Totally Unauthorized

A side of the film industry most people never see.

Survival Mode

The (hopefully) very last shot of this movie was a green screen of black goo shooting at the camera.

As fun as it is to make actors actually vomit, union reps and the health department frown on it, so we had to do a shot of the actress with her mouth open and a shot of the black goo shooting out of a pipe poking through the green screen that will be combined to make it look like projectile vomit.

So we lit the green screen, with the lights far enough back to be in the ‘safe’ zone, the camera had a Lexan shield in front of it, and all the spectators were well back from the screen.

Everyone was ready.

The first try was a trickle of goo which didn’t shoot out so much as dribble down the green screen leaving a really gross streak.

The special effects guys then turned up the power and tried again.

Still a trickle, but it looked more like a gloppy drinking fountain.The effects guys then had an extremely animated discussion, remixed the black stuff and did something to the pressure in the lines.

Everyone in the area had been lured into a false sense of security by the first two shots, so they went near the green screen to watch this attempt.

Pro tip: Any time you see effects guys get worked up about something, take cover. Preferably in the next county.

The guy with the trigger started a countdown.

5…4…

People edged closer to the camera.

3…2…

Phones were raised in anticipation of something really cool to put on social media.

1….

There was a noise like a gunshot and a titanic amount of mystery goo shot towards the camera with enough force to slam the Lexan shield against the matte box.

Since Lexan is a flat surface but very flexible, the shield bent over the camera – which protected it, but acted like a springboard and impressively extended the splatter range.

Blobs of… whatever the hell that was flew outward from the convenient boost like some sort of satanic Flubber.

My co-worker and I were standing 30 feet away at the rear of the catering tent (because what better place to make a mess), clawing at each other as we frantically tried to get behind… anything.

But there was nothing.

Someone’s panicky scream of “incoming”, when combined with that sensory perception thing where everything slows down convinced me to do the only thing I could do.

I turned and I ran.

Call me a coward if you like, but as I cleared the doorway of the tent, I heard the splats of the goo hitting the back wall – right where I’d been standing a few seconds before.

My co-worker chose another survival tactic – the cower. He bent over, making himself as small as possible and miraculously avoided getting slimed.

Everyone else? Not so much.

One of the PAs was wearing a pink T-shirt that I suspect will never be the same again, and I don’t even want to contemplate the number of phones that will never work again.

Filed under: hazardous, locations, Los Angeles, mishaps, movies, Work, , , , , , , , ,

Retro(ish) Friday Photo

From the Flickr archives:

Fake blood dispenser

What’s the best way to drip fake blood (corn syrup and food coloring) over a set? Why, with a repurposed ‘maple’ syrup dispenser which once held a product also made from corn syrup and food coloring.

The fake blood is harmless, but very, very sticky. And nearly impossible to get out of your hair.

How do I know this?

Please enjoy a bonus photo from back in the days before digital, when we used Polaroids:

Bloody!

Bloody!

That, my friends, is a largish puddle of fake blood from a low-budget horror movie which, to the best of my knowledge, was never released.

There was so much blood that we had to clean the cable before we sent it back to the lamp dock – since production wouldn’t pay for a pressure washer, we had to use a kiddie pool. We wrapped the syrup covered cable, then dropped the coils into the kiddie pool and scrubbed.

By the end of the day I looked like a serial killer, my hair was sticky and matted with fake blood and although I had no groceries I was afraid to stop anywhere on the way home.

The place in the back of the car where I dumped the wet clothes for the drive home was stained red until I got rid of the car.

Filed under: humor, Photos, Work, , , , , , ,

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