Saturday, May 30, 2009

"We have achieved jugs!!!"

The title quote is attributed to David Bennett the guy who made the jugs pictured below.

This is for Bimbo Zombie Killers! by the way.

At first the moonshine jugs were just meant to be a small part of the movie, once the script was finished they had become a fairly important aspect of the story. So I needed to have some made since it was nearly impossible to find 3 identical ones. Before anyone I know pipes up with "You should've asked me, I have 3" - you should've told me you have 3, how do you like that?

I'll be soon making a mold of one of them and making about, if I can afford it, 2 dozen foam copies of the jug. Mainly because I need a pile of the things for a couple scenes.

As far as other other work on this project, I need to create a foam axe - which is well on it's way, the details are sorted out just need the molding materials. A huge load of fake blood, I've sussed out a good recipe, I think I mentioned this before that I want to avoid syrupy blood because it's just too much of a hassle. I've got something that seems decent in a small quantity and splatter really nice, a little thick but it makes it a little cheesier - which is good.

The weapons are nearly taken care of. I was going with a Firearms License and hoping to get real ones with the firing pins removed - not enough time so I'm going with some cheap air guns. They look pretty good for what they're worth.

Other then that, still sussing out hordes of rednecks to become zombies and trying to track down 2 more bimbos. I might have them taken care of this week, we'll see.

Location scouting starts this week as well. I'm breaking down the script to see what I need and how I can manage wrangling about 50 extras to get all their footage in one day.

This should be fun.

Cronus trailer with voiceover

It's the same as the previous trailer, but with a voiceover.

Thursday, May 28, 2009

Amid the chaos of the day...

The last night on Cronus went well, pretty nerve wracking but it went well. I've yet to check the footage, we did while shooting though just to make sure we got everything.

The place is now utterly destroyed looking. One of the chairs is smashed up, there's broken glass (fake) all over the floor, the chairs and pretty much everything. And the desk is broken in two and files everywhere..

It was fun.

That's it for shooting on Cronus, didn't go exactly as planned - never does though. It's pretty much all edited aside from the scene last night, which I doubt will take long since it was almost all one take for every shot.

The desk breaking gag worked great, one take is all it took. We were prepared to do about 4 though, one was all that was needed and trust me when I say it was a little shocking when it happened. It was loud and a nearly lamp popped making it a little more dramatic.

I had to place a sign there because I think nearly everyone was tempted at one point to sit. This is the breakaway chair, so it would've been a shock.

And here it is all destroyed, this picture doesn't do it justice. I took some footage of it, we'll see it that does.

Draper showing off the one and only injury of the night and it happened on the last shot.

So thanks to everyone involved. Draper, Natasha, Pete, Adrian, John, Kier and Heather. you all did a pretty damned good job. to Kim for waiting around taking most of the pictures and watching all this. To anyone we got props from, or helped out in any small way, there were a few along the way. Especially to Ray Brow for letting us use his building for all this, it would've been a massive pain otherwise...I don't think he knew we'd be trashing the place though.

And that's is it for now for Cronus. I did a voiceover version of the trailer, I'll probably post it later today. And once the movie in done, in about a month maybe, you'll probably see it here.

And now onto Bimbo Zombie Killers! I have to pick up a shotgun today. Awesome.

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

The last shoot for Cronus

Well, this is the last shoot of the movie. I've got most of the morning tomorrow to get everything set up as well as I can and then hope for the best. I've said before I'm not a fan of filming fight scenes, I just can't get the rhythm of it, luckily this is much different. It's more a serious of shots of Cronus being beaten, nothing really has to flow from shot to shot so much.

The desk got hacked in half today, and unfortunately it won't hold it's own weight and stay up as I'd hoped. This isn't so much a problem. I do have a couple workaround that should work rather well. I'll also be testing out the breakaway chair idea tomorrow, should work just fine.

The most nerve wracking part of this is that some of the shots are one take only. If it buggers up, then it wasted time and money - and that's just not fun for anyone involved. Not for me because it's my money and not fun for the actors because they'll be the ones feeling responsible for buggering it up. So I'm thinking it won't be as much fun as we'd planned, you never know though, it could all go off without a hitch. I'm hoping for that.

I don't know if we'll have many behind the scenes photos, since the set is a little too dark for the camera, but we might be able to snag some stagged shots and there's always the stills.

Depending on my mood, it could be a quick update Thursday morning, or perhaps nothing for a couple days should it all go south. We'll see.

In other news, the idea of getting my own Firearms License to get the guns for Bimbo Zombie Killers! is at a standstill because of a 4-6 week processing period and the potential for wasted money. I'm looking into other options since this won't happen in time.

And now, I'm off to fight super mutant evil for a bit before crashing for the night.

