Saturday, June 30, 2007

LA Moments


Recently, we decided to file Seumas under "S".

Okay, had to get that bit of cuteness out of the way. So I just finished my first four weeks at Revchem and I thought I'd share what I've been up to. Besides trying to stay afloat, some really cool things have happened.

About a week ago, I got to visit the set at Universal Studios of the new movie National Treasure 2. I haven't even seen the first one, but now I'm going to have to rent it. It's one thing to see cool looking sets on your "behind the scenes" features on your DVDs; it's quite another to actually see it in person. I wish I could have taken pictures, but I didn't want to press it. I had the ability with the camera on my phone, but as I said... didn't want to be rude. So you'll have to do with my recounting of the experience.

The first set piece I visited was around 50ft high, built on top of a steel pool. The set was meant to be flooded with water. It looked like the inside of an underground cavern with Mayan ruins built into it. All of the stonework was literally styrofoam with a fiberglass facing. It was incredible. To actually see fiberglass work as a MAJOR part of the set. Everywhere you looked, it was fiberglass.
To back up a bit, you might be asking WHY I was on the set in the first place. One of Revchem Plastics' salesmen asked me to come along with him to meet some of our big customers in the movie industry. Revchem is one of only two companies in the LA that supply fiberglass products to the movie business. We apparently have about a 60% hold on the market as well. So I road along with Jeff the seller. As you can imagine, security's pretty tight around the studios, so I had to surrender my drivers license (newly acquired CA drivers license I might add) so they could check me out. Eventually a series of calls were made, and they gave me a permit to get in. From there, the world was ours.
After driving through old western towns, a small lake village with a giant fiberglass shark hanging over the water upside down from it's teeth, and survived helicopter explosions and various fire eruptions, we arrived at the fiberglass shop we were going to so we could drop some resin off and meet some folks.

What was surprising to me was that it pretty much looked like any other glass shop I've been in. They could have been building boats or hardtops for all I knew, so it was encouraging that the scene was familiar to me and I understood what they were doing. From there I was introduced to a very nice Korean gentleman who was the man we were there to see. He was very kind to show us around and let me see the various things they were working on, and then took time out of his day to show us around the sets for about an hour.

Okay, back to the outdoor set. It was rigged like a stage. Scaffolding on the side. Lights around the top. They had just finished shooting the day before, so they were striking the set. (Apparently after the Art Director/Production Designer takes what he/she wants, they pretty much chop everything up and throw it away.) They shot most of that scene at night, and apparently there were a lot of explosions and whatnot. That must have been really neat to watch. Just behind this set, was a big concrete pit in which they were going to fill with water and submerge a set into it with a crane. The set was sitting next to the pit, and looked like a big odd shaped wooden box. But if you went around to one end of it, you saw inside looked like underground caves and temple stonework like that you'd see in a Mayan Temple or something. All fiberglass inside of course.

On to the next set. Got in the car and drove to a big building. Inside was an enormous underground cavern with temples of gold carved into the side, and one golden temple right in the middle. Apparently the thing just gets flooded with water. The set was about as big as a football field. Probably also 50ft high. We walked around and saw a few smaller mini sets, tunnels that the actors had to crawl through. They made those sets out of latex. Smelled like a room full of halloween masks. But making it out of latex allowed the actors to crawl through and not scrape themselves up. Looked EXACTLY like the fiberglass sets. Got to pick up a 2 foot latex rock and throw it at Jeff. Again, styrofoam covered with latex. Pretty amazing.

Off to another building, where they had big rock spires with a rope swing across it. Behind the physical set the actors had to work across was of course the blue screen for special effects, digitally putting in the background.

Quite a bit bigger scale than I'm used to. It was truly an amazing experience to see that this is what people can do for a living, and the incredible things they can make out of fiberglass.

Also, Danny Roebuck walked into my store about two weeks ago and bought some stuff. He's been working on a few museum displays of old movie monsters and props and such. If you're not sure who he is, you might have seen him on Lost, or Boston Legal. A while back there was also an HBO movie called "The Late Shift" which was about Jay Leno and David Letterman's struggle to get Johnny Carson's place on the Tonight Show. Danny played Jay Leno.
He was a really nice guy and we got to talking about Dead Gentlemen and The Gamers. He was really interested in The Gamers and thought the concept was really unique. That he hadn't seen anything like it. We exchanged email and phone numbers. So yeah, the schmoozing has begun.

In Dead Gentlemen news, we got our new trailer up for the movie The Gamers: Dorkness Rising. You can view it by going to: www.deadgentlemen.com or www.the-gamers.com. The front page of the Dead Gentlemen site also shows you where you can download the trailer instead of just watching it from the website.

We're also plugging away at the new Demon Hunters RPG. Jimmy McMichael's been writing some really great stuff.

Speaking of RPG, Matt, Camille and Cindy and I are starting our first D&D campaign together. It's Camille's first time gaming, so hopefully we'll get her hooked. She's already on the whole Warcraft thing. Even I'm not up on that. But that's my own lameness. Tried City of Heroes, and I'm sort of getting into it. Right now it's more fun to create the character than it is to actually play the game. Not sure if that's supposed to happen.

OH. I almost forgot. We got an amazing deal off craig's list on a 42" HD TV for $600!!! We bought a new stand and everything for it, and we've been pretty much lazing around watching movies and playing the playstation on our new huge TV. Here's a picture:







Oh, and Cordy says Hi!

3 comments:

Kristy said...

I laughed out loud with gusto on the filing photo and commentary! I was fascinated to hear about your early adventures at work--hey, that's actually a pun! ;o) Glad things are going so well for the both of you!

Camille said...

First, you have the cutest dogs in the world! We had a great time with you and the puppies this weekend.

Second, I'm so excited for Thursday. I was just happy to have my own dice. They're all girly. :)

Jamie said...

Hey Don! Thanks for sharing the trip to the set and your other wacky adventures. There will be cool Demon Hunters RPG goodness to check out soon. First I have to get BSG out the door and survive Origins.