Posts filed under SPT News

Marvel Cinematic Universe Guidebook in Stores Today, Citizen Jane in Theaters Friday!

2017 is shaping out to be pretty darn hectic. I'll attempt to do my best at keeping shameless self-promotion to a tolerable minimum. But this week's a big one.

The first collected volume of the Marvel Cinematic Universe Guidebook is out today. Additionally, a feature film I co-produced called Citizen Jane: Battle for the City hits theaters and on-demand this Friday. Talk about two different projects releasing in the same week... but hold onto that thought, we'll come back to that. They might be more connected than you think.

Let's start with the Marvel Cinematic Universe Guidebook. My part in the book was small, but I was honored to be a contributor to the original monthly releases and can't wait to have this 192-page collection sitting on the shelf. The first hardcover volume collects the encyclopedic entries for the original Iron Man film through Thor: The Dark World. The famed OHOTMU (Official Handbook of the Marvel Universe) team was incredibly gracious and kind to let this newbie tag along, and I learned so much working with them. I can't recommend this book enough to both die-hard and casual fans alike. It'll be available starting today in local brick and mortar stores, Barnes and Noble (and on Nook!), and of course via Amazon (and on Kindle!). Volume 2 won't be far behind, with a December 2017 release date and pre-orders already available.

Next up, Citizen Jane: Battle for the City. About two years ago, I jumped onto good friend Corey Reeser's staff at Altimeter Films to help he and Matt Tyrnauer wrap up several projects. The first feature film release of those projects is Citizen Jane. This is a documentary that focuses on urban planning and a question of how a city should grow and function. It explores that question through the two very different viewpoints of Jane Jacobs and Robert Moses. It's a fascinating subject and the film gives a great primer to the uninitiated (like me). I've been proud to be a part of the post-production process. It was incredibly challenging to see the film through finishing, mix and delivery, and I've also been part of the social media team. A theatrical run starts April 21st, and the film is also available via on-demand through IFC Films. For more information, check out the Altimeter Films website here.

You might be thinking, "Troy, that's very cool but why are you lumping these two things into one post?" The answer could be chalked up to sheer laziness. Or the fact I'm on a deadline and pressed for spare time. But check this out - - I'm about to blow your mind. Granted, I've since learned that I'm not the only one who has noticed this connection. But just the same, I'll explore it. Ready?

I bet I can connect our documentary film about Jane Jacobs and Robert Moses' battle over city planning to the Marvel Cinematic Universe.

In the first season of the Netflix Daredevil series, Wilson Fisk (played by Vincent D'Onofrio) looks to rebuild the neighborhood he loves in the image of his choosing. Hell's Kitchen, where he grew up, has been overtaken by crime, slums, and affordable housing. Which makes it a desirable locale for two lawyers on their own who do a lot of work pro-bono for those in need like Matt Murdock and Foggy Nelson. But Fisk would love for the grime to be torn down and replaced by shiny and more modern, high-income yielding property. Fisk believes what he's doing to be just, even though his methods and underground connections are highly questionable.

In one of the most terrifying moments of the first season, Fisk breaks into the home of reporter Ben Urich. He attempts to explain himself to Urich, pleading that he's not the bad guy. He just wants what's best for the city that he loves. As he sits ominously in the darkness, the production has very explicitly chosen to highlight a crucial part of set decoration over his shoulder: the seminal biography on Robert Moses, The Power Broker. The speech he gives to Urich could be right out of Moses' own testimonial found within the pages of the biography.

Sure enough, if you watch our documentary Citizen Jane: Battle for the City, Robert Moses believes what he's doing to be right. That there's a cancer in his city. He wants to tear it out so that the city can heal. And, one would imagine, to prosper financially. Though the comparison stops about there, there is one further piece to the connection here:

In Citizen Jane: Battle for the City - Robert Moses is voiced by none other than the great Vincent D'Onofrio himself.

For a much more thorough examination, the New Republic wrote a great article at the time of the production that I've since discovered. The author also goes so far as to compare Jane Jacobs to Daredevil. I won't cover that ground, as it might retread on my prior examination that Jane Jacobs is a bit like RoboCop. The New Republic article is a fascinating read that I highly recommend, especially after you view the new documentary as a primer.

So there you have it. Two seemingly unrelated thoughts melded into one. What's next to shamelessly plug? In September, Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. fans will be able to get their hands on the fourth installment of the Declassified series. October is going to see the release of a fun book that I can't quite talk about yet (but is up for pre-order for those with fine-tuned investigative skills). And December, as mentioned will be the second hardcover collection of the GMCU!

And in 2018, I'll attempt to hibernate to recover.

A Conversation with Author Troy Benjamin at The Marvel Report!

