Hello and Happy Sunday, dear readers! Today’s edition is a bit later than usual, for a very good reason.
Normally, I write new editions of this here newsletter on Saturday mornings, as a nice kick-off to my weekend. Yesterday, however, I found myself spending the morning in my local car dealership, as I was turning in my prior leased car — a Toyota Yaris iA — and settling on a lease for my new car, a 2021 Toyota CH-R.
Before you hop in and yell at me about leases and such, please note that this is the arrangement which has worked best for me. I don’t really drive a ton of miles on a car (my prior lease was turned in at roughly 19k miles of my allotted 36k), even more that I work permanently from home, and given that the dealership, which is right down the street, covers all maintenance for 4 years, it’s a pretty sweet deal for me, even with carrying the payment.
Anyway, as I was sitting there waiting for my car, as paperwork was printed, credit was run, car was washed, etc., it struck me how different the car purchasing process is for me now at age 36.
I’ve never really been a “car guy” by any means, but it struck me rather hard this time the shift from “I need a car which works” to “I’d like a car which works, but works well” to “I’d like something newer”, and finally where I was now, “Hey, over the next 3 years we might have some need for extra space in our vehicle…so maybe we should actually talk this through”. Sure, I’m excited about having Apple CarPlay as a tech nerd, but this was probably the most pragmatic car purchase I’ve made ever. And I’m really damned excited about it. I guess this is what getting old is.
Now, onto the things…
Chances are, you probably don’t know the name of Peter Ramsey. But you probably know his work — films like Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse and Rise of the Guardians.
In turn you probably don’t know his amazing life story. But that’s what Anthony Breznican at Vanity Fair is here for, and sometimes, you just need a good story of someone rising above and doing great things as a shot in the arm:
Peter Ramsey’s filmmaking journey is as close to a superhero origin story as it gets. Someone who thinks he doesn’t belong discovers he actually has astounding abilities. His own heroes and icons become powerful mentors, guiding his way. There’s a crisis when things unexpectedly go bad and doubt overtakes him. Then resilience leads to comeback and triumph, all while he retains his aw-shucks charm.
It may sound a little bit by the numbers, but that’s how things really played out for the Oscar-winning codirector of Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse and the filmmaker behind 2012’s animated Rise of the Guardians. Ramsey is currently directing the new Netflix series Lost Ollie, about a beloved stuffed toy who is trying to find his way home, and several live-action projects are in competition for the next spot on his to-do list.
Guardians made Ramsey the first African American filmmaker to direct a big-budget animated feature, while Spider-Verse made him the first African American filmmaker to win the animated-feature Academy Award. Francis Ford Coppola calls him a vital collaborator; Ava DuVernay considers him a fellow champion for Hollywood inclusion; and Lionel Richie, Wyclef Jean, and LeBron James are among those lining up to work with him.
But how did he get here? Ramsey sometimes finds himself asking the same question.
Stop me if you’ve heard this one before: The Video Game Industry is an absolute nightmare. Grinding developers through hellacious crunch to release games on unrealistic timelines, while many of them get fired as soon as the project is done. Pretty awful, right?
Imagine if your immigration status depended on it.
Megan Farokhmanesh at The Verge shines a light on a struggle which the industry rarely focuses on.
Regardless of location, however, maintaining a successful game development career is always a challenge. Every year, studios suffer major layoffs, uprooting the lives of their employees. For immigrant workers, the problem is more complex. They don’t just lose a job. They might be forced to abandon their lives entirely and leave the country. This fear trickles down into different aspects of their careers, limiting where developers can afford to take jobs and how much leverage they have to ask for better pay or work conditions once they’re in.
“It was every day, just desperately looking at job searches,” Abalos says. “Whoever wants to take me, I’ll do it.”
Believe it or not, it’s been a decade since the debut of Game of Thrones, the HBO adaptation of George R.R. Martin’s popular book series, A Song of Ice and Fire. Unfortunately, it’s nearly been as long since fans were awaiting the next book in the series — The Winds of Winter — and with a version of the story played out on the small screen, fans are left asking, will George R.R. Martin EVER finish the series?
Ben Lindbergh at The Ringer says no, and he’s backed up his work, with the biggest issue stopping George R.R. Martin being…George himself:
On Wednesday morning, HBO’s official Game of Thrones Twitter account cryptically tweeted, “Winter is coming.” And as soon as they saw it, countless A Song of Ice and Fire fans, burned by years of false rumors and misleading potential teasers for The Winds of Winter, thought, “No, it’s not.”
This Saturday will mark the 10th anniversary of the airing of the first episode of Game of Thrones. This past Tuesday, another milestone passed mostly unobserved: the 10th anniversary of the publication of an interview in which author George R.R. Martin, fresh off the announcement of the release date for A Dance With Dragons (the fifth book in his beloved fantasy series), said, “Hopefully, the last two books will go a little bit quicker than this one has, but that doesn’t mean they’re going to be quick. Realistically, it’s going to take me three years to finish the next one at a good pace. I hope it doesn’t take me six years like this last one has.”
If only it had. A decade later—and roughly 11 years after Martin mentioned the first chapters ticketed for the penultimate installment of his series—Winds is still vaporware, aside from a smattering of sample chapters released long ago. At this late date, it’s almost amusing (if you’re into dark comedy) that Martin’s readers, spoiled by the two-year gaps between A Game of Thrones and A Clash of Kings and Clash and A Storm of Swords, were up in arms about the five- and six-year halts, respectively, between books 4 and 5. To paraphrase Old Nan, “Oh, my sweet summer children. What do you know of long waits?”
Remember: Don’t promise the Internet anything unless you can back it up.
See you next week.