Unreality Studios manifesto

Part 2 of A Photo-Illusionist’s Declaration by Jerry A. Sierra

UNREALITY STUDIOS starts out as a mindset that provides a planning environment for visual unreality… for breathing new life into old monsters that should never die... and creating new worlds and adventures for them and us. The unreal environment often comes from the real world… real clouds, real cities, real buildings…

The Bride of Frankenstein in a blue veilDon’t dream it, see it, is my motto.

Is anything more unreal than a brick and mortar palace with decorative plants to remind us of a natural environment we’ve chosen to ignore and destroy?

As with the great movie studios of yesteryear, some productions are designed specifically to showcase the particular character strength of an actor… Others are based on a completely different scenario out of my own personal unreality, with actors playing themselves in an else-worlds-type scenario.

The Bride of Frankenstein piloting a spaceship in battle? Why not? Do you mean to imply that a woman made from dead body parts in the days of black-and-white can’t pilot a cargo cruiser through an asteroid field as well as Chewie? Drop your sexist/ageist tendencies right now, mister. This is a new world where anything is possible.

Today, my most often used actors come from Diamond Select Toys and NECA, the best “casting” agencies in the business, if you ask me. Sometimes they come from Mezco Toys… They include... Dracula, Frankenstein, the Bride of Frankenstein, Van Helsing, Dr. Jekyll & Mr. Hyde, the Creature from the Black Lagoon, various Xenomorphs and many others. (Part 2 of this manifesto will give you a closer look at some of the popular players, with a look at their background and origins.)

the Starship Entgerprise among the clouds

It may have started with The Creature from The Black Lagoon figure sculpted by Rudy Garcia. I discovered the movie as a child and re-discovered it as a young man (at a revival house) and again later as a grown-up. At each stage I could find different levels of complexity and simplicity... Eventually the creature would come to symbolize Cuba and her struggles for independence.

And so you don’t think of me exclusively as some Universal-Monsters-fan-boy, I’m also fond of some Sin City players, such as Marv and Gail... the cast of Breaking Bad, and, at one time or another Star Trek figures, Iron men, Bat men and Bat foes, Storm-troopers and others... all have faced the cameras at Unreality Studios.

My monsters also include Xenomorphs and giant indescribable freaks of nature that destroyed cities (Ymir) and challenged mankind’s role at the top of the food chain.

Initially I relied solely on Photoshop for backgrounds, but soon I learned to do as much as I could “on camera” to minimize the need for software intervention and Photoshop deal-making. I began to look at old Hollywood photographers and filmmakers for inspiration... Do the stars of Unreality Studio productions deserve any less?

The research was more than pleasurable, as I tend to love the original old classics and I’m happy to see some of them refurbished to their lost glory for distribution on Blu-ray.

The day the earth stood still poster Forbidden Planet lobby card


NEXT: On Capturing Larger-Than-Life Personalities

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