Friday, June 16, 2006

Production Diary # 4: The House Between: Special Effects

I've made no-budget films before, but my independently produced new TV series (now in post-production), The House Between is different because - wow - I actually had a real special effects artist making my crazy imaginings come true.

In this case, that special effects man is the versatile Rob Floyd (ably assisted by his sweet and helpful wife, Phyllis). My hat is off to Rob, because he came to the shoot completely and totally prepared not only for the special effects we had discussed on the phone in pre-production, but for every other possibility too. This means that in the middle of a hectic and intense shoot, he was able to conjure miraculous effects for us on the spot. This is good, because I'm a fickle director, and occasionally I want things on the spot. Yep...I'm a pain in the ass. Ask the cast...

For instance, there was a scene wherein we had to burn...*ahem*... something, and it just wouldn't catch fire satisfactorily. Let's just say that with Rob's help, that item burned up real well, and I didn't have to resort to 65 takes. (Though, in true Kubrickian fashion, I was ready to do that...)

Throughout the seven episode shoot, Rob accomplished some amazing effects for us, including the make-up for the "Out Dwellers" in episode # 4, "Visited" (which I don't want to reveal in close-up yet...), and boiling skin for a villainous character (played by Florent Christol) in episode # 6, "Trashed," some of which you do see here (below).

Rob also served as our regular make-up artist and our stunt coordinator too, so I'm really, really happy he was present and engaged for the entire shoot. Whenever I look at the footage, I'm amazed at the quality of effects he conjured.

So today I'm featuring a few effects shot on the blog, so you can check out Rob's (occasionally gory...) handiwork.


  1. Rob totally deserved this recognition. Much props to Rob!

  2. I totally agree. Rob is THE man. He saved my directorial butt several times.

    He did great on this production. But don't give him too many props though...we need him on the second season!!!! :}

  3. Anonymous4:53 PM

    Rob was interviewed and featured in our local alternative paper, Portfolio, right before we left for the shoot. It came out this past Tuesday. I was floored! "You knew about this the whole time and you never said a word?!" Rob is gonna get famous before the rest of us!

  4. Anonymous5:30 PM

    He even amazed me during this production!

    John, it was really wonderful of you to write this. It means so much to both of us.

    All my best!

  5. Rob is going to be a frickin' star. I've been telling everybody about his amazing special effects, and now I hear he's being featured in Portfolio! Damn!

    He deserves this recognition and much more. I still have to pinch myself sometimes when I think about how good those effects look!

  6. Top 5 things I learned from Rob during the shoot:

    5. Be aware of what your left hand is doing.

    4. When it starts to tingle, wash it off.

    3. It's all in the manly grimace.

    2. Some great tastes do not taste great together.

    1. Talent (his), ingenuity (ditto) and a well-stocked make-up kit can go a hell of a long way.

  7. Anonymous4:08 PM

    Oooh, top 5 lists, eh? I wanna try!

    Top 5 things I learned from Rob during the shoot:

    5. Eye shadow and shoe polish can be used interchangably.

    4. I actually CAN land a punch and not kill someone.

    3. It's best not to breathe until all powder is applied.

    2. No matter how nasty the bruise, there's a way to hide it...or create it.

    1. If the blood wasn't chocolate syrup he probably still would have licked it off my arm. ;-P

  8. Anonymous9:37 PM

    They like me !! they really like me!!*L*......Wow ,Thanks guys!!! That means alot!!..It was A lot of fun to play with all of you that week, can't wait to see the results of all our hard work!(especially the fights and stunts*)...........