behind the scenes at StrangewerksFilms

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Torturing People in the name of “Art.”

Tuesday was a busy day at Strangewerks Films. We needed to cast the face and torso of one of our actors, Shawn, so that we could begin sculpting prosthetic pieces. There is a nightmare sequence in our new film, Demon Nun!, wherein he is transformed into…what else…a horrible creature.

Shawn bravely agreed to be casted, even though he had no idea what it entailed. Though he got a little worried when we started covering everything in plastic sheeting.

Some people have withered away in terror, at the prospect of having their body parts covered in alginate and plaster bandages, but not Shawn, he got through it like a pro.

We use Smooth-On‘s Alja-Safe to cast people. That, the plaster bandages and other supplies are all obtained at The Compleat Sculptor, here in Manhattan. They always have us covered. Or, in this case, Shawn.

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Shawn getting his torso cast…

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Make up artist Christina applying bandages over the alginate…

 

 

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Applying alginate to Shawn’s face. Yes, we left nose holes so the poor guy could breathe. 

If you want to learn how to do stuff like this, write me and arrange to take some courses. It’s fun and creative!

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Covering the alginate with plaster bandages…

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Finished plaster torso cast

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Finished face cast…

Soon we’ll clean up the plaster positives and begin sculpting some horrifying pieces on top of them for our current feature: Demon Nun! I’m so excited at the prospect of transforming Shawn into a shambling beast that I can hardly wait!

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Wounds and Nurnies…

Gearing up for some gore and bloodletting insert shots these days, so I’ve included some pictures showing the making of various gags in their various stages.

 

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These are some nurnies, a latex sheet that will be ripped up later and used for creating third degree burns on victims. A really fun process!

 

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Here’s a cross burn appliance we are sculpting. The edges have to be really thin on it…

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This sculpt will eventually become a stomach stab wound made of silicone. I know, it looks like a vagina. What can I say?

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Here’s another angle on the stab. wound. I’m outfitting it with a blood tube so blood will flow out of it. Need bigger tube though.

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This is a sculpt of twin knitting needle wounds in a stomach. Also fitting with blood tubes. We’ll make a mother mold and then cast it up in silicone. Looks like something from Dune, doesn’t it?

 

 


Weekend of Horrors…

And we’re not talking “Chiller” Fest.

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Ken Driesslein is the evil Monsignor Brock. Makeup by Christine Russo and Magaly Rosado.

 

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Colleen White as Sister Bonaventure. Makeup by Christine Russo and Magaly Rosado.

We spent last weekend in a spooky church basement shooting scenes of terror and mayhem, mixed in with blood and also nurnies and charcoal powder–in other words, it was a horror fan’s dream. This was days five and six of shooting for our new feature film Demon Nun.

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Ryan Natalino in jeopardy…

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Ryan in repose…

 

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Knife vs. whip…who will prevail?

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Ash Snow: corpse wrangler…


Meet My New Body…

Okay, so it’s not really “new,” and it’s not my body, though as an aside, it would be cool if we could have alternate bodies/”sleeves” to port into like on Altered Carbon. (Who would you port into? Me, anyone awesome like Nikola Tesla, Albert Einstein, Florence Welch, Freddy Mercury.) But the body in question–the one shown below–is new to the blog and to the film it’s being used in: Demon Nun, our new horror film!

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Gory George at home…

 

 

 

 

I call him Gory George, though if it was a girl I’d call it Greta Gangrene or something.   I don’t know what they called him in his previous life. Maybe I should get his dental records checked out?

 

 

 

 

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Really gross hands, needs some hand lotion.,,

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No stomach.,..,

 

 

 

 

 

 

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He’s got a few friends moldering around in the apartment somewhere. Also, my familiar, um, cat Tabitha likes him, as you can see from the pictures. They hit it off right away.

 

 

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His toenails are sharp! I keep gouging my feet on them every night!

I can’t believe all the crap I fit into this place and neither can my wife. I dunno how she can sleep at night with George and his friends in here. Sometimes you can hear them whispering (or playing cards).

 

 

 

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The crowded life of a filmmaker/toy nut/animal lover…

Anyway, he will make his second film premiere in Demon Nun this weekend! Can’t wait to shoot the bastard. I had to open the lens way up just to get a detailed shot of him. He tends to soak up the light. (Also souls, but I digress!)


‘Demon Nun’ Makeup

 

Above is an encapsulated silicone prosthetic we made of a melting, burning face. Amazing how squishy it is with the addition of Smooth-On’s “Slacker” product. It’s extremely flexible. Slacker is the way to go for facial prosthetics if you ask me.

Below are some clay sculpts of gross pustules, blisters and sores we are working on for another scene with a drug addict. Can’t wait to cast these in silicone, paint ’em, add syringes and glue ’em to our actor Matthew’s arms…

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Shooting with the Saints

On March 24th, we had the pleasure of shooting in a lovely little church in Dyker Heights, Brooklyn. If you ever need a church location for a photo or video shoot, this is definitely a place you will want to check out. Call Andrew Samaha for more info at 917-796-0574.

You can see more pictures of St. Philips here.

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CHEAPO DOLLY TRACK

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Strangewerks Films’ new high tech dolly track–ain’t she a beaut?

So I have a dolly for my camera. It’s one of those “Glide Gear” systems they sell on ebay. It’s pretty nice for the relatively inexpensive price. The only problem is, I don’t have any track to go with it.

They have a track system on ebay as well, but I didn’t feel like dropping the $150+ for it. So I went down to the Home Depo and bought a 2 X 4 and some plastic pipe (one inch in diameter). Oh, some screws too. Cost me about $18 bucks. I went with one inch because it lifts the glide wheels off the ground a little more, in case you’re shooting somewhere outside and there’s gravel around that could obstruct the wheels.

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Unfortunately, I had to do the construction in my tiny NYC apartment, not much room to maneuver around, esp. with curious cats like Madame Sylvia here…,

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I had to cut down the pipe to around five feet because I don’t think it would fit in the company SUV if it was much longer. I would’ve liked it longer to provide for more tracking shot time,  but at least we got this muich. Maybe I can devise some kind of interlocking pipe system to make it longer…! Mwahahaha! Oh and I only stripped one screw!

It’s crucial to get as much camera movement into your project as you can and not just the handheld stuff. (I’ve had distributors tell me that overseas audiences don’t like the handheld stuff that much.) Getting smooth camera motion into your film is key to making it look professional. Also, it’ll set your film apart from all the other low-budget crap a distributor has to weed through. That and using a boom mic instead of a camera mic! Ditch the camera mic you guys/gals/gender fluid types/whomever is reading this. (Ol’ Max is open to everyone!)

Now, the only thing is, if I want to use this thing for a scene where two people are talking as they walk down the street, I’m gonna have to move it like twenty times to cover the whole scene.IMG_4245-min

So, if you see some strange guy moving his homemade dolly track down the sidewalk, again and again, don’t make fun of him, he’s just trying to save a few bucks!