Monday, August 25, 2014

Witch's Jawbone

This is one of those props I wanted to make as soon as I heard about it. I recall hearing about it a long time ago, before I made props and it just never resurfaced as an prop idea before until recently.

What makes this piece a little more creepy or weird than say a random Cthulhu statue, is that this is a real thing. It's something you could actually find - perhaps it wouldn't look exactly like this though.

The story behind it is that back when people used to hunt witches and do all manner of ridiculous, superstitious things, when a witch was killed - presumably when there was still a corpse, so probably through drowning - in order to prevent her (or I suppose him) from returning from the dead, spikes were driven through the body. There have been actual skeletons found with iron spikes driven into the bones. I thought this was just too bizarre to ignore, so I set upon creating a Witch's Jawbone.

I elaborated on the real version by supposing that if the iron spikes were to prevent the witch from returning from the dead, that they somehow locked her (or, still could be his) powers away inside their bones unable to escape or be used after death. So these Witch's Jawbones became a black market kind of item, used by either apprentice witches, wizards, warlocks and anyone dabbling in dark magic in their practices as a source of magic to enhance their own or as a magic catalyst in alchemy or supernatural devices.

I just happened to have a jawbone from a medical skeleton, so I cleaned up the seams as best I could, moulded that and cast it in clay so I could, rather than sculpt it from nothing, sculpt the damage and whatnot from the spikes and speed up the process a little bit. I was attempting to have this done last minute for a local Horror Festival, but I wasn't able to.

The sculpt turned out great. I was originally supposed to get a small supply of old blacksmithed nails, the squared off kind, but that never happened although I did get my hands on one. So I moulded and cast those in clay, altering each of the seven nails I'd use accordingly. I moulded and cast them in resin - which wasn't the best idea as they came out somewhat fragile, making this not a great idea for a limited run. I'd like the piece to be sturdy, not something you can't even handle without fear of breaking it.

But I kept going, and with very little time and even less supplies, I attempted to mould the jawbone. I did a miserable job of it and ran out of silicone halfway through so the mould itself was pitiful and probably wouldn't hold up to more than one casting. It didn't.

I managed to cast it and get it cleaned up, got the nails into the more or less right spots on the jawbone and I'm pretty happy with how it turned out, but I'll definitely be using real nails I think if I try this for a limited run. How limited will depend on how many nails I can get my hands on, I don't want to order online as it'll just jack the price up on the final piece big time, so I'm on the hunt locally for a batch of nails all produced together, I don't want random sizes, it just makes fitting them too much effort in the end and again would drive the cost up.

But I have a copy for myself for now and it sits on the shelf with all the other random stuff I've made over the years. This is definitely a display piece though that I'd really like to attempt a small, limited run of, boxed up just like this as well so it's something that has a little more of a completely finished display piece for wherever or even as set decoration for a movie or tv show.

UPDATE: if you made it this far and actually read everything - first off, congratulations - and secondly, I've sourced some real antique nails, possibly even iron, so I will within the next month be doing a very limited run of only 5 of these, case included as well. No idea of the pricing at this point though.

Werewolf Red Riding Hood

While it’s not a totally unique idea to turn Little Red Riding Hood into a Werewolf, usually it’s done cute or dark, but I decided to turn her into a punkish bounty hunter.

I kept the makeup simple, as I usually do, because I didn’t want it to look like furry, more like a human in control of her wolf side and is most always partially transformed.

Thursday, August 07, 2014

My Last Movie...more like fake movie trailer really.

I've been thinking about this off and on over the last few months, and nearly every time it came to mind I always thought an interview with Patton Oswalt I once heard., he was discussing his thoughts on being a successful comedian. I'll admit I don't recall some exact points, but the basic idea was that he believed in order to be a success in his business (and I think it translates to any creative business) you actually have to enjoy the work of your peers and allow yourself to appreciate their success in order to become inspired by it. I think I agree with that idea, which is why I don't think I'll ever be successful, even if I wanted to, as a filmmaker  but feel I will find success in doing special effects.

This might offend a few folks, I can't say I really care anymore - because some folks look to be offended in everything anyway, so why bother tiptoeing around the point. What it comes down to is this, I don't care about indie/amateur movies overall. I don't enjoy watching them, I can't stand people going on and on about their "awesome script". I just don't give a big, fat, wobbly ass about them. I think I did at one point, but because of so many negative experiences I've grown to kind of hate the whole idea.

