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Monday, October 17, 2011

Minions #293 - Disincentive

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Greetings, Human Targets!

Well, even though this cartoon is based on a library shot, it's at least totally new today and up on time.  This week has still been a drag.  I keep waiting for "normal" to kick in, but I've kind of forgotten what normal is!  I did get some cool new set pieces this week (which required some work to make useful for shooting) so you will be seeing some new "looks" in future lair sets that will break things up some.

Maybe some of you don't know it, but except for a few outdoor shots, pretty much all of our Minions at Work cartoons are shot on a 2 x 4 foot workbench, with a plastic-pipe "lighting grid" over it used to hang lights, backdrops, and overhead props and set pieces.  That means I have no room to leave sets assembled for any period of time.  Each new photo session requires me to tear down the set and start over (or at least modify what's already sitting there).  I've got hundreds of large set pieces (wall flats, columns, cardboard "blocks" that are used to make walls, corridors, doors or platforms, etc.), hundreds of pieces of furnishings and furniture, and literally thousands of small props, not to mention the dozens of action figures that make up my regular "cast," and the hundreds from my larger 1/6th collection that I draw upon for special our one-shot characters.

Set pieces tend to fall into "families," though there's some overlap.  My first, and maybe biggest, family is the "retro-futuristic" family.  Silver, black, and chrome are the dominant colors, and you'll see elements of "Googie" diner architecture from time to time.  It's modeled on the lairs from early James Bond films.  I've got lots of consoles, view-screens, laboratory benches, and "large, glowing devices of uncertain purpose" to dress up these sets.

Then there's the "nature" family.  I use granite, marble and wood-grain contact paper for much of this, covering boxes (or set pieces custom made from cardboard), large cardboard tubes, etc, to create a set of giant building blocks that I can make most any kind of dungeon, palace, or tomb, or industrial building.

There's the "warehouse" family, consisting of crates (I must have thirty or so miniature wooden crates alone), boxes,  and barrels used to create warehouse and storage room settings.

There's the "exotics" family, which has lots of brass, gold, wood, bamboo and silk.  I can use it to create throne rooms, tiki bars, Asian restaurants, and ornate Overlord living quarters.

There's actually an entire "food service" family used to make the infamous Minions bar, restaurants, lunch rooms, fast-food joints, parties, etc.  Not to mention just keeping the Minions set for random snacks, drinks, and lunch breaks.

I've also got a small but-growing "steampunk" family, mostly used for scenes on Cap'n Rehab's submarine, the Naughtyless.

Newest of all is the "Gothic" family, a lot of which has been assembled from various modified Halloween decorations (and so this is obviously the time of year for upgrades).  A key acquisition I made a few weeks ago was a set of HUGE plastic columns intended to support wedding cakes.  I quickly repainted them in a dark, faux-stone finish (I think they look pretty awesome), and you've seen them a couple of times already in my "throne room" sets.  With this family, I'll be able to do more "old-school" castles than I could with just my "nature" family, as well as mad-scientist labs, evil temples, and take things in a darker and more (funny) horrific direction that I've been able to do so far.

That's probably more than you ever cared to know about the behind-the-scenes here at Minions at Work, but I just thought that, although it probably often looks like I just threw a given cartoon together, a lot of work, though, and resources goes into every one of these silly things.

Anyway, see you guys here next week!

        - Minion Master Steve

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