Monday, September 30, 2013


This was the costume we'd originally wanted Michael Shattner to wear in Prometheus Trap.

Who's This? : The Grumpies EP12 from GrumpyFILMS inc on Vimeo.
That boa would have gone great with a space helmet.

Saturday, September 28, 2013


So this Dead Residents movie opens inside a spinner. Yeah, I know, the script doesn't explicitly say the police car is a spinner, but we all know better don't we?
The script, again a brilliant screenplay by Steven J. Niles, is written as a POV tale of woe and hardship as a police officer and her Robocop-esque partner try to track down a terrorist who unleashes a zombie virus in an apartment building. Which is as awesome as it sounds.
In fact, the idea is that the movie is told in flashbacks from the robot's onboard camera. Which is a stunning idea. And sometimes stunningly difficult to figure out how we're going to shoot (we see the robot looking at himself in a mirror... I'm still working on that.)

But remember, we just need to see a POV from the front passenger seat. We need a mirror outside of the car and we need some kind of panel on the dashboard. Most of the complex details in the interior of the Blade Runner spinner are on the side panels and in the center console.
The big piece of the actual car that we see in Blade Runner is the flatscreen display on Adama's side of the car. That center monitor is interestingly situated such that the driver and passenger can't actually see it, but it photographs great doesn't it?
And interestingly real police cars have a computer typically mounted in the center console nowadays (but, you know, made so that the people in the front can swing it around to look at.)
In any case, the vehicle is stationary for the entire shot inside it. And I was going to have someone stand there with a hose so the "rain" obscures the visibility through the windshield but some gianormous light would punch through and make some interesting patterns on the face in the car.
So what we're staring down the throat of here is to shoot in a car or van with a hose or two on the windows and maybe our blue police light flashing. Uh. Anybody know where our blue police light is?
And so that means we want to put a flat screen monitor on the dash with some sort of display running on it. The display would be what the vehicle would see when it's stopped. Could we put the display on in post? Well yeah but I really don't want to motion-track a handheld shot with camera which has a rolling shutter and I super don't want to have to rotoscope the image if anyone should pass in front of it.

Tuesday, September 24, 2013

We Are What We Are

Jim Mickle's new movie, We Are What We Are, is doing a theatrical release in NYC and LA.
It's a beautiful film. Yes, I get to brag that I saw an early version of it at a private screening.

New Armor

Our armor from Nightmare Armor Studios is ready.
We get two helmets with the armor.

I'm curious as to whether we'll put lights inside the eye-pieces.

There are a couple shots where the robot turns and looks in a mirror. Yeah. I know. I'm hoping we can fit a camera inside the helmet and puppet the thing.

We've been running with the "cyberpunk C3PO" idea for a while. But this is actually a standard suit of armor from Nightmare.

Scheduling Residents

You just love looking at schedules for movies.

Here's our scheduled character days for Dead Residents. 9 days on. I was surprised as anyone that Hawkins actually has two days off.

Day 1

Day 2

Day 3

Day 4


Day 5


Day 6


Day 7


Day 8


Day 9

Monday, September 23, 2013


I love these somewhat effeminate yet vicious robots.

ABE from Rob McLellan on Vimeo.
I wish that C3P0 would bust a cap in someone's ass sometimes. That very foppish attitude can only be balanced with fine swordplay. This short, Abe, has the appropriate amount of sweet talking and physical danger. This is kind of inspiring for Dead Residents, isn't it?

Monday, September 16, 2013

Schedule a Dead Resident

Scheduling is such a very exciting subject for a film blog post. This is my attempt to figure out locations and sets for Dead Residents (1202).

Okay. So Mandira Chauhan broke the whole movie into 8 days (actually, she broke it into 7 days but we're going to shoot it in 9).

I don't know. Is there a way we can shoot this at Joe Chapman's place?

That we're totally shooting guerrilla at my apartment building. Better bring some flashlights.

