Miz Liz

Miz Liz

(2 comments, 7 posts)

Miz Liz was once a little nerdlet. Teaching herself how to read at age 3 (or so she was told) and was devouring National Geographic magazines as a grade-schooler. Stephen King, Micheal Crichton, Dean Koontz and other assorted fiction novels have become forays into "how we work". Be careful if you ask a question about why we do the things we do, unless you have a couple hours to kill. Chopping food and the subsequent cooking of it can bring a calm to her life and the results are usually fantastic.

Some of the things that make her happy are; Doctor Who, Fringe, BBC, tattoos, photography, her cat, Chuck, crosswords, analyzing behaviour, musicals, the internet, Harry Potter, and a selection of 'reality' TV shows. Quite often you will find her with headphones on, wandering the beautiful city of Vancouver wondering how everything in the cosmos works the way it does.

Posts by Miz Liz

Kickstarter Project – The Case of the Missing Garden Gnome

Have you ever had a garden gnome go missing or know someone who has?  I have, my mom’s gnome went missing for a few weeks, a friend playing a prank.  Well what if there was something a bit more sinister going on?  That’s where “The Case of the Missing Garden Gnome” comes in; a clever, Film Noir take at the dangers that lie in wait for a garden gnome.

I had the pleasure of previewing the not quite ready short and when it’s finished it’s going to be a helluva short!  Supernatural fans may recognize Rob Benedict as Seamus Biggs, who frankly, is kind of a dick.  You see some pain and weariness in him which does make you want to help, even though you know there’s no point.  Marti Kass who plays Jill, Seamus’ daughter is a fantastic young actress who really steals the show.

But these great characters and entertaining story needs your help.  “The Case of the Missing Garden Gnome” is director Alberto Belli’s USC thesis film and he’s using Kickstarter to help fund the remaining post production.  They’re only $570 away from the $2,500 goal with 6 days left.  An achievable goal!

After watching the short, I was able to ask Alberto Belli some questions.  Did I mention he won an Emmy for a zombie musical?

Me: You started your schooling in Marketing & Computer Science and now you’re an Emmy-winning director.  When did you know you wanted to make films, have you always had an interest in film-making?

AB: When I was a kid, I saw Jurassic Park on the big screen and that completely blew my mind. I couldn’t believe that a world that only existed in my imagination felt so real. Then my dad showed me Star Wars and Indiana Jones and I was completely sold – I knew that I wanted be part of that magic. So growing up, I made a bunch of short films with my friends that were later screened at our high-school, but for college I decided to study Computer Science to have a back-up plan, with the intention to study a masters in filmmaking. I felt that studying Computer Science would help me understand what could be done behind the scenes plus both industries have become more and more depended of each other.


Me: What was the inspiration to make a film-noir around a missing garden gnome?  Fantastic idea and well executed why haven’t we* seen something like this before?  *if there are others out there I haven’t seen them

AB: Thanks for your kind words. I’m glad that you liked it! Joe Swanson, who is the writer of “Gnome” and has an incredible imagination, pitched me various scripts for my thesis film and I just felt in love with that one. It had an old school feeling of the movies I grew up with like Goonies and Back to The Future – fun adventures but always supported with great characters that we cared about. So it was a no brainer for me to pick-up that script as my thesis film. Funny enough, Joe and I ended up working on Zombo for an advance class at USC before we even got to start production on Gnome. Joe has the ability to write stories that are unique yet familiar so he gets all the credit for that. Did I mentioned he loves garden gnomes?


Me: You’re using Kickstarter to help fund the remaining post-production.  Is this your first experience with it?  What has it been like?

AB: It is my first time using Kickstarter and I’m having a great experience! Since the majority of my friends and family kindly donated during the production process – I was looking for way to connect with other film/art lovers who were interested in supporting smaller projects in need of help and Kickstarter was the perfect place to do that. Their community is so supportive that even though my friends are still helping out, the vast majority of the donors in the last phase of Gnome have been people I don’t even know but somehow have found out about the project. It has also given us the opportunity to reach a new audience that probably would have never heard of the project and not to mention is a very safe way to get donations.


Me: What can we expect from you tin the future?  More zombie musicals or detective films?

