Written By: Ken Hulsey
Sources: Jesse Blanchard / Robert Hood / Avery Guerra
It has been said over a billion times, if you ever want to be really good at something, you need to practice, practice, practice.
If you want to be good at football? You need to practice. If you want to be good at baseball? You need to practice. A good writer? Practice. Painter? Practice.
Practice, practice, practice ....... okay, I know you all get it.
But, what do you do if you want to be a better movie maker?
You can't exactly go out and make a movie every day. That costs a lot of money.
Do you film your wife, or life partner, doing naughty things with a handi-cam?
No, um ....... well, maybe, but film makers never really talk about that stuff. No, you make short films in preparation for filming the 'really big one'.
Well, at least that's what you do if you a film maker with as long a list of credentials as Jesse Blanchard, who has made over 43 films in eight years including the documentary, and film festival fave, "The Ranch", and one of George Romero's favorite zombie flicks, "Run For Your Life."
The 'big one' that is looming just over the horizon for Blanchard is the 3D monster film "Chompers 3D", but in preparation, practice if you will, he has just completed the short film, "Space Bugs", a great little sci fi/horror about alien insects that come to Earth to feed on people, and cause their heads to pop like a ripe pimple.
I know ...... eeeeewwwww!
Here Blanchard gives us a little history on how "Space Bugs" came to be:
Mutant Bugs attack Portland, Oregon. A young girl rushes home to warn her husband. Will she get there in time?
The original idea for Space Bugs was a ticking time bomb that shoots down from space and latches onto someone’s arm. The Hero then spends the next three minutes running through total chaos trying to get the thing off of him. However, I couldn’t connect with a 3D person to do the effects I wanted. So, I tweaked the idea into Space Bugs so that I could produce the bugs without any 3D work.
Originally, I was going to use LED lights for the bugs. I ordered a whole bunch from China and got heaps of hearing-aid batteries to power them. I was really excited about this approach and planned on throwing them past the camera and pulling them around on wires. But, another failure. The LEDs were not bright enough. I could either see them or light the set and see my actors. So, back to the drawing board.
Eventually, I ended up using a whole bunch of tricks including homemade ooze covered light bulbs, flares, flashlights, and one shot with LEDs.
The Bugs’ point-of-view shots were a ‘homage’ (rip-off) of Sam Raimi’s monster cam from the Evil Dead series. I tried to one up him by mounting the camera on a board two storeys in the air. This end shot flying into the house took a long time to get right. And I’m certain the neighbors were a little confused seeing me running over and over again at a house with my camera on top of a 16ft board.
I made Space Bugs completely on my own including all of the writing, shooting, editing, and effects. I’m practicing for my next feature Chompers 3D which will be much more ambitious, much more fun, and whole lot scarier.
Here is the finished product:
And here are some concept drawings of the "Space Bugs":
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