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.....

Monday, August 11, 2014

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

NSI Script to Screen Competition - PART 2 of ???

Part 1 here:

So with 50 of the 200 spots filled on the first day, I went into panic mode, stopped sleeping, and just wrote my ass off.

I still had my real job, so my time was pretty limited. On top of that, I was sick - hacking up a lung.

To get in the head space for this epic tale of heroism and hockey, I watched what may be one of the greatest hockey movies of all time...

The Mighty Ducks!

I hadn't seen this in years, but it still held up.

One comment on that movie though...

 So Emilio Estevez was a hot shot player at 11 years old, who quits because he blows the game winning goal, and gives up playing hockey. Later, as an adult, he ends up coaching this rag-tag group of terrible hockey players. While coaching them, he takes them to a hockey game where an NHL player tells him he has a place at try outs whenever he wants.

This leads to Mighty Ducks 2 where Emilio's character actually makes it to the NHL.

So no hockey after 11 years old, and you manage to still make it into the NHL?


So back to NSI. I worked out the complete story in my head, and then in a mad panic to get it in on time, I wrote for 2 days straight the two outlines, the sample script and the log line. Overall, I was very happy with it.

Until I read it a day after I handed it in.

Being half asleep and rushed, this pitch has some of the WORST grammar. Maybe even worse than you'll see on this page (Worse? Worst? Ugh... grammar.).

Hey, while on Grammar....

Yup, Weird Al is still relevant.

So I was pretty pissed at myself for a good day or so, but then realized that if I hadn't sent the pitch in when I did, I wouldn't have made the deadline. When I handed it in it was 4:00 AM... the contest closed 7 hours later.

But I did get it in. And it's in their hands now.

They are specifically looking for family friendly films... This could not be more family friendly.

It's also very, VERY, Canadian. I enjoyed writing what I've written so far, and hope they like it as well. I like it so much, in fact, that I'll probably write it myself anyway.

So there WILL be a "Part 3", just not sure whether it will be exciting, contest winning news... or less exciting "I'm writing it myself" news.


Monday, June 30, 2014

Change of Mind... thumbs!

Colin Giles poster this pic the other night:

Rough thumbnails for future Storyboards.

Things ARE moving along... as quickly as it can with two guys that work full time.

This week I plan on recording our narrator. Just having that to listen to should help Colin along, as well as give us a decent idea of run time.

Also, I'd like to do a rough edit pass maybe using Colins thumbs to get an idea of how our pacing is going to be.

I wonder how long until Greg Kovacs (the writer of the short poem) checks this site out and finds that this project is still moving forward...

I could just tell him, but that would be no fun.

Friday, June 27, 2014

FORCE FOR CHANGE - You know... Unicef...for the kids....

Yup, if there's one thing people may be surprised at, it's my dedication to charities.

I supported Unicef. Need proof?!?! Here's the digital badge I just got in the mail:

JJ made a good case for helping the children in the vid he shot below... He won me over... with kids in need..

Who wants to go to Pinewoods studio and see stupid Star Wars sets and crap like that?


Did you see that muppet walk by?!! PRACTICAL EFFECT MUPPET!!?!?

Thursday, June 26, 2014

NSI Script to Screen Competition - PART 1 of ???

Well another year of the National Screen Institute "Script to Screen" competition has come and gone, and for the second year in a row I managed to make it in before the 200 allotted entry spots were full.

It's a CRAZY competition. Here's a rundown of how it works.

The competition opened June 9, and runs until August 8, or until the first 200 spots fill up.

To enter, you must send in the following:

1. The logline for your movie pitch - One or two lines that sum up what your movie is about

2. 1 page outlining the story - Just tell the broad strokes of the movie... INCLUDING the ending.

3. A 12-15 page treatment - Basically, you must break down the movie, scene by scene.

4. A 3-5 page sample script - Just write out a scene, so they can see whether or not you know what you're doing.

5. Resume!

Though I recieve e-mails form NSI, somehow I missed the competition announcement, and only found out about the start date 2 days before.

I had no idea what I would do for the pitch, but then my wife, Arlyn, reminded me of a ball hockey movie I had mentioned to her a few years ago. So that locked it. I would start writing that pitch.

The idea for this flick came to me in the aftermath of the Vancouver City Riot in 2011, when the Vancouver Canucks lost game 7 of the Stanly Cup finals. The riot was ridiculous... A bunch of people came downtown that night, not to watch hockey or cheer on their team, but with the intent to destroy the city.

But it wasn't the first time it happened:

This was back in 1994, when I was in grade 12.

Now at the time of the 2011 riots, I was already trying to think of a modern day ball hockey movie I was calling "The Sac"... it was essentially a rip-off of "The Sandlot" but in a cul-de-sac.

It was going to be a very Canadian flick that I could try pitching around to Canadian film companies. I didn't quite know where I wanted to go with it story-wise, or what would set it apart from all other sports underdog flicks, but I knew I wanted it to be family friendly... and a movie that would have a sense of nostalgia for any kid that grew up in Canada playing ball hockey (or street hockey... if that what you called it).

I got to thinking how when we were kids, when it came around to playoff time, and hockey fever hit the city, we would spend a lot of time after school playing ball hockey and discussing the games.

It hit me that a story that took place back in 1994, during that crazy playoff run might be a lot of fun.

I pitched it to friends, and they liked it... but then I sort of forgot about it. It was always in the back of my mind, but I never sat down and got working on it.

Until now.

I met with my writing partner, Kev, and our friend John, and threw down some ideas. When I left Boston Pizza that night (the place Kev and I hammer out ALL our ideas), I had the entire movie in my head. Now I just had to get it down on paper before the deadline. The competition had just opened and there were 50 submission for the 200 spots taken on the first day.


