Jumping off rocks don’t pay the bills. Sitting at a computer making things move does. It’s that time againâ€”the time when I bury you all in a torrent of video links and embeds of various projects that went live in the last few months.
More game trailers for Gamevil. Party Slots was a fun one with lots of compositing people I know into goofy game scenarios. Ocean Tales and Dynasty WarlordÂ are a couple ofÂ others we put together that rely more on motion graphics and animation. I contributed a few motion graphics to Perfect Inning, Luis and Travis handled everything else.Â Then, there was the hard one:
Mark of the Dragon was tricky. It involved using Element 3D and C4D Lite inside of After Effects in ways they weren’t intended to composite a bunch of individualÂ 3D game elements into a story. It was essentially one big workaround that turned out pretty well considering. I had done some similar hoops-jumping for Pocket Gunfighters, but that one was not nearly as complex.
I was responsible for the visual effects in three of Nerdist’s Terror Twins episodes: The episodes starring Doug Jones, Brian Huskey, and Greg Sestero. I also did VFX for a few of their JLA episodes such as the Cinco de Mayo episode. There were a few other VFX things like Warp Zone’s Smite series : episodes 1, 3, and 4, but this should be more than a large enough video inundation for anyone’s attention span.
I’ve been looking forward to sharing this. Earlier this year, my friend (and past documentary subject)Â John Brown recommended me for a Nerdist project. Danica McKellar (Winnie Cooper from The Wonder Years) was working on a math/comedy (mathedy?) series and needed someone to direct and post a short music video based around the mathematical constant pi. We shot all primary photography (Danica and ballerinas) in one day in June followed by a couple of short pick-up shoots throughout the summer to grab the various celebrity cameos. I handled all of the post: editing, color, compositing, animation, design, etc. As a sign of her appreciation, Danica brought me a homemade chocolate pecan pie afterwards. I’ve never had a client bake me a pastry before or deliver it to my somewhat secluded (by L.A. standards) residence. She is setting a high bar for all future clientele.
And, yes, she really did have the whole song memorized.
Earlier this year I worked on a commercial with the Agency for Cristophe hair care products. Luis Reyes worked with them to develop a concept and directed the spot. I was brought on to handle the technical direction, design, animation, and visual effects.
It has been nearly three years since we converted my living room into a makeshift greenscreen stage and shot the live-action footage I would need to create “The Many Maladies of Marty Mitchell.” Finally, it is almost done. My buddy, Ben is working on the sound design and music and I am tweaking the visuals. We are weeks away from a finished project. The video above is a short teaser. If you want to know more about the project, visit Â ManyMaladies.com.
We may have finished shooting The Many Maladies of Marty Mitchell over a year ago, but I have only begun to do the time-sucking post-production work. I anticipate the final product running roughly fifteen minutes. Well, I have recently completed the first minute! It is online for everyone to watch and rebuke. That’s the video embedded above if you haven’t been paying attention.
I also decided one minute of footage must be enough content for an entire website to be built around. Sound reasoning, right? Visit ManyMaladies.com and you can follow the Marty Mitchell production blog as I slog my way through completion.
On an unrelated note, the movie that engulfed two years of my life at TOKYOPOP is online at Hulu. I was responsible for almost all of the motion graphics and visual effects. I also had a belligerent bit part as an actor. If you have two hours to lose, check out Van Von Hunter. You will never be the same!
Last summer, I helped shoot a short project with some friends called Silver Moon. Afterwards, I spent the last few months of the year compositing the green screen photography. Well, Travis and Ben have finished tweaking the audio and now it is online for everyone to see.
Silver Moon is a proposed feature-length horror/western. What you can see embedded below is a teaser. It is two scenes from the movie. If we can get funding, we hope to shoot the whole thing. Pass this video around if you enjoy it and become a fan on Facebook if you are social network savvy.
