Monthly Archives: June 2012

Coyote Ugly

Guest Post by Bill Oberst Jr.

So Trevor Juenger asked me to do a post on how I am preparing physically for the role of BILL in COYOTE. This request came in the form of a text from Trevor that read “You need to record your workout routine for the blog. That shit is intense.

Yes, that shit is intense. The character of BILL in COYOTE ( who shares my name, along with so many internal and external traits of mine that when I read the script I thought Juenger must be some kind of warlock or psychic) is an insomniac. BILL’s mind won’t rest, so he gets up. He does push-ups and runs around the yard and builds things and punches things and generally drives himself deeper into exhaustion and closer to the edge of that dark black pit that has been waiting for him all along.
The audience needs to see that in BILL, and if can’t see it when I look in the mirror they won’t see it in me and the characterization will fail. So I am creating a super-lean “living cadaver” look for him. It can’t be just emaciated because he is compulsively exercising. It can’t be just buff because he is too exhausted to build much muscle.
The goal is this:
plus this:
Both of those are from last year when I was leaned up for a role in a horror short that is embroiled in a production company legal dispute and will likely never be seen.
COYOTE will be seen. I’m sure of that. BILL is as important a character to me as I have ever played. He
has to be perfect. 
So below is my recipe for creating the visual representation of a compulsively-exercising, increasingly-delusional insomniac. I didn’t go into instructional detail on the exercises because I am too surly and short-tempered from preparing for this role to be chatty. There’s no video or pictures of me demonstrating them because I work out naked and it ain’t pretty. You can find them all on the web done by beautiful, smiling people. I am neither. I growl a lot and I
feel like hitting something most of the time.

Finally, if you’re asking “Why would you go to all this trouble for a micro-budget art-house horror movie?” I answer you thusly: You haven’t read this script. You don’t know this director’s talent. I committed to COYOTE because I believe it can be something special. I believe in Juenger. Acting is not only my living, it is my passion. I believe that if I do a thing with half a heart I’m doing it dead. I’d rather live.
You can do all the below at home, by the way. You need leg weights and some dumbbells. Without further gab…
The Official COYOTE Living Cadaver Workout Routine:  

Bill in wardrobe for Coyote
“Sleep is the enemy. So is inertia.”

Diamond Push-ups:

6 sets of 40 a day. Feet elevated on a chair. Cuss if you need to. I do. Do it in front of mirror and watch the form. It’s OK to cry.
Crab-Walk (with 10 pound leg weights):
5 minutes at a time 5 times a day. Hands on top of head, squat down and walk like a crab across the room. It hurts. You’ll live.
Crunches:
3 sets of 40 a day. Flat on your back, knees up, hands by side of head, watch your breathing and don’t cheat – no bouncing.
Leg Lifts (with 20 pound leg weights:)
3 sets of 40 a day. Flat on back, hands by side, palms-down. Press palms onto floor, heels together and lift legs slowly. It burns like a bitch.
Lying Scissors:
3 sets of 40 a day. Flat on back, arms straight behind you, arms and legs up at same time and touch ankles. Exhaling on the move helps.
Chair Leg Extensions:
3 sets of 40 a day: Sit, hands on chair, extend legs straight and draw them back in. Belly fat hates this one and will tell you to stop. Scream “hell no!”
Side Bends (with 5 pound weight):
3 sets of 50 on each side a day, full bends, follow immediately by 100 jumping jacks or jump rope. Burns love handles.
Tricep Dumbbell Kickback: as many as you can a day with as much weight as you can.
Bicep Dumbbell Curls (regular & hammer:)  Ditto .
And the list goes on and on. I haven’t even mentioned the leg routine – walking an hour a day uphill with the weights blah blah blah. You get the idea. Diet? Low sugar. Low carb. High protein (take in as much daily protein in grams as you weigh in pounds.) Small meals every 3 hours. Spinach, broccoli, whole wheat pasta, grilled chicken.
Before you start saying this is not a bodybuilder’s routine and it doesn’t give the body enough chance to rest to build muscle, I know! That’s the point. It is designed to create a character look for a movie. Although if you are pudgy you might try it. The idea is to strip away fat and reveal whatever muscle structure you have, then to define it just little so you look like a walking anatomy lab specimen. You want every ridge and indentation to show. From there you can bulk up if you want. Or you can get fat again. But at least you know what you got to work with if you decide to stay ripped up. Good luck. I’ll see you in the movies.
“what the hell are you looking at?”

