Steve Weintraub from Collider.com recently posted an interview with Mike Mignola. Among the topics covered:
Posted on 30 June 2009 by Parker
Steve Weintraub from Collider.com recently posted an interview with Mike Mignola. Among the topics covered:
Posted on 10 April 2009 by Parker
Posted on 20 June 2008 by Parker
Grigori Efimovich Rasputin was born in Siberia, the exact date is unknown – most guess between 1882 and 1875. Some of the more interesting parts of his legend are as follows:
For more reading check out these sites:
Posted on 17 March 2008 by Parker
In THE GOLDEN ARMY, Hellboy is in love….and cohabitating…with Liz.
A true Hellboy comics purist should be outraged. Hellboy showing a softer side? His time on film should be better spent clocking overgrown octapus monsters, right?
Nah. In the movies, giving Hellboy a love interest works for two reasons: character development and comedy.
The theme of the first film was Hellboy finding out what it takes to be a man. Finding love fits right into that theme. And it works for Liz’s character as well – she is an outsider, she is alone, confused – she is an orphan. She needs someone to love her. In HELLBOY, the movie, the relationship fits. It ties up everything in a neat package at the end of a 2 hour film, and develops the characters nicely.
And GDT also has tapped into a treasure trove of comedic potential by having Big Red pine for a woman – it is a classic comedic formula: big tough guy can fight villains but is tongue tied and awkward around a girl. The scene where Hellboy is trying to pen a note to Liz is very funny, and makes him even more likeable as a character.
I would cast aside any arguments that GDT put in the love story to appease studio heads or to make this film more “accessible” to the masses (i.e. women). GDT fought too hard to get the film made his way. If he didn’t see the love story from the beginning, it wouldn’t be there.
So I’m looking forward to seeing how the relationship progresses in THE GOLDEN ARMY. From the things I’ve heard, there sounds like there will be some very funny moments. But I’m also interested to see how this grows Hellboy (and Liz) as a character.
Since they are co-workers, I wonder if they have to fill out one of those forms in HR?
Posted on 08 July 2005 by Parker
Your first storyboard gig was Hellboy, right? I know you’ve probably told this story many times, but how did you find yourself working for GDT?
Yeah, Hellboy was my first big deal gig.
Basically the story goes like this:
I moved out to LA with the notion of trying to do storyboarding, but basically knowing nothing about how one actually goes about getting one of these gigs. So like many industry hopefuls I got a job at a video store. I lived a block away from the Hollywood Virgin Megastore, so I got a job in the video dept. there.
It’s a pretty heavily trafficked place, and I eventually steeled myself up to talking to directors- asking them about storyboarding, where they find their artists, etc. And I got lucky and Bryan Singer agreed to take a look at my portfolio, and even invited me to the X2 offices, but they were way past boarding (I think they were just getting ready to shoot) and I was still shucking DVD’s. But it was a good experience, and I found I could actually talk to strangers if it meant getting a boarding gig.
And then I met GDT. He was shopping for about fifty or so dvd’s and I recognized his name on the credit card, and proceeded to tell him how much I enjoyed Cronos and Mimic, and asked him what he was up to- and Blade 2 was about to come out, so in his usual friendly manner, Guillermo thanked me for the kind words and told me to go see Blade 2. Which I did. I went with a friend of mine who told me that GDT was going to do Hellboy next….so I was excited. I had already met the man, and now he was going to do a film that I would love to work on. Now I just had to hope he came back into the store.
Basically I got lucky. I had put in my two weeks notice at Virgin, and the last week there he came in! Of course, he remembered me, and we bagan talking Blade 2, and I broached the subject of Hellboy. He told me they were just starting up preproduction, so I blurted out, “Do you need a storyboard artist?” So Guillermo agreed to take a look at some of my work (which I started stashing at the counter I worked). He told me that he liked what he saw, and could probably give me a week of work on Hellboy- as a trial period.
And that was it…pure dumb luck, with just a dash of foresight and talent thrown in. I never thought in a million years that I’d stay on Hellboy for eight months, working so close with so many amazing artists, and even going to Prague to finish up. I just couldn’t think of a better way to learn the trade.
From what I’ve heard GDT say, you, Paul, Mike and the others had a lot of fun working together. What was it like?
