SHOT 408

While the two men continue to sing, Vonky assists Kim into some gold chains that hang from the ceiling. The chains lift him up off the floor and catapult him into the cage bars feet first.

I did this by looping the long paperclip chain through the ceiling panel’s open grid, and then sliding the panel back and forth in measured increments along the set’s rails.

Private audiences find this jarring, which makes me smile an evil smile. Kim is, after all, inflicting the worst possible psychological torture on this poor creature. Because he is, after all, a murderous psychopath.

SHOT 406

Okay, here’s a shot for you. See that crystal bowl on Kim’s table? It’s full of cocaine. Well not real cocaine — just talcum powder. Kim is so out of control in this scene (think Donald Trump, Jr.) that he exhales into the bowl and shoots cocaine everywhere.

To pull off this practical effect, I drilled a hole in the bottom of the bowl and through the table. Then I ran a 1/32” inside diameter silicone tube through it, connected to a syringe, and secured the bowl to to table with a bit of Fun-Tak putty.

The timing was tricky but I managed to catch a few good puffs of powder jetting up into the air with each plunge of the syringe.

Yes, I could have done this all in post with my ProSmoke plug-in, but where’s the fun in that?

Also note the record album in the table. That’s a 1:6 scale version of Elton John’s Rocket Man, which I printed on photo paper. The album is infamously signed by Donald Trump, as his love letter to Kim Jong-un in real life. Yep, that actually happened in 2018. It was actually a CD, but since POSERS is all about the retro, I had to go with vinyl.

SHOT 405

This was a really fun shot. Still singing with Kim heckling him on, Dennis chops into a bone and splatters neon paint all over the bunker wall.

I did that by dipping a wooden stick in each color of paint and then flipping it toward the back wall from inside the cage until I got the spray pattern I wanted for each color. So for each of eight colors, I shot one frame. That way it looks like the splatter happens in real time.

It’s generally challenging to work with liquids in stop motion, but I’m sure you’ll agree this is a great special effect.

Why neon paint? And what is its significance? We don’t know. It could be POSER blood. Or it could be their spirit. That’s up to audience interpretation. But for sure, neon paint glows wonderfully under black light. Pure psychedelia.

Throughout this and other scenes, I’m using UV (black) light in two wavelengths: 395 and 365 nm. The latter is considered medical grade, used for sterilizing instruments. And as I worked under them for hours, posing puppets, I actually felt my hands get irradiated. Who knows whether that will shorten my life span?

It was during this scene that I snapped Rodman’s knee off and couldn’t readily fix it. So again, I chose to turn a bug into a feature. After the big splatter chop, the camera tilts back down to show Dennis holding his own severed leg in his lap. I would later reattach it with Frog Tape, under his wedding dress.

And yes, Frog Tape is an indispensable tool for an animator. As are various rubber-tipped sculpting tools and even metal dental hygiene tools like picks and mirrors. Not to mention all the various types of glue and putty you’ll need to make more permanent or semi-permanent adhesions.

Those sticky options range everywhere from the amazing Museum Gel, to Fun-Tak, to Rubber Cement, to Vinyl Cement, to Gorilla Glue, to Testers Model Glue, to Super Glue, to Lok-Tite 495 — the Bad Boy of all adhesives.

SHOT 404

As Dennis sings the song, he resumes chopping up bones with an axe. But the bones of what? Or who?

This is a slow, corkscrewy track shot done with my slider crammed inside the cage with Dennis. The cage is actually a metal pet carrier that has collapsible sides and a two swinging gates, one on the end and one on the top. In this case, I had to remove the end entirely to squeeze my rather bulky rig inside. But the shot really feels like we’re trapped in someone’s Hell.

SHOT 402

We pull out to a wide shot of a fat man and a mystery woman apparently admiring themselves in a wall-to-wall mirror while the man dribbles a basketball and spins it expertly on his fingertips. But then he stops to press a bottom and the mirror dissolves to reveal the right half of the room — which houses a large cage.

By now we can guess this is Kim Jong-un. He and the woman are apparently taunting a creature in the cage, dressed in white, sitting in the corner. Kim tosses the ball and hits the creature’s head through the bars, causing the creature to stir.

I animated the basketball dribbling, spinning and flying by hanging it with green fishing line. Each frame was shot with and without the basketball so that the rigging could be erased in post, using Photoshop. This was easier than it sounds.

SHOT 306

Spock comments on how “splendid” this art collection is. This POV insert shot is of a famous Japanese wood print called “The Dream of the Fisherman’s Wife” by Hokusai. You may remember a reproduction of this work was hanging in the Mad Men office — long before there was HR.

SHOT 111

James has peed on Buddha’s lamp and the resulting power surge has rocked Sushi’s world.

This scene is a quick twist shot done with the camera facing out and away from its Tilt axis servo on my eMotimo Spectrum ST4. The effect is that Sushi’s precious Me Time has been intruded upon and literally upset. To sell the anti-gravity gag, I animated that giant crystal to appear to slide downhill across the top of her wall unit. Note her little paint brush and palette. Also we can start to appreciate the sexy samurai outfit she wears while painting.

Remember: If you have a good MOCO system, physical camera moves are always more convincing than doing them in post. Because you can’t fake parallax or lighting and shadow movements in Final Cut Pro. You can only simulate them. What you want is to always capture the actual photons if you can.

SHOT 109

Note that these interior shots of Amanda’s minka were shot out of order because I used the same set box for the exterior. Shoot all the patio shots first, then reconfigure and shoot the living room. If he were to do it again I would have made the set 4×4 feet and put it in a turntable. Oh well…

Enter the world of Sushi Buffet. She’s putting the final touches on her masterpiece, a mural called Godzilla Arrives that I actually created with my wife at Portland pub’s Paint Night.

All of the 1:6 scale furniture you see here is part of a series of upscale doll house furniture made in China. The craftsmanship is amazing! We’re viewing the living room through an Oriental half moon bed that I built myself from a rosewood kit. I tried to reproduce the wax-like finish on the other pieces, but fell a little short. That bed is actually on another platform across my studio, and the camera tracks through it for forced perspective. We’ll visit the minka’s bedroom later in the film — wink, wink.

Notice the lair is tilted a little off kilter. This is an homage to the original Batman TV show, where we might start to think this woman is up to something nefarious. You’ll see more of that supervillainy goodness later on.

The other thing to note about this shot is the earthquake appears to be happening only outside Sushi’s time and space. And why can we hear that water fountain from inside? Hmmm…

SHOT 136

This is the last shot of Act 1. James leaves Sushi hanging in her doorway to go taunt the home’s actual owner via her security camera.

This was shot on my iPhone 11 Pro, mounted to the wall near the tiny security camera prop we saw before. The animation was controlled nicely via the Stop Motion iOS app.