Saturday, July 30, 2011

Boardwalk Empire Season 2 Begins Sept. 25

Boardwalk Empire Season 2 Premiere Date Announced


ATLANTIC CITY — “Things are changing in Atlantic City,” says Jimmy Darmody, a character portrayed by the actor Michael Pitt, at the beginning of the trailer — orteaser as HBO officially calls it — for the much anticipated second season ofBoardwalk Empire,HBO’s hit drama series that has been racking up Golden Globes and Emmy nominations and wins since its first season, which ran last fall.

This fall, Boardwalk Empire’s second season will start Sunday night, Sept. 25, at 9m, the same time slot it had last year for its debut season. The Prohibition period piece set in Atlantic City in the early 1920s, was one of the most successful programs on the cable channel in recent history and many critics — and, likely, HBO executives — are suggesting it may become as big as The Sopranos.

In Atlantic City, all of the international the attention has led to trolley tours around the historic seaside resort; Nosh Like Nucky and other dining and bar specials at the city’s restaurants and casinos — with one casino, Resorts, completely re-branding itself as a 1920s-themed property, with flapper girl uniforms for all of the on-property cocktail waitresses and throwback uniforms for the bell hops and parking attendants — as well as ’20s-era and Old A.C.-oriented programs, historical events, initiatives and exhibits presented by the ever-popular Atlantic City Free Public Library — where you can see the expanding Atlantic City Experience exhibit, as well as a rare original photo of thereal Nucky Thompson — Enoch “Nucky” Johnson — and a variety of special events with tie-ins to the show.

Last year, before the national live premiere on Sunday, Sept. 19, which was shown at Caesars, an official premiere party was held in New York City the week before, followed by a star-studded second premiere party — with most of the cast in town for the event — held in Atlantic City at One Atlantic, overlooking the ocean atop The Pier Shops at Caesars.
During the Caesars premiere event on Sept. 19, the Atlantic City Convention & Visitors Authority (ACCVA), Atlantic City Weekly, Stockton College, and the ACFPL, teamed up to plan and present Atlantic City History: Conversations & Storytelling, a one-hour panel discussion with five Atlantic City historians, writers, museum curators and “old-timers,” who spoke to the crowd at Caesars, an hour before the 9pm premiere episode being shown live, about a variety of topics with regard to Atlantic City history.

The event was turned into a 13-part video series, all episodes of which can be seen by clicking here.

As of now, nothing has been revealed by Caesars Entertainment or HBO about premiere events in Atlantic City, and the ACCVA has not sent out any related news releases to the press.
By the time summer is winding down, Atlantic City — as well as the rest of the country (hello tourism district people!) — will be going gaga forBoardwalk Empire styles, music, clothes, dances — everything — and the city itself, attempting to pull itself out of slump with regard to casino revenues, attracting new business and development projects, will be gearing up for a full-blown 1920s makeover ala last year.

Boardwalk Empire is the best thing that has happened to Atlantic City in a long, long time. Perhaps it could save the city.

Join our Boardwalk Empire Fan Club page on Facebook and you could win a poster from the first season of Boardwalk Empire. (Must be 18 or older to enter)

Whaddya think? A Boardwalk Empire: Season One DVD with the two HBO documentaries on Atlantic City among the bonus features in time for the holiday shopping season?


Friday, July 29, 2011

Boardwalk Empire Speakeasy

Boardwalk Empire Speakeasy from Trailer promotional video

To view Speakeasy Tour, please visit:

HBO’s “Boardwalk Empire” Taps Brainstorm Digital VFX to Bring 1920s Atlantic City to Life
Christina Young

September 30th, 2010

CGI Enhanced Atlantic City Boardwalk, Courtesy: HBO

Though gangsters, politicians and corruption drive the drama in HBO's new hit series Boardwalk Empire writer-creator Terence Winter was determined to give the 1920s Atlantic City location the starring role it deserved. But with today's Atlantic City bearing almost no trace of its storied past, the challenge was to recreate the authentic period details and the scenic, expansive views the boardwalk provided.

Nearly two years prior to the series premiere, co-executive producer Eugene Kelly approachedBrainstorm Digital, the New York-based VFX studio that specializes in photo-realistic backgrounds and digital effects, for their advice on how to visually bring the glitzy, Prohibition-era boardwalk to life.

“We knew the series presented a huge challenge. Practically nothing existed of the original architecture that lined the boardwalk nearly one hundred years ago,รข€? says Richard Friedlander, president of Brainstorm Digital. Without the major use of visual effects, the series might not have been possible, at least on the scale Kelly and executive producers Winter and Tim Van Patten were hoping for.?

Once Brainstorm sold HBO on their approach: computer generated 3D imagery in conjunction with 2D matte paintings, an extensive pre-visualization effort got underway. Using computer modeling, Brainstorm began problem solving the many practical, technical and artistic issues they knew filming would pose. Brainstorm proposed that if a section of boardwalk was built, CGI and set extensions would enable their team to accurately create the various storefronts and landmark hotels, the expansive coastal boardwalk views, and numerous piers jutting into the sea.

