Monday, September 30, 2013

Demon Lara Croft photo shoot

So I just had a pretty awesome photo shoot, one I've been waiting awhile to do and I think it turned out pretty damned well. The idea, if it isn't painfully obvious, was to do a Demon version of Lara Croft. I'm sure I've mentioned this before, but I've been wanting to do a series of I guess what you could call Cosplay Demons. Just taking some fairly iconic characters, not solely defined by the actor or simply their face - more in their costumes than anything - and turn them into Demons, of course. Because that's the kind of thing I'm into.

 Lara Croft was my first thought. Mainly because it's so identifiable and she's huge in the cosplay world - at least from what I've seen. The costume is simple enough too so it's not some massive undertaking - I just had to assemble it all.

The guns were the most annoying. I have a replica Glock 17 and I needed two and I needed to do it quick and cheap. I used the totally wrong moulding material and barely pulled the two pieces from the mould without destroying them. It was a lesson is what materials you can mould with and what materials you can cast into that mould. Still, they turned out decently enough.

The shirt was the easiest thing. It's the same shirt I'd ordered for a duplicate on Moonshine of the Damned. The backpack I was thinking of making, but then found a really decent one to just order for $30.

The holsters were the hardest thing to fabricate and even then, they weren't that hard, just time consuming.

We went to a decently tropical looking spot here on PEI - there's not that many late September. The pictures looked awesome, turned out great. So a huge thanks to the model, Ancelene MacKinnon for getting painted up for this.

I went with a simple paint job, I would've like to have completely coloured her, but I did some photo shop tests and found that too much colour was simply that. Too much colour. I went the simpler route to keep her slightly more on the human feeling side, with some deep purple colouring that worked really well. And although it's not very obvious in a lot of the photos, she had some thick horns protruding from her forearms as well.

The last big challenge was in post. Ancelene has very light hair and rather than have her dye it for this, I opted to alter it in Photoshop - despite my lackluster recolouring abilities I think it worked well for most of the shots.

And I put the ears on a little crooked. Ah well, they can't all be perfect.

*As an FYI, the piece used in this shoot is one of my Limited Run prosthetics and is for sale. So if you're looking at this and simply overwhelmed with how awesome the piece looks - and why shouldn't you be? - feel free to send me an email at foxhenderson @ The piece is called the Kaeliss Demon and is priced at $50 and there's only going to be a dozen or so of these ever made.

Thursday, September 26, 2013

Demon Faerie photo shoot

This was one those photo shoots that just worked and came together with very little effort it seemed. I had just shot the opening sequence to Moonshine of the Damned with Alana and asked if she was up for a photo shoot, reason being - I have this "mental process" we'll call it, that I go through that makes me picture people as a possible demon for a shoot, it's not something I really work at or consciously think about. Just happens with certain people, I just see the shoot when I look at them.

This was definitely one of those shoots. All I could think of was Demon Faerie when I looked at Alana and so that's what we did. I looked around online to get some ideas for a costume, saw this very simple dress that was all done up with carious things and stuff all over it, showed it to Kim Bradford and let her go to work on it and what she came up with was amazing. The dress in the picture was green, what she found was red and I'm so glad that's how it worked. I think green wouldn't have worked quite as well.

So I designed the prosthetic, keeping it simple. And came up with the idea of a gradient of colour from the fingertips up to elbow, same with the feet and that was it really. Alana curled up her hair a bit - I hadn't even thought of that. And we did the shoot and this is what came out.

I had always planned to do the wings in post. I liked the idea of having real wings right there on the shoot, but in the woods it would be so cumbersome, catching on everything. And I don't know if we could've created something with as much of a realistic look and the size I ended up going with. Also, I had originally thought they would be very bizarre and elaborate looking - I tried that, looked like crap. So I found some hi-res images of butterfly wings - I figured grounding it a little more in reality might work better. And it did. I colour corrected the wings and I have to do full sized renders of them for each photo - takes a bit of work.

Overall I'm really happy with how the shoot turned out. I got quite a few reactions to the initial photo posted on Facebook.

This shoot also marks the first of my planned Limited Run prosthetics. The basic idea is to create a constantly revolving stock of new prosthetics that are only available until the moulds can no longer produce pieces. So it's stuff I do photo shoots with, once I'm done I'll make a few more and put them up for sale. I might make 5, maybe 10. Maybe even 20 or so pieces.

