Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Ancient Tibetan Fire Starter

Used by Tibetan Monks as a single use fire starting device, created specifically for use in conditions where traditional fire starting methods were not possible.

Later a group of alchemists modified the device, with the aid of a Shaman known only as Nyima, to emit small projectiles of flame repeatedly. It is believed to predate the earliest known firearm, approximately 1288AD, by at least 400 years.

Currently there are only a handful Tibetan Fire Starters in existence and fewer still are the individuals who know how to properly use them.

*This is a minor prop from the movie Grayson & Gortch.

Monday, April 26, 2010

A Short Rant

This is one of those things that not specifically any one person's fault - but just plain old bad timing.

So far, Grayson & Gortch has to be the most nightmarish project I've ever tried to schedule. I want to very clearly point out right now that I'm not blaming any one individual or even a group - just pointing out the frustration at the utterly bad timing and total chaos of their collective schedules. It's truly awe inspiring how horrible this movie has been already to try to shoot.

Plus three of my actors are all taking consecutive vacations. Seriously, they all overlap by 1 or 2 days to end up with the entire month of May going by and unable to shoot with all three of them (and they're in 2 major scenes all together). I even had another actor drop out on me due to work.

So rather then just give up and be pissed off, I'm taking this extra time to work out some details which remain a little sketchy for the project. Originally I was doing pre-production on 2 at the same time, that isn't happening anymore. The other was pushed back to June 25th. So this just leaves me with more pre-production on a few key scenes.

Plus I want to build a crash mat, finish a couple prosthetics and redo one as well and even make a shoulder holster - got all kinds of time for that now. So hopefully this will be the big snag on this project and it means things will go smoothly once we're back up and running.

Sunday, April 25, 2010

Another awesome shoot.

Today was the 2nd day of filming on Grayson & Gortch. It was a short day, just one small scene. Spent more time doing the makeup then actually shooting, but the result was really good.

We had Draper Bulger as Mr. Eliah and John MacDonald as the teleporting twins, Thark and Thork. Most of the pictures were taken by Kim Johnston.

Draper and John getting ready.

Mr. Eliah poses.

Thork, Mr. Eliah and Thark.
Just a small part of The Eldritch Syndicate.
And now a couple still from the movie.

Mr. Eliah and his huge '80s cellphone.
Thark and Thork arrive.
Thork and Thark get ready to take out Gortch.
And that's it. I'm shooting again on Wednesday and hopefully again early next week and then a bit of a break while my two lead actors take vacations.

Saturday, April 24, 2010

Prosthetic Problems

I like the title of this mainly because I foresee many people inadvertently landing here when searching for ways to ease their issues with their fake limbs. Sorry, not that kind of prosthetic if that first sentence applies to you.

This kind:

Now, when I say "problem" I don't mean "ah shit, everything's screwed and gone straight to hell". No, in fact all I really mean is that one of the prosthetics for Grayson & Gortch, the one for the character of Mr. Eliah in particular is being problematic. To be more accurate, the mold is being problematic.

An experimental sculpting technique caused some unforeseen mold issues. While most of the other mold suffering from this problem are fine, this one - Mr. Eliah - is just getting worse. And of course it's too late to just scrap it and redo it since that character has his first scene tomorrow morning.

So I guess I'm willing to run the risk of him looking a little different in this one scene. There's just no way I can get another decent prosthetic from that mold anymore. Ah well. At least there's time before the next scene and I'm mostly done all the stuff that has to be created so I look at this as a little more practice. Not only do I have to recreate it, I need to make it look as close to the original as possible while improving on it slightly.

We'll see how that goes.

Otherwise, I'm still working away at creating a prop for tomorrow morning's shoot. It'll be ready just in time and the paint might even still be wet - but it'll be ready.

Thursday, April 15, 2010

Nearly completed Troll Feet Props

I finally got the mold finished up yesterday, tried running the Flex Foam-it through and see what came out. It was a bit of a rough start. First of all the mold itself was an experiment - that actually worked. I made a block mold of the clay foot that I'd sculpted, which was tricky to pry from the mold but I did and it's pretty much intact too.

Since it had to be painted I knew I needed a better base coat then the natural white, so I got so dye - which works brilliantly. I was amazed how little was needed.

Tasty Troll Feet!

