Tuesday, August 28, 2012


So far the BZK! series has been plagued with problem, massive production destroying problems. It feels like I'm spending more time putting out fires than actually getting any work done. I suppose I could just whine about it and give up, and actually I'd kind of like to give up, but I'm already so tied to this thing financially that I can't.

So, time to try to see the positive side of all this. The latest problem is losing one of our lead villains. Actually, pretty much THE lead villain. So what do I do on such short notice that doesn't cause this whole thing to come crashing down? I have some footage shot with him and some shot with the girls and another small scene. I had a shoot cancelled that would have wrapped up a subplot...I try to rewrite it all and see what I can salvage without giving up.

I'm taking this all as a bit of a sign and cutting things down, trimming the fat I guess you could say. So far it's actually working well and I'm hoping to trim out at least 15 pages or 2 full episodes. I don't like the idea of losing episodes but with things so stretched thin right now I need to make up for lost time and doing this actually give me more time to get the important parts done.

Plus I felt the 2nd act was a little repetitive, so this does clear that up and I'm able to wrap up a subplot that was just left open before. I lost some really good sequences, but I'm hoping to replace them with stuff that's just as good. I'm hoping it cuts down on some potentially long shooting days and makes things a little bit easier overall to ensure that we get it all done.

Overall I'm not upset about, slightly stressed, but getting a little more hopeful that this will be seen through to the end. We got a shoot this weekend that wasn't too effected by all this, we'll see what happens.

Friday, August 24, 2012

Heading to Montreal for supplies.

In about 10 hours, Draper Bulger and myself will be making a very brief trip to Montreal for special effects supplies for the BZK! web series. We're heading out tonight around 5:30 from here, heading to Montreal, pretty much getting what little sleep we can in the parking lot of Sial while we wait for them to open, they're close on Saturdays so they're having someone come in just for us - that makes them awesome. And then we're heading straight back as I have a shoot on Sunday morning.

Why are we driving up instead of shipping them? It's way cheaper.

It's going to be a long, shitty weekend - but this is part of the experience of making movies that's kind of fun. It's almost an endurance test sometimes and it's not always actual "fun", but it's an experience nonetheless and one you kind of keep with you for sometime.

So with all these supplies coming in and several shoots lined up I'm taking time this morning to do up a "props deadline" list. What props do I need to do before what shooting date kind of schedule. There's still so much to do, but luckily some of the shots can be done as sort of 2nd Unit type things, they don't have to be done on the day and can possibly be shot later without needing all the actors - but I'm trying to have it all done on time.

Sept 2nd is easy, just a foam sledge hammer. Just need to get a new sledge hammer, seem to have lost my old one I was planning on moulding. Of course I'm sure I'll find it once I no longer need it.

Sept 9th is a little overwhelming. I can't tell you what the prop is, although I've mentioned it before and will no longer ever mention it again until the series goes online. So if you missed it, you'll be surprised eventually. It's going to be damned awesome.

Sept 15th is going to be another nightmare day. A couple things are easy 2nd Unit stuff, but I got bear traps to make - fake ones, I'm not going near a real one for this so don't even offer one up. I don't even care what they really look like, this is meant to be silly and horrible all at once.

The hardest an most expensive thing will be a silicone mask. For our main "villian" instead of prosthetics I'm opting for a silicone mask. I've done one before, not perfect, but I've got a much better grasp on it now and this is the best place to test it out. Hope it works.

And it's all downhill from there.

I've got a few things that would be cool but a pain in the ass and would require a portable gas powered generator. I'm not sure I'm keen on that idea anymore as I once was. We'll see about that one, might not even work anyway.

September's going to be a long month, but well worth it I think.

Thursday, August 23, 2012

I actually like making "bad" movies...

So, I had a conversation today about someone's opinion that I'm a shitty film maker - I'm paraphrasing that because the details are boring. I'm not writing this to call them out or insult them or anything like that, it was their opinion and they're more than welcome to it. My intention isn't to talk about them behind their back in a forum where they can't defend themselves, that's not the point. I don't even want them to comment on this, it's not really even about them. And I believe that statement was more reactionary than plotted out.

