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Monthly Archives: October 2010

Um, are you making porn?

Hey all, it’s time for your Super Blogged Up fix! This week Mark and I recount our recent experiences at our hometown convention – Albany Comic Con!

Mark

I’m going to start this blog off with a personal statement. If you have never been to a comic book convention (either a small local gathering held in a hotel or an internationally recognized extravaganza that takes up 3 floors of an entire convention center), do yourself a favor and attend one. Even if you’re not into comic books. More and more of these conventions are beginning to include other forms of entertainment (movies, books, etc.), and if you attend the right one you’re more than likely to find something that interests you. But I don’t recommend giving a comic-con a chance just to pad your collection of Urotsukidoji videos – you can hop on eBay and bid on those right from the comfort of your own dungeon.

I’m telling each and every one of you to go to one of these things because you’ll meet a slew of interesting, intelligent, funny, and like-minded individuals who, nine times out of ten, are nicer than just about anyone you could ever meet. The image of hundreds (sometimes thousands) of geeks all dressed in cosplay outfits and living in a different world than the rest of us is not only wildly inaccurate, but also unfair to those who do enjoy indulging in dress-up for a few days out of the year and look forward to meeting other people at their favorite comic-con. I would rather converse with someone dressed up in their favorite obscure manga character than a meat-headed football jock wearing green and white face paint and a Michael Vick jersey any day of the week.

Albany Comic Con was my second convention experience, and the first at which I was behind a booth promoting something rather than out on the floor as an attendee. My first time was at San Diego Comic-Con International in July. Both experiences were fascinating and personally enriching on many different levels. The response to Super Knocked Up was fantastic, and I would like to thank all of you who took a look at our table, from the people who simply took a card (and a cookie) and walked on, to the people who signed up for information, took the time to talk with us, and even came back multiple times. It was a pleasure meeting you, and we hope you enjoy following the process of making Super Knocked Up and, perhaps, maybe even being involved with it. Hope you had a magnificent time at Albany Comic Con, and thanks again!

Jeff

Since Mark is my hero (not really, but I like to pad his ego), I’ll copy him and start off with my own personal statements. #1 – Comic conventions are freakin’ awesome! #2 – I’ve spent so much time with Mark these past couple of months (rehearsing for the web series, shooting it, at the convention, etc.) that we might as well be sleeping together. Except that we both like girls. Especially ones who dress up in Princess Leia or Queen Amidala costumes (Leia for me, Amidala for Mark).

Amazingly, Albany Comic Con (which is a small but really awesome and well-run con in Albany, NY where we shoot the web series) was my first comic book convention. I say amazingly because I’ve been into comics since I was a kid. I’ve been to a few science fiction conventions, but never a comic one. And, man, I’ve really been missing out. Like Mark said, the thing that struck me the most was how friendly everyone was. People were just really happy to be there and converse with their fellow comic/anime/superhero fans.

The other thing that stuck out for me is the accessibility people had to the comic book writers and artists who were at the tables. All of them were very welcoming and open to talking with fans. I chatted with Nelson Blake II (artist of The Magdalena, a character I’ve always been a big fan of) who was at a nearby table and was very friendly. Sitting next to him was Ron Marz, the writer of Witchblade, Magdalena, and Artifacts, and as far as I’m concerned, one of the best writers working in the comics industry. I asked Ron if I could get a picture with him. And I expected to just stand next to him, but instead he grabbed me in a big bear hug and posed for a picture :) Author and illustrator Mark McKenna, a 25-year veteran of the comics industry (The Punisher, Incredible Hulk, Deadpool) was also super-friendly and gave me some cool advice about finding an artist for the graphic novel version of Super Knocked Up.

Now, while almost everyone who came up to our table was super-excited about the idea of a web series about a female super-villain who gets knocked up by a superhero, I also discovered that the series isn’t going to be for everyone. One woman kept giving us dirty looks while she was at the table next door (though that didn’t stop her from coming by multiple times to take the candy we were offering people) and a mom pulled her kid away saying “Oh, that’s not for you.” Apparently, she thought we were making porn. Actually, just about all indie filmmakers can tell you they’ve had multiple experiences that go like this:

Indie Filmmaker: Yeah, I’m making an independent film.

Other Person: Oh, is it porn? Heh, heh heh.