The first risky, though well-calculated decision was choosing to construct and film on an outdoor set. One issue was lighting, explained Friedlander. If we filmed indoors, the consensus was the lighting would never feel real. Real sunlight and weather conditions were important to the visual realism.?

Though multiple locations were considered the set was ultimately located in a large open lot in Greenpoint, Brooklyn. After several months of set construction, the first of more than 30 large steel shipping containers were lowered onto the lot, painted blue and stacked like building blocks to create the massive backdrop to accommodate the CGI work that would replace the existing backdrop–the Manhattan skyline in one direction and Greenpoint in others.

Brainstorm worked closely with series historical consultant Ed McGinty and production designer Bob Shaw to determine exactly what would be seen beyond the physical sets and practical locations. The production did an amazing job of locating small bits of period accurate locations that we could digitally build upon, says Friedlander. No visual stone was left unturned.

The production and Friedlander also felt the boardwalk vistas would require some augmentation to Brainstorm's highly regarded creative team. Additional matte painters contributed their talents, including one who focused exclusively on creating the coastal skies. Most significant was enlisting the matte paintings and CG art direction of Robert Stomberg, whose impressive list of credits include several HBO mini-series The Pacific, John Adams and feature films including Avatar for which he received the 2010 Academy Award for best art direction.

In addition to Atlantic City, Brainstorm also recreated expansive views of 1920s Chicago and New York City's Times Square. Every detail from the specific buildings, automobiles, trolleys, Broadway signage and ads, down to the costuming of the pedestrians are period accurate. Pretty much everything in these shots are digitally generated, except for a few people and pigeons,says Friedlander. Sharp-eyed viewers will enjoy the detailed accuracy of a distant zeppelin flying above the New York skyline.

“‘Many TV series confine themselves to traditional interior sets to establish the period, explains Friedlander. “‘Boardwalk’ encompasses both interior and extensive exterior shooting, adding the CGI component which is not typically seen on TV. Visually, it even exceeds what is currently contained in most of the feature films being made today.

Though “Boardwalk” depicts a period nearly 100 years ago, it took the intervening years to develop today's advanced level of digital technology and artistry to visually immerse the viewer in a long-lost time and place. Without Brainstorm’s creations, Winter tells Wired magazine, “We wouldn’t have had a boardwalk or an empire.”

About Brainstorm Digital VFX

New York-based Brainstorm Digital has created visual effects and title sequences for award-winning films by the most accomplished directors in the industry. Founded in 2005 by artists Richard Friedlander and Glenn Allen, Brainstorm’s current and completed projects include HBO’s “Boardwalk Empire,” Going the Distance, “Julie and Julia,” “Angels and Demons,” “Frost/Nixon,” and “Synecdoche, New York.”

For more information visit or call 646-330-5245.

Boardwalk Empire: Superfad Conducts Speakeasy Tour & More
Jessie Nagel

September 20th, 2010

HBO collaborated with Superfad to create the branding campaign for on-channel, off-channel, and on-line promotional pieces for the highly anticipated new show Boardwalk Empire, created by Martin Scorsese and Terence Winter. The expansive campaign not only included these promo elements, but also unique show packages for several supplemental documentaries that will be broadcast alongside “Boardwalk Empire” when it launches on September 19th.

The Superfad team worked closely with HBO to create designs that complemented the beautifully shot footage from the new series. A signature “Nucky” carnation design was created that tied many of the promo elements together. Superfad referenced the work of baroque painter Caravaggio and used dramatic lighting and gritty textures to create the carnation. Superfad began by treating photos of carnations to achieve the look, and then the 3D team created the carnation itself in Softimage XSI.

The show packages for the supplemental documentaries that will air alongside the HBO series use unique historical references to the 1920's era. Some of these documentaries include “Atlantic City: The Original Sin City, Speakeasy Tour The Color Barrier,Set Tour with Bob Shaw, Making of Boardwalk Empire and About Boardwalk Empire.

To view Speakeasy Tour, please visit:

Speakeasy Tour

Boardwalk Empire Pier, Beach & Boardwalk

Boardwalk Empire Beach & Boardwalk

Strolling down the Virtual Boardwalk

Thursday, July 28, 2011

Terry Winter Talks to Tim

By Tim Molloy

Thu Jul 28, 2011 5:58pm EDT

"Boardwalk Empire" creator Terence Winter has already figured out how the show is ending.

He doesn't know when it will be, of course. He hopes for five or six seasons of the HBO Prohibition drama, which returns for its second season in the fall after its first scored 18 Emmy nominations, including for best drama.