Monday, June 2, 2014

Ahhh Film School...

So while I was reminiscing about the good old days of Vancouver Film School, I got to thinking about a guy I hung around with a lot at the time. After School I never heard from him again. The guy was hilarious, and I was always curious where he ended up. He was the voice of the French Canadian guy in my first ever film. It was terrible.

So since this blog still - for whatever reason - gets a stupid amount of hits for no content, I will put his name up on here. Should he ever get so bored that he googles his name, he may very well come up with this blog.

So, hey there Vince Bergeron! What's up! Bardel was looking for some Clean-up guys back in 97 and I recommended you... just couldn't get a hold of you. So... now you know. I don't think the job is still up for grabs though.

And a quick hello to any Vince Bergeron - the musician fans... Cuz that's really the only guy who comes up in Google search... unless that IS the same guy.... which would be weird.

They do sort of look alike... and it was like 17 years ago...

Tuesday, May 13, 2014


Me posting images like this is ridiculous, really. I mean, for the readership this gets, it's not like I'm extending the audience for geeky movie stuff. On top of that, if this blog is the first place you're seeing stuff like this, then either you do not spend a lot of time on your computer, or you have terrible taste in websites.

That said...

Any true Batman fan knows where they are going with this look....


I'm an unapologetic Ben Affleck fan... always have been.. and I've been a Batman fan since I was a kid - though it really kicked in during the summer of 1989 (Micheal Keaton Batman brought me back into the fold.)

 My wedding boutonniere

Batman and Ben Affleck together is like my own personal "Reese Peanut Butter Cups".

"You got Affleck in my Batman!"

Damn right you whiny fan boys. This is gonna rule!*

*This movie will likely have the best Batman yet, but will probably be a boring movie with 45 minute fight scenes that feel like 75 minute fight scenes.

Friday, May 9, 2014

RIP Community....

While this is supposed to be about personal projects, this is a show that's personal to ME...

Community was killed today, before it's 6th season... but it WILL have a glorious resurrection... I know it.... I know it.

6 Seasons and a Movie....

Tonight I will mourn in my own way... watching past episodes on Netflix, while drinking Gin out of my "Troy and Abed in the Morning" mug.

Friday, May 2, 2014

Bound 3 on ELLEN!

Yeah so he doesn't give us our due praise... or even mention us... but here is Seth Rogen showing off the vid Kev, and I helped work on.

Good times.

Thursday, May 1, 2014

A Change of Mind - Will Concept Drawing!

This Will concept drawing showed up in my inbox today...

With the Characters roughly locked, pretty soon Colin should have some boards coming down the pipe, and this project will really get rolling!

We should also be casting for the roles of "Minds" pretty soon. Should be fun.

Tuesday, April 29, 2014

We interupt my lack of updates with.....


 April 29th, Pinewood Studios, UK - Writer/Director/Producer J.J Abrams (top center right) at the cast read-through of Star Wars Episode VII at Pinewood Studios with (clockwise from right) Harrison Ford, Daisy Ridley, Carrie Fisher, Peter Mayhew, Producer Bryan Burk, Lucasfilm President and Producer Kathleen Kennedy, Domhnall Gleeson, Anthony Daniels, Mark Hamill, Andy Serkis, Oscar Isaac, John Boyega, Adam Driver and Writer Lawrence Kasdan. Copyright and Photo Credit: David James.

Okay... So I've known of Episode VII for a while now, and I've been mildly excited/interested. But today's official casting announcement got me right in the nerd.

  "We are so excited to finally share the cast of Star Wars: Episode VII. It is both thrilling and surreal to watch the beloved original cast and these brilliant new performers come together to bring this world to life, once again. We start shooting in a couple of weeks, and everyone is doing their best to make the fans proud." - J.J Abrams

When they first announced the new movie, I didn't REALLY care. I followed all that prequel crap, getting all excited, and then hit the brick wall of "The Phantom Menace". Needless to say, getting all geared up about another trilogy just wasn't going to be in the cards.

Then they announced JJ Abrams.

I love this dude. I still say the strongest pilot ever written for television is the pilot for Felicity. It's his ability to write characters that should kill anyones fears of scenes like this happening again (Prepare for garbage dialogue):

THIS is how it's done (from the Felicity pilot):

Now over the last year or so I've really become infatuated with prop making, and spending a lot of time on the Replica Prop Forum. It reminded me of the artistry in the old model making, practical effects, etc. So I got a little MORE excited when this image popped up.

That is Abrams and Kathleen Kennedy (Head of Lucasfilm) standing with an R2 Unit created by Lee Towersey and Oliver Steeples, heads of the R2 Builders group. These two have spent years studying on screen R2-D2, and now will be building them for the new flick. A non CG R2? Is Abrams really focusing on less green screen and more "practical effects"?

Then there were rumors of building a fulls scale Millenium Falcon...

Then came the rumored signing of Adam Driver from "Girls"... a sign they aren't going for pretty boy, popular actors. This guy is great on Girls as Adam, the kind of crazy boyfriend  to Lena Dunham's character, Hannah.

The casting of Mark Hammil, Carrie Fisher and Harrison Ford was heavily rumored, but not locked... until today, when Adam Driver was confirmed as well.

And on top of that you get Andy Serkis (Gollum), and Max von Sydow (The Exorcist)... Along with some other returning players - Kenny Baker (R2), Anthony Daniels (3PO), and Peter Mayhew (Chewie).

There were a couple of others I haven't heard of, including Daisy Ridley, who is rumored to play Han and Leia's daughter..

So yeah... It's like Christmas morning for a guy like me...

Officially excited for this flick to hit the theaters.