Of course, when I’m asked that I like to tell people “Yup, we’re making super hard-core lesbian porn.” Okay, I don’t really say that. I’m actually very polite about it and just tell them what the film’s about. Though now I’m wondering if there is Superhero Porn out there. You’d think there would be, right? Hmm, I might be onto something. Nah, I think I’ll just stick with our good old PG-13 Super Knocked Up series we’re doing :)

But the point is that it’s okay if not everyone digs the series. I learned a while ago that not everyone is going to like my films. There are even people who don’t like Star Wars (my favorite film of all time). And while that may be considered blasphemy by some, it’s okay. A film or web series isn’t going to appeal to every single person in the world. Hopefully, a bunch of people will dig it. And some others won’t. But there’s such diversity in entertainment now, they can go find another series they do really like. And that’s cool!

What was even cooler was a young lady named Jessica who stopped by and said she wanted to do fan art for our Facebook page.  And I was like, “Um, hell yeah!  That’d be awesome!”  It’s that kind of stuff that totally makes these events a great experience.

I also want to give huge thanks to everyone who stopped by our table at Albany Comic Con, who signed up for our e-mail list or to be a super-villain extra, and who Liked our Facebook page right there on the spot! I really enjoyed meeting all of you and really appreciate your support. I also want to give a shout-out to Mike Spring, who was at the table next to us selling super-cool collectibles, books, DVDs , and whatever else you can imagine. I actually bought a sweet Star Wars speeder bike and Return of the Jedi poster from him :) A super-cool guy and an oracle of knowledge when it comes to using Twitter. Check him out at www.DVDsnapshot.com

See below for some cool pics from the con, including some awesome costumes!  Though I’m still disappointed there were no Princess Leia costumes.

That’s it for now. Can’t wait until the next convention!

Images after the jump.

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The Hardest Part about Being a Superhero? Having the Belt Stapled to your Ass!

Hey all, Mark (aka Michael Masters, aka Captain Amazing) here again. Hope you all enjoyed Jeff’s previous blog about Captain Amazing’s costume which, if you ask me (and you just did) came out super-sweet, thanks to Justine and Jeff’s hard work. As Jeff previously mentioned, though, as sweet as the costume looked, keeping it together for the actual shoot wasn’t sweet. And the main piece of the costume that proved to be so not sweet it turned sour? The belt. Or, as I like to refer to it, “the *bleepity bleep bleep bleep* belt.”

Justine had fashioned a fairly nice super-hero belt, with some sort of cardboard-esque material which she then covered with red felt (see previous blog for a picture of Captain Amazing’s costume, complete with belt). On the day of shooting we had decided to use Velcro to keep the belt nice and secure around my waist. Shouldn’t be too much of a problem, we thought. We thought wrong.

It should be noted that while Captain Amazing may like to leave his abdominal muscles exposed to vicious attacks and danger by doing sit-ups and ab muscle work out routines galore, Mark Pezzula prefers to protect his generous six-pack with a nice healthy layer of stomach fat. While this keeps my abdominal muscles nice and warm, it doesn’t make it easy for a belt fashioned of felt and held together with Velcro to stay snug around my midriff. I could only keep my gut sucked in for so long before my belly would inevitably come pouring out, thereby tearing the Velcro loose and sending the belt shooting down my legs only to land around my ankles. Making matters even worse was the bare-knuckle brawl between Captain Amazing and Darkstar. If the Velcro wouldn’t hold the belt up while I was sitting it certainly wouldn’t keep fastened while I went head to head with the world’s most dangerous super-villain.

The crew pondered how to fix this dilemma while I snacked on fruit and nuts (maybe I could shave a few centimeters off my belly if I ate healthy for a few minutes!) and cursed myself for being such an avid imbiber of liquid hops and barley. Whilst in the middle of my mini pity-party, the aforementioned (in last week’s blog) JC Carey and producer Michalina Almindo came up behind me and told me to hold still. Finally, they had figured out a way to fix the belt!

Before I could ask what creative way they were going to use to solve this problem, I felt some pressure on the small of my back and a loud KA-CHUNK! I jumped slightly and let out a “whoa!” “Don’t move”, said JC. “We’re stapling you.” KA-CHUNK! KA-CHUNK! KA-CHUNK! One by one the staples went into the belt, and with every trigger pull of the high-powered staple-gun I thought for sure one of the thick metal bullets would hit me where God split me. Only one other person has grit their teeth as hard as I did during those tense few moments, and that’s Luke Skywalker right before he landed the shot that destroyed the Death Star.

