Tuesday, May 12, 2009

The Foam Latex Adventure

Alright, things are stepping out of the realm of fantasy and coming into reality. Camera and lens are soon to be set (shooting on a Nikon D70 - excitement!), ordering a plethora of foam latex / sculpting / mold-making products from FXwarehouse, storyboarding a very small short and waiting on a design fix from good ol' Jim Truong.

As early as I can remember (we've known each other since pre-school), Jim has always been THE artist to compare to. I was sure that he was going to be huge in the art world but life led him down another path. I was always sad about that but I'm going to get another taste of that creativity again and I'm pretty stoked about it. If you're reading this Jim, isn't too late to change!

I was expecting to spend a small fortune on doing this, but I dug into my RED Scarlet fund and just went straight for Stopmo materials. Camera(d70) + Lens(Macro 55mm lens / 28mm wide lens) + Puppet making process kit(the whole shabang) will add up to cost about 750 dollars. This includes an oven, a mixer, 50+ puppet making items and the whole camera setup. I think I came out pretty lucky with a price tag like that.

The best part about all of this is that everyone seems to be turning the corner in the support area. I'm not getting anymore of these:

"There's no money in this!"
"I hear Pharmacy is the new cool thing."
"You're crazy."
"You know your cousin just got a new job. He's such a great knowledgable person."
*Stare* "..." *Walk away*
"I was drafted into the army to witness the most awful things and live through unimaginable situations for my youngest son to fiddle with paint brushes and make little doo-dads"

That's right folks! That last quote was just a joke but sadly the rest were not. I've gained a lot of momentum in just a month's time and I don't expect to slow it down at all. Watching the guys at SMA.com really fuels my drive to keep pushing forward.

An even cooler aspect about this stop motion adventure is that my dad and I have been able to work on little gadgets together (we built the armature together as well). We've never really seen eye to eye on my choices until just recently and it's a real pleasure to just work together on the same side for once. Next we'll try to construct camera rigs together and practice using them on Moe.

My little cousin is getting into stop motion too and from what my uncle says, he's been doing it since he was 6-7 (about 4 years ago). Little showoff! Haha, but even he is asking about the process - how to capture frames and edit wires / rigs out, and loved the armature we made.

So what I need to do now is:

Find the rest of the items on my checklist (about 20 miscellaneous items to go).
Track down an oven and make sure I have a place to put it (as well as deal with the power issue - 220 for an oven).
Finish storyboard.
Get design from Jim and start on sculpt.
Make sure I design the wire armature to get the expressions I want.
Make a damn film!

Huge huge thanks to Nick Hilligoss / Mike Brent / Justin Rasch (and his family) / EVERYONE at SMA.com for posting their process' and answering a bajillion questions (to which I could just search and read). And also to Kathi Zung for her awesome video: I've seen it at least 10 times to make sure I'll get it right. Hope to snap some pictures for the next post!

Till then,


  1. Off to the races man!

    Ill see ya at the finish line.


  2. Thanks for the encouragement :)

  3. You're welcome (and thanks for the thanks!!) ;)

    It's exciting to see your rapid progress. Man, you're really in the steep end of the learning curve, aren't you? Seems like you're tackling all the tough stuff all at once! Puppet's looking great!!