But I do find it hilarious. Now I don't know exactly what's going on in some people's heads, however I do have a pretty damned good idea sometimes. I find people can be pretty transparent when it comes to certain things. In this case when certain phrases are mentioned in conjunction with a very specific project I've done - I have to laugh a bit.

I've said this before and gone on and on about it before to the point where it's feeling pretentious almost, like I'm holding myself up as some brilliant misunderstood auteur  - couldn't be farther from the truth. In fact, I do make shitty movies - that's kinda the point, but a shitty film maker? That's a matter of opinion really and I don't really care anyway.

I am not a film maker nor do I even want to be. I might've harbored some thoughts towards it once upon a time, that was a long time ago though. A very long time ago. I hate the fact that just beause I made a movie, or several, that for some people it instantly means I must want to be a professional film maker. Does a bunch of guys playing baseball in their backyard mean they all are dying to be pro ball players? Not in every case - some people just like doing things because it's fun. That's it.

I hate the business side of it and I don't really care much for amateur film making - not to be confused with independent film making. I draw the distinction by the arrogance of the film maker that implies they're not amateur, when they clearly are, simply by calling themselves an indie film maker instead - I've done that myself, no one's safe.

My point to all this is opinions and impressions and how one person's opinion totally colours their view of something. That's obvious though. Without again going into detail, as it's not really the point of why I'm writing this, just the inspiration, Bimbo Zombie Killers! was called out for being a shitty movie - that's cool. It's supposed to be. See, when it's call it a shitty movie, it's a compliment not an insult. That means I did my job damned well, so well, that I fooled them.

This is a tricky thing to explain, and it might be some foolish assuming on my behalf but it's a consistent enough thing where I'm pretty comfortable in saying I fully believe I'm right in making this statement. There are certain key words and phrases that I see in negative feedback, towards this movie specifically - the problem is those words, in conjunction with a serious attempt at film making, would be a devastating blow to any ego.

But in the case of this one particular project, these words are compliment because I realized that I fooled them. I don't mean to make that sound like I just "duped some sucker", but that my hard work in attempting to make a movie so ramshackle and bad (as an homage to bad 70s movies that more than likely were serious, but failed, attempts) that I actually created a movie that looked genuinely bad. So bad that it's believed to be a failed attempt at serious film making rather than a successful attempt at shitty film making.

Does that make sense? I can understand that people don't care for that, but I was successful in what I did, just because a person or even a group didn't like it is pointless, but the fact they base their opinion on whether or not they liked in on the very points I specifically created the whole project around - leads me to believe, they simply didn't get it. That doesn't mean even if they did "get it" they'd suddenly have to like it.

I'm pretty sure I went on about this before, I know I have with people in person. It's just that this is something I find a little perplexing and rather amusing. It's like someone watches it, they see the title of the movie, they see the shitty colouring and lines and scratches (very obviously done for effect since lines and scratches don't appear on digital, you know that, right?) and still as they sit through the utterly retarded dialog and  are fixed on the notion I made this as a serious attempt at film making. I've had other folks, who are very knowledgeable about film, say how much they loved Bimbo Zombie Killers! totally because it hit all the marks of an homage to a very specific time and place in "bad movie history". The liked it because they "got it". See where I'm going with this?

I'm not insulting people who don't get it, not by any means. I don't want anyone to feel bad, although it's like not getting the joke "Why'd the chicken cross the road?" It's not an intelligent joke by any means - but it's also far from a subtle joke. The arrogant part of me, and believe me it's there in large quantities at times, believes that I might've done too good of a job. I forgot to add the "wink, wink, nudge, nudge" to let people know it's a joke - but I hate that hand-holding kind of movie. It's insulting, it's what the average film-goers hates too. When someone says a joke, we know we're supposed to laugh if it's funny - but we won't when laugh if it's not funny just because we're expected to. It's like the applause sign flashing at the audience during a sitcom taping, but this time it's the movie itself letting you know "It's okay to laugh, our scientifically proven humour should appeal to you and your age group.We're hip...Really." You have to let the audience figure it out for themselves, the problem is they don't always do that it seems.