AB: My next project will hopefully be the feature version of “Gnome” (written again by Joe Swanson and adding Matt Zucker as his co-writer) same characters but a much darker case and a bigger father and daughter story. So detective films will be first but making a musical was a blast that I hope it won’t take too long before I go back to musicals.


Me: Anything else you’d like to add?

AB: Thanks a lot for giving me this opportunity and to share a little bit about “Gnome”. It has been a year of up and downs since we started this project and more than two hundred and fifty people have donated their talent and time in various departments to make it possible. So now that we are so close to the end, we hope we can reach our Kickstarter goal to finally finish it. Thanks!


You can watch the trailer for “The Case of the Missing Garden Gnome” or simply “Gnome” at the Kickstarter page, and while you’re there, donate a dollar or twenty!


You can also visit Alberto’s page for more information on the characters and past projects.



The Sin Bin – Review & Interview

If you could give anything to have your favorite sports team win their respective championship, what would you be willing to give up?  Coffee?  Smartphone?  Laptop or tablet?  What about your soul?  Or perhaps the soul of your loved ones?  There are people out there, people such as JR

JR is an  avid dedicated intense obsessed hockey fan and his beloved Chicago Blackhawks haven’t won the cup in 50 years.  JR would do anything, and he means ANYTHING to have The Hawks win that cup, and as the series starts we see just how much is at stake.

The first episode opens up with JR in a dark room, the light of the TV flickering on is face.  It’s game 6 of the Stanley Cup  and his Blackhawks are down 2-1 against the Flyers.  The Blackhawks are up by one game and everyone knows that you want to win it by six, that seventh game is a doozy.  Perched on the edge of your seat, fists clenched waiting to see who takes it.   It’s make or break time and JR has decided it’s time for him to seek help from a higher power.  First stop is God, praying to the heavens for help.  Asking the lord and savior if his divine intervention will bring success to his beloved team.

Some of you may already see where this is going…

There was no help from God so JR had to look for help in a different place.  A place of fire and brimstone, of pain and terror… that’s right, he asked the devil.  Clutching his hands before his face, praying that the Dark Lord will hear his pleas and grant him the one wish he’s had for the last 28 years of his life.  And then… the buzzers sound – The Blackhawks HAVE WON THE CUP!

JR is ecstatic, every moment of his life was leading up to this moment.  His beloved team has finally won.  Life is complete.

Four months later and it’s life is normal.  Noelle, JR’s girlfriend, still fights for his attention against the Hawks and still loses.  There’s a moment where it seems like he’s ready to take their relationship to the next level, but he’s only getting excited over some blanket.  And here’s where, as the title suggests, All Hell Breaks Loose.

With flashes of light and some gnarly wind Noelle vanishes.  JR is at the mailbox outside, eagerly opening his prized blanket, noticing nothing else that is happening around him.  Which is unfortunate as there are zombies, a mummy and a demon hanging around the neighborhood.

This demon is someone that JR will be relying on, but he doesn’t know that quite yet.

Which brings us to episode two.  Instead of spoiling it for everyone, I’ll now share what I think of the series thus far.

I love it.  I really do, and it’s not only because I watch hockey, enjoy supernatural themes or think that JR is adorable.  There is some great writing and concepts, and hey these guys are looking to launch a whole new film genre!  The lead character is completely believable as a hockey obsessed blogger who dedicates his life to his team.  The fact that he has a loving girlfriend may seem surprising to some, which may mean you don’t know people like that in your own life.  I do, and the girlfriends/wives are some of the most patient people I have ever met.  Mind you I don’t think many of them have been damned to hell due to their boyfriend making a deal with Satan…

But seriously this series deserves a shot to be continued.  I don’t know very many series that combine hockey, Satan, demons, witches – Roller Derby witches at that – skateboarding mummies, zombies, vampires and whatever else is to come with hilarious writing and great characters.

I was given the opportunity to talk to Jeff Hersh (JR) and Mark Kosin who created the series and I can’t remember the last time I laughed so hard during an IM conversation.

*Please note that I am not an interviewer and I had a list of questions, plus the idea to try and let it flow like a conversation.  That means I interjected with things that aren’t funny – basically let them run with it.

