Saturday, October 20, 2012

Another new line of prosthetics

There's a while backlog of stuff I've been meaning to do this year for Halloween, but life and the whole web series thing really got in the way. Now I have more free time to actually work and I've started working on a couple new things, 2 new lines of prosthetics.

I know I mentioned one of these before, either here or just on Facebook, I don't even remember anymore where I mention things. I really should keep track of that.

Back when I was just buying prosthetics online one thing I encountered that continually annoyed me was the size of some of the pieces. Most of them were way too high on the forehead for the average person to wear without needing a bald cap - however next to none of them ever mentioned that fact so I would end up with a piece I couldn't use on just anybody with having to apply a pain in the ass bald cap as well. And some were just too large for female models or actors so I had to trim them down and try to blend in these massive edges as best I could.

I decided when I started making mine to never do that, to try to stay within a defined area so that nothing but the piece and makeup would be needed. And that they'd be wearable by most everyone - that's pretty difficult since women have small or shorter face, might not seem like it but it's pretty obvious when you try to put an average size prosthetic on them.

This all lead me to two ideas that I'm finally getting around to:

Skullcap Prosthetics
Now there might be a good reason why I've never seen these before, I guess I'm willing to find out the hard way. During the course of doing the first "Demons" book I worked with quite a few bald folks have encountered more since who are interested in this stuff so I began thinking - if there are already pieces out there that require a bald cap why not make pieces specifically for that? Both bald people and those that don't mind using bald caps.

The idea is to keep them fairly small and one two part moulds, I don't want to get into doing 3-4 part moulds. So they'll stick pretty close to the crown of the head or maybe the front or back. This would give a little more variety and dramatically alter the shape of the human head. I'm just hoping I can get them averaged size enough. Slightly on the small size would be stretchable at least to a few sizes larger, that's the best I can think of right now.

This is sort of a top-down angle on the very first attempt at one of these pieces. It's pretty simple, kind of Predator inspired. The holes are obviously for the many various resin spikes and horns I have. I'm hoping if this one is a success, I'll need to try it on a few different people to be sure, then I'll move on and finally get around to creating some big-assed horns. With a large piece to attach them to, it should work. Time will tell.

Hopefully they pan out, could be a decent corner of the market.

Female Only Prosthetics.
As I mentioned earlier on, there's a huge issue and a gap in the market for prosthetics that fit women well. The ones I've tried, full faces at least, tend to be way too long and end up looking sloppy. Or way too high on the forehead - same results.

I wouldn't have thought there was such a market, but I've had more women interesting in doing demon photo shoots than men on average and I've been told my one of my major wholesale clients there is indeed a huge hole in that market no one has yet to really show any concern about. And if this Halloween season has been any indication, he's right. Almost 95% of my retail orders were from women this year.

So I'm hoping to get these started this weekend and online in time for Halloween as soon as possible. At least one of each, all depends since I have to start from scratch and I need to test them to make sure they're doing to perform as intended.

I might even start doing female versions of some of the already existing full face pieces, who knows.

Thursday, October 18, 2012

Custom Halloween Makeup Service

Hey folks, it's that time of year again. Almost. I posted this on the website and on Facebook, so I figured I might as well here too:

If you feel like doing a little something extra this year but aren't too sure how to do it, you might want to try out some prosthetic makeup. And if you're not confident enough to apply it yourself, I can take care of that as well. Or if you're interested, but had some questions - fire away.

Book times now, email me at Application times can vary, from 1 to 2 hours. Prices are the cost of the prosthetics, plus $5 to $20 depending on the si
ze and elaborateness of the actual makeup.

For example, the image in this Facebook ad would cost $130. It includes the Melicor Demon prosthetic (on sale for only $40 now, originally $50), Pointed Ears are $20, plus 4 pairs of Medium Horns Type B for a total of $40. Application would be $20 and would take 2 hours to apply.

Don't wait until the last minute as prosthetics are not being kept in stock, they're being made on demand right now and could take up to 2 days to make.

Also, I am not located in Charlottetown anymore, so you'll need to get yourself out to where I am on your own this year. This is really only open to folks on PEI, unless you want to drive, or whatever, to get yourself here.

Thursday, October 11, 2012

The Baalmoor

The Baalmoor is a short I did a long time ago when I was relatively inexperienced. Well, I don't know if I'm much more experienced but I'm remaking it anyway just because I want to.