Different tastes, different opinions, whatever. No one said anyone had to like what I do. Mine is a niche taste in films, no doubt about it. I grew up watching the same movies as everyone else, but I also saw a shitload of 70s, 80s exploitation and splatter flicks. Crap from the 50s and 60s - most of which  I probably don't even remember seeing I was so young. I saw the original I Spit on Your Grave when I was 11 or 12. I saw Michael Caine lose his hand to a mailbox and have it come back to kill him. Killer frogs on the bayou. Dumb shitty stupid movies - but fun. Comedy today in mainstream movies is dumb, it's stupid and lowest common denominator and we accept it. We revel in it - I don't, I hate most of it, but that's me. See, it's not clever stupid - it's stupid stupid.

I'm not saying saying what I'm doing is clever, but if it goes over someone's head and assuming they're able walk and breath at the same time, than it must be slightly more intelligent than your average Knock, Knock joke at the very least. While these movies I mentioned were done, most likely, in all seriousness, there was a silliness and campiness to them that's very appealing to some folks, but when you parody or satire them, you end up with fart jokes and ham-fisted attempts at humour - the individual lines of dialog shouldn't just be the only joke, the movie itself shouldn't have to have lame setups and punchlines - the whole damn thing is a joke. It's a joke that takes itself seriously, so seriously that it's ridiculous.

I guess since it's something I've always appreciated about film making that I never stopped to think that it actually might be that niche or maybe even an art form that simply goes go over the heads of some people. Or maybe some film goers just take themselves or the experience to seriously. I don't know why it happens, I just know I see it a lot.

Anyway, that's pretty much what was rolling around in my head. And to put a cap on the incident that inspired this, it did end well as far as I'm concerned - it was actually a good conversation, I've never really had to prove or explain my stance on what I do to anyone so it was actually nice to have that opportunity in some way. I have no ill will towards them and even take the blame in spurring them into making that comment in the first place. I had a bit of a "don't piss in my pool" reaction to a public suggestion that caused me to privately attempt to quickly, and abruptly, explain my position on things - it didn't come off well I guess.

That's it. The End. I like making shitty movies because it's goddamned fun, plain and simple.

Monday, August 20, 2012

Cheesy Props for a Cheesy Movie

The first draft of this post got way out of hand. I just wanted to ramble about the quality of the props given the quality of the movie and the possibility of the  criticism of the FX overall. It was way over the top and I deleted it all and I'm cutting it back to something simple.

Ultimately I feel with this project (BZK!) and most of what I do, the props are "part of the joke" so to speak. BZK! isn't meant to be taken seriously and because of that it shouldn't feel too realistic, it'd throw everyone off as far as I'm concerned. I began to really think about my choices while I was making an eyeball from a styrofoam ball.

It's meant to be a cheesy, campy throwback to an age of horror filmmaking when everything was done on a low budget and actually had a bit of charm to it just because of that. Maybe as FX get more expensive and more realistic they start to alienate people somehow - it stands to reason since let's face it, stop motion skeletons aren't anymore realistic looking than mediocre CG effects, but why do people rag on the CG and then moan about not seeing stop motion skeletons anymore? The quality is usually better with CG and I don't ever recall hearing people get pissy about how the original Clash of the Titans was just another pointless "stop-motion animation fest".

I don't know if people really stop and think about why they don't like CG, or at least an overabundance of it in favour of a sometimes awkward and very obvious animatronic creature. It sort of doesn't make sense. CG looks better and more realistic, plain and simple - but people love seeing a guy in a monster suit, good or bad it doesn't matter.

So my whole thought process here was to try to deliver a little bit of that old school, quick and dirty looking special effects fest of a movie. On a much lower budget mind you. And the idea further came to me that, it's not so much the dialog that makes this a "horror/comedy" if you can even label it that, I call it "stupid horror" personally, it's the props. How can you not laugh at a ridiculous looking rubber arm being waved around smacking zombies in the head? Odd sized goofy looking eyeballs? Rubber zombie frogs? It's like watching a live action cartoon, albeit a poorly drawn one.

