Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Moonshine of the Damned, Production Journal #3

Very quick, slightly disappointing and at the same time a little relieved, kind of update.

There's been yet another massive change to the project - this will actually be the 4th big change. Due to the fact that scheduling has become near impossible at this point and face with either scrapping the project entirely or doing some drastic alterations to the script - I ended up shortening it to something a little more manageable.

The main point of doing this was to do a bit of an FX show off of some of the work I can do, that hasn't changed. There's still pretty much the same amount of FX in it as there was in the latest version of the full script (and still more actually than in the original script from last year), aside from a few full head makeup pieces - which I'm not upset about losing as they really presented another issue with time and scheduling.

It's been reduced down to the best elements, keeping all the more interesting and silly, campy moments that make it fun, the plot has been severely truncated a whole plot aspect had to be removed as it was just too complicated for something so short - and I guess it doesn't matter if I mention it now.

I was worried in the removal of this one aspect that the movie would fall back into the typical overdone category of zombie movies and it might have to some, but I think it's still got enough uniqueness to it that it will be pretty good. What was removed as the appearance of a character called Abassylar, the Devourer of Souls. Abassylar was a demon, that fed on souls obviously from the name. And his appearance was because of the sudden increase in disembodied souls because of the zombie outbreak - so the bimbo were also having to deal with this guy as well. But, he's gone because he was too complicated.

I'm aiming for a 30 minute short now instead of a 12 episode web series. I'm a little relieved as I was already feeling the stress and I'd really only a couple weeks into just scheduling things. But it's all for the best, short and sweet is sometimes better and the next update will be way more interesting.

Tuesday, April 09, 2013

Win a Spiked Zombie Head Mace!

I've been mentioning that as part of the Moonshine of the Damned Fundraiser that everyone who helps out gets a chance to win some zombie stuff. Well, I've finally settled on at least one of three possible prizes I'm planning on offering up.

The Spiked Zombie Head Mace is the first prop up for grabs. A limited edition version will be going online for sale later this summer for $150 (this could change slightly), so if you're like it, you got a chance to win this for only $10. Seems like a pretty reasonable trade.
The final prop will be made of polyfoam with a latex skin, it's pretty tough and durable under reasonable use - I wouldn't recommend repeatedly bashing a cactus covered with sandpaper and broken glass though. It'll have a carbon fiber rod in its core to give it some stability. The colouring will differ as well - but that can actually be your choice, as well as the number and even placement of the spikes jammed into the head.

How do you win it exactly? Well, if you hadn't noticed, I'm running a fund raising for a web series I'm doing. Head to and it'll outline the various ways you can help out and later in the spring I'll be doing a draw to see who wins what stuff.

Some of the other possible prizes will be a bag of Severed Zombie Heads and a foam sledge hammer and hatchet combo or even a collection of body parts. I'll be making a final decision as the props are made and decide what would be most interesting.

If you're interested, you can also email me at for more information as well.

Monday, April 08, 2013

Moonshine of the Damned, Production Journal #2

Finally got a finished craft of the script - at least this latest carnation of it. I had added another character to help further complicate things and it seems to have worked pretty well so far. While I won't go into details since I'm trying to keep a lot of things in the series as under wraps as possible, but I will say this new character is called the Zombie Eater. Just another level of oddness to the plot.

It runs about 71 pages, I had hoped to trim it back a bit to make it shorter and easier to shoot, but I've cut back as much as possible without gouging into the story, so this could easily be stretched to a full feature length movie if I wanted - but I'm not too concerned about it for now. 71 pages it is.

In other news, I'm working away on some minor props and designing some makeups. Still struggling with the budget, so I've been working on finding ways of cutting back and doing things a little less expensively. One of the things I'm looking at trying is  making my own plaster bandages - in order to do the life casts, I think I have 4, maybe 5 to do, I'll need plaster bandages for the support shells of the alignate mould - however, that stuff is really expensive when you need the amount I do.

Normally just a single face mould isn't too bad, $20 or $30 usually does it. But I'm doing a full head and shoulder mould of up to 5 people...that's going to suck up a lot of money. So I'm hoping the medical gauze and plaster of paris technique I've been looking into will do it. I budgeted the using regular plaster bandages would have run me round $300, not looking forward to spending that much money on something that I can't reuse. The alginate I have no choice, but I'm fine with that.

As far as the other props go, I've got my Zombie Heads all set to go, just need more latex and polyfoam to crank out more. And while this wasn't written into the script, I feel I need to do this to add a little more flavour to some shots, so I'm making a few body parts. I've got a hand, that's need as a stand-in first and foremost, but I'm going to throw in a mangled up version in there somewhere as well. I'm looking at possibly doing a foot and maybe even a whole leg if the budget happens.

