Monday, August 30, 2010

Online Shop Up and Running

It's not a massive shop just yet, just a few items - I didn't want to miss out on Halloween. Right now I'm just using PayPal, I'm a little leery about it still. I guess we'll see how it works out while I'm getting something else set up that should work better.

So for now, it's just a few prosthetics, more will be added over the next month as well as some props which I'm working on right now. Should be awesome if it all goes well. It's slow going though, since I'm doing this all out of my own pocket, which is also the same pocket I'm paying rent and bills out of. It's a sad empty pocket these days. Let's hope things pan out and if it does, I'll actually have no one else to thank for the help but myself. And potentially all sorts of customers.

So if you're bored, or in desperate need to buy prosthetics, head on over to themonkeyrodeo.com and take a look around.

Friday, August 27, 2010

Online Shop = Pain in the Ass

I've been working away trying to get this thing up and running, only to hit a wall every turn. I'm getting a little tired of it.

I had decided to go with PayPal, because I foolishly thought it was going to be easy. I don't think I've ever been so wrong. Just one pain in the ass after another. I wanted something simple, something that would take the order, calculate shipping and be done with it. It's such a stupid mess I don't even understand why people use it. It'll allow ME to calculate shipping, but not allow for the buyer to do so. Instead, I have to charge them a flat rate or some made up percentage based on the cost - that's utterly retarded, either way someone is going to be screwed out of money - and then once the order has been paid, I then do the shipping and it takes the money out of my PayPal account. Or use yet another online service connected with PayPal in order to do this the way I want.

PayPal, you suck.

So I'm trying something else. I thought a Merchant Account would work, I'm still in the process of setting that up - but it looks like it's going to cost me way more. I'm not liking any of this so far, each week is just a series of obstacles taking up time when I could be potentially selling stuff (okay, so that might be an overstatement, I don't know how long it'll take before I sell anything, but each day that goes by means on less day I'm able to).

Although it's encouraging that I have four companies looking to take my stuff to sell. However, it's equally disheartening that they suddenly stopped communicating with me. Balls.

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Prosthetics available on eBay

While I'm having a few difficulties getting shipping and packaging issues sorted out with my online shop, I figured there was no harm in putting up a couple pieces on eBay. That was a hassle in itself, but after about 2 hours of troubleshooting and dealing with their "Identity Confirmation" support I was able to register as a seller.

http://shop.ebay.ca/foxhenderson/m.html?_nkw=&_armrs=1&_from=&_ipg=&_trksid=p4340

It's hard to find them through a normal search, so I highly doubt they'll even ever be seen. That's something I've got to work out as well. These postings were for free, so unless I wanted to start paying some of the seller fees they'll probably only be seen by those who are really searching hard.

Also, I was pretty disappointed to hear back from Mostly Dead this morning. They're a reseller of prosthetics and props and whatnot. Not disappointed because they're not interested, they're very interested - just that I was too late in contacting them so I wouldn't be able to sell anything with them in time for Halloween. That really sucks. Kinda like if you're selling Christmas trees and you miss out on Christmas.

Funny, while I was writing this I made another attempt to just find my stuff on eBay through a normal search. Nothing, didn't even see anything of mine. I added one word to the title and it came up first on the list. Not too bad. They were originally listed as "Demon Prosthetic"  with the name of the demon or whatever, and I just added the word "Makeup" to the end, first in the search. Odd. Should look into how their search engine works.

And that's all three, on the first results page even in the US.

Otherwise, I've officially canceled "Breath of the Dead". I hate doing that, but it was just too expensive for me at the moment and given that we wouldn't be starting shooting for 2-3 more weeks, I couldn't see any possibility that it'd be done properly or in time. So it's been put onto next years schedule.

So I'm trying to muddle my way through shooting on "Grayson & Gortch" and we'll see how things pan out for "Home Sweet Hell" as well.

