Adam Savage On Topic Of Recasting

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Lflank

Well-Known Member
Um, you folks who don't want to continue the conversation DO know that you can, uh, not participate in it . . . right?

Or is it that you don't want anyone ELSE to continue it either . . . . ?
 

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PredatrHuntr

Master Member
Ya'll seem to have forgotten rule number one about recasting - DON'T TALK ABOUT IT!!!  It does nothing but get panties in a knot and piss people off.  So many people OWN recasts and/or have supported it.  Hence why there is a typical two-faced hypocritical attitude.  

AGAIN - don't TALK about recasts...it'sseriously easier that way
 

ptgreek

Active Member
ha ..this debate can go round and round ..i would like to share a little more personal insight to the cause and effect of recasting Toy and Collectible companies offerings. So lets just start with the obvious. Casey, since having been banned from the Lair has obviously had no shame in offering recasted bios at a discount on ebay ( im using Casey as an example to make my point, but i could name a few others too) One of these Bios is the Steve Wang concept bio. Steve had other concept bios designed for sideshow ( i know, I saw them) ..production of these bios would obviously depend on sales of his previous concept bios. NOW ..if Casey is selling a recasted sideshow bio for 150 buck ..and those out there who dont feel that purchasing one is bad, because "damn the man ..those big corporations and their high prices" ... it is YOU people that are effectively depriving fandom of more unique concepts ..simple ..they dont sell ..they dont make any more. On top of that ..Steve isnt working ..Now, im sure some of you are thinking "Well Steve doesnt need the work" ..well damn if he doesnt ..its his Job ..its what he does for a living...not to mention his crew ..they need to work as well.

Also ..I have very good friends at Sideshow ...ones that feed their families with what they make. it is their JOB. Sideshow is NOT this immense corp that its made out to be ..if youve visited, you'd understand ..they pay big money for licensing rights ..then to commission Artists and then for mass production BEFORE the piece is ever released ...do you know how much of a risk that is? My friends that work there feed theirfamilies with the hope that these will sell ...so go ahead ..buy a recasted collectible because it was cheaper 
 

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Lflank

Well-Known Member
ptgreek said:
ha ..this debate can go round and round ..
Particularly since there seems to be two entirely different debates going on at the same time.  ;)

Certainly recasting things to sell for a profit is morally wrong, and I don't really see anyone here disputing that (though apparently people do it anyway).  As the owner of a publishing company who makes his entire living based on intellectual property rights, I understand your argument and agree completely and totally. Selling counterfeits is wrong, period.

But as someone who works in the prop industry, I'm interested in your opinion regarding Adam Savage's points about the grey areas that don't involve counterfeiting stuff for profit.  Examples would be things like casting a "found item" for use in a project, or casting a prop so one can then destroy the copy (for a fan film or something). What's your view of the morality of that, and why do you draw the line wherever it is you draw it?

Just to be clear about where I am coming from, I don't buy recasts--heck, I very rarely buy any prop or costume at all; I very much prefer to make my own. Nor do I make recasts--I tried casting a few of my own creations (the smart shuriken, for example), failed horribly at it, and gave it up as hopeless.  So I don't have any dog in this fight.

But I'm interested in Savage's "grey area" and where we as a group and as individuals draw the moral line--and why we draw it there instead of at some other point.

But I do see that this is an extraordinarily emotional topic for many folks, so if you don't want to discuss it, that's cool too.  :)
 

ptgreek

Active Member
Honestly.. Most found objects are cheaper to buy then the whole process of making a mold and casting it. Most of our stuff is just straight sculpted.. It's easier for scale reason to just do that. From time to time I may fabricate something from found items. For example I made a Wendigo head dress for Animal Planet. I knew that the face needed to be a dear skull with a two point antler. It was easier to go to bone clones, and purchase a museum quality resin dear skull then hunt down a real one, sculpt one.. Or even augment a casting from a dog skull mold we have. However we never laid silicone on it to cast.. However most of what we do are "one offs" for a specific production. What FX studios WILL do is reuse their molds for other shows.. It happens often actually.. Re-run, augment.. Paint differently. The new "Thing" for example.. Watch the autopsy scene and you will see Starship Trooper bug parts. Remember silicone is on the more costly side of product.. Labor will cost a shop.. Recasting a found piece never really is a cost effective way to go
 