The idea here is that the more hardcore enthusiasts might appreciate the exclusivity of theses pieces, knowing there won't be dozen, upon dozen more people out there with the same makeup on. There might only be 5 other people in the entire world ever to wear that particular piece. It keeps the stock in the store a little more interesting and hopefully encourages repeat business too.

This piece, the Kaeliss Demon is available now for $50 plus shipping and ships worldwide. You can email me directly if you're interested at foxhenderson @ At this point it hasn't even gone up for sale on the website yet.

Tuesday, September 24, 2013

Halloween 2013

Thought I'd do a bit of a post about the upcoming Halloween season.

I realize there's a lot of folks out there who might not realize that most everything posted here on this blog is for sale on my website, If you're looking for something different for your costume this year, maybe you're a little more hardcore and like to use prosthetics, I've got a decent line prosthetics all ready to go, ranging from $6 all the way up to $60. Full face pieces, a line of prosthetic specifically aimed towards women - with a better fit for smaller faces - horns, ears and noses. And a whole line of zombie prosthetics and even a line of limited run zombie prosthetics from a movie I shot this summer called Moonshine of the Damned.

I know there's still some places out there doing zombie walks, I give a 10% discount to anyone buying zombie prosthetics for a walk, just let me know that it's for a Zombie Walk and you're all set. And with the limited run stuff, you might even want to order for next year because these pieces might not be around - especially since this was my last zombie movie and I'm not making any more.

Here's some of the zombie pieces I have at the moment.

Haunted Attractions, 25% off all orders over $100. The more you order the more you're saving really. Just mention what Haunted Attraction you're with.

Rejects. In the course of making prosthetics, most turn out, some don't - some of those can be fixed but a small amount can't. That doesn't make them useless though, they're great for experimenting with if you've never worked with prosthetics before or even if you're experienced and know how to get around some of the defects like thick edges or pock marks on the surface of the pieces. 50% off - and that works in conjunction with Zombie Walk and Haunted Attraction orders. If you were wondering about a specific piece, just ask, I might have it. I don't keep a list of what's rejected though.

There's also a whole pile of props you might be interested in, not even for Halloween - maybe you know someone who wants a fake Femur Bone made of latex skinned polyfoam that nice and soft so they can beat people with it without leaving any noticeable marks. Or some weird things in jars? One of which looks suspiciously like a fetal version of some Elder God.

If you're wondering about shipping. It ranges from really expensive overnight shipping, to decently affordable 4-5 day shipping between $20-$40, to very cheap 10 day shipping. Even some thinner prosthetics and smaller pieces can be shipped by letter for $5 - takes about 2 weeks. Overseas shipping? Starts at around $20 for smaller items, however it can take quite a while.

Monday, September 23, 2013

Moonshine of the Damned, Production Journal #20

Seems like there should have been more than just 20 of these. We just had our very last day of shooting on Moonshine of the Damned - I was calling last week the last, but that was our last day with the leads and extras and all that stuff. This was the final fight sequence involving the Zombie Eater, so it was just two actors. The Zombie Eater, Steve Marchbank and Heather Panton's stunt double, Kinza Mae Baker. Normally I don't do stunt doubles and, quite honestly, while Heather and Kinza are vaguely similar in size, there's still some major differences - however, those differences don't matter at all. You'll see once you see the final movie.

First thing we shot was a couple little cutaway shots involving the very first zombie appearing in the movie and of course I shot it last. It was pretty short and simple, while we were out coming up with ideas for the fight scene I brought the actor along and got his shots. We when went back home and I did a blue screen shot as well.

The Zombie Banjo Boy.
Our only real Deliverance reference left from last year.

After I got done of the Banjo Boy stuff I began a very long makeup process on Kinza, it's something I'm not showing off at all until the movie is release. Normally I'm pretty open to showing stuff off, but I've held back a little on this, but not too much.

That sort of reminds me, at some point I'm actually going to write my own review of the movie. Seems a little pointless and possibly even pandering to myself somehow, but I have a lot of thoughts on it that I'd like to address. I'll probably do a Director's Commentary for the DVD even to explain a few things. Mostly, I feel a little sad that I might actually have to explain the joke that the whole movie is. About 98% of what you'll see what done intentionally - I might've said that before.

