To My Mother and Father Site

To-My-Mother-and-Father-20101Looks like there’s a ‘To My Mother and Father’ site up now which has various bits and pieces about the film.  I’m also slightly embarrassed to find I was filmed at the Q&A we did at the BFI.  So embarrassed in fact that I’ve posted it below.

Getting you up in front of a bunch of people and sticking a microphone in your hand is a sure fire way to rob you of the ability to speak and empty your head of all ideas.  Last time it happened I was at a Lee Hurst gig……!

Q&A @ BFI – Part 1 from Ne’er do Well Films on Vimeo.

Q&A @ BFI – Part 2 from Ne’er do Well Films on Vimeo.


Mobile Photo 29 Aug 2010 17 04 29

I went along to the Frightfest ‘International Short Film extravaganza’ at the Empire Leicester Square today.  ‘To My Mother and Father, the horror film I did some effects for last year was in the line-up along with ten or so other shorts.

I’d seen the film beforehand at the BFI but the soundtracks now been refined as has the grading.  I also thought the edit had been tinkered with as well, but that might’ve been my imagination.  The film really does look fantastic in terms of production values and looks like it was shot with a much bigger budget than it actually had.

It went really well and got a good reception from the audience.  It was nice to see my work up on a big screen in front of an audience.  You’re always critical of your own stuff, but a few shots of the effects that made me wince previously actually looked fine this time round.

There were also loads of other really great shorts on the bill as well.  The ones that stood out for me and certainly got the biggest audience reaction were the ones with a comedic edge (not to say the more serious ones didn’t too – check out ‘Through the Night’ if you can).

I guess it’s because you only have a short time to grab the audience so if you can make them laugh then you’ve got them straight away.  The biggest hit was probably ‘Papa Wrestling’ which is a spanish short about a retired wrestler who goes on a violent rampage after bullies steal his son’s lunchbox.

Absolutely hilarious, it had everyone in stitches.  Luckily the whole thing’s available on YouTube so I’ve posted it below.

There was also ‘Nelly and Lio’ which is  a french language Canadian production with a thelma and louise vibe which was really quirky and very good.  The two leads were fantastic.

There was also ‘Rise of the Appliances’ which was about household electronics taking over the world.  Sounds silly, and is, but it’s also hilarious and very well made.

I could only find sections of those two on Youtube but I’ve posted them nonetheless.

Papa Wrestling

Nelly and Lio

Rise of the Appliances

To my Mother and Father screening

I went along to a screening of ‘To my Mother and Father’ at the BFI this weekend which is the horror film I worked on last year.  This was the first time I’d seen an edit complete with music and sound effects and with the grading finished.   I think it’s come out well, it’s amazing what a difference good sound can make.  The grading also seems to have added something as I thought the FX shots looked much better than in the rough edit I’d previously seen.  I was impressed at the production values of the piece considering the money that the guys had to play with.  All in all it’s ended up being an evil little eight minute short.DSC_0359 - Copy

The film’s already been shown in Istanbul and it’s going to be entered into as many film festivals as possible.

In the meantime, here’s a trailer.

Shoot Day 02

Grabbed Frame 01
Shot of the main mask prop.

So this was the main event for me really as all the effects shots were getting done on the second day.  Even then we didn’t actually get going until about lunchtime.

First up were a few reaction shots of the actress as she is attacked.  All this required was me flicking blood over her as she writhed about on the ground.  Not too taxing really and always good fun to start by chucking blood about.

Next was a scene where bloody slashes appear in her forearms.  I’d made some gelatin makeup appliances which had some fishing wire embedded in them.  The idea was that when the fishing wire was pulled a chunk of precut gelatin would come away.  Pulled quickly enough it should appear as though the slashes simply appear.

This is the bit I was least looking forward to, mainly because I’m rubbish at makeup.  I roped the producer in to give me a hand (he actually has more makeup experience than me!) but the effect looked pretty rubbish and I was relieved that the director decided he could live without the effect.  We’d already had some issues with continuity as well – the actress had previously been shot with her sleeves down thus meaning you wouldn’t be able to see her arms – so it worked out OK all around really.  I’ve decided I’m not going to do any more make-up effects, at least until I get some more practice in, they’re a pain in the arse!

