Photo 1: The year started off pretty strong with me and my friends winning a ton of categories at the IAWTV Awards. I was the Academy's first multi-catagory winner, honored with best Best Production Design and Best Make-up FX awards for Dragon Age: Redemption. Of course, being the first is the ONLY thing that kept me in step with this amazing group, as all of us ended up winning multiple awards, and naturally the amazing Felicia Day needed help carrying her 4 trophies home!
Photo 3: As in the past 4 years, 2012 was filled with Felicia Day driven projects. Some were direct calls from her where we worked together on something, other times one of us would show up on set and be surprised the other was there. But either way, looking back on the year, it seems like so many cool things have come from us working together. Which is good, since Felicia is always fun to work with! Above, you can see the soap mold I made in the form of the logo for her show, THE FLOG.
Photo 4: Teal Shear's show, My Gimpy Life, featured Felicia as an actress who liked to read romance novels while in casting agent's waiting rooms. So, pretty much, she was playing herself. The script called for a sci-fi/romance hybrid called Blind Desire, with a dust jacket that featured a blind goddess being seduced by a cat man. Teal called and asked if I would do the cover, much in the style I did The Guild's Highland Sextasy painting. I asked Milynn Sarley of Team Unicorn to be my model, as she is as close to a goddess as you can get. It's acrylic on canvas, with as many innuendos as I could fit in a 24x36 inch space!
Photo 8: There are actually too many web shows to mention if I want to finish this blog before 2014, but I will definitely include a few more of the key ones. The Fine Bro's My Music is making a lot of waves on the internet, including a whopping 9 Streamy nominations! I'm glad one of those is mine for Best Design, since we worked hard to build what I am pretty sure is the largest set ever build from the ground up for a web series.
Photo 11: Machinima was on the rise this year, giving all of their shows a make-over. And I got to do most of the making-over! I designed 6 sets for them in all, including the mail room for Respawn: Inbox and this talk show set for Inside Gaming Daily.
Photo 12: The internet and "main stream media" are still considered worlds apart, but it is becoming more common to see huge movies and television shows have splinter versions on the web. There are also occasions when original web content makes its way to other media such as DVD. Just in time for Christmas,The Legend of Neil did just that! I had a blast designing season 3 of this break-out series, and it was a privilege to do the art for the dvd cover. And don't forget to watch the special features. I'm sure I'm in there showing you how to make something!
Photo 13: I didn't get to design any video games like I did in 2011, but I did work on a bunch of commercials for them! Probably the most popular of all was the live action spot for Borderlands 2. My team stayed up for 72 hours straight to deliver 12 masks, 4 helmets, and a loot crate! But it was worth it. I don't think any other project has gotten as much response! It seems everybody wants a bandit mask. Do you?
Photo 14: Thinking back on the year, I recall many of the all-nighters being for video game commercials. After months of bidding and designing, I ended up with only a weekend to create the 7 trophies featured in the Wii Sports commercials.
Photo 16: I did a lot of television work this year, too. One of my favorites was Happy Endings, starring Damon Wayans. Jr. Every time the writers dream up a crazy prop, I get a phone call. And with each call, the props get crazier and more challenging. Which is awesome! I feel like I did something for almost every episode this season, but I can only show you the ones that have aired so far! You may recognize Sinbrad here, but keep watching the show for more!
Photo 20: Sometime my presence on a television show is very subtle. Like this bus stop poster that was featured on Justified. My buddy Dave Blass put it there. 2012 brought him an Emmy Nomination for his design work on Justified. Dave and I have worked together for decades, since the Corman years, so I could not be more proud of him. Next stop: Oscar!
Photo 23: My birthday was much more low key. I spent it with Tenacious D. We filmed some stuff.
Photo 24: 2012 was the year I achieved many life long goals, too. Growing up as a kid in Jersey, I used to paint heavy metal album covers on the backs of jean jackets to earn extra cash for Star Wars figures and stuff. I dreamed of the day I would be the one painting an actual album cover. I've painted a bunch over the years, but never for a major, classic metal band. Well, I almost got my shot this year. The German band Accept asked me to paint them a cover, and they had a really great concept. I did a ton of comps, but unfortunately, the label rejected everything, including the concept. They ended up just using their logo. The band, however, loved the art, and gave me a special thanks inside the CD and LP covers. All those years of studying the album covers, wondering who those people were in "The Band wishes to thank" section, and now I'm finally one of them!
Photo 25: I also had my first museum exhibition year. I designed and sculpted a series of armor for endangered marine life to help the Surfrider Foundation promote environmental awareness. The life-sized sculptures will be traveling around the country, where you will be able to see them at both museums and aquariums. The exhibit is entitled, "They cannot protect themselves", and through this art I wanted to express that we as humans always find a way to shield ourselves from the harm we create, but there are so many other creatures on this Earth that cannot create a barrier against our actions.
Photo 30: In 2011, I directed and designed White Room: 02B3, the first original Roddenberry Production in years. We filmed the project in 360 degrees, using state of the art technology for an audience immersive experience. This year, we showed sneak peeks of that technology at the various conventions and trade shows we attended.
Photo 31: The 360 version for dome theaters and your hand held devices is still being worked on, fine tuning the technology to give you the best viewing experience possible. But the "director's cut", which I filmed in a traditional single camera format, made its world premier at the Sci-Fi London Film Festival. It was great to see it up on the big screen. I got to meet so many creative forces in the sci-fi community, and I was invited to speak about special effects and film making at The British Academy of Film and Television.
