Our next interview from the CPT&CE is with creator/artist/fabricator Jordan Patton! Jordan, along with his friend Aaron Ferguson, is the creator of the long anticipated DeadNecks series — what can only be compared to a live-action cartoon series.
Instead of attempting to livestream this year’s Classic Plastic Toy & Comic Expo, Rem decided to hit up a few tables and bother people for interviews! Pay close attention, kids. He’s really terrible at this, but had some great interviews! Listen to the audio above and read the transcript lovingly produced by Brandon!
R: We’re here at the Classic Plastics Toy and Comic Expo with Jordan Patton. Jordan is the creator of DeadNecks and we interviewed him last year. We had the table and we did the live YouTube that wasn’t so live and…I’ll tell you man, your video, as far as that goes on our YouTube channel, has done the best! So that’s very awesome. So how have you been man?
J: I’ve been pretty good, just staying busy. Working on some new stuff towards our first episode, but uh…Yeah other than that I just kind of hide out in my basement for five days a week and work on stuff for our episode. (laugh)
R: That’s awesome. I’ve seen the set design and you’ve come up, it looks like, with a couple of new characters which we’ll get to here in a minute. But first I want to know – how is the show going? I mean have you been picked up or anything yet? Or are you still just working through everything and working the lines, the less fun stuff, like getting networking and all that?
J: Well right now we’re kind of in a build out process for the first episode, so I’ve got to create all the special effects and everything. We’ve got the story written, I need to storyboard it. But right now I’m working on making all the props, the makeups, the masks, animatronics, things like that, for our first episode so I’m giving myself about a six to eight month build-out period. Then we’re going to start filming.
R: Awesome. So with something that’s episodic like this, how durable – I mean, you do the work. You and Aaron, right? – and you have a small crew basically, don’t you?
J: Very small crew. There’s about three or four of us that are willing to work on it and put our own time in, and our own money, to try and get it going further. But we’re all pretty dedicated to it and once we get all the effects done and everything, start filming, it should only take us about two or three months to actually film our episode. After the episode is done we’re kind of hoping that we can pitch it around and see what people feel about it and maybe we can get an even bigger crew to help with future episodes?
R: Awesome. So the line I was going on there, to continue that, is with it being an episodic thing do you really have to build the props and the masks to be super durable so you don’t have to do as much doctoring throughout the episodes?
J: Yeah so we actually encountered that with some of the things that we had for our trailer. So the guns were actually made out of just insulation foam, I carved those out, but during one of our scenes we actually snapped it in half and I actually had to go in and repair it and everything. So in the future we need to make things a little more durable. I’m actually going to be making a mold of that so I can make it latex and foam like a lot of these that way it can bend, flex around and not break or anything. So yeah, with that it needs to be very durable. I mean we’re going to have a lot of practical effects like throw-up gags, things like that. A lot of blood splatter. It’s essentially going to be like a GWAR show. (laugh)
R: (laugh) Right. So do you have, with 3D printing really finding a whole lot of traction in the last couple of years, do you guys do any 3D printing on top of that to help augment? Or do you have access to one, or is it something you’d like to work with in the future?
J: Right now everything is kind of done by hand. The shop that I work at, it’s a place called Tech Shop; we actually have several 3D printers there. But I haven’t utilized them for any of this process yet. I have been looking into resin 3D printing so if I wanted to produce smaller characters and things like that, merch to sell, I would definitely be doing that with the resin SLA printers because you don’t get any of the striations in any of your prints so it comes out fairly clean. So I’ve been looking into doing that so I can get some more products out there for like cool merchandise.
R: Awesome. How has the con treated you this year so far?
J: It’s been pretty cool. I mean I’ve seen a lot of familiar faces from last year so it’s always good to recognize people and have them recognize you and just kind of chit-chat back and forth about what everyone’s been into and everything. So yeah, it’s been great so far.
R: So you also said you’re working at a shop? What was the shop’s name again?
J: A place called “Tech Shop”. It’s kind of like, essentially like the YMCA except for without workout equipment. We’ve got like wood shop, welders, water jet cutters, laser cutters, 3D printers, things like that.
R: Oh my God that sounds so freaking awesome.
J: Yeah I used to live there like 24-7. Just would never leave the place other than to go sleep at home. (laugh)
R: I understand man. I can’t even imagine the amount of creative juices flowing in a place like that.
J: Yeah there was like 500 or so members there, and everyone does something different so you never know what kind of stuff you’re going to see coming out of there. You got all kinds of artists, furniture makers, welders, machinists, it’s crazy! People are making their own robots in there.
R: That’s awesome! So, I mean, doing something like that also affords you great networking opportunities I imagine?