If you watch the series and criticize it because you think the props and FX are shit and sit there like grump hating it for that reason, as much as it's a dick thing to say - you didn't get it. You don't have to like it, in fact you can hate it so much you run out an start punching goats in a blind rage, I really don't care. But if you hate it because you think it looks silly, then you missed the point. It's SUPPOSED to look silly, it's supposed to be cheesy and campy and goofy. If it was ultra-realistic it wouldn't be funny at all, would it? If that doesn't appeal to you, then I warn you now, don't watch it - it's not for you.

We've got a lot more in store than what I've mentioned and lot will be kept under wraps as much a possible until the series airs online. It's going to be ridiculous, but nothing done is ever meant to alienate the audience just remind them of an age of simpler, more accessibly feeling FX based movies that were just plain fun to watch, even if the seams on a mask showed or the wires on a flying creature were painfully obvious.

It's a tricky line to walk though, you go too far and it's retarded and insulting, you actually have to make the audience realize something, and that's that you actually give a shit about what you're doing and that it's obvious everyone had fun doing it - beyond that, it doesn't really matter.

PS. None of this makes for a guaranteed good movie - I'm sure someone out there will still think it sucks. That's just the way it is.

BZK! 3rd Day of Filming

Day 3 almost didn't happen, long story but it was due to waiting on finances - luckily it all worked out and it did happen, with an added shoot later in the day making up for the one missed on Day 2.

Another cloudy, damp, humid day - but what else could I really expect, the previous two movies took place under the same conditions. We were shooting in the forest with a pretty thick tree canopy so I wasn't too worried, so far rain hasn't cancelled anything.

Since the first scene was pretty simple as far as zombies went, I decided to just go with facepainting instead of full prosthetics - the zombies will appear for less than an minute and their involvement was only half an hour or so - in fact we were ahead of schedule upon finishing with them.

We shot out of sequence to accommodate the fact one of our actors/makeup artists had to get to work. Awesome of her to come out early and get covered in fake blood though and then have to go to work.

I decided to test out my new method of hosing down zombies with blood. Just a $7 pressure sprayer. Not perfect because it creates too much of a symmetrical spray, but still it does the trick.

Everyone seemed a little too eager to get messy - but that's what zombie movies are all about.
Today would have actually been cancelled if not for our lead actor, Tim Wartman, wrangling up enough zombies for us. I have nearly 60+ people supposedly who have signed up and most of them pretty much consistently ignore our calls for zombies. I'd like to say I'm surprised by that, unfortunately it's typical around here.

Upon seeing this picture I was rather disturbed that Krista's leg could do that with any discomfort - at least she never said anything and it was totally her choice to do it. Don't know how well it reads on camera, but it looks messed up here.

Shooting this was all based on that one severed arm prop Tim's carrying there - without it the shoot was pointless. I got it made in time and it looks pretty decent on camera. I actually have a whole post I was debating on about these kinds of props and their place in a movie like this. We'll see I guess.

The full cast from the first half of Day 3. A pretty awesome, eager bunch and hopefully what turns out to be one of the more memorable scenes from the whole series.

There are more images of the sequence we shot with Tim after the rest of the cast left, but I'm keeping them all under wraps until the series goes online - I don't want to spoil it, but I think it'll be pretty awesome.

We finished WAY ahead of schedule, 2 hours in fact. So I was a bit relieved and was able to take a break before getting back into things for the second part of the day. Which was pretty easy as well and turned out good I think.

We hauled most of our leads back to Scales Pond for a quick scene.

Here they all are - so far they've been a really patient bunch, putting up with most anything I've thrown at at them. I think they really hard stuff is behind us now and we're into the just regular stuff on dry land.

Overall it was an easy day. There was a bit of confusion with the second half, not sure what happened there still, but it's over now.

Now onto prepping for Day 4 - which is going to be a bit of a nightmare. Technically it should be easy, but there's just so much to do and too many zombies needed it could be a disaster. Here's hoping for the best. And I'm going to do that other post I was thinking about. See you next week and I'll leave you with the Best Line of the Day. Tim might've found his calling as a physical comedic actor.

