Tag Archives: scattershot

Pig Death Machine

Recently the Chicago Underground Film Festival was put on at the Logan theater, and among other things the newest film by Underground Low-Fi filmmaker Jon Moritsugu premiered titled “Pig Death Machine”.  This film, as well as his near 11 other underground films, won him the Lifetime achievement award (which is well deserved, and I suggest you all check out his work.  It’s bizarre, and the type of wonderfully insane and low-fi work that can only come out of an extreme love for the craft of filmmaking).  But why bring this up?  Because I was the art director for “Pig Death Machine”. And This is my Story.

Pig Death Machine on YouTube

It was the summer of 2010.  I was just about to begin my senior year of college and I was planning on taking a trip back to Colorado to see friends and the like before beginning. Then I got a call from the internship director at CSF/SFUAD who told me that Jon would be making his next film (which came after nearly a decade away from filmmaking) in Santa Fe and he was looking for an art director.  I decided to give it a chance and read the script, after all I wanted more work in the art department, and the idea that I would be the art director on a feature film instead of a mere intern was enticing.

Once I read the script, I knew I had to do it.  It’s a nutso piece about raw pork, and plants, and people going insane from eating raw pork and looking at plants, and if you know two cents about me you know this is right up my alley.

Vvinni on the Set of Pig Death Machine
Another plus was that I got to make fake cocaine. A LOT of fake cocaine.

The biggest part of being the art director on Pig Death Machine was figuring out how to make the raw pork that the protagonists eat to get higher IQ levels.  The problem was not only in making edible and gross-looking raw pork, but it also had to be completely vegetarian.  After a bit of thinking I came to a solution: Seitan. After some tests with my art department, we figured out that Seitan actually takes food dye rather well and when suspended in red juice looks an awful lot like chunks of gross, bloody meat. This was FANTASTIC news!

A still from the film "Pig Death Machine"
This is actually a cut of raw bloody fake meat, I thought I had some chunks but I can’t seem to find them anymore.
This girl does NOT like lettuce!
Another still: This one of a woman who begins to hear plants talk and this head of lettuce SCREAM!
Behind the scenes on the set of Pig Death Machine
Behind the scenes in a greenhouse showdown location.

Some of the other set decoration I had to do was create the living space for a woman who likes plants more than people, turn a dog washing clinic into a meat warehouse (I don’t have any stills from that, unfortunately, but let’s just say we used a lot of boxes), and create an Old Mexican drug haven in most exploitative way I could (if you ever get a chance to see the film, keep your eyes peeled for a cactus taped to the walls).  Finally, I also had the chance to create the brand identity of the meat supplier who looses this horrific raw hell unto the world. This was The Meat Center:

The fake logo for a fake meat place.
Cuts of pork and Helvetica. Industrial.

Also there were these labels to put onto boxes:

Lickin' Pete'sLes Rogatons LabelTMC LabelAnd, although it never made it into the film (and granted, it needed a bit more touching to work) there was the logo for a fake farm where the evil hell smartpork was harvested:

Hayman Farms

As I hope I’ve made abundantly clear, this was a fantastic project to be a part of and please keep your eyes open for it in a theater near you (I heard that it may be getting a European Tour, so watch out Paris and Minsk!), and I’ll certainly let my seven readers know when Pig Death Machine is available online.

Vvinni Gagnepain’s THE BOX

I bet you all knew something was up when I posted the four Tape videos all in row.  Well, now you can see for yourself. What we all thought was long over and buried has come back from the depths of it’s yellowed jelly hell and back into our waking world.  Here is Andrew’s latest package with THE TAPE:

Vvinni Gagnepain’s THE BOX from Vvinni Gagnepain on Vimeo.

The Tape had to die. I realize this, and although included in that object are years of heartbreak, passion, and vengeance, it had to go.  Otherwise, we’d just continue the cycle of destruction.  So: Included in the package, then, were a few other recordable devices:  The first was the wax figure I was cutting into before the postal service got to me.  Inside of that was was a whole lot of foil and a memory stick that had been stripped of its casings.  I was greatly excited: Now that the tape was dead, we were moving on to sending this stick back and forth to each other (which provided a lot more hiding opportunities, as shown by the wax).  But, no. Instead it was a poop video.

