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James Zahn

James Zahn

About James: A work-from-home Dad with a pair of daughters (Released in 2009 and 2012) - James Zahn is THE ROCK FATHER™. 

Bringing over two decades of experience in the entertainment industry into the family realm, Zahn is an Illinois-based Entertainment Writer, Media Personality, Commentator, Adventurer and Raconteur. 

He is a member of The Toy Insider Parent Advisory Board, a writer for the Netflix #StreamTeam, and serves as a Brand Ambassador and spokesperson for several Globally-recognized pop culture and lifestyle brands in addition to consulting for a number of toy manufacturers.

Creatively, James has directed/edited music videos, lyric videos, and album trailers for bands such as FEAR FACTORY, has appeared as an actor in feature films and commercials, written comic books, and performed in bands. He currently serves as an artist manager and video director for Napalm Records' PRODUCT OF HATE.

James and/or his work have been featured in/on CNN, NBC, G4, The Chicago Tribune, Blogcritics, Fangoria, Starlog, The River Cities' Reader. Slowfish, Oil, and more. He's appeared as a music expert on CNN's AC360, has been quoted in BusinessWire, CNN and Babble, in addition to making appearances on ABC News, WGN and more. In the past he served as a writer for  Fandango Family and PBS KIDS, penned articles for Sprout, and was a contributor to Chicago Parent.

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Starting with a preview post in which I took an early look at the series alongside Mentor and Pixar Consumer Products Creative Director Jen Tan (read it here), each week for the past two months, I've been following ABC's THE TOY BOX. Last night, the eight-episode competition series wrapped it's first season, with hopeful toy inventors vying to have their creations produced by Mattel, and the winning toy to be sold exclusively at Toys "R" Us. If you pay attention to details like episode production numbering, you may have noticed that THE TOY BOX aired out of order, which is something easy to do with series' that don't carry a narrative. In this case, THE TOY BOX played with audience anticipation by introducing two important entries in episode 106 - which actually aired as episode 7, the final episode before the grand finale. Now, the judges - Sophia Grace Brownlee (“The Ellen Degeneres Show”), Aalyrah Caldwell (“Uncle Buck”), Toby Grey (“The Unexpected John Cena Prank”) and Noah Ritter (“The Ellen Degeneres Show”) - have spoken, and a winner has been crowned. As of today, the winner is available at Toys "R" Us, but that's not the only toy from THE TOY BOX that's hitting shelves this year. In fact, one popular finalist has a link to the past... specifically, Mattel's past, and now it's coming back. 

Even though Disney XD's DuckTales hasn't even made it's season one debut, the series already has a season two pick-up, and now it's getting bigger. Multi-hyphenate entertainment badass Lin-Manuel Miranda (Hamilton, Moana, Mary Poppins Returns) has joined the series as Gizmoduck, "a Duckburg hero whose true identity is Fenton Crackshell-Cabrera, a brilliant young intern working for Scrooge McDuck's personal mad scientist, Gyro Gearloose." 

Presented in collaboration with Little, Brown & Co

How long should it take to change a tire? In truth, that’s not an easy question to answer, as there’s variables to the equation. From type of vehicle to the tools available, the speed of changing a tire can have vast differences. One prime example is changing the tire of your daily driver. If you had a flat, you could probably change the tire in 20-30 minutes (or less), provided you had a spare, a jack, and the right wrench to remove the lugnuts. On the race track, a pit crew could change all four tires in a matter of seconds. Those are all human applications, so what about penguins? How would the PENGUINS OF AMERICA handle a tire change - particularly one on the track? In theory, the same way we would “lefty-loosey, righty-tighty."

I still can't believe that we're a decade into Paramount Pictures' TRANSFORMERS franchise. For me, it started in an era pre-kids, and because of the first TRANSFORMERS movie, I ended up becoming a part of that history by voicing several characters in a short that aired on the late G4 Attack of the Show (check this IMDb listing for Starscream and scroll down - you'll find me). Now, I'm raising a pair of TRANSFORMERS fans, and judging from the new International Trailer for TRANSFORMERS: THE LAST KNIGHT, the latest film from Michael Bay just might be the best in the series - a chapter that completely changes things. Check it out...

For the past two months, I've been following ABC's THE TOY BOX, an eight-episode competition series in which independent toy inventors battle it out for a chance to have their creations produced by Mattel, with the winning toy to be sold exclusively at Toys "R" Us. Starting with a preview post in which I took an early look at the series alongside mentor and Pixar Consumer Products Creative Director Jen Tan (read it here), each week I've been sharing previews of what's to come on Friday night. As someone who writes about and reviews toys often (both here at The Rock Father™ Magazine and also over at The Toy Insider), I see a lot of new stuff, and that's why THE TOY BOX has held such a personal appeal. In fact, over the course of the series, a few products pitched to me in early development (as far back as January of 2014) have popped up on the show. Now comes the final Friday - a double-dose of THE TOY BOX, starting with the seventh episode and ending with the final round. On Saturday morning, Toys "R" Us will become the destination to pick up the winning toy. Here's a preview...

It's that time of year again - the time when all the toymakers start rolling out the news on their SDCC Exclusives - the sought-after collectibles that will only be offered at San Diego Comic-Con International this July. Since I don't attend SDCC (I've long-said that I'll avoid it until I have a creative project to promote again... like one of my own comic or film endeavors), I sorta look at these as a bit of "window shopping" from afar. The first reveal here at Rock Father HQ comes from my friends at Hasbro, with a 12" Daredevil Figure from their MARVEL Legends collection. The SDCC Exclusive features impressive detailing, 30 points of articulation, premium packaging with original artwork by Marvel’s Chief Creative Officer, Joe Quesada. Check it out...

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