Wednesday, December 12, 2012

I've Gone Buggy!

Ok, this about tops it for prop research projects!  Bugs!  Bugs that would land smooshed on the front grill of a car.   I haven't really paid much attention to the kinds of bugs that meet such a fate, but I would now become an expert on the topic.  

My husband and son were taking a road trip from LA to San Francisco and I thought this would provide the perfect test vehicle.  Wrong!  November is not a buggy time of year.  Only one bug had smeared across the grill of their car in a round trip!  Amazing in itself!

Are there machines that shoot bugs onto cars for movies?  Yes, there are!  What velocity would you like?  Special effects shops have machines which suck up whatever is put at one end and shoot it out the other end.  The question then becomes, how do I get thousands of little tiny bugs to use as ammunition?  It they are dead are they juicy enough to stick to the grill.  If they are alive how does one catch enough bugs and isolate them, to shoot them through a bug gun?  And once they shoot through, will they stick?  Do we need spray adhesive?  With a job such as this, there are many problems to be solved!

It turns out there is a book published called That Gunk On Your Car, A Unique Guide to the Insects of North America.  A perfect resource!  

As one telephone call lead to another I found that buggie people stick together.  A professor of agriculture at a nearby college had a fiance who's father collects, catalogs, and author's books about insects.  

I also found a source used by universities, schools, extension offices and museums for documenting and displaying insects.  They have every for filing, mounting, and procuring insects.  They even have the insects, however dead.  A product they sell brings insects back to a subtle state!  

"Cut to the kill"!, the fiance's father was hired to gather small insects at night with a bright light to attract them.  He came back with a handsome selection that was put in alcohol and then selectively smashed  on the grill of a car.  Mission accomplished!

Up Up and Away...... 

The art director had a vision.  Most likely he was pulling up his inner child.  He was dreaming of the perfect little vintage tin rocket ship held by a little boy in the back of the car.  A toy he had wished he had as a kid, when legos were the rocket of ages.

Who would have thought rocket ships come in many shapes and sizes.  There is the tall cylindrical nose cone ones and the flying saucer type.  There is also the rocket ship on wheels with a shark fin as an air foil.  Some are big enough to ride and others too small and cheesy.

I researched toy collectors and vintage toy shops.  Rocket ships are very collectible and hard to find in good shape.  Some have had a few too many trips to the moon.  I came up with this collection.

What is your favorite?

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Looking for the Perfect Robot!

The task at hand is to find the perfect robot 3' to 4' high, with humanoid features or an R2D2 type look. I first start to scour the usual prop houses, with little luck.  Some are too big, some too small and toy like and licensing is a problem as well, if the robot is specific to a particular movie.

Where do robots hang out?

I started to look for robotic clubs.  This resulted in "liking" on Facebook robotic clubs and "meet-ups".  It seemed as if I was emailing robots in the sky.  But within a day robots starting rolling in across my inbox.  The robot builders were kind enough to send pictures and sizes.

Each owner was looking for a little piece of Hollywood for their robot.  A robotic cattle call was in the making!