This wasn’t it, was it?  I had waited around three and a half years for Andrew’s reply, and he gives me a poop movie that lasts a few minutes?  I was distraught and angry, but I had some bit of resolution when I came across the piece of cardboard that the cake (which you couldn’t see, but it read “I AM DEAD” in wonderful frosting letters): “NOT YET, SOON” it read.  Okay, so pretty soon I was going to get another package from Andrew. Good, so I’ll just eat these cookies and wait.

Soon...
Not Yet.

Well, there was another surprise in ANOTHER cookie (Yes, Andrew Gingerich is a devious sort): More foil, this time including a Mini SD card.  I still don’t know what’s on the mini SD card. I’ve tried a Mini SD card reader, a Mini SD adapter, and a Mini SD slot in a tablet.  The card never reads.

Finally, beneath the chocolate cake, there was another video tape.  But it was Home Alone 3, with the recordable tab of VHS tapes taken out.  So I figured I’d gotten a free copy of Home Alone 3, and I would just wait for next package. Days went by. I got tired of waiting. I figured Andrew had to have included the Mini SD adapted in the package somewhere, and I just had to find it. So where wasn’t I looking? At that point I had eaten all of the cookies and the part of the cake I could (The bottom part was covered in inedible ink), so I dug through my trash through the parts of the cake that I threw away: Nothing. Okay. There was one part of the package that just wasn’t adding up: Home Alone 3.  But it had to be Home Alone 3, there was no way Andrew could have recorded over it, which meant one thing: ANDREW HAD HIDDEN THE MINI SD ADAPTER INSIDE OF THE TAPE.  I took out my screwdriver and got work on opening the VHS casing.  Well, one of the screws stuck and I was impatient, so I ended up breaking open the VHS and sifting through it. Nothing. I had just destroyed my copy of Home Alone 3.

THe VHS of Home Alone 3 inside of a cake.
A Tape baked into cake.

It turns out, and this seems like a massive design flaw in the VHS, that if you just put some tape over the tab area of a VHS (even if the tab has been taken out, thus rendering it unrecordable) then you can record onto said VHS. And that’s exactly what Andrew did: He re-dubbed the saga of THE TAPE onto the Home Alone 3 VHS that I had destroyed.  Oops.

Happy Birthday, Murderer!

When I transferred “In Fridge” to the tape, I made a mistake.  I transferred over the taped version of I Got the Poops, effectively deleting it.

It was the first casualty for the next twist in… THE COMPLICATED WEB OF PAPERS AND LIES.

VAT15-2

It was December, 2009. I had finished my semester at CU Boulder and I was looking forward to starting again at the newly re-opened CSF and building it back up to be the school I knew it could be.  I wasn’t looking for this, though.  “Boxco: Perfectly Ordinary Boxes for Perfectly Ordinary Human Beings” said the package I received, but a glance at who sent me this package told me that the contents of this box weren’t going to be ordinary. No, because this box was going to have The Tape somewhere inside.  Fortunately, I taped the unpackaging process and we can view it below:

VATAS: Epostode 15 from Vvinni Gagnepain on Vimeo.

One Onion, a few custom T-Shirts (which didn’t last that long, they faded after one wash), some accusations of me being a murderer, and a video tape.  All inside of a large box (The onion stain came off, by the way). I was excited at the fact that the tape itself was beginning to get altered, and I was also excited because this marked the first (and perhaps only) time I would be able to watch the next installment on the tape itself.  So I popped it into the VCR, and what I saw forever altered how this correspondence would continue.  Let’s watch, shall we?

Happy Birthday, Murderer! from Andrew Gingerich on Vimeo.