J: Without a doubt. Working there has really brought a lot of opportunities to me just with the flow of people that come in there and the people that know about the place. I mean it’s helped me grow in my own skill sets as well. Like I didn’t know how to weld before going in there and working there. But now I’ve got welding experience, I’ve got a lot of various experiences from all the different machinery that’s in there and it’s really helped me to be able to create a lot of stuff for the show.
R: That’s awesome. So do we have any new characters that you’re bringing to DeadNecks here today?
J: Right now we’ve got one new character. Just finished him up about a day or two ago. His name is “Boo Hoo”; he’s like a little patchwork ghost character. He’s not actually going to be in the first episode but he’s probably going to be making an appearance in the second episode for sure.
R: Gotcha, awesome. So what are some of the other characters, if we want to just kinda roll through the table here and even though I don’t have – I’ll take a picture to post along with it and we’ll let them know. So let’s start off from the left to the right…which will be the right to left since we’re behind the table (laugh)
J: (laugh) Right on. Well over here we’ve got “Soft Serve Merve”, so it’s kind of like a larger sculpt I did for that. He’s actually going to be used in the first episode. So I mean if you think back to the Ren and Stimpy cartoons whenever it would be hyper-close-ups and you would see all the disgusting details, that’s essentially what these larger masks here are for, are for scenes like that in the first episode. So yeah, I tried to sculpt that as detailed as possible just so it would read disgusting whenever you go for that hyper-zoom in the actual skit itself.
Below him is the “Birthday Boy”, it’s actually one of Merve’s victims. So Merve kidnaps children and turns them into strange food related creatures. (laugh)
Above him we got “Ma Slackjaw” with her beer can curlers in her hair. She enjoys sleeping, eating, and smoking a lot out of the hole in her neck. (laugh)
And then down there we got “Boo Hoo”, the new character. He’s actually secretly one of Merve’s victims as well. He kind of lurks about Merve’s whereabouts and kinda haunts the place.
R: Oh man, spoilers! (laugh)
J: Yeah, a look into the future!
Then above that we’ve got “Pete”, he’s more or less the main character of the show. I mean he’s just like a little dopey character here. The rest of his family thinks he’s completely stupid and useless just because he can’t really talk and is always wearing this pumpkin on his head to disguise his horrific face that’s underneath of it. Pete’s actually really smart and he has a lot of personality but his family doesn’t see it because they’re all pretty stupid themselves. (laugh)
And then beside that we’ve got “Ted Slackjaw”, Pete’s uncle. So the two different versions here: That’s the original Ted as well as the hyper-extended face Ted. So the hyper-extended face will also be used in our first episode as well as one of those close-up shots.
R: Awesome man! So how many different iterations do you build, different masks, or –
J: For one character? Yeah, for one character it sometimes depends on what you can actually do with your face. Because, like, for some of them I do makeups to where you can move your face, but you can only get so much expression out of it. So if I want like a hyper expression like what you see in a lot of cartoons you really just have to sculpt an entire new piece just to really give it that exaggerated look. With DeadNecks we really want it to look and feel like a cartoon. To do the impossible, essentially, with facial structure, bone structure, all that. So to do that you kind of have to break down and do several sculpts for one character just to get that one effect. But I think it’ll really be worth it in the end to actually see a living cartoon, essentially.
R: When you’re doing something like that, do you think about any way to have some sort of modular ability to do something like that? You know where you could maybe detach a jaw only and be able to do something like that?
J: Yeah. Well with that you start getting more into the animatronic side of things which is really interesting and you can actually do a lot with those because with those you actually have a skin that goes over top of an under skull. So it kind of mimics the anatomy of an actual person so you can actually get a lot of movement with that. But with that you just got to think about how it’s going to work. You’ve got to kinda deconstruct how something’s going to move and kinda reverse engineer it so you can figure out how you need to build it. So I mean that’s very interesting and it takes a little bit more time but it’s got a really cool effect in the end just because you’ve got literally an under skull, some skin, movable eyes, things like that. So you can really play around with a lot of things that you can’t actually do with a human face.
R: Gotcha, awesome. Alright well Jordan, where can people find you if they want to find you guys. Do we have any idea where we’d be looking at watching the first episode?
J: So you can find us on facebook.com/deadnecks, Instagram “DeadNecks”. I would say we’re probably looking at getting our first episode out a little over a year from now. Like I said we’re in the build out process right now and it should only take us about two or three months after that to get it filmed and then put it into post and get it all edited together. So I would say about a year, year and half from now you should be looking at an episode. We’re going to drop spoilers along the way just to keep people entertained and interested along the way. But you should be able to see it, I’d say in a year and a half from now.
R: Awesome man, I’ll hold you to that. (both laugh)
J: Right on.
R: Thanks a lot Jordan!
J: Yeah, thank you!