Saturday, May 23, 2009

The Monkey Rodeo: All About Monsters

I don't even know where to begin. The last week has been insane, I don't even know how I managed to make it all come together and not have my head explode.

As far as Cronus goes, we've one more night of filming. The big fight scene - it's really more of a beating actually. I've had a lot to prepare and still have a long way to go to get it all ready for this coming Wednesday.

The chairs have to be made to fall apart, shouldn't be too much of a problem since they're held together with screws - I'm just going to pull all the screws out and replace them with balsa wood.

The desk is going to be a bit of a challenge. I'm not sure how that's going to work, but we'll see what happens.

I got some breakaway glass in. A couple pieces of picture frame glass, one sheet is already broken from shipping, not too badly though, it's still usable. And a breakaway bottle to be smashed over Draper's head.

Also had our first relooping session to redo all the dialog, I think it went pretty well. I haven't heard it yet, but a friend of mine whose equipment I used to record, said it turned out pretty good.

All About Monsters. This one is a little hard to explain, but it's primarily already shot. In about 30 minutes Saturday afternoon. It's done as a small segments, perhaps to a larger show, perhaps it might air during commercials. It's write in segment where people, (children or adults, it's not really sorted out) write in to a monster expert to ask questions separating fact and fiction.

It's way more ridiculous then serious sounding. One segment has a fellow named Harry asking whether or not it's true if giant monsters like to eat babies. The which the answer is: Yes, yes it is. Cut to a giant monster, looming over a daycare, a massive hole in the roof through which the monster pulls out a handful of babies he then eats like popcorn.

It's dark, kind of sick humor. You'll like it.

This shoot was really last minute. I wasn't prepared to shoot it until mid-June, but in order to get the actor I really wanted, a fellow by the name of Rich Wilson, I had to do it before May 25th. So it was a little rushed, luckily the concept is simple and I only need him for half an hour.

The biggest problem was recording the audio, I wanted to get a lav mic and just record it all live and be done with it. I had gone to the only store locally that might carry such a thing, only to be told it doesn't exist. AC powered one yes, battery powered ones no. That's actually crap, they couldn't have just said they didn't know, instead they began to explain why it wasn't possible for such a thing to exist...I told them to look it up and the reaction was just "Oh. There's one."

Whatever. They didn't have one in, all they had were the AC powered ones. So I had to find an exterior location that looked rather decent - I wanted one of the park areas - that had an outlet. All day Friday morning I drove around testing them and found nothing.

I decided to go get the AC powered one anyway, I find a place I could shoot - not perfect, but it was fine. And then they asked if I wanted the battery powered lav mic they just got in...It's weird to be thrilled and pissed off all the same time.

So it turned out pretty good in the end, I've only given the footage a quick glance, but the level of the actor's audio seemed really nice and clear above the background.

Bimbo Zombie Killers! is coming along slowly. This will be shot first of July.

As far as the major elements to get ready for this one; I need to get my Firearms Safety License because there will be guns involved.

I need to come up with a very cheap, non-toxic, non-sticky blood recipe - I hate any of the syrup based homemade fake blood recipes, they're just rotten to deal with for actors, especially when they're going to be covered in the stuff all day long. I have a few good ideas I'll be testing out over the next couple weeks.

As well, the major props are a couple dozen moonshine jugs, 3 will be real and the others will be made of foam. I have someone making me the jugs, which I'll then make a mold of to mass produce the foam versions.

And I have to get a fake axe as well, it'll be made like the LARP weapons I used last year - I'll be making it myself though this time.

We'll see what the next couple weeks bring with this one.

And lastly, The Horrible Alien Brain Monsters from Outer Space in 3D is coming along really well. The script is almost finished although it's already been completely cast.

I've been outlining a few minor details to make it feel really campy and poorly made. The FX should be easy for this since I want them to look really bad. I don't think there'll be any CG involved in this movie at all, it'll all be live action, old school special effects if possible.

So that's it so far, we'll see what the next month brings.

Friday, May 22, 2009

The Monkey Rodeo: Cronus Trailer

Well, it's done - the trailer in any case. I have a lot of work to finish the actual movie. The editing is mainly done. The relooping for the dialog is coming soon, a few very difficult visual effects shots and then all that's left to shoot is the fight scene next week.

It runs a little choppy, but it could be my connection at the moment since I'm uploading another copy of this elsewhere at the moment.

Sunday, May 17, 2009

Editing isn't as fun as you'd think, unless you think it's not fun at all

I muddled through converting all the footage and going through it all shot by shot picking out the takes I wanted. I really have to come up with a better method of doing this. Of course I didn't notice until afterwards the file number is displayed on the camera and I could have just been taking note of which take was good...would've saved a lot of time. Ah well, next time.

