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On The Workbench

Lately, writing long posts about my progress has seemed less important than actually doing the work. In general, it always seems that the social ride takes too much time away from the important work, the lives and loves that should be our/my focus. That's not to say that getting likes on social isn't nice. I can appreciate a little attention thrown my way just as much as everyone else, but it's not why I post and its certainly not why I create.

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So, here's a post, on my progress falling down the rabbit hole of world building.

When I am working on a narrative film project, I rarely if ever see the entire story in my head before writing begins, and I almost never know what the end of the story will reveal. Finding the answers to these questions, this mystery, drives the writing. These discoveries are often triggered by a tactile experience that a character may have. Where a screenwriter may leave it there as a complete thought, I as a maker/artist, take that written tactile experience and make it real so that I can understand it, and maybe in some way authenticate the experience for the character and the viewer. I also simply enjoy the design and build process.

Case in point, I wrote a scene where a character accidentally injures himself and he must find the first aid kit. This scene is acted out in my head while writing and I can feel the weight of the first aid kit. I know its heavy because it's made of metal because it is built to last, but through bureaucratic indifference and incompetence, this kit and all of its contents will be at best inadequate and most likely useless.

Like all good intentions it will fail because somewhere, someone decided that the first aid kits were expensive and adequate safety measures should be put into place to protect the contents. So a lock was added to the metal box, but when you can't use the tools that are meant to be used they waste away from neglect. They atrophy. This disused box will be worn out and forgotten, chipped paint and rust, stains from to many sources to guess. As the character experiences the box I have an understanding of what it is, what it looks like and how it functions and maybe just as important, I have a greater understanding of character and plot with objects reinforcing ideas and intent.

This particular box was inspired by a lot of research into old first aid kits. I found some really interesting material to build off of and even found many old kits for sale on eBay, but they were all too grounded in this world and I needed this kit to be part of the world I was building.

This prop started out as a clean metal box purchased online. I wanted something that could, in a generic way, fit into any time period. The actual painting and weathering of the metal box took a day to do, The bandage boxes took considerably more time to develop. After research I started with the design aesthetics, colors, typeface, layout and iconographic images, then further developed the backstory of this world, including the creation of the National Health and Safety Institute and its mission and the Ministry of Human Services. For fun, directions befitting state bureaucracies were added. Still to be added is a hasp for the first aid kit's lock.

Similar to how the character's interaction with the first aid kit informed the physical

manifestation of it, the character also uses a bottle of paste. Like the first aid kit, I wanted this bottle of paste to reflect the times and situation. Most of the design work including text that you see on these props will most likely never be seen by an audience but grounding these objects in a realistically-built world will add to the believability of the story.

Honored to be included in the Buffalo International Film Festival in Buffalo NY and the SIMULTAN Festival XVIII in Timisoara Romania. Each happening at the same time. Unfortunately I'm unable to swing Romania this year but I'll be in Buffalo for the festivities.

I've taken on a new class this semester teaching 3D modeling and animation. I'm enjoying the class and testing out homework assignments and projects based on my own explorations. After a number of quick homework assignments we launched into the first project a low-poly scene that had to include a main architectural element, a secondary architectural element, a vehicle of some sort, and landscape including basic flora. There had to be at least three elements that were animated and the projected had to be edited using multiple camera angles. I did the project as well, and took the time to add a few easter eggs including an homage to a prominent sculpture on our campus, my love of brutalist architecture and suspended trains, classic cars and spring time cherry blossoms. It's not really where my work is headed but it was a nice change of pace to just do something fun.

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