Director’s Notes #9: Jim Henson meets THE EVIL DEAD

Last week at a meeting with a production company/sales agent here in Los Angeles, Jim and I asked if this particular company actually “got it” in terms of what we were trying to do with THE MILLENNIUM BUG. We had too many meetings with various companies that just did not see what we saw, did not embrace what we had embraced, did not really care about our aesthetic or philosophy. Of course we all want the movie do well, of course we want audiences to see it on cable and iTunes and blu-ray. But come on, man! At least pretend you care that we were trying to do something unique, something that Hollywood just doesn’t do any more, namely GIANT MONSTER MOVIES FEATURING MINIATURES AND MEN IN SUITS! The companies that we passed on seemed to just want to treat it like a product, like a 10 pound bag of potatoes, like disposable diapers. Hey, we know the Bug is not freaking WAR AND PEACE. But we are proud of it, and we think its a damn fun movie, warts and all.

Writer/Director Kenneth Cran makes adjustments to the Bug puppet.

Anyway, one of the executive dudes on the other side of the table (there’s always a long conference table where these meetings take place) said something like, “Yeah, we totally get it. It’s Jim Henson meets THE EVIL DEAD!” Holy (insert expletive here… mine was a word beginning with “F”, but it wasn’t “fulcrum”)! The father of all modern notions of puppetry meets Sam Raimi’s first blood-fest! I couldn’t have said it better. He reminded me of what I saw after the finished Millennium Bug monster suit sat posed before me. It reminded me of THE DARK CRYSTAL. It reminded me of a really ferocious Muppet. I went home that night and thought, “I’ve designed a giant man-eating, toothy Muppet!” I was pleased.

Now, don’t get me wrong. In NO WAY am I saying our work was/is better than the work of the masterful Jim Henson. I’m just saying without Henson and THE DARK CRYSTAL, LABYRINTH, THE STORYTELLER series, etc., our Bug may never have been made. All modern puppet effects, from the Carpenter’s Thing to Winston’s raptors and t-rex, owe a nod to Jim Henson. So, a special thanks to that one executive for reminding me of the Bug’s (sublime) genesis, and for reminding all of us that Jim Henson did it without pixels.

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Director’s Notes #8: Practical vs. CGI

The whole practical effects vs. CGI argument continues to be somewhat controversial. For instance, practical makeup effects guru Tom Savini says he loves it when CGI is done well… check out his somewhat odd interview on Ain’t It Cool News: Hey, we know CGI is the new aesthetic. Will it go away? Not a chance! Are practical effects dead? Not if we can help it! Our effects will never look as photoreal as ILM’s work on the Transformers films, or Weta’s digital Kong. But we’re NOT going for realism- does everyone get that? Look at the Romantic movement in art. The Romanticists “valued emotion over reason and senses over intellect” (Charles Moffat, The Art History Archive). The Romantic movement began as “an artistic and intellectual movement that emphasized a revulsion against established values” (Moffat). A NO CGI movement could be analogous to the Romantic movement, in that the “established values” in film today are literally to do everything in post photorealistically with pixels. Why? It’s cheaper, it’s faster in a lot of ways, and it’s now an established aesthetic. Perhaps THE MILLENNIUM BUG can be a sort of first entry into a new movement. Will it catch on? Hmmm… time will tell. In the meantime, our campaign at Indiegogo continues ( ). If enough people see our NO CGI production and (we think) ultra-cool puppet monster effects and miniatures, maybe enough will find merit in these old school-style films. The Romanticists did it. Why can’t we?”

Does this Friedrich painting, Two Friends Contemplating the Moon, look photoreal? Of course not! But do we revel in its own beauty and aesthetic? You bet!



“The Millennium Bug” will soon debut on cable, iTunes, and Netflix, but we need a little bit of help from you! Please take a look at our SHORT video on IndieGogo to learn how to get DVDs, t-shirts, original production art, and maquette statues of The Bug:

Award #11: “Best Critter Movie” at Boston Sci-Fi Fest!

THE MILLENNIUM BUG has won “Best Critter Movie” at the 37th annual Boston Sci-Fi Festival!

M-Bug actor John Charles Meyer also had a short film – DOCTOR GLAMOUR – which garnered an honorable mention at the festival!

Thanks to all who came to check us out!

The Millennium Bug at Boston Science Fiction Film Festival

The Millennium Bug named to FilmBizarro’s Top 10 Films of 2011!

Everyone’s favorite giant insect movie was hand-picked by film critic Ronny at for his Top Ten of 2011 list. See the whole list here.

Film Bizarro names The Millennium Bug to "Top Ten Films of 2011" list