Not technically the BEST line, but just silly out of context (and even in context):

Saturday, August 18, 2012

Cheap eyeballs.

Another exciting, half-assed "how to."

There's a scene we're shooting tomorrow that had an eyeball in it. I debated if I really needed it, since it was only there as a bit of a joke. In the end I decided I needed something, so if I could make a fast cheap eyeball - an eyeball it would be.

This was made from stuff I had lying around and pretty much anyone could make from stuff bought at any craft store. I already had a bag of styrofoam balls, might not be the perfect size, but they're pretty damned close so I went with them. I had some thick twine, the kind that's all splintered looking and rough. And a few paints and latex. And a tack and some hot glue.

Now this doesn't result in a perfect up close quality eyeball - but a nice cheap gag eyeball.

First I painted on the iris, didn't bother with anything else, just that. You could do more detailing if you wanted, but from the viewing distance and amount of time it'll be onscreen - it didn't matter to me.

Then I tied the end of the twine in a small knot and trimmed off the excess, stuck a flat tack into it and hot glued it in there. The resulting "optic nerve" was a little off centre, which was fine because I want the iris to be visible and it wouldn't have been so much had the twine run perfectly straight from the back.

Once the glue was dry I tied another knot on the other end, coated the twine in red tinted latex and let it cure. i made sure to make it nice and lumpy on the back of the eye and added some somewhat veiny bits. And that was it.

If you had the time, you could make a shitload of these for under $10 if you already own a glue gun and paints. And I suppose not everyone has access to latex, but I would think any glue that dries flexible would do it.

The reason I went with the twine was because I wanted the nerve to be thick and it helped create a lumpy, kind of ropey looking nerve.

Took very little effort and it yielded a nice campy looking eyeball prop. All the while I was making this I kept thinking of this scene from Blade Runner:

Friday, August 17, 2012

Holy crap, your arm fell off!

One of the simpler FX for the BZK! web series is a severed arm. I've never actually done this before, but I know the basic principles. This shouldn't be really taken as a proper "how to" sort of thing, but that's your choice.

I wanted a cheaply made fake arm for an actor to run around with, it had to be durable and take a beating while still being light and cheap. So silicone was out, although it would look pretty realistic. I thought about urethane rubber but I don't have enough experience so I finally settled on a latex, foam filled arm. This was the cheapest method I could think of.

The supplies were simple, some alginate - I think about 4 lbs was used. Monster Makers Clay, which can be melted to a liquid. Water based clay for making a 2 part UltraCal 30 mould. And finally some latex from Monster Makers and I tried using their expanding polyfoam to fill the arm with.

First, I had the actor come by, Tim Wartman, and I made a very makeshift frame for the alginate. Here's where I made my first sort of mistake. While this worked, I think the alginate I chose and the frame were all wrong. This alginate was filled with fibres for more vertical surfaces and the frame should have just been a tube - didn't have access to better frame building materials, so we had to do this.

While there's nothing really wrong with the alginate I went with, I do think it was the cause of some of the air pockets and lumps in the mould. Here I poured in the first batch of melted clay. My next mistake.

It took some time to fill it all up and let it harden again.

Here's the final clay arm. It wasn't so awesome looking.

You can see here the ridges that each batch of melted clay created. It probably would've worked better had I done one large batch, but I just didn't have the means to do that at this time.

Here's it is after I resculpted most of the surface details. I got tired of it after several hours and thought, "it's going to look cheesy anyway, why am I wasting all this time?" So I cut corners and called it done.

Forgot to get a picture of it with just the clay wall before the first coat of UltraCal, but here it is after that first coat.

And here it is with the first half of the mould done and ready for the 2nd. I kinda suck and 2 part mould making, especially something this big. I've done some decent ones in the past, but I was sort of in a hurry.

And here's what's left of the alginate mould by the way.

So, there's nothing really to see at this point, it's too hard taking pictures while I'm working. So with the 2nd half of the mould done I cleaned it all out - and I was surprised how easy demoulding and cleaning was. I was really expecting a bit of a fight here and it pretty much just popped apart.