 Ming-Na Wen (and Arthur) showing of the first season Declassified book! (Photo Courtesy Ming-Na Wen's Twitter)

Ming-Na Wen (and Arthur) showing of the first season Declassified book! (Photo Courtesy Ming-Na Wen's Twitter)

With great thanks to Lauren at The Marvel Report, I recently engaged in a fun conversation about the process behind writing the Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. Declassified books, specifically Marvel's Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. Season Three Declassified (on shelves and in stores now, go buy it - it's fun)!

Here's a small sample of the interview along with a link to check out the full article!

Walk us through your writing process: are you on set during filming? Do you have to wait to see what happens when the episodes air? Do you get to visit the set and conduct interviews during filming season?
Step one: procrastinate. Step two: panic. Just kidding to my amazing editors Jeff and Sarah, I promise I’m working hard! The first step is getting the scripts and reading them over with a fine-tooth comb, then looking at the schedule and seeing when key moments or set pieces are being filmed. Then I’ll go on set and observe as much as I can. I like to be a fly on the wall and just see how things are done, while also taking notes as I discover things happening. I’ll be writing both the episode synopses and the behind the scenes entries as we go and occasionally getting some one on one interviews to capture some thoughts in the moment. Because of the nature of filmmaking, things change and are constantly fluid so I definitely watch the network aired episodes multiple times and make changes as necessary. Depending on the schedule of everyone involved, I like to do several waves of interviews so that I get thoughts in the moment, then with a little bit of distance, then at the end of the season looking back on everything as a whole.

Give the full article a read at The Marvel Report here!

Get Declassified Once Again with Marvel's Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. Season Three Declassified!

Now available at online booksellers like Amazon and Barnes & Noble, local comic shops, or wherever fine publications are sold - Marvel's Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. Season Three Declassified by Troy Benjamin! This 248 page hardcover continues the tradition of providing an excellent resource to fans of the series and the Marvel Cinematic Universe by giving you a full and detailed episode guide along with analysis from the writers, producers, and cast of the show, as well as looks behind the scenes on the stunts, visual effects, costumes, props, even the sounds required on a weekly basis for ABC's hit series!

Among the features of this season's book:

- A foreword penned by Daisy Johnson herself, Chloe Bennet talking about her experiences on the show.

- "The Sound of S.H.I.E.L.D." a top to bottom look behind how sound factors into each and every episode of the series, from what is recorded during production (and what is not) to what is added later in post-production. What does Daisy's "Quake" ability sound like? Do they smash a lot of car windows to get that sound? Find out in the book!

- A changed Director Coulson, Clark Gregg on love found and love lost - and what the tragedy he experiences in Season Three does to forever change his character.

- A look back on the evolution of Grant Ward into Hive, including conceptual artwork and commentary from the show runners and Brett Dalton himself!

- L.O.V.E. on S.H.I.E.L.D. - just why are relationships so difficult in the modern spy workplace? And how and why was this the right time for two "cursed" lovers to come together in the series? Elizabeth Henstridge and Iain De Caestecker give you their thoughts in this year's book!

As always, these behind the scenes tomes are such a joy to write - hopefully you'll enjoy reading this season's book as much as I enjoyed writing it!

In a Store Near You: Marvel's Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. Season Two Declassified!

About this time last year, I had the incredible experience of writing my first behind the scenes book for the amazing television show Marvel's Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. and its first season. I consider myself so thankful and lucky that they asked me back to write a follow-up for the second season, and didn't want to let them down (nor fans of the first) by not making the second book bigger and better than the last.

Once again, there's so many people to thank that helped me out, dedicating their time and providing assets and amazing conversations that make the book what they are. And the problem is that once you start naming names, you inevitably always leave someone incredibly crucial out. So a very heartfelt thank you to anyone and everyone at Marvel, in front of and behind the camera on Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. and to all those that have supported both books.

Thanks to everyone that contributed, there isn't a doubt in my mind that Marvel's Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. Season Two Declassified is a definitive look behind the scenes of the show's second season: episode synopsis and analysis, behind the scenes anecdotes and details, artwork, storyboards, visual effects breakdowns, and incredible photography from some of the best unit photographers in the business. Even if you aren't a fan of the show (which you should be, but it's okay, I'll forgive you) hopefully the book is a great look into what it takes to create such an elaborate show on a week-to-week basis.

Once again, I kind of felt like Young William from Almost Famous - I was the uncool kid getting to hang with the super-cool rock stars and getting to tell their story. But where William's mandate was just to "make the band look cool," I didn't have to work too hard in order to convey the Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.'s coolness. 

You can order the book here through Amazon, head to your local bookstore like Barnes and Noble or comic shop and purchase it, or buy it from that creepy guy with the gym bag that always offers you watches and "new movies." Wait, on second thought - scratch that, don't buy it from that last guy, it'll probably have the Declassified cover but be a bunch of takeout menus inside or something.