3 INT 5th FLOOR hallway
Again, I say guerrilla style at my apartment unless anyone has a better idea

I have this idea about how this could be my apartment. I have these weird Pepsi plastic things someone's been throwing away we could use for walls. And my couch. Of course, if that apartment set at Joe's is still there, it might be better.

My bedroom. I don't know how we're going to dress this though. And I'm open to other suggestions.

Can we shoot this in Joe's office in Allentown? We need a whole mess of computer monitors. Do we think that Richmond would have a bunch of monster movie posters hanging around his place?

The only idea I have now is to use my parents' place in Princeton. It will be way too "nice" for the rest of the movie though. Maybe the Goldfinchs' are very rich and live in a run-down building? I don't know. I'm open to suggestions.

If we shoot just in the kitchen area of my apartment we might pull this off. Would I rather a completely different place? Yes I would. Can we get that? I have no idea.

Saturday, September 14, 2013

Prometheus Trap US

It looks like Prometheus Trap is coming out in the US! Hooray! November 1st release date!
I don't know those actors and the ship sure looks different. Other than that it looks about right.

Amazon Review

Today's favorite review is this review of Prometheus Trap by "Midge".

"This director & camera crew clearly did not understand the impact of bright lights targeted at the cameras & how it affects the lighting levels & quality of the imagery."
I cannot tell you how funny that quote is to me. Or how many times the name "J.J.Abrams" was spoken on set.
Other than that Midge complains about the sound quality of the dialog and the framing being too close. To which I say "oof".
Now as far as I know she saw the UK version of the movie. I haven't seen the UK version. I hope and pray that it's in 16:9 letterbox and not blown up (pan&scan) and that the mix on that DVD came from the 5.1 English masters and not from a mix of the English and the M&E masters (which would bring the effective dialog level down another 6dB and that her review is just scurrilous.

The reason is that I feel like we go to some amount of trouble to get the dialog loud and to get the camera interesting and although this is but one reviewer who might have been cranky that day the reviewer might be right and I can only guess at what things may have happened after the masters left us or I actually screwed the masters up. It's hard to tell.

Dead Residents Schedule

This schedule is not written in stone. But it is penciled in stone.

  • 12th Saturday - Day 1
  • 13th Sunday - Day 2
  • 14th Monday (Columbus Day - Day 3

  • 26th Saturday - Day 4
  • 27th Sunday - Day 5

  • 1st Friday - Day 6
  • 2nd Saturday - Day 7
  • 3rd Sunday - Day 8

Supervillain Security Solutions

Our own Brianna June Tillo sells fortresses to evil super villains.

Friday, September 13, 2013

Green Queen Day in the Pandora Machine

You know we have almost a complete cut of Android Masquerade? We just need some plates of the Philadelphia Desert exterior and to animate some combat drones.
We don't have enough dragon action in Dragon Realm. I was afraid of that. And we have too much of boring guy talking right into camera (me).
We must shoot Dead Residents next month (well, we gotta start in September). Which means I absolutely must figure out where we're shooting all of it.

Via Stu Maschwitz, a free callsheet.

Wednesday, September 11, 2013

Warhammer 40,000

For the longest time I've been operating under the following notion of science-fiction aesthetic paradigms. 
1960's Forbidden Planet through Star Trek -- that sort of colorful but steely look.
1970 2001 A Space Odyssey -- white and clean.  This even includes Silent Running and Dark Star.
1977 Star Wars -- white but dirty
1979 Alien -- very dirty (you can actually see the earlier all-white aesthetic on a couple sets like the interior of Mother and the cryo-bay.)
Nobody ever complains about motorcycle armor on characters. 
And then, you know, that's been that. We've been running the Alien aesthetic ever since. Or so I've been saying to myself. 
But it's not really true now is it? No. There's this Warhammer 40,000 visual aesthetic which we've been running for a while now. The Chronicles of Riddick probably has the finest execution of that look of any motion picture. 
Right now the above left look is what I'm thinking for our next movie.
And, you know, with science fiction there are always visual exceptions. I'd say that Logan's Run is more in the Forbidden Planet/Star Trek aesthetic world than in a post 2001 world.
And facing reality, The Road Warrior had an aesthetic impact which is just as big as any of those other pictures, including Star Wars. And Road Warrior sort of presages that Warhammer look, now doesn't it?
Do all Australian dogs look that feral?

