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Thursday, January 31, 2008

Antiquating 16mm film.

After numerous tests for both color and b&w 16mm film stock, we brought in a 100 feet of MASTER footage to Monaco Film Labs in San Francisco. A sign on the counter (I'm remembering it as scrawled but it was likely typed,) read that "as of February 1st 2008 we will no longer be processing 16mm color workprints."
They won't even process 16mm black and white.

Their new name should/would/could be: Monaco Digital.

We'll be sending film down south to Los Angeles or up north to Seattle or Portland. If you have a trustworthy lab, let us know.

Wednesday, January 30, 2008

The sky sweep.

In early September 2007, Holly Strauss "faux-finisher-extra-ordinAIR" began painting our sky. Layer after layer. With a little brush and a big brush. A flat brush and a round brush.
But no air brush?
She finished in a couple days, adding small details along the way.
We rolled an enormous canvas over a corner of the studio.
We made the backing from thin (1/8th inch) bendable plywood which we mounted on 2x4 bracing. The canvas was clipped on, so as the paint dried, it began tightening, hugging the backing, and taking on the smooth curve.

Tuesday, January 29, 2008


There's something wildly satisfying about knowing where people work. It's not unlike watching someone, anyone, doing that 'thing' they do really well. Could be a violinist practicing an extended run or a woodworker at a lathe or a writer typing on a manual typewriter or the mail sorter sifting through junk mail at lightening speeds in the back of the post office. It all mesmerizes me. More so people at work than at play. The simple act of witnessing someone doing what they do best grounds me. Feels like the cogs are spinning effortlessly.

My mom often says she finds it too difficult to talk to me on the phone when she can't imagine where I am physically.

Monday, January 28, 2008

Anatomy of a puppet. Part 2

We wrapped the armature in Teflon tape to insure that the DragonSkin silicone wouldn't leak into the screw threads and hinder any movement. Using a toothpick, I dragged and coaxed the tinted DragonSkin inside the Platinum-Cure mold. DragonSkin is a Tin-Cure so it won't adhere to the puppet's mold. I then paint in reverse, starting with the dirt on his kneecaps and ending with the core colors. It's not unlike painting with mucus. The tiny notches in the mold are called jeweler's cuts. I used a surgical scalpel to cut open the mold. This way, when we close it back up everything will align properly.

Sunday, January 27, 2008

Anatomy of a puppet. Part 1

Mawk's (our protagonist's) armature was modeled and machined and tooled and tapped and sealed and balanced by Merrick Cheney in his South San Francisco (Bay View, Hunter's Point) workshop. Originally slated for a role in Tim Burton's "Corpse Bride," we stepped in and negotiated a trade -- one lunchbox frame grabber for our hero's backbone.

Saturday, January 26, 2008

A beginning.

Mawk (our protagonist) sits at the end of a decrepit dock. Fishing.
Dozens of dollar birds are leashed to pilings.
A ladder leads up and out of frame...

Friday, January 25, 2008

How to keep an animator animating.

Publish a blog with their daily frame count and forward it to all their friends.
note: Works only on people with a strong sense of Catholic-guilt.