Design: Heavy Metal: F.A.K.K.2
I was excited to be on board at first, and worked on the film I think about four months, though actual manhours would be somewhat less. When I was hired I was to be an assistant Designer.
It’s seen as being bad form to talk badly of former bosses, but in this case I feel entitled to share.
I worked under Director George Unger. He seemed cool, but the production was disorganized, and under supplied. The first day on the job I discovered they had no desk ready for me, no one for me to assist, and no paper or pencils. So, I was sent home for a few days. When I returned to resolve one problem I was promoted to location Designer, and given a raise. I liked this. They had managed to scrounge together some equipment so i had a desk but it took a couple of days to get some of the other gear like lamps, pencil sharpener and so on. Paper and pencils were still in short supply so it was a good thing we had lots of erasers. Also for a floor with three productions on it we had just one photocopier. Long lines meant it took about 30 min to get photocopies.
When I joined them they had the script in hand for about three months already, but the story board had not been started, and no one had timed it out. It took a month or more till that was done. Eventfully they locked the board artists up in a resort on the north of the island with their own copier and made them get it done over the course of a week. The news then was we were were over by something like 130 minutes. I had read the scrip and suspected something like this. After the cuts i read it again, and while it was shorter, it still lacked a great deal of focus i thought, and was pretty….well to be frank, bad.
One of the first things i was put to task working on was re-drawing designs and expanding on the work done by a crew member who quit the same week i arrived. He had been there for about three months and had rendered some amazing location designs for the fighting pit and associated scenes [cut ultimately from the final film] set in a lizard run Vegas style sin city in a volcano. The studio burned him by not paying him for over a month, so fed up he had left with all his work forcing them to do it over. George liked my work on that so he then tasked me to work directly with him to realize the landscape and key props for the end of the film, set in a walled desert city and it’s pyramid like temple. I enjoyed working with him for a few months. But it felt like the production was stalled on several fronts, and after a while George came to clash with the line producer. They both quit the same day, and we were without leadership for about two or three weeks as I recall. When a new regime was finally chosen, they tossed all the designs for the climax scene’s and the fortress/temple I had been working with George on, and then asked to see what I had done. I had a few other locations left but as I pointed out, much of my work was now in the bin. That’s when they told me “it was not working out” in a manor implying it was my fault, and fired me.
In the end, good riddance. I am also not amused they ended up using my designs for the pit verbatim and a variation on my temple for the climax, but did not credit me on the print at all as far as I could tell.
Here’s some of the highlights of my work on the film, I don’t have much of what I did for them, after the incident with the artist i had replaced on the fighting pits when they let someone go they escorted them out to make sure they didn’t take anything so all I have are bits I had already made copies of or taken home to work on before.
Despite the awful train wreck of a film that was made, I’m pretty proud of this stuff, and would love the chance to do something like it again, on a decent film.