My newest feature film, Robotica Destructiva premieres at The Enzian January 6th, 2023 as part of their Freaky Fridays series.
Strobo, Max, Auto and Trog once again find themselves hurtling from one adventure to another but this time they are antagonists to a trio of android warrior sisters activated to retrieve a doomsday device from them. Amber Belko, Torie Martin and Kristal Theron take on the roles of the warrior sisters, Mytra, Azalla and Luna.
The movie combines practical costumes, effects and people with digital sets, spaceships and environments. It was a lot of fun to make and we think you’ll have a lot of fun watching it. Look for a streaming release sometime in Spring 2023.
Ulp! Time for an update! Just started a new animated series awhile back called I Am Robot You Are Not!. It’s a series that will go about 8-10 episodes at 10 minutes each. I’m designing and animating everything single-handedly so it’s taking some time. I enjoy the process though and it’s given me lots of excuses to watch old and new cartoons for inspiration (Speed Racer woooo!). Check out iamrobotyouarenot.com and The Killer Robots YouTube channel to learn more and watch the newest episodes.
Just another Sunday afternoon waiting for a 4 second shot to render – 9 hours and 4 minutes to go. In the meantime I’ve been putting some thought into how how better to promote the new Killer Robots movie. Unfortunately, I’m not too fond of promoting. As someone hoping to be a successful artist and filmmaker, I realize this is something I should probably put more energy into.
Photo by Mike McGowan
So in the spirit of promotion, here is a shot of actor, Scott Yuken as a club-wielding barbarian battle machine. One of hundreds and the reason the above described shot is taking so long. Can you guess what recyclables were incorporated into this costume? This is of course assuming that Scott is not actually an android sent from the future to help us finish our movie.
In October of 2009, The Killer Robots appeared on Daytime TV, a nationally syndicated morning show. After receiving a request by an old friend of Mike “Max” McGowan to appear on the show, we began work in anticipation of our television debut. Our manager Ross “Captain Zonar” Parker drilled us through many rehearsals of our chosen single, the Killer Robots “Theme Song.” When not practicing, Samuel “Strobo” Williams set about constructing a large robot for Charles “Trog” Harris to fight while the rest of us performed our song.
The fateful day arrived and we set out for Tampa in the evening so that we could make it to the studio on time in the morning. The production was exciting and surreal. We shared a dressing room with several angry looking dogs in Halloween costumes (please see video below). The pets were really nice though and we traded war stories about the travails of show business.
The performance finally arrived and we blasted through our set. We were a little excited though and came in a little too quick. The producer came out and asked us to stretch it out. We went for another take while Trog demolished the giant robot costume worn by his brother, Mike Harris.
After we were finished, the producer hurried out of the control room and exclaimed, “That was so horrible it was amazing!” I laughed and explained, “Our manager tells us that all the time!”
It was a great experience and the production team seemed to be having fun with all of the strangeness. Our manager, Ross was amazing and moved around the studio like a tornado keeping everyone updated and our performance on a smooth and steady course. Ross unfortunately passed away a year later after a long fight with cancer but I will always remember his raucous laughter and the upbeat energy he brought to that day.
Storyboards! One of my favorite tasks while preparing for a movie. They usually start out with a lot of detail and shading. Eventually, about 60 pages in, they start to resemble abstract scribbles. This is from one of the first sequences assembled for The Killer Robot’s Next Movie.
When we shot it we didn’t have a lot of room as our green screen didn’t stretch but a few feet. Our actress, the indomitable Jenna Hellmuth, made the most of it with slow motion leaps and short hops that, in our mind’s eye, would translate into high intensity action once the backgrounds were added and the shots trimmed.
I’m happy to report, the sequence was a nice confidence booster. On the road to production I wrote and drew all kinds of way-out stuff with just a hope that it would all somehow come together in the final product. Seeing the puppets, performers, editing and effects come together in a final cut scene is a rush every time.
Check out the finished sequence below. Hope you enjoy!
Producing a feature length Sci-Fi spectacle on a zero budget can leave one with very few options when it comes to locations, actors and crew personnel. In the case of the Killer Robots Next Movie we were blessed with a number of individuals who have given generously of their time and energy and have allowed us to turn their garages, barns and cat dens into temporary movie studios.
It’s a challenge to create something of scale with limited resources, but also a joy to see footage come together that is so far removed from a small room with a green screen, treadmill and kitty litter. It’s as if dreams too fantastic to realize were manifested into reality by sheer willpower, cameras, duct tape and recycled plastics.
Even with writing the script and directing the scenes, the film still takes on a life of its own. Actors bring their personalities to the characters while costumes and props take on unexpected forms based on the materials at hand. Sometimes I feel like the universe is creating the movie and I’m just riding the wave and trying to keep my balance.
Mike McGowan steadies Trog played by Charles Harris
Back to the vortex. Thanks for reading!
Check out some info on The Killer Robots Next Movie (not the official title) and other projects over here.
Check out killerrobots.tv for information about the Killer Robots band along with very infrequent news updates!
With my first feature, The Killer Robots and the Battle for the Cosmic Potato I got an idea for the story in a flash. I could hear the voices of the different characters and the jokes just seemed natural. I wrote the script in a couple of days and added in bits and pieces throughout production. The final script was 65 pages and to those familiar with screenwriting, that’s about 65 minutes of actual finished movie. After producing a couple of shorts and the one feature I can attest that somehow it really does work out to about a minute of movie per page.
Dax delivers useless insight.
Now normally movies are about 90 minutes long while a few might get away with 70 minutes. I decided I needed an 80 minute movie and so added a lizard-like floating head between the different chapters of the movie. He would recite various philosophical platitudes that really made no sense but somehow related to the story – but not really. He turned out to be a lot of fun though. Folks got a kick out of him popping up at various times through the narrative. Usually by the end he would be mercilessly booed, but that was part of the fun.
To further extend the movie to the 80 minute mark I constructed a rather long credit sequence at the beginning of the movie. There were lots of flybys of computer generated planets while the names of the amazing cast and crew flashed by on-screen – all in a rich yellow and blue color scheme. Personally I love it, although watching it with an audience at Spooky Empire in 2009, I couldn’t help but think it should have been a couple of minutes shorter.
Finally I kept my shots at a leisurely 5-6 seconds long. With dialogue extending some shots longer and some action bits coming in at around 3 seconds. I’m quite happy with the final product although when I watch it, I sometimes have an urge to trim the hell out of certain shots. But I guess that what happens when you take on a project like this. You’re never really done with it. You just have to walk away at some point and hope it flies.
My hat’s off to you folks out there who write these things every day. I’ve been staring into the screen for a while now. I got nuttin! I keep adding pages though and planning content.
Meanwhile! I’ve got a list of about 146 shots for the new Killer Robots movie that I’m slowly working my way through. All of them are matte paintings of different establishing shots of cities and interiors. Sometimes to set the scene in a specific location or just for general atmosphere.
Mr. Williams applies a base coat to a series of miniature structures for use in the Killer Robots Next Movie.
My good friend Samuel Williams built a variety of miniatures with which I’m photoshopping and compositing. It’s quite a bit of work, but they’re going fairly fast and give the film a gritty tactile look.
Shot of Pluton, played by Shawn C. Phillips, atop one of Samuel Williams’ creations.