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.
Here’s a music video I did for The Killer Robots song, “Depressurization” sung by Samuel Williams AKA Strobo. Kudos to Mike McGowan AKA Max for providing drum patterns and Charles Harris AKA Trog for being there in spirit!
The animation is a combination of After Effects, Lightwave 3D and some live action background crowds.
Looking forward to more animation projects in the future!
We’re really excited to be working with Leomark Studios to bring this movie into the world. We’ll be presenting some promo-videos as we approach the release date so keep a look out for bloopers, clips, behind-the-scenes, etc…
Also, The Killer Robots! Crash and Burn movie will be playing at the Super Geek Film Festival during Florida Supercon in Miami, Florida. The other robots and I will be set up at our filmmakers table the whole festival, so swing by and say hi if you can make it. The film will be playing their Friday, July 1st at 11pm and Monday July 4th at 8:05pm.
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.
Aside from that, still at work on the new KR movie. Currently in the middle of tons of rotoscoping for Strobo’s footage. His legs keep disappearing so there’s been quite a bit of layering and patching.
Also making quite a bit of headway with miniatures. Having built the majority of required models, they’re currently scattered all over the house awaiting paint jobs and filming. Yesterday I was able to shot some footage of the Towerbots – 3 story tall machines built to annihilate unwelcome visitors to the planet Vidya. Now working up the motivation to film some Galaxon battle-cruiser shots.
As of today we’ve been in production on the Killer Robots Next Movie for a little over 2 years and it looks like we may have another year to go.
Once this movie is finished I hope to produce at least 3 movies per year and make a career of it. I think with a smaller cast and scope it can be done. I look forward to telling stories of mutants, supernatural forces and other fantastic myths that folks find that they identify with.
Despite the long hours in making the Killer Robots movie, I’ve been enjoying the process. The slow pace has allowed me to experiment with old school special effects, costuming and modelmaking. Plus I get to work with a variety of talented actors and artists.
Is it worth it? Yes!
Sam Gaffin, Charisse Lefebvre and Nicole Campbell secure Scott Yuken in his Robo-Zombie uniform. Photo by Mike McGowan.
I love Computer-generated imagery (or CGI) for opening up the possibilities of imagination and allowing one to bring their visions to the screen without limitations. For a reasonable price you can be your own visual effects unit with off-the-shelf software. Despite all of this, I find myself building models and compositing photographic backgrounds for The Killer Robots Next Movie.
For my first feature, The Killer Robots and the Battle for the Cosmic Potato, I utilized Lightwave 3D to create the worlds that the characters would inhabit. Now, I did have limitations: my computer was old and slow and my experience with 3D modeling and texturing was basic at best. But, I had a list of 800 shots filled with sets, locations, costumes and alien characters that would have to be realized somehow. Without the resources to build sets and miniatures, I felt CGI was the way to go.
To get around the aforementioned limitations, I modeled everything simply. Instead of gritty realism I went for a cartoonish hyper-reality. All of the monsters and aliens had giant pool balls for eyes. Every set and spaceship glowed with color. The subject matter leaned toward the absurd so I felt an absurd presentation would be best. Some might say that it all looks like a video game and they’re probably right, but I’m ultimately satisfied with the final product in all of its primitive glory!
As happy as I was with the Cosmic Potato I couldn’t help but wonder what it all would have looked like with miniature sets, puppets and models. With production of The Killer Robots Next Movie underway, I thought to myself, “Would folks be more inclined to sit and watch my movies if the settings were more rooted in reality?”
I did some more CGI tests to see if I could approximate a more realistic look. I added extra detail and worked on my lighting. Finally I had to admit that although it was no longer cartoony; my CGI work still looked like illustrations. I decided then that the old-school style of special effects may be more conducive to what I was trying to achieve.
With the advances in digital editing and compositing I began to realize those older techniques were actually within my grasp. I built a couple of robot monsters out of recycled plastics and broken toys. My friend, Samuel Williams began building a series of miniature buildings. I found some open-source photos of engines, tunnels and refineries. I then composited everything in Adobe After Effects and added some rich color grading to the proceedings. I must admit I was quite pleased with the results.
Personally I felt more immersed, but then again I am immersed, so I’ll let you be the judge!
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.