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Q&A with J.J. Abrams: Alias Underground

Discussion in 'Cast-Related News' started by AliasALIAS, Mar 19, 2003.

  1. AliasALIAS

    AliasALIAS Guest

    From Apple.com
    [this is a little bit old, but interesting]

    You Spy: Become a Double Agent in Alias Underground

    For Your Eyes Only: Inside the World of Alias

    Q&A with J.J. Abrams

    J.J. Abrams is a multi-talented guy with skills in the music, graphic arts, writing, directing and producing disciplines. He also loves videogames and Macs, dual passions that he’s able to fulfill while playing Alias Underground.

    His career in Hollywood includes screenwriting credits on the movies Armageddon, Forever Young, and Regarding Henry, as well as the upcoming Superman film from Warner Bros. He was the co-creator and co-producer of the show Felicity, which ran on The WB network for four years, before moving to ABC to create Alias. He created the logos and theme songs for both shows on his Macs.

    Q. Are you involved with creating the missions in the Alias Underground game?

    A. Yeah, I’ve been going over it with the two writer/producers who have been developing it. The point person has been Jesse Alexander, with Rick Orci, who is one of our writers. They sort of run everything by me and I know what the missions are and go over the obstacles and what the story is to make sure it’s part of our world.

    Q. Which mission is your favorite?

    A. I think my favorite is The Circumference, which is an incredibly cool game. The way they fit it together is very cool. The fact that it’s free is also a mind-blower. Most games you have to pay for, and the idea that this one is free, I just love that.

    Q. How do the missions fit into the show’s storyline?

    A. Well, for example, the embassy mission is something that doesn’t really exactly connect with an episode of our show. In the pilot, we had an embassy and it wasn’t exactly what’s in the game. For example, there is a similarity in that it connects to our show but you’re not walking through the exact steps in the show.

    In the Circumference mission, she has the blue hair and is wearing the same outfit she was in the TV episode. And in the embassy mission she’s wearing the red dress she was wearing in the pilot. So there are visual and thematic connections, but it’s not literally moment-for-moment.

    Q. What are some of your favorite games?

    A. When I was younger, I was one of those people who would play Super Mario Bros. back in the day when you couldn’t save it, so you had to leave it on all day just that you could come back to it instead of starting over. And then you come home and find out your roommate kicked the cord out of the socket.

    So I love games like that. I was probably the biggest fan of the old Infocom text adventure games, like Zork and Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy and Planetfall. For someone who was aspiring to be a writer — well, I don’t know if I was ever aspiring to be a writer; I really wanted to be a movie director — it was an amazing way to exist in a world.

    Lately, I love certain technologies and certain games, even the latest Mario incarnation on GameCube. It’s just a beautiful technological achievement. And there are other games that have an enormous breadth and scale to them. Obviously, games like Grand Theft Auto 3, where you have to hand it to the creators because they’ve created a world that’s so compelling and enormous. I remember when I was a kid playing driving games, I always wanted to drive off the road and go somewhere else, and that's what that game is all about.

    Q. Are the Alias Underground missions more open-ended like that?

    A. It is sort of ultimately a puzzle thing that you have to do to complete the mission, but at the end of the day, you get extra points for finding certain artifacts and certain intelligence. The fun of the game is that it’s this ongoing, evolving game. It starts out with the training and the embassy mission, but as it goes it opens up into a whole different world.

    Q. What sort of graphics work do you do?

    A. I do a lot of design work. I’ve actually worked on scenes from the show in Final Cut Pro. One time, as a joke, I uploaded the dailies from the show to my PowerBook while we were in the editing room. I started to put together a scene in Final Cut Pro that was mocking the scene we were doing on the AVID. I had different takes of the characters repeating themselves so it seemed like they were crazy.

    Q. What do you use DVD Studio Pro for?

    A. Well, when we did the Alias pilot, I burned it to DVD for friends. I’ve also taken home videos and put them on DVD. It’s amazing that you have the ability to author DVDs with the same kind of menu abilities the pros use.