Then I had a problem with getting the liquid into the mold in time. The pour spout was too small, ruined batch #1. Tried to widen it, not enough, batch #2 no good either. So I cut a small air hole to allow air to escape better and it turned out not too bad, batch #3 usable, but not awesome. Since the mold is rather detailed, I was getting air pockets, not huge ones but enough to be annoying. I think I can patch them up anyway. So batch #4, nor perfect but pretty good.

Anyway, it's not painted yet - this is about 2 minutes after I pulled it from the mold and did a quick job trimming away the excess along the seam. I hope to get about a dozen of these bad boys. And for those interested, I will be selling them if I can get them a little more perfect.

Monday, April 12, 2010

The Day After the First Day of shooting

The first day of shooting on Grayson & Gortch went pretty well, things started off potentially wrong - the night before one of my actors had a horse riding accident, I think she's fine, she just wasn't up for shooting. I wrangled myself a replacement and things started off well, got delayed but pretty much stayed on track for the remainder of the day.

I realized I really have to rethink shooting dialog heavy scenes. Not that there's anything wrong with them, I just have to develop more of a style that makes them feel a little less dead. I haven't even tried to edit it, so I could be wrong about that in this case. I just know I was thinking after I left the shoot last night that I'd wished I'd shot it handheld maybe, giving it more of a actiony feel to it. Might not've worked though, at least this way my footage is stable, handheld can just make things look very amateur if it's not handled right.

In any case, some pictures to break up the rambling:

The shoot was pretty light on props for once.

Evan Dickson and Derek Martin getting ready.
Evan was a last minute addition, huge thanks to him for stepping in.

Supernatural CSI.

Jonathon Driscoll...way too happy looking for a crime scene.

Don't drink the Red Kool-Aid.

Keeping the world safe from evil one
ODed Demon at a time...or something.

And then a little before we wrapped up, before 7, Aleshia Farrell showed up to start getting ready for her scene. I have to give her credit, this was her first time doing something like this and it couldn't have been a more strange experience for someone first time acting.

She played a stoned demon girl wandering about her swanky apartment in lingerie and eventually ODs. (The scene is our version of the opening of the first Lethal Weapon movie.) She was naturally a little nervous, but did a great job. She spent more time getting into makeup then shooting too.

Aleshia before.

Putting the prosthetic on.

Then Savannah Belsher-MacLean stepped in to do the makeup, it was her first time working around a prosthetic - otherwise she's quite used to doing normal makeup.

And then end. The seams are pretty noticeable in this picture, but they aren't in the footage, I find pictures usually are a little more severe in showing any flaws in the makeup. But it still looks pretty good.

Demons and Drugs don't mix.

And we were out right on time. I was pretty sore and tired by the end of it, mainly because of the floor in the location we shot in - I wasn't wearing shoes and the floor was just too hard or something, I don't know what it was.

Now some stills from the movie:

Opening titles

And now I've got a pile of work ahead of me this week - aside from movie stuff, so we'll see where things go from here. Off to a great start though.

Saturday, April 10, 2010

First shoot for Grayson & Gortch tomorrow

I just realized last night how long it's been since I shot something. I think the last day of shooting for the 3D Movie was late-October? I could be wrong, but I'm pretty sure it was at least around Halloween.

So I've been gearing up all week to get ready for the first shoot for Grayson & Gortch. The script is done, aside from the final fight and epilogue, but this will come pretty soon - no worries since the final fight is the last thing we'll shoot. I've got about a month before I have to wrap it all up.

Most of the props are taken care of, I'll be working the last few out next week. And I've finally gotten the perfect foam latex, so that's a huge relief. I'll be cranking out as many as I can next week as well. I still need to make some molds for a could but I reckon all the molds will be made by end of next week too. It'll be a busy week

Casting is wrapped up as well, I think there's 2 roles I'm unsure of - mainly because I'm having trouble finding just the right person to fill them, but I've got a few ideas rattling around.

Locations are nearly taken care of as well. I lucked out this week and came up with, what I think, is a great location for a gun fight scene between Gortch and 3 drug dealers. We'll be shooting it in a car salvage yard, my main concern was finding an interesting looking place with lots of cover for a gun fight and I can't think of anything better. This should turn out to be a pretty cool scene.

And as far as Breath of the Dead goes, things are working well for that too. Most of our locations are taken care of, hopefully we'll have casting wrapped up in another week and I'm hoping to start in on making the props and whatnot in the next 2 weeks.

This is the first time I've allowed two projects to overlap like this. I've had a few overlap as far as post and pre production, but not like this. So far it hasn't been too bad, I'm feeling productive at least while I have the time.

