the film. The re-cut makes it passable, but I would love to re-render and re-comp the ship entirely."

Despite its faults, reviews of Hines' film have not been "universally disastrous," as certain people have claimed. Reviewers for Fangoria and Cinescape both found many weaknesses, but they also gave Hines credit. The latter, for example, praised the "creative" use of "puppets, miniatures and CGI" to bring the Martian tripods to life. Hines said that the tripods were among the things he was happiest with in the film.

"It was great to see Wells' tripod fighting machines finally walk," Hines said. "There was a point when we were watching the first rough cut of the Shepperton scene where the fighting machine is shot by a cannon and stumbles into the church when somebody commented, 'this is the first time Wells' fighting machines have been put on the screen.' And it is true ... Someone pointed out recently that the fighting machines in Spielberg's film never take more than a step in a single shot and never actually walk. Ours walk all over the place."

Hines also praised actors Anthony Piana (the narrator) and John Kaufman (the curate) for a sequence in which they are trapped in the ruins of a house demolished by one of the Martian ships.

"The elements really came together to an extraordinary level for that section," Hines said. "Piana and Kaufmann had their subtext and emotional arcs clearly defined ... John Kaufmann was superb as the curate, in part because Kaufmann has worked as a spiritual grief counselor at a major county hospital. Kaufmann is also a tremendous improv artist as well as a consummate actor."

According to Hines, casting and filming had to be done in secret because of the threat of attacks on the production. Potential cast members were not told what they were auditioning for unless they were successful. This precaution extended to Piana, even though he had worked on another Pendragon film, "Chrome."

"We found Anthony at a consolidated group of theater auditions where many hundred actors sign up and one at a time perform a general audition over several days for a multitude of theaters and commercial companies," Hines said. "We signed up discreetly so nobody knew us until we contacted actors that we wanted to further audition."

SyFy Portal tried to contact several of the actors in Hines' film to hear about their experiences under these conditions, but had received no replies at press time.

Pendragon's press release from September, 2004, says that Hines' film was shot "on location in England and the Pacific Northwest." This is another claim that chatters have cast doubt on. Some have suggested that all it took was a handycam and one weekend on a Seattle farm. Hines called this "absurd speculation." He did acknowledge, though, that footage from England was ultimately restricted to a few establishing shots.

"Some of these still revealed modern world," Hines said. "We needed more scope than the countryside allowed...We wound up taking thousands of shots that we digitally altered to remove anachronistic elements, cars, technology, etc., and comped them into the film. On Horsell Common we took 360 degree footage of the whole area."

In addition to the quality of the acting and special effects, the film has come under fire for some supposed factual errors. These have led some people to pour scorn on Pendragon's claims that period details were "painstakingly and carefully researched." Among the "Goofs" listed by the Internet Movie Database (IMDb) is a claim that Big Ben, the clock tower attached to London's Houses of Parliament, appears to be free standing in the film.

"The angles that Big Ben appears in the movie obscures where the Parliament buildings would be," Hines said. "Also, movies double one location for another all the time. Spielberg used the New Jersey turnpike to double as the entry road to Boston. Some people see it, but it's a story, after all. I find the criticism absurd."

Another alleged gaffe concerns Hines' portrayal of the British military.

"Most of the soldiers seen throughout the film have World War I uniforms on, which were not introduced for another 15-20 years after this film is set," the IMDb says. "However, some soldiers wear red tunics, which by 1898 had fallen into disuse and some soldiers wear American Civil War fatigues, which are not only of the wrong period but wrong country as well."

Hines described this as more internet myth. He said that two-thirds of the clothes used in the film actually date from the Victorian period and he provided SyFy Portal with the names of two suppliers that he used: Fine Vintage Clothing and Antique and Vintage Clothing. Cherelle Ashby, the costume designer on the film, told SyFy Portal that she was responsible for designing and locating costumes that were accurate for the period. The design team looked at hundreds of photographs of soldiers when preparing the military uniforms, she said.

"The turn of the century was a time of transition for military uniforms, from red in color to khaki," said Ashby, who has also worked for Gadzook Films, another Seattle-based independent production company. "During this period it was common to see both colors of uniform in use ... There were some variations of partial uniform that were quite common such as cardigan sweaters with a collarless shirt, and the khaki puttees (leg wraps), which we hand dyed with tea and mud just as the soldiers of the period did."

An expert at Britain's National Army Museum told SyFy Portal that information that Hines and Ashby provided about uniforms was essentially correct. Several Wells fans on War of the Worlds Online have also expressed satisfaction with Hines' accuracy in this respect.

Since this interview was conducted Hines has given SyFy Portal further evidence to back up some claims for which he has been criticized. That includes letters from attorneys of Paramount and Jeff Wayne notifying Hines of copyrights over "War of the Worlds." In one letter Hines is told that Paramount has exclusive motion picture rights in "most of the world outside of the United States." In an e-mail Hines gave to SyFy Portal, however, an attorney representing Jeff Wayne tells Pendragon that territories protected by Paramount's copyright are "mostly U.K., Europe and S. America." He duplicated this list in a message to SyFy Portal. It cannot be said to encompass most of the world’s countries and does not include the United States, Australia, New Zealand, Japan and South Africa. These are major markets in which Pendragon has been able to distribute its film.