With the final mould done I filled it with tinted latex - which is impossible to show since it's inside the mould and I can't take a picture while I'm filling it. I let that dwell in the mould for a bit - for anyone wondering what the hell that means, for latex for form a good skin you need to just let it sit in the mould while the UltraCal does its magic and sucks the moisture from the latex forming a skin.

Then you dump the excess latex out and let it cure. I left it in the sun for most of the day and overnight and thought that would do it. Unfortunately there's just no way to check, so you have to hope for the best.

The next step was to just assume the latex had cured and fill it with expanding foam. I've used Smooth-On's Flex FoamIt but thought I'd try Monster Makers foam - I had no idea it began to work so fast and here's what happened within what seemed like 15 seconds.

Luckily I had some Smooth-On foam and went with that. Filled it up and let it sit, demoulded it only to find the latex hadn't cured in spots so the foam crept though and nearly ruined the mould, I think I got it cleaned out well enough and I'm trying a 2nd now.

Here's the first arm from the mould - it's far from perfect, but for our purposes it actually is kind of perfect. There's some major surface defects, pock marks and the like. One of the fingers looks a little crushed too - however, for the scene I need it for first, the arm's been used to fend off a horde of zombies so having it look a little battle weary is just fine.
 It's not painted at this point, that'll come tomorrow for a shoot the day after. It's pretty lightweight and totally safe to smack someone with, you'll feel it but it doesn't really hurt at all. Can't wait to shoot with it.

If you're reading this and thinking "Wow, that's just fascinating and awesome. I only wish there was a way I could help out, like donate money to this web series or something" than I highly recommend you follow this link: http://igg.me/p/110014?a=53757

Monday, August 13, 2012

BZK! 2nd Day of Filming

We had our 2nd day of filming, looked like it was going to be off to a bad start when finally we had the very first Sunday of the summer that rained. Well, it was supposed to rain - we lucked out and managed to avoid it completely.

It rained while we were in transit from one location to the next. It was pretty grotesquely humid, which actually worked out great on the 2nd location.As you can see from the still from the footage below. There was an awesome fog that seemed to always be lurking on the edges of the shot and added a haziness to some of the footage, it looked pretty cool.

We gathered up for a quick shoot at Hardy Mill Pond with the leads, it went as expected, no problems whatsoever and we left slightly ahead of schedule.

While driving between the two locations we had a massive downpour and stopped in at my place along the way to wait it out, it put us a little behind schedule, but better to wait there than in the rain.

I've never shot here before, the 2nd location was Scales Pond. It's absolutely beautiful and rather grim looking at the same time. We also ended up swapping out canoes with inflatable boats. Might not have been the most brilliant idea, but I think in the end it made it easier moving things around.

I've also never filmed people in boats in the water, so this was a pretty new experience and one I really had misjudged just how difficult it would be.

While we shot some stuff with the leads, I had a couple makeup folks get the zombies ready in the background.

And that meant it was time to pile the girls in the boats. They weren't meant for 3 people, but they will hold them well enough.

And this is how I spent most of the day, in waders that had a leak in them. By the end of the day (and the zombies suffered much worse) I been walking around with one leg soaked to the knee in a boot full of water.

Even on the still camera the fog was pretty prominent.

That hardest part was resetting each time. I had a couple zombies get in the water and they were constantly pulling the boats back into position and letting them go while I tried to get a few shots. Overall I think it worked, might look a little awkward, but I'm hoping that translates to slightly silly looking.

Steve here, in the background was getting ready to be the first underwater zombie. He had to submerge himself and pop up at just the right moment, speed and position. It took only a few takes and it looked awesome in the end, perfectly creepy.

All day I was dreading the zombie attack sequence. There were so many things I couldn't show, didn't want to and had to hide it made the whole thing slightly stressful. Once we got all the zombies in the water and had very carefully shot some leadup footage I had no choice but to just do it. We also were constantly moving the boats into random spots of the river with different depths to accommodate what we needed. I don't think it shows, but I'm not going to pay too close attention - or even really care for that matter.

This was probably somewhat safer then putting the girls in canoes and tipping them, clumsy, but that makes it kind of funny anyway.