Friday, August 20, 2010

Demons Invade the Midway

Did another photoshoot, this time with 2 demons hanging out at a carnival. Kim Johnston and Jaz Krautwurst were done up in makeup and we just wandered around a bit - I was sort of surprised no on bothered us at all. Although there were a lot of snotty sideways glances from the skanky looking teenage girls, like anyone really cares what they think though - supposing their actually capable of thought, that is.



And I'm hoping to have a major update involving the online shop very soon. Hopefully.

Sunday, August 15, 2010

The Drug Bust Scene is finally done!

It took long enough. 2 false starts - both days called on account of rain - but we finally got it shot today. If you've been reading this all along, you'll know about how difficult it's been to get things going on any of the 3 projects I've got on the go at the moment.

It was a bit of a late start to the day, but everything went really well, we got some awesome shots and I think ended up with a great little gun fight sequence. And right as we were getting the last shot the battery was about to die - we got the last shot with probably seconds to spare before it totally died on us.

Anyway, here's some pictures:
We shot for about 90 minutes, it was really rushed and a little crazed just making stuff up. We were able to do a lot more then planned since we changed locations from a public commercial salvage yard to a privately owned one. We had Draper running across the roof of some cars at one point.

The folks involved in the shoot were Graham Putnam as Gortch, Dylan Miller and Draper Bulger as the Drug Dealers, and Will Beckett and Tanya Nicole MacCullum as the Agents. They all did a great job.

I thought I'd upload a snippet from the final pat of the scene. WARNING: there's a shitload of screaming and cursing. This is a rough edit too, by the way.
video

It makes me laugh every time I watch it.

Thursday, August 12, 2010

Finally got some shooting done.

I counted up since my first big cancellation of a shoot on June 25th, I've had to cancel 7 more since then - I might even be under estimating on that.

Last night I finally got to shoot something. It was a little scene, one of those scenes that involved more setup time then it did to actually shoot. Either way, it was nice to get something done.

Here's a still from the scene:

Afterward we took a few shots of Draper in makeup, I don't know if I'm really sold on any of these - since it was just an impromptu shoot, not something organized and thought out. I do like the last one though.

Monday, August 09, 2010

Prosthetics might go online for sale in the next two weeks

I think I'm at a place where I'm fairly confident in some if the pieces I've sculpted and have enough faith in my ability to reliably produce decent prosthetics to go online with them. I won't have a massive amount to start with, just a few pieces I think turned out really well and are unique enough too.

Just a few minor details to work out. I'll be using PayPal - unless I can find something better and easier for sorting out shipping costs. The little research I did on it and it looks pretty grim overall, hard to say what the best method for this is.

Also, I need to finalize my packaging. For now it'll have to be pretty simple, I just don't have the money or space for anything elaborate - although it'd be nice do something like the Rogue Planet prosthetics I've purchased. They're in a cardboard box with a clear plastic lid and an image of the piece with the name of it attached to the inside lower part of the lid. I kinda liked it.

Anyway, here's a couple pieces from the latest few batches.
Left to right: The Crazy Old Voodoo Lady from "Breath of the Dead", it's custom made piece, not generic so I don't see myself selling it online. Mr. Eliah from "Grayson & Gortch" will definitely be for sale, as well as Barbara from "Home Sweet Hell" and possibly even Doris Lutz from the same project - even though Doris is a custom piece, I think because it's just a forehead it should work well enough - I'll have to test that.

I did an impromptu photo shoot last week with the Gortch prosthetic on Graham Putnam when a shoot got canceled, I'd like to say that was one of my pieces - but it sort of isn't. The design was from a piece called BOARIS from the Scream Team but I remade it for my own use to cut down on the expense.

Here is a new piece, just finished this evening. The picture doesn't quite do it justice, but I still like it. I'll be using it in a photo shoot early next week and this one will also be online for sale. No idea what it's called yet since it's not for a character in a movie.

So here's hoping it all works out. I think I'll post them on the website, but I might test the waters through eBay at first too.

Sunday, August 08, 2010

Balls...

