Sunday, November 1, 2009

Ongoing Discussion Thread [November, 2009]

So where do we go from here?...

Radio City's Fellowship concerts have come and gone. No live LOTR performances are scheduled until February, 2010. The Hobbit continues to churn away behind tightly closed doors. And the book, the so-called central thesis of this blog, is being reworked and retooled with April in the crosshairs.

As we march into the early holiday season, we must come to grips with another yearend without word from Middle-earth.

I think we've all come to think of this last quarter of the year as Lord of the Rings time. I can remember the producers on the original films mulling over the same effect, often crediting it to a "nesting instinct." It could be a manmade phenomenon, of course. We have used the yearend holiday platform to launch LOTR films, merchandise, festivals, and so on. People just got used to that. But maybe there's something of a hobbit in all of us, ready to curl up by the fire for a few months, content with our bountiful diversions as the weather outside summons its worst.

But the funny this is, we -- some of us -- are running headlong back into Middle-earth right now. We just can't ask you to join us until the spring!

I received a packet in the mail on Friday. Since I'd never actually seen them, I request a few of the Radio City souvenir programs. Just something for my own archives. They were beautiful, by the way... although I wish the book's title had been spelled correctly in the special thanks credits! Ahem. Anyway that, for me, sealed the Radio City Fellowship experience. Our glorious weekend was successful, survived and stored -- now repositioned as a cherished memory.

By grand design, the following day a second parcel appeared in my mailbox. This one was was full of materials pertaining to the book's redesign. As I've mentioned, we're back to the grindstone this November, as we re-layout the book to match our grander notions. I don't want to say too much here, because this is still an open-ended process in a few ways. We're making some big business/creative decisions this week that effect us as much as you. It's all very exciting, to say the least! The point is however, receiving these packages back-to-back -- the last Radio City keepsake and the first physical evidence of our refurbished book production -- created a lovely "turn the page moment" in my mind.

I'm telling you, our late summer legal two-step is going to turn out to be the best problem we ever had. Last summer we genuinely created something we were all proud of. But every production of this sort involves compromises. That's a reality of creation. As we enter our unexpected round two, I'm amazed at how many "livable compromises" have been reborn and celebrated as creative opportunities. Many of you came up to me at Radio City to say how sorry you were the book wasn't there, but that you were glad to see I was taking it all in stride. I felt like saying "Yes, well ask me why I'm smiling! Go on, give me an excuse to spill just a few beans!"

The overarching point here is this: as the weather now begins to turn (at least in some corners of the world), and that little table sitting at fireside seems a bit light and wants for adornment, know that there are already parties in Middle-earth preparing for your arrival. This spring will bring the world premiere of The Return of the King Live to Projection, The Two Towers will debut in London, the cameras will roll on The Hobbit, and at long last, you should have The Music of The Lord of the Rings Films and The Rarities Archive to hold your table fast to the floor.

We are officially back to work now.
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