Sunday, March 29, 2009

The Monkey Rodeo Project Update

I'm pretty sure I stated this before, but in case I didn't, the main point of the project is to create a bunch of short movies from the same world as Malice. I'm hoping to do around 10, although the number has been changing from time to time as some projects get cut and some even combined. For instance I wanted to do an old 50's style Atomic Age monster movie, and then I wanted to do a 3D one as well, so they became one.

There was an computer animated one I wanted to do, a prequel to Malice, but I cut it for now since doing 3D animation is my day job and I just didn't feel like taking on something so huge, regardless of how short it might be.

And more were added and dates were pushed around. I was hoping to do them all this year, but if I want to do them justice, a couple have to be pushed back to next spring.

So there's the updated list so far:

Demon Rum - already finished!

Cronus - starting production in early May. I still have a lot of work to do to keep it on track, but so far so good.

Untitled Giant Monster Movie - this one gave me a lot of trouble. I very clearly set out what I wanted to do with this and how simple I wanted it to be and it wasn't working at all. So that lastest idea will end up being several small little segments. Sort of a write-in show on "facts about giant monsters." We'll see how this progresses. I intend to shoot it in June.

Bimbo Zombie Killers - shooting in early July. This one is fairly easy to set up, there's minimal props, just a lot of gore and a massive cast of extras will be needed - so far so good though.

The Horrible Alien Brain Monsters from Outer Space in 3D - the script is nearly done, should be good to shoot this in August. Since it's an old 50's style movie, sets are minimal and cheap, as are costumes and acting. Should be fun.

Karl (Working Title) - a documentary about Karl, a demonic antiquities dealer. Inspired by The Office and Extras.

Grayson and Gortch - still working on the script, although the plot is worked out. There'll be lots of makeup and FX in this one, I'll need to make sure I have enough time to work it all out. Should be ready to shoot in September.

Squad Z - probably next spring/summer. The script is being worked on, it'll have to be translated to Japanese first though. Lots of costume work to be done.

The Brotherhood - next summer. Loads of costumes, sets, props and makeup. This is going to be a very epic short. I really want to make sure we make something that looks good, not campy, but seriously good. We'll even be building - hopefully - a set for the final scene. Way more to come on this one.

Untitled Musical - next spring/summer. Insprired by Dr. Horrible I decided we should really do a musical. Joss Whedon makes it look way too easy though. I'm working out a plot and we'll wind the music through it. I was hoping to do it this year, but that's just not going to happen with the amount of work needed.

That's it.

EDIT: I forgot about the Karl documentary so I added it back into the list and removed the untitled 10th project. It was just an idea anyway, there was no script.

Thursday, March 26, 2009

Petey's New Forehead

I took the time tonight to make an attempt at sculpting the Bofa prosthetic. I must say I'm fairly pleased with the result. I guess someone who was experienced might not be too impressed, but I'm just starting out and I'm happy when it doesn't look like a giant tumor.

I'm hoping I can get enough supplies in soon to finish off the rest of the prosthetics. We'll soon see how that goes. But for now, here's a couple shots of the hopefully soon to be prosthetic for Bofa.

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Bofa's Prosthetic

One of the characters from Cronus is a crime lord called Bofa, played by Pete Murphy. With 2 of my 4 actors to be in makeup away elsewhere and obviously unable to have a mold of their face done, I got hold of Pete and managed to finally get a decent mold made.

It wasn't perfect, but it will work just fine I reckon. You can see from the picture that the alginate, the blue crap on Pete's face was really lumpy - that was something I was well aware of but was just too lazy to fix. I even just bought something to better mix it with and just didn't use it. Lesson learned, but it didn't impact the final outcome.

After my 2 failed attempts, I was able to figure out the best way to make these life casts and it should work just fine for everyone else.

Another thing I kinda realized is that you can never use enough plaster bandages. When it seems like you might've used enough - you're only about a third of the way done really. Still - didn't bugger up the final mold so no harm done.

The bright spots on the cast of Pete's face below are the non-mixed lumps of alginate. Those shouldn't be there.

This last part was a little frustrating. UltraCal is not the easiest material to work with, you really need to understand how it acts before you can become efficient with it. While the image below is obviously far from perfect, I'm pretty confident it should suffice for what I need it to do. Not terribly impressive looking, but it's functional.

Next up is sculpting the prosthetic, I'm fairly comfortable with this part. I'm even pretty sure I won't have too many problems making the negative mold either. Actually mixing and baking the prosthetic - I've no idea how that's going to work. I've never gotten far enough to really want to attempt it yet.

The worst part would be not knowing how the final piece will turn out, luckily I can just use the cheap homemade foamed gelatin to test the mold first before wasting the foam latex.

And the most annoying part of this whole process is actually getting UltraCal 30 to make the molds with. It's really hard to track down a place that carries it anywhere nearby. There is a company in Ontario that carries it, but they sell it in 100 lb bags and it's more expensive to ship it then what it costs to actually buy it. I've heard Hydrocal is a decent substitute - but not knowing enough about the materials in this process and how they interact makes it hard to swap things out.

I did find a place in Dieppe, New Brunswick, a gypsum supply place that supposedly carries a whole line of Hydrocal products, so that's hopeful. An afternoon trip would have me set for some time and cost way less then having it shipped.

I'm also hoping that some local dentists might have UltraCal on hand. It's actually used to make dental molds. So I might have the option of making an arrangement with one of them should they use it - or whatever dental plaster they might use. It's pretty close to the same application as I need it for, and should work just as well.

We'll see how that goes I guess.

