Wednesday, November 20, 2019

Working As A VFX Artist

Hey! It's been a while!  What's new?  Did you do something different with your hair?

If anyone still reads my long, rambling, infrequent posts, they'll learn that the "infrequent" part of that sentence is an understatement of mammoth proportions!

That being said, there is very good reason for my absence lo these many months:


To be fair, I've been making some $$ as a freelancer for the last three years actually, however, the big difference came this year when – through a series of interconnecting circumstances – I was given the opportunity to work on a proper feature film!

Here is the trailer for said film:

This movie is the feature debut of director (friend, and all-around cool guy) Ryan Spindell -- who has made many brilliant shorts as well.

It had it's premiere at this year's Fantastic Fest and Toronto After Dark – at which, it won 4 awards including: "Best Feature, Best Horror Film, and Best Editing!

As of this writing, it has yet to see an official wide release (word on that as it develops).

My time on the project started once filming had wrapped and lasted just over four months.
I was one of many VFX artists brought on to do the heavy lifting required to build the world of a dark fantasy film.

I was personally responsible for about 25 shots in the film (which doesn't sound like a lot, but they were all very complicated and took a long time to finish – not to mention, I completed an average of three versions of each shot before approval, and therefore, generated over 350GB of data... so, yeah).

On average, I worked very long hours, 6 to 7 days a week, every week for four months straight – and worked my part-time day job simultaneously.
And I can say without any exaggeration, that this was hands-down the craziest, most challenging, and most AMAZING experience I've had in my life thus far!

I truly cannot contain my excitement for whenever this thing hits theaters/streaming -- but when it does I'm absolutely going to force everyone I know to go watch it, several times.
However, I can't say much else (as things still aren't public yet) but suffice to say, this movie is definitely going to go down in history as a Halloween classic!

Talk soon.

Tuesday, January 15, 2019

Orson Plays LA Animation Fest

Just a quick post.
Supper happy to announce that "F' for Formula" played at the LA Animation Festival back in December... and won 2nd place for 'Best Comedy Short!'

Feeling very excited and very blessed to have this short still getting attention after all this time -- it is 3 years old now, and in short film years, that means it's almost retirement age.

More news to come.


Monday, October 29, 2018

A Music Video and a Werewolf

It's always interesting sitting down to type a new post here.

Interesting, because I never really know what I'm going to say till I start to say it -- this is due simultaneously to my complete lack of preparation and my laziness; it would be so convenient for me to just post a load of pictures and videos without need of explanation, all the while being completely confident that, not only would my audience completely follow my logic without guidance, but would also find it incredibly fascinating and instantly smash a "like" button of some kind.

Yes, if only there was some kind of online platform that would allow, nay, encourage this type of slapdash, cut-corner approach to social media...

Hmmm... I wonder if such a thing could exist... @srvfilms.

Anyway, that shameless plug aside, I wanted to drop in and say a few words:

Jim Carrey GIF - Jim Carrey Liar GIFs

Ok, for real this time.

1)  "HellthClass" has now played 4 festivals (I know, four! That's, like, a crazy high number. It's like I've hit the "big time.")

Yes, it appears that "HellthClass" is the little short film that could......... have done a whole lot better had I not chosen the same day as "Stranger Things" season 2 for its online debut -- dee-butt, for those who don't speak French good.

Admittedly, this has been my biggest regret with this film -- a film that, believe it or not, has turned one year old this week!
And for a production so fraught with turmoil, it's a shame that I was unable to procure a wider release.
All things considered though, getting into 4 festivals, winning one and getting featured on Film Shortage ain't half bad.

2)  This is a music video directed by Zach Daulton that I did creature effects for. My official title on this was VFX Generalist and Stop-motion animator.

It was filmed back in April and was then handed off to me for animation and compositing.
All told, I produced 16 shots in about 3 weeks -- along with approximately 6 weeks for puppet fabrication and preproduction.

And finally,

3)  For anyone who may have noticed my general absence from the "Blog-O-Sphere" this year, it was do in great part to my involvement in "The Bray Road Beast."

As I'm sure I mentioned previously: This is the latest film in the Small Town Monsters series, that documents all the strange creatures, collectively known as "Cryptids,"  in the small towns of America.
In this feature, we got to cover these guys:
Related image

I came on the production in January and worked on it all the way through the middle of August.
So, literally, the entire film! And during this course of time, my job title slowly evolved from the animation dept. to VFX, and then all the way to monster maker.

And what is on the horizon? Well, bigger and betting things, thankfully.

This past year has been absurdly busy and it seems that the next 6 months or so will be equally rigorous -- another cryptid documentary and the very real possibility of some incredibly extensive VFX work and you probably won't hear much from me for a good while.

And with that, I grow tired of typing, and bid you a rather abrupt adieu.

Till next time.

Sunday, August 5, 2018

HellthClass Wins Award at MSFF!

Late last month, July 28th to be exact, 'HellthClass' played at Midsummer Scream Festival in Long Beach, CA.
And it's because of this, that I'm super excited to announce:

HellthClass won the Audience Choice Award for best in its category!

Extremely happy and thankful to everyone who made this film possible and look forward to making more cool stuff in the future!

And speaking of the FUTURE...

Here's a quick little look-see into some of the new stuff that I've been working on.

I recently had to make a puppet for an 80's themed music video for the band Superdivorce.
It's been one of the most complex figures I've ever had to make (and of course, a huge thank you to my dad for sculpting it).  
The creature is still in-progress, but should be finished by the end of this week.

