Tuesday, December 18, 2012

If you read the book (buy one for Linnea) you'll remember that beaming in and out makes them itch and feel sick. This is the studio shot and the completed "emergency transit" back to the ship, which was initiated by Kip, leaving Theo behind.

Sunday, December 16, 2012

[Click on the picture to see the important bottom half.] The human brain is much better at supplying locations than any set builder if you give it enough clues for the imagination to run wild. Here I used a 'Gobo' to tell our brains that there are bars on the cell door by casting shadows on the actors. A 'Gobo' is any object that goes between the lights and the actors. (The camera isn't shooting through the Gobo.) In this picture we have cameraman Bob Fox, my magnificent little beast (my camera), Tristin Starr (AC), Jay Mitch and Nathalie Biermanns in The Down Home Alien Blues.

Saturday, December 15, 2012

Here's another before and after, behind the scenes shot from the making of The Down Home Alien Blues. [Click on it to see the important bottom half of the picture.] Here Derek Partridge (who had one of the most famous bad guy parts in the original Star Trek series and most recently won an award in Dearly Departed) plays Captain Pietr opposite Nathalie Biermanns in the scene below although the two of them were shot a year apart. This was also at CML Studios.

Friday, December 14, 2012

This kind of behind the scenes picture has always fascinated me. This is what a real working shoot looks like. In the top picture you can see us shooting the scene where Jorie is talking to the Captain at CML Studios. We were using a cyclorama to eliminate indications corners and floors. The bottom picture is what a frame of the finished picture looks like.

Saturday, August 4, 2012

This is the final, and I think my favorite of the posters for the Down Home Alien Blues movie. The combination of black with the vibrant colors and the interesting look of the people keeps it dynamic.
Top from left to right: Jay Mitsch, Nathalie Biermanns
Middle from left to right: Eric Satterberg, Aaron Groben
Bottom from left to right: Kristen Hansen, Berenika Bailey.

Also starring, but not shown: Derek Partridge, Renata Green-Gaber

Also, featuring: Barbara Anderson, Mando Garza, Julian Gerami, Kamila Holder

Directed by C. Duke Marsh

Produced by Magic Elevator and Green Sign Media.

Friday, July 20, 2012

Here is the romantic version of the poster for The Down Home Alien Blues.

Monday, July 16, 2012

Here is the action duo type of poster for The Down Home Alien Blues starring Nathalie Biermanns, Jay Mitsch and Derek Partridge. Also featuring Aaron Groben, Eric Satterberg, Berenika Bailey, Kristen Hansen, Renata Green-Gaber, Steven Bernard and Mando Garza.

Wednesday, July 4, 2012

Sunday, July 1, 2012

This weekend we had a photo shoot to create new images to use as The Down Home Alien Blues posters. Of course, photography is a lot easier when you have two good looking people and a good camera.
Best of all, it was fun! There is nothing better than working with great people.

Monday, May 14, 2012

I watched my first viewing of the full "editor's cut" of the movie last night. It's the first time I've seen all the special effects and color correction put together at the same time. WOW!

I was worried about the special effects integrating smoothly with the footage, but they fit marvelously. The cuts are smooth and make sense.

The acting is of very high quality throughout. Nathalie, Jay, Eric, Aaron, Kristen, Renata, etc will all be proud of this one.

There are still a million little niggley things to do, like matching contrast from cut to cut, sound, music, etc., but I love it! Everything has come together very nicely.

Duke Marsh - Director
The Down Home Alien Blues

Saturday, May 5, 2012

The official trailer for The Down Home Alien Blues is now out!

The Down Home Alien Blues is an exciting new feature length movie based on the novel, The Down Home Zombie Blues by national author Linnea Sinclair who has a niche market for women who like romance in a sci-fi setting.

The movie is directed by award winning director, Duke Marsh, and stars the exciting Nathalie Biermanns (Miss World Aruba) and Jay Mitsch. Also, featuring Aaron Groben, Eric Satterberg, Berenika Bailey, Kristen Hansen and Renata Green-Garber.

Or click this link:
The Down Home Alien Blues Trailer

I'm really looking forward to seeing the movie.

Friday, April 13, 2012

Fair warning to potential camera theives...

We were supposed to have a katana on set for the scene. We had a 5' long broad sword instead. When push came to shove, it was good enough. hahaha

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Post production has started!