    I was just at Skywalker Ranch looking at their facility with the director and producer of Superman, and it’s an amazing place. You look at the equipment they use, and you see Macs everywhere, especially in the sound design area. And this is equipment a consumer can go out and buy, so it becomes about the ability and the talent, not the access [to hardware and software].

    Apple gives people like myself tools that literally make life fun and allow you to express artistic ideas and play games and be more productive. And not only can you get the work done better and more creatively and more professionally, but you can also do it on a computer that’s aesthetically pleasing.

    Q. What sort of audio stuff do you do?

    A. I did the theme songs to Felicity and Alias. I would be in music full-time if I could be. I love it. I would love to score a movie, but when I work with the Alias music guy, I’m humbled and snap back to reality.

    The TV show premiered in the fall of 2001 and quickly became one of ABC’s most popular programs, in the process dispelling the myth that viewers only care about reality TV and crime dramas. It earned 11 Emmy nominations after its first season.

    Alias fans enjoy not only the secret agent intrigue but also the complex conspiracy theories that involve the fictional Rambaldi — whose writings include a drawing that looks a lot like Sydney — as well as The Alliance, SD-6’s parent organization, and other mysterious entities. Even the seemingly innocent bank Credit Dauphine, where Sydney worked in college, has links to this tangled web.

    If you want to explore more of the world of Alias, visit the official ABC site, the Alias Underground site or any of the fan sites on the web, including Secret Life of Alias and Alias TV, among others. There’s also an enjoyable fan fiction site called CreditDauphine.net.

    The Characters

    Sydney Bristow: She thought she was working for the CIA when SD-6 recruited her, but she soon learned the truth. After SD-6 killed her fiancé, Danny Hecht, because he knew too much, she joined the CIA and discovered that her father is a double-agent for both organizations too.

    Jack Bristow: Sydney’s dad has a long history of working for the CIA and SD-6. His wife was a KGB assassin before she seemed to mysteriously die (she’s back for the second season, but no one is sure what happened to her); the spy life seems to be a popular line of work in the Bristow family. He and Sydney were estranged until she became a double-agent for the CIA too.

    Michael Vaughn: Some say he has romantic feelings for Sydney, who requested that he oversee her CIA assignments. His father was a CIA agent who was killed by Sydney’s mother. What happens when the Vaughn and Bristow families get together for Christmas?

    Marshall Flinkman: He’s SD-6’s answer to James Bond’s Q. He builds the cool gadgets that Sydney gets to use during her missions.

    Arvin Sloane: Sloane is an ex-CIA agent who runs SD-6.

    Marcus Dixon: Sydney teams up with agent Dixon during her SD-6 assignments. He honestly believes that SD-6 is a good group, which leaves Sydney with conflicted feelings over whether or not to tell him the truth. In the secret agent world, though, too much information can cause premature death.

    Milo Giacomo Rambaldi: This enigmatic 15th century figure left behind a series of notebooks that contain cryptic writings and strange illustrations. Many of his papers include a watermark, known as “the eye of Rambaldi,” that shows up only under black light.

    The Organizations

    SD-6: “SD” stands for “Section Disparu,” which means “the section that doesn’t exist” in Latin. It pretends to be part of the CIA, but it’s really one of 12 branches of The Alliance, for whom it trades in industrial intelligence, weapons, medical technology, military secrets and computer advancements.

    The Alliance: Twelve wealthy former intelligence officers from around the world originally started The Alliance. It currently has 10 directors, each responsible for a different “SD” organization. Their goal, of course, is to control the world without anyone even knowing of their existence.
  2. GO Syd

    GO Syd Rocket Ranger

    Dec 13, 2002
    i love the game does ne1 play it

    that explains why in raid on sd6 marshalls valt code is 2209 (47 squared)
  3. verdantheart

    verdantheart Guest

    Fascinating interview. Thanks for posting it!

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