Thursday, May 02, 2013

Moonshine of the Damned, Production Journal #4

Lots of pictures this time around.

Things are progressing well on Moonshine of the Damned, we start shooting in a month, June 1st is the first shooting day - well, evening actually. There's been yet another massive round of changes, I think even from the last update. I've settled on a final incarnation of the script, one that had to incorporate certain difficult scheduling issues. All those issues have pretty much been resolved and now I've got a finished script, 37 pages down from 71.

Scheduling will start this week - that'll be fun. I've already got a rough schedule worked out, now it's just time to see what else goes wrong and if another rewrite or recasting session has to happen. It's been a troublesome project already, but I always feel like if pre-production is difficult than the shoot usually goes well. Something always has to go wrong and I'd rather it happen now when it's fixable than when it's too late and we're halfway through shooting.

Location scouting, while partially done, will start soon as well. I'm trying to simplify our locations so we're not running all over the Island. Luckily we don't need anything too crazy, we're just shooting in wooded locales and those a pretty plentiful around here.

So the biggest thing left to tackle are the special effects. While the fundraiser is still going for another couple weeks, I've managed to really narrow down the FX needs of the project without sacrificing my overall goal for them. Some single use pieces have been altered and for convenience (and safety) some will be CG - I wanted to stay away from CG as much as possible, but time and money was a concerned. A $100+ prop for a single shot use didn't seem reasonable.

The first big round of supplies cam in this morning from Sculpture Supply. Some various stuff from Smooth-On and Monster Makers - they pretty much make everything I use on a regular basis, I highly recommend their stuff, I've been using it for years now with very few problems or issues.

The Zombie Gator. I've been looking forward to this prop for so long now. It's the biggest thing I've every sculpted and attempted for something like this. It won't be ultra-realistic looking by any means, but that's not what I'm going for. I like my movies with a healthy side order of cheese, coated with melted cheese on a plate made of cheese...I think you get the point.

This here is the upside-down mould, secured together while the latex skin cures in the sun. Normally you'd use latex in an UltraCal 30 mould, however my intention was to originally do this as a urethane skinned prop - I've since made a lot of discoveries through experimenting and found latex was a much more reasonable solution. It's a little more work, but that's not an issue for me.

The latex should be pretty much cured by now, I'm writing this while it's sitting outside right now. I spent yesterday painting several layers on each mould part, assembled the mould and painted another layer of latex along the seams to make sure it's all one decently solid skin before I dump in the expanding foam. I'm really hoping I can get to this today.

A hand. Pretty simple. This was made from an alginate mould from my girlfriend Kim's hand. It'll be used as a stunt hand in the opening sequence, but I've since written a shot or two requiring some random body parts. If time and money permits, I may do couple more body parts.

Foam weapons. Same stuff as last year, I've just updated the method by which I'm finishing them. I have to make a new axe set since I sent the others off to another actor for him to do his shots. There'll be another sledgehammer made for a specific gory FX shot I'm looking forward to.
Here's a closeup of the sledgehammer head. I'm really happy with how it turned out. Last years sledgehammer was given a silver coating, I realized that was just a poor move as I wanted it to look old and used, this will just be given a quick fake rust treatment and it'll be all good to go for whacking zombies.

Finally, I thought I'd show off a couple more shots of this bad boy. I've still got a long way to go in understanding silicone masks. This one here had some really thin spots I tried to patch up as best as possible, but unfortunately this type of silicone, Eco-Flex 20, doesn't adhere to itself very well so patching and seaming was near impossible. Not that it really matters, it's just being used as a background zombie now and does make a decent prop to just have sitting around the workshop. Overall it was a good learning experience in sculpting, moulding and painting.

Up next on the FX list is to start the moulds for the few body parts I have planned and to get into sculpting the new round of zombie prosthetics I'll be making. There'll be a lot more unique, single use makeups this year, I don't want the zombies to look lazy and sloppy, that's not the point of why I'm doing this. I'm doing this to really showcase some of my FX abilities so nothing will be half-assed. The schedule has taken all this into account so I won't feel rushed to get zombie groups done in order to get things done quicker.

That's it for now, it's already been a busy morning getting things worked out and settled and now I need to take a quick break before getting back at it again.

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