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Saturday, November 22, 2008

Visual FX Work

Working on some VFX  here's a frame from the POV of the MKX300.  Targets scanned and ID'd.

Friday, November 21, 2008


Visual FX Test. Here we see the POV of the XC20 Umanned Aerial Vehicle. The XC20 is a new prototype camera with Thermal and Nightvision Capability and Onboard Creature Scan. 17 seconds of the XC20 observing Cannibalistic Humanoid Underground Dwellars. 1322-B.

Wednesday, November 19, 2008


For many Sfumato is the Italian term for a painting technique which overlays translucent layers of colour to create perceptions of depth, volume and form.

Sounds like movie making.

Da Vinci himself described sfumato as "without lines or borders, in the manner of smoke or beyond the focus plane"

Certainly this can relate to movie making.

I know the word Sfumato from Michael J. Gelb's book How To Think Like Leonardo DaVinci. There he lists Sfumato as one of Da Vinci's 7 principals. "A Willingness to embrace ambiguity, paradox, and uncertainty."

Now that definitely sounds like movie making to me.

Sfumato, for me, has evolved from just an art technique, into a way of life. To embrace uncertainty. As stated in Gelb's book, to literally go up in smoke. The artistic technique refers to using brush strokes to blend tones together. No harsh lines means a more realistic blend of colors, giving you a better expression of realism. The best example is the Mona Lisa. If we didn't know any better we'd almost think it was a photograph. The paint blended together to recreate reality.

In a way this is what I'm trying to achieve with Monster Cops. It's pretty easy to paint vampires and zombies with harsh lines. Monsters in general lend themselves to a more comic book type world, where the art work can be expressive in it's well defined lines. Just the idea of a Vampire or a Chupacabra does not blend in well with reality. It sticks out, because it's not the norm.

But with Monster Cops I'm trying to blur those lines in order to create a perception of depth. In order to recreate reality. It's practice with each episode, with each shoot. The question always being, how would this play out in reality. If we were REALLY dealing with zombies, vampries, werewolves, etc., how would this secret government agency react? How would we see it on video realistically? What is the most realistic way we can achieve this with the budget we have?

It is practice. It is trial and error. And I'm learning. The first Monster Cops project was The Midnight Special. With it I felt close to the look and feel I wanted, but not really there. With the Shadow Company episode I feel we hit the mark slightly. A good start, but we can do better. I do feel we're on the right track. In the end it is about the essence of your story. What is it we are trying to achieve with Monster Cops? What exactly is that vision?

It's a realistic look into a group of Government Monster Killers. The action, the thrills, and the horror of the investigation and the hunt for creatures of the night, mixed with humor and pathos.

In other words, Cops meets The Office meets Blair Witch meets Monster Squad,

An action, comedy, reality tv show, with realistic depth.

And how do we achieve that depth? How do we blur those lines to recreate reality? By embracing ambiguity, paradox, and uncertainty.

Yup, that's definitely movie making.

Working on the scripts for the next few episodes. Shooting starts back up this Saturday, but with the cold weather, we are relegated to indoor shots. We'll see how it works out. I'm confident we'll have one more episode up before January.

Most likely going to add a cast and crew call page soon.

Ambiguity, paradox, and uncertainty? Where are you guys? Come here, gimme a hug.

Saturday, November 15, 2008

August to October

New Monster Cops Production Update on the Video Blog.

Check it out HERE.

Saturday, November 1, 2008

Shadow Company Episode is Live!!!

The 24 minute episode, MONSTER COPS: SHADOW COMPANY is now ONLINE for all to see. Check it out at


Tuesday, October 21, 2008


And here it is finally. For those of you that have been asking me for one. All 6 of you. Make your very own Necronomicon Ex Mortis, BOOK OF THE DEAD.


It's now being featured on INSTRUCTABLES.

Friday, October 3, 2008

Necronomicon: Book Of The Dead. DIY Version

I can comfortably say that I've gotten at least one thing done on my list. I made my very own Necronomicon. Or to be exact, Necronomicon Ex Mortis. The horror geek in me has to specify that if I say Necronomicon then I'm refrencing H.P. Lovecraft's Necronomicon. When I'm actually leaning more towards the Book Of The Dead featured in Sam Raimi's Evil Dead Trilogy.

