AUTHOR SUBJECT: Practically practical
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Posted: 1/8/2017 7:04:17 AM
I'm in the process of casting people to perform the voices for most of the characters in the movie I'm producing. A lot of things are still up in the air, chiefly, I'm thinking about reducing the amount of CGI in the production and using practical effects instead. The kind of effects I'm talking about are those that have to do with special characters.  Instead of making my monsters in the computer, I've decided to make them as foam latex and silicone puppets. It would certainly be possible to use CGI to bring them to life but I do believe that there is an appeal that registers somewhere in a person's mind when they see something that was actually photographered rather than rendered. It's more diffecult to create the sense of large scale and weight with miniatures than it is with CGI but, in my opinion, that is part of the charm of practicals. Not getting it right is not the same as failing with puppets and minatures. Plus, I think it has a lot to do with the subject matter and the tone of the movie.  A movie that tries to come across as too serious is more likely to be picked apart than a light hearted and fun film.  That's what I believe.   Plus, for me, this film of mine could be my last shot at making a feature film and I don't see how I could dismiss the fact that I've spent most of my life learning and practicing the art of special character creation.  I mean, why have I been sculpting and molding and painting for almost 40 years if I'm not going to use any of it in my movie?  So I will...... 

Sv Bell | Black Flag Pictures
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Posted: 1/8/2017 8:49:08 AM
Practical effects is always winner. Practical makeup doesn't need to be perfect either to work, as opposed to CGI. I'd say go for it. In my films, I always kept CGI as a last solution, when it was totally impossible to do in practical. Makeup, miniatures, appropriate lighting and creative camerawork do wonders!
I'd definitely say go for it! Use these 40 years of experience in your feature! I wish I had your skills in sculpting and molding.

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Posted: 1/8/2017 12:46:15 PM
Thank you for the kind words, Sv :)

When it comes to practical monsters, there is an ancillary market that I am considering.  Whether the film finds an audience with 10 people or 10 million, I want to be able to offer props for sale that came right out of the production molds.  I don&apo;t think anyone has done that yet.  Can you imagine if Stan Winston Studios had the legal right to sell copies of the Predator head pulled right from the production molds?  Even if there were only 10 available they would be a highly sought after commodity in the world of memorabilia collectors.  Even a low budget movie like Basket Case or The Evil Dead; if they would have made some copies from the production molds with the sole purpose of being offered to collectors it would have been a great day for collectors.....That&apo;s what I want to do.

Sv Bell | Black Flag Pictures
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Posted: 1/8/2017 1:33:14 PM
Sounds like a great plan!
The problem is always licensing rights for studios that work on blockbuster films. You're not bound with such regulations, you can come up with great creature designs, and sell them at will. I bet many folks looking for hallween monsters or creature for indie films would be interested.

When I filmed my first feature film in 2004, I couldn't afford to have a makeup artist to create something custom, from scratch, so the monster costume I got was the monster from a Jules Verne TV series that was slightly modified for my film. It turned out great, and was very affordable. I didn't have a problem with using the same creature as a popular TV series.

Mike Conway
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Posted: 1/8/2017 3:30:37 PM
 Of course, a combination of practical and CGI is powerful.  

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Posted: 1/8/2017 6:40:19 PM
Mike, I agree!

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Posted: 1/14/2017 6:50:41 AM
I learned the same thing when we were shooting our dinosaur movie.  Short cgi shots is good for showing a moving dinosaur in its entirety.  Physical dinosaurs work best for every other shot.   

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