Saturday, February 14, 2009

And so it begins...

This crazy wonderful music video project has begun. I have been working on it for weeks, prop hunting and scavenging through thrift stores and online collecting cogs and gears and wire and rubber. I love the hunt. It's something I don't get to do when I do other computer animations.

If the San Fernando Valley is good for anything(and really, there's only a couple things it's good for), thrift shopping is one of them. After weeks of searching through every single thrift store in the Thousand oaks area, I was left disappointed and pessimistic because everything here is overpriced and hoity toity. even a piece of scrap tin is considered "antique" and worthy of shelling over 100 bucks. Not so in antique row in the Valley. I scored oodles of items for under 20 bucks. Clocks and flowers and odd metal thingies. I also went to the Santa Fe salvage in downtown los angeles, which turned out to be too damn expensive, but eventually led me to finding this wonderful magnificent place...

a prop shop liquidation center in the middle of the warehouse district. I love garage sales, so when I saw a "HUGE GARAGE SALE" sign on the main road, I had to make a quick stop. I had no idea it was a huge prop shop until I turned the corner. HUGE I tell you. currently it is full of old props from Disney films. They are adding a bunch more studios soon.. I guess they recently opened. This is what it looks like inside...

and here are some of the clocks I found, some from the valley thrift stores, and the rest from the prop shop.

and this I did not buy, but I found in the 99 cent store. I was mildly disturbed.

And now, a somewhat chronological barrage of what I have been doing.

Storyboards. I never like doing them, I am bad at doing them, so take these as you will. They mostly make sense only to me, I don't like to waste time on doing beautifully drawn storyboards, so they are a bit hazardous. These are only for the first half of the film, the rest are written out since the image is too complicated to draw and be useful.

some small props made out of clay

Very rough sketches of the characters in real scale

the main farmgirl

and her head in clay ready for plaster

one of the antifates, a victorian gothic queenbee lady

and her clay head waiting to be made into a plaster mold

a sad rendition of the clock/time man, he now has a pig head(still with a mustache and top hat though)

his piggy head made in clay

the string man

and his clay head, ready for plaster mold making, and eventual latex mask

the farm parents

their clay heads

The farmgirl's head covered in plaster

after a horrendous scare, in which I was trying to make plaster in the kitchen, with my 3 and 6 year old cousins crawling over my back to see what I was doing, I am rather surprised this first mold came out perfectly! The plaster was hardening at a stupendous rate, and I thought I had a clumpy first brush on... but here it is! At the present time, I have already layed in the latex.

For some reason I thought I should share this, on my way thrift shopping, a very dumb man thought this would be a good idea. This mattres was going to take flight.

the farmgirl armature- aluminum wire wrapped twice, epoxy putty, wood, and a temporary styrofoam head(eventually to be made of wood and foam and latex)

latex build-up. I use Mold Builder rubber latex by the way. A wonderful, ammonia scented bundle of gooey goodness. Perfect consistency.

The beginnings of the girls future octopus legs for the second half of the movie

a forest of latex hands and tentacles. The hands now have knobbly knuckles and plump fingertips. But I have no pics yet.

the bottom half of the big octopus character that takes the girl into the strange world. this is wire, foam and pantyhose so far.

the octopus head clay scultpure with the foam and wire body

the girl's tentacles with suction cups. I dolloped blobs of latex, waitied for them to partially dry, and then poked the end tip of a paintbrushinto them to make cups.

The underside of the big octopus with cotton and it's suction cups. Hard to see, but trust me.

the foam octopus head with cotton and pantyhose and 1 layer of latex

that's all for now. All of the plaster heads have latex drying in them. Any questions and I am happy to answer!


  1. nessa this all looks incredible! i can't wait to see the finished product. my faves so far are the mold of String Man (?) and the octopus looks look great the way you did the latex. very gritty - gorgeous. you're a rock star

  2. This all looks brilliant!


    Keeping going - I can't wait to see the finished film!


  3. The 'TV prop sale' looks a pretty cool place to hang out. More pics of 'String Man' please :)


  4. Hey ,

    just found your blog...thanks for shareing your process.Ill be back.


  5. Yay Nessa! Things seem to be coming along beautifully! I'm gonna have to have this blog syndicated on LJ so I can keep up with your goings on. -Alissa

  6. wow. Just read everything on your blog. You got a cool style. I'm abou to go head first into my first stop motion short, and I am finding your process with the puppet making very helpful. great pics too. really easy to see what your doing.