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Melonpool March 11 2010 08:28 PM

Borderline Trek Film
 
I was wondering if it'd be OK for me to post updates on the film I'm working on right now.

It's a puppet film called "Melonpool: The Motion Picture" and the story is roughly "Star Trek: The Motion Picture meets Rescue From Giliigan's Island." I drew a webcomic from 1996-2004 and have spent the last few years developing projects with the same characters as puppets. I'm building the set right now.

My film isn't technically a fan film or a spoof -- but it does borrow heavily from my love of Star Trek, Star Wars and other sci-fi movies and shows to create something (hopefully) different.

You can see the old webcomic here. I'll wait to post any photos or updates until I hear back.

I enjoy all of your work!

Steve

Kelso March 11 2010 09:36 PM

Re: Borderline Trek Film
 
Awesome! There isn't nearly enough puppet scifi.

Can't wait to see more.

Melonpool March 15 2010 09:07 PM

Re: Borderline Trek Film
 
Thanks! I did a lot of work on the set this weekend. It should start looking a lot more like a spaceship as soon as I add the paint and the lights. I'm not sure when the actual filming will commence, but at least the script is in good shape and the cast and the director are set. I really need to assemble a tech crew to help in the set -- it's amazing how long it takes with just me doing all the construction. Oh well, that's show biz!

Here are a couple of pics. Enjoy!

http://www.melonpool.com/images/bridge2.jpg
http://www.melonpool.com/images/doors.jpg

And here's a sketch of what I'm trying to build:

http://www.melonpool.com/images/bridgesketch.jpg

Potemkin_Prod March 16 2010 08:09 PM

Re: Borderline Trek Film
 
Looking great!

Melonpool March 22 2010 05:11 PM

Re: Borderline Trek Film
 
So, I got my door working this weekend! I still have to work on getting it lined up straight and securing it at the bottom of the doors, but at least the mechanism is working!

Enjoy!

Door Tests

Potemkin_Prod March 23 2010 07:47 AM

Re: Borderline Trek Film
 
How did you get it to work? What hardware did you use?

Melonpool March 23 2010 05:12 PM

Re: Borderline Trek Film
 
I used a tranverse rod cord control that I found at Home Depot and a standard closet track.

It took a little doing, but after removing all of the plastic clips that are used to hang the drapes on, I was able to attach the moving end of the mechanism to the doors. When you pull the cord, the doors open and when you pull the other cord, they close.

Mine are a little wonky at the bottom because I have to leave it open for the puppeteers -- something that shouldn't be a concern for you guys. I think I have an idea on how to make a tack for it that won't get in our way. That should stabilize it.

I made the doors because my doorway is only 16 inches wide and about 3 1/2 feet tall, but you guys should be able to use real doors.

I think this is the way New Voyages does it (I used to chat with one of their builders), but it could be that their mechanism is based on a traverse rod. Mine, being smaller, might be able to use the standard pull string.

Hope this helps!

Potemkin_Prod March 24 2010 05:40 AM

Re: Borderline Trek Film
 
I had not thought of that! I had figured we'd have two volunteers controlling it. My wife the engineer had told me she'd design something for me, but when I told her of your message, she started laughing, looked at her sketch, and threw it away. The simplest solution is again the best solution. Thanks!!!!

Melonpool March 24 2010 10:04 PM

Re: Borderline Trek Film
 
Well, it's far from a perfect solution, but it seems to work reliably enough -- and it's a lot more precise than having two guys on either door.

One idea I thought about doing for years involved a bike chain and a bike gear and used the same idea for a mechanism found in the adjustable paper tray on most copy machines. if you ever take one apart, there's a small geared wheel and two flat geared things at the top of each slider -- one which lines up with the top of the gear and one that lines up with the bottom.

When one side is moved, the other moves in the opposite direction. My idea was to make a giant one of these out of the bike gears and chain, attached to two closet doors on a track -- but figuring out how to do this stymied me for about four years... until the guy over at Phase II clued me in on the traverse rod idea.

You're right! The simple solutions are often the best ones!

Potemkin_Prod March 25 2010 03:35 AM

Re: Borderline Trek Film
 
Reducing it to one guy pulling a cord will make our lives much easier. With space being a premium on our bridge, we'll be able to use the curved turbolift approach along with the traverse lines, and voila.

Funny you should mention the copiers considering that's what I do for a living. That particular kind of cord is generally a metal one, and that might be better than the draw string from the traverse blinds. I think a chain would be too noisy, though.

Melonpool May 10 2010 09:07 PM

Re: Borderline Trek Film
 
I finally got a new picture posted and a short clip testing out how a wide angle lens makes the set look. It actually does make the 12-foot set look a lot more expansive -- you guys may want to invest in a wide angle lens for your camera (I got mine for about $25). With any luck, the camera you're using is set up for something like that.

http://www.melonpool.com/images/MayberryRalphBridge.jpg

A little movie showing the set in action

Kelso May 10 2010 11:11 PM

Re: Borderline Trek Film
 
This looks great! I once dreamt of doing something like this. Kudos to you for making it happen.

Will this be raunchy puppet humor, or something I can watch with my daughter?

Potemkin_Prod May 10 2010 11:21 PM

Re: Borderline Trek Film
 
I'm not sure what kind of lenses we have access to, but I'll ask our director of photography... Seems like that would be a good approach on some shots.

Melonpool May 11 2010 07:18 PM

Re: Borderline Trek Film
 
It's going to be kid friendly -- hopefully, your daughter will still be a kid by the time we get it done! I'm kind of approaching this like a "Star Trek for kids" and the plot is more or less lifted from TMP. It won't be necessary to have seen TMP, but anyone that has will get another layer of enjoyment out of it.

At least, that's my hope. We're going to have our first reading of the script on Saturday with the cast and a small audience of friends. Hopefully they'll all think it's as funny as I do. ;)

Steve

Melonpool May 17 2010 05:45 PM

Re: Borderline Trek Film
 
So, we had our first script reading on Saturday night. It went really well! It seemed to play well to people unfamiliar with my comic/puppets as well as people that have never seen Star Trek: The Motion Picture, so I think the script has accomplished what I wanted it to. There's still a lot of work to do (like fundraising), but I'm thrilled to have crossed this milestone in the production!


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