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222 backers pledged $21,841 to help bring this project to life.

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Happy Holidays: Four Minutes of Frank & Zed!

Posted by Jesse Blanchard (Creator)
5 Comments
7 likes

For backers only. If you're a backer of this project, please log in to read this post.

Pictures from my Frank & Zed desktop

Posted by Jesse Blanchard (Creator)
7 likes

Hello Dear Backers,

I wanted to give you a snapshot of the crazy sprawl of work this film requires. To that end, the following are pictures from my desktop. They provide a small peak at where the film is at and both the highs (awesome new practical effects!) and the lows (computer crashing, ugh!) that come with any large endeavor.

Baker Sign Ref
Baker Sign Ref
New Intro Storyboards V1
New Intro Storyboards V1
Velnius Sculpt in progress (rejected)
Velnius Sculpt in progress (rejected)
Moroi shadow clean-up notes
Moroi shadow clean-up notes
Revised Velnius Sculpt, Weapons placement test
Revised Velnius Sculpt, Weapons placement test
V9 and V11 castle comp lighting issues.
V9 and V11 castle comp lighting issues.
Velnius Symbols for Hooves sculpt
Velnius Symbols for Hooves sculpt
Computer Crash report. Project files not working!
Computer Crash report. Project files not working!
Velnius Puppet (rejected - puppet rebuilt and reshot)
Velnius Puppet (rejected - puppet rebuilt and reshot)

Many of the above photos detail the small victories and battles; aspects of the film that are important (but not a lot of fun!)

Below are a couple of shots that I am very proud of. It tooks weeks to learn and test the techniques to do these effects practically. But, I'm very happy with how they turned out.

Practical Galaxy for castle background
Practical Galaxy for castle background
Approved Velnius
Approved Velnius

Thank you again for your patience and support. The film is getting closer each day. It's always better than I had hoped but SLOWER than I want it to go.

Jesse & Team Puppetcore

The Dark Bargain

Posted by Jesse Blanchard (Creator)
9 likes

Hello There Zed-ites!

The opening of this film has been, by far, the most difficult part to crack. Trying to find a balance between what rich and rewarding versus confusing. 

Ivan, The Yellow
Ivan, The Yellow

The film has a big backstory. Initially, I told this with a narrator over stained glass (this is what was in the screening in April.) But, I just wasn't happy with it; I wanted you guys to be there when it happened! 

Of course, the reason it was originally done with stained glass was it is a big story!

Recreating the village for new prologue shots
Recreating the village for new prologue shots

The good news is, our new intro is 90% done. It's a really fun way to start the film that puts you with the Ivan the Yellow as he trades the lives of his descendants for his own. (What a terrible thing to do!)

The Ungulate God
The Ungulate God

But the question is: Who does Ivan the Yellow make the trade with? Well, there's a big hint above! Bringing Velnius to life was a whole new challenge and a whole lot of fun. I'm not going to spoil his look just yet. 

More good stuff to come! Thanks so much for your patience and support.

Jesse

Practical Magic - Creating the Storm Cloud

Posted by Jesse Blanchard (Creator)
15 likes

Hello There!

How can I __________?

This fill-in-the-blank question has dominated every step of this film. Recently, I was asking myself: How can I create a Thunderstorm? The answer: Cloud Tank!

Cloud Tank: Practical Storm Cloud Effect

A cloud tank is technique that dates back to Charlton Heston and the Ten Commandments for creating storms and weather. You've seen it in tons of pre-CGI movies from Ghostbusters to Raiders of the Lost Ark.

 We decided to use this for the Thunderstorm on Frank & Zed. Once we did, a whole slew of new 'How can I' came into effect. (How can I purchase 20lbs of salt? How can I drill a hole in glass? How do I light and focus on something that isn't there?)

Tank set-up with wiffle ball for focus and lighting
Tank set-up with wiffle ball for focus and lighting

To create this effect, you fill a tank halfway with salt water and then, very carefully, pour freshwater on top. If you do it just right, the two layers won't mix. Then when you shoot a liquid (heavy cream in our case) into the top layer it stays above the salt water giving the effect of a cloud forming. 

 What do you think? The above is just the begging of the effect. 

Finishing up insert shots

Jason and The Priest plot murder.
Jason and The Priest plot murder.

The film continues, as always, to go way better than I expected and way slower. Thank you so much for your patience. We are getting close!

Jesse

New Quartet Scene in the Can and Final Frank shot?

Posted by Jesse Blanchard (Creator)
15 likes

Hey There Everyone!

Lots of great progress over the past two months. Of course, the big news is we screened a roughcut of the film for the cast & crew. It was great finally seeing the film up on the bigscreen.

Since then, we've been tackling lots of inserts shots as well as getting started on the final sound and visual effects. 

Lance tweaks the chair mech.
Lance tweaks the chair mech.
We finally got shots of the 'starting mech' for Frank's chair.
We finally got shots of the 'starting mech' for Frank's chair.

 We've also added a whole new scene with the Quartet (of Shine fame). I decided I wanted to bring them in a little earlier in the film to fill the audience in on the story and give us a couple laughs. 

The numbers at the bottom are Timecode which we use as a reference when working on the film.
The numbers at the bottom are Timecode which we use as a reference when working on the film.
Last set-up with Frank?
Last set-up with Frank?

 Finally, in another potential milestone, I peeled off a couple insert shots of Frank. After wrapping I realized that this may be the final shots for our star? Is his four year film career at an end? Bittersweet indeed.

Thanks so much for your patience, I promise it will be worth the wait.

Jesse