Lflank

Well-Known Member
ptgreek said:
 What FX studios WILL do is reuse their molds for other shows.. It happens often actually.. Re-run, augment.. Paint differently. The new "Thing" for example.. Watch the autopsy scene and you will see Starship Trooper bug parts.
Yes, I've noticed this many times.  In the original Star trek series, even as a kid I noticed that "Romulan" helmets would usually be recycled as "Vulcan" ceremonial masks or some such. Of course, TV shows back then had an FX budget of, what, twenty bucks a show?  ;)
ptgreek said:
Remember silicone is on the more costly side of product.. Labor will cost a shop.. Recasting a found piece never really is a cost effective way to go
Maybe not for you rich Hollywood shops (tee hee hee), but I can see some circumstances in which we poor fan film makers would need to.  An example I posited before---suppose I have a scene in a fan film where a Jedi dies in a volcanic pit, and I have a sequence showing his lightsaber melting. I have a big fancy lightsaber prop that I spent oodles of money on as a hero prop (I don't in reality--all my lightsaber props are homemade and cost less than 15 bucks each, but I am speaking hypothetically here). So I cast my expensive lightsaber prop in wax and melt it for my scene (again, my casting skills are rudimentary at best, so again I am talking hypothetically here). Here's one of those "grey areas" that Savage was talking about.  I'm not making a counterfeit cast to sell--indeed, not only does no money change hands anywhere, but at the end of the process there's not even any new prop remaining. Is that "re-casting"?  Is that the same, in the moral sense, as my casting resin copies of the lightsaber prop to sell on eBay? Why or why not? Where would you draw that moral line, and why there and not somewhere else? 
 

ptgreek

Active Member
see ..i understand what you are saying..but as your example of the lightsaber prop ..we would have created it ..made a mold ..then used multiple casting elements to make a hero, stunt and FX rig.

I see what you are getting at Lflank ..in your case, it falls into that grey area. if you are cool with it then no problem ..just know that some may not be. Me? honestly i have really no opinion ..i really understand what you are saying about what you are doing ..and I understand your reasoning. In this single instance i feel that what you are doing is fairly benign....however this is how sometimes that spark begins..that realization that you can dump silicone on anything. It can be tempting ..and you may come up with more and more reasons to justify your actions ...even getting people to side with you. That is why my initial post was "just dont do it" ...over the years ive seen just this happen .Ive seen decent artists feel the need to make more money ..ive seen them feel the need to compete with another member and ultimately ive seen them all banned..its just how it always seems to go
 

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Lflank

Well-Known Member
ptgreek said:
 However most of what we do are "one offs" for a specific production. 
As an aside, THIS is precisely the reason why I really gave up attempting to develop skill at casting. While I did learn the basics of the process (though it took me at least 15 tries to get a good cast of my "smart shuriken"), what I realized in the end was that casting really is only useful if you need a large number of copies of something--and I didn't; everything I do is also a one-off. So the only molds I ended up keeping were those for things like Pred teeth, that I sometimes need for new masks, or Klingon toe claws, which I sometimes break off and need to replace. Nothing else I made is worth making a mold, because I don't need more than one of it.
 

Lflank

Well-Known Member
ptgreek said:
see ..i understand what you are saying..but as your example of the lightsaber prop ..we would have created it ..made a mold ..then used multiple casting elements to make a hero, stunt and FX rig

Ahhh, the things I could do if I had an actual budget.  And actors.  And sets.  Instead, I film everything solo in front of a green cloth tacked up on my living room wall.  (grin)

ptgreek said:
I see what you are getting at Lflank ..in your case, it falls into that grey area. if you are cool with it then no problem ..just know that some may not be.