BLOOOOD!

It seems there aren’t many filmmakers eager to give up their blood recipes.  I’ve used Raimi’s tried and true karo syrup and food coloring (too thick for a sprayer) since before I can remember, but I’ve always wanted THIS:

Argento’s blood, in my opinion is the pinnacle, paramount, ultimate horror movie blood.  Now who’s got a good recipe for a thin, vibrant red blood that can be pushed through a pressure sprayer system?  Don’t think too long.  I’ve got one right here!

Blood Pump
My DIY blood pump. Garden sprayer rigged to clear tubing and heat shrink tubing (to lay flat on actor).

“Coyote” Blood Recipe:

Makes 1 QT for sprayer:
1 QT Tomato juice from concentrate
5 packets flavor-aide (kool-aide knockoff)
2 Tbs red food coloring
2 Tbs corn starch
PS –  it stains the shit out of you.

Blood IngredientsThose sprayer guns can get clogged pretty easily.  I experimented with a few bases, but almost all of them caused some kind of clog along the way, or looked to grainy etc.

Here’s what it becomes:

Blood Skin TestYou can add a drop or two of blue food coloring to give it a more “realistic” look, but why do that when you can go RED!?  This shot is properly white balanced under florescent lights BTW.  If you plan on tweaking the color to your picture, you might want to do different blood color tests with your color correction tests.

Locations, Coyote and more!

Scouting locations is a tough business.  Carrie and I were lost for 6 hours in the Missouri Ozarks trying to make our way home from checking out a few shots from EXT. FISHING RESORT – DAY.  Unfortunately, some of the shots I was hopeful for, kind of suck.  It’ll take another drive out to Current River in hopes of finding a perfect shot from the bluffs of a riverbank.

This one’s good though:

That shot lasts less than 10 seconds of the film.  Bill and Joe cross this walkway waterfall on a fishing trip.Image

31 EXT. FISHING RESORT – DAY 31
Joe and Bill both make their way cautiously across a dam at
the end of a stream. Joe leads in a pair of rubber waders.
Bill follows in a pair of rubber boots, carrying fishing
poles and tackle boxes.

I’m very glad this scene has no dialogue.  Rushing water is loud.

After that scene, we’ll bust out the “Bingo Bag” and get a shot of Bill catching a fish from underwater.

"Bingo Bag"
Me and the “Bingo Bag”

It’s pretty awesome that you can get some underwater footage for less than 30 bucks nowadays.  I love tiny cameras!

Image

I shot some way cooler video than this, but that’s reserved for a short Carrie has in mind.  Lens manipulation is impossible with this thing.  That’s always been a problem, even with the expensive equipment.  Believe it or not, there are some situations when autofocus can be your friend.

Here’s a photo of the titular character of the film, and our new house pet!

Image

It took a lot of looking, but we found ourselves a nice coyote lookalike.  The script calls for a “wild dog,” which Bill confuses for a coyote, so she’s going to get a couple of touch ups from Jim and co. to match the coyote’s natural colors a bit more.

More FX:

Image

The Coyote skin we’ve seen so much of has been made over.  The insect heads (there are 3 versions now) are headed toward completion.  I’m not allowed to post video, but the puppet version can move imprecisely now. 

I’ve also seen a big ass fake rock.  So there’s that too.

There’s still just absolutely tons of shit to do.  Wardrobe is unfinished.  There’s like 4 more roles left to fill.  Lots of scouting still.  I need a wheelbarrow to continue the grave digging.  Still a good gap of storyboards, and some more special effects to complete. I might be back with some tar and frozen blood next time.  Until then, STAY AWAKE!