Grabbed Frame 02
Puppeteering the 'goiter' puppet.

Next up was the creature effects which I was alot more happy with and actually came out pretty well.  There were several stages to this one with various tentacles popping out of the puppet.  The whole thing was given a good coating of slime and blood so I spent several hours also coated in slime and blood.

Once the puppets had transitioned from child to creature, we stuck a silicon and fibre glass mask on the actor and slimed him up which he was none too pleased about.  You’d’ve thought kids’d love playing with slime wouldn’t you?

Either way he was very good and advanced towards his ‘mother’ quite menacingly ready to tear out her unborn foetus (!).

Grabbed Frame 03
Shot of the final creature mask.

This was another bit I’d built which consisted of a fibreglass and silicon fake pregnant stomach.  I’d built a cavity inside which I could fill with the silicon foetus puppet I’d previously made.

An actress with similar sized hands to the child actor was then put into the creature mask and matching costume and proceeded to pull out the foetus along with a load more blood and slime.

We then cut to the final creature puppet which proceeds to eat it!

Can’t wait to see how the final film comes out!


So I’ve dropped off most of the FX at the set now.  Here they are waiting to go complete with ‘costume’ ;0)

The chaps are hard at work building the set ready for the weekend.  I’m not too thrilled at an 8am start, particularly as I think I’m going to end up hanging around doing nothing for the majority of the day – the effect usually get shot towards the end, mostly because once you start throwing blood about the place you can’t go back, but I guess we’ll see what happens.

Through the looking glass…..

So finally near the end of the horror film project.  By my count, since the beginning of august I have produced:

  • 6 x painted concept sculptures
  • 2 x sculpts of the mask props (a ‘hero’ prop and damaged version)
  • 2 x molds of mask sculpts
  • 5 x fibre glass mask props in various stages of damage (including a breakaway version that’s held together with magnets)
  • 2 x sculpts for the puppets of the child actor
  • 2 x fibre glass shells – one of each puppet
  • 2 x sculptures of the flesh section of each puppet (1 with a ‘goiter’ neck, one with a torn neck)
  • 2 x molds of the flesh sections
  • 3 x casts of the flesh sections in silicon (1 goiter, 2 torn neck versions)
  • 1 x sculpture of teeth section for final puppet
  • 1 x mold of teeth section
  • 2 x fibreglass casts of teeth section
  • 1 x sculpture of tentacle
  • 1 x mold of tentacle (this was a three piece mold)
  • 17 x silicon casts of tentacles
  • 1 x sculpture of hero embryo
  • 1 x mold of embryo (which I completely cocked up, but enough of that)
  • 3 x silicon casts of embryo
  • 1 x umbilical cord (made out of cast off pieces of latex)
  • 1 x sculpture of pregnant stomach
  • 1 x fibreglass shell of pregnant stomach
  • 1 x sculpture of flesh section of pregnant stomach
  • 1 x silicon cast of pregnant stomach
  • 2 x sculpts of wrist slashes prosthetic makeup
  • 1 x mold of wrist slashes prosthetic makeup
  • 10 x gelatin casts of wrist slashes prosthetic makeup

All of these elements have been combined into:

  • 1 x final hero creature puppet with articulated tentacles and toothy maw
  • 1 x wearable mask of final creature for the actor to wear
  • 1 x ‘transformation’ puppet with bulging goiter neck
  • 3 x embryo puppets
  • 1 x prosthetic pregnant stomach for actress to wear
  • Assorted prosthetic wrist slash makeup for actress to wear
  • 1 x hero mask prop for actor to wear
  • 4 or so damaged mask props for use in the various effect sequence.

Fuck me, that’s a collossal amount of work.  Partially my own fault really – they only wanted a mask that could open it’s mouth and bite initially.  I kind of convinced them to go for something a little more dynamic!

We’re filming this weekend, so here’s hoping it was all worth it!

Why you shouldn’t eat rare steak…..

I’ve put together a rough test video to show how the effects for the horror film will work.  Should look alot better (and more horrific) once it’s filmed properly by a professional cameraman (and not by me in my front room) and once copious amounts of blood have been added.