Still trying not to be discouraged from all the recent major setbacks in shooting - it's only going so well.

Anyway, I thought I'd throw a couple photos of the recent prosthetic disasters up for you to see. This is actually the kind of info I wish I could have found online when I started doing all this a couple years ago. I've mentioned before that everyone says foam latex can go wrong a million different ways, but no one ever really explains it. So, I'm going to explain a few way to understand what went wrong with your foam latex.
This here is an unbaked piece. I didn't see any point since I knew it was no good. It was pretty difficult to pry the mold apart because the latex was still gelled as well as it could be, so it wasn't a solid, but a sort of solid.

And here's the result of finally pulling it out of the negative mold. I wish I could say I meant it to look like this, but it in no way resembles the original piece. And I wish I could say it was usable even like this, but it's garbage. Very freaky looking garbage, mind you - gives me some ideas actually.

Here's a closeup of a baked piece that didn't turn out. Normally the pieces should have a uniform consistency throughout, so what it looks like on the surface should be exactly what it looks like inside. This happened because only the outside skin of the piece gelled. Sort of like skin on pudding or something, but a little thicker. It gels from the outside in, not consistently.

When you bake a prosthetic that hasn't fulled gelled, the inside becomes a crumbly mess, the whole piece has no elasticity and rips very easily. How do you tell if it's fully gelled before baking? The best way is by seeing what's left in the bowl, or leave a blob sitting out. If you poke it and you can very obviously feel it's still squishy inside - it's not cured. You should be able to press it and have it feel like a uniform consistency all the way through. And remember, it takes a little longer for it to fully gel inside the mold.

From my experience, it doesn't really matter how long you leave the filled mold out either. No one every really explained that. I wasn't sure at first if there was a window of time from totally gelling that it had to be baked. I've left pieces out for a day or so before baking and it seemed to have turned out just as well as the ones from the same batch that were baked right away. So if you're not sure, just wait a bit longer before you throw it in the oven.

Most instructions will tell you all about adjusting for humidity and how it results in the ammonia in the latex being whipped off faster because the gelling agent is more active at higher temps. That's something you just have to work out on your own. Cut back on the gelling agent and cut back on the de-ammoniate time until it works - sounds fine, but be prepared to waste a lot of latex getting it right.

In my case I was dealing with 75% humidity - I had no idea where the safe range was for cutting back on either part of the run schedule. Took awhile, but I more or less sorted it out - still trying to fine tune it so I can accurately gauge it.

Anyway, that's it. This is an example of one way it can go wrong, and now you know what it actually looks like and what caused the problem. I've run into other problems over the past couple years, I'll probably run into them again. When I do, I'll make sure to document it.

Saturday, August 07, 2010

The 4th Batch...

Over 24 hours of mixing up foam latex and baking and and still absolutely nothing to show for it. I just finished up the 4th batch and while it's still not perfect, it's getting closer. Funny that while all last year I was doing this without a thermometer or a hydrometer things were turning out fairly well - not always perfect, but at least usable.

So, "Home Sweet Hell" has been also postponed, my 3rd project this summer to get postponed because of shitty circumstances. I was hoping to pick it up again next week, but after a quick round of message from the actors it was apparent it wouldn't happen. In fact it won't be happening for at least 4 more weeks now.

I will point out I'm not annoyed with any actors - that's a stupid and pointless reaction under circumstances like this. If I were to get pissed at actor for having lives, I'd be a pretty huge asshole.

So now I just have to try to keep things moving as best as I can and see what happens over the next couple months.

At least it would appear that in this last batch of foam, I was able to fill the molds I needed for a photo shoot tomorrow.

Friday, August 06, 2010

Prosthetics Vs Humidity

In the process of making foam latex prosthetics, everything mentions how critical paying attention to the humidity is. I never realized just how much so until today.

