I Don’t Think You’re Ready for this Jelly.

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I was going to title this post “Goodbye Cali-prawn-ia, Hello Octstralia!”, but as I’m not moving back to Sydney for another 5 weeks, I thought I’d keep it classic – plus, I’m going to a Prom themed party tonight, and I’m expecting to hear a ton of Destiny’s Child.

I just got back from a night at Dillon Beach, NorCal, where I squeezed in a little sea gazing accompanied by some highly relevant ocean-themed watercolour painting. After all, I had a new self-watering brush I wanted to try out which I used for the jellyfish and the octopus. It was a little limiting, and the thing I love about watercolours is their flexibility… So I put it aside and grabbed a normal brush to add some movement to the octopus.

Then, something magical happened in about 15 seconds. And that magical thing, was a prawn.

Really pleased with the prawn.

Also, can’t wait to chuck a coupla prawns on the barbie in 5 weeks! Oi oi oi!

From the Vault: Guts and Gears

Humanoid Wakeboard sketch design thedarclaud

When I first met Klaus back in Los Angeles circa February 2012, he was working… wait… “working” for a small (and magnificent) wakeboarding company called Humanoid with his good mate, and company owner Jeff. Their days consisted of “testing products” on the boat (which I would try to involve myself with as regularly as my “work” schedule would permit), building mini ramps for “brand culture” purposes, and occasionally shipping out wakeboards when people ordered them from the website.

Jeff had a vision for a board design – an abstract interpretation of the humanoid word itself.

The brief went something like this:

“Claudo, I just want it to be a shitload of bloody guts and brains and severed body parts, smashed together with greasy, oily boat engine parts.”

Can do.

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Humanoid wakeboard design

These were hand sketches that I then threw into Illustrator to schmick up a bit.

Turns out the company was moving in a more tasteful design direction so this never went into production. Can’t imagine why…? … Guys? Your brand slogan written out of guts in cursive? No?

Boobs and Bridges

Frisky Film Movie Poster

Talk about Northern exposure… Or NorCal exposure…

Slap your eyeballs all over the poster for my feature film directorial debut, “Frisky” (director/writer/producer).

Frisky is a comedy feature film about two twenty-somethings who move to San Francisco to chase their career, but end up chasing tail instead.

Very high brow stuff, as the poster implies.

The film is a patchwork of my own experiences (or things I witnessed others doing) throughout my move from Sydney to Los Angeles for film school in 2009, then again to shoot a pilot in 2011, then for love from LA to San Francisco in 2013. Only it’s just one story. And it’s heaps good. For serious. And the writing. Also good. Like this paragraph. But seriously, it’s going to be a ripper of a film, so stay tuned for more very shortly.

As for the poster, The finished product holds true to the original concept sketch that I drew on the back of a script to pitch the idea to Christiana, the film’s cinematographer/DP and the poster’s photographer. I then fiddled for more time than what is reasonable with the graphic design in Photoshop to produce this beauty!

We’re hella legit. Even IMDb reckons so... So keep an eye on our Facebook Page for the San Francisco screening in late March 2015.

Postal Party!

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So legends keep doing nice stuff for me and special occasions keep popping up so I keep on posting out the personalised greeting cards! Here’s the latest crop…. I hope everyone had a very merry Christmoose.

SFX = Scale Firey Explosions

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There are many reasons for my comedy feature film Winning Formula (writer/producer) to have taken about three and a half years since its original conception with Anna Bennett as “Dead Broke” in 2011. Personally, it was my first feature film so everything was a learning curve, but at every road block we pushed forward. There was no less than a metric shit ton of improvised problem solving at each turn. Not sure what that converts to in imperial, but by anyone’s standards, the quantity of shit was immense.

Included in the pile, was a car explosion scene that I had written into the script (rookie) and we had nonchalantly said during production “we’ll do it in post” (double rookie).

Fast forward to post production, we discovered quite far down the line that two significant (and rather large) scenes needed to be reshot due to audio issues that could not be adequately rectified with ADR (which was a blessing in disguise as they were reshot as far more impressive scenes than the originals). The only thing was, we blew the budget that was set aside for the afore mentioned explosion scene.

