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Friday, December 21, 2007

Just for fun

When on occasion I decide (for sanity's sake) to take a break from the constant focus on my film, I tend to do stuff that ends up helping anyway. Like creating animated avatars, doctoring photos or things like going back to my STAR WARS fan roots and making something like these two tiny movie clips. Both utilize the same shot of a model dropped into different backgrounds.

I know, I know- these shots are far from perfection, I put a grand total of about an hours work into 'em
(ok, maybe 5 really). What I learned was that you can save movies with transparent backgrounds and use them as layers in Quicktime Pro and slap them into any image you want later. Nifty!

I will confess to having gotten all exited to see the first new shot of a real T.I.E. fighter in forever, Made me just want to make a whole new SW film. My kid and I did make one up, named the characters and everything
(puppets). Life just ain't got enough 'spare' time.

Wednesday, December 19, 2007


For the design of the the characters, I decided to go with the classic and instantly recognizable images of a Troll and a Wizard. I felt it best, in the case of this short film to not waste time establishing who these characters are, rather the audience should just know by their appearances who's who. My vision of how these character might appear in a feature length film is quite different.

When designing most things such as props, sets and mechanical rigs, I will most often draw sketches, but for characters I prefer clay because the ability to view a character sculpture from different angles is key to understanding their appearance as it will appear in motion.

When designing Trevor, I went directly into puppet construction, sculpting him only once because the image I had for him was quite clear in my mind. The Wizard Isomer was a different story, I knew basically what I wanted his face to look like but, a great deal of his character is represented by his costume. I wanted for it to have a feeling of royalty, not the typical understated robe of a mystic or monk. In the parent script TRUE MAGIC, Isomer is the lone occupant of the Takakjian Fortress which is seen in the short, and so his roll can be seen as not only a wizard but also as a kind of ruler or king.

I sculpted this 10" Sculpey design for Isomer prior to the puppet being constructed. The only change to the design was the cape because I couldn't find a leather or similar looking fabric that would move well enough for animation .
Clic on image for larger view

In the script TRUE MAGIC, Isomers' personality is quite different from the gentle and wise part I wrote for him in 'Gravity'. He is a far more mysterious and intimidating character. The Takakjian Fortress was once occupied by a sophisticated and powerful society who ruled all of the known world for more than a thousand years. Then, for reasons unknown, they fell silent. The infrequent comings and goings of this wizard who's name is not know, is now the only living soul within the enormous castle. The plot of TRUE MAGIC is largly centered around the mystery of Isomers' identity and the fear and rumors about him in the Village Jhenn, Trevors' home which lies in the shadow of the Takakjian Fortress.

(Trivia- I picked the name Takakjian for the name of the fortress and its' people when I had writers' block and couldn't make up a name I liked so, I dropped in the last name of my good friend and writer director of the film Metamorphosis: The Alien Factor... Glenn Takakjian. After writing it in to the script numerous times, it stuck and will forever remain. Here's to you Glenn, Cheers!)

Saturday, December 15, 2007

Welcome To my World

Finally, 'Mysterious' Ron Cole has decided to start a blog. Now that I'm in the last phase of shooting my short film, In The Fall Of Gravity.
This film of mine has been years in the making but, not all of those years were devoted to this short film alone. As a matter of fact, There was never supposed to be a short film at all!
It all started when I decided to write a script for an animated feature film entitled
I've had this dream for too many years of creating a film with a new and different look and style of puppet animation. The first order of business would be to write the script and also create and shoot at least one of these puppets. The idea was to make a miniature puppet that could articulate speech and facial expressions in a manner similar to E.T. and Yoda.
This would require many hours, days, weeks and months to dream up the best methods to use in order to make a
relatively tiny puppet face do the sorts of things that (in the past) had only been done on full scale, live action puppets.
How could I possibly ask an executive producer to forward me gobs of money to make a feature film, without demonstrating that I wasn't just 'blowing smoke' with the claim that this could and should be done?

I spent over a year of my 'spare' time (as if there really were such a thing) creating a puppet of the main character from TRUE MAGIC, Trevor Verity. I won't drag you through the hair pulling I endured trying to overcome the technical problems that emerged, I'll just say that I learned the reasons why it had never been done before.

After building a version (after many) of this puppet that actually worked, I shot a one minute clip of 'him' speaking to an invisible (off screen) partner... NOW I really had something! I knew then, that I could build another puppet from scratch that would perform even better than Trevor, his co-star from TRUE MAGIC, Isomer the Wizard.

I could go on about how many times (endless) I found new and better ways to improve upon the mechanics (which always involved a major overhaul of the puppets) and perhaps in future blogs I will go deeper into their evolution, but not now.

At that point, I had two working puppets, so what's the next most logical thing to do? What I had never planned to do - a short...


This is a stitched together view I just did for the fun of it. There are tree major background paintings I did for this shoot, there are a few others as well but these took the most sweat and bother to create. Each one was painted on a 4' x 7' sheet of wood with no effort to make each end match perfectly to the next. I didn't bother to match them end to end because I figured they would never be seen in the same shot so, why knock myself out? Eventually, curiosity got to me to see what the entire stitched together vista would look like, so I rephotographed the three of them and Photoshoped them into one. click on the image to get a larger view.

About Me

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Floral Park, N.Y., United States
I am an artist and animator with over 20 years experience in all areas of tactile image creation including film and Television.