Fun is an understatement- If I knew that working in film could be such a blast, I’d have been out here sooner.
The very first day of work, it was Paul, Jeff Rebner and I reading the script, and I didn’t know it, but the faster you read the script, the sooner you got to pick you desk area….and I read scripts really, REALLY slowly. So when I finished, there was only one space left for me, and that was in a room with Mignola and Ty Ellingson.
I’d be lying if I said it wasn’t scary as hell, but Ty and Mike are both super nice guys, and it wasn’t long before we all got along quite well. I learned a lot from sharing a room with those guys. I’d never worked with the Prisma markers before, but both Guillermo and Ty were confident that I’d pick it up, and with a little guidance from Ty I did, and I can’t thank him enough.
Since I thought that that would be my only week there, I wanted to do some really impressive work. Looking at those early boards now (the infamous Noodle Factory) I cringe, but Guillermo was so happy with them, and when, at the end of the week, Guillermo said I wasn’t leaving (he said I was a “permanent resident”) I knew I was doing what I really wanted to do…..drawing monsters for the movies.
From then on things were just great, Mike and Ty were full of good stories, and to be drawing Hellboy everyday with Mike looking over you shoulder and being happy with what he saw was a trip.
Guillermo really likes a small art department, and it becomes a family-type atmosphere. Guillermo was always wanting to take us with him to look at new creature designs and the luches….lunches with del Toro are always memorable. I highly recommend it.
All in all, its an environment that really promotes collaboration and everybody has a chance to have their ideas heard.
You ended up doing a lot of boards for the movie – how long were you working on Hellboy? I imagine Hellboy opened up a lot of doors, as well. What followed?
I think I did somewhere around twelve hundred rendered boards for Hellboy- most of the sequences that involved visual effects. I was on for Eight months and spent my last six weeks on the show in Prague- just trying to finish up what we could. There were some good sequences that we didn’t get to do- I remember we started boarding Hellboy’s fight with Kroenen, but never got back to it.
I even ended up doing a few design pieces- like Abe’s reliquary and in Prague, Guillermo had me coloring the Tarot cards that Broom uses in the Director’s Cut.
Since Hellboy was my first real working experience in the industry I was really quite naive about what would happen afterwards. I’d gotten a bit of press for the boardwork while I was working, and I guess I just thought that somebody would get in touch with me- or that I’d have an easier time finding the next gig. It basically boiled down to: I was very new a thins and didn’t know who to get in touch with, and everyone I did know who would be a good contact in LA was in Prague shooting. So I was really unprepared for the next five months of doing nearly nothing.
But then out of the blue (as I was about to write off my stint in the movies as a fluke) that I got a call from Zemeckis’ Imagemovers about a CG feature called Monster House- which is what I went onto after Hellboy….in fact I’m still on Monster House today….almost two years now.
So yeah, Hellboy’s been very good to me. I went and did almost all the boards on Monster House, and picked up a few freelance boarding gigs- I boarded the “Rings” short film; boarded a teaser trailer for the upcoming CG TMNT; and did a few weeks on a Universal thriller called Whisper.
In March I started on boards for Zemeckis’ next mo-cap epic Beowulf, and since that went on a two month hiatus I’ve been doing a lot of specific set decoration art and promotional art for Monster House, and it loks like there’s going to be a lot of Monster House work for me in the next couple of months…..and I’m looking forward to that.
Suffice to say, I’m also looking forward to Hellboy 2- and I hope GDT invites me back to play.
What can you tell us about Monster House?
Well, Monster House is a CG Mo-cap feature about three kids who discover that the creepy house across the street is actually a monster…makes sense, right? It’s really been a cool film to work on- it’s being produced by Spielberg and Zemeckis (which is how I landed the Beowulf gig), and the director is a new guy by the name of Gil Kenan- who’s done some really amazing short films that I keep insisting are absolutely necessary for the DVD.
I never thought that I’d last this long on a show- but it’s been fantastic being one of the key creative people. I came on as one of the first two board artists, and I think throughout preproduction, we went though seven or eight other guys that did some extra sequences, but I stayed on the whole way. I’d say I boarded at least 75% of the film, and on this we were boarding almost every single shot- for the animatic.