And today I start working on the office set for Cronus. I'm going to get some photos, do up some sketches and get some measurements and plot out how it will look. Should be good.

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Slow Progress

After a couple weeks of steady progress, things feel like they've kinda come to a halt. We're still 5 and a half weeks off from the target shooting date, mostly everything is taken care of - but the prosthetics are still nowhere.

So far I've yet to even get a decent lifecast to start working with - without which I can't do anything else. The sculpting part I'm not worried about. It's the mold making and final prosthetic I'm still iffy on. I'll first have to create workable mold before I can even start thinking about making the foam latex and then baking it. In reality, if I had a single good day to work on it will full access to everything I need, I should be able to crank something out - that has yet to happen though.

Cronus Prosthetic sketch

I'm hoping the next week will show some significant progress on this part, or I'll have to seriously start rethinking things.

The major locations are taken care of. The bulk of the costumes are as well. Most of the props are too. This is all that's left really, while 5 weeks is easily enough time to do it all - should I not have enough supplies, shipping time could seriously screw things up. It's hard to find a lot of this stuff in Canada and anything coming through the border isn't really time reliable.

Luckily none of the prosthetics should be too elaborate. And if I have all the mold ready at the same time, there's a good chance I won't waste too much of the materials for creating the final prosthetic. Still, I'll be ordering more as soon as possible just in case.

We'll see how the next week progresses.

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

A Massive Oversight...

You've heard the phrase "too smart for your own good?" Well, I have a whole new perspective on it.

All this time, while I was so impressed with myself having created all the CG characters for Malice, I neglected to ever do an animation test. Had I done that, I would've found out that it won't work. The models are too complex as they are and after rendering one frame there's not enough memory left to immediately render even a second frame. Which, if you haven't guessed yet, makes it rather impossible to render a full video sequence.

So, after some minor research I'm back on track. I've had to reassemble the materials used to texture the characters and use a slightly different method to create the finer details and finally render the characters. So far the tests are going well - shouldn't have too many problems now. You never know though.

And in other news: Cronus is progressing really well. Almost too well. The locations are nearly all taken care of. The costumes are well on their way to being done. The props are sussed out and will be hunted down, made or purchased over the next few weeks. And I should be cranking out a prosthetic or two within the next 2 weeks.

We had a script reading, the first time I've ever done such a thing, with all the actors (who actually have lines) the other night. It went well, no changes are being made in the script, that's promising.

The optimist in me is taking this at face value and that all is well. The pessimist in me is waiting for something to go wrong, as it usually does. In any case, the project is ahead of schedule - which never happens, hence the pessimism.

Adrian and Draper

Pete and Natasha

That's all for now.

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

The Monkey Rodeo: Bimbo Zombie Killers

With pre-production on Cronus well underway, I've been working on finalizing the script for then next short - as you might be able to tell from the delightfully subtle title above. The name of the movie speaks for itself, I'm not sure I really have to explain it.

But I will. Bimbo Zombie Killers will be my attempt at the old school horror movie. A little of the 70's exploitation flicks, throw in some splatter (a lot of splatter), three white trash chicks and a small army of redneck zombies.

Should be fun. Hope to shoot this near the end of June.

Thursday, March 05, 2009

Cronus character concept sketch

I intend to do this for most of the character for probably each of short movies. I just took a larges sized, full bodied shot and just drew over it, adding and removing whatever was necessary to make a rough sketch of what I want the character to ultimately look like.

So this is basically what Draper should look like as Cronus.
That's it. Should have more soon.

Tuesday, March 03, 2009

Cronus so far...

So far this project is going really well. The script came together at just the right time, at least it seemed that way. So far casting is going well. I haven't met with everyone yet, but so far I think I made the right choices.

Location scouting hasn't totally started yet, at this point I'm just sort of working out exactly what I'll need. I have several options for most locations. the hardest location will be Cronus's Office - mainly because there will be a major fight scene there. I wanted to really go overboard and pay an homage to the fight scene from The Punisher with the Russian.

If you've never seen it, it's a pretty brutal scene. They almost destroy an entire apartment - going through walls and doors and whatnot. I'd love to be able to go through walls, but that would involve either finding a larger space to build a set, finding a location that we could destroy or even finding a location that we could just create a false wall without damaging the existing place too much.

None of these are really viable options with my time line and budget unfortunately. There's also the added hassle of props for the office. The most important piece is one of those Partner's Desk - those big mahogany desks that weigh a ton. There's just no way I could find one, or afford to have one taken to a location - so I decided to try building a cheap one and making it look as good as possible.

It's not soon too much and I've ways around showing too much of it. Then I came up with the idea - if I build it, why not build it to destroy it. I can't go through a wall, but I can smash through a desk a lot easier and way more safely. I discounted balsa wood because it's way too expensive for such a large prop and it's still wood - I'm not comfortable having an actor thrown through a wooden surface, back first at that, to have him smash it to pieces. Splinters and all that.

I'm sure someone might think they have a brilliant alternative - but it's not them paying for it, making it or going through it - so I don't really care what they think. I can make a desk with styrofoam for about $50, damned near exact, and very safely have someone smash through it.

If it wasn't black and white, it probably wouldn't work very well. I don't think desks are made from pink wood. i just have to hope we get it perfect in one shot - not enough time or money to make 2 desks.

I'm slowly working on costumes and makeup ideas. I hope to get some reference photos of everyone within the next week to design everything. By April I'm hoping to have the costumes taken care of, as well as the locations and the makeup at least well underway.

We'll see how this all works out. So stay tuned, this should be interesting.