Everyone was incredibly patient, it was nice that despite it being such a difficult shoot, there was never a moment of tension or any time where anyone was very visible upset or put out because of something that was happening or not. Although I do believe the closeups of Heather in the boat when the zombies attacked her was genuine and not acting.

We had more to shoot after the zombie attack scene, but it was just taking too long to get what we had that I just didn't feel like I should expect anyone to want to stick around for another scene, so at the risk of falling behind, I decided it would be best to call it for the day and just deal with it later. We got some great stuff, but it was so exhausting - wandering about in waders all day certainly didn't make it easier on me and I doubt anyone else was really enjoying being cold and damp either.

We ended a few hours later than planned, even with dropping the next 2 scenes, we finished in the early evening I believe. And thanks to everyone who stuck it out, it was painful by times but this was the most difficult shoot on the whole series. The location was pretty remote and the weather was making everything damp, so I'm really hoping the next few shoots will be drier and easier.

And now for the best line of the day:

Saturday, August 11, 2012

Props, lots and lots of props.

I've been making movies now for over 14 years. And today as I was working on some props for a shoot tomorrow, on the Bimbo Zombie Killers! web series (was making a impromptu MacGyvered bow and arrows), I started thinking about just how many props I've made over the years.

I've made some weird ones, like a plywood board with severed penises nailed to it (Man-Eating Hookers from Hell), some huge ones that took up a large portion of my living room, specifically a cockpit for a one man anime looking jet (The Supposed Prophets) to simple stuff like a gateway key to Hell (The Conspirators).

I wished I thought to catalog all these things. I supposed I could just go back and capture stills from the movies, but it's not the same. 

I've even had some costumes made, although not by me, a cloak for the Grim Reaper (The Last Days of Death), 5 identical dresses for a demon band (Bert Palmerro's Addicted to Love) and even some Viking and Barbarian garb (The Secret Lives of Demons). I myself made 4 demon suits of leather armor and various bits for 4 Lord of the Rings looking fellows (Malice).

I have probably most of my props, going all the way back to the Happy Fun Beer from Supposed Prophets, I wouldn't drink it, it's a little cloudy looking these days. I'm kind of curious just how many I've made in the last 14+ years, so I went to my film resume (as pretentious as that sounds) and went all the way back to the beginning.

My first completed movie (and hopefully lost to time),Grey, I made a few things, but I can only really remember this weird, bulbous device with an indent of a hand in it. Part of that stuck around all the way to shooting Cronus.

The Last Days of Death I don't think I made anything, I think even the cloak was from Grey. Aside from a noose and a letter of dismal from the DOD, I don't recall making anything.

Getting Dead, I don't think I made anything for that, aside from maybe a few weird little alien props - I don't really remember though. I think I took some parts from an old video camera that looked odd out of context, but I didn't really make anything that I recall.

The Conspirators I made "The Gateway Key", a black obelisk that would supposedly unlock the gates of hell.

Grim...Nope, don't recall much about that movie, other some it made no sense and I did make some fake blood for it.

The Supposed Prophets I think was my first prop fest of a movie. The whole cockpit was bizarre. We made a plywood shell, all constructed and housed in my living room at the time. We got a funky looking car set and scavenged parts from several different electronic devices. Made some guns. I know there was other stuff, but nothing's coming to me at the moment - aside from the Happy Fun Beer. There was a lot of digital stuff in that movie, so I could be confusing it with that.

Bad Karma was an attempt at one day filmmaking with my brand new GL1. No real props made, but I did make fake spit that got drooled on Greg Webster.

The next few, I won't bother mentioning because they were very simple "quirky" little movies. I bought, but didn't make stuff for Sinister Consequences. And then moved into some animated movies and more simple stuff. They That Did Dream has some weird little rocks that looked like large Skittles.

For The Scourge, a movie that worked so much better on paper, I made a whole leatherbound journal with Kim Bradford and a 4 or 5 foot seal painted with runes. I think it's finally long gone since I've moved.

