Sunday, February 22, 2009

Cronus Update

Well, I'm finally more or less back to work. By that I mean I've hard a hard time getting myself motivated to do anything after overworking myself in January and then losing Scully, but I finally made a bit of a breakthrough today - and on Thomas Jane's birthday at that. If you've no idea who he is, he's on of my favorite actors, even though he's only done a couple good movies. So I spent the day watching a few of his movies and working.

I did some work on some Telos stuff, not awesome fun - but it's coming along and I'm sort of finding some enjoyment in it again.

The bigger news is that I think I've finally worked out the plot to Cronus - the next of the Monkey Rodeo short movies. The reason, if you haven't been following, that this is a bit of a big deal is that it's a massively twisted and complicated idea to fit into a 5-15 minute time frame.

It's basically the Maltese Falcon in 5-15 minutes, but with demons. That's my easy explanation. I've been working and reworking everything to make all the character's motivations work, and their interest in the MacGuffin of the movie - the Gateway Key to Hell. And after dozens of plot outlines I finally got one that works, and not only works, but works really well. I managed to get all the details I wanted to have in there to make it work.

Now, I just have to write it. That's the easy part for now. I'm planning on having a first draft by March 1st.

Also, I'm hoping to get to work on the prosthetics big-time next week. I really need to see if this is going to work or not and soon. My deadline to shoot this is mid-April, not too bad. There's still time.

We'll see how things go.

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

the Monkey Rodeo Book

I've been working on this for months now and I've finally got a finished copy made. There's a few minor mistakes I made so I'm using this as a sort of prototype and making the corrections now. As well I found a couple photos I wanted to use but thought I'd lost, literally hours after I ordered the book to be printed.

It's 92 pages, measures 8x10 inches and has a little over 200 pictures. This version is a hardcover with a dust jacket, it costs about $42. A softcover version is available for $30. I got this done at, they have downloadable software for making your own books. It's incredibly easy to use.

Right now I'm doing up the 2nd version, fixing all the mistakes I missed. I've picked a few folks involved heavily in the project to get a copy of these books, everyone else I will collect their emails and give them the info to order one for themselves. After that, I may put the book up for public sale.

Saturday, February 14, 2009

Foamed Gelatin Prosthetics

Not a great idea.

I was hoping for a cheap foam latex substitute, something that didn't require a lot of work. I'd read about this foamed gelatin stuff that some guy, I think in Florida, had. I looked around at all the companies that supposedly carried this - not one of them did. Then I found a recipe for making the stuff myself.

It worked pretty good, really cheap, fast and easy to make. However it's basically crap. It's alright maybe for Halloween or something, but it's by no means a substitute for foam latex prosthetics for a movie. It's too rubbery, heavy and will not take the grease makeup I usually use. I could probably find another method of colouring the makeup, but I reckon whatever time and money I'd save not using foam latex would even out with an alternate makeup source.

I guess it depends on what you're using it for whether or not it'd be of any use. In my case, it's not of much use - other then testing my molds to make sure they will work. Which is useful for now, but who knows - with some testing and work I might find another use for it yet.

It was a good experiment - and while it won't replace the foam latex, it might be useful for something else.

If you're interested in trying it, it's just equal parts Liquid Glycerin, Powered Gelatin (not jello or flavoured stuff) and water. Mix it up, it'll be pretty thick, then heat it up in the microwave, about 20 seconds at first, trying again in 10 seconds bursts to make sure it's thinned out enough. You have to be careful not to get in on you, it's bascially like molten plastic and will not come off, it'll just burn and turn you into Freddy Kruger.

You can even colour it with some acrylic paint, or something similar I suppose. What use you'd have for it without a mold, I don't know really. And you can supposedly, I would assume while it's not too hot, apply it right to your skin - for whatever reason you feel you need to have a rubbery chunk of gelatin on your skin. If you do a search for "foamed gelatin" you'll find some other sites that go into more detail.

Other then that, not much else to report. I'm swamped with other projects again - hoping to clear my schedule enough to get back to work on Cronus and eventually Malice.

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Better News

In a break from the recent updates, I have some rather good, or at the very least decent news.

I don't think I mentioned it here, but I will now since in a couple weeks I'll either be raving about it or complaining. With all the photos taken over the course of the shoot, I wanted to do something more then just make the movie and have pile of pictures taking up harddrive space to show for it otherwise. So I made a book.

Go check out I used about 200 photos, 90 pages and assembled a rather nice 8x10 book. It features a lot of behind the scenes shots from a few of the more interesting scenes. A lot of makeup shots, several pages on the CG characters and 4 pages of stills from the movie. It may not be the most awesome thing in the world, but it's pretty damned cool.

It should be here in a couple weeks. I should point out the link is to the site that makes these books, not to the actual book itself. For now it remains private, but I might open it up for public sale once those involved in the project have decided they would like one or not.

