This project post probably should have come out about 4 months ago, but things have been crazy busy. In February, we were approached by Tokina Cinema USA to produce some funny content for their reel that would be played at their booth at NAB. So, we happily obliged!

Origins of the “Pa”

Curse of the Were-Pa has been a running joke for the last year or so. One Day, Ross and I were at a restaurant for lunch and saw a pickup truck with a license plate reading “Que Paso”. Naturally, our brains digressed from that to “Paw Queso”. Then, to “Grandpa Cheese”. I know, we’re very weird. You still have no clue how really strange we are.

When Tokina asked us for funny content for their reel, we consulted our very long list of really stupid ideas. That’s when Ross discovered “Grandpa Cheese” and thus, “Curse of the Were-Pa!” was born. This was a REALLY dumb idea, but I remember when the lightning struck Ross in the brain. He couldn’t put his keyboard down as he pounded out the script. Tokina asked for “30 seconds to a minute” funny short. We happily obliged with 16 minutes!

The Casting

Casting was fairly easy for this short. Originally, we planned on Jacob playing Marvin Manarro and Josh Dansby to be our Doctor. But, things changed and we decided that it would be better for Dansby to assume the role of Young Marvin! We had our pappy, Jack Rigney, play the role of the Were-Pa, because it was definitely based off him. Garyn Vaughn was the PERFECT fit for Mary and she did so well with her southern drawl. Finally, Scott Ross did great justice to Dr. Peppurh. At first, we had only planned on Scott being our on set sound recordist. That’s his “job” by day. When I sent him the script, the first question he asked was, “Who’s playing the Doctor?” That really set the plan in motion to shift all the characters around. We are really glad we made that call because he nailed his part (no offense Dansby; as if anybody cares…)!

Production

Production was a really different task than what we had tackled in the past. The look of the film was paramount to everything we did, so we researched a LOT of old monster movies from the 1920s-40s to get a feel for the film gate as well as how they lit things. We wanted to nail the grainy, tortured film look and I think we achieved that. Everyone was so great to work with that we really hammered through the script with relative ease.

One of our biggest time savers was doing 3 camera setups on longer dialogue scenes. In post, this allowed us to take longer cuts and utilize more of each take. We did 3 camera setups for both of the long dialogue scenes: Mary and Dr. Peppurh and the dinner scene at the end of the film.

I don’t know if it was the case, but it pretty much felt like laughing was mandatory on the set of “Curse of the Were-Pa!” We all did a TON of laughing. That’s how we want our sets to be, especially if comedy is the point of the production. We had a script to stick to, but knowing how Scott, Josh, and Garyn think, we allowed them some free roam on how they delivered or if they wanted to deviate a little. This let them explore their characters as well as give us some really amazing performances we wouldn’t have gotten otherwise.

Post Production

The post work on this film was relatively simple. We got nearly everything we wanted in camera, so it was then up to us to decide exactly how much film grain we wanted, what our colors would be, and how we wanted the film to sound. The grade came together pretty seamlessly. Ross had the look nailed in his head, but we still looked at a few different options before landing on the one you see in the movie.

The Visual Effects in the film are mostly unnoticeable, as always. But our favorite was the set of digital books Ross animated into Dr. Peppurh’s office on the back table. Now you’re going to go look at them, and that’s okay, I’ll give you time.

These films have a unique low fidelity sound to them. We wanted to honor the integrity of the film by torturing the audio til it felt like it was recorded 70 or 80 years ago. The way we achieved this was with Izotope’s Vinyl plugin. Vinyl is a free plugin that gives your sound a vinyl feel. It’s really freaking awesome and you should check it out! The other sound element that really made the film was the broken wind, haha!

One day on set, Pappy stopped me and said,

“You know what will really take this film to the top?”

“What, Pappy?”

“Fart Noises.”

Little did we know how right he was. In all the viewings we did of the film, the farts were most definitely the biggest laughs!

We really had a fantastic time producing this short film and we look forward to doing more in the future!

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