Legend has it that it was written by the Dark Ones. Necronomicon ex
Mortis, roughly translated, "Book of the Dead". The book served as a passageway to the evil worlds beyond. It was written long ago. When the seas ran red with blood. It was this blood that was used to ink the book. In the year 1300 AD, the book disappeared.

For the current Monster Cops Episode I wanted to refrence Evil Dead 2: Dead By Dawn, seeing as how I love the Evil Dead movies and this particular episode is titled Monster Cops: Dead By Dawn. The plot itself doesn't actually have much to do with the Evil Dead mythos, but I wanted to make a nod to it. The Monster Cops breach a very evil vampire lair and I wanted them to come across some evil objects. So why not have one of those objects be a Necronomicon? Plus I though it would be fun to build one.

The Necronomicon has actually changed appearance throughout each Evil Dead film. Here's what some of them look liked.

The Necronomicon Ex Mortis from the very first low budget film Evil Dead. This lower budget version looks pretty creepy to me, but I was always much fonder of the look they used in the sequel.

Here's a frame from Evil Dead 2: Dead By Dawn.

A closer look at the version from Evil Dead 2. The budget obviously went up on the prop making. I do love this look quite a bit and is the look I was leaning towards when creating my own.

And this is the version in Army Of Darkness (Evil Dead 3). The prop making budget went all the way up this time around thanks to Universal Studios. Still holding to eerieness but looked alot more subtle with much better quality.

The limited edition DVD's of Evil Dead and Evil Dead 2 came in really cool looking Necronomicon covers. But even they somewhat differ from any of the above designs of the book.

And here's the first pic of mine.

Wasn't going for exactness, but I wanted to stay with the same feel as the Evil Dead trilogy. I wanted the eyes on mine to be much angrier. This didn't actually cost me much to make since I had all the materials already. The base of it is a cardboard box duct taped together to form the actual cover and spine. The wrinkles in the skin were made from masking tape and duct tape. The eyes, nose, and mouth were formed with long rolled up pieces of duct tape then sealed down with masking tape. Then I painted it with acrylic, using black for the inside of the eyes and mouth, and the rest painted with brown mixed in with some cadium red.

Right now I'm sealing the whole thing down with Mod Podge sealer to give it some strength and so the paint won't run, just in case it ever gets wet (have you ever been on one of our sets?) I'm going to finish the back, and then fill the middle in with actual pages of monster drawings and images just as soon as Mr. Brandon White finishes them.

I'll post a video tutorial as soon as it's finished. This will actually only make an appearance in the current episode for about 10 seconds, but I think it will lend alot to the feel of this episode.

EDIT: 10/22/08
Video Is Done.

EDIT: 6/1/10
I had re-edited this for Indy Mogul and had successfully become a finalist to be the next host of Backyard FX. Didn't get the job, but the exposure was great, and I had fun doing it. Here's that version.

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Directing The Dead

It's a non stop ride. What with the day job, trying to get shooting straight, figuring out locations, getting the shots in order, dealing with lighting issues, and being halfway through production while the majority of your props are not finished and you still have 3 parts to cast.

But as I've said before, it's all about having problems you like. And dealing with movie stuff is always a welcome dilemna that I am very grateful for. And the day job doesn't actually feel like work, so I can't complain.

Here are a few pics from the last shoot. More work over at The Midway Wicked Woods in Statesville, NC. Thanks again to Richard Gaither for not only playing a featured extra as a Monster Cop, but for also getting us all the resources of the Midway Wicked Woods Haunted Trail. Special thanks also to Jocelyn and Randy Jenkins for allowing us to shoot there.

Check out their site for more info:

The 4 Walking Corpses of the evening.  These guys did a great job.  They made directing the dead quite fun.  Our first zombie scene for this episode featured pale white zombies, newer corpses.  But I also wanted to include older, creepier, rotting corpses.  These guys pulled it off quite nicely. 
Zombies and camera phones, they just go so well together.
Gearing up in the graveyard.
Waiting to pose.
Posing some more.
Half a corpse.  It's Tucker.
Group picture.
Seriously had a lot of fun.  Hope everyone else did too.  If you happen to be in the Triad area or near Statesville, NC, then by all means check out MIDWAY WICKED WOODS.
Ok, I now go to do some web work, make some props, and build some costumes.  Good Times!!!! :D

Sunday, September 21, 2008

Official Selection Tromadance

Monster Cops: Shadow Company will be screening at Summer Tromadance. This is all part of Tromadance, Indy Film Coop, and the B-Movie Celebration.