Jeff Hersh and Mark Kosin have joined the conversation:

Me: Bear with me, haven’t really done one of these before

JH: Neither have I but it’s the future and this is how things are done in the future

Me: This is true!  OK – so I shall get on to some questions I guess.  Aside from the hilarious bios where did Hockey + The Devil idea come from?

JH: It was a combination of ideas.  I’m a huge hockey fan and Buffy The Vampire Slayer/horror fan, and it just seemed like there was not enough hockey meets horror stuff out there.  Plus it took almost 50 years for the ‘Hawks to win the cup, so there had to be some black magic or devil work in there right?

MK: That was my summation

JH: So now you need to make a deal.  But when making a deal with the devil to get your hockey team to win, you gotta wonder who the Devil roots for.  It’s too obvious for him to be a New Jersey (Devils) fan… so clearly it’s the (Philadelphia) Flyers.

MK: Way too obvious.  It makes a lot of sense when you put it all together.  Especially if you’ve ever met a Flyers fan.

JH: Not that we want to alienate the good viewers from the city of brotherly love… much

Me: Did you two play hockey?

MK: I played street hockey when it got popular in the late ’90’s – the “we just saw Mighty Ducks 2 lets all get rollerblades” era.

JH: As did I!  But I kept with it, roller hockey every day after school in the neighborhood and then I started playing some ice hockey.

MK: Yes, the Blackhawks did a really good job forcing kids on to other sports by never airing hockey games on TV.

Me: Bastards

MK: Sadly… don’t worry he’s dead now.

JH: I’m an Islanders fan, so it was always within the realm of possibility that I could play for them… they’ve been pretty terrible most of my life.  Plus they make their backup goalie their GM… so anything can happen.

MK: I wouldn’t be surprised if you could win a spot on the roster by entering a fan contest with the Islanders.

JH: Because we have no fans?  They are just laying dormant, they actually have the core of some great young players, they might just be like the ‘Hawks in a few years.  And of course I’ll make a deal with the devil if I must.

Me: Ah yes thank you, back to this deal.

MK: Jeff’s Hockey tangents are the things of legend.

Me: Would you classify this as a black comedy?

MK: I‘d say its a “black arts” comedy, more than a comedy.  We don’t kill anybody without a joke and always leave open the possibility that they can come back.  In a funny way, not in a Jay Leno way… like a zombie.

JH: But JR is kind of a goof thrown into this where things have horror elements, and sillinesm but the characters are still pretty serious about what they want.  Whether to eat brains, save his girlfriend or overthrow Stan.

MK: JR approaches every situation with a hint of absolute terror and child-like ADD.

JH: Well said.

MK: Its funny because when Jeff pitched the idea he immediately installed himself in the lead – which is a testament to his tremendous ego and that he was really the only guy to play JR.  Your classic post-modern man child.

JH: I thought he was more of a beefy sexual dynamo leading man type.

MK: Right… we keep forgetting to shoot that “JR sweeps a bus of vampire cheerleaders off their feet” scene

Me: Maybe coming up?

MK: Hopefully – though I think it’d be funnier if they took advantage of him, making him even more of a hollow shell.   It just fits the actor better that way… RIGHT JEFF?

JH: I’m sorry.  I missed the last few IMs, I was doing push-ups.

Me: Or was the game on?

JH: It is, Bruins vs Rangers

Me: You have three episodes planned – will there be more?

JH: Well, the people will hopefully demand more.  We made three as kind of a pilot for an ongoing series.

MK: We really want to see how these play – plus we have lots of fun “extra” footage of all our characters.  I love episode 2

JH: It’s the “Empire Strikes Back” of the Sin Bin Saga.

MK: Yeah it’s much more emblematic of the tone we want to set for the show… it’s dark… and ridiculous.

JH: And there are Roller Derby Witches

Me: Anything you want to say for #3?

JH: It has it all… Epic chase, epic battles, epic love scenes…

MK: epic… epicness.  Wait did someone use that tagline already?  Episode 3 is when it all comes together in one big awesome episode.

JH: It’s the “Return of the King” of the Sin Bin Legend.  JR is on skates during it, so it was dangerous to shoot!

ML: The night we shot the final scene everyone was on skates…

JH: Look ma!  No helmet!

Me: Ice?

JH: No… sadly LA weather put the kaboosh on our ice.

MK: Plus it would have thrown the Roller Derby Witches for a loop, and those are girls you don’t want to get angry.