With staples the size of bottle caps holding the belt together, you would figure there would be a less than zero chance of it coming undone, right? You would figure wrong. My ab-shield (re: belly fat) had other ideas, and as soon as I sat down on set my stomach decided it would not be held back by a piece of felt covered cardboard. The staples popped, and the great minds behind Super Knocked Up again went to work trying to solve the belt problem.

After much pondering it was decided that JC would sew the ends of the belt together. There was only one problem: I couldn’t slip the belt on and off, so she would have to sew it while I held the belt on myself. This meant that poor JC had to spend a solid 20 minutes with her hands and face in the vicinity of a body part only the doctor who birthed me, my mother, and certain ex-girlfriends had been in contact with: my derriere.

After what seemed like an eternity, JC completed her task and, looking worse for the wear, showed her magnificent work to Jeff, who socked our eardrums with the following: “That’s amazing, JC, only it’s on upside-down.” I had held the belt on my waist the wrong way. I smacked myself in the forehead, and JC began to cry.

The second sew, thankfully, was a resounding success. The belt was right-side up, it was fastened, and it stayed on even when my belly was doing its best “Andy Dufresne escaping Shawshank Prison” impersonation.

Although the belt incident caused a slight delay in our shooting schedule and scarred JC Carey for life, it ended up being a nice filmmaking lesson, one that every filmmaker (or people involved in film) learns at one point or another. And that is this: when the going gets tough, and the belt just won’t stay up, the tough put their brains together, staple the hell out of the leading man, spend 20 minutes sewing next to his butt, and then send him onset to get beat up by an attractive female in a unitard.

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Super-Lame to Super-Cool!

Hey Super Knocked Up fans!  So last week, Mark related the trauma of almost having to wear women’s underwear as part of his superhero costume.  The week before that, I told you all about the issues we had trying to make his costume look cool and heroic.  Now I will finally complete the tale.  But in case you haven’t read those posts (though you totally should – they’re really good), here’s a quick recap:

Previously in Super Blogged Up
We had put together a really cool costume for Jessica James, aka kick-ass super-villain Darkstar.  But the superhero costume for Michael Masters, aka Captain Amazing, had come out looking pretty lame and wasn’t cutting it.  I made the decision to revamp his costume.  With less than 24 hours until we started shooting.

And Now the Conclusion (I’ve always wanted to say that)

Here’s what the costume looked like before the revamp:

- Light blue unitard
- Red Mask
- Red (women’s) underwear on the outside
- Red gloves
- Red rubber boots

The first thing we decided to do was re-dye his costume a darker color.  Instead of light blue (which was not making him look very superhero-ry), we were going to try navy blue.  My Producer Michalina wound up finding fabric dye in a 24-hour grocery store.  I picked it up from her at midnight.  Dropped it off at Costume Designer Justine’s place a little after that.  And she re-dyed the costume the morning of the shoot.  Just in time!

Michalina came up with a great idea for the rather ridiculous-looking red rubber boots.  Which by the way were from Wal-Mart.  If you want cheesy-looking rubber boots, Wal-Mart is the place to go!   We put black stockings over the boots.  In the camera, you couldn’t even tell.  They just looked like cool, black, superhero boots.

I hit up the huge local mall and a couple of costume shops the morning of the shoot, looking for any accessories that might make the costume look cooler.  I found some really cool gloves in a Dick’s Sporting Goods store.  They were actually wide receiver gloves that football players use.  But they definitely looked like something a superhero might wear.  I bought the largest youth size, because they were a lot cheaper than the adult size.  I figured Mark could just ram his hands into them.  And, hey, when you’re working on almost no budget, you save money whenever you can :)

So, now the costume was a cool color.  The boots and gloves were looking good too.  But that still wasn’t enough.

Justine threw together a really cool belt.  Making it from scratch at the last minute.  Well, first she cursed me out for making her do so much costume work and for injuring herself doing it (injured herself while making the costumes, not while cursing).  Maybe she didn’t really curse me out, but I imagine she did as she was in her apartment bleeding all over the place.  But what was so cool about the belt was that she pretty much exactly created the belt I had designed in the City of Heroes game.  So I was super-excited about that!

