Sunday, May 31, 2015

Go High Voltage!

Until niece Devin, no one in our family has displayed any athletic talent since our great, great, great, great, great, great, great, great, great, great uncle Davidus won a footrace against his fellow Christians escaping hungry lions in the Roman Colosseum.

She loves softball and has advanced to the Encino/Sherman Oaks League All-Star team, and will be playing in tournaments against other San Fernando Valley All-Stars this summer. This past weekend, her team "High Voltage" got off to a good start winning their first tournament (and a trophy half as tall as the players).

I'm happy and proud to say, I was asked to design and illustrate the team logo.

It's nice to be able to contribute and show my support this way since I can't offer her any useful advice from my sports playing history - unless learning how to trip over your own feet running between bases and fall down flailing your arms in a spastic manner is a valuable skill to her.

Tuesday, May 26, 2015

Indiana Jones and the Temple of Social Media

This week's assignment from the League of Extraordinary Bloggers:

"Take a peek at a fictional character's social media account. What would his or her Twitter feed or Facebook page look like?"

I'm going to cheat a little bit on this one. Last year, when I had a month long Raiders of The Lost Ark 30th anniversary blog-a-thon, I did a few cartoons over on Para Abnormal featuring the world of Indiana Jones using Twitter and Facebook. This League assignment gives me a good excuse to post them all here.

Monday, May 25, 2015

The Halloween Display - 1995

I've been a lousy blogger lately. Lots of things taking up my time. One of those things has been the tedious task of sorting old boxes in the workroom hoard. I can't get ahead. For every one I organize, two more appear.

On the upside, I've been finding fun stuff I forgot I had, like these two Polaroids of my early Halloween yard decorating back in 1995. It was my second year after getting bitten by the haunt bug in '94.

What you see is pretty much the whole display. It's funny, I remember thinking it was so over the top and extreme then. Boy, I've come a long way since.

 Fun Useless Facts:

- The electric chair is the one I use in my display today. It and the coffin mummy were dressing created for the SCI FI BUZZ TV show set I designed in the early days of the SYFY Channel. The mummy is also still around, although in countless pieces in the garage somewhere. The coffin is sadly long gone.

- That "charcoaled" blucky skeleton was the first I ever bought (and poorly customized in 20 minutes) His parts have since been repurposed into numerous different zombie creations over the years.

- Yes, I carved those gravestones. And looking at them now... yes, I was probably drunk when I did.

- I found the CAUTION:RADIATION sign at a local hardware store in Burbank. There were right there next to the usual BEWARE OF DOG and FOR SALE signs. Only now do I think about it and wonder if that store had plenty in stock for a reason.

Daytime Emmy Awards

I'm proud to say that the show I'm working full time on, Hallmark Channel's Home & Family, has been nominated for an Emmy award as Outstanding Daytime Lifestyle Show.

It was also incredibly humbling and amazing to learn, that my co-workers, unbeknownst to me, considered my contributions to the show worthy of a promotion from Propmaster to Consulting Producer.

So you're now reading a post from an Emmy nominated blogger.

Beyond grateful to them, and happy to work with this talented group of people everyday. But don't tell them I said that. It would make my usual grumpy work personae hard to believe.

Sunday, May 17, 2015

Halloween 2015: Cryptsbee

Meet Cryptsbee the Undead Clown. Another new Halloween yard prop idea sketch.

Saturday, May 16, 2015

Ashputtel Illustrations: Bird, Slipper, and a Castle

A few more recent illustrations from the Ashputtel project.

I also created the title logo and an early ad for the show.

Friday, May 15, 2015

Creative Inspiration: Perfessor Evil

Back in 2005, when I was art director on HGTV's Outer Spaces, the executive producer asked me to help research, easy but impressive looking, decorating projects for a possible Halloween special on the DIY network. That show never happened, but in my web searching I discovered Perfessor Evil's and was instantly a fan of.

What I enjoyed most was the simple layout that was Pinterest before Pinterest. Photos of great projects to scroll down and look at, each linked to their origin site (and by the way, just celebrated adding it's 1000th project). Perfessor Evil had created a portal to the vast world of Halloween prop makers I never knew existed.

A few years later, I stopped by the site as I often did and was happily surprised to see that not only one of my prop projects had been found and posted, but Para Abnormal was also added to Haunt Project's web comics link page. It made me feel I was now a legit member of the haunting community.

Perfessor Evil was actually Rik Cary. Rik unexpectedly passed away this weekend. He made Halloween decorating even more creative for me as a consistent source of inspiration.

Here's a fun video of Rik's 2011 home haunt.

Wednesday, May 13, 2015

Halloween 2015 - The first new prop idea

New prop ideas for this year's yard have begun to form in my head (and get sketched). How many will actually happen when I've still got so many from the past unmade? We'll see.

My Ultimate Crossover Film

I've been enjoying the League of Extraordinary Bloggers ring via the fun site Cool and Collected for awhile now. Each week, a question is posed and members post their answers to their particular blogs. This week, inspired by the Avengers, the question was: What pop culture heroes or stories would make for the ultimate crossover? I had to join the League after reading that.

