One Room, Many Sets by JohnJG

The trick to no-budget filmmaking is “making do” with what you have.. and when you don’t really have much of anything to start with you ultimately must find creative ways to stretch every dollar and recycle elements from previous films to aid in the assembly of all subsequent films. Finding places to shoot is one of the most difficult tasks, and if you don’t have access to some place new, then you must use some place OLD and film it or decorate it so that it LOOKS like something new. This one microscopic room for example may seem like a complete mess but it has been used in so many different ways and in so many films that I probably can’t recount them all. It’s an extremely small space, but it’s also proven to be extremely useful. Below are some of the uses for this room that I can recall off of the top of my head… maybe Bill can help to fill in whatever I may miss.

The most obvious element here is Stormy Tempest’s cockpit on the left, designed and assembled by Bill Black for Stormy Tempest: Perils in the Past. It’s a pink styrofoam shell painted white and it was held together by tape. It had a coat hanger in the center to support the weight of the roof (lean on it too hard and the whole thing would likely come down like a house of cards). Stormy’s cockpit was converted into Clayton the Sleeper’s cockpit (as seen in this picture) for Stormy Tempest: Unmasked by rearranging the position of the pilot’s chair and the control box. This cockpit has since been destroyed as a result of a fire marshal inspection. I think the foam panels themselves are still around and will likely turn up in a future project.

The floor in this room is covered in black paper in an attempt to recreate the black floor of the Shoestring Theater where the events of Nightveil: The Sorcerer’s Eye unfold. Sorcerer’s Eye was supposed to film for two days in the theater, but the second day was cancelled at the last minute and there would be no future opportunity to go back in and complete the film.  Bill converted this room into a replica of one corner of the Shoestring stage to allow us to finish the film. The replica was pretty convincing on screen and it is difficult to tell exactly which scenes were filmed on the actual stage, which were greenscreened and which occurred in this room.

The “door” behind Bill goes nowhere. That corner of the room was staged to be part of the interior of Nightveil’s sanctum in Nightveil: Witchwar. We recycled it in Sorcerer’s Eye as a backdrop for Alizarin Crimson. Just about all of the Dark Dhagor scenes from Nightveil: Witchwar were filmed in this room also. Many of the props lying around on the back shelves are Witchwar leftovers.

This might also be the room where the Blue Bulleteer was tied to a chair in Blue Bulleteer: Captured by the Cloak. I’d have to watch it again to be sure.

The small alcove occupied in this picture by the cockpit is where most Lon Madnight segments occur. The walls are covered with a stone-patterned wallpaper to resemble the interior of a castle or crypt. Stormy Tempest: Damsels in Distress occurs here as well. I believe it was Stormy Tempest herself (Nicola Rae) that took this particular photo.

There used to be two large “stone” columns here also, but those were removed and incorporated into the monolithic Vultura altar backdrop for Nyoka Fights Back.

The greenscreen backdrop on the right was used to create all of Stormy Tempest: Attack of the Giantess. Virtually this entire room was covered in greenscreen to serve as Dr. Farb’s lab in The Ghost of Garganta. At the time Bill had large green-painted styrofoam boxes lying around to serve as “control panels”.

Currently this room is waiting for its next casting call. Bill has mentioned wanting to turn it into a big laboratory set. He has several future projects in mind that could use a good lab. I want to turn it into an open spaceship interior for a Stormy Tempest fight scene, or some other “spacious” sci-fi themed interior set. If we plan things right we can probably both get what we want. :)