The first thing I was asked was "What is post production?"

Production is when the actors, director, cameraman, etc get together to create raw footage. Post production is all the stuff after that.

Like creating holograms where none existed.

Or the part I really like to see, how these very creative people come up with a whole new world of places and things, like the inside of a space ship. Do you go sleek and modern like the starship Enterprise? Or rough and tough like the Klingon ships?

It seems to me the ship reflects the personality of the characters that built it.

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Its all about story...

To me, the making a great movie has always been about the story. It doesn't matter how good the special effects are, how good the sound is, how great the cinematography is, you still need a great story told by a great story teller to hold my interest.

The Down Home Alien Blues has "story" in spades. It started with a great novel by Linnea Sinclair called The Down Home Zombie Blues. (No zombies included.)

I love the way that all of the snarky humor and romance has been retained from that great novel. And to make me even happier additional social satire and fish out of water humor was added. In that way it reminds me of "Quigley Down Under" movie starring Tom Selleck. A great movie.

Ms. Sinclair described it as "Homicide detective Theo Petrakos thought he’d seen it all. Then a mummified corpse and a room full of futuristic hardware sends Guardian Force commander Jorie Mikkalah into his life."

But everything becomes twisted. Jorie is somewhat mystified how things work on earth, so even though Theo is officially a prisoner, in reality he's her partner in her race to save the earth.

"Jorie’s mission is to stop a deadly infestation of bio-mechanical organisms from using Earth as its breeding ground." said Linnea. "If she succeeds, she could save a world and win a captaincy."

But she’ll need Theo’s help and that breaks every rule in the book.

Sunday, March 18, 2012

Making a movie is like a ballet.

Have you ever gone to see a ballet? There are dozens of people on the stage, each moving time to each other and the music. The crew of The Down Home Alien Blues are like individual gears in a clock all dependent upon each other to produce the final result.

The camera man, Bob Fox, and the sound guy, Steve Bernard, each must check on one another to make sure that they are coordinated and in synch.

The actors want to make sure that everything is right. Everyone is working towards a common goal. Its like a team sport, without a ball or helmets!

In a movie the gaffer, A.J. Martinson, and makeup artist, Coco Covarrubias, are working in the background unseen, but very necessary.

In a movie everyone is setting up the next shot, just like in a ballet where you can't see the orchestra, but they are coordinated with the whole effort.

Everyone wants the best images, best acting, and best sound in the most efficient way possible.

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Un-sung heros of the movie...

For every star of a movie that are dozens of other people on set that do so many things. Some are wonderful character actors. Here Barbara Anderson plays Mrs. Goldstein opposite Jay Mitsch.

The character actors have to work just as hard on their lines and blocking as any of the other actors, and often have a lot less 'clues' in the script upon which to base their characters.

Many of the actors have to play more than one part. Here Kamilah Holder and Julian Gerami do two voice overs together before each goes outside to do other parts in front of the camera. Each of them is capable of much bigger things, but actors have to take the parts available until they get bigger.

AJ was the gaffer during the shoot. For nearly every few takes the lights, wires, scrims, etc had to be moved, adjusted or altered. Its a tough job that goes on throughout the shoot. For some reason every picture is of the side of his face as he's watching what needs to be done next.

Lets not forget the bit part players that may not have lines but add production value to the movie. They wait and watch for most of the day for their one chance to shine.

Tristan Starr was one of the 1st AC (assistant camera men). He was sooo helpful to everyone. A great guy to have on set as there are a million things for an AC to do.

Another 1st AC, on different days, was Xereni. Also very helpful, but I haven't found a picture yet.

And lets not forget your friendly neighborhood script supervisor (and actress.)

Tuesday, March 6, 2012

Movie stars go to glamorous locations... Not!

Sometimes the setting in the movie is glamorous and you get a little jealous of the movie stars who get a little romance when they go to those places. Ah, the magic of Hollywood...

The reality is often different than the image.

That water scene may be far from the water, or just have a little sliver of water behind them. "As important as what's in the image" said camera man Bob Fox "is the importance of what the camera view excludes."

And lets not forget crawling around in the weeds. The book and the script both called for our heroes to sneak their way down the fence line looking for Devastators.

