funny humor column mcawesome

Writer's commentary


by Dave McAwesome

Unlike the first two WOTFs, this one took place in my kitchen. Since the previous episode took place on a couch, I figured it'd be nice to have a change of scenery for each of the first three WOTFs. First was a carpeted living room floor; second was a living room couch; third was a kitchen.

This was the first time I used a good digital camera for a WOTF. (I used a nice Nikon digital camera that actually looked like a camera and not a pocket cam.) I wish I could say the results were better. I spent less time on lighting and it shows. It also doesn't help that I have crappy Home Depot lights. I was still learning the camera, too. It was a recipe for suckery. I had to spend time fixing the color and levels in a photo editing software program for all the pix. "But Dave," you might say, "they still look like crap." Indeed they do, fair reader, but you should've seen what they looked liked before that. The other aspect of the photos is that I can't light them the same way I do with my other pictures, i.e., no backdrop. The toys have to be 'in the real world,' so to speak. All things considered, I'm displeased with the photo quality. I wish I'd put up more lights. I also wish you'd send me money so I can buy better lights.

The "Highly Accurate 19th Century Map of the New World" was an afterthought, and I'm glad I did it. I love historical atlases and old, inaccurate maps. I made some old, beat up parchment paper in a graphics program. Basically, it's three shades of beige with some burning, dodging and blurring thrown in to age the paper. I used a brush with a rough line to draw in North America. Drawing with a mouse is difficult for me, so I'm glad my North America didn't turn out looking like Blobtopia, Crapistan or Europe. I used an Old English font for the text (duh). The "1893" and arrows looked too perfect, so I rasterized the layers and added a noise filter to break up the line quality. This map pleases me.

I like to use two shades of fake blood: a darker base and a lighter red for drips and blood trails. You can get a darker fake blood by adding a little blue to the mix. Add too much and it looks like crap.


I get a kick out of seeing two bowls of fake blood in my kitchen. Feels like I've accomplished something that day. I apply the blood with a flat toothpick. Flat toothpicks smear the blood better than rounded toothpicks. They give you more control over the direction of the blood. If I had more time, I would've painted on blood to the dragon's teeth and claws. I didn't have any primer except spray primer, which is only good for coating the entire object and not just a small piece. Without primer, the paint won't apply properly and will flake off later. It's too bad because I have an excellent dry-brushing technique for applying blood to small models. (And this is me patting myself on the back!) All the blood you see on the dragon is from my corn syrup mix.

Flying! I wrote in WOTF 1 about how I wasn't going to use flying toys like Cobra F.A.N.G. helicopters and the like. I thought I'd try to do one flying shot for this one. I wanted the dragon in the foreground with its wings stretched across the whole frame while Peep Village lay far below. Obviously, I'm holding the dragon in front of the lens. It doesn't actually fly. If it had, it would've cost more than eight bucks at Marshall's. Again, due to time constraints, I botched the lighting. The color of the dragon was waaaaaay off and I had to fix that in post. For some reason, instead of taking the time to grab a few more lights, I took the same amount of time to fiddle with the shutter speed. Had I been less stupid, additional lights would've helped a lot more. Futzing with the shutter speed was dumb because I'm holding the toy in my hand. Hence it's not perfectly still. Hence the shutter speed can't go slower than a certain point (or else the object will blur). Hence I need some kind of tripod and clamp system to hold stuff like this in place for me. Hence I need to cave and buy real camera lights.

I've been dying to do something about Cadbury Creme Eggs since I started the site. Seriously. The plan for the Web site was: (1) do G.I. Joes fighting Transformers, (2) do something on how cool that Dreadnok car was, (3) do something on Cadbury Creme Eggs. If you haven't guessed by now, I'm not very bright. I loved writing the fake history of Cadbury in part 3. Obviously, that was all bogus and the real dude is much more boring.

One of the fake rules I set for myself was that I had to have a character from the previous WOTF in the current WOTF. In WOTF 2, it's Snake-Eyes. In WOTF 3, it's Thor. I wanted Chirpy to have one encounter before she reached her destination, so why not Thor?

Are there other arbitrary rules for WOTF? I'm glad I asked myself that question because, conveniently, I know the answer. There are.

You might already be spazzing out about the fact that there was no WOTF in 2006 (thus violating one of the rules above). Technically it doesn't violate the wording "write one WOTF for every year the site exists." Plus, when I did WOTF 2 in the fall of 2005, I intended that to count for 2006. What can I tell, ya? I'm not perfect.

I have to add that I bought the dragon thinking its foreclaws could open and close. So, so disappointed. Also disappointing? It took me a while to figure out how the story was going to play out so I had to store the Cadbury Creme Eggs for months. As it turned out, there was no reason to incorporate them into the pictures very much. I love those damn things, so it was heartbreaking to learn that they don't keep very well. Even in the fridge. So pissed.


I made Skip Hoppington's Rambo headband by scribbling red pen over a salmon-red post-it. I cut thin strips and taped them together. It kept popping apart and was a huge pain in the ass. I don't know what it is about me and post-it props, but there you go. Peep Village was kinda half-assed. I didn't have the right props. I didn't have any Peep-sized buildings nor time to make them from foam core. All I was able to do was create an *impression* of Peep Village. Them's the breaks, kid. The trees and shrubbery are from Games Workshop's line of 28mm scale battleground scenery.


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