Wednesday, March 4, 2015

Coming Soon... City in Crisis

I've been wanting to write more on this project, but have just been loaded with work and I'm falling behind on the social media aspects of this project.

The web site will be up soon, and it will become MUCH less of a mystery.

However, I will leave this here... the first conceptual drawing.

And yes, I'm aware it looks like a Batman rip-off. that's the point.

EXCELSIOR!!! right?

Thursday, November 20, 2014

World Of Props: Luke Skywalker's First Lightsaber

There is simply no fictional (or real) weapon that is cooler than the lightsaber. As a kid, I wanted one baaaaaad. As an adult? STILL WANT ONE.

Well this prop is about the closest thing I'll come to actually having one... unless science figures a way to make a plasma blade.

It could be a while.

While this isn't the first prop I recreated, it's one of the most recognizable, and one of my favorites. The crazy thing about it, is it's a super simple prop to recreate, you just have to get the parts.

In the world of Star Wars, this is the lightsaber that once belonged to Anakin Skywalker, but was handed over to Luke by Ben Kenobi.

As I stated in the previous post, most of Luke's lightsaber is made up of a Graflex 3 cell flash. I got mine from a member of the RPF (Replica Prop Forum). I wanted one that looked as pristine as possible, and didn't want to take a chance with Ebay. It worked out great. The flash I received was in really good shape.

The original prop was built by Roger Christian. The abbreviated story goes that he walked into a camera store and found a box of old graflex flash handles. He took them back to the shop, added the bubble strip from a 70's calculator (Exactra brand) and then glued some cabinet t-track for grips.

George Lucas then gave his approval and added his own charm... a D-ring to clip to a belt.

No one knows exactly what kind of T-track was used, but a guy on the RPF called "Gino" took measurements from the original, and had replica's made. I picked up a set from him, bought an exactra Calculator off Ebay, and got a D-ring from another RPF member who had ones similar to those seen on screen.

So first I had my friend Dan drill me a hole for the D-Ring and Rivet...

 I then cut the grips to the correct length, and then sanded down the corners at an angle...

And then glued them to the bottom half of the Graflex

I had TWO Exactra calculators - an Exacta 19 and an Exactra 20.

The 19 had clear bubbles, so I used those for this saber, and saved the frosted ones for another saber. I don't think anyone knows for sure if the strips were clear or frosted, but I prefer the look of the clear.

I cut them to length and sanded the back down so it would fit in the clamp of the flash.


And with that, it was done. Pretty easy, but still damn cool.

Here is a comparison shot of the original (top) and mine (bottom)...


Next up... Yoda saber!

Monday, November 17, 2014

The Wonderful World of Props - Part 2

So in January of 2013, I found myself laid off. It was a weird time of sleeping in, laying about doing nothing, and surfing the internet. I was going pretty stir crazy.

Then I found some guys blog, no idea how, where he had written a post about building Luke Skywalker's lightsaber from original parts.

I was immediately interested.... I had a replica of Luke's lightsaber on my wall, and I liked it a lot, but I never considered that the real prop was made from anything special. Figured it was just a metal/plastic pipe with buttons.

Well thanks to this guys site, I learned that Luke's saber was built on an Old Graflex Flash from a 4X5 Graflex Camera.


So... if I could FIND one of these flashes, I could start building one JUST like they used on screen?


According to the guys site, the little glass bubbles were from a 70's calculator, and the black grips were windshield wipers (WRONG).

I immediately began my search (though I was unemployed and couldn't buy anything) and thusly discovered the Replica Props Forum... The RPF.

I spent DAYS reading up on the origins of props that I've always liked... and the RPF was a really cool and creative community as well. I was hooked.

I started making lists of parts, reading up everything I could about lightsaber props. I figured it would be really cool to actually collect ALL of the lightsabers from the original Star Wars trilogy - not replicas made by some company in China, but recreate them from the same vintage parts the original props were built with.

My wife, Arlyn, probably thought I was losing it (may still) but she has her knitting hobby, so I think she gets it.

And I finally get what was going on with Hank in Breaking Bad when he was crippled and became obsessed with rocks.


I've now been a member of the RPF for almost 2 years, and the prop collection is growing. So just for shits and giggles, I'm going to do a few posts on the ones I've completed or ones that I'm currently working on.

This site is about to get a lot nerdier.

Monday, November 10, 2014

The Wonderful World of Props - Part 1

I've been meaning to update this site with the projects I'm working on, but they are going so well that there are actually non disclosures agreements now involved... so... for now... nothing!

Instead lets look at something sort of related to my writing/film making hobby, and get into the wonderful world of PROPS!!!!

So to start, here's a video of Adam Savage (Mythbusters) talking at a WIRED event about his obsession with collecting props... It's a good watch!