Indeed, the opinions here have ranged from "recasting is OK because I can get cheaper stuff" to "copying anything at all without permission is stealing". But that's what I'm really interested in--where do people draw that moral line, and why do they draw it at that particular place instead of some other place. Perhaps the question interests me because I work in the publishing industry and we are having a quite similar debate about copy-protection for ebooks---some publishers feel that they need to put security codes in every ebook so no one copies or gives them away; other publishers treat "stolen" or "copied" ebooks as essentially free advertising, and don't bother with security at all. There really isn't any "right" answer--I'm more interested in why people draw their moral lines where they do.


ptgreek said:
however this is how sometimes that spark begins..that realization that you can dump silicone on anything. It can be tempting ..and you may come up with more and more reasons to justify your actions ...even getting people to side with you. That is why my initial post was "just dont do it" ...over the years ive seen just this happen .Ive seen decent artists feel the need to make more money ..ive seen them feel the need to compete with another member and ultimately ive seen them all banned..its just how it always seems to go

Not much chance of that with me, I think. I couldn't care less about money, and anyway my casting skills are rudimentary. So I'll never make recasts.  And since I almost never buy props or costumes, I won't be buying recasts either.  (I have two rooms full of props and costumes, and the only ones I bought are my Rubies Supreme Stormtrooper armor--which I hate anyway--and my prop Morita rifle from Starship Troopers and Roman shield from Gladiator, which are display pieces rather than props; everything else I made myself). 

Thanks.  It was an interesting exchange.
 

ptgreek

Active Member
ha ..and the case in point would be the P1 "Stunt" mold. The sculpture was completed very quickly ..and the mold ( although its built like a tank) was only meant for a few castings. The molding process was a bit rushed and a few errors caused the blemishes seen in the raw castings ..however they cleaned them up for production just as the folk around here do with them now. Ha ..poor Matt was a little embarrassed by it when we met up ..i think it was awesome ..the history of the helmet has more about the making of it ..then the movie it was in ..that, my friends,  is the imprint of the artist
 

Guan Thwei

New Member
Another point that I was making that George hit the nail on the head every single crack and dent on that stunt bio is even though it was a mistake I appreciate the art and the history that comes with it is something very precious. I mean the P1 stunt obviously is the Mona Lisa of my collection I would never want a recast of that.
 

Lflank

Well-Known Member
Guan-thwei said:
Another point that I was making that George hit the nail on the head every single crack and dent on that stunt bio is even though it was a mistake I appreciate the art and the history that comes with it is something very precious. I mean the P1 stunt obviously is the Mona Lisa of my collection I would never want a recast of that.
I think this is one thing that makes me a bit different from almost everyone else here---I don't have a "collection" per se. Although I have two rooms full of props and costumes, they are all meant for use in fan films. That's why virtually everything I have is homemade, and made myself. The only two "collectables" I have are a stunt Morita rifle from Starship Troopers and a stunt Roman shield from Gladiator. I got both of them as displays just because they were from two of my favorite movies--but I've already also used the rifle in a fan film, and just finished making a set of Roman armor to use with the shield in a probable future fan film. I also have a set of Rubies Supreme stormtrooper armor --it's the only costume I have that I bought instead of making. It's too thick and heavy and doesn't fit me very well, and the only reason I still have it is because I don't have the space to make a vacuum former and produce armor of my own. Sooner or later I will, and then I'll unload the Rubies on someone.

So I virtually never buy props or costumes to begin with. Recasts don't really interest me, because I very much prefer to make my own costumes and props. My heart is always with the scratch-builders. As I say often, anybody with a big bank account can write checks and buy great-looking stuff from someone else, but making one's OWN requires creativity, imagination, and skill--things which few people have. 