Me: So basically action packed

JH: With heart

MK: And a few scares

JH: And a laugh

MK: And a musical number

Me: All very good things… wait what?

JH: Umm… We didn’t shoot that Mark.  Oh wait, THAT musical number.

MK: Well PART of a musical number.

Me: Well don’t want to give away too many spoilers.  Is there anything else you would like to add?

MK: If anything we hope to be surprising… just like the Hawks!  We just really want to make our mark on the “Hockey Horror Comedy” genre… by inventing it.

JH: We hope people enjoy the show.  We’ve had a ton of fun making it and we want other people to have just as much with this new “Hockey Horror Comedy” genre.

MK: If people have half as much watching it as we had writing it, I’ll be happy.

Me: Well I definitely enjoyed what I have seen so far and this chat has been hilarious.

JH: Well thank you for chatting with us!  We appreciate it and Go Canucks!

MK: Whoa whoa… Hawks may face them in the first round.

Thus ends an hilarious chat, and for the record at the time of writing this the quarter-finals are Canuck 2 vs Blackhawks 0 Big thanks to Jeff & Mark for their patience waiting for me to get the interview scheduled and for being so funny!

Watch JR battles the forces of hell: http://www.thefacepuck.com

Make sure you follow JR on Twitter to get the latest updates of his adventures (especially with The Hawks in the playoffs against my Canucks!) @JRTheFacePuck27.  Also don’t forget to watch the video blogs the characters have posted.  Even though I still haven’t figured out how Noelle is blogging from hell…


Remembering an Amazing Few Weeks.

On July 2, 2003 the International Olympic Committee announced that Vancouver, British Columbia would be hosting the 2010 Winter Olympics.  It was down to PyeongChang, South Korea and Vancouver; Salzburg Austria knocked out in the first round.  I was working at an internet cafe at the time, and had the TV tuned into a local channel filming inside GM Place (now Rogers Arena) waiting for the winning city to be named.  When the IOC pronounced Vancouver as the winner everyone in GM Place burst into cheers.  As did I, jumping up and down, fist pumping away much to the amusement of customers watching as well.  I had always liked watching the Olympics, admittedly the winter games more than the summer – probably the Canadian thing.

February 12th, 2011 marked the one-year anniversary (celebration) of the games and almost a year since my last day at work with the Olympic Broadcasting Services Vancouver (OBSV).  A job that became 12 hours a day, 6 days a week, but an experience I wouldn’t change for anything.  Well… maybe a trip in the T.A.R.D.I.S., but even that would be a tough decision.

That picture above sums up my job, Accreditation and Uniform coordinator.  Basically – made sure the 2500+ staff working for OBSV had the correct information to pass a security check, and the proper clearance for venues.  There were a lot of bad photos that wouldn’t pass strict Canadian security laws, and poorly filled out personal information sheets.  OH!  And the database wasn’t working properly so all the letters containing each individuals work period, hotel contacts, etc had to be done offline.

Still wouldn’t change a thing.

Luckily the hard work brought some pretty awesome perks.  The picture above was taken before they put a second fence around the cauldron to keep everyone away.  I guess folks were jealous that we (broadcast media working from the Vancouver Convention Centre VCC) got to get all cozy with it and they were stuck behind a huge throng of people.  See below…

Most of the OBSV staff were able to go to at least one of the opening ceremonies dress rehearsal, and offered a ticket for the actual ceremony.  But being the good sister that I am stuck to my promise to watch it with her on her BF’s big screen TV.  It was fun adding a colourful commentary, at least for me it was.  Sorry no pictures, we weren’t allowed to take any so if I posted some…

Walking up the steps to the ballroom of the convention centre every morning we were met with six screens each broadcasting a different feed.

There was always a “Beauty Cam” of Whistler, the IBC (International Broadcast Center at VCC) and the cauldron.  You know when the broadcasts cut to a quick shot in between breaks?  That’s what they are called, Beauty Cam.  We once had coworkers who were in Whistler Village find the camera and wave.  It may have made it on TV, you never know!

The live feeds were fun.  TV’s spread out all across the offices, conference rooms, and ballrooms.  A listing of what was scheduled on each channel was emailed out every morning, and since a TV was right by my desk at the end of a long row, I got to watch what I wanted.  Most of the time, and I still had to work of course.  Starting a 7am shift was definitely made easier with a morning show airing beside me.

