A couple weeks ago we procured the services of three-time Grammy nominated Fred Bogert to do some of the sound mixing and engineering for the newest short film I’m directing — He helped record the award-winning Caribbean Blues musician and voice actor Mark “Big Poppa” Stampley who is doing voice over work for the film. We recorded in Bogert’s studio, Briarpatch Audio Productions.
These guys were such talents to have pulled in for this project! A huge thanks goes out to them~
Our desert shoot a few weeks ago went extremely well – now it’s off to the edit…
After a few long months of preproduction and a couple weeks of shooting the main production of Part III of the Robot Scriptures: The Long Slow Flight of the Ashbot is done! (read more about The Long Slow Flight here) All that’s left now is the edit (never an easy task).
A little bit about the production…
The outer space set was built using a giant roll of black felt and thousands of christmas lights obtained from the thrift store after the holiday season. I set up a 270 degree semicircle of the felt and both suspended the Ashbot from the ceiling and had him spinning on a bike wheel.
The Universe itself was made from a bicycle wheel too (Vintage Campagnolo for you bike nerds out there) and a cymbal stand from a drum set.
And then there is the Ashbot himself, made from anything and everything I could get my hands on. A speaker, a bendy lamp, plastic toys, a light-up Halloween skull, binoculars, measuring cups, candle holders, and of course my heart and soul for three months.
The piece was shot using a Canon 5D mark ii and a variety of lenses.
The Long Slow Flight of the Ashbot will be viewable online in the near future. Parts I and II of The Robot Scriptures will be out by the end of the year as well.
A big thank you to Tina Matthews and Megan Wollerton for their help on the shoot.
More big news! I recently acquired the rights to adapt Paul Hornschemeier‘s comic We Were Not Made For This World for use in my three part film anthology The Robot Scriptures. This news is very exciting as I have been a big fan of his work for a long time now.
We Were Not Made For This World centers on a lone robot in the future who has left his life at the factory in search of his creator in the desert lands outside his robot city.
Hornschemeiers story is to be part II (of three) of The Robot Scriptures.
It is a story about the transitional, the middle ground, the half way. Yearning, longing, questioning, thinking, feeling. It is about the gaining of knowledge outside human influence, striving to know why they (we) exist, where they (we) came from, what else is out there, exploration. A yearning for knowledge of the unknown. To make sense of it all.
And so I embark on the films creation.
I will be shooting the piece as a live-action short. Tina Matthews, a wonderfully instinctive Costume Designer, will be working on the costume for the shoot, which will take place soon in the Great Sand Dunes National Park outside Colorado Springs, Colorado.
The film will be released towards the end of Summer 2014, after part III, The Long Slow Flight of the Ashbot, is released (parts I, II, and III are being released in reverse chronological order).
He’s been nominated for the Harvey, Eisner, and Ignatz awards.
“An ascending star… [Hornschemeier] leaps into an elite group of current cartoonists — including Kyle Baker and Oak Park’s Chris Ware — whose versatility and verve push the art form into exciting new territory… Hornschemeier doesn’t simply push the panel edges of the comics medium; he designs entirely off the page, encouraging other creators to join him over the horizon.” – Chicago Tribune
For those of you interested in reading We Were Not Made For This World by Paul Hornschemeier – it is featured in the incredible comic anthology Project: Telstar, published by AdHouse books. It is also in the award winning series Forlorn Funnies (#5).
I came across this wonderful old hangar in the middle of rural Illinois and had to get my camera out…
Back in the late 60s and 70s when NASA was sending U.S. Astronauts to the moon, some unbelievable large format photographs were taken. I was parsing through the Apollo 15 mission photos and came across some incredible panoramas I had to share…
Just a little inspiration for The Robot Scriptures…
More of these images can be found via NASA on the Apollo 15 mission site (free to use and greatfully paid for by your tax dollars):
http://www.hq.nasa.gov/pao/History/alsj/a15/ Thank you to Kipp Teague for doing most of the scanning.
A woman confronts death in the wilderness.
“In every parting there is a latent germ of madness” – Goethe 1788
Written & Directed by: Colin West McDonald
2013 / USA / Stoker Motion Pictures / 16:33
Shot on location in:
Cradle Mountain-Lake St Clair National Park – Tasmania, Australia &
Fiordland National Park – Southland, New Zealand
More about the making of the film can be found on this post.
Sometimes you find real gems floating around the studio…
This one was a quick shot sketch from The Robot Scriptures.