Then there were endless revisions and rewrites of the script- which requires more boards, so a lot of art. And just when I thought I’d be out of a job (this happened about every three months- I’m just paranoid) Gil decided to start using me for other art needs. So I started designing props, and doing design work for a lot of the 2-d background elements (photographs, signs, drawings, packaging, etc.) as well as designing the characters and look for a 16-bit arcade game that one of the characters will be playing in the film. I even designed the films logo.
Really it’s been an eclectic job- I’m hard pressed to say exactly, in one word, what my job even is. I mean, now that the movie’s in Post I’m doing a lot of the promotional art- today it’s sticker design, and there are some books projects that I’ll be involved in. I can’t get too much into it- some of it’s secret surprise-type stuff. good stuff. Looks like I’ll be busy.
Paul mentioned that Star Wars was his first big influence. What influences you creatively, or what was the first thing that caught your eye where you said, “Hey, I want to draw that stuff!”?
I was just telling Paul this the other day. I first started noticing storyboards when I picked up the japanese making-of book for Godzilla vs. King Ghidora, and found the section on storyboards…I still to this day say my greatest professional dream would be to work on a Godzilla movie. But what really made me say…hey, I should try that…was the boards I saw on the Gladiator DVD. I was getting close to getting my master’s degree in printmaking and I was realizing that I didn’t really want to teach. Everything I did harkened back to comic books- which I’ve been drawing in one form or another since I was about twelve. I just knew that I wanted to pursue doing something along the comic vein, and I was starting to develop some of my own books to try to self-publish, and then I saw Gladiator.
I never paid much attention to boards before that….they were so dynamic… I realized that there was definitely a connection between drawing comics and storyboarding, if fact, my own approach to storytelling has alway been cinematic. So I thought I should maybe give that a try- the opportunity came to move out to LA and I just thought I’d give it a couple of years.
So it all stems from comic art, and those influences are too vast to be named here….but I know you can thank Walt Simonson’s run on X-factor for my initial love of the comic form.
Posted on 25 June 2005 by Parker
Where did you grow up? How did you get into storyboarding? I assume you and GDT go way back to the Dave’s Video days.
I grew up in and around the Chicago area. I grew up in an artistically inclined family, so all the various forms of media were around me. Comics and movies were my favorites. I was very interested in the Universal horror films of the 1930′s and the B-movies of the 1950′s from Roger Corman, A.I.P., strange foreign stuff – whatever I could get a chance to see. I started out with superhero comics, but I quickly moved on to all the Warren magazines like EERIE and CREEPY. I think I saw some old E.C. reprints around, also. I could draw, so I was always making up my own comics and, even though I didn’t know it at the time, I was also storyboarding my own little movies from my head.
In 1977, I saw a little film called STAR WARS and that changed everything. I bought all the “Art of” books and that’s where I first saw real storyboards. Joe Johnston was an amazing influence on me, as was Ralph McQuarrie’s conceptual work. In 2000, I felt I needed a life-change so I decided that I wanted to come to Los Angeles and try to break into the film business. Storyboards seemed like a good place to start.
I met Guillermo at Dave’s Video, yes. I remember vividly meeting him for the first time. It was a Sunday night and he came in to shop. He had his notebook with him and he showed me some of the stuff in there. I had seen CRONOS and MIMIC, so I was familiar with him. As you can imagine, he was very warm and really responsive. I think Simeon has a very similar story to mine about meeting him.
Wow – in 2000 you had a “life change” moment. What were you doing prior to storyboarding? What was your first film you boarded and how did you get it?
Before that I was dabbling in freelance illustration and comic work (nothing anybody would have seen) and I ran a record shop. The first thing I was ever paid to storyboard was HELLBOY, actually. Before that I was doing favors for friends – anything I could do to break in.
The way I got HELLBOY was funny. I had done some boards for a friend of mine and I brought them in to show Greg Nicotero of KNB EFX because he was interested in using me for a job. Del Toro grabbed them and told me he wanted me to work on the film. And then we waited…
So how was it working on Hellboy? What consisted of a typical work day?
