Tag Archives: creativity

Spoiled Illusions 6: The Rude Disused Go-Kart Park Pallet

Are you one of those who, upon watching a DVD check out the extras, which often include a Making Of clip. I used to; but I don’t anymore: I don’t like to see the illusion spoiled. But just in case you are, here’s a little Earplug Adventures illusion spoiler.

There were many pallets and sheets of chipboard in use at my old place of work. Here is an example of a stack of them…

Now you might think this is a random selection, which, by chance, I had elected to elevate to a place of posterity upon the Internet. But no, look closely at that top pallet. It’s a strange example of the breed because it was made of a mysterious substance that looked and felt like concrete, and was impossible to lift without the aid of a fork-lift truck. It was also a perminent set for the Earplug Adventures. The subterranean go-kart park in the Museum of Future Technology, to be exact – a set that was used over and over throughout the earlier tales. That’s why you can see some tiny coloured objects in front of it, and a red sticker attached. Oh look, this it in action…

…in Museum of Terror. That’s Dan Down’n’out with his two slovenly wives. He was so poor that he lived in the go-kart park – along with some pigeon shit apparently. And it was still appearing (years after its demise) in later tales – namely in this shot from Haunted Mars

 

…where it had been placed upon a sheet of rockwall/plasterboard/pladur. Yes, it was a library shot – originally a bunch of earplugs waiting for a hover-train in an earlier story – minus the guano. It also existed in literary alternate realities, such as this one…

…featuring a nasty bunch of enforcers known as the Black Hatters in Evil Empire.

“But,” I hear you say, “what has this concrete pallet got to do with the word ‘rude’ in the title of this post?”

Well I’ll tell you…in a moment. First let me continue this tale. One day I arrived at work – to discover that the go-kart park had disappeared. In horror I went looking for it. After several panic-stricken minutes in the main warehouse I found it loaded with office equipment. Some bunch of dozy office workers had risked hernias lifting the concrete pallet down – where they could easily have used any number of lighter, more accessible wooden ones. Anyway I repacked their office equipment and stole my pallet away, where I kept it hidden in plain sight beneath the bottom strut of a racking system…

It did sterling work work there. And because it was so sodding heavy, no one ever bothered it. So, with it safely enconced, I was able to decorate it further. If you’re eagle-eyed enough, you might notice something written on the central ‘column’. Can’t quite read it? Here it is in close-up…

Yes, it’s earplug graffiti. And here it is in a story…

“Ugh?” you could be forgiven for uttering. “I don’t recall ever seeing ‘I Suck Dick’ in a lovely Earplug Adventure!”

Well, in the beginning, the earplug adventure books were rude. Very. But following some complaints I decided to re-write them as child-friendly. It was a good move: they were much improved. So, obviously this graffiti needed to be erased from every shot it appeared in. And, equally obviously, in shots where the erasing process looked odd, instead I substituted one of the words…

…and added a beam of sunlight. Much later I used the picture again as a night security camera shot…

Sadly, when the company re-located, the pallet had to remain behind in the old factory. But I snapped a few shots before I departed, and (chances are) they’ll appear as backgrounds in future shots from the Museum of Future Technology.

In fact one has already, as recently as A Tale of Three Museums...

Pretty convincing window, I think you’ll agree. Clever bastard, aren’t I?

Earplug Adventures © Paul Trevor Nolan

Spoiled Illusions 4: Cardboard is My Chum

Are you one of those who, upon watching a DVD check out the extras, which often include a Making Of clip. I used to; but I don’t anymore: I don’t like to see the illusion spoiled. But just in case you are, here’s a little Earplug Adventures illusion spoiler.

If you’re an Earplug Adventures photographer, one of your best friends is the humble material known as cardboard. With a little imagination and a bit of jiggery-pokery, it can become anything you bloody well want it to. Take, for example this empty insulation pile reel…

Hmmm, lots of potential there. Now let me see; what can I turn THAT into? Well there’s this very nice dungeon/kitchen…

…which appeared in Return of the Prodigal Earplug. It looks like a dungeon – especially with those flaming torches (burning matches) set into the wall. But the story said it was a kitchen: so I guess it must have been a medieval themed kitchen. It appeared again in Return to the Museum of Future Technology as Wilton Carpetti and Vinkie Vinkleton’s test facility – only dressed more futuristically…

And again as Ballington Cork’s temple in Return of the Prodigal Earplug…

Oh look, it’s those flaming torches again. In fact these reels have appeared in so many stories that I’m spoiled for choice. But I’ll make the last example this one…

Yes, it even featured as the K T Woo’s engine room in Stepladder to the Stars. Very versatile, cardboard reels.

But cardboard comes in many guises. Like these strips – wot I cut…

These utilise that old perspective trick that was taught to us in school art lessons, all those millions of years ago. This is how this particular duo of strips looked in the story, Cometh the Earplug

Hair-Tigger wasn’t sure if the building was small and quite nearby, or huge, but a long way off. So she altered her focus, and…

…the latter proved to be the case. Silly, but I like it.

The following picture has been used over and over – almost every time that I need to show the city of Scroton Prime. It was a semi-perminant set at my old ‘studio’ despite the fact that I constructed it in the main warehouse of the factory where I worked. Everyone knew what it was, so left it alone – even the management. I was blessed to work there…

But I often re-dressed it – either physically – or later (when it was history, and all I had were some pictures of it), electronically for different stories.  Here’s how it appeared the first time, in Plunging Into Peril...