Photo 33: Then there are mystical forces that are much easier to wrap your mind around. Like the Beatles! White Room: 02B3 writer Tory Mell and I walked across London to find Abbey Road, and I was pleased to see that so little has changed since the famous photo for their 1969 album cover. When we got there, it was relatively quite. But apparently tons of people have the same idea we did, because it was soon teaming with people from all over the world. We offered to help a couple take a recreation of the Beatle's photo in exchange for one of our own, and when they screamed with joy over how perfect the one we took matched their Googled image of the original, our services became in high demand.
I attempted to hold back traffic as Tory directed people to strike the pose while he snapped away. Not wanting to deny anyone, we had to wait till a lull to make our escape. We estimate we took over a hundred photos in that 45 minutes! We joked about getting a permit to set up a booth and charge $20 a pop. Surprised noone has done that yet!!!
Photo 35: Floppets made leaps and bounds in 2012, which was officially its first year in business. But we came out of the gate strong, premiering at the New York Toy Fair in February, where we were called, "The next big trend in kids' toys!" It was quite the honor, considering we were on the floor with the biggest and best toy companies in the world. We wanted to make sure people didn't forget about us, so I designed these commemorative edition Floppets to hand out at our booth. They were a huge hit, so be sure to look for a new design at every show we attend next year. And there will be a lot of them! As a matter of fact, the most travel I did this past year was for Floppets.
Photo 37: Soon after Chicago, I ended up in Vegas again, this time for the Licensing Show. This is kind of a behind-the-scenes version of the comic conventions, because everything we know and love is represented there, but nothing is for sale and the big ticket franchises have showrooms that are invitation only. I tried to talk to Saban about some doing Power Ranger Floppets, and they wouldn't even let me in! I was relieved to meet some friendly faces at SeaWorld, though.
Photo 38: I ended up making a lot of great deals over the week despite my Power Rangers rejection. But I have to say that the highlight of the whole trip was running into the Gotcha booth, which was plastered with standees and larger than life photos of Marissa Cuevas! I knew she had modeled their clothing line last year, but it blew my mind to see her image representing the entire company at the show. This was just one of many achievements for Marissa in 2012, a list which also includes a starring role on Nickelodeon's Super Ninjas! I can hardly wait to see what she will accomplish in 2013!
Photo 43: If you got to roam around E3 this year, you were sure to run into some of my work. My favorite piece was the Live Feed set for the Machinima booth. They wanted something that was generic, yet embodied sic-fi and gaming. I went with this Aliens inspired structure, and we tricked it out with aluminum pipes and red under lighting.
Photo 44: I carved out a little time to actually explore E3 myself, and to make sure I didn't miss anything, I joined my favorite video game expert for the tour. Milynn was ecstatic to find Pac Man carpet that matched her dress, and was sure she would blend in...
Photo 45: The guys over at Sypher Art Studios jumped in to help me build the Steampunk booth for Guild season 5, so in trade I sculpted them a full size dragon head for the Labyrinth of Jareth Masquerade Ball. On Guild season 6, I needed to borrow said dragon back for the game designer's office, so I returned that favor with a series of goblin sculpts. I did 5 characters in all, and created 30 appliances for the 2 night event.
Photo 47: And late at night, when I couldn't sleep, I would draw strange things to put on Apple computers! I have multiple designs available for sale on Etsy, but the most popular by far is the Ood.
Photo 48: The last convention of the year was the biggest of them all. Mojang brought me back to design Minecon 2012, and this time it was in Paris. I had to travel over there several time to scout out the venues, find crew and facilities, and work out all the details since the show was so involved.
Photo 50: We also went to Stockholm, Sweden to visit the Mojang offices. There Junkboy and I plotted and schemed about what Minecon Paris would look like. If you are wondering why this photo looks like it's from the 1920s, it's because the guys threw a big, themed office warming party the week we where there. It was an adventure finding vintage clothing in the malls of Stockholm, but I think we did alright!
Photo 51: Not all my trips to Europe were as much fun, though. With Minecon only 5 weeks away, I packed up all my gear, and the crew and I headed over to Paris for the final build. We were only there 4 days when we were mugged outside a RER train station. 6 guys came out of nowhere as we were getting into our rental car in the parking lot, and started beating me with a steel police baton. We were able to fight them off, and they didn't get any of our belongings, but I ended up with a dislocated shoulder, disarticulated collar bone, fractured elbow, and extensive nerve and tissue damage. I'm healing up now, but the pain has greatly effected my work flow. I'm told the aching and tingling is going to take months to years to go away, so, there's that...
Photo 54: This past year has been filled with many wonderful things, but the most wonderful of them all was the introduction of Nikko Ransom Byrnes. His mom is my best friend, and producing partner for over a decade, Sheri Bryant. I don't know if he will grow up to think of me as an uncle, or a brother, or that weird dude that has a house full of scary heads, but holding him in my arms, I do know that no film or work of art could ever be as wonderful as he is. I am so inspired by him. He is only a few months old, but seeing him smile and laugh every time he sees his dad, John Byrnes, is the most amazing thing ever. I know that he will never be without, that his parents are the kindest and most caring people I know, but I promise that if he ever needs anything, I will be there. Everything I possess is his, and every ability I have will be used to make his dreams come true. I am so excited to share 2013 with Nikko. It is the beginning of his journey, and I'm certain it will be the best adventure yet!