Sunday, September 23, 2007

One more scene down

It was feeling a little rushed and hectic coming on the last few hours before this shoot. I've spent the last week or so checking and rechecking everything to make sure I'd leave nothing to chance...I forgot something. Luckily it wasn't the end of the world and wasn't even going to be seen anyway. Normally Derek's character has a tattoo on the back of his hand, we forgot the tattoos. In a way, big deal.

The scene we shot was a flashback scene where Grayson in the 1980's visits a Shaman by the name of Jarrill. We shot this scene before when I looked at it afterwards I really wasn't impressed - this time, it looks pretty damned cool. The most prop heavy scene in the movie and, to be honest, you miss a lot of the finer details in it.

We shot it out at an antique shop just past Bonshaw, I forget the name of it. I will mention it should I remember. He's closing up shop in a couple weeks for the winter though. The guy who runs it is a fellow named Richard, never caught his last name, but he's a really nice guy. He was really open to us taking over and shooting there. Not that it's a rarity that someone is that cool to deal with, but when you're filming way out of town you want as few things as possible to go wrong. The guy who owns you location is the very last thing you every want going wrong.

So we showed up, set up and started to shoot. The lighting was pretty cool - we actually lit it with an item from the shop, this crazy looking surgery lamp. It gave off just the right amount of light too, would've actually been too dark in there otherwise.

I took some pictures myself this time, Moe was sadly absent - a little disappointing given all the cool props. But I did my best.

We cleared off a table and I set all this crap up.

I did those scrolls myself, not that you ever really see it in the movie.
The designs came from another scroll I saw someone selling on eBay.
Didn't see the point in buying something I could make myself.

And finally this is what Kim looked like for the scene - you don't get to see her crazy ears here, but you do in the scene itself. And again, since it's a dark scene, the tattoos aren't really prominent. Originally the tattoos where much larger and kinda just cluttered up her face. This was a little cleaner and looked so much better on camera.
Now onto the scene itself. I didn't even bother with a shotlist, it's just 2 characters talking. I knew I wouldn't have room to maneuver around in there so I decided to just keep it simple. A couple angles on each character and that's really it. I'll be doing a little extra post to the scene to change it a bit.

In case you're wondering that the large,
fluffy thing behind Derek is...
It's a stuffed buffalo.

Just a cutaway to show a little of the clutter,
don't know if I'll even use it though.

Jarrill (Kim Bradford) looking all like a crazy elf.
I love those ears. They felt so delicate, but those buggers were
tough and it took a fair bit of yanking to get them off.

Just a wider shot of the whole place.

And another.

And I added this, I'm thinking I might do a quick little cutaway
to show some weird little bug, or lizard crawling over the book.

And that's it. The scene looks so much better then the first attempt. And also, I should point out, the 60 second Lord of the Rings looking flashback is embedded into the middle of this scene. That part will hopefully be shot in about 3 weeks time. There will definitely be some great pictures from that shoot.

Our next shoot is in about 2 weeks time. It's the present day version of the Jarrill character, she's now a gypsy calling herself Vanya. I'll explain better what that means whenever I post stuff from that shoot. It's going to look way different.

It was a good shoot, ran pretty quick. Thanks to everyone involved - all 3 of you.

Monday, September 17, 2007

Some last minute stuff

I just realized it's been over a year - by a couple days - since I started this blog. I really didn't think it would go on this long. I've mentioned this a couple times I believe, in some ways it's good, in some ways it's bad. Bad really only in the sense of continuity - people and things tend to change over such a long period of time, whether they want to or not. And good in many way, I've had so much time to rethink things over and over and finally to death.

The scene we're filming this Sunday is a pretty damned good example of that. Originally it was alright...well, actually it was pretty pathetic. Not because of the actors, just in that it was hard to find what I wanted so I settled, now here we are over a year later and we're finally reshooting and it, and it's going to look night and day different.

It should be a relatively smooth shoot, there's no action, there's really only a few little things I'm concerning myself with as far as a shotlist goes - I'm making it up as I go pretty much. I know the space well enough, but not how it'll look once it's lit and all that, so I'm just assuming how it will look. And how I can fix it, if it does look just right.

In the meantime I'm tying up all sorts of little loose ends with various props and costumes. I spent the evening painting horns. Sounds like fun, doesn't it? Well, there's all sorts of prosthetics that have sections that don't need to blend with makeup, so I'm pre-painting them. Mainly all the horns, 8 of them in total tonight. As well as another rather ugly looking prosthetic that hopefully you'll see soon enough.