Endings are especially important to Winter after his run on "The Sopranos," which resolved with perhaps the most disputed conclusion in TV history: A dinner out for Tony Soprano and family that ended with an abrupt cut to black.

Winter, thankfully, won't say anything about how his "Empire" will end -- except that it probably won't be happy for all involved.

"This is a gangster show. As you saw on 'The Sopranos,' bad things do tend to happen to people," he told TheWrap. "I don't know if it will be a cause of so much debate, but I hope it makes people wonder and think, certainly."

Winter, a Brooklyn-born former attorney who won four Emmys for "The Sopranos," two of them for writing, talked to TheWrap about how he writes, what he misses about the '80s, and how much he's willing to change history.

Q: As the showrunner, you not only write your own scripts but are also in charge of all the scripts. How much writing do you ultimately do?

A: "I take a pass on every script. You'll have a script that's assigned to someone else on the writing staff. I'll take my pass through it so my fingerprints kind of go on everything. That doesn't mean I'm rewriting a lot...sometimes scripts will come in and they don't need a lot of work at all. And then a lot of times the story changes as we're going along. But yeah, in general, I'm the filter through which every script has to pass before it gets on TV.

Q: Where do you write?

A: "I try to do it at home if I can because it gives me a little more latitude. I have two really little kids, so...once they go to bed is when I get work done. I'll also go into the office on a weekend and just spend a day there.

"I sort of trained myself early on to be able to write anywhere. Because I knew I'd get myself in trouble if I became one of those writers who could only work under certain conditions and it had to be the same desk or the same window at Starbucks or whatever it was. If you're going to be working in TV, there's going to be times when you're writing in a trailer or writing on set or just finding a dark stairwell with a laptop so you can sit down and write a scene.

Q: How much time do you need for it to be a productive session?

"I generally need at least about a 90-minute clip of time to get anything meaningful done.
I'm always amazed at people who can sit down for 15 minutes and work. I think my brain takes at least that long to get revved up. Then I have to add some more time to procrastinate and surf the Internet and then there's the actual 40 or 50 minutes of actual writing time. And I can also then write in chunks of 12 or 14 hours. When I get going I can really get into a zone where I don't get up from the chair except to eat and occasionally take a nap for 20 minutes when I need to. I really like those long sessions because it's really living inside the script."

Q: Sometimes watching your show or "Mad Men" I think how great it must have been to live in a time before everything was online and immediate.

A: "I'm nostalgic for the 1980s, where you didn't have to call someone back until you got home to listen to your answering machine. Now you can't hide from anyone."

Q: Is part of the attraction of "Boardwalk Empire" being able to write about characters who can disappear for a few days, without anyone calling them?

A: "Writing a show like "The Sopranos," if someone wants to convey information to someone, they just pick up the cell phone and call them. On our show unless the guy is actually near a physical telephone -- and there weren't at all that many -- or they saw somebody face to face, it takes time to get that information across. In a lot of ways that sometimes affects the storytelling because it's not like Nucky's character can just pick up a cell phone. We've got to explain: How did so-and-so end up in his office? You have to get messages to people through Western Union. It really does kind of screw you up sometimes."

Q: How much pressure do you feel to be accurate when you're writing about real people? You've replaced the real-life Nucky Johnson with Steve Buscemi's Nucky Thompson character, for example, which gives you more dramatic options -- since we can all go online and see when the real Nucky died.

A: "I try to be faithful to the history of that person and the spirit of that person. For example with Al Capone or Lucky Luciano, there's a lot that's known about their history. A lot is also not known about their history. For example, I know Al Capone spent a lot of time in Atlantic City, so I feel like I have creative license to imagine he might have been friends with a guy like Jimmy Darmody. And then knowing enough about Al Capone's personality, I feel comfortable putting him in situations with these fictional characters. But I'll never change the history of a real character. I'll fictionalize them."

Q: How much input did you have into the ending of "The Sopranos"?

A: "David had pitched me that ending sometime around Season 4. He said he knew how he wanted to do it, he pitched me a version of what became that ending, and I loved it immediately. So there was basically no input, except to say I was completely on board with it. I thought it was great."

Q: So I'm sorry to revisit this yet again, but maybe with some time passing you can tell me whether my interpretation is right. Tony's dead, right? We saw a guy wearing a Member's Only jacket, which I think references the "Members Only" episode you wrote, in which Tony was previously shot. The Members Only guy is kind of lurking around, and then everything goes black. Members Only guy shot Tony, right?

A: "The Members Only jacket is...just an article of clothing that sort of reads a little ominous. A lot of these guys are throwbacks to a different generation and they might tend to be possibly somebody that you might be nervous about. It's really subject to interpretation. The idea is that when you're Tony Soprano, even going out for ice cream with your family is fraught with looking over your shoulder and paranoia. Whether or not someone came out of the bathroom that night and killed him is almost of irrelevant. One day someone's going to come out of that bathroom or a bathroom somewhere."