More color

Films were standardized at 24 frames per second during the introduction of sound, which needed a universal frame rate to avoid a mess. 24 frames per second was one of the lowest rates that presented fairly smooth motion and saving film cost. Films shot at higher rates have been introduced several times but have met with mixed reaction due to a too “lifelike” quality. They lose the dreamlike image people are used to in movies. The same thing occurs at super high resolutions to some extent; things are a bit too crisp and sharp, breaking the suspension of disbelief. I believe that happens somewhat with 3D among other problems it brings like the conversion/focus issue.
I would argue that something similar happened when Technicolor and Eastmancolor went from the full rich colors to the more realistic tone of modern movies. When I think of color movies things like the Wizard of Oz and Gone With the Wind come to mind. Hitchcock films, Hammer Films and AIP, all pop into my head when someone mentions color movies, not modern films which are all in color. Black Narcissus, despite it being an early color film, made far more use of color than the modern ones that take it for granted.

I've been focusing on color even more than I usually do because I'm grading Insectula! and color is running through my thoughts all day long. I'm working with the older color palettes of the films I mentioned and I really like the look I'm getting, but the tradeoff is that it takes longer.

I guess I’m just a color nut.


I have finished the military scenes. Lots of 3D renders and very time consuming. That should be the last visuals needed for Insectula! Closing in on three and a half years we are getting close. The rough edit is completed and now we just need to chop it down to 90 mins, color grade, score, audio and then finalize.

Military scenes

Working on the military scenes which should be my final rendering I have to do for the movie...

Del faces the terror

The fire burns hot in Del's soul. He will end the horror alone.

TV vs. Movies

One of the things I’m trying to do with Insectula!, is focus on the characters instead of the creature. I think that is one of the things about the new TV shows that make them so great, even better than movies, is that they can take the time and focus on interesting characters. That actually gives TV an edge, as they can devote more time to character development as opposed to movies which generally have 90 mins to introduce and get you interested in a character. Still, the best movies do this. I generally dislike westerns, but several western movies are at the top of my favorites list. At some point the genre becomes incidental. People like interesting characters and I’ve done my best with my limited resources to keep that in mind.
I think the new TV shows are leapfrogging movies and until Hollywood starts to figure out that spectacle and big stars aren’t really what make good movies, we will keep seeing a decline in audience. I don’t see a bright future in Hollywood until they start to wise up.

The great news in all of this is I have more entertainment than ever even though I’m not watching many movies. The Sopranos was really a watershed moment for TV (even though I never watched it). It will be interesting to see what happens in the next few years.


We didn't name ourselves Digital Méliès for nothing. Sarah made a valiant effort to escape with her torso severed...alas she doesn't make it too far.
Any resemblance is purely coincidental...
They Saved Hitler's Brain (1969)
The Frozen Dead (1966)
The Brain That Wouldn't Die (1962)
Insectula! (2013)

Kempler's college career comes to an abrupt end. His extra curricular activities were a bit too extreme.

Dr. Kempler deals with his migraine. Insectula! back on Dread Central:

Kip nails it!

Harrison (Kip) Kipling did a fantastic job on his two shoots and I think he's got the acting gene. His range of emotions is fantastic - from dignified to aloof, all he needs to learn is to not poop onstage so much.


Whenever someone tells me they saw a movie I always ask if they saw it in 3D. The answer about 70% of the time is a strong "no way!" When faced with a movie where I have a choice I always opt for the non 3d one because I don't want to wear the stupid glasses and would rather not have a headache. Hollywood pushes 3d every decade or so and this was the largest push yet. They really really thought it was going to go. They thought they could force it this time.

24 fps, 2D, super 35mm is dream-like quality. It will be a long time before people want that changed. I saw the Hobbit and it looked like shit...reminded me of ShowScan back in the 80's. I was all hyped up for ShowScan and when I actually saw it I thought I was watching a soap opera on TV.

This is the basic reason 3D is a problem no matter how well it's handled:
"The biggest problem with 3D, though, is the “convergence/focus” issue. A couple of the other issues — darkness and “smallness” — are at least theoretically solvable. But the deeper problem is that the audience must focus their eyes at the plane of the screen — say it is 80 feet away. This is constant no matter what.

But their eyes must converge at perhaps 10 feet away, then 60 feet, then 120 feet, and so on, depending on what the illusion is. So 3D films require us to focus at one distance and converge at another."

Against all odds.

You should never bet against anything in science at odds of more than about 10-12 to 1.
Every year thousands and thousands of indie movies are made. Only a sliver of these achieve any amount of success. The odds will tell you Insectula! will not make it.
But once in a while a well thought out and executed movie will succeed. I don’t know for sure how well we will do, but I do know this – the movie will find an audience.  I don’t know how big that audience is, but my gut tells me it’s bigger than most are anticipating. How can I grab the niche while trying to appeal to a larger set beyond the cult aspects? I think it can be done and this is kind of an experiment to see if my ideas prove correct.

As I've stated before I love the Asylum model of making movies, it's just that their movies are unwatchable for most. They just aren't smart or fun enough to grab a larger audience. I'm trying to make this as fun as possible to watch, and that's why it's taken me so long even with my lack of budget. Each scene must be fun enough to make the viewer want to stay for the next one. It's like a bunch of mini movies threaded together, but woven well enough that it flows as a coherent whole.

It’s a matter of how well I can put the pieces together at this point and we shall see.