Pre-painting them not only saves a little time, but I can put more detail and time into them, and it's a lot easier then trying to paint with the grease makeup once it's on someone - I'm painting them with acrylic paint right now. It doesn't harm the prosthetic at all and it really does make them look a little nicer in places.

I also painted some symbols on some bracers for the flashback scene. Since the four guys in the flashback are supposed to be the original Brotherhood, I took the symbol from the tattoo on the back of Grayson's hand and painted it on all 8 of the bracers. Looks pretty good, you probably won't ever see them up close, but it's a nice detail.

I also had to design my own belt frogs - yes, that's not a typo. They're the things you attach to your belt to carry a scabbard, or dagger. They're pretty simple, not too cheap to buy though. I has some extra leather lying around from another project so I hacked it up and it should work pretty well.

And finally we come to the end. Where I post a couple pictures of a prop I just finished this afternoon and am infinitely proud of. Not because it's beautiful looking or an artistic masterpiece, but because it's freaking huge and insane looking.

It's not meant to look realistic, it's a little cartoony element I wanted to add in the flashback scene. Rick's character will be carrying this thing. It's pretty lightweight, but it's fragile. It's a prop and nothing else, it was never meant to whack people with.

The hammer itself is about 2 and half feet long, the whole thing is about 3 1/2 feet tall. It took quite awhile, but it was one of those little touches that cost me nothing other then the $4.99 I spent on the plaster.

There's also a medallion I'm sculpting for this scene as well, I'm not really thrilled with it right now, but it's is my first attempt. It may look alright in the end, who knows.

That's it for now, tomorrow I'm off to hunt down a couple locations. Drop off a script to one of my actors. Hope that the couple things I ordered today are processed soon. Do a little more on the medallion. Secure a van for the shoot on Sunday. And who knows what else.

Thursday, September 13, 2007

It's getting closer

Things are moving along pretty well right now. So far so good, I think I've said that a million times. Once more hopefully won't hurt too much.

First off, the bad news. The room at the Delta I was hoping to get isn't going to happen. They debated about whether it'd be worth it to give me the room for free over possibly renting it and guess which won? Obviously me, otherwise it'd be good news. So unless I get rich again soon, we're moving on - so if anyone has any bright ideas, I'd love to hear them.

And now for the better news.

We nearly have a confirmed shooting date for our first scene, it'll be later next week out at the antique shop. It should look pretty cool out there. All the props are ready to go, and there's some cool ones, I have pictures of a couple.

These are some handmade books I order ages ago and finally received - the guys who makes them might be a little slow to finsih sometimes, but it's so well worth it. I have his website linked on the side there - the Stygian Depths - check it out and get ready to hear Sam Neill going on about the end of the world.

They're pretty large and pretty heavy, the lighting in my apartment sucks for taking good pictures, these don't do the books justice at all. They're about 4-5 inches thick, the backs are just as detailed as the fronts. I didn't measure them, but they're about 9" wide by 12" tall.

I've actually made a few props for the upcoming scene as well, so it'll be a nice array of weird items. As well I'm still working away on the Flashback scene, it's coming along, not as quickly as I'd like - but that's par for the course. Right now I'm finishing up the massive warhammer prop Rick's character is going to use. It's perhaps a little freakishly large.

And in addition to that prop for that scene I'm trying my hand at sculpting a prop as well. The warhammer is plaster over a form I made, it just requires some sanding and painting. The sculpting is for a small medallion that's used in open the portal to the astral prison - because that's what's commonly used for such things.

I drew up some designs today, spent some time online learning about the right way to use the materials that I have and whatnot. It's a pretty simple design, because I need to do a CG version of it. It'll look pretty funky I think when it's all done, there will be some images I'm sure.

As well there's always other little details that are working themselves out along the way. That's it for now.

Monday, September 10, 2007

A little more progress...

...not a lot, but a little. Better then none.

Overall it was a productive weekend so I can't complain. Still muddling my way through the costumes for the Flashback scene. Made some major progress with the animated project with Dan, and a little leap in my CG work in general. Made some minor progress on another project I'm helping someone else do. And I shot something for The Monkey Rodeo last night and got myself an actor for the part or Pyre's fourth wife.

What I shot was one of those aside things. It's in a scene where Malice sits to watch TV for a second and a report comes on about all the missing people. So we shot the reporter on the scene going on about all the missing people and how the police are blaming it on Satanists. The reporter was played by Amanda Gallant, who I robbed banks with in another movie a long time ago.

