When I first started my fascinations with movies, I wanted to be Ray Harryhausen. Not just an animator, but the greatest animator in the world, a man who captured the imaginations of three generations. I wanted to make monsters that stalked city streets, and magical skeletons that could carry on an epic sword fight, and creatures from myth and legend that would interact with my human characters. I wanted to BE Ray Harryhausen.
There was only one problem. I didn't have the patience to be Ray Harryhausen. I tried. I did, but my animation was herky-jerky, my models began leaping around the set, teleporting rather than moving. I just...I wasn't good at it. Now, I can actually take the time, and add a little animated piece to a feature, but then, no way.
So I began learning about special make-up effects. I'm not the greatest sculptor in the world, but I can still create an effect that works. I can also create miniatures (left over from my wanna-be animation days, I suppose). But somehow, while learning and working on effects, I got into acting, which led to directing. I've always, through it all, been a writer.
So, I wanted to show off a little of those talents in our Cheapest Movies Ever! concept. I decided our first movie would be a monster film set on a distant outpost hidden in some Godforsaken location. I live in Dallas, TX. I like it. I don't consider it Godforsaken. But I was going to need to show our distant outpost.
I built a miniature. I built this miniature on four pieces of cardboard, to which I had taped down an interesting piece of plastic packing material. I built up the landscape
using that home-haunters favorite, GreatStuff Foam, and then I also
added cheap dollar store kitty litter for additional landscape material.
Painted the whole thing black to create shadows, and finished off
with a drybrush of light brown on the rocks and blue/grey on the building.
Add a dollar store LED flashlight into the port and you have a distant outpost.
Now this photo does not have the lighting we'll use in the short, or the particle generated dust-storm, but for a few hours of work, I have a location that is three dimensional, and takes up only three and a half feet in my storage closet. And I really had a good time creating it.
I need a monster next. Something gross and nasty but unique. Something that will startle people, make them uncomfortable, but, remember, folks, it's got to be cheap. How about $27? Yeah, that could work.
Now, I'm not going to show you the whole suit here (you'll have to see the short which shoots on the 22nd of September), but I will show you the monsters head.
For the record, my can of light brown paint is oops paint from Wal-Mart. I've used it to create a Crypt-Keeper for a friends Halloween party, and now this. It's still VERY full.
I think that's enough for now, don't you? And I really don't want to reveal to much until the show comes out. But let it be said that the dollar store (especially the incredibly fine people at the Everything Is .99 Store) is your low-budget movie makers best friend. It's Halloween season, and stocking up on items they have now will save you a ton of money down the way.
Until next time.