Guillermo would assign everybody something to do at the start of the week and you’d get going on it. He was very busy, so you’d have to be ready when he had time to see the work. I was there for 3 weeks, I think. I worked on 2 sequences which ended up changing a bit and Simeon re-did them. It was very exciting and nerve-wracking. I definitely didn’t do my best work, but I was just grateful to be there. There were these amazing talents sitting right next to you, you know? I mean, here’s Mike Mignola, here’s Ty Ellingson. I loved watching Wayne Barlowe work. He was just really great with all of us younger guys. He’s really an amazing artist. Another of the young guys was Jeff Rebner. He did some great work on Abe and some of the beasts. He’s really talented. Simeon was there the longest. He really connected with Guillermo and Mike. He did some great work.
There was always somebody coming around. A big thing for me was being able to have dinner with Gahan Wilson – that was something.
I learned a lot from Guillermo. He really has a great command of the frame and how to make things work. I wish he would shoot in 2.35:1, though!
When you work on the sequences – what do you have at your disposal? Do you just go off of GDT’s script? Does he give you some preliminary directions? What does GDT, or other directors for that matter, value most with a storyboard?
Obviously, you have the script. I believe we looked at some reference. Guillermo is good in that he can draw also, so he’d do a very rough sketch of each shot and then you’d discuss it and take notes. Then you go away and flesh it out. If he liked what you did, you cleaned it up and did your final rendering and then you’d get another sequence. This could take day or weeks, depending.
Specifically, I don’t want to speak for Guillermo. In working with other directors and talking with other artists, I think the most important thing is clarity. A storyboard is a visual roadmap to each department about what the filmmaker wants and needs in a shot or sequence. They don’t have to be these amazing works of art, they just have to communicate the idea clearly. Storyboards are mostly used in sequences that will have special FX or stunts, so clear communication is key.
But it’s always nice when the look good.
Do you still do some storyboarding, or is your DVD business your focus? Tell me about your DVD work.
I only do it for personal projects or friends now. I’m actually working on something right now.
DVD is now really my professional focus. Once again, I owe it all to my Dave’s Video experience. I met Charles de Lauzirika there not long after I started. We became friends and I started working with him in the spring of 2003. He was in the finishing stages of the ALIEN QUADRILOGY. I did some work preparing and formatting the storyboards (what else?) for ALIEN3 and ALIEN RESURRECTION. I also sat in on the editing of the commentary tracks. I decided I really wanted to continue working in the field, and Charlie was kind enough to take me on. I’ve always loved the behind-the-scenes aspect and DVD really affords people that look behind the curtain. I really think Charlie is the most talented person working in this field today. Everyday I learn something new. We see these projects as an opportunity to entertain and inform, and these discs become this living record of each film. It can be hard work, but it’s alot of fun.
We’re very lucky in that we are able to work on really great projects. We have a close relationship with Ridley Scott. We prepare all his DVDs. We have also worked with Tony Scott, Robert Rodriguez and Sam Raimi. I’d love to work with Guillermo on a project, so we’ll have to see what happens. Javier Soto, who produced the HELLBOY DVDs, is a friend. He does good work.
We should really tell people what Dave’s Video was, I think. Dave’s Video – The Laser Place was this great store in the San Fernando Valley – a short hop over the hill from Hollywood. It was, I believe, the first store in L.A. (and maybe the country) that sold LaserDiscs. The LaserDisc was the forerunner of DVD, for those who don’t know. It was as large as an LP, and really ushered in features like the audio commentary that we all know and love today on our DVDs. For movie buffs, Dave’s was really the place to go. EVERYBODY went there. There wasn’t a day that went by that you didn’t see somebody – whether it was an actor, or a director, a musician… Also, nobody bothered these people, so it was a comfortable atmosphere. I got to meet and make friends with some amazing people, like Frank Darabont, Guillermo, Kevin Smith… Too many people to list. Unfortunately, the store closed in 2002. There hasn’t been anything like it since in Los Angeles. It’s really missed. I owe my time there so much.
What’s the name of the company? Briefly, what is process of producing these behind-the-scenes disks.
The company is Lauzirika Motion Picture Company. What we do is the creation of Special Features for DVD. We conceive and create the documentaries, the audio commentaries – everything that’s not the film. It’s a painstaking job that requires a great amount of research and commitment to the project. We gather photographs, artwork, etc. We conduct on-camera interviews, record the audio commentaries. After we’re satisfied we have the materials we need, we begin editing everything together. It can be very time-consuming, but it’s very rewarding when people really react to the disc once it’s out on the shelves.