A tough task

Insectula is a tough movie to do with no budget. I've had to learn and get as good at VFX, practical FX and compositing as one person can possibly get. From particle generation and physics modeling to servos and robotics mechanisms. Had to learn all the materials for the practical and the animation, rendering and compositing tricks for the combination of both. There are times when I look at a problem and it seems too daunting, but I learned if you just put your head down and say that you can do it, you usually can.
If I didn't have the software programming and visual arts background I don't think I could have done it. It was kind of luck that I had these two dissimilar interests that intersected on this project.

When I started the project I knew little of VFX and Practical FX. I knew some of the basics, but not having the budget to hire people to do it there was really only one way. They way I looked at it was if someone can do it why can't I? Maybe I don't have the time to ramp up on all the details but maybe I can learn enough to get things to a level that looks professional. Usually the results surpassed my expectations, and while it may not be Hollywood, I dare anyone to do it for what I did it for!

Melting Face


Keeping a small list of Insectula's movie references and spoofs on our IMDB page. This is a tiny list and there are many, many more, but here is some idea of the fun we have in it:

Wilhelm Scream

OK, using the Wilhelm scream and the Howie scream side by side (possibly for the first time?) Look them up on Google


Awww heck...a shot from the movie. Hope you likes it!

To clear things up...

We have a projected release date of Sept 1 2013. We have signed with Arsenal Pictures and they will determine how it is released. There will definitely be DVD's, possible theatrical and we don't know who will be the end distributors yet. We will probably know that after Cannes and AFM. Marketing materials such as posters and the like will probably be released around that time. For now you can go to to order a pre-release poster printed by deviantart

New head

Replaced the cheesy head you see in the trailer with this nice sculpt by Christian Hanson. Animatronics by yours truly and shot dry-for-wet.


Dr. Kempler helpfully points out to Sarah that she has slime on her face.

Cary Grant

I tried to duplicate Cary Grant's outfit from To Catch a Thief for when Kempler is spying on Britney, but the stripes on Grant's shirt would have blown my camera's moire to a whole new I did my best.

RIP Edith Head*
 *Edith probably had little to do with Grant's outfit, he usually dressed himself.


Passed the 500,000 viewer mark on the Youtube trailer, looking for a million!


When naming my movie I made sure I picked a single word name that had nothing else associated with it. I think it was a smart idea because it made searches and stats easy to retrieve as opposed to names that were difficult to differentiate with other movies or even terms. I had about three other candidate names but tested it with a few people and this was the one they remembered the easiest.

Sarah's terror

I hope I was able to capture Sarah's terror as Russ Meyers might have.

SNL movies

I always thought the SNL movies were funny, but not in the way they intended. For all the millions of dollars, big names, big producers, they never really understood that a bit that was funny for ten minutes couldn’t most of the time carry a movie for 90. Such a simple concept, but very difficult for them to understand. Once in a while it worked, but their failure rate was astonishing, and their lack of ability to learn from their mistakes equally mind boggling.

You hand kindergartners paper and say draw a cow. None have had art lessons. Some will be good and some won’t. The ones who didn’t draw well can want to be artists later in life, take all the classes in the world but they will only get so much better. The ones who did draw better may never take an art class and they will always be better at drawing than the ones who couldn’t draw, it’s just a fact…you are born with the ability or you aren’t. You are born with musical abilities or you aren’t. That is just the unequal nature of humans and the luck of the draw.

The ones who couldn't draw will likely move to a more abstract style of art, I saw this a lot in art school. They will likely look down upon those who did more representational styles and claim art is in the mind, and it is in some respect. But in the end the lack of talent will show through. The ones with the ability to draw may move to more abstract styles by evolution but there is a big differance between the two, and the viewer clearly sees that.

Filmmaking is a combination of all the arts and follows exactly the same rules. If a director has made a shitty movie, they can only get so much better. All the film classes in the world won’t change that. Making a dozen more films won't change that. That’s what makes looking at a director and seeing if they have talent so easy, you just look at the past films. That will tell you all you need to know.

Film Schools

I’m not big on film schools because I like to teach myself. There are advantages, but the problem I see with people that get out of a film school is that they are taught “the way” you do things. Now if you are jumping right from film school to Hollywood that’s great, but that most likely isn’t the case. In low budget filmmaking “the way” you do it is any way you can. I constantly have to tell film students to unlearn what they have learned, and sometimes that takes a lot of time. Resourcefulness and ingenuity are the most valuable commodities in low budget filmmaking. You may look like a total goofball with your camera mounted on a 2 x 4 but if that get’s you the shot instead of spending 2K or more on a crane, that is 2k that can go back into the film in other areas.
This is a simple concept but very hard for people to grasp fully.
When I see a micro-budget or even low budget set and they have expensive dollies, cranes, RED cameras and lights that cost more than my car my internal alarm goes up. Equipment is just a means to an end, and in the end it means nothing. Unlike life, in film what matters in the end is what you have, not how you got there.
Unfortunately this is a mentality that permeates throughout our culture and happens just about everywhere, not just filmmaking.

Hollywood is now filled with people from film schools. That is why we don’t see anything really new come from there. If something new occurs, it is usually from an indie or a remake of an indie.  Instead Hollywood gives us remakes and sequels. We need indie filmmakers to think outside the box,

and unlearn if they have learned.

*ramble mode off*

Terror at 20,000 ft!

Yesterday's shoot had one sentence of dialog. I've tried to do as little dialog as I could throughout the movie, so if I could do something visually instead of explaining I did. There are many reasons I did this, but the main one is it makes the movie better.


Gore tally so far...

1 severed head
2 exploding heads
1 head autopsy
1 chest burst
1 anal skewering
1 gun shot
1 plummeting death
1 disembowelment
1 severed lip
2 severed torsos
1 exploding body
1 limbless body

1 ripped off nipple
 many, many severed limbs
and we're not done yet folks!