Working on the Van Von Hunter project at my job for the last two years has introduced me to a number of people. One of those people is a guy named Travis Stevens who has been playing a major character in the project and contributing a lot of assistance in other ways. He has worked in television and film production for a number of years and is much more friendly and cordial than you may expect from a person mired in an industry known for brewing cynicism and distrust. Much like all of us involved, he has his own aspirations and passions. He has a devout interest in Westerns and Horror and penned a screenplay combining the two. I read it. I liked it. I was absolutely interested when he said he wanted to shoot a scene from the script as a test piece.
There were a number of factors that made me interested. I have recently become intrigued with the Western genre myself (I think I have hit that age where Western story elements suddenly seem relevant as a male). It would be shot on the RED camera, a camera I have been interested in working with. It would be an opportunity to try out a variety of effects and keying techniques on very high quality footage. Travis is a standup guy and has helped me in the past with my Marty Mitchell project. It would be fun. And the clincher, Daisuke. Dais is an editor I work with. He exudes a stoicism and dry wit that makes him a perfect candidate for playing a cowboy. He would be part of the cast. Deal.
Travis wanted his actors to feel comfortable with a six-shooter so he took them and some of us on the crew to a firing range. Despite growing up in “Sportsman’s Paradise” (that’s Louisiana for those who don’t know) surrounded by an extensive hunting culture, I had never managed to fire a real firearm in my life. It was an interesting experience. Holding a real handgun, feeling its weight, experiencing its explosive force, and hearing its deafening roar is intimidating. Especially when you are standing in a firing range where various weapons are being fired every few seconds. There is a great power there and a necessity to treat it with respect. It was a valuable learning experience.
The video shoot encompassed the first three weekends in June. We started in a green screen studio and moved to a ranch for the last day of shooting. Travis compiled a relatively small, but exceptionally efficient crew. Everything was pre-planned, each position was filled, everyone knew what they were doing, and the days ran smoothly. We often wrapped early. The nice thing about the crew is they were all friends and associates of Travis’. Thus, everyone got along very well and most of the time everyone seemed to be enjoying themselves. It didn’t feel like work. This was the first shoot I have ever been on that used a crane. It was spectacular to see it in action. I look forward to using a crane on a personal production someday. It allows the camera to get places it can’t normally and move in ways a person can’t. It also makes finding shots and preparing setups much faster. I really enjoyed the location shoot also. Having the actors on horseback trotting across ranch property added a beauty and believability we wouldn’t be able to mimic in a studio.
Now the project is in editing and soon it will be coming my way. I was on each shoot and helped as much as I could, but my real work on this project is yet to come. Soon I’ll receive an edit with all 60-70 shots and the compositing and visual effects process will begin. I have lots of keying, comping, and grading ahead of me. I look forward to seeing this short when we finish it and I hope to work with this crew again in the future.
I have been putting together a short children’s program for a few months now called “The Many Maladies of Marty Mitchell.” It’s an educational show about a young boy who lives in a land of illustrations and animated creatures. He constantly causes problems and has to remedy them, learning along the way. I’m creating a short (~15 min.) test/pilot I intend to shop around. The last few months have included writing, boarding, scheduling, and all of the other aspects of preproduction for a tiny no-budget short.
Last weekend, we finally shot it. With help from a few friends, we converted my living room and loft into a greenscreen studio. Erika’s nephew played the main role and we spent Saturday shooting. Luckily I was able to borrow a quality camera and a few P2 cards. The crew donated their time, as did the actors.
Steps left: voice acting, illustrating, animating, editing, keying, compositing, scoring, outputting I’m hoping to have it ready some time this summer.
Here’s to many more low-budget productions throughout the year. Many thanks to all who have helped and will help. I hope I am a tolerable director/producer.
Earlier this year I worked on a music video for a band called Winds of Plague. The song is called The Impaler. It was directed by Jacob Avignone and Tony Ushino. I composited the last half of the video. I think you’ll be able to tell where the stuff I worked on starts without me specifying the exact time-code. Watch The Impaler Video Here.