The Bloodlist (Fun With Photoshop)

KevinAsReddington-Edit3-300pxBrandedI’ve done professional renderings for various companies, but now I usually only do this kind of work for myself.

This is a cosplay I’m putting together for conventions, based loosely on James Spader’s excellent show “The Blacklist” on NBC. I mentioned to my wife that it’d be fun to get suited up and do a fake poster called “The Bloodlist” with the tagline “Never trust a horror writer,” so she dared me.

Done and done.

You: “I don’t think you’re telling me everything.”

Me: “I’m never telling you everything.”

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The Reaper Rants Return!

Back a few years ago, I changed over the “horror host” for my movie review website, MovieCrypt.com, from the static “Crystal Lich” (a disembodied crystal skull with an attitude) to “Grim D. Reaper” (a gleeful Angel of Death that reviews movies when he’s not reaping souls). The response was wonderful, and even outside of his film critique venue, Grim’s popularity is obvious.

One of the big changes from the Lich to the Reaper was for making videos. These started out on the simplest of tools, Windows Movie Maker. I shot film, taught myself editing, learned how to improve the sound, and so forth. One thing that never made me happy was the limited space I had to create an actual lair for the character, something I’ve now fully realized at my home in Texas.

At-home tools for both capturing sound/video and editing it on a home computer have improved drastically, so I have put my new “Reaper Rants” video series into production and set up a YouTube channel for it. The micro-set was designed and lighted (thanks to my theater experience) to make it very easy to quickly shoot the baseline footage I need, and my custom-built editing suite (fortified with Sony Vegas editing software tools) enables me to assemble and polish videos on a whim.

Check out my YouTube channel and subscribe or follow MovieCrypt.com to catch all of the Reaper’s latest videos. With Halloween coming up very soon, who knows what mischief the Angel of Death is going to get into.

Come Out to the 2012 Ancient City Con, July 20-22!

Ancient City Con in Jacksonville, Florida is three days long this year, and I’m a guest! I’ll be on and/or running a few panels, have lots of Spooky Chronicles books for sale (and how you can get some for free), and Grim D. Reaper of MovieCrypt.com will be making a few appearances throughout the weekend (don’t mention his face lift, though; he’s kind of sensitive about getting work done). Come say hello and get your picture taken with Death…!

Just About the Scythe of It

Con season is upon us, and Grim D. Reaper is getting ready to make his rounds. I’ve been working on a few cosmetic upgrades this year, mostly in terms of paint and improvements to allow the costume to be worn better for longer periods of time. People ask to have their picture taken with Grim D. all the time, and I’d like those close-up shots to look as good as they can.

Believe it or not, there are hundreds of decisions that have gone into my Reaper cosplay outfit, from little things (did you know there are white Velcro strips on the top of the skull mask that pair up to black Velcro inside the hood so that the cowl moves with my head turns and keeps it in the right position without risk of falling off?) to big things (a fully collapsible scythe so that it slips easily into a gym bag). The scythe in particular has been an ongoing project to improve its look.

I wanted a more realistic look for the blade (since that’s where people’s eyes are drawn to when looking at the Reaper’s signature “farm tool of choice”) and initially painted it a metallic silver. It didn’t have the effect I wanted; it looked like poorly painted wood. I also wanted to reinforce the tang and ring assemble (the part that holds the blade onto the snath/staff) because the blade would bob a bit (making it look very fake), and I came up with a simple, light-weight way to do that. Over all, it looks very heavy (it isn’t) and very rigid. There is no actual blade edge, but you can’t tell from looking at it straight on; the illusion is complete.

The added bonus was filling the holes that I had to drill (to mount the assembly onto the blade) with bolts that reinforced the hold onto the snath but also made the entire blade look more realistic. Finally, I gave the entire rebuilt blade a few coats of coppery fleck paint to give it an oxidized look, and the finished product (mounted on the collapsible snath) is the product you see here. I think it turned out pretty good!