It was then re-used a hideous number of times, culminating in (at present) the most recent tale – Haunted Mars...

Will there ever come a time when this shot doesn’t appear ad infinitum? Hope not.

Those cardboard inserts you find in, say, vacuum cleaner or microwave oven boxes are a God-send as well…

If used as interiors, they make excellent caves – as seen here in Stepladder to the Stars, where Sheriff (later Captain) Sinclair Brooch makes an astonishing discovery…

And as exteriors, all you need do is cut a couple of openings…

… and they make perfect mud villages…

…as seen here in The Grand Tour. All in all, a jolly useful commodity for a creative genius, like wot I is.

Of course there are many other cardboard items which are extremely useful for a Earplug Adventure shooter: but I’ll leave them for another time.

 

 

Lest You Think The Earplug Adventures Are A Doddle To Create…

…it is five minutes to midnight,  and I have just completed the processing of the seven hundred and sixty-first photograph that I have chosen to be included in Haunted Mars. I didn’t take 761 photos for this story, of course: I can’t imagine how many there must have been before I began hitting the delete button: but it was a heck of a lot more than 761!  Many pictures have pictures within them – like this one…

…which has  wall art and a window added. So there’s three in one shot. Of course I had to create the scene visible through the window – being a star and outer space. And the wall art? Well I only use originals – mine.

What about this one…

…which is a composite of a garden solar light, shot through a pane of glass, with a real cloudy sky behind it; which was added to a shot of a sheet of burnt industrial accoustic insulation – before being stripped of its colour and made to appear like a rocket traversing a glacier Pretty good, eh? I’m rather pleased with this one.

I tell you, if I’d paid as much care and attention to work as I do to these bloody earplug stories, I’d have made it to Managing Director. 

But don’t let me make you think it isn’t fun: it is. Who couldn’t have fun cutting holes in milk bottle tops and turning them into sombreros for a mariachi band?

And converting the interior of a street light into a domed museum on Mars?

Or even contructing sets out of absolutely anything I can lay my hands on…

And just coming up with the beauty shots…

But the best fun comes when I draw them all togther and discover the story they tell me – before I write it for you.

Tooty.

Old, stupid, but still creative.

The Scroton Five!

Ah, the Scroton 5. No, this post isn’t about a 1960’s British pop band by that name, which, I feel confident, never existed: but about the long-winded gestation of this ‘new’ space craft in the Earplug Adventure universe…

Originally this craft, and this craft alone, was to be named Scroton Five: but then I accidentally created this space battle shot…

Suddenly there were three more of them – and not one of them was slated to appear in the next Earplug Adventure: A Tale of Three Museums. So the single craft became a ‘class’ of space vessel – one of which was slated to appear in the next story. And, most importantly, it was to be piloted by none other than these guys…

…Yes, Flaxwell Maltings and Dr Gideon Snoot – the ‘stars’ of the next story!

My problem, regarding shooting scenes that featured them adventuring in the Scroton 5, was simple and singular. My space ship only had an outside. There were no interiors. And now that I no longer have access to a bloody great factory and everything inside it, finding inspirational parts to build the interiors became impossible. My shed didn’t help – being full of tools, garden stuff, and nothing that was any good to a desperate author. So it was back to my attic studio, and a prayer to The Saint of All Earplugs…

I began searching through several containers of earplug-related ‘stuff’ – with no luck, until I realised that one of the containers itself could be my saviour…

I call it a Domti box, because it (and several others) came home with me when I returned to Britain from Spain several years past, and were purchased (at a very reasonable price) from a shop named, unsurprisingly, Domti. This was impetus I needed. Soon the creative juices began to flow. Picking up an ancient LCD portable DVD player, I brought the two items together in a  holy union…

“Hmmm,” I mused, “If I were to put some space scenes on a DVD…Yeah, then build a control room floor that would sit above the working part of the DVD player…”

Cue the lid of a black box file, a tube of glue, and a few random widgets that had been tossed, willy-nilly, into the Domti box…

“Yeah, I can work with that.” I continued to muse. “But what about the reverse angle shots?”

Well box files have a lid and a base. The lid made the control room floor: the base could easily become a back wall…

So, a few minutes later, with the cutting and glueing complete, what did I have? Well there was the main screen and control panel, of course…

…not to mention a pair of seats for the pilots. There is also a cage behind the seats for the obligatory Ship’s Oracle – another of my regular inclusions/plot devices. Naturally I included a space toilet too…

After all, what would an astronaut do without a loo on the bridge? And some other items, for which I’ll invent a use when neccessity strikes…

At the rear there’s a window-type frame that might, or might not, look into an engineering section (when I’ve built it, of course)…

And a door that leads to…somewhere…

All together it looks like this…

…and this…

And when I populate it with a random crew…

And we see what they see…

…you know I have a ship that can kick literary ass…

Desperate Measures

What does one do when a darned security door keeps locking, and in doing so, stops people entering?

One calls in Tooty Nolan and his creative brain, that’s what. Result? The Tuti Stop…

A design of devilish cunning, I think you’ll agree. And look…

Somehow I doubt that there is much of a market for it though. A bit like my books, I guess.