It was a simple enough idea and it was too simple a movie - it kinda fell a little flat and just didn't work as a creepy horror piece. It involved a  girl, fresh from a terribly breakup being preyed upon by a demon. This was before I was into doing makeup and those kind of FX as well, so I think this new version should prove more interesting in some regards - not to give anything away, but let's face it, if you know what I do, you'd be expecting it.

I've got a rough plot outline, I'm getting together with the actors to walk through the whole thing and really flesh it out so I can get a script started for shooting in November/December. It'll be a chilly shoot - it might even get postponed until spring, I've no idea of anything at this point really.

The other motivating factor in doing this is that I've spent the last 4 years, more or less, making rather campy silly stuff. I guess you could say exploring more of the lazy side of filmmaking, or the easy side of it, whichever seems more politically correct to you. I want to really put forth the effort for a change and actually experiment with trying to create an atmosphere, tension all that stuff.

I am of the opinion that amateur filmmakers should stay away from drama, and anything involving it, because above all else it really requires you to perfectly tackle every element of making a movie. If you're even slightly off you end up with a laughable mess. Most noticeably acting and writing. If you got good actors and a shit script, you'll still get a bad movie. At least if you got a good script, you're halfway there and if it's really good and your actors are at least willing to really give it all they got, you might be okay. But there's a lot of "ifs" in there to really risk wasting all that work on something that immediately and inevitably falls apart because of inexperience. You might get lucky though, but don't expect it to happen every time - you can't tell what works when you don't have a clue about what doesn't.

So we'll see how well I fair. I'm at least brutally honest with myself, something I will admit some filmmakers I know are incapable of. Some are pretty blind when it comes to their own work I think, taking criticism way too personally and not able to grow as a filmmaker or even challenge themselves. I'm well aware of my flaws as a filmmaker - even though I don't fancy myself to be one, and never will, so I'm only so concerned about my weakness, which explains my love of making crappy movies on purpose. I don't think I'm awesome, but I think I know pretty damned well how to make a good bad movie. And I know well enough to stay away from things beyond my abilities, like heavy dramatic stuff.

The Baalmoor remake might be another failure and I'm more than willing to admit that right now. We'll call it a "check in", to see if I've actually gained any experience. And if I fail, right back to cheesy crap I guess.

Thursday, October 04, 2012

Silicone Zombie Mask

So here's the "Uber-Jesse Zombie" mask that was to have been used in the BZK! web series. I wouldn't say I'm terribly experienced in making silicone masks, in fact this is the 2nd one I've attempted. The other was years ago and was done wrong, as a result it was very expensive (too thick and used way too much silicone) so I never really went back to try again.

I had the idea of going thinner and to re-enforce the entire head, that than just the eyes, mouth, nose and ears - that way I'd be sure it was tough enough. This was confirmed by a couple awesomely helpful guys I met at the CHAC back in April, who really knew their stuff. I wished to hell I could remember their names offhand, but I suck at names.

When BZK! came around again and I was applying for an FX grant I decided to give it one more try and after putting it off several times I finally got it sculpted, I was really happy with the sculpt and finally took to making the mould. Here's where things when slightly pear-shaped. I was using a material called EpoxAcoat Red, which is actually not too bad to work with and pretty fast overall - however, it calls for two thin coats and then you apply a backing materials. The problem was in experience with the Red and it tend to draw up a little in random spot causing holes - which you can fill in on your 2nd coat.

The surface of the mould was great, and fairly easy to clean out. I used Monster Makers clay and about 95% of it just pulled right out. That last 5% was a bugger, but using a head gun and mineral spirits took no time at all.

The problem I mentioned before was the edges of the mould, where the two halves meet. Since it's a bit of a 90 degree angle, in some places the Red just refused to settle in properly and left some open spots. And upon applying the backing, it left other open spots just under the surface. As a result the edge, right were the two halves meet was broken and shipped and just poor in spots. My thought was to just do a 3rd and 4th coat along that seam to really thicken and re-enforce the mould where it needs it most. Next time.

And man, was this thing a bugger to demould. Removing the halves from the original sculpt took 3 hours and there was some damage done to the mould itself. While I hated using Shell Shock (the material I used on the original silicone mask attempt years ago), it was tough and sturdy. I might try it again, not sure yet.

I poured it last night, demoulded (about an hour) this morning and was kind of pleased with the results. There were some air pockets in places where the re-enforcing material didn't allow the silicone to flow around it properly, but overall it turned out well.

