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December 22nd, 2000. The day principle photography will end on the LORD OF THE RINGS trilogy.

This past weekend, folks traveled from all over the U.S. to come to that party I threw to celebrate and get down and dirty with a running over cup of cinema. Many told them they were insane to come. They know otherwise. There is an impulse within the film geek that makes a compulsion a reality. Camp outside the theater to guarantee possession of a STAR WARS ticket! Throw that OSCAR party! Create the best Halloween costume ever! And to others... you're a strange bird. Well, I'm an even bigger flightless funny fowl... I'm the one that has a history for flying to France for Vampire films. That cross-dresses for a chance to see a Jim Carrey comedy early. And now...

Now I fly to New Zealand just so I can be there when the final martini shot of this... the film with the greatest geek hope being made on Earth finishes. I want to be there at the battle of Minas Tirith. I want to see the look in the crew's eyes as they realize this shot is the last one. I want to see Jackson tie a strip of cloth about his brow and screams out, "This shot is for all the Dereks in the house!" heheheh...

Life is such a preciously short endeavor, and there are sets and places that one wishes with all their heart that they could have been witness to. The UNIVERSAL HORROR films... To be on set for FORBIDDEN PLANET! To be off camera watching Harrison Ford chasing and screaming at a little platoon of StormTroopers through the halls of the Death Star..... Imagine watching Kubrick film the jogging scene from 2001.... Watching the midgets working on the plane in CASABLANCA... For me, buying this ticket to New Zealand... To sit and to pay witness to this.... whether at great distance or 3 feet away.... well it is a joy. As I go, I remember an answer to a question I asked Peter Jackson

"20. What gets you shaking like a kid on Christmas Morning on this project? In otherwords, when you look at the films, what are you dying to capture on film, and how will you do it?

These types of intangible questions are the toughest. I guess I'm lucky to have only one!

I want to take movie-goers into Middle-earth, in a way that is believable and powerful.

Imagine this: 7000 years has gone by. We take a filmcrew to Helm's Deep ... it's now looking a little older, but still impresses as a mighty fortress. The Art Dept set to work, patching up holes and removing tourist signs. The current owner strikes a hard bargain, but New Line money finally gets us permission to film there for 6 weeks. Rohan heraldry is studied and faithfully reproduced. Theoden's original saddle is in a museum - far too valuable to use in the movie, but an exact copy is made. Archeological expeditions have unearthed an incredibly preserved mummified Uruk-hai carcass. We make exact prothestic copies of these viscous killers ... use CG to give us a 10,000 strong army. We have cast actors who look like Aragorn and Theoden. In an amazing casting coup, Legolas has agreed to return from Valinor with Gimli to recreate their part in this cinematic retelling of the events at the end of the Third Age. They stand on the battlements of the Deeping Wall, wind blowing in their hair, leading a group of extras proudly portraying the brave garrison of Rohan soldiers ... Uruk drums roll up the valley ... huge lighting rigs flash simulated lightening ... rain towers send gallons of water into the air ... on an assistant director's signal, twenty 35mm cameras start rolling simultaneously ... the battle of Helm's Deep is about to be captured on film.

Sure, it's not really THE LORD OF THE RINGS ... but it could still be a pretty damn cool movie.

Cheers, Peter J "

I'm going to New Zealand... and with any look... over the next 12 days, my fingers and this keyboard will take you as well... The greatest adventure is what lies ah... head....

P.S. To answer CryptKeeper below.... I am.

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