Check it out at Juke Box Live in Franklin, Indiana. Saturday, September 27th, at 7:35pm.

Thursday, September 18, 2008

Midway Wicked Woods

Thanks to Richard Gaither for being a huge help in getting us all the resources of the Midway Wicked Woods Haunted Trail. It's helping me make the Dead By Dawn episode exactly the way I see it in my head. I was more than happy to help with their commercial. Here's what I was able to put together from the footage Richard shot.

Midway Wicked Woods 30 second spot.

Wednesday, September 17, 2008


Capital Area Foodbank of Texas is in dire need of donations. They're doing their best to take care of the influx of Hurricane Ike victims and they need help.


Donations depleted. Urgent call for more donations. As of 2:00 p.m. the Food Bank is unable to fulfill emergency boxes onsite. Food Bank utilizing $25,000 donated from public to purchase more food and supplies.

You can make a cash donation.
Capital Area Foodbank of Texas
Other ways you can help with donations. Make a donation to the American Red Cross.

American Red Cross

Even in what some would say is a financial and economic crisis, we still need to find a way to help and support those in need.

Let's do some good.

Monday, September 15, 2008

Dead By Dawn: Zombies take 1.

Back at Northwood Stables for more zombie work. This time around we had a great turn out. Had a ton of zombies and all of them were great to work with. Allow me to share some photos.

These were taken by the amazing and very talented Julie Keels.

Sundown at the Northwood Stables.
Let the make up begin!
Brian Tally, jack of all trades.  Today he is filling in on make up duty.
Assisting Brian, Deanna Kelly.
You go Deanna!
The essence of a movie set.  Pure waiting.
More waiting.
and standing
and joking
Digging through the gear box. Pick your guns people!
Rehearsing formation
Nicole looks like she wants to shoot Brandon in the back.
Patrick, yelling at people
Patrick left.
Trying to figure out the beats, waiting for zombies to finish with make up,
and waiting for the sun to go down.
Brandon attempts to shoot Nicole in the back.
Richard Gaither on the left, Nicole Nastazzio on the right.
Directing zombies, fun.
It's night time
The best part is making them fall.
The cops, waiting to kill.
Directing Nicole.  No Nicole you can't really kill them.
Firing order.
(she spins) BANG!
Ok everyone up!
It's always a good idea to shake hands with your zombies before killing them.
Nicole turns into a zombie.  No wait she's just hugging everyone.
More waiting.
Deanna finishing up on Cat.
How very vogue.
Work it Deana!  Work It!
Some fun shots.  Brandon in constant character, as usual.
Action Brandon
this one cracks me up.  i think it's because of the wagon.
Brandon decides to shoot Camera Chick Julie.
Action Chris!
Quick kill it!
It WON'T DIE!!!!
Lethal Weapon pose.
Alright, All zombies altogether now!
The zombies wait for Patrick to get his crap together.
Richard on the left, Jacob Hauser on the right.
Everyone back in position!!!
Now stand.
Zombies prepare for death.
Honestly, great numbers that night.  Thanks to everyone who showed.
play dead
once more, with feeling.
kill em.
Gotta get that master shot.
The guys pointing out my baldness.
Ok now, die.
Finish em off Jacob!
Brandon went rabid.
Seriously, thank you to everyone who came out and helped.  To all the zombies, to Megan for getting all the signatures, to Brian and Deanna for applying the make up, to Arlanda who although couldn't make it provided the make up, of course to Kelly Emerson and Fam for letting us take over their place yet again, To everyone else for falling down on the grass over and over again mainly because I'm a sadistic bastard and I like to watch you all get injured.  I had a great time, I hope you did too.  I hope there was plenty of drinks, pizza, and cookies (which disappeared in the first hour.)  Of course thanks a bunch to Julie Keels, last time for filling in the Vampire Vixen role, this time around for your amazing photos, it's such a relief having an actual proffesional photographer on set.

Ok  hope to see most of you again for our next few big shoots. 

And thanks to everyone for voting on projectbreakout.  It was a close one, but unfortunately not in the cards.  It's all good though, winning contests, although a nice bonus for Monster Cops, is not part of the overall plan.  But it's nice to know there is much support for MC.  Thanks everyone.