At lot of these props are just background stuff, not plot crucial.

Here's the Zombie Heads, at least 4 of them. I'm planning on making a whole lot more and eventually jamming them on pikes. The original one, the upper right, was painted somewhat more natural flesh colour, but the others I went with a greenish tone that I really like. There's a cartoonish quality to them I really like.

Another prop I did this week, a fake rock. Pretty simple stuff, but it was in the script and while not totally necessary to have done it in foam, I like to do things safe - a foam rock is way safer to have the actors waving around than a real one. If you're interested in how it was made, I did a post on that earlier this week:

Clay hand. I didn't sculpt this entirely, it's from a life cast, I did need to clean it up a bit since the clay didn't settle properly in the mould leaving some gaps and ridges here and there.

And, I did up a quick concept for the Spike Zombie Head Mace for the series, I'm hoping to get this made as soon as possible, just need more supplies.

I'm hoping to get to doing some prosthetics sculpted this week, I'm doing some of the hero zombie characters and mostly likely starting with the Pale Zombie character.

Friday, April 05, 2013

Making a fake rock

Without a doubt the most boring prop I’ve ever made I think – at as far as descriptions go. There’s a short sequence in Moonshine of the Damned requiring some violence and a rock, so for safety’s sake we’re going fake

It was a pretty simple prop to make as well, finding the perfect rock was just as simple. It was in a pile by the car during a shoot last summer – so it wasn’t like I even had to hunt for one.

First thing I did was give it a bit of a cleaning. Most all of our rocks here are sandstone, not the easiest to clean – luckily this bad boy was granite – at least I think it’s granite, I’m not a geologist. Once it was all cleaned up I made a two part silicone mould – you’ll have to imagine that part, I didn’t take pictures because I didn’t think it’d be that interesting…and it might not be.

Once the mould was done I actually abandoned the prop once the web series was cancelled and only began thinking about it just recently. I had been making some other simple props and thought it was time to crank this out. It also helped that I finally had a handle on painting it.

It was easy enough to cast, but one thing to note about using Flex FoamIt, that I only found out last summer - I don't know how widespread this information is, but I didn't know this - the material, once cured, can sort of shrivel into itself, this can easily be fixed by crushing the piece, squeezing out supposed gases that cause the shriveling effect. So far it's worked well for me nearly 100% of the time.

So, here’s some pictures:

The mould, made of silicone with a support shell.
I bolted it together, seemed the simplest thing to do.
The original rock (left) and the unpainted soft foam rock (right).

The fake rock - the detailing is what helps it, even this doesn't look too bad.

 The original and the final fake rock. Didn't come out too bad.

And here it is, in all it's artifical geological glory. The Fake Rock.

So there you go, a fake rock. It's only needed in a very short sequence, but it's one of those thing that you might write in a script and not really think about how you'll accomplish it, let alone accomplish it safely. This is something I couldn't have done a couple years ago and now it's a completely simple process to create a tiny bit of movie magic.

Chances are when you see the scene it's in, you won't really think "How'd they do that?" Most people will just assume it was a trick camera angle, or some folks who don't really understand FX might even think it's CG - nope, it's a chunk of soft foam. It can be throw right at a person's head if needed and it'll be relatively safe - at least moreso than lobbing a real rock.

Technical Info: The whole thing was done using Smooth-On products. The mould was Rebound 25 with a Plasti-Paste II shell. The rock itself is made from Flex FoamIt V and painted using Monster Makers Latex Paint Base tinted with acrylic paints.

This isn't something I'll ever put on the website for sale, but if you've stumbled upon this and think it'd be a whole lot easier (since the mould is already made) to just buy one instead of making one yourself, feel free to send me an email. I reckon I'd sell it for about $25 - it's a bugger to paint decently and does take awhile. Email:

Note about cost: Just an FYI concerning the cost of making one of these. It's not too bad, but even using the minimum quantities available of the products, you're looking at over $100.

Thursday, April 04, 2013

Brain Keychain and Zombie Head Magnet Combo

I made these a while ago and really never did much with them, I decided to give them a proper paint job, gloss them up and now I'm going to offer up some Zombie Head Magnets for sale as part of the Moonshine of the Damned Fund Raiser.

The Brain Keychain and Zombie Head Magnet combo is being sold for $15, only 10 sets are available. The Zombie Head Magnet is made of the same resin as the Brain and given a gloss coating as well, and the magnet is a pretty strong as well.