Hines also sent SyFy Portal an e-mail that he seems to have got in 2004 from a reputable intermediary. In it the intermediary reproduces correspondence that they say they had with someone that works for a company with copyright interests in "War of the Worlds." An e-mail address given in this correspondence is consistent with the name they provide. The intermediary is told that Hines will never get his film distributed because he is violating trade marks owned by Paramount and "distributors are scared of Paramount, Tom Cruise and Steven Spielberg and would not go against them with another film."

Hines has said that making "War of the Worlds" has taught Pendragon much about public relations and marketing. Whatever the truth behind the controversy, one rule it has reinforced is that it is unwise to make claims that could later be said to sound like hyperbole. A self-professed Canadian television producer associated with a fan campaign to save "Star Trek: Enterprise" made statements earlier this year that his achievements did not support. He later disappeared.

Hines isn't likely to vanish, though. He has another film, "Chrome," in post-production, and his fiercest critics continue to berate him on internet forums despite urging him to write off "War of the Worlds" as a failure and move on. In so doing, they perpetuate the attention that they say he is also getting from interviews. No doubt there are more skirmishes to come.


http://www.syfyportal.com/article.php?id=2078


Lee
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http://www.eveofthewar.co.uk
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PostPosted: Tue Nov 01, 2005 7:53 pm 
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Tripod King

Joined: Sat Aug 13, 2005 3:42 pm
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Interesting article.


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PostPosted: Tue Nov 01, 2005 10:53 pm 
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Martian War Lord

Joined: Sun Feb 13, 2005 10:00 pm
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I read this on the sight. Pathetic. Not only does he make an incredibly bad film he then bleats on about those who critisize it as though we have commited some sort of crime. I am a writer and my work gets reviewed and if its a bad review then so be it. Its part and parcel of being an artist of any medium.


Bah bah black sheap April diamond spheres, Rigsby, Rigsby, Eight sided Pears.


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PostPosted: Tue Nov 01, 2005 11:56 pm 
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Martian War Lord

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It all has to be a big conspiracy with Hines :roll: The guy made loads of claims he failed to live up to and turned out a crap movie. All this bleating just makes him sound like an idiot (thats as polite as I can put it)

And he's still wrong about the Big Ben scene :a009:


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PostPosted: Tue Nov 01, 2005 11:57 pm 
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Tripod King

Joined: Mon Feb 21, 2005 3:11 pm
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I get a mention! :D
Quote:
One forum member, who displays the banner "MakePenTimboHistory" beneath their posts, recently criticized Hines on War of the Worlds Online for "insisting" that his period version of "War of the Worlds" was going to be "a big-budget film costing anything from $10m to $42m, with [effects] the equal of Star Trek and 'The Matrix.'" As recently as October, 2005, another contributor said that Hines was claiming that he had a budget of $40 million. Hines says remarks like these are misleading.

That's me that is, on Another Forum!


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PostPosted: Wed Nov 02, 2005 12:36 pm 
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Martian War Lord

Joined: Wed Jan 12, 2005 7:01 pm
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McTodd wrote:
I get a mention! :D
Quote:
One forum member, who displays the banner "MakePenTimboHistory" beneath their posts, recently criticized Hines on War of the Worlds Online for "insisting" that his period version of "War of the Worlds" was going to be "a big-budget film costing anything from $10m to $42m, with [effects] the equal of Star Trek and 'The Matrix.'" As recently as October, 2005, another contributor said that Hines was claiming that he had a budget of $40 million. Hines says remarks like these are misleading.

That's me that is, on Another Forum!


Hey well done Mctodd!


Lee
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PostPosted: Wed Nov 02, 2005 2:08 pm 
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Martian War Lord

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I second that. :wink:


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PostPosted: Wed Nov 02, 2005 2:16 pm 
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Tripod King

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Maybe I need a new slogan...

McTodd
Tormenting Hines Since 2004


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PostPosted: Wed Nov 02, 2005 3:17 pm 
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Martian War Lord

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Nice one! :lol: =D> =D> =D> =D> :lol:


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PostPosted: Fri Nov 04, 2005 10:44 am 
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Martian War Lord

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he he good stuff mcctodd. i remeber in another interview he seems to be talking about Horsel_Commen. Its funny how his time during and since making his film has been trained on a bunch of wotw nuts on the forums.


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PostPosted: Sun Nov 13, 2005 9:35 am 
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Tripod King

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McTodd wrote:
I get a mention! :D
Quote:
One forum member, who displays the banner "MakePenTimboHistory" beneath their posts, recently criticized Hines on War of the Worlds Online for "insisting" that his period version of "War of the Worlds" was going to be "a big-budget film costing anything from $10m to $42m, with [effects] the equal of Star Trek and 'The Matrix.'" As recently as October, 2005, another contributor said that Hines was claiming that he had a budget of $40 million. Hines says remarks like these are misleading.

That's me that is, on Another Forum!


Lol how funny.


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