If it's Thursday, I must be a Mad Scientist:
Professor John Wheeler has said, "Time is nature's way of keeping everything from happening at once,"
which may seem a little odd coming from the man who coined the term "black hole," where time (and
everything else) tends towards infinite wonkiness.
But back here on earth, which--as far as I know--is well outside any Schwarzschild radii, this particular
way of nature obviously isn't doing its job. Back in the spring, after several projects had been being put
off a month or two at a time, again and again, they all managed to gear up and start production within a
week or two of each other...starting only a couple of days after I broke my foot while getting ready for
the first shoot.
Eventually, though, the frustrating fracture finally fused, but by then the projects in question had
finished filming and there wasn't anything else planned for the near-term.
By the way, that's Mark Griffin up there (in the process of falling down here), from Friday's shoot
over at Mercy Hospital. Coincidentally, he and his jumping-off-bridges skills had just been covered by
the Daily Camera
only the week before. (That was him you saw on the big picture on the cover of the entertainment
Every day's involved at least one different location, which always adds to the challenge, or at least
adds new challenges. Over at the Denver Police Academy's main training facility, for example,
lighting such a large space was a challenge. In ordinary use, the facility is lit with banks of fluorescent
lights...which is just what you don't want to use for film.
But, as always, working with a team of trained stunt performers has its advantages, as you can see
here where Justin "Lucky" McQueede takes on the role of "stunt gaffer" and mounts our lights next to
the fluorescent fixtures.
With three different projects going on simultaneously (and another in the wings),
it's a good thing that I haven't broken anything.
...though if I did need to have something broken, I guess I do know a few people who could take care of it for me.
Unfortunately, my hair is just not quite long enough to get away with wearing earplugs
during filming. Most of the time, we're using real weapons that have been modified for
firing blanks; they might not make holes in whatever's in front of them, but they do make
every bit as much noise. (The reason for the blank-firing modification is that otherwise
a blank doesn't provide enough backwards "kick" to the spent cartridge to cycle to the
The actual hit on the target is usually a lot quieter; on hard surfaces we often use a paintball gun that's
loaded with dust hits, spark hits, or a similar material--basically something that looks like little
bits of whatever's being struck (light grey for concrete, dark for asphalt, etc.).
Soft surfaces like, for example, Ryan (bottom-left in this picture), usually require more work to
get the effect you're looking for. In this case, we used some small explosives and cranberry
sauce. We had a little bit of trouble at first, because on this day we were shooting in an unheated
building that's scheduled for demolition in the next couple of weeks, and the temperature was
just above freezing.
The first batch of simulated blood was corn syrup-based, and by the time
it was actually set off, it had gotten to the "red molasses in January" stage. Unfortunately, when
this happens and the explosives behind the blood pack are triggered, the resulting special effect
is altogether too much like a small, angry, red Peep hurling itself onto the wall behind you.
While this might be a great special effect for a low-budget all-Peep remake of "Alien," it wasn't
what we were shooting for. Cranberry sauce, on the other hand, can still create decent gore
even at low temperatures, and it is so much more appropriate for the Thanksgiving season,
don't you think?