I was able to identify problem spots where I'll be re-enforcing for the next one and it should be good enough to sell maybe. I'll be using the original to do a paint test.

Here the bugger is though in all his undead, fleshy looking glory.
 If I do offer them up for sale, it will hopefully be very soon, in a very limited edition (10 maybe?) and at a very low cost. I'm thinking $250 each. These things normally retail around $500-$600 if you've ever seen silicone masks before.

That's it. I've got ideas for a 2nd one, not a zombie, I might attempt at some point in the future, but I don't think I'll get too heavily into doing silicone masks just yet. Maybe another year or two.

Monday, October 01, 2012

In the aftermath of a different sort of Zombie Apocalypse

I've been debating about how to approach next summer when we attempt to shoot the Bimbo Zombie Killers! web series again. So I had to give some thought as to exactly what went wrong and how to fix it for next time.

First off, was timing. Through absolutely no fault of theirs, the grant folks who so graciously gave me the funds for the FX for the web series, the PEI Council of the Arts, had to push back their deadline because of their own issues with outside forces, prompting me to push back mine until we lost about 2 1/2 months. That was the big thing. I was trying to shoot, organize and get the FX ready all at once in a big jumble - it just didn't work and we ran out of decent shooting weather and time. Fair enough, that problem is now solved with an extension of about 8 months.

Of course I am doing a major rewrite which will greatly increase the FX for the series and probably the budget, but I'll whittle away at it at here and there from now until May rather than in a 1 month period. I would definitely say the problem of time has been solved there. If we shoot for May, we have 5 months of decent weather to attempt to do this, rather than 1 1/2 months.

The other major problem was the extras. I should've realized this very early on after how things played out with the first BZK! movie. I had used Facebook to create an event, to which 50 people joined and ultimately only 5 showed. That's pretty pathetic. Extremely pathetic. Now I'll give some folks the benefit of the doubt and say a percentage forgot, 95%? Not likely, more likely 30-50% forgot, the others just lost interest, didn't care what they were agreeing to show up for, never read the fine print, blah, blah, blah. And then there's the regular old just unreliable folks, there's way too many of them. They have the best of intentions, and I'll totally give them that, but when it comes right down to it, they just can't be bothered - and that's totally fine, they're allowed to not be bothered, but their still a pain in the ass.

This time we had a group page created in Facebook to which almost 80 people joined (to be zombies at least) and I'm remembering this number from the top of my head, maybe 15 responded. I recall the last day we were scheduled to shoot I contacted 30 of them and only 2-3 responded. I don't really understand any of that. I don't get why you'd sign up for something then just ignore it, but now I have a list of those people and won't even be entertaining the notion of bothering with them anymore. Obviously their motivation and enthusiasm are off in two different directions.

So, how to fix all that? I'm wondering if Facebook is the problem? It's just too easy to say "Yup, I'm in" to something without any consequences, like the rest of the internet you can just hide in some dark little corner and pretend nothing ever happened and walk away from all responsibility. So I'm thinking, while I might use Facebook to organize the schedule - because it's fairly efficient for doing that, I won't be recruiting people that way - at least not by way of just allowing anyone to join a group, it'll have to go through another stage in the process that requires them to actually communicate their interest first.

We'll see how it all goes. Another option is to rethink large zombie scenes. Is there a way around it? If I do more full face makeups I can reuse actors much easier, and I may go that way. I really want the zombies to look like zombies, the ones you expect to see. Which is yet another reason, partially because of the time thing, that I shut it down. In the end, the zombies just look like they were run over by the Kool-Aid Guy, just red splashed on them. That should never have been allowed to happen, I should not have let that slip and that's totally my fault. I'll be more prepared for the makeup next time around.

Plus, I'm thinking a proper schedule, done way in advance so there'll be none of the usual being put off by everyone at the last minute. People need to know things in advance, as do I. If I say right now we're shooting on May 8th (I picked that randomly, that's not a date) than it's hard for anyone to really say right now they're not available - in fact, this becomes the thing they schedule everything else around. Ideally at least. Things always get in the way.

And I believe we'll shoot in order, possibly doing one episode per shoot, rather than randomly grabbing bits here and there. This was a good test I think, we tried, we got halfway there and probably could've finished, but it would've been a shadow of the original idea. This way, I get to rethink everything, having seen all the possible problems and we should be pretty good next time.