Or, you can just get yourself a Zombie Head Magnet by itself for $10 as well, there's only 20 being made. They're all hand painted and the dye for the resin is mixed by hand as well, so there's a bit of variety to the colours, but I'm trying to keep them as close as possible - you can see they're all various shades of greenish though.
As usual, payments can be made through Email Interact and add $0.50 per item if you're using Paypal. Shipping in Canada is $15 and in the US is $10 - at least it should be, I haven't shipped on yet but they're close in size to the Brains and will ship in the same sized padded envelope - so I'm hoping for the best.

You can email me if you'd like one.

Monday, April 01, 2013

One Month to go on the Moonshine of the Damned Fundraiser.

I'm hoping we can raise the minimum amount needed by end of April, so we're putting a bit of push on this whole thing and hoping for the best. I was aiming for $2000, but I'm pretty sure we can pull it off  if we can raise another $1000 right now.

There's the official site:

The Etsy Shop:

Everyone who pitches in will get a thanks in the final credits and a chance to win even more unique zombie gear, some props created for movie, maybe t-shirts - we're still pinning that down. Also, this doesn't work like a typical Indiegogo or Kickstarter campaign, you place an order for any of the three items we have offered up and it'll be shipped out as soon as possible, no waiting until months after the project is over or if the project even succeeds.

And I feel I really need to point out that Moonshine of the Damned is not going to be just another zombie movie, far from it. I did a rant some time ago about how I'm pretty tired with zombie movies myself as about 90% of them don't even try to be vaguely original. They all follow the same tired plot outline, they think they can stand out by doing a "insert stereotype here" VS Zombies plot, or they find a new way to make zombies cute and likeable by making them the main character. The later isn't worn out just yet, but well on its way.

If you can't be unique, have some great writing. If you don't have great writing, at least have good effects. If you don't have good effects...why are you bothering? Now I can't say I've got a brilliantly written movie here, but it's not supposed to be - the feel of it is more like a 80s horror movie, it's meant to be fun and campy - not a gorefest necessarily - and it really does go beyond the expectations of a typical zombie movie. Far beyond I believe. And I won't say the FX will be outstanding, we've got a limited budget - but it will be fun to watch.

It's sort of more like a zombie movie with a touch of the 80s, mixed with a bit of a Buffy the Vampire Slayer approach in places with a hint of some Clive Barkeresque ideas rolling around. It won't be brilliant, it won't win an Academy award, it will be amusing and a little bizarre perhaps.

1st Official "Moonshine of the Damned" Production Journal

So, I figured it was about time to get to doing this, a production journal, diary, blog - whatever you want to call it.

I've been working away one several small parts of the series, trying to get it all to come together in time for our first scheduled shoot on June 1st, 2013.

The script is coming along really well. It's way more complicated and I think a lot more interesting than the original - which is really good, that means last year was worth it and cancelling was worth it. I'm hoping to wrap up a final draft of this current version this coming week, with the possibility of minor rewrites to clean things up over the next couple months.

The props are little different from last year as well, there's been a few new ones added, some changed and I've altered the production method and materials quite a bit to get the most out of what little budget there is. Over the course of the next couple months, I'll be sure to add some pictures and whatnot as this aspect progresses - there's going to be some interesting stuff being made.

This is the part of the whole thing that has be a little anxious. The whole series can be done without elaborate makeup, but that would be incredibly disappointing and don't want to have to cut this part back at all. There's lots of generic zombie makeup, false teeth, a few custom full head prosthetic appliances (this is the part that will get get depending on the budget).

I haven't put a tremendous amount of thought into this yet as I'm waiting to get the script wrapped up and once that happens I'll start figuring things out and the locations will be soon to follow.

There's been some major changes here. I've had at least one person have to drop out and replacing her has been a bit of a challenge. There's a lot of new parts I'm trying to get cast as well. And of course the zombies. I've mentioned this several times before, I believe, but the zombies are being handled much differently this time around and so far it feels like it's working - we'll see if that continues once we start shooting stuff.

I really want to work on this a little more than last time as well. Everyone was too clean last time, the rednecks are going to be pre-dirtied so they won't look too bright and shiny. And the girls will also be getting grimier over the course of the shoot (which I'm planning to do in order - hopefully that won't backfire).

I'm getting some donations of old clothes to better outfit the zombies as well, I'm hoping to avoid that "hacked up with scissors 5 minutes before the shoot" look - the clothes will be distressed and properly stained this time around. I want the zombies to feel a lot more filthy this time around, I wasn't happy with how they looked last time in this department.

If you're reading this and you live on Prince Edward Island or intend to be here this summer, and think you'd be up for coming out for a day to be a zombie, feel free to email me at

That's more or less where things are right now. I'm still trying to push the fund campaign, we've got nowhere near the budget needed to pull this off properly. I'm always looking for suggestions and any help in getting the word out, if you know of something that might work or have a blog or website and would be interested in helping out, please let me know - you can email me at