And freezing your butt off in the middle of the woods at 1am. LOL

Sunday, March 4, 2012

There's something sexy about a woman taking charge...

I was wondering what it is. Did you ever notice that aliens in movies are often wearing black leather? Is it just because a woman in black leather looks really, really sexy?

Is it because they look dangerous? Here, Berenika Bailey is playing Lt. Tamlynne Herryck and she looks fabulous.

And here is Nathalie Biermanns playing Commander Jorie Mikkalah. She looks strong, cool under pressure, in charge... and they both still manage to look really attractive, sexy and desirable.

I'm sure a professional makeup artist on location helps, but I wonder if these two would look sexy getting up in the morning with their hair messed up and smudges of left over make up. What am I saying, of course they would. Gad, we don't need more competition from aliens. LOL

Saturday, March 3, 2012

A good romance requires a sense of humor...

Maybe it says something about the human condition, but a sense of humor seems to be required for a romance to work. That also seems to be required for alien love. Fortunately this movie has plenty of humor. Another big plus for women that want something other than explosions and special effects.

One thing that movies like "Quigley Down Under" and "Brother From Another Planet" taught me was the power of social satire. The Down Home Alien Blues makes good use of that.

How strange would aliens find it that humans are voluntarily smoking plant material that gives off toxic wastes and drugs?

How 'alien' do we earthlings find it if a beautiful woman selects her clothing according to how comfortable it is to do battle?

It must be funny throughout the universe if a good looking man and woman stare intently at each other, and the man only hugs her to hide her guns.

Many times I've thought that Eric Satterberg must have the most fun part. He gets to make all the wry observations and wise guy comments. "He reminds me of Tom Hanks. The every day sort of guy that's sometimes goofy, sometimes helpful and often funny" said director, Duke Marsh.

Tuesday, February 28, 2012

The dicotomy of women...

I've always liked the fact that sci-fi can put things in front of an audience that are accepted as real, but in real life may cause some controversy. I think there is some pressure in modern life for women to be both hard and focused on their goals, and at the same time soft and romantic.

Jorie's character is a good example. On one hand she is the tough, former space-marine and battle veteran determined to hunt down Devastators and save the earth.

At the same time she has to be surprised that Theo would kiss her, and react (after a moment of orientation) in a flirty manner.

Of course, the scene wouldn't be complete without Zeke (who's really the comic relief) sticking his head in and making comments like "Cooling off yet?" Creating a full circle of emotions.

Monday, February 27, 2012

Really, really on location...

We had an interesting time shooting on location in the woods. First, we had to get everything there. That means everything. Food, water, lights, camera, just everything.

It's a little spooky when you're out in the middle of nowhere and half the people with you are carrying automatic weapons (or good copies anyway), bullet proof vests, and some exotic weapons that don't exist. You hope no cops get the wrong idea.

Just the camera itself weighs 25lbs. Add to that a box of 9 metal and heavy glass lenses. The tripod is another 25lbs. And then the lights with stands. The lights don't weigh as much, but then a couple of big batteries are needed for each light. Add in an ice chest, food, etc.

Even if the actors were freezing out there until one in the morning, the images are excellent and worth the effort.

Still photography by Erik Fischer.

Friday, February 24, 2012

Cars, not a camera's best friend...

Cars have presented special challenges to cameras ever since cameras were invented. First, the car is darker inside than the light outside. At night its even darker inside.

One fix has been the installation of small battery operated lights in the car down by the actor's feet. These act as the glow of the dash board or in this case a computer/scanner in Jorie's lap. It works well as long as its not near the feet and the actor doesn't try to hit the brakes and instead steps on a lighting unit.

Sometimes you can get away with putting the camera on a tripod and shooting through the window. That works when the car is sitting still, but a moving car... not so much.

Then it starts getting tricky to mount a camera on the car. Movie cameras are heavy. Each bounce and jiggle of car makes the camera seem heavier (momentum and all that.) Even though a camera is mounted its nerve wracking to watch. Imagine $30,000 worth of camera hanging on the car. If there is a big jolt and the camera goes flying the entire production will be shut down for repairs or a replacement. Now watch that and act relaxed. :-)

Running beside the car while carrying the camera is not an option. :-0

Of course the audience doesn't see or know anything about this. They just want to see the people, and they do see them.