I'm in the midst of making prosthetics for the "Home Sweet Hell" shoot tomorrow, the stuff just arrived this morning - a day late. Obviously time is something of an issue here. I finally got time to run a batch an hour or so ago, figured, it was a little humid I should cut way back on the gelling agent - the gelling agent is basically what it sounds like, it's the shit that makes the foam gel, and when it gels it goes from a meringue kind of texture to a solid, rubbery wet blob.

Complicated mathy/science stuff warning!

The instructions recommend at 50% humidity, 15 grams of the gelling agent. I find it gels too fast so I normally do about 10 grams. This normally gives me about 5-6 minutes to get the foam into the mold, add on another 2-3 to finishing mixing the foam and you've got around 9 minutes before it turns to crap.

Well, it was 75% humidity in here, I added about 6 grams and it gelled in about 2 minutes. I didn't even get it out of the mixer and just suddenly went from a perfect batch to a solid, ripped up, rubbery blob in about the span of  5 seconds.

I guess they weren't kidding about humidity being a critical factor. I just ran another batch, barely 1 gram of the gelling agent. It's been about 20 minutes and it's still gelling. I guess I'll see how it works this time eventually.

Wednesday, August 04, 2010

"Demons" by Karl Wenham

"Demons" unlike most of my other projects isn't a movie, but a collection of photos of various demons, beasts and creatures taken by a demon named Karl Wenham.

Karl himself is a demonic antiquities dealer, collecting weird, unusual  and sometimes dangerous artifacts from around the world, as well as from alternate dimensions. On the side Karl is a bit of a photographer and is assembling a collection of the various demons he's known throughout the years.

The basic idea is to create what normally would be a boring, mundane photo of a person doing nothing terribly special, just going about some normal routine and make it a little more fantastic by imagining a world where demons are as commonplace as humans.

The goal is to create at least 100 demons over the course of the next year, resulting in a potential art exhibit (or several) and a book containing all the photos along with a little info/story about how Karl knows these demons.

Here's a couple "outtakes" from today's photoshoot with Gortch.


So if you, or anyone you know, might be interested in volunteering to be part of the project - as a demon of course, get in touch with me at casting@themonkeyrodeo.com. Send along a recent photo (see the update below) and any info you want so I can get a feel for what I'm working with and what makeup might be right. No acting experience necessary, this isn't a movie - but you do need to comfortable being in front of a camera and capable of taking some direction in order to create a realistic looking, not posed, photo.

You might not hear back from me right away, but over the course of the next year I will be contacting potential demon candidates about arranging a makeup session and photoshoot. And I will point out right now, for anyone who just stumbled upon this without knowing me, that this is taking place on Prince Edward Island, Canada. If you're not going to be on the Island over the course of the next year, then there's not much point signing up - even though I do appreciate the interest.

UPDATE: So far the response has been a more then I expected in only a few hours- which is awesome of course, thanks to everyone who signed up. I should point out, if I actually know you, no need for a photo - that's just for folks I don't know. Also, should you have an idea or scenario for your alter demon ego, let me know as well.

Monday, August 02, 2010

Home Sweet Hell - The Monkey Rodeo Web Series

As the title says, "Home Sweet Hell"  will be the project's first web series. It's a last minute kind of project and has come together really quickly. It centers around an odd family, the Lutzs - Vernon Lutz, the human father, Doris Lutz, his demon wife and Ricky Lutz, their half breed son. Much like "The Addams Family" and "The Munsters" it's a bit of a monstrous take on the typical 60s family sitcom, such as "I Love Lucy" and "Leave it to Beaver" with a bit more of a darker sense of humour.

We film the "pilot" episodes of the sitcom this coming Saturday - barring any unforeseen circumstances. The pilot will simply be three 5 minute episodes, all one story to be released once a week. Hope to have them done relatively soon after the shoot.

Now if this all comes off as planned - we're doing this all in a one day shoot - then the plan is to further develop it into a full 12 episodes to be shot in January/February of next year. This is all depending on if we can actually do 3 episodes per day and the availability of everyone involved.

So that's it. That was the first official word about "Home Sweet Hell". We'll see how it goes come Saturday.