I'm glad they put out this video today, because I've been planning to do a few posts about the world of props for a while now. It's a cool little hobby, and I feel it has actually made me more creative.

I started officially building/collecting props about 2 years ago... but I've been doing it unofficially since I was a kid.

I was the kind of kid who absolutely loved to recreate my favorite shows and movies with my toys. However, the action figures alone were never enough for me - I wanted to hold the same item my toy held. It wasn't fair that HE should get a lightsaber, and not me.

A lot of those early props I would try to recreate out of lego, or I would beg my dad to them one out of plywood for me. He probably cut 2 or 3 different He-man power swords from me during the early 80's.

I gotta make me a new one of these....

I used to steal his RCMP graduation ring from his ring box and pretend it was Hercules ring... Hours of entertainment. My and my brother would take turns putting it on and holding it over our heads, reliving the moments we saw in the cartoon.

My Dad ended up giving me that ring as a graduation gift. As I looked at it all I could think was, "YEAH! Hercules ring!".

Shit... I should make one of these as well!

Now none of this behavior is that unusual for a kid - millions and millions of dollars are made off giving kids the ability to dress up as their favorite superhero. But in my case, I may not have ever grown out of this phase.

Over the years I have admired 1:1 prop replicas from my favorite movies, and enjoyed seeing other people dress in cosplay. I always wanted stormtrooper armor but never bought any (also I never wanted to hear "Aren't you a little fat for a stormtrooper?").

I've been saying since I was in high school that having my own Han in Carbonite from The Empire Strikes Back/Return of the Jedi is on my bucket list.

But still... though I loved looking at these things, they were always really expensive, and it seemed an odd thing to buy (I mean really... they aren't the REAL thing...)

And then I finally bought my first real prop replica.

I was watching Buffy the Vampire Slayer - which was a small obsession of mine - and I saw "Faith's knife" for the first time. Faith was this hot bad-ass character I had a huge TV crush on, and she had this knife that was given to her by the shows main villain - A character called "The Mayor".

 Anyway this knife looked awesome, and for the first time in all my years of movies and TV I not only WANTED a prop from a show, I NEEDED this prop. For a moment I thought, "maybe I could make that?" I figured I could draw it out from pausing the TV, then find a similair knife... cut the blade with some kind of saw...

OR... I could use this thing that was popular with the kids - the internet - and see if I could just buy the knife. After a bit of a search, I found that the knife in the show was actually designed by a guy named Gil Hibben, and it was a knife I could actually buy!

And so $70 later, I had my first prop!

 Awww yeah! STAB!

And that's where the infection started. I had acquired a prop virus, but it hadn't become full-blown collecting yet.

The second time I ended up with a prop was when a licensed version of Buffy's "Slayer Scythe" was being produce. House of Ten's co founder, Kevin Pavlovic, was running a comic shop at the time and he got one in on an order. He ended up just giving it to me, and I still have it to this day.

Many, many people have taken pics with it, and it's been a lot of fun, BUT it's the first time I got a sense of how shitty some props could be...

My lady... as brown Buffy.

I mean this was a LICENSED prop, but it was crazy inaccurate. And that bugged the shit out of me (still does).

However, I think the defining moment that pushed me over the edge, and what started me on the path to where I am now, was when Kevin bought the Delorean.

 Delorean AND Scythe in my wedding photos....

When we first stood in that parking lot looking it over, I was in heaven. I couldn't wipe the smile off my face. A year or so later he would buy a replica of KITT, the car from "Knight Rider".

I now had acquired the taste... It was only a matter of time that something would come along and completely push me over to the point of no return...

And that something happened in January of 2013...


Friday, October 17, 2014

We Bought a New Domain Name!!!

As the title states, we bought a new domain for an upcoming "House of Ten" pet project...

For now, it will still link to this blog, but as soon as I get a new editing computer locked down, and figure what I'm going to do about website design, I will be going live with...


While enjoying a not-so-sober night at home, I came up with the idea of attempting to answer one of life's great questions...

Yes. Who WAS the boss?... .COM

At the time, I had not realized this was attempted on "Community", but I'm not going to let that deter me. I'm going to be very scientific, and interactive on this.

Any idea you have while under the influence HAS to be a good one right? Kevin Smith would appreciate this.

Anyway, more to come!

Monday, September 22, 2014

OIAF 2014 Winners Announced!

So last week was the Ottawa International Animation Festival... And a pal of mine, Sam Chou, did REAL GOOOOD.....

Best Animation Series for Adults:
Crime: The Animated Series by Sam Chou & Alix Lambert (USA)

Sammy is a long time buddy of mine, and a guy who I'm currently working with on a bunch of little projects. His success over the years is well earned, and can only help us get said projects off the ground and running.

 Nice work, Sammy!

Thursday, September 18, 2014

Remember this?!?!

Stay Tuned... may be hearing more about this sooooooooooon.....