Movie Monster Magic - part 3

You can see the first and second parts of this post somewhere here... or there... or, well, follow those links if you likes.

As for part 3, it's time to play with some fairly funky, if not carcinogenic chemicals. I've been told there are some not so carcinogenic chemicals that do the same thing but I haven't had time to see if there's a supplier down this way.

I'll keep you posted but until then, wear these;

Then take these;

In these amounts;

Of Part A

Of Part B

and pour together...

Whisk for 1 and 2 and 3 and 4 and 5 and 6 and 7 and...

...then pour into your mold and put on the top.

Obviously with only 8 seconds of time to work with you're going to want to be very prepared before you start mixing chemicals together and work fast but sensibly when you're pouring it into the mold.

I always have another person with me to pour part B into part A while I'm whisking. I also get them to put the top on the mould as I finish pouring, As they put the top on I'm reaching for the bricks. It's, like, you know, team work!

After about an hour (I usually leave it for 12 hours) the chemicals will have finish all their reacting and you can open the mold. The final product is bound to look a little messy.

But as you cut off the excess foam and patch some of the seams where the latex meet you will end up with something like this. Still rough, but obviously the same thing that you were trying to mould.

Next time, (meaning, if I get time tomorrow) I'll show you a more finalised puppet and even see if I can get the sucker to work and look half decent on camera.


Movie Monster Magic - part 2

You can find part one of this post, with it's scary scary monster, down thar.

So we have the finished mold... what are we going to do with it? Well, this!

That's one part black acrylic paint (I use a high quality artist paint but it doesn't really matter), one part bronze acrylic paint (you need to check this can be mixed because some metallic paints go back to their base colour when they're mixed - the base of bronze is grey if ya don't know) and 8 parts liquid brushing latex. I've also used a red acrylic paint/latex for the inside of the monsters mouth and white acrylic/latex for the teeth and claws but that's all covered with black in this shot.

Also, not that you can see it but there's artists wire mesh around the eyeballs (large white beads held into the mold with pins) so the eye surrounds will be manoeuvrable. Of course that's all been covered with brushing latex paint mix. Which makes the brushing latex about 5mm think in some parts. Anyone whose worked with brushing latex will know that's going to take YEEEEEEAAAARRRRSSSSS to dry all the way through... if at all. So what to do? What to do?

That's right! Put this whole thing in an oven. I use a little counter top oven for my latex baking which limits the size of any mould, hence creature, I can make. But that's unimportant, if you really want to make a big creature (with a lot more than two parts to the mold) just use a commercial oven. You'll find one for sure. More importantly though, for a latex cast of about 1cm thick you put the mold in the oven for roughly 3 hours at 60 degrees Celcius... that's like... 10800000 milliseconds at 140 Fahrenheit for the American crowd.

OK, now you've waited 14 and a half nanobots for your latex to dry, you're going to need these things... and if you're interested I'll even get around to telling you what they are!

First of all you want some prosthetic adhesive. I use Pros-Aid... because it's the only one I know. This stuff is used for sticking latex and silicon FX make-up to human skin.

But don't do that... because you need the release agent to make it let go. No-one wants to see you wandering around emergency with a ginormous nose attached to your... who am I kidding, GO FOR IT! It's also very good at sticking bits of latex to things... so I give the latex skin a thin coat to make sure it sticks to the foam (I know, what foam? You'll see).

You may also notice I'm wearing gloves in the picture above. It's not necessary for Pros-Aid but is for the foam. Just be careful you don't stick your latex glove to the latex skin of your monster when you're putting in the armature. This armature basically consists of two arms which are attached to bicycle brake levers (so they can be mechanically moved later) which feed down the puppet and through the legs and out a couple of metres to where the control box will sit.

There is also a spine that feeds into the nose of the puppet so the little fella can be posed properly. I also put a couple of extra pieces of armature wire in the legs to give them some extra rigidity.

And, I think that's about all I can stomach for part two... part 3 will follow shortly and will be all about putting foam inside the puppet and giving him the finishing touches.


Movie Monster Magic - part 1

If you want to know in more detail about making something like this, there's a post about it here.


Gun Play

Film-makers arrested in fake gun drama

07:32 AEST Thu Nov 6 2008

Four Melbourne [...pronounced 'Mehlbin' for the Americans...] filmmakers have been charged on summons after a passer-by mistook their theatrical gunplay for a real-life drama.

Police were called to a block of flats in inner suburban Carlton about 10.40pm (AEDT) on Wednesday, when a member of the public reported seeing a person threatening another with a firearm.

"A person came into Carlton police station pretty distressed, saying they had seen a guy with a gun. All they said was that they saw the gun being held to someone's head," a police spokesman said.

Police and a critical incident response team sealed off the area and arrested the four people at the scene.

Film equipment and an imitation firearm were allegedly found.

"It looks like they were making a film and they were the only ones that knew about it," the spokesman said.

The four men in their 20s face charges of possessing a firearm - which includes imitation weapons - and causing a public nuisance.

Senior Sergeant Stephen Cooper said the filmmakers' actions were extremely dangerous.

"They hadn't notified any persons what they were doing down here today, there were no permits, they hadn't had the courtesy to notify even the security within the premises here," Snr Sgt Cooper told the Nine Network from the scene Wednesday night.

See, about 8 years ago our government offered filming subsidies in the form of tax breaks to the
large American film studios. We now have Warner Brothers and Fox Studios based in Australia. They make wonderful films (some of the time) and predominantly use Australian crews. It created a climate where the people at the top of their careers could work on high budget films, and the people who are up and coming in the industry could work on the lower budget Australian productions.

It was great. Until, of course, the local governments raised their council filming rates to gouge the US productions of their cash. This had two effects. The Americans could film elsewhere in the world for less money and the Australian filmmakers could no longer afford to pay the council rates for their low budget independent films.

The fact here is not that these filmmakers did the wrong thing, it's that filmmakers everywhere in the world will try to produce their art in any way possible despite harsh economic conditions. The Americans don't really make films here much any more. As someone who has 'shut down' numerous Sydney streets to film (without Council or Police approval) I believe it's about time the Councils in Sydney, Melbourne and Brisbane take the gun away from filmmakers heads and lower their rates and remove the red tape for local producers once again. It is too hard for small producers, such as myself, to get the permissions we need. At a price we can afford.

The last thing the industry needs is to go back to the dark ages of the 1970s and 80s when we were only making 5 or 6 serious films a year.

PS. I'm not what most people would call a liberal, but well done to those Americans who voted on making a much needed change to your countries political climate.