A stop motion extravaganza certain to tickle your funny bone. This movie has been in production for a while because stop motion animtion takes a lot of time and we are busy fellas! In case you don't know what stop motion animation is: Stop motion is an animated filmmaking technique in which objects are physically manipulated in small increments between individually photographed frames so that they will appear to exhibit independent motion or change when the series of frames is played back (source wikipeida).
As the third quarter of 2016 approached, filmmakers Ralph and Casey knew Old Saint Dick would have to return. After two Old Saint Dick films in 2013 and 2014, 2015 had not seen one. Following a desire to make a side film to every film featuring Jim Varney’s iconic Ernest P. Worrel character, they decided to riff off Slam Dunk Ernest and make their next Saint Dick film basketball-centered. The new movie’s title was the obnoxiously long Old Saint Dick 3: Slam Dunk Saint Dick.
Since Saint Dick had been arrested (again) at the end of the Saint Dick 2: Old Saint Dick Goes to Jail, the story would have to start at a jail. This made for easy script-writing, as the filmmakers had a starting off point.The script was written in early November, right after the roller-coaster production of Salmonrai.
Despite the simplistic and short script, Old Saint Dick 3 was a difficult production in that Ralph and Casey filmed and did every job on the movie themselves. With the exception of old college friends Nick Gustafson and Aaron Talavera lending their voices off-screen (which they recorded themselves and e-mailed), no one else was involved with the production.
The entire film takes place in two settings: a basketball court near a field and the interior of a jail.
The first scenes to be filmed were those in the jail interior. These were done in the underground parking garage of Casey and Ralph’s apartment complex. These scenes were filmed on November 13, 2016. There were no force-perspective jail bars this time around, but real concrete was traded out for spray-painted brown paper (this describes the jail set from Saint Dick 2). In post-production, “jail ambiance” sound effects were added to give the location a prison-interior feel. The phone Saint Dick uses was simply taped to the wall.
The basketball court exterior scenes were filmed at an outdoor park in Palos Verdes Estates over the following weeks. Ralph and Casey had done a lot of filming in PVE for their last film, Salmonrai, just a month before. In fact, the Bluff Cove Trail, where Salmonrai’s beginning and end took place, is just 0.8 miles from the basketball court! Due to the fairly relaxed nature of a ocean-side park in an affluent area, the filmmakers decided to add the line about Saint Dick’s new habitat being a “low security” prison (despite being a dangerous criminal who had broken out of prison once).
Filming the basketball scenes took many different trips around work schedules. Not helping matters was Ralph’s unreliable battery, that would often mislead them to thinking they had more charge than they actually did. In the raw footage of some shots, you can hear them urging the action to start, for the battery might die at any second (it usually died a second later). To create Santa’s big belly while playing basketball, Ralph wore Casey’s backpack, full of blankets, backwards. Sometimes it would sway out of control and the Santa costume’s velcro would come apart. Not surprising, as this was the same exact Santa suit from Saint Dick 1 and 2, which had been labeled on the package as “single-use” Santa costume.
During the basketball scene, if you notice, any shot that includes both Warden and Old Saint Dick is static. There was no third person to move the camera! In an attempt to legally “clear” the basketball in the movie, the filmmakers painted black over the Spalding logo. It quickly wore off after one session of dribbling. Further attempts to paint the ball were abandoned. So far, Spalding has not legally come after them.
During the film, in a phone call from Mrs. Claus, Santa explains he needs a package. The script explains that the reindeer deliver this package to him. During December, a lot of beach cities have holiday festivals. One such festival Casey was familiar with has reindeer sitting around lazily for everyone to look at. Ralph went to the festival (Casey was working nearby) and filmed some b-roll of the reindeer. The intent was to have voiceover of Mrs. Claus giving the reindeer instructions on delivering the package. Unfortunately, there were so many people crowded around the reindeer, Ralph had to zoom in so close to crop them out (which meant the shots barely showed the reindeer at all). The footage wasn’t usable and the idea was scrapped.
Editing continued in earnest after production wrapped, right up until the release of the film. For the montage song during the basketball game, Casey continued the tradition of singing the lyrics. He improvised these as well, while sick (hence the raspy voice), although there were multiple takes.