There are a small select few, locally speaking, whose talent and dedication to what they do, that I respect and actually enjoy working with. And let me say it again for the cheap seats...A SMALL SELECT FEW.  I think about 4 or so, they should know who they are.

And this has nothing to do my own abilities as a filmmaker vs someone else's,  I make bad movies on purpose because it allows me to cut corners with a justification of "it's supposed to be that way", so don't read this and think this is some personal slam of my movies vs yours (or theirs), I AM NOT AND WILL NEVER BE A FILMMAKER - so let's leave it at and don't worry about it.

So the actual point of all this is why I feel I might find success doing SPFX, because I do see things being made by my peers (albeit online only since I'm the only one locally that I'm aware of) that I enjoy and find inspiring, I'm happy for their successes (even when I'm in a constant state of disappoint about my lack thereof), I enjoy talking to some of them even when we don't agree on something - to me it's a dialog about something we both love, not an argument about who sucks and why - although they do happen, but it's usually a pretty one sided conversation about an individual, or group, bent on ripping people off with crap quality. There are those who are negative and just want to tear things down, they exist everywhere and I've learned to suss them out and just sidestep or ignore them.

And even to elaborate a touch more on my whole anti-FaceOff seeming rant, I never intended it to come off like that - it's something I do enjoy watching and talking about and there are definitely some works being made on that show I find to be just amazing to look at and have even seen a few concepts here and there I've wanted to steal to incorporate into my own designs, I just don't like the idea of televised/heavily edited competition in a field I don't feel I'm into.

I'm friends on Facebook with more random makeup artists than filmmakers, and most of them added me because they somehow found my work - again, in special effects, not as a filmmaker. I've never had a random filmmaker see my work and actually comment about how they appreciated it or anything really like that, with makeup artists, it happens quite often.

I've gotten more work as an makeup artist, I've made more money, I'm less stressed (and oddly enough I enjoy the stress of it), I enjoy the collaboration with the few folks I've done with for - to be perfectly honest, I never really had any of that as a filmmaker.

So, because of all this I'm done making movies. I always said I did it for fun and when it wasn't fun anymore, there was no point in doing it. Now I've got 3 movies all shot and mostly edited that need audio work I'll probably turn out over the next year, first being Moonshine of the Damned lined up for early October, but I've one last project that's been gnawing away at me that I'd really love to do and then just drop the whole thing.

I've had this idea for an HP Lovecraft/Alfred Hitchcock movie, the concept is continually changing, but visually I can already see it in my head. I want to create an epic looking, almost Lord of the Rings Lovecraft movie with Hitchcock cinematography and plot. It's a bit of a tall order, but I think the two can actually blend together brilliantly since both heavily feature paranoia as an overall theme in their works.

The new title to the project is The Thief of Innsmouth (tentatively, it's changed so many times already). Originally the lead was to be a Demon, as I seem to love putting Demons into movies for no good reason, I'm changing that to have a lead who's a human in order to play up the horrific elements of the good townsfolks of the mob controlled town of Innsmouth. I'll borrow a lot from The Shadow Over Innsmouth story for the setting and throw in a more of a Hitchcock twist of a case of mistaken identity as a man is hired to do something (I've no idea yet what the motivation is here) to the crime lord of Innsmouth, Cthulhu himself and weird shit like that.

It's an odd twist on the whole thing. It's an incredibly expensive endeavor - which is why this project will only be a trailer. A roughly 2 - 3 minute trailer of the most awesome, epic, mutant fish people gangster/horror movie ever. And I'm not really a Gangster movie fan, it just feels like the right element to throw in there.

I'm only looking at a 2 - 3 day shoot, as many makeup FX as I can possibly muster, which will be easy since I'm already embarking on a slowly growing line of Lovecraft inspired prosthetics - so this trailer will in fact also be a commercial for all that awesomeness as well. I'll try to do some location shooting, but possibly a lot of studio/greenscreen stuff as well since we're pretty limited for really great locations for this sort of thing.

And that's it. I'm done making movies. Next spring I'm planning on one last fake movie trailer - there's always the possibility of collaborations, but only where I'm not the one pushing the project forward on my own, I'll just be following someone else's lead.

However, there is always the slightest possibility that if the trailer turns out and I can create a brilliant script, I might try the grant thing again and that is the only way I'd ever attempt to do a movie again, none of this out of pocket shit anymore. It's just not worth it.