And the website. Right now, if you've not seen it yet, it's pretty simple. I took the time this weekend to re familiarize myself with the whole website building crap. Can't say it's awesome fun, but I think I've got a decent site worked out. Not very polished or high end looking, but I'm happy with it, it's nice and simple - no flash or crappy plugins or apps, just straightforward html. I might jazz it up later on, but for now I just want a decent, easy to navigate site to host the movies on and hopefully sell some stuff.

It should be online within the next week if I get the kinks worked out. I'll let you know.

Wednesday, April 07, 2010

Foamy goodness

I've been having issues with the current brand of foam latex I've been using. Now, I've heard (although there's always varying opinions) that each of the 3 brands, Monster Makers, Burman and GM are specially made - so the logical assumption would be they're slightly different from one another. The run times and instructions are definitely different for the Monster Makers and GM - I've no idea about the Burmans since the kit I used came with no instructions whatsoever, but using the same runtime as the Monster Makers worked fine.

This was the first time I've used the GM Foam and at first I was not impressed, it sort of worked but wasn't very foamy. And with each batch it just got worse. I couldn't really figure out why, it was just coming out runny - still usable, but not the best. I bought some Micad, it's supposed to give you some extra foaminess. And did it ever.

It was hard to figure though if it was just the Micad or the fact I turned the bowl a little faster while mixing. They say it's a really sensitive procedure so I'm assuming the speed of the bowl turning could be a factor since previously it was turning it much slower.

In any case, it appears to be working, I've got the first one baking away right now so I won't know for sure until about 3pm. Either way, I'm way more impressed with the quality of it now and I'm hoping this gets the prosthetic making back on track - I've got buttload to make for Grayson & Gortch and out of 5 runs of foam only 1 usable piece.


Well, it definitely made the foam softer and much more closer to where I'd like it to be...but it's too foamy now. That's to be expected since I'm still more or less testing. The problem with being too foamy is air bubbles tend to get trapped in the mold. At least I'm getting closer. I should have foam latex left to get all the prosthetics I need done. If not, at least it's not as cold anymore and I don't have to worry about heated shipping anymore.

Sunday, April 04, 2010

Severed Baby Troll Feet

One of the props for Grayson & Gortch are several Severed Baby Troll Feet, not something you can just buy online - at least not that I've ever encountered. So of course I had to make my own. Pretty simple, I just got some armature wire and about 1lb of clay and eventually I had one.

I'm still making the mold, I ran out of silicone just before the model was covered. Silicone will adhere to itself, so I'm hoping that once I get more in that the mold will continue on just fine. I guess I'll find out soon enough.

One of the main issues with the prop was painting it properly afterward. I used some airbrush paint on the fake foam axe and the latex alien brain monster masks and it just didn't hold up to a lot of wear and tear - not that these little buggers will be seeing that much action, but I'd like to make sure I'm doing it properly.

You need a product called PAX paint, which isn't cheap at all. Luckily I recently discovered you can make your own fairly easily with some Pros-Aide (the same adhesive I'm using for prosthetics) and regular old acrylic paint, equal part of each. If you want it for use in an airbrush, just another equal part of water to thin in out - I would assume it's possible you could end up ruining your airbrush if you don't clean it properly afterward.

So that's a huge expense taken care of over the next few projects, since I'll need the stuff for a fake foam hand axe, sledgehammer, rock and maybe some other stuff. Also, these props might actually be available for sale online by June if all goes well.

Speaking of other projects and other stuff in general, casting is pretty much sown up for Grayson & Gortch, location scouting is nearly done as well. I need to do one more pass at the script and I think it'll be done, just in time too since our first shoot is next weekend. I just need to finish up my prosthetics and I'm hoping that will happen next week as well.

As far as Breath of the Dead, it's progressing really well. The script is 99% complete. I'll be doing a pass over that today and then I'd imagine there will be a serious rewrite to tighten it up and shorten it down from the 26 pages it sits at now. I'd like it to be a little less dialog filled and more action/quiet. Easier to shoot.

There were already some minor changes. We unfortunately had to make the choice to remove the breakaway beer bottle in the face gag - too much work, too much money and I was a little uncomfortable since the warnings on the material to create breakaway props was a little severe. I think we've come up with a decent new death idea, pretty cheap but pretty brutal.

I'm hoping to see a little more progress with this in the next 2 weeks.