Aronld Dreyblatt, the extremely talented American Composer and Fine Artist living in Berlin, Germany, has allowed me to use three of his tracks (from his most recent album, Choice [Choose Records, Berlin]) to be used to score my upcoming short film The Latent Germ of Madness.
I have been a listening to Dreyblatt for a few years now and am particularly partial to his use of unique instrumentation, unabashed playing lengths, and repetitive, trance-like patterning. A wonderful voice in sound.
[from MIT, where Dreyblatt is currently in residence as an artist in CAST, the Center for Art, Science, & Technology]:
Arnold Dreyblatt is an American media artist and composer. He studied music with Pauline Oliveros, La Monte Young, and Alvin Lucier and has been based in Berlin, Germany since 1984. In 2007, Dreyblatt was elected to lifetime membership in the visual arts section at the German Academy of Art (Akademie der Künste, Berlin). He is currently Professor of Media Art at the Muthesius Academy of Art and Design in Kiel, Germany.
Dreyblatt’s musical and artistic practice has ranged from large multi-day performances to permanent installations, digital projections, dynamic textual objects, and multi-layered lenticular text panels. His visual artworks create complex textual and spatial visualizations about memory, reflecting upon such themes as recollection and the archive. A member of the second generation of New York minimal composers, Dreyblatt continues to develop his work in composition and music performance, having invented a new set of original instruments, performance techniques, and a system of tuning. He has formed and led numerous ensembles under the title “The Orchestra of Excited Strings” for over thirty years.
Needless to say I am thrilled to have one of my favorite composers scoring my short film.
The Latent Germ of Madness will be released publicly very, very soon.
An ash-collecting robot witnesses the collapse of the universe as he slowly drifts through outer space.
Coming Spring 2014.
Big news! Recently I acquired the rights to adapt Joel Priddy‘s wonderful comic The Long Slow Flight of the Ashbot into a short film. The comic is a short story about an ash collecting robot floating through space over the course of eons, slowly witnessing the collapse of the universe…
It will be part III (of three) of The Robot Scriptures. I’ll be creating the trilogy over the next year or so (in reverse chronological order) conceptualizing an origin story for Artificial Intelligence.
This particular story, though being quite simple, alludes to very complex ideas and theories – time, space, creation, seclusion. In the comic, Priddy has taken a simple 9 square panel format and ripped apart conventions and expectations through his use of composition and form, in many cases allowing the panels to be read both like a normal book (left to right, top to bottom), but also as a whole – really quite genius.
I’ll be making the film as a live action puppetry piece (yet maybe not what you’d think about as puppetry…). That being so, I am currently in the midst of building a robot… The Ashbot:
Keep an eye out for the film this Spring… and Parts I & II coming later this year…
Joel Priddy is a wonderfully talented illustrator and writer in his own right and I highly recommend checking him out.
Another one of Joel Priddy‘s graphic novels, Pulpatoon Pilgrimage is no doubt one of the best out there – an honest and sometimes brutal account of the adventures and history of three unlikely friends. The graphic novel won him an Ignatz Award in 2002 for Outstanding Debut and was also nominated for an Eisner for Best Graphic Novel. His illustration work has appeared in the New York Times, Playboy, and Cricket Magazines. Basically, his work is amazing. check him out: http://www.joelpriddy.com/ http://pulpatoon.tumblr.com/
The N.E.A. Arts Magazine featured Denizen (a performative work I co-created) in an article titled
Defining Creative Placemaking
By Jason Schupbach
Denizen is a performance, sound, and video projection based work that draws inspiration from local native mythology. It is a two-part piece that explores life and the therefore imminent approach of death; using the Coyote as a central character. The coyote is a native to the California area and has prospered through all the human developments. Even though its natural habitat is being reduced, its population has grown by assimilating to the human culture and living off human bi-products. In the time of the Ohlone people, native to the bay area, the coyote was a main figure of their mythology; portrayed as a character of wit and cunning and contributing to the creation of humankind. The coyote is an instigator, and an animal that has the ability to adapt, while remaining wild and uncontrolled.
Denizen was directed by Tina Matthews, eve Warnock and Colin McDonald and performed in the Zero 1 Biennial 2012 – San Jose, CA for hundreds of onlookers in Oct. 2012
More about DENIZEN: http://www.zero1.org/blog/denizen-emma-polster
Photography: Patrick Lyndon