Voyage Trekkers Nominated for IAWTV Award


IAWTVstatic.squarespace.comWe’re happy to announce that Voyage Trekkers has been nominated by the International Academy of Web Television for Best Makeup/Special Effects.

The IAWTV Awards is an official web television industry awards ceremony created by content creators, for content creators.  The awards will be held at CES in Las Vegas on January 7th.

Congratulations to our crew, Nathan Stipes and Mark Greenawalt, who are up for the award.  Here’s a sample of their awesome work below.  Also, kudos to the other nominees, many of whom are friends of ours:  Standard Action, Zombie Orpheus Entertaiment – Gamers: Hands of Fate, Fallout: Nuka Break, and One Hit Die.

INFO the Robot, played by Craig Curtis, created by Nathan Stipes and team.

INFO the Robot, played by Craig Curtis, created by Nathan Stipes and team.

Tara Hutchison plays Lt. Rigel.  Make up and photo by Mark Greenawalt

Tara Hutchison plays Lt. Rigel. Make up and photo by Mark Greenawalt



Voyage Trekkers Commentary – Episode 2


I thought I’d try something new and hopefully interesting by providing some “director’s commentary” on recently released episodes of Voyage Trekkers.

(oh, and since we’re going straight to Episodes 2, if you want to learn more about making the Lizard mask from Episode 1 head over to this blog entry right here)

Commentary:  Voyage Trekkers Episode 2 – Social Network

Originally we were going to do this with a green screen background because I wanted this world to be a far-out alien environment.  Also I wanted to make the three desert episodes, all shot in the same freaking day, look as if they weren’t shot on the same location.  We had a big portable green screen on hand, but once our Visual Effects team did a few tests, they realized it would be just too dicey to pull off in the time we had.  It would then be up to modifying the colors in post-production to create the different looks of the worlds.

I don't know, I kinda like the jeans look...

Episode 1, 2, and 5 were all shot on a cloudy day, on December 18th 2010, at the base of the Superstition Mountains.  It was a wild environment.  There was jumping cactus, a few broken bottles … a few bullet shells … ah the old west!  Shooting outdoors is always tough.  Not only for the obvious physical conditions, but also in terms of the ever changing lighting conditions.  Balancing out the different levels of bright and cloud sunlight became, and still is since I’m editing Episode 5 right as we speak, a real wrestling match.

Notice the mountains from "Episode 1"?

The Ambassador’s outfits are really funny … I just love ’em.  Nathan Stipes’s mom, our production designer, made the outfits herself.  In the concept designs we called them Space Hippies.  I wanted something that came close to some of the sillier original Star Trek aliens (remember Space Hippies?).  But the look we ended up liking were the cultist priest robes from Conan the Barbarian.  We showed Nate’s mom of a picture of the priests and said that was what we were kinda going for … and what we got back was essentially (except for color) an exact reproduction of the picture!!  Okay, so if asked I’m going to call it a purposeful homage.

Lastly I’m including the storyboards from the episode so you can see how the final product compares.

If you have any other questions about this episode go ahead and leave a comment for me in the blog and I’ll get right back to you!

Reports from the Voyage Trekkers set


Just six days after “Voyage Trekkers” premiered, we were on the set making new episodes to fill out the ten episode season.

The season finale, entitled “Many Paths to Eden” (formerly “Paradise World”; it sounds much more like an original Star Trek episode now), is quite ambitious.  For those of you wishing the episodes were longer you’ll be pretty happy with this one.  We shot more footage for the final episode than we did for the first three episodes combined!

The episode was such a bear to wrestle we were only able to finish three of the four scheduled episodes that weekend.  We’ll have to pick up the remaining episode some time soon in August.

Episode 3 – Birthday Surprise is out now, if you haven’t checked that out yet.  Also expect a behind-the-scenes video of the shoot to be coming down the pipeline as well.  In the meantime, enjoy some more photos!

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That’s a Wrap on “Normally This Weird”!


Woo hoo!  I’m still feeling the glorious ache and pain from Sunday as I write this …  Yesterday we wrapped production “Normally This Weird” and celebrated with the wrap party that evening.

The last day were the Ivy & Toad scenes

From the bottom of my heart I am so appreciative for everyone’s hard work and sacrifice.

Wrap for James Hoenscheidt, Michael Peterson, and Adam Rini

Holy smokes, I still can’t believe we pulled it off.  It was truly a labor of love … no one got paid … we had less money to do the whole season than what he had for the two pilot episodes … and it all came from the donations of our friends and family.  Everyone did fantastic work.  It’s going to be a lot of fun to watch these stories when they’re all put together.

Ah man, now I’m getting all teary eyed…  Shut up, don’t look at me!!

Expect the new episodes to hit this Fall, after “Voyage Trekkers” has it’s run.  And enjoy my grainy iPod pictures from the last day of shooting and the wrap party.

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Making an Evil Space Lizard Man


For our new comedy web series, “Voyage Trekkers”, we went all out for our “Space Lizard Man” (aka the Draudis Alien Captain).  We scoured the internet, looking to buy a mask, but just couldn’t find what we were looking for.  Nothing looked right, having both the mix of coolness and camp that we were looking for.  We kept putting the decision off until we finally decided to make it ourselves.  That meants doubling the budget for the mask, however, and effectively making it our single most expensive prop in any of our recent movies (just under two hundred dollars).  But … we’d be making a Space Lizard Man!!!  YES!

We started by making a clay model of the head.  We went with modeling clay instead of wet clay.  That cost more but gave us much more control.  After all, wet clay is basically just wet mud.  We built the head just slightly larger than the size we wanted, since the latex would shrink some.

We built this over a make-shift armature of newspaper with (I know this is lame) three stacked plastic flower pots making the base.  It worked well, since we didn’t want to buy an eighty dollar armature.  The downside, however, was once we were done, the weight of the clay head began to slowly crush the armature.

My brother Brian got swept up into the project and took over crafting the overall look of the head, doing a much better job than what I had come up with.

Can you find the gorn in this picture?


Brian worked so hard both of his hands were completely bruised.  I did the detail and texture work.



Nathan Stipes then created the plaster mold from the head which would then be used to make the latex mask.  We put papers everywhere but we still got plaster EVERYWHERE …  This is going to make a big mess.



With the latex mask done (well mostly done, it was still a bit squishy), we painted it late into the night … the night before shooting!


My mom even pitched in and helped me paint the mask.

Finished, the next morning.

Gabrielle Van Buren’s (our lead actress) mom made the outfit, in addition to building the outfits for our heroes as well.

James Hoenscheidt, a veteran of many a Squishy Studios production, was inside the outfit.  For his hands we went the cheap-o route of just painting them green.

Every time the mask came on or off, the paint on the neck would flake off and would have to be retouched.

When he was in the outfit, James was completely blind (and he could barely breathe!).  He had to be led around everyone.  James was a real sport about it.

Despite all the work we’re really happy with the results.   Yay for making movies!  🙂

Screen capture from "Voyage Trekkers - Episode 1: Rescue From The Lizard Men."

To see the Lizard Man head in action watch the “Voyage Trekkers” Teaser Trailer right here!