Amanda as the intrepid reporter

We did about 4 takes, and in two of them we had a security guard from the building behind us wander past in the shot. It actually kind of makes it work a little better. Of course in the end this will be seen on a TV, and will have all sort of "news show" crap on the screen.

We were talking about the movie afterwards and filling in the blanks about what it was about and all, then I realized why not ask her to be the fourth wife? So I gave her the rundown, she seemed pretty amused by it - and there we have it, another thing wrapped up and ready to go.

Now, at the same time almost I got the idea to add another element to the movie. Nothing hard to do, but when Malice first turns on the TV I want a show on, she turns the channel to see the reporter. So we need a show. I'm not sure exactly what it'll be, but it will star Draper Bulger in his 7th role in the movie. It might be something minor and stupid, we may try to make it look like a snippet from a full TV show or movie - who knows.

That's all for now. I have to work on another project today and I'm hoping to do some costume work this evening if I can.

Thursday, September 06, 2007

I hate my fridge.

It's around 11:20 or, I've had a very long, extremely productive day and I hate my fridge - it's been doing this annoying buzzing thing all day, but it seems to be quieting down at bit. Anyway, that's just an aside for a moment.

The main point of this, hopefully, short post is an update concerning the Flashback scene and the whole internal debate of renting over making - I've been having incredible luck so far with creating the costumes. Everything has been falling into place pretty well, I went shopping with my costume guide tonight (I'm calling her that because that's pretty much what she's doing) because I was looking for materials and some advice.

The material I was looking for is for the cloaks. I didn't want some crappy thin ratty looking shit, I wanted something rather nice. Well, turns out rather nice is also rather expensive - who knew? But I lucked out totally, even moreso then I originally though. In total I needed 12 meters of fabric for these cloaks - what I wanted was about $20 per meter...yeah, not going to happen.

What I found was $3 per meter, not too shabby. Then I found out that the sale they were having was actually %75 off on that price. So the cloaks cost me $9 all together. And while it's not perfect, it's a decent material that should work really well.

And the other pieces are coming along pretty well. Almost everything is purchased right now, I hope to get the rest tomorrow, and a small shipment in next week, and that'll be it. I think overall this little scene is shaping up to be a lot better then I originally envisioned it.

We got some cool looking weapons, including a massive handmade warhammer. Some of the design elements are actually based off real period designs - which actually helped do things cheaply. So far so good with this part of the project. Hopefully in a week or so I'll have some pictures to post.

Monday, September 03, 2007

The unending movie

I’m not sure if this is really a good or bad scenario going on here. Now if you’ve been paying attention you’re probably well aware of all the additions and whatnot going on already. This last one is sort of being more of a bugger then usual.

The Brotherhood Flashback Sequence. The background to this I’ve already mentioned, but there’s been so many confusing changes that I’m not going to bother trying to wade through. I went from a sort of colonial look with 5 characters and moved to a more medieval/fantasy look with 4 characters (don’t ask why, it makes my head hurt). I was in contact with a costume rental place in Truro at one point (for about 2 days) and then decided against that.

So now I’m adding a new credit to list - costume designer and...maker? Something like that. No, I don’t sew, I don’t really know anything about creating costume patterns or anything. But it’s a choice I made when the prices and quality of the shop in Truro didn’t meet my expectations or budget

At first I thought I could work with it, add a few pieces made by myself (or some other poor unsuspecting soul) and be happy with it. I sat on the costume fence for a bit, then fell off on the DIY side. No offense whatsoever intended to this as yet unnamed costume rental place - the price just isn’t worth it. I reckon with the resources I have that I can do this scene more justice by doing this myself - so that’s the road we’re heading down kids.

I spent the afternoon analysing the basic costume pieces from Lord of the Rings and the easiest way to replicate them. So far so good. And after a lot of mulling over different ideas and whatnot I’m pretty damned sure I can pull this off a hell of a lot cheaper and a lot better looking then anything I could rent.

I won’t go into the costume detail specifics. So I'm putting this picture here:

This is pretty much what I’m basing my ideas off of. Now there will be some variations of course. And as it stands right now if I compare what my cost her actor would be (with rental and my own additions) - we're looking at close to $150 per. That's freakish when I won't even own the whole thing. Now, I roughly added up what it'll now cost if I do this all myself - $60 approximately for each one. The choice is pretty easy. The plus side is I will able to customize the costumes a touch more and I'll own them.

I'm starting on these this week, I should have most of the basic parts ready to go in about 2 weeks, so I'll definitely be posting some images of how these guys are going to look soon.