Monday, July 13, 2015

A Giant Outlet in Downtown Petaluma

A while back I was busy doing something, close to nothing, but different than the day before when I received an email from the wife of a local artist which asked the seemingly simple question, "can you build a large, fiberglass outdoor sculpture?"

I replied that I could, but I'd need a lot more information.  How large is large?  Where is it going outdoors?  What kind of budget do I have to work with?  That sort of thing.

We ended up having a brief phone conversation before I was introduced to Joel Jones of Basal Ganglia Studios, who presented me with this concept sketch:


That's a Photoshopped image of an historical building downtown next to an electrical power substation.  Basal Ganglia had been funded to add a sculptural installation to the side of the building.  My role: fabricate a giant rendition of a household electrical outlet with a cord plugged into it and leading into the ground.

No problem.

I had a few other projects in my queue ahead of this one, but once I'd started, it took a few weeks, a whole lot of fiberglass, and a few hundred pounds of steel to end up with this:

For more details and photos of how it was made, read on...

Sunday, June 28, 2015

Building the Trophy for the 2015 EVOLVE Proving Grounds Tournament

Back in late May I got an email from my friends at 2K Games asking me if I'd had any time or interest to work on a trophy for their upcoming Proving Grounds tournament.  Within a few minutes we were on the phone discussing it.

The total timeline from green light to completion?  Two weeks!  Here's the end result:


To see how it all came together, read on...

Friday, June 26, 2015

Shae Vizla Blaster, aka How to build a Decent-Looking Science Fiction Weapon in About Four Hours

Somewhere toward the end of the big rush to prepare a bunch of costumes for Star Wars Celebration: Anaheim, I realized that I'd nearly finished the Shae Vizla costume for the Lady Shawnon but I'd neglected to come up with any weapon props to carry around.  If you saw the last entry about the Shae costume you know I managed to solve this crisis:
Shae Vizla at Celebration Anaheim

What you may not realize is that I knocked it out in a mad rush in the middle of the night while my crew cranked out a bunch of parts for the big Mandalorian project.

For details on the blaster build, read on...

Thursday, June 25, 2015

Shae Vizla Costume Build

If you happen to follow the Sexy Star Wars Girls page on Facebook, you may have spotted this photo a couple of weeks ago:
Shae Vizla at Celebration Anaheim

That's the Lady Shawnon wearing her Shae Vizla costume at Star Wars Celebration Anaheim.

Shae Vizla is a mercenary character that shows up in the trailers for the MMORPG Star Wars: the Old Republic.  You can see her being a supreme badass in this video:

So here's Shawnon being a supreme badass:
Shae Vizla at Celebration Anaheim

To see how the costume was made (and a bunch more pictures of my smokin'-hot girlfriend showing it off) read on...

Monday, June 22, 2015

Harbinger Down

Last night I had a rare opportunity.  A good friend of mine invited me to a private screening of an upcoming film called Harbinger Down.  If you haven't heard of it, here's the trailer:

More importantly, if you haven't heard of it, it was made by the folks at Amalgamated Dynamics, the practical creature effects shop behind the last two movies in the Aliens franchise as well as the Alien vs. Predator movies, Starship Troopers, and dozens of other major creature features.  They decided to run a crowdfunding campaign to make a film that showcased nothing but practical creature effects.  The end result is a thoroughly enjoyable film that harkens back to the monster movies and horror films I ravenously consumed in my youth.

But what really made it special was the combination of the audience and the location where we were watching it.  

The friend that invited me to the screening is one of the lead model makers at 32 Ten Studios.  This is the shop that currently resides at the former site of Industrial Light and Magic in Marin County.  So their screening room happens to be the exact same little movie theater where the final editing was done on Empire Strikes Back, Return of the Jedi, the Indiana Jones movies, and many more.  It also happens to be the theater that THX sound was originally invented for.  The whole place is positively dripping with history.

The audience was a mix of special effects veterans from throughout the last forty years of filmmaking.  Alec Gillis, one of the founders of Amalgamated Dynamics and the director of the film, was there to introduce the film and ask questions afterward.  Dozens of other FX legends filled the auditorium.  Phil Tippett, one of the biggest names in stop-motion animation and the former head of the ILM creature effects shop was sitting in the front row.  

In short, the people in that room were probably responsible for deciding how half of my childhood looked.

The end result was a fun evening watching a fun movie in an amazing place with an even more amazing crowd.  I was thrilled and humbled to be invited.