Every bad line, awkward delivery, bad camera angle, rough editing, goofy FX - I planned it all. Or at least designed how I would plan it to force myself to do those things through no other option. It's easy to go over the top camping up a bad movie, but this was an attempt to seriously make a movie that might seems like it was done with the utmost of sincere intentions only to sort of fail a bit in places. I've said this time and time again. I love bad 80s horror movies, they were just so much fun. You don't see them anymore and I really wanted to capture that 80s mentality of almost nonsensical plot, where some things you have to suss out for yourself or fill in the blanks on your own.

In all seriousness, if you the sort of person who feels everything needs to be properly explained, needs to nitpick continuity and plot points - you really shouldn't watch this. It wasn't made for the likes of you. It's made for people who really enjoy bad movies that are so bad they're good. It's the kind of movie you're supposed to make fun of - trust me, I do all the time when we talk about it.

One thing I've always had a difficult time with in making movies is fight scenes. They're just to hard to do and do right and even slightly believable. Now this time around I won't brag that it's totally believable, but you can see there was no holding back with the actors. They went for it, risking seriously injuring themselves I'd say - but we tried to be as safe as possible and there was not one injury, aside from being incredibly sore afterwards.

I can honestly say I've never been more excited to show off something I've shot before than this scene. The whole movie is pretty awesome and has some great moments and moves along at a pretty decent pace. But this one sequence turned out just how I wanted. It's really fun to watch and even a little silly in places. All thanks to Kinza and Steve's hard work.

These are the only photos I can show you of what we did for now. Neither of them looked even close to this when I got done with makeup either.

It was a long day too. Started at 9am and finished by 4pm. I had three makeup applications - which took a huge part of the day and I'm so glad I got a couple extra airbrushes, it made the work so much quicker and the make on Kinza was so awesome looking. I even glued down the Zombie Eater prosthetic this time, up until now I let it flap around lose, but knowing the paces we were about to put it through I felt I had to glue it down to prevent it ripping and ruining shots. Worked awesomely and came off intact, if not a little sweaty.

I got it all edited last night as well, in total we got one minute, 30 seconds worth of a fight scene. Not too bad at all, I expected one minute at the very most.

I've been whittling away at the re-recording of everyone's lines. It's a long process that can be a little tiresome, but it's the way I chose to do it. The video itself is about 90% done, it needs colour correcting and whatnot. A few FX shots that I don't need anyone else for. Possible a small sequence with a couple zombies might need to be shot if I can't get the footage in from someone else I was planing on. But even that's not a problem, I'm kind of looking forward to that if it happens.

Otherwise, we're on the downhill stretch of it all now.

Posters! I've got posters done too. First up the official poster for the movie:

And I wanted this time around to do a series of character posters for the Bimbos.

And finally, all of them in one.

Someone had asked about T-shirts and I think even getting prints of posters. Right now I'm busy trying to get the movie done and get a lot of other projects off the ground as well as trying to get shop stuff done. So while the answer is yes, they will be available, don't expect it for another couple weeks until I get my scheduled cleared up

And finally, the trailer:

And that's it. I'm pretty glad it's over with, not because it was a shitty experience, but because it was just so much on my mind this whole summer and I really need to clear my head for the Halloween season as well as for the upcoming Hal-Con in November.

For now, we're pretty close. Hope to do a rough cut screening for the actors and even do a private screening at City Cinema. We'll see how all that goes.

Monday, September 16, 2013

Moonshine of the Damned, Production Journal #19

We finally wrapped up on Day Thirteen, it was a continuation and a sort of redo day for what we missed on our rained out Day Twelve. So recovering from that disappointment was a little stressful as I was checking the long range forecast and saw we'd be getting the tail end of a tropical storm just before our backup day was scheduled. And on top of that, the last minute week long scramble to get as many extras back as possible and knowing I'd most likely be doing all the makeup myself.

It all worked out. I'm a little disappointed in that small number of people who seemed at one point to be really enthusiastic about being part of the movie, who joined the group and I actually communicated with - only to have them flake out and become unresponsive when we really needed them. It seems to always be the way, I do a project and a handful of people immediately say "If you never need anything, extras, behind the camera, whatever, just let me know" only to have them never be available or just not respond when I do contact them. It's left me being utterly disinterested when someone I don't really know says that, not because I don't believe them specifically, but just that I've heard it so often to just be let down nearly every time that I tune them out when I heard anything near that phrase anymore. I feel bad for those few that actually are genuine in their offer, but they're so few and far between.

