Sunday, September 18, 2016

48 hours - Team Super Furious Ninja Dragon

A crazy weekend in Invercargill, New Zealand with even crazier people - making a 5 minute film for the 48 hours film competition. I got to help Steve Woller with Art Department and it was my breakout debut performance as a STUNT SHADOW twice!

My wife Tracy did crew catering.

Later, I'll add more about the craziness of the crew and a link to the film once its on the competition website.

Monday, September 5, 2016

Lee Yeung & Lustre Effects Studio's Animatronic Gorilla

This mighty fine work on an Animatronic Gorilla popped up on The Stan Winston School Forum. It is by Lee Yeung of Beijing & Lustre Effects Studio.

"I'm Lee. Lustre Effects Studio went into operation in the Summer of 2015. It was formed immediately after a gathering with a group of young artists and professionals. This is due to our common belief that we should do the things we love provided they are magical and fun-filled.

We faced a lot of problems in the beginning. Luckily enough, we discovered from the internet the forums of Stan Winston School Of Character Arts, where we gained inspirations, knowledge and technical know-how.

Our workshop is made up of a passionate staff. We gathered all possible resources to research and learned by trial and error to finally give birth to our first production of the animatronic gorilla.

Why the gorilla and not anything else is because through the process of making it helped us to strengthen not only our skills but our will as well. We had to overcome difficulties, just to name a few, the complexities of the skin, the thickness of hair and installing an animatronic device to make it look awesome and cool.

The animatronic gorilla has yet to be perfected. But it is a work that bears witness to our keen efforts. It is only the first step. We will move forward to give our gorilla companions and build other fascinating creatures to share with you.

Our studio is an open-ended workshop. We will only be too happy to communicate and interact with you all. On behalf of my teammates, I would like to thank you all to let us share our story. Do the things you love. Just go for it.



You can learn more about this Animatronic Gorilla and how it was made here on Lee's original forum post.

Saturday, September 3, 2016

The Wes Anderson Collection The Grand Budapest Hotel

On a recent trip to Dunedin I finally bought a copy of The Wes Anderson Collection: Grand Budapest Hotel from the University Bookshop. What a treat of a book.

Published in 2015 by Abrams and written by Matt Zoller Seitz it is packed with interviews, behind the scenes photos and is worth every cent. I saw the film last year and loved it.

Abrams specialise in publishing Art books and have a website.

Wes Anderson assembled a great crew to work on the film The Grand Budapest Hotel. The film employs a lot of old school visual tricks and makes great use of miniatures. I really like this film comedy.

Walter O. Koenig wrote in his review on Amazon:

"The author of this new book Matt Zoller Seitz, also published "The Wes Anderson Collection" which covers the first seven Wes Anderson Films. I own the book and all the films and greatly enjoyed reading the informative book. This new book follows the same format, but instead of covering a film in 35-45 pages, we have 256 pages about "The Grand Budapest Hotel" only. Lavishly illustrated with many photographs, stills, production drawings and illustrations by Max Dalton, this book is very informative, not only about the latest Wes Anderson film, but also his method of working, research, sources and filming. A lot can be learned about the world of Wes Anderson by reading this book.

The book is divided into three sections, "The Idea of Europe", "The Snow-Globe Version" and the "At The Algonquin Hotel". Each section begins with an interview of Wes Anderson by Matt Zoller Seitz. The first interview concentrates on the characters and the actors, the second on the making of the film and the third on the sources of the film, in particular the works of author Stefan Zweig. That said, many other subjects also come up in the three interviews. They make for interesting reading.

There are also interviews of Ralph Fiennes, who played Gutave H. the main character in the movie, cinematographer Robert Yeoman, Production Designer Adam Stockhausen, Costume Designer Milena Canonero and several others. Each one of these are interesting to read and we learns more about Anderson's well thought out meticulous style and manner of working.

Interspersed are many photographs from the film as well as reference photographs from other films such as "The Shop Around the Corner", "Amadeus", "The Red Shoes" and many others. There are vignettes of the careers of Ralph Fiennes, Tilda Swinton, Jeff Goldblum and other actors. There is a whole section on the role of the narrator in this and other films such as "Barry Lyndon", "A Clockwork Orange" and "The Big Lebowski". There are also some pages of the script, the building of the model of the Hotel, excerpts from the writings of Stefan Zweig and most fascinating to me how certain scenes were shot. In short this is a gold mine of information about the film.

A well written and informative essay by Ali Arikan "Worlds of Yesterday" offers one of the most interesting interpretations of the film I have read, and of its structure and meaning.

The book is well printed and bound as books published by Abrams usually are!

My guess is that you will do what I did when I finished the book and that is to watch the movie again."

Some other useful links

Berton Pierce a film model maker shot this video while working on miniatures for the film.