Bummer.

When post production gives you lemons… bugger lemonade, make it into Smirnoff Ice. We’re turning this scene into a classic gag, using scale models à la Indiana Jones… AKA “traditional special effects” (AKA waaaaaay cheaper than the real deal).

So I’m thinking to myself – where do I go to find someone with a penchant for pyrotechnics, a whole lot of property, and a solid collection of earth moving equipment? It’s got to be my Burning Man mentor, Glenn.

Klaus and I researched fake explosions (it’s corn starch, not just regular flour, by the way), we ordered some miniatures of my car online (they only came in blue so we sprayed them sliver), then Glenn took to the side of his driveway with a bobcat and our scene was set.

So here’s my appalling cut of our explosion scene – the cut that ended up in the film is far shorter, with far craftier editing, so you’ll have to watch that when it screens (keep your eyes locked on the facebook page)… But in the meantime…

(If we lock in a decent distribution deal, we’ll reshoot the explosion scene at full scale. My fingers are firmly crossed.)

Great Willy Wonka Wall of China Town

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Just on the edge of China Town in San Fantastic-rancisco is a tech co-op space called The Vault. It’s underground, it’s full of computer-bound entrepreneurs, and it’s on the old site of the famous Ghirardelli chocolate factory (circa 1863). That’s right, this one’s an antique.

As nobody in the space seemed to have the foggiest idea of the place’s historical significance, the community manager (SO MANY STARTUP WORDS) decided an old advertisement for the chocolate factory would be the perfect fit for the reception area’s mural. Only problem was that I’d never actually done any text on a mural – ever… And as this was more of a ‘replicate and exaggerate’ sort of job, I needed to be a little more planned/precise/particular about how I would get this thing up on a wall, rather than just freestyling it as I usually do. It was also to be on a grey wall and using only black paint, unlike my standard bright colours – so I managed to pull the ‘artist’ card and bargain a bit of gold into the equation too.

The whole thing was rather a trendy sounding idea.

So I did a bit of photoshop work to see how it could be placed, fused the advertisement with some doodles from an old Ghirardelli sign that I liked, projected it on the wall, slapped some masking tape on the straight line edges, and got hectic with the black paint. When I say hectic, I mean as precise as possible. (Neck pain for days. I’m fine now though, thanks Klaus for the amateur chiropractic work.)

I did have to take some liberties with the text as the blocky resolution of the projector proved to be only adequate for a rough guide. Anyway, once it was all done, I had intended on gold leafing just the shadow of the heading (as planned, and shown in red on the projection). Needless to say, that freestyling side of me came out in the eleventh hour, and significantly more gold leaf ended up getting chucked on the wall. Which I’m stoked about, because not only does gold leaf look like Willy Wonka’s golden ticket, it is also just basically extremely epic.

I have been breathing out gold leaf dust flecks ever since, like a mythical creature. Note to future users of gold leaf: probably wear a respiratory filter unless you plan to attend some sort of dungeons and dragons convention every day for the rest of your life.

Burn, baby, burn.

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I had not planned to attend Burning Man this year, although I’d considered it and ruled it out. So in a massive yes-man move, I accepted my architecture client’s offer of a ticket on the Saturday (as he was the only person I really needed to work for that week) and drove out with a 16-year veteran (nice to meet you Glenn!) and my megapal Katie (who took the above photo) late on Sunday night.

I won’t go into the whole thing too much, but suffice to say that I had the opportunity to play the flute for a herd of cows on the way out to Black Rock City (life highlight) and the week maintained that standard of epicness throughout.

After painting several people and items of furniture (clearly all of which were ill-documented), I noticed a mate in my camp, Rowan, assembling a cart to pull some speakers behind his bicycle for that night. All the time in the world on my hands at that point, I offered to paint it. Playa landscape inspired.

In the spirit of what is truly an inspiring festival of fleeting art, it only felt right for the work to be completely transformed by the environment, come morning. What I’m trying to say is that it was completely buggered, but that was cool.