As far as editing went, I've had more fun. Now, I can't blame anyone, nor will I, because it's as much, if not more, my fault then the actors. It seemed (in the final scene in any case, the rest looks fine so far) that everyone was doing something different with their hands or their body positions every single take.

I blame it on first night of filming, everyone tends to get a little carried away. I was more worried about making the shots look alright and getting done on time. I really should have been paying better attention to what everyone was doing.

Shooting 6 actors all interacting is a pain the ass though, if even one person is out of place it can make a cut look awkward. In any case, I got it all to work pretty well. I was thinking far enough ahead to get way more coverage then I could ever use - well, I used it all.

Having said all that, I'm either way better at editing or the footage wasn't as bad as I thought. The edit still could be tightened up a bit, the visual effects added and once the dialog is all relooped it should come out pretty damned good actually. It's a little hokey looking, but it kinda makes it work all the better.

Anyway, here's a couple stills from it.

I've got 2 more scenes to edit before Wednesday when we do our first relooping session.

Friday, May 15, 2009

202 posts?

I just noticed I recently passed the 200th post mark. That's a lot of rambling.

We had another shoot on Thursday night, it was long, but not overboard. Everything stayed on schedule pretty well. The last of the major scenes and the minor exterior shots are all done. I've been spending the day converting all the footage into a more editable format - it's a long uninteresting process, still better the capturing from miniDV.

One of the cooler things we accomplished was an alternate ending for CRONUS. I had a plan that if my original actor for Satan, Kier Kenny, didn't show up (which he didn't the first night because of personal reasons and he was very apologetic about it) I had a backup. I decided anyway to shoot the backup ending even though Kier did show on a later shoot.

The ending has Satan showing up and retrieving his (or her) Gateway Key to Hell, the alternate version was still Satan, but a female version played by Heather Panton. While Kier's Satan was very simple and to the point, he did a good job, however there's a much more interesting visual with Heather as Satan. I made a last minute prosthetic for her since I felt the viewer might need a bit of a push in realizing this strange woman who appears out of nowhere is actually the Prince(cess) of Darkness.

I'm wondering if someone can debunk this for me, in doing this alternate ending we talked a bit about how none of us could think of anything any of us had seen before that had a female Satan for no good reason, other then just do it. Any else know of anything we might not have thought of?

The prosthetic was so last minute in fact, it barely came out of the oven at 4 pm for a 7 pm shoot. It wasn't perfect, but it looks pretty good.

Speaking of prosthetics, I think I made a total of 21 sets of prosthetics for the movie. Not all were used, I would just fill up another mold when I found I had extra foam left over from whatever one I was specifically making at the time.

Other then that, I've made a few tests to see how well the footage converts to black and white, so far so good.

There's minimal CG involved this time around, which I'm pretty grateful for. Most of it takes place at during the end scene.

I'm hoping to get a rough edit done this weekend, as I also hope to get Natasha's dubbing done this week. As well I think I should be able to crank out the trailer to be ready for Monday, I just need to find some decent music, I might find something temporary for now that fits well enough.

And now, pictures!

Makeup time again...


And out of makeup...

Going over lines for the last scene...

Shooting the scene...

Pretty much done for the night...

Up next is the tentatively titled: The Monkey Rodeo: Rich's All About Monsters. A quasi children shows which has children writing letters to Rich, a guy who knows all about giant monsters. I use the name Rich because the actor's name is actually Rich, so I reckon he'll pretty much be playing himself in this. Instead of it being a single short, it'll be a series of 30 second shorts. Shouldn't take more then an hour to shoot all of Rich's footage and the rest will be gathered over the course of the summer.

After that, The Monkey Rodeo: Bimbo Zombie Killers! I've done a little pre-production it, but will be stepping it up big time in another week or so to meet the shooting date of the first week of July.

I'll post some stills from the movie over the weekend most likely.

Monday, May 11, 2009

The much delayed CRONUS update

I've been lazy updating since we started shooting CRONUS, so here goes.

Here's some shots while we were getting the office set together. This is what it looked like when we first started.
And that's pretty much it.

And now a few shots from one of the nights of filming.

And a few shots from the last scene we shot on Sunday evening.

So there you have it. I don't really have much to go on about. Shooting is going pretty well, a little slower then I'd like - but I guess the trade off is shorter shoots. Luckily my choice to make my own prosthetics this time around paid off, this would be really expensive if I had to purchase enough of them to cover all the shoots we've had to do. A rough estimate would be about $500.

And here's a couple silly looking shots we took after the first night of filming.

This is the main character from Demon Rum 2: Bofa's Revenge.

That's about it. We're shooting an alternate ending this coming shoot. I won't say too much about it, other then here's the actor in the process of having a her face cast for a prosthetic.

When I get a chance to start editing the footage I'll probably post a few stills.