Hosts is a parody of the Alien franchise and a satire of showbusiness in general. We originally did it as part of a pilot for EscapistMagazine.com, but they allowed us to air it on our YouTube channel Dorks of Yore. It was a long, tough day of shooting, with us four actors contorted behind the walls with our heads sticking out above false bodies. I’m putting together a behind-the-scenes video of it now.
We had a mini-viral event with its release in October, and got coverage from Huffington Post and The Hollywood Reporter, along with a number of respected science-fiction sites. Here’s my favorite review.
This was one of my favorite sketches from 2003’s The Pat Kilbane Show. It’s a dry, English style of comedy in the form of faux documentary – silly, but in some ways believable. I shot the dancing sequences in my living room while my house was being torn up for remodel. In retrospect, I can see how this wasn’t right for the Comedy Central audience; it’s just too subtle. I love it, though.
Having grown up in the ’70s and ’80s, Roger Moore was always my 007, and Richard Kiel as “Jaws” was always my quintessential Bond villain. Richard was signing autographs at Fangoria’s LA show back when I was doing promotion for Day of the Dead. I was happy to get this picture from him featuring his character from “To Serve Man,” one of my favorite Twilight Zone episodes. He was a sweetheart of a guy – friendly and generous (especially for an oral-aggressive spy killer). That’s one of the great things about those conventions – you can fulfull adolescent mini-dreams, interacting with screen stars who were larger than life during your younger years. Thanks, Richard!
A Pre-Fabricated Fallout Shelter by Radius Engineering
If you’re thinking about zombie survival this Halloween season, check out this post I did for the Kit Up! blog on Military.com last year:
Most discussions about surviving a zombie apocalypse center around gearing up wisely and staying on the move. But what about the idea of buttoning up and hiding? For those with the resources and foresight to have a well-stocked underground shelter, staying put for a while may be the most sensible thing to do. Here are three reasons why… Read More
You know that shooting an unsuppressed firearm is going to attract zombies to your location… but how many? I tackled this issue in this post I did for Military.com.
In “The Walking Dead” and other zombie fiction, survivors often stress the importance of weapons that kill quietly. After all, when facing so many challenges in a broken civilization, why make your life tougher by firing a gun and announcing yourself to a mob of undead cannibals? For me, this begs a more probing question: just how many zombies would your gunfire attract? For your post-apocalyptic convenience, I have created a table that gives you a rough idea. Read More
Photo by Art Andrews TheRPF.com
Are you a fan of Aliens? The check out this post I did a while back for Military.com.
Well thought out equipment is huge for me in the enjoyment of science-fiction fare, so I wanted to take a moment to praise this awesome piece of sci-fi gear. Named for the electrical pulses that ignite the primers on its caseless cartridges, the M41A Pulse Rifle was the standard issue weapon of the U.S. Colonial Marines in the 1986 actioner Aliens. And when you consider that James Cameron, the movie’s director, was both an avid shooter and a stickler for detail, it’s no surprise that the M41A seemed so plausible in a near-future setting. Read More…
When you’re a kid, playing with dolls and action figures is a great world-building exercise. The toys provide a nice jumping-off point, leaving it up to your imagination to create the characters, story, weather and terrain. Your living room becomes a massive green screen where amazing vistas can be mentally painted in.
When I see clever animations like this featuring toys from my childhood, it strikes something in my creative core. It realizes the fantasy I had that my toy figures would come to life and embark on extraordinary adventures.
The human skull is an iconic symbol of horror and can be used to great effect if you’re building a macabre world. I made this distressed cranium on the cheap from a $35 plastic model kit. After assembling it, I filled the seams with Magic-Sculpt and sanded them, then stippled the skull’s surface with MMD Green Putty to give it a crusty texture. Finally, I painted it an orange-brown to simulate the protective coating used by archaeologists to preserve bone.
I like this particular kit (which is hard to find nowadays but appears to be available here) because the teeth are cast individually. There are a couple of human skull kits available from Lindberg that you can get at any local hobby store, but their teeth are lumped together in pieces like a dental bridge and don’t look as real.
I’m pretty happy with the final product; it’s a little small at eight inches in length, but it has a nice, lived-in look that movie props often lack.
As a boy I was amazed by the work of Robert Shields. I remember his short-lived television series and think of him as a small, but important, influence on me as a physical comedian. The man’s body control is incredible, and his movement when playing a robot is as preternatural as I have ever seen.
Mimes take quite a beating in the comedy community, but as Shields says in his video, not all mimes suck. Take a look at this limber, athletic comedy genius at work in his physical prime (FF to 1:06 for the strongest stuff).
A bundle of cash is a powerful emotional trigger. In fact, human brain scans have shown that the idea of money stimulates the same primal pleasure centers as food, sex and cocaine. So what does this tell you? That if you’re going to use prop money in your film or photograph, you must make it look as real as possible for maximum impact. Here is an abridged how-to guide to making a top-notch bundle of prop money:
- By a package of manilla-colored paper at your local Staples office supply store. Have employees in the Copy Center cut it into 6 1/4″ by 2 5/8″ slips. This will run you $40-$45 altogether.
- Get a stack of 100 one-dollar bills.
- Compress the stack of real bills, then create five stacks of the paper slips that are the same thickness as the real deal. NOTE: It is the thickness of the stacks you want to match, not the unit count.
- Take each stack of slips, spread them out, and wrinkle them up some. Don’t go nuts, just get each bill a little rumpled, then re-stack the slips.
- Sand the sides of each stack with some light grit sandpaper. This will give them the same ratty edges as circulated currency.
- Lightly airbrush the sides of the stacks with a solution of: one part black acrylic paint, one part olive green acrylic paint, and eighteen parts water or thinner. Compare the color to your stack of real bills and airbrush to match.
- Now you need two real $100 bills for the top and bottom of your $50k bundle. I can’t recommend that you scan and print the bills, because that’s illegal. But if you were to scan and print, you’d probably want to give each bill face a once-over with your airbrush solution just to add some age and organic color.
- Buy a bundle of $10,000 cash straps at Staples.com.
- Strap all five stacks of your prop money with a face bill on the top of your top stack and on the bottom of your bottom stack.
- Cut apart a couple of vinyl sheet protectors into flat, single sheets of plastic.
- Use the sheets, along with some clear packing tape, to wrap the five stacks together into a $50,000 bundle.
You’ll love not only the realistic look of your prop money, but also the hefty weight. I actually made a $100k bundle and gave it to a friend at his birthday dinner. People passed it around the table like the golden phone at the meeting of the five families in The Godfather. You’ll blow people’s minds. Enjoy!