There's a movie crossover idea that has been in my head for a long time.

I've always wondered, where did the map that adventurer/showman Carl Denham acquired in 1933 leading to Kong's Skull island come from? Well, I thought it fun to imagine that it was originally created by a noted Archaeologist who had already been there.

This would be a prequel film taking place in 1931, a couple of years before Kong met his end in NYC and several before Indy found the Ark. I'll leave the details of this possible adventure to your imagination. But I'd love it to feature the return of Captain Katanga and his Bantu Wind pirate crew.

Okay, I know, I know... it was established in Raider's that Indy first meets Katanga.

But what if Katanga saying "Dr. Jones, you're exactly how I imagined you to look." is an inside joke between them set up in the Kong adventure? As an underworld pirate, Katanga's running gag might be to always pretend to never remember anyone or know anything, so he always has "plausible deniability".

Tuesday, May 12, 2015

Dear Mom

I know raising two sons was often maniacal. Thank you for teaching us that feeling abnormal sometimes, was a very normal feeling.

Sunday, May 10, 2015

Creative Inspiration: Eric Hart

If you want to know everything and anything about being a professional prop maker (and discover countless tips and tricks making props) start following Eric Hart's Prop Agenda blog.

Wait, one more thing. He recently wrote a book - The Prop Building Guidebook.

I'm pretty sure it will become a paint stained, plaster dripped, dog-eared, and spine broken tome from constant reference to at my worktable within a few weeks.

Saturday, May 9, 2015

Creative Inspiration: Ray Harryhausen

Poster image via
 As a kid, I knew the name Ray Harryhausen and his body of work by heart. I could recognize one of his creatures and tell you what movie it was from before I knew multiplication in math class, or even why we fought the Revolutionary War in history class. It's true.

I can only explain why this was so recalling being hypnotized by his work at a very young age. When any giant monster movie came on TV, I'd look for his name in the opening credits, like some mark of quality and worth watching.

One "monster kid" weekend afternoon, just as The Valley of Gwangi came on TV. My mom called my name from the other room needing help with some chore. I yelled back...

"Pleeeeease Mooooom, can I do it later?
I'm watching a Ray Harryhausen movie!"

By then, she knew how I loved his movies and let me be. But I suspect she also knew, which I didn't realize then, how he inspired my creativity and she allowed me to fuel it.

When I was around 8 years old, The Golden Voyage of Sinbad was in theatres. It was Harryhausen's newest movie. I begged my parent's to take me to see it. It turned out to be the first movie I remember my Dad and I going to see alone together. During the drive there, I discovered he was a Jason and the Argonauts fan. He told me all about the night he saw it in a NYC movie theater and how the skeleton fight was his favorite part.

Suddenly, our trip was no longer just a father taking his son to a kid's movie. We were now two Harryhausen fans going to see the newest monsters! 

Goodbye Mr. Harryhausen. Your work was an essential ingredient in my youth to make who I am today.

Thursday, May 7, 2015

Halloween 2015 Plans

I don't think I've mentioned it yet, but one New Year's resolution was NOT posting about any new Halloween yard ideas for 2015 unless they were well under way being created. I've become fed up with myself having posted a 1001 ideas and sketches in the past that never became reality.

Having said that, I think this new cartoon posted on my web comic Para-Abnormal qualifies as a Halloween idea I'm safe to share for next October. I've already pulled materials from the garage hoard and started making.

As of right now, this prop seems possible to make with what I have. But I reserve the right to abandon at any time and exclaim "What a stupid idea!" should I find myself debating whether to spend money on or buy food.

Tuesday, May 5, 2015

Asputtel Illustrations: Her Mother's Grave

The Asputtel project is coming along. Here are two variations of the hazel tree with her mother's grave - one day scene, one night scene.

Monday, May 4, 2015

Hauntcast Could Do Better

Being a Halloween enthusiast, I listen to Hauntcast, a podcast/web-radio show just about Halloween decorating.

Subscribing was money well spent until the Season 5 premiere episode went online today.

Most of the show was exceptional, as always. But their monthly "Halloween Guru" interview segment featured some hack artist loser with more "UHHHHs" to say than anything guru-ish.

Just looking at the latest Hauntcast show ad art makes me nauseated seeing his ugly mug there...

Saturday, May 2, 2015

Pumpkin Watch Day 18 - Zombie Seeds

A few days ago, more than two weeks since I planted them, the pumpkin seeds had yet to sprout. I looked at the packet to double check the germination time when I discovered something awful - they were dated 11/09!

That explained it, they were dried up and dead. I should of known better than to use seeds found on a shelf in my garage hoard. I knew they were old, but did not think THAT old.

I gave up on them and decided to try again after picking up fresh seeds later this weekend.

But, just this morning, I've discovered they're actually LIVING DEAD SEEDS!