UPDATE: Did I mention that none of the images here are actually from any sort of Warhammer book or game or anything? That's because there's no movie or TV show or anything from Warhammer. They're just books and games. So image credits are Dredd, Dredd, Road Warrior. Hey, can you tell which was made before digital color-correction? ;-)

Monday, September 9, 2013

What are we looking for?

Recently I had an email asking about what sort of screenplays we were looking for. Here was the answer I gave:

The answer to what we're looking for, in general, is movies which can "draft" off of big-budget science-fiction movies. The movies to draft off of have to be

A. movies which are coming out in 12-18 months, 
B. which distributors think are going to make a lot of money
C. which have mechanical rather than organic creatures (if they have creatures) [this is just because my studio is better at robots than monsters].

Friday, September 6, 2013

Unbridled Hostility

I don't know why I thought this was as funny as I did (click through if you don't see the image above). Something to do with the unapologetic apostasy of the whole thing perhaps.Yes, that's a robot skull in the middle there. It could be worn by a human who hunts robots or, more chillingly, by a robot who hunts humans.
Actually, that makes me still think it funny.
But you know, one's audience for this sort of thing is rather limited. You really have to be a person who appreciates the irony of an ultra-macho T-shirt that brazenly admits that our present pantheon is incorrect.
40 free sci-fi fonts for your dining and dancing pleasure.
We have commissioned a suit of armor -- the Eclipse from Nightmare Armor Studios.

Tuesday, September 3, 2013

New Helmets In Progress

 The new helmets in progress.
We had quite a few costume pieces stolen this year. It's rather disheartening. Two space helmets, a bit of motocross armor (which we can't get replacements for), a tricorn hat and a bowler hat, various other pieces.

New Helmets

Anthony Jones is some kind of beautiful genius. The three helmets we had for Prometheus Trap came to poor ends. One melted and two were stolen.
But these. Good heavens these replacements are beautiful.
 They're even more hard core than the originals.
 They're pulled from the same mold. We will have to put in new gaskets. We must honor Anthony's genius.
I don't even have a movie lined up yet for these helmets But believe you I will. I most certainly will.

Sunday, September 1, 2013

Stanwickian Issue

So. I have two competing issues in the machine right now. One is that we simply must, must I tell you, shoot another movie so that we can have a trailer for the end of October/beginning of November. And then we have to have the movie done with post-production such that it'll be available by February 1st.
And I've done virtually no pre-production on that picture. I cannot fathom what the sets will look like. I don't even have a concept for costumes.
The other thing is that I have to finish post-production on this dragon movie.
This dragon picture. It went through a lot of rewrites. And now I think I've done hands down the most asinine thing I could do to any movie. It goes like this:
I wrote a movie which was structurally based on The Road Warrior. That's a good idea and everything but there were going to be way too many dragon shots in it to shoot it effectively. So Steve Niles did a page-one rewrite on it. He made the movie much better. Then Tom Rowen did another pass on it.
So we shot it. And we edited it. And we found that the movie came up very short. Too short to get distribution as a feature.
Note that I'd decided to play the evil guy myself. Nobody, I mean freakin' nobody (with the exception of Rebecca Kush) thought that was a good idea. But I did it anyway.
Now I'd had this idea that the lead character in the picture might end up with some sort of voiceover at the head and tail of the film -- just to bookend the whole thing and give us a bit of the story. But I thought about it (in the shower, where all my ideas come from) and decided it would be a bit of my character sort of setting up the world. So I shot a bit of improvised dialog and Mandira Chauhan edited it.
We were still short so I thought; why not make a bunch of interstitials in order to move the story along and give us a bit of rest between the action?
Which means, in effect, that now the story is about my character. Oof. I so did not mean for that to happen. As a "friend" of mine pointed out, I look like Falstaff. It wouldn't be so bad except that... I look like Falstaff.
Um. So that's where we are.