Of course no broadcasting centre would be complete without something to broadcast.  CTV, NBC, European stations and others were set-up in the VCC, filming their interviews, coverage and what I believe is called lead-ins.  That I’ll explain soon.  I myself didn’t see too many athletes, of course being just a tad biased I would be looking  out for the Canadian ones.  Especially the Canadian men’s Curling team, I developed a major crush on one of them.  Apparently missed them by about 20 minutes… after already waiting an hour after my 12 hour shift before giving up and going home.

There was days off and fun times after work as well.  Using our accreditation (security passes) to get past the line-up into a LiveCity show, one in pouring rain and the other abruptly stopped four seconds into Alexisonfire when the stage was rushed.  Still… NO LINES.  The streets were filled with people singing, laughing, displaying flags and colours.  The impromptu renditions of “Oh Canada” were always a blast.  Going to curling, figure skating, women’s hockey and a medal ceremony with my mom and sister.

I could keep going with pictures and everything that happened, that would be an incredibly long post, so I shall leave you with some Best-Of moments and a Flickr page of pictures.

Some Best of Moments

Introducing a star struck fan to the Skeleton gold medal winner, John Montgomery.  I was walking out of our daily meeting and this kid was visibly shaking from excitement and nervousness at the sight of him.  I nonchalantly told him to wait and I would get him a picture.  Waiting until Mr. Montgomery was finished with his conversation and asked if he minded taking a picture with the fan.  He obliged, of course.  it was really cute.

Going to Curling, my sister seeing for the first time ever.  The fans were so loud and we got to see the Norwegian’s awesome pants.  And yep Canada “swept” it.

Getting a call at 5pm with the offer of four free tickets to the Russia vs Slovakia women’s hockey game at 7pm.  Fifth row behind the bench.  Thanks Boss man!

Watching Billy Bush from “Access Hollywood” trying to film his intros and the floatplanes kept taking off in the background, over and over and over again.  On more than once occasion, never ceased to crack me up.

Noticing that ‘tobaganning’ was displayed on screen and letting the guy in charge of the captions know – they’re room was right behind my desk.  “Tobogganing” wasn’t displayed again but they still needed the correction – and I caught it!

The wrap party after the men’s Gold Medal hockey game filled with food, booze and dancing after an intense two weeks… for a couple thousand people.  There were folks crashed out on the VCC’s furniture and having to work in a few hours, talking to members of the Russian media about their upcoming turn at things and dancing.  Did I mention that already?  Everyone was feeling a little rough the next day, and most came in closer to noon…

Knowing how badly my mom wanted to see a Canadian flag at the gold medal during the Victory Ceremony we went to, and not telling her when I figured out we would be seeing it.  I initially said they would award the medal in Whistler and we could see the live feed, but I was mistaken – and decided to let her believe it for the surprise.  It totally worked, she was so happy.

So there’s a bit about my life during the games.  As I said before, an amazing experience.  Please check out my Flickr page if you want to see more of what those crazy few weeks were like. *forgive the camera quality, just a little point and shoot*


A Geek Girl’s Mecca

X Files
Battlestar Galactica

Stargates series
Outer Limits
What do all of those shows have in common?
I’m sure you can think of a few, but wait there’s more, perhaps something similar to…
X-Men series
Fantastic Four series
I Robot
The Neverending Story
Blade series
Twilight series (well most of it)
Night at the Museum
Rocky IV
Aliens vs Predator
Ok ok… I know you all get it by now. All of these films and TV shows have been filmed in beautiful British Columbia. As a fan girl I get an immense amount of pride spotting BC and especially Vancouver landmarks in the movies so many people love.
Quite recently I watched the last bit of “Neverending Story” and for the first time fully realized that the shot was coming in from North Vancouver
My heart was very very happy indeed.
It goes beyond the little things of noticing a specific location in a movie or TV show that you watch. It’s the personal interactions you have with the filming. One of my favourite memories is watching a protest scene with a fireball at the end. The office I was sitting in was about a block away (on the 11th floor of the building below on the left side) but all day I could hear.
Photo by me – the monument is important
“Rah rah rah”
Looking out the window I see people shaking signs
and fists in the air in a very organized manner
“Rah rah rah”
Wooooooooosh – Big fireball shooting up into the sky
Exciting to see the first time, and as the day went on the fireball got bigger and bigger and bigger. I could quite literally feel the heat from it if I faced the windows. I was so excited. I knew it was for the most recent X-Men after a quick Google search and could not wait to see it on film. I have to admit I was a bit let down once I realized how little of that fireball we actually got to see, but I can’t help but smile. I saw that being filmed! I was there (sorta); I got to see what was happening!
Another favourite moment was when I was watching X-Files: I Want to Believe. That pivotal scene with Mulder and Scully in bed together, I literally sat up and went “Woah!” My curtains were the same material as their blanket, yeah that’s right those are my curtains in the middle image! Guess the set designers went shopping at the Army & Navy like I did.

