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So, Linda and I  have to build the bulk of the cast for Galaxy Scouts, so I figured I’d share some photos of the process of building Rodney, the first of our new crew.

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He’s just a head right now, but still… it’s a hell of a head.  Please wave at your monitor and pretend that you’re welcoming Rodney into the world.


Presenting Rodney!

Rodney will be playing Colonel Wil Rigg, Tactical Officer on board the ship.  Once we build him a body, that is.

While, from post dates, it may seem as if nothing has been going on here at pre-production central, nothing can be further from the truth.

Both Linda and I took the week of Labor Day off, and designated it Puppet Week.  And seriously, ALL we did was work on puppet stuff.  It was actually kind of nice, and super duper productive.

We started off the weekend in planning mode, outlining what we wanted to work on during the week, and acquiring supplies to make said things happen.  There was much exploring of San Francisco while on our supply acquiring binge, which was good.  There’s crazy awesome fabric place in the mission that is SCREAMING with puppet skin.

And then came Monday, wherein we took a detour from Project Monkey Dance to shoot a puppet music video.  Oh yes, a puppet music video.

Green Screen Setup

Green Screen Setup

Paul came by to help, and we spent the whole day on video, changing Stanley through four different costumes, and building a fat suit for George.  Quote of the day:

“We are handcuffing a puppet. How can this day get any more awesome?” – Linda

You can see the finished product here.

The rest of the week was a barrage of puppet planning, supply building, blueprint making, 3D working, foam cutting, eye painting and general awesome mayhem.  The results of the week weren’t nearly as much PHYSICALLY as I thought there’d be, but we have a MUCH MUCH MUCH MUCH better grasp of what we’re doing, and what NEEDS to be done.

And we’ve got the starts of Rodney, the next member of the family.

Stanley and Paper Rodney

Stanley and Paper Rodney

Foam Rodney
Foam Rodney

Linda and Angry Rodney

Linda and Angry Rodney

After the awesome week of creativity, it was hard getting back to the normal grindstone, but we managed it.  And we’ve also managed at least one puppet making day each weekend since, one of the most awesome parts of is our own style of puppet eyes combined from a couple different techniques we found.  Here are Rodney’s eyes (in progress).

Rodney's Eyes

Rodney's Eyes

When I think about everything we still have to do, the enormity of this project just seems daunting.  But the more we get done, the more awesome it seems like it’s going to be.  So, if you’re Bay Area Local and are interested in helping out… you know how to get a hold of me. 🙂

Cross country plane flights are the bestest thing in the world for getting stuff done.  I got several sketches done for different characters, and also got over the hump that had been slowing me down on Episode 3.

Character sketches for Rigg

I can't draw for crap

The current game plan is to start pulling stuff together in preparation for a presentation for Kickstarter.  That means Budget for puppet construction, rough timeline, some sample renders, and an intro video with Stanley.  I’m hunting for someone to serve as “line producer” to help put some of the numbers stuff together.  Hopefully someone will actually be interested in doing it.

No, honestly, I’m still alive and kicking, as is the project.

I found that I hit a wall in terms of writing, and I couldn’t get past the mid-point of the third episode.  It was the first scene without George in it, and I just COULD. NOT. WRITE. IT.  Starting a new job didn’t help matters, as I spent most of January and February completely exhausted.  By the time March rolled around, I started realizing I’d adapted to the new schedule, but when I looked up, there was that wall again.

So I started procrastinating in every way possible.  Even to the point of re-skinning the production bible wiki so it looked cooler.  That’s how bad it was.

So then, I got the bright idea to start a time line.  To see how the different sketchy back stories I’d fleshed out fit together.  And that’s when I started seeing BIG GAPING HOLES and inconsistencies.  So project “re-write everybody’s history” happened.

Timeline Screencap

A snippet in time...

This may have been the smartest thing I’ve ever done and will ever do.  It fleshed out SO much in terms of character, and who knew whom and who COULD HAVE known whom.  It was like back story came flowing out of an excel spreadsheet.

So I knocked out as much of it as I could, then sat down with Linda and tore the thing apart and put it back together again.  And here we are.  I completely scrapped episode 3 and started again.

We’ve started planning for puppet construction.

Blender 2.5 is almost ready for use.

Movin’ right along. Dugga dug dugga dug.

Seriously… check this out:

I don’t know how many time’s I’ve said… “Yeah, it’s kind of Battlestar Galactica meets Pigs in Space.”

I wonder if Kovalic is spying on me.  Anyone know where he lives?

Today, I finished the basic character outlines for the main cast.  They are, as with most Sci-Fi shows, mostly perfect hero types.  Everyone has something awesome in their past that they did, and there’s the requisite grumpy guy.

Now it’s time to take a second look at the character sketches and start to flesh them out.  To give them flaws and weaknesses.  To make them realistic people instead of portraits of perfection.  Since we’re doing this as a drama, there really NEEDS to be flaws to play off of, but not so many as to make the whole show an Emofest.

So tarnishing must be done with care.

The thing that amazes me the most out of all this is that, in telling the back story of each of these characters, story ideas come out of the woodwork and just lay themselves at my feet.  It’s pretty freakin’ cool.  My only fear is that there will be too many stories to tell in the format that we’re telling them.  Since each of our “seasons” will amount to the same time that two episodes of a normal hour long sci-fi show takes, it limits our storytelling a bit.

At least for now…

Early Space Render

Of course, when you’re doing Sci-Fi, there has to be ships orbiting planets… and so Linda made a planet. Granted, this one is Earth, but hey, that’s the best place to start, right?

Which is, in of itself, a great Sci-Fi title. 😀

But this deals with watching something that existed in your head slowly taking shape in reality… in this case, digital reality, but still… it’s amazing.

An early rendering of future awesomeness

An early rendering of future awesomeness

I can’t even begin to explain what a fantastic job Linda is doing pulling all of this technical stuff together.  Every time she shows me something new I can only think “holy crap, we’re that far already?!”

There is a team of excited people beginning to form around this project (Code Named, “Project: Monkey Dance”) — and if they have even a QUARTER of Linda’s zeal… things look bright.

Patience is a hard thing to maintain, as is momentum.

Impatience can drive momentum, but generally it will drive it in directions that you don’t want it to go.  Understanding that keeping things moving just for the sake of keeping them moving is a bad thing… you need to let the inspiration drive you, not your need for “something, anything” to happen.

This project is something that I would love to start shooting RIGHT THIS SECOND, but I know that there’s ALOT to do to get it to a point where we can successfully launch the production.

Still doesn’t keep me from going a little crazy though.  Especiall with horoscopes like this:

I hope you won’t merely wander around the frontier. I hope you’ll undertake a meticulous yet expansive exploration of that virgin territory. Here are some tips on how to proceed: 1. Formulate specific questions about what you’re looking for. 2. Develop a hypothesis for the experiments you want to carry out. 3. Ignore what doesn’t interest you and pounce only on what stirs your fascination. Halloween costume suggestion: an alien anthropologist visiting Earth from another planet; a time-traveler from the future who’s doing a documentary on this historical moment; a religious pilgrim who’s keeping a detailed journal.

Put progress is being made.  A team of excited folks is starting to gather.  And as long as I can keep the wind in our sails, we’ll move forward just fine.