I finally started ingesting the works of american author, H.P. Lovecraft and my imagination went wild. Stop Motion Lovecraft. YES!!! There are some super cool stop motions of Lovecraft's work out there already, so why not more! I chose The Beast in the Cave because of it's simplicity, a story we've all heard before. A person/persons adventure into unknown territory and are confronted with the impossible. I wrote the original draft of the script in June, 2020 and presented it to producer/creative partner David Brocca and he was eager to assisst in the assignment. David and I passed the scipt back and forth, adding, subtracting and reeling it in. We retained almost all the elements of the original story, while adding our own twist of cosmic horror. After 12 drafts, we felt confident that we had a unique version of this trope and David went about the casting process. Meanwhile, I began building the 1/6 scale puppets, props and giant cave set. We cast the actors Jim Titus, in the lead as 'Guy', Russell Sams as Guy's friend 'Phil' and Sara Cravens as the voice of our Beast. Yes, there is in fact a Beast in this cave. If you've read Lovecraft's original story, that is not a secret. Plus, it's in the title!!
We captured the actors performances at York Recording in Los Angeles, CA, in May of 2021. Engineered by Tim Moore, David, Jim and Sara were there in the flesh, as they are based in LA. Russell was piped in from Toronto and I joned them from Casco, WI, both via Skype. After an exhilerating day of wonderful performances by the actors, I remember sitting in my shop that night, thinking to myself, staring at the cave set, 'Well, you've got all the elements to make this film. Now it's up to you to go into that cave and make something that doesn't suck!'
I finished painting the set in June, 2021 and I began animating. Normally, I would storyboard the shots and do a pre-vis video, but the slow burn aspect of the first half of the story was not condusive to this method. I needed to wander around in the dark myself for a bit before I started feeling the proper pace of the animation. The script is 27 pages long, so we've had a general idea that the total runtime of the completed film would be approx 30 minutes. As we sit, right now at this moment, we are at 11 minutes of completed, edited footage and i'm on page 7 of the script. Thankfully, the slow burn portion is in the bag and the tempo of the piece picks up substantially.
At this point, September 21, 2022, I'm in the process of editing the voice over, foley and sound effects for the rest of the film. Soryboards will finally be created, shots will be pre-determined and when I commence with the animation, I will no longer be wandering around in the dark. There were many months where there was no light at the end of the tunnell, but I can see one now!!