Wednesday, December 9, 2009

More Set Design, Doilie Patterns and Mercury Men

Here are a couple of things I have been working on lately.  Below is a set about 2/3 complete of which I am rather proud.  Its a full on dive bar that I would be proud to patronize.  Its a pretty hefty resource hog but it looks pretty.  Still need to add some tables and a juke box.  Will probably be used in a 5 second shot in my Monsters of the Atomic Age project but I think its on the same level as the space age bachelor lounge from a previous post.  Solid work biz.  A pat on the back...hehe.

Found some groovy old beer, liquor and car ads (used in my dive bar set) at a strange half dead site called  They also sell those old pattern sets that my mom used to buy at fabric stores back in the 80's.  Very distinct cover designs.  Kinda cool in an old lady way.  Also really like that "Doilies" image which is strangely grandma modern.  Worth taking a look at if you like things of yesteryear (postcards, ads, designs, bottles, etc).

Anywho, next up is a rather simple little project I am working on to experiment with light and animations.  Doubt it will get released but you never know.  My own rendition of Green Eggs and Ham which is Kid Millions absolute favorite book right now.  Needless to say he has seen the early production work (18 seconds) and he is mighty impressed for a two year old though he believes the HDR effect is a little over the top.  This project began the day I made a personal promise never to use that stupid toon character in any of my productions...EVER!  Personal promises are made to be broken (preferably on the day you make them).

Finally, I caught a mention of Mercury Men on the Celtx blog and went off to check it out based upon the overall design of the production (the storyboarding segment is very informative).   I'm really impressed with the package they have layed out to promote this upcoming web series.  Theres a digital prop series that features things like  papercraft characters, very groovy poster sets, production journals and a running blog from the writer/director.  Promotion in the machinima community too often seems like a lost art and as a result many productions that have a serious amount of time spent in their creation end up feeling temporary and small (often dissapearing a week or so after their release).  In contrast this feels...big.  Chris Preksta (the writer/director) mentions Myst as an overall influence to the series and briefly discusses how Myst was able to develop a world that felt like it existed with or without you and exists far beyond what you could physically see.  All of the promotional content here does something similar for the Mercury Men.  I have seen similar web promotions used for some studios (moonlight pictures) and it would be nice to see others (including me) think a bit more about their promotion beyond just the initial release (and thinking outside the box and beyond just a web presence). 

I continued on the trail and ended up watching 5 episodes of Chris's previous project; Captain Blasto.  Definitely small budget but pretty fun and cut up into little web episode chunks that work very well.  Dialogue and acting was a mixed bag at times going over the top and at times feeling like filler. Some of the slapstick worked, some didn't.  However, I really liked the music and the editing (see the ending of episode 1 for an excellent musical editing job) as well as the overall scenario in which a teenager who wants to be a super hero enlists various men to play the role of thugs and bad guys.  Together they create elaborate plots that the kid can then foil as Captain Blasto.  In playing these "thug" roles the men find something exciting and fun in their otherwise frustrated lives.  Theres a bit of a fun Oceans Eleven vibe going on  It has a cute naiveté and the editing keeps things from getting too sappy.   

As an added plus, I am enjoying the 3 years of blog posts as Chris deals with the project and goes through things we as creators all seem to go through.  I feel enriched.

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