behind the scenes at StrangewerksFilms

Posts tagged “independent filmmaking

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!)

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Insect Attack!

One of the problems with having downtime between shoots is that your mind has time to wander down crazy little alleyways and come up with incredible special effects you’re going to actually find a way to implement somehow. For instance, when we decided we had throw in another monster effect because, gee, the film only has about five hundred-or-so scenes of monster disembowlment, we thought: “hey, wouldn’t it be cool if our mutating heroine grows a giant bug arm and kills a hooker with it?” Of course it would be cool!

But…how to create said bug arm for our actress–the talented Virginia Logan–to go haywire with? Why the Old School Way, of course! The following shots give you an idea of the process….

First we sculpted a likeness of a bug arm out of plasticene clay, on top of an arm cast of an actress we had in the workshop…

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Next, I cast the sculpt in a two-piece ultracal plaster mold….

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The key to a successful casting is keeping the first coat of Ultracal thin enough to get all the crazy detail sculpted into the  piece–after that you can go crazy with the burlap and Ultracal…

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The next step involved slip casting the mold, once it was strapped together tightly. We used rubber mask molding latex–I think it’s #8–which is readily available at The Complete Sculptor here in NYC.

We ultimately did three layers of latex in the mold and used a blow dryer to dry each coat. The picture shows the piece after it was removed from the mold.

 

Finally, it was painted black, with bug green highlights. For the actual shoot we slathered onplenty of KY jelly, which brought out some nice highlights once it was lit properly. You can see the arm below,  on-set, ready for crazy, bugf*ck action…

 

 

 

 

And here it is, poised for hapless victim slicing action…

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

In the final shot, Virginia is bringing her chitin insectoid arm to vibrant “life!”

Interestingly, we found an actual praying mantis on set late in the summer and I took a bunch of snapshots of the creature. The actors gave it a pet name at the time, but I can’t remember what it was. It wasn’t too happy to have me pointing the camera lens at it, I remember.  I wonder how much this influenced our thinking processes?