I know – cool right?

I will admit I have been lazy with filming locations. If I had really wanted to (and with a vehicle rather than a bus pass) I could stake out many locations of films and television series alike. In fact quite recently I was taking our local rapid transit, Skytrain, over what I’m sure is a Smallville lot twice a day. And there are always notices in the local paper about what is filming around town. My friend just told me other day that he saw “Zane” from Eureka by his work. I saw a bunch of “Hellcats” by Canada Place while having appys with my mom and sister.
Sometimes it’s really obvious that what I’m watching was filmed locally. Especially when you see the same faces over and over again. Some sort of Canadian content law like we have on the radio? It’s fun though! And I doubt that I would feel the same way if I were living in NYC or LA where it’s commonplace as well. I think the difference is that Vancouver is made up to appear like all these other cities. To be able to pick out that the Golden Gate Bridge most think they are seeing, is actually the Lions Gate Bridge creates a feeling of pride to live in this beautiful city.
photo by me – Lions Gate Bridge
A few more of my fan-girl moments in brief:
An episode of Smallville where they didn’t bother to change the street sign for Burrard St. downtown.
The local buses I have spotted more than once on Fringe, particularly when they are meeting in front of this monument and the camera is spinning around the actors. That monument is actually right in front of the office building I was watching the X-Men scene from, you can see it in the photo.
Seeing the house from one of my favourite Outer Limits episodes, The SpiderKings, when leaving Horseshoe Bay on BC Ferries
An old friend from high school worked on the special effects make-up for Freddy vs Jason – he said “doing Freddy Krueger’s make-up was one of the best moments in my life”
Kevin Durand who was in X-Men Origins used to frequent the internet café I worked at, he’s such a sweetheart
Seeing the “NYC” subway stop that was recently in a Fringe episode. When I saw it wandering around downtown I didn’t know it would be on one of my favourite shows, then again it’s probably been used a lot.
And last but most definitely not least, watching the Winchester brothers’ race in a soapbox derby. The screen the camera is aiming at in the beginning of the video was where I was sitting, on the opposite side from the cameraman, so while I didn’t get to see them coming down the road I got a close up view of them on the screen! I was too excited to take pics of my own wanting to see those gorgeous demon hunters!

The list that I mentioned at the beginning is an incredibly small portion of all the movies and TV shows, which have been filmed in and around Vancouver. No matter what genre you’re interested in there’s sure to be some ‘local’ connection for a Vancouverite. Only one aspect of Vancouver being a “Geek Girl’s Mecca” – more to come!

A little mash-up to start your day

Now I’m not entirely sure if I haven’t seen this before because I’m a newly converted Whovian or if it’s been hiding somewhere until now.  But seriously?  An amazing mash-up.

Babelcolour Rap: Doctor Who vs Benny Hill vs Eminem


Very happy to share that I have placed my order for the “Whosicles” t-shirt from Ript Apparel.  They are only available for another 12 hours so get ordering!

Burn Baby Burn

I’ve really enjoyed the phenomenom that is True Blood these last couple of years… until this season.  This season has been painfully dull (in my humble opinion) and I have to admit I was very pleased to realize that this past Sunday was the finale.

While I haven’t watched it yet – tonight’s the night – I did read an amazing recap on the episode on io9.com

True Blood Season 3 Finale recap on io9.com

I’m keeping my fingers crossed that season 4 will be like Dexter’s season 4 and redeem itself.  Only another year to find out.

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