Wednesday, January 14, 2015

Props & Squibs: "The Paperboy" and "Locus"

Just because I graduated doesn't mean I'm not working on student films! I'm actually pretty flattered when people ask me to work on their movies and hope I can bring something unique to their interesting projects. Though my commitments are usually short term (I can't be there for the full shoot), I can take a smaller job and make it big.

Both films I've committed to are completely different. Locus is a police detective drama, featuring Mindy Van Kuren from my short film Invader. She's really great to work with and was even game to shoot some B-roll for their Indiegogo video. My job in Locus is to make and operate the squibs that will be needed when certain characters get shot in the story. Squibs are small blood packets rigged with tiny firecracker-sized charges. When the actors get "shot" you detonate the charge and blood explodes through their clothing or prosthetic. It can look very realistic.

The Paperboy is giving me an entirely different challenge: making props. In this military-themed comedy, Our hero encounters weapons of various size and shape that use rolled-up newspapers as ammunition. This includes mortars, a mounted machine gun, a cannon, and a rocket launcher. The good news is they don't have to actually fire a newspaper, only look like they do.

I've had some experience making props for the thesis film Perfect Machine (futuristic stun-sticks and rifles), but making squibs is new for me. I know I have to be careful dealing with any amount of gunpowder, and also have to take into account safety for the actor (like putting a shield between their body and the charge). I don't way anyone getting hurt, including me.

I've embedded the Indiegogo videos from the two films I'm talking about, so you can get a better idea about what I'm getting into. The best news is that I can blog/make videos about what I learn, and hopefully share something that can benefit your movies, if you are attempting something similar.

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