Having said that, I am impressed with the dedication of the extras we've had this year. They're all volunteers and have done an absolutely brilliant job. I've said this before, but it really does go to show that you don't need a huge wad of cash to make movies here - unless you're doing a huge FX piece like this - you just need to find those like minded people who enjoy what you're doing and are really interested in being part of it. Still, I'd love to pay people but with this pretty much being a not for profit movie and being somewhat poor, it's just not possible.

The group that came out for this last shoot, while slightly fewer than I'd planned, turned out to have been perfect. It ended up being a very rough sequence with a lot of potential for people to get hurt and they all threw themselves into it as much as possible. We ended up making those 6 zombies look like way more, really happy with how it all looks so far. I'll be trying to edit some of it possibly today.

Otherwise, things went off as planned overall. We shot some stuff with the Zombie Eater - a few minor shifts in the action happened, as it does when you've got so much going on and it's hard to plot out exact positions on the page or how it should play out naturally. All that got sorted without any effort, it just happened. Which helped speed things up.

The zombie extras, and two of the bimbos, got lost on the way to the location - however the timing worked out as they found their way to us, just as we needed them. So while they had an hour long adventure in the woods, we weren't delayed at all.

So here they all are, minus the Zombie Eater. It was a great day for out last day and really fun as it was a very physical scene, but really easy stuff to stage.

Afterwards I was able to grab a couple of the minor missing shots from other parts of the movie. Actually right behind the hills in the picture above is where I ended up shooting the Zombie Gator closeups, all the rain from the last week created several foot deep ponds. So rather than have to run out to the original location with cold water, we used these lukewarm pools instead - worked out great.

So now I have only a very small handful of shots left. There's the Zombie Banjo Boy shots, for which I created this crude, last minute prop. He'll be shot partially on a location and at least one shot against a blue screen.

Another sequence involving the victim of the Zombie Gator, one of the leads - I won't say which one in case you haven't been paying too close attention. Those shots too will be location and blue screen.

I recently dug out my blue screen that I've had for over 10 years now, bought for my very first feature, The Supposed Prophets, and never used. In fact, it's still in the exact same box it came in. Now that I have the space I decided this was the best time to try it out finally. I looked up a few really great tutorials, I've never successfully did a blue screen (or green screen) shot before, I just never had the patience until now. One quick test and it was done. Not perfect, but for my purposes, a cheesy 80s horror movie, it was absolutely brilliant looking. So not only was this project a huge testing ground for special effect, but even visual effects as well.

And lastly, a fight sequence with the Zombie Eater. And some zombie footage from Scotland too.

I'm starting in on the dubbing this week, in about 4 hours of writing this actually I'll be start that. And we'll just keep plugging away at it until it's done. I'm still hoping for a end of October release and possibly even a screening if I can arrange it without too much effort.

And, with about 95% of the footage done, I'll be working on a teaser this week finally. Maybe even later on today or tomorrow. I plan to have to done by end of the week if all possible.

And finally, the rest of the pictures from the shoot:

Most all the zombie extras had been in it before that came out today.

Trevor has been a recurring extra for nearly every zombie horde sequence and has been really supportive and reliable of the project. Hard to find people like this.

A closeup of the only zombie extra to appear in all three of the movie. A last minute email went out and Will Beckett was able to come out for our final shoot.

And as usual, Will gave it his all and was brilliant as usual.

Heather and her final moments with the Spiked Zombie Head Mace.

And I still don't know what the hell Will  was doing here, but that's pretty much what I expect when he comes out to shoot. He always come prepared to go way beyond what's expected.

And I really have to give credit to every else as well, Charles, Mitch, Pam and Kylie - they took a lot of abuse from the foam weapons. They were all awesome.

Finally, Mary and Julie got to get a little bloodied up.

It's not a fight unless a zombie bites your hatchet.

It was really impressive how everyone, especially Mary and Julie got into fighting the zombies. The shots were mostly closeups to make the group of zombies feel a little larger and from what I saw, it worked really well.

It was another decent day. The weather was perfect. It's all done and I can start winding down on this thing now. Once that fight scene is done with - hopefully this coming weekend, it'll be all downhill from here.

One more thing, the very last and final, Line of the Day:

That's pretty much it. There'll be a few more updates like this as there's still a little more to do. For now, thanks to everyone who helped out right from the beginning. It won't be a brilliant movie, but it will be fun as hell to watch.