EDIT: Since you're the one who started this thread, I'll ask you too about Savage's commentary on the recasting grey area.  Where do you personally draw the moral line? I think we all agree that recasting counterfeits to sell is wrong, but where do you fall in the grey area after that? On the spectrum between "selling recasts is OK because I can get things cheaper" and "copying anything anywhere without written permission is stealing", where do you fall, and why? I'm just curious about how people draw that line. And of course if you don't want to get sucked into that conversation, that's OK too.   :)
 

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Guan Thwei

New Member
I think being since you asked out of curiosity and I don't seem a harm in that. I don't by recasts from anyone because vast majority of times it is only for profit from the person that is doing the recasting hence the reason why I never condone it. I will normally will try to get a hold of the person who sculpted the piece or worked on the film to get the permission to gain access to a prop the answer more than likely will be no, but I have to respect the artist's decision and most of the time it is not really up to him it is up to the studios who own the rights to that project. They don't want to be at risk of something being privately owned that never was supposed to be in the first place unless you got it off of an auction house like profiles in history in that consideration everyone wins. If I don't get the actual prop for whatever reason to use or to display, so I can drool like a mindless zombie and bath in the awesomeness that I own I will just buy a cheap license knock off from rubies or something that is close to what I'm looking for and modify it to the best of my ability. Granted I'm very picky which is why I don't have a suit, but with the help of Rob, patience, time, and yes money I know I will have the suit that I will proud to wear with out the ever need of it being a recast for collecting or wearing. I hope that helps to answer your question if not always protect yourself, the artist's work, and listen to George "Just don't do it"
 

Lflank

Well-Known Member
Guan-thwei said:
 I have to respect the artist's decision and most of the time it is not really up to him it is up to the studios who own the rights to that project.

Someone please correct me if I am mistaken, but as I understand it that was the issue when the guy who designed the original stormtrooper armor began selling copies of it and was sued by Lucasfilm---he argued that he designed it so it was his to sell, while Lucasfilm argued that they had contracted for it so they owned the rights to it.


Guan-thwei said:
They don't want to be at risk of something being privately owned that never was supposed to be in the first place unless you got it off of an auction house like profiles in history in that consideration everyone wins.


As an aside, the two real movie props I have--the Starship Troopers rifle and the Gladiator shield--came from a prop house in England, and the shipping cost me almost as much as the props did.  
 

ptgreek

Active Member
Lflank said:
Someone please correct me if I am mistaken, but as I understand it that was the issue when the guy who designed the original stormtrooper armor began selling copies of it and was sued by Lucasfilm---he argued that he designed it so it was his to sell, while Lucasfilm argued that they had contracted for it so they owned the rights to it.





Its called intellectual rights and needs to be covered in the initial contract between either the prop maker or the Efx house and production. We make sure that we own everything that goes into the movies we do.  At times ,for merchandising reasons, the studio will own all likeness rights. Im sure this was probably covered by Lucas. However ..in respect for the filmmaker and your repeat client, you would never want to cross boundaries.  Many times props are given as gifts to the director or member of production ..if not a duplicate is made ... That being said ..most houses just bring the props, suits, etc back from the shoot ...many of them later get sold to auction houses such as Prop Store. Ha ..there is a funny story about The minotaurs from The Lion Witch and the Wardrobe. Disney claimed the skins as likeness from KNB.. KNB had already started to sell them to Prop Store ..Disney said they only could sell the under structure and animatronics . KNB said they would have to then charge Disney for storage ..in the end ..it just went away
 

Fayne

Active Member
I once was of the opinion that recasting only for ones self might have been ok...... but it creates a mold of something one doesnt own which might be lost, and is in fact piracy. I'd be mighty outraged if someone copied my blood sweat and tears without permission or even commission. now imagine that's your only source of income. Artists, even the greats, often starve. how can someone steal from the poor. crap I posted without clarifying I'm not of that opinion since I started sculpting and have never done it. anyway just had this on the brain.
 
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