What’s the future of DVD?
Well, I don’t know the answer just yet. Hi-Definition is starting to come in, so hopefully that will open up some cool opportunities for us. For me, I just want to keep doing work that people enjoy. A lot of DVDs have features that you watch once and then you never look at again. We try to bring passion to each project, so that the viewer gets something off the standard “It was so great to work with so and so” type of material. We want to entertain and inform. When I was a kid there really wasn’t this type of access to filmmaking. I hope there’s some kid out there who watched one of our features and it set him on a course to make the next great film. That would be great.
What are some of you favorite examples of DVDs that have “fun and entertaining” special features?
That’s a good question.
In terms of materials that we’ve done, I like the entire ALIEN QUADRILOGY set. There was an incredible amount of love put into that project. I think you have 2 of the best commentaries ever put to disc, and each of those documentaries is really like a film school in a (big) box.The BLACK HAWK DOWN 3-DVD Deluxe Edition is another one – really high quality stuff. I would recommend our documentary on MATCHSTICK MEN. It’s called TRICKS OF THE TRADE. Charlie had incredible access on that production. It’s like Project Greenlight with Ridley Scott instead of some nobody. I’m really proud of the material on SPIDER-MAN 2. People should look at the DVDs of THE DUELLISTS, THELMA AND LOUISE and LEGEND (the 2-disc version), TOP GUN, the new MAN ON FIRE 2-disc – those are good. There’s some upcoming projects that I think people are really going to enjoy, but I can’t really talk about them right now.
Other people’s work that I enjoy? I would have to say Javier Soto’s work on the HELLBOY and THE DEVIL’S BACKBONE discs. I really liked Gary Leva’s A LEGACY OF FILMMAKERS: THE EARLY YEARS OF AMERICAN ZOETROPE on the THX-1138 DVD. THE HAMSTER FACTOR AND OTHER TALES OF TWELVE MONKEYS and LOST IN LA MANCHA by Keith Fulton and Louis Pepe are really great. Nearly anything that Criterion releases is excellent – everyone should own their BRAZIL set. Van Ling is always doing great work. His discs for the TERMINATOR films and THE ABYSS are excellent. Obviously, THE LORD OF THE RINGS Extended Edition DVDs are jam-packed with great material. I’d love to see Universal release the material from THE FRIGHTENERS LaserDisc on DVD. I watch nearly every Special Feature, it’s crazy.
There’s a lot of movies that I would have loved to have done the DVDs for – the STAR WARS Original Trilogy, the INDIANA JONES films, a number of Coen Brothers titles. I’d love to work on a DVD for a Kurosawa film. There’s a couple of Ridley’s movies that I’d like to work on that haven’t gotten the grand treatment yet. Who knows what the
future will bring?
Posted on 04 May 2005 by Parker
The Academy of Science Fiction, Fantasy & Horror Films announced the winners of their Saturn awards yesterday, and Hellboy snagged one for best Make-Up. Congrats to the make-up team of Jake Garber, Matt Rose, and Mike Elizalde. Hellboy was nominated in three other categories, below are winners for those awards:
Best Fantasy Film: Spider-man 2
Best Special Ed. DVD: Lord of the Rings: Return of the King
Best Costume: Sky Captain and the World of Tomorrow
For a complete list of winners, click here.
Posted on 14 January 2005 by Parker
As reported by ComingSoon.net, Hellboy is one of seven films under consideration for the Academy of Motion Picture Arts & Sciences award for Achievement in Makeup! Below is the list of all films being considered:
-Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban
-Lemony Snicket’s A Series of Unfortunate Events
-The Passion of The Christ
-The Sea Inside
And here’s the facts:
Ten-minute clip reels from each of the seven films will be screened for the Makeup Award Nominating Committee on Saturday, January 22. The members may nominate up to three of these seven films for Oscar? consideration, recommend a single film for a Special Achievement Award or elect to recommend that no award be given in this category.
Any nominated films will be announced along with nominations in 24 other categories on Tuesday, January 25, at 5:30 a.m. PST.
Congratulations to all involved! Way to go!