Today I am majorly spacing out, thinking of practical ways of pulling
off these effects, and still making them look cool.
Rule #0: Safety is the first priority. Anything that compromises
the safety of the actors or crew ain't gonna happen.
Rule #1: unless you have a HUGE budget or infinite time,
practical effects look better than CGI. And since we have neither,
practical effects are pretty much a given. I do have some leeway with
the editing and effects software that I use, but it's very much 2D
effects that I get to play with. And we're shooting DV, which means
Rule #2: Color is more critical than detail. This surprised me
when I first found out about it, but in effects shots, it turns out that
color cues are the biggest thing that breaks the illusion. If the colors
match from cut to cut, the viewer is much more accepting of a prop as
the "real" thing, even if the details are off. This is the primary
reason I think I can pull off the 'severed heads' without resorting to
alginate and silicone. The prop heads will always be in motion.
Rule #3: Do not talk about Fight Club.
Rule #4: A human body reacts in certain ways. When it falls, it
falls a particular way; joints only have a particular range of motion.
Rule #5: Things have weight. They have inertia. People expect
things to move in certain ways, and if they don't it's a sure-fire
Rule #6: There is no rule #6.