Yikes. I had called Andrew to inform him that “I Got the Poops” was gone directly after I deleted it, and I apologized for it, and made sure he had a digital copy so it wouldn’t be lost forever; but that wasn’t enough.  I had destroyed something he worked hard on, and so he had to do the same to me.  I was particularly fond of my infringement collage from the “In Fridge” package, and I thought it came out as a wonderful bit of ad-vomit.  Well, Andrew had to make sure it would become real vomit. At the time of first watching this, I was upset.  Not only at the package, but at how incredibly personal things had gotten: It seemed as though every bit of this video was meant to cut into my very being. Even now that I understand that something like this had to happen, I still feel like it’s a bit of overkill the depths at which this installment goes to make sure I knew I did something wrong and I would be punished for it.

Don't Go To Art School
We’ll Never Forgive You.

So, if we are continuing to think about the journey of the tape in terms of the internet, I suppose we’ve now entered into the trenches of the internet: Comment sections.  Not developed critical analysis, mind you (although I have a feeling we’re getting to that), but the rather inane, often irrelevant comments found on most YouTube videos. “Kirby scares about Scarecrows”, for example.  We see this with the dual voices talking about the same thing but never connecting in regards to the multiple heads, the continuing wishing and forgetting about Great Uncle Wilbur (or is it Webber?), and of course in the scathing blow that is the soup sequence.  Also worthy of note, is that we have finally entered into Poop territory with the “All The President’s Men” sequence (A “Poop” referring to the YouTube phenomenon wherein people take and re-edit various footage from cartoons and films, often in hope to create something much more humorous or frightening).  It’s true that Poops have been referenced in the Tape before, but this marks the first time we actually made one.

If you’d like to hear Andrew’s thoughts on this part of the Tape, click here.  Otherwise, stay tuned because the flame war is just beginning and soon it will consume this…

COMPLICATED WEB OF PAPERS AND LIES.

Accessories to Cake

As mentioned in the previous post about my thesis film Delicious Pound Cake, there were plenty of pieces leading up to the final release.  The first of which are these short videos featured on my Indiegogo fundraising campaign called Cakelogs:

Cakelog 12/27/10 from Vvinni Gagnepain on Vimeo.

Cakelog 1/10/11 from Vvinni Gagnepain on Vimeo.

Cakelog: MLK Jr. Day 2011 from Vvinni Gagnepain on Vimeo.

 

Cakelog: 1/24/11 from Vvinni Gagnepain on Vimeo.

 

Cakelog: 2/7/11 from Vvinni Gagnepain on Vimeo.

 

Cakel♥g: Vawuntines Day 2♥11 from Vvinni Gagnepain on Vimeo.

The Cakelogs were an interesting idea. Mainly, I was trying to fix what I saw as a growing problem with my other video series, Vvinni’s Adventure’s Through Art School, wherein many time they became so long and meandering that I feel it became a daunting task to watch them. So, for every Cakelog I tried to keep them around one minute and have it be quick and to the point. This eventually became a major flaw in them, as I feel with only facts and information the Cakelogs became rather boring and procedural, and this eventually hurt my funding campaign rather than help it.  But, oh well.

Next up is, of course, the “Delicious Pound Cake” Teaser trailer, which I’m fond of. I think it give an accurate idea of the movie (it doesn’t answer the valid question of why a 12 1/2 minute film needs a trailer, but this does: I was hoping to have this out on the festival circuit for some time, and I wanted to give the cast and crew a chance to see the footage and get as excited about the film as I was).

Delicious Pound Cake Teaser Trailer from Vvinni Gagnepain on Vimeo.

Finally, once funding and festival publicity was over, it was time to begin looking at the Delicious Pound Cake DVD.  This is still in the works (needless to say, I have some major issues with DVD Studio Pro, but that’s the only advanced DVD authoring software out there), but in the meantime here are a few extras to hold you off: A commercial from the Sugar Council of America, and gameplay footage from Salvador’s Chronicles of the Fourth Kind, described as being made by “one of the most visionary humans ever”.  Enjoy, have your cake, eat it, and explode into a miniature sun too.

A Message from the Sugar Council of America from Vvinni Gagnepain on Vimeo.