I guess really until Malice I didn't make that much stuff now that I look back on it. Most was purchased Even with Malice I remember buying a shitload of stuff and probably only made a handful of things. I had a book stand made, a plant hanger reworked to stand alone on its own. The Voodoo Spirit Bombs were the first real prop I made from nothing I think on that movie, mostly it was a lot of makeup and props bought online. And a lot of weapons. There was a funky little Hellboy inspired talisman I made with a fingerbone inside - which I've since redesigned and now can mass produce.

There were some odd little background trinkets and stuff. The "prophecy" scroll which I still have framed and I was quite proud of. And still am, it looks awesome. A huge warhammer and lots of costumes for a flashback scene as well.

Demon Rum saw the creation of the Demon Rum bottle, which I still plan on recreating for mass production some day. I've the plans worked out, just need to put it all into effect.

For Cronus I did a lot. I would have to say that I did a lot. I reused the Gateway Key, but the entire office was almost a prop. The most detailed were the framed pictures you never really got to see that had Cronus photoshopped into real images of celebrities and prominent figures of the 1930s and 40s.

For Bimbo Zombie Killers! I made my first fake weapon, a foam axe. That was pretty cool. I had David Bennett make some authentic ceramic moonshine jugs, which I then moulded and produced almost a dozen duplicates.

The Invasion of the Horrible Alien Brain Monsters from outer Space in 3D, I created a lot. From the alien masks, to a lot of the funky gadgets Dr. Hammer used. That was kind of cool. I even created a little cheap-assed looking UFO and model of Earth.

Grayson and Gortch I made a few things. This was pretty makeup heavy as well. I made some severed Trolls feet, several of them still linger about in various place of the house. The Tibetan Fire Starter, used by Grayson. Some fake demon drug paraphernalia and some weird demonic CSI device.

Home Sweet Hell was meant to be assembled from stuff I already had, so there was really nothing new created there.

Man-Eating Hookers from Hell...yeah. This was weird. There weren't so many props as various makeups and stuff. Aside from the severed penises the best thing was the Fangina. I think I still have one copy, but I've since given the original away.

Bimbo Zombie Killers 2! Undead by Dawn, I made a pretty awesome (also goofy) severed arm stump. Reconditioned the backpack from The Alien Brain Monsters and parts of the cockpit from Supposed Prophets into a moonshine cannon. And some pretty nifty foam hammer heads - the handles were real wood, so they were only so stunt worthy.

Finally with Bimbo Zombie Killers! Undead in the Water, I've got a lot of stuff on the go, from prop zombie frogs, to the aforementioned bow and arrow. I'm doing a fake arm this week and eventually a fake severed hand. And a lot more I don't want to mention because it'll ruin some of the surprise.

I'm sure there's been way more, but I've also collected about three times as much stuff as I've made, and still have most of it all packed safely away. Might never use it, but it's cool it's there should I need some background stuff.

Wednesday, August 08, 2012

The worst part of filmmaking

So far scheduling on Bimbo Zombie Killers! Undead in the Water has been nothing more than an exercise in stress management. There is simply nothing more frustrating then having a shoot involving so many people, confirming all but one or two's availability and at then finally hearing back with a "nope, can't do it" or "I won't know until (one or two days beforehand)".

Now, I've said this before and never once do I take it personally and get annoyed with actors. It's just the nature of the process and sometimes it just doesn't go as smoothly or as planned. You either have to accept it and just move on to solve the next problem or you're never going to get anything done.

Given that our time was cut short due to other things that are just really boring and unnecessary to get into - we're getting backed into a corner and there's less wiggle room than there used to be. I've already had to recast just to get moving as late as we are. And now it's come time to do that again - luckily it's not the end of the world.

Without going into too much detail, I was actually able to juggle when characters are introduced in order to accommodate certain actors not being available. It should work just fine and be of no notice to anyone. There's another actor I've had to debate just writing him out entirely based on the short notice of his schedule - so the plan is to try a version with and without, however that in itself may cause problems since he's required for 2 key dates of shooting.

That's one option, the other is to shoot all their stuff on one day and potentially cause more issues should this one day be postponed. Blah, blah, blah. I hate it sometimes, not the people, just the situation.