And then the last piece of the costume was almost accidental.  I was at my friend JC’s apartment (she was also helping on the crew) and mentioned we were revamping the costume.  And she said, “Oh, what about this?”  And then proceeded to draw a quick sketch of Captain Amazing with an emblem on his chest that looked like an upside-down triangle.  And then a pile of black fabric materialized in her hand.  From which she cut a triangle-emblem out in no time.  She was like a superhero with her amazingly-fast design skills!

So know we had all the pieces of our new costume:

- Navy blue unitard
- Black triangle-emblem for the chest
- Red mask
- Kick-ass looking red belt
- Black/Blue gloves
- Black boots

It looked so much better.  It actually looked like a superhero costume.  I was so relieved, because 20 hours before that, I had no idea if it was going to all come together.  But in the world of filmmaking, you gotta have faith.  And work your ass off  :)

Of course, keeping the costume from falling apart once it was on Mark was a totally different challenge.

But that’s a story for next week.  See you then!

Images and video after the jump.

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The Secret to a Superhero Costume: Women’s Underwear?

Hey all, it’s Jeff. So I know last week I promised I’d tell you the conclusion of the nail-biting cliffhanger I left you all with. Okay, it really wasn’t that nail-biting, but I’m going to pretend it was. But Mark wrote such a funny blog post this week, we’re going to share that with you. But don’t worry, I will conclude my previous post soon :) So without further ado, here’s the legend himself – Mark Pezzula (aka Captain Amazing):

I’m sure Christopher Reeve did many silly things for director Richard Donner while playing the Man of Steel in the movie Superman, but I doubt he did anything as embarrassing as wear a pair of women’s underwear. In last week’s blog, Jeff told you what went in to making Captain Amazing’s costume. Now I’ll tell you about a little piece of the outfit that didn’t make it, much to the relief of myself and Jeff, but slightly disappointing to costume designer Justine.

When I arrived at Justine’s that Tuesday evening, Captain Amazing’s costume was laid out on the kitchen table, along with a plastic muscular torso with rubbery strings attached to the back. Turns out Justine thought Captain Amazing should look, well, amazing under his costume, and since my body frame is more Michael Cera than Dean Cain, she thought the plastic torso would help beef up my body a bit.

The problem was that when the unitard was put over the plastic torso Captain Amazing’s pecs turned into David Cronenberg’s wet dream. The nipples inverted and the top half of my body looked distorted. It looked like Captain Amazing had entered Seth Brundle’s telepod with a roll of silly putty. Needless to say the plastic torso was scrapped, and now my naturally scrawny sub-neck region will be forced upon viewers in all of its lanky and pale glory. What will not be forced upon viewers, thankfully, is the original article of clothing that Justine thought would be a good substitute for superhero briefs.

That article of clothing, ladies and gentlemen, was a cherry red pair of women’s satin panties. Now don’t get me wrong: normally a gigantic smile would have crossed my face had I seen a red pair of women’s satin panties (especially strewn willy-nilly on a kitchen table – ZING!), but I’m normally not wearing them. (No really I’m not. I swear. Really). As I slid the feminine garment up my legs and felt the elastic band begin to hug my undercarriage, I suddenly wished I had stipulated to Jeff that “sure, I would love to play a superhero – just as long as I don’t have to wear a pair of Victoria’s Secret underwear.” Of course, when one accepts a role in which the character’s alter-ego is “Captain Amazing,” one would think such a request would be unnecessary.

Thankfully, director Burns decided that since we were not making a John Waters superhero film, the panties would be nixed, and Justine would need to design another article of clothing to cover Captain Amazing’s lower torso region. Had he decided that was his apparel of choice, it’s quite possible Super Knocked Up could have become a very different, very scary web series.

Director’s Note: Do not believe Mark folks, he really does enjoy wearing women’s underwear. In fact, those red panties mysteriously disappeared from Justine’s apartment that night. Hmm?

Tune in next week to find out what costume item replaced the panties and how we changed the Captain Amazing costume from super-lame to super-cool! Also find out how many times we can say “panties” in a blog post to increase our hits :)

Thanks for reading!

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