I can't show much of it, unfortunately, because the video isn't out yet. So hopefully, these few snippets will suffice for now.

This is a time-lapse of (one half of) the mold making process. Didn't get started till late that night and ended up going into the wee hours of the morning.

Sunday, May 27, 2018

New Things On The Horizon

It's been a while since my last post, and though I am incredibly busy, I'll still try to find time to keep this blog updated -- the word "blog" in this case, being used merely as a formality. As I can honestly say, this is more of the online equivalent of talking to ones's self than it is a real "web-log," the function of which is to be read by an audience (as least, that's how I understand it).
Truthfully, I came to blogging just as the last dying breath of this form of media was sputtering out.
And I suppose it's only fitting that I've just recently given-in to popular culture and started an Instagram account -- which I'll shamelessly plug here: @srvfilms.

"But Santino!" you might say (that is, assuming any of you would say that, and in a very high pitched, pseudo-Mickey Mouse voice to boot)  -- by the way, wit like this really doesn't read well and is best suited for stand-up comedy.  Because, as I'm sure you've noticed by now, the reader would have no way of knowing with what inflection or timing I was delivering these "zingers" -- nor would they be able to ascertain through simple text that they're missing my crappy (though still good enough to be funny) Seinfeld impression!

Image result for i don't wanna be a pirate seinfeld gif

Anyway, what was I saying?

Oh yeah: "But Santino!" you might say, "It sounds as though you're only concerned with this blog being popular and gaining viewership! That sounds awfully shallow of you."

Well, first off: you don't know me! So how dare you pass that hypothetical judgement which I put in your mouth.

And second: I'm not all that concerned. In fact, I gave up on this blog gaining any considerable traffic years ago. At this point, it's basically here to serve as a very long, very casual, and needlessly jocular resumé that I could use to say "Hey, this is what I've been doing with my life for the last 9 years... interesting ain't it?"

So, my crazed, anti-blog rambling aside, I've got some little bits of news that I'm pretty happy about.

As I mentioned previously, The Flatwoods Monster documentary that I worked on is out and it's been getting pretty good reviews on Amazon Prime, so, do yourself (me) a favor, and check it out.

Also, I went to Wisconsin for a week in April to shoot "The Bray Road Beast," another Small Town Monsters feature.
My workload on which, has been considerably larger than on 'Flatwoods.' Not only am I producing animated sequences for the historical representations, I'm also doing effects and got to work as an assistant camera operator/grip.

So far, there's not much that I can show, save for this screen-cap of a shot I did:

Everything in the photo above I had to make or find. The book was constructed out of Foamies, scrapbook paper, paint, and rubber cement -- all glued over an old book I had laying around.
The maps on the table and the unseen pages in the book were drawn in Photoshop and printed on cream colored art paper, that I then stained with coffee.

Music Video

This past month I was also given the opportunity to work on a music video with director Zach Daulton. 
Zach had contacted me back in November of last year to see if I'd like to do some creature effects for his next project and, of course, I jumped at the chance.
Granted, there's not much of that video, or the creative process that I can show you till its release -- and because everyone involved is working at it in their spare time, it will be a good while before it's available online.
Till then, I suppose I'm allowed to show you the VHS props I made for the film.

And so, we reach the abrupt end of yet another weird, rambling post.

Till next time...

Friday, February 23, 2018

HellthClass Film-Fest Acceptance, Flatwoods Premiere & More!

Good day to all on the inter-web!
I bring great news from the many strange corners of my life.
First up, 'HellthClass' will be playing at the Columbus International Film and Animation Festival, which runs March 22-25!
My film will be shown during the "Not-Quite Midnight" portion of the fest; at 9pm Friday (23rd).

Next -- the monster doc that I've been doing VFX for has wrapped and will be making its rounds to local festivals like Midwest Weird Fest, and HorrorHound Cincinnati
The Flatwoods Monster: A Legacy of Fear, will make its online premiere April 6th, though Amazon Prime.
The early reviews have been overwhelmingly positive, so do yourself a favor and watch it, or I'll come to your house and give you the big-sad puppy-dog-eyes and say: 
"But why?! WHY, won't you watch the movie?! It's good. It doesn't mean you any harm. We all worked so hard on this!"
Anyway, until the film comes out, you can view the new trailer below (it contains quite a number of my shots, so, you know… watch it twice).

The third hunk-o-news, is that I'll be joining the Small Town Monsters team on their next film as well. Titled, "The Bray Road Beast," the new documentary will explore the decades-old myth of a real life werewolf that eyewitnesses claim has been stalking around Elkhorn, Wisconsin. The film will be STM's most ambitious to date.
As usual, I'll be providing animation and various effects as needed. 

Monday, January 8, 2018

Practical Effects for Flatwoods - Progress

If any of you (you know, "you," the great faceless masses who may or may not actually be reading this blog… *crickets*… ) -- if any of you read my last post, then you are well aware that I got hired to do some animation for the new Small Town Monsters documentary "The Flatwoods Monster: A Legacy of Fear."
I can't show too much, since the film doesn't hit Amazon Prime till April, but some BTS photos have already been posted on STM's Instagram.

So check 'em out.

The set was made of foam and clay, with grass powder and juniper for trees. The houses were built by my uncle -- yes, he is in fact, the same uncle who built the miniatures for Shtubby No. 5 way back in 2014!

Anyway, keep on the lookout, because the Kickstarter campaign starts Jan. 25. You can check out the trailer (with one of the shots I provided near the 56 second mark) here.