Also, I should be getting new equipment soon, like today or tomorrow. Either a new still or video camera, depends on my mood.

And finally, I haven't been having much luck getting motivated to do the prosthetic thing, but I came upon an extremely cheap and easily made substitute for foam latex. I just found it a few hours ago and have yet to test it, that will be later today. So we'll see what happens there I guess.

I've been slowly recovering from the loss of Scully, not to bring it up again. I had that last week to get used to the idea and I'm glad I was able to spend her last hours with her.

Monday, February 09, 2009

Rest in Peace, Scully.

Scully passed away last night, shortly before 1 am. I'm not sure what else to say.

She didn't go quietly like I'd hoped, she fought the whole time and hung on as long as possible.

I apologize for a particularly morose post, but I'm still trying to find way to deal with this. Scully was a pretty unique cat, the few that knew her probably realize that. She had more personality them most people I know - I wish that was a joke, unfortunately it's true. I think she was even smarter then most people I know.

But the only thing I could think of after she died, was as as a kitten how much she farted.

I found her a little over 13 years ago as I was leaving a flea market, a woman was standing outside with a kitten in her hands. She was trying to get rid of them, she said she had another on in the backseat of her car. It was Scully...or would be Scully I guess.

She was standoff-ish at first, it took her a couple weeks to warm up. She'd often make this weird face I've never seen before and I'm not sure how she did it either, she actually looked like she stretched her face or something - it was supposed to be her attack face I guess. It wasn't terribly scary.

Once she sat in front of a mirror for almost 2 weeks and finally figured out what it was. She realized that if was her reflection. I won't bother going into detail about how I know what, but trust me.

She talked a lot. When I came home, if I spoke to her, she usually began a little tirade of chirps. Sometimes out of the blue if I talked to her she'd respond as if she knew exactly what I was talking about.

For some reason she loved garlic and onions. Moreso as cream cheese, mind you.

I'll miss her.

Friday, February 06, 2009


I debated about whether or not I should bother doing this here, and then I obviously decided I would. Seems something the average person might find silly, I'm not sure and I really don't care. My cat, Scully, has fallen rather ill. And by "rather" I mean "seriously".

I guess to explain why I would bother documenting this event, or whatever you want to call it. I'm not a people person, not exactly a huge surprise there. There are very few people who I can stand for prolonged periods, because there's an aspect of their company I enjoy. So in the case of Scully, it goes beyond just being a pet, there's something about the presence of her company I enjoy - and we'll leave it that.

Onto the point, about a week ago is when I first noticed she might be sick. She was losing weight, but I was working 16 hours a day to meet a deadline so I didn't notice whether or not she was eating properly, mainly because there was no change in her otherwise.

Then I noticed one morning I hadn't seen her grooming herself in some time. That's a bad sign when it comes to cats. Luckily I was able to get her a vet appointment the following day. The visit eventually reveal her to have a condition called Fatty Liver. It has something to do with the way cats process fat and there was a buildup of it in her liver and it will eventually lead to liver failure if not treated or caught in time.

She spent the weekend at the vets where they began treating her. Monday afternoon the bloodtest came back showing some minor improvement. That was a massive relief, I was expecting the exact opposite and worse. I was told that she would be better off at home since she seemed rather stressed to be there.

She's been home now since Tuesday morning and whether or not there's been any improvement is hard to tell. On her visit today I was told I might not see any improvement for a week or 2 - that's good I guess. But because Fatty Liver is usually a secondary condition caused by something else, that's not good.

See, if it was a simple infection that might've put her off eating, then it should clear up and she should respond pretty quick to the treatment. Since she is not responding quickly, it's possible she has a very serious condition that they've yet to be able to see.

She's 13 and a few months, yeah that's old but it's not ancient. Indoor cats can live a lot longer then 13.

As far as signs of physical improvement, I'm not sure if there's any real one's or I'm just wanting to see them. She seems to wander about a lot more now and was pretty insistent on trying to get into bed last night. I take those as good signs, but they might be just moments that mean nothing.

While I'm trying to be hopeful she'll get better, I'm not very confident she will. I'm reasonably sure that eventually I'll make to make a choice to continue trying to treat her or not. Not something I'm looking forward to.

For right now, she's a little wobbly and unstable when she walks. She seems to slowly get more steady, very slowly and very little more with each day.

I have to force feed her through a tube that's been surgically implanted in her neck. And it's a lot of food over the course of the day, way more then she'd normally eat at that. She's keeping most of it down, she does still get sick and throw up, but I think she's keeping enough down to get something out of it.

She's quiet, sometimes wandering to find another place to lay down and has a series of places about the apartment she wanders to and from. She's taking it pretty easy for the moment.

We'll see what the weekend brings and how her next visit on Tuesday morning goes, they'll be doing more blood work and while she seems at best stable for the moment, hopefully there will be improvement by then.