Hello backers and friends! I wanted to let you know I am in New York City this weekend to talk about the digital facial tracking innovations we are using in "Monster of the Sky."
I am participating in this weekend's ANNY Best Of Fest - check out event details here: https://www.eventbrite.com/e/anny-best-of-fest-sept-29-30-2017-12pm-10pm-two-days-of-events-tickets-33179314222
The panel is called "Puppetry and Motion-Capture in Animation" and I'll be showing some clips of tests we've been using for the Sky character's speaking parts in the short film that YOU'VE helped to fund.
Festival starts today!
Thank you all again for backing "Monster of the Sky",
Hello backers! Thank you for sticking with the project and your patience. We've received some recent inquiries and thought it was best to reach out to all of you with an update.
"Monster of the Sky" is in post-production. It takes time to key and rotoscope these shots (approx 150 total shots), but we are working on them. Here are some recent shots from the second scene - Climbing the Tower:
Note the beautiful clockwork wasteland background by Nick Sullo, who also worked on Sam's feature film "Yamasong: March of the Hollows."
Believe us, we plan to share this world with you, our backers. We are in the thick of post-production now and working away to make this a reality!
P.S. One bit of business - associate producers level and up: An email was sent asking for photos so we can sculpt your statue rewards, but we haven't received all the responses yet. Please send your photos so we can be sure to give you the cameo as part of your reward.
It's been a while and we know many of may want to know what's happening with "Monster of the Sky" and related news:
As of last month, Sam finished directing "Yamasong: March of the Hollows" - it is now in the hands of his producers who are shopping it around (fingers crossed 2017 is a BIG year for this film's release!).
Making the feature "Yamasong: March of the Hollows" was an amazing experience working with Dark Dunes Productions, founded by one of our own "Monster" backers Sultan Saeed Al Darmaki! Sam is hoping to bring everything he learned from that experience to finishing "Monster of the Sky".
Now Sam is working with two "Yamasong" VFX artists to create digital backgrounds and visual effects for "Monster" shots! Sam is also working on sculptures of our backers who paid for their likenesses to appear in the short film...
Speaking of which, Sam was at Monterey Bay Area Festival of Film for Youth (MAFFY) last week and did a Paperclay sculpture demo and After Effects VFX talk for "Monster of the Sky." It was a great audience of eager college animation students - now inspired to take a second look at puppets and how to use them in their art!
And as always, thank you again for supporting "Monster of the Sky"!
We are moving along in editorial with our friend Margaret Lily Andres! She has helped tighten up all the footage we shot into a compact, visually fantastic 7-8 minute short film/music video, all to the driving music of Stereo Alchemy and the hauntingly, ethereal voice of Melissa Kaplan.
We follow the mystery of the woman Sky (Sumiko Braun) trapped in a space rock and her memory pulled from the remains by a bug probe - pulling us into a flashback of the birth of a goddess from the ruins of a "demolished world". We follow her from her poisoning to her rebirth at the hands of clockwork ghosts to her final flight to meet her murderer face to face. This is "Monster of the Sky!"
Below are screen shots of the current edit and a bonus time-lapse clip shot on our last day in Portland - featuring our amazing Gear Palace and Flying Mansion - built by our amazing set builder Charles Daniels. Enjoy!!
I hope this update finds you all well. I wanted to let you know that as "Yamasong: March of the Hollows" marches forward through post-production (yes, pun intended!), I am working on strategies to continue "Monster of the Sky" moving forward too. Now the important part of making the short film is assembly and the creative combination of music and visuals.
I've asked my friend and amazing editor Margaret Lily Andres to take over editorial. Not only have I worked with her previously on short films with Heather Henson's Handmade Puppet Dreams series (Toby Froud's "Lessons Learned" and Heather's "Crane & Tortoise"), she's also a superb studio editor with experience at Pixar and Laika (her credits include "Finding Nemo", "Cars", "Ratatouille" and "Coraline").
I have the utmost confidence she will help me move this project forward even as I balance my directorial duties with "Yamasong: March of the Hollows."
Last Sunday was a bit of a personal milestone for me artistically. I was invited to be a panel speaker at Monsterpalooza to talk about puppets in film. Among the panelists were the Chiodo Brothers, my puppet filmmaking colleague Kevin McTurk, Muppet director Kirk Thatcher, Muppet and Henson puppeteer Alice Dinnean, and puppeteers Scott Land and Bill Diamond. I premiered a new "Yamasong: March of the Hollows" trailer, which was very well-received (and which I hope to share in the near future!).
That evening, I attended the world premiere of Sumiko Braun's "Master of the Sky: The Life and Art of Sam Koji Hale", a documentary short she made interviewing me as an artist of mixed heritage and how my puppetry and art express my personal journey. It was part of the Asian Pacific Film Festival. I was touched by the outpouring of well-wishes from the audience and support for my puppet film projects!
You may recognize Sumiko's name - she's also my lead performer for "Monster of the Sky" (as well as Kickstarter backer and producer) and in addition to juggling family and auditions, is finishing her masters at UCLA (and soon going to USC film school). She's a great supporter of my projects and a wonderful friend.
I am blessed to have all of your support and we will continue working on "Monster of the Sky" and post more updates through the summer. Thank you!