The only poster for Old Saint Dick 3: Slam Dunk Saint Dick was released on Facebook December 15. A rough cut of the film was sent to Ralph by Casey four days later. On December 22, another cut was sent, with 15 notes coming back the same day. Old Saint Dick 3: Slam Dunk Saint Dick was released on YouTube the very next day (apparently all the notes had been addressed) on December 23, 2016.
In the film, the Warden says he gets 10 points automatically to start the game. Saint Dick is disappointed by this, but resolves to beat the Warden. Counting up all the on-screen baskets in the film, however, leads to a final score of Warden with 14 points, and Saint Dick with 8. Saint Dick actually loses the game! Maybe something to be brought up in the inevitable fourth chapter of the Saint Dick saga. . . .
December 2013 saw the Christmas-themed holiday special Old Saint Dick, so naturally, December 2014 would have to see its sequel. The film would be the first-ever direct sequel for Cat cat Productions, and would continue right after the first film’s conclusion.
Writing the script was an easy process, for it revolved mainly around Santa being put in jail and having him break out of it. According to the director commentary of the film, Ralph and Casey said a lot of this script was written while very drunk, which might explain its simple plot and silliness.
Like their earlier films HOnTed DOG and Apple Die, Old Saint Dick 2 would need some old-school special effects (the first Old Saint Dick film hadn’t needed any). Since going to a real jail was out of the question financially, they needed a clever solution to have jail bars in the film. A friend of theirs proposed using painted PVC pipes, but the filmmakers thought of an easier solution: forced perspective. With forced perspective, objects placed closer to the camera appear to be bigger in the actual frame. Narrow wooden dowels were spray-painted gray and taped about an inch or so apart on a yardstick. When held close to the camera, the dowels appear to be real-sized jail bars placed about a foot apart. With the added sound effect of a jail door opening, the effect was complete. The rest of the jail set was spray-painted brown paper, painted by Carly. Filming of the jail cell scene took place at her parent’s house, which is also where the whole first Saint Dick movie had been filmed a year earlier. This jail set would be the first “set” ever created for a Cat cat Production.
After the jail scenes were filmed, production moved across town to the backyard one of Carly’s relatives. The outdoor scenes were filmed there rather quickly, as there is not a lot of dialogue.
The second set ever created for a Cat cat Production was the underground tunnel Saint Dick digs in the middle of the movie. For this, Casey and Ralph would use their rectangular kitchen table, which would make for a rectangular tunnel (which, of course, is not how tunnels actually are). To create the tunnel sides, the filmmakers obtained brown paper and then glued (with spray-adhesive and glue sticks) real dirt to them. When they were sufficiently covered, they were taped to each side of the kitchen table. Brown couch cushions were laid down on the floor. Fake leaves and crinkled-up brown-paper “roots” were taped to the underside of the table to create hanging underground growth. The tunnel set was complete and ready for filming.
The tunnel scenes were filmed on December 5, 2014, with friend and fellow filmmaker Dan Hampton helping out. Ralph had to lay on his stomach for the duration of the shoot, which also saw him laying in more and more dirt. During this scene, Santa bites the head off a lizard. They originally planned for this to be a rat, but found that fake rats are surprisingly hard to find when it is not Halloween. Once the scene was wrapped, and all the silly set-pieces were done filming, the set was broken down. Clean up proved to take longer than expected, for there was much dirt. Even a month later, Ralph and Casey were still sweeping up small piles of it!
With all the footage shot, it was time for editing to begin. While the jail and final scene were easy to edit, the montage at the middle of the film was the biggest challenge. There was a ton of goofy footage to wade through. Before finding a suitable song the filmmakers could use legally, the montage was edited to the 1984 hit song “Never”, performed by Moving Pictures (this song was written for Footloose and also used again in parody form for 2007’s Hot Rod). Ralph and Casey knew they could not use the song, but wanted something similar. Something up-tempo and inspirational. A little while later, an 80s-style, saxophone-infused track was found. It was just what they needed.
It was always the intention of the filmmakers to have lyrics for this song, but nothing had been done about it yet when Casey was to leave town for a few days (and Ralph was soon to return from being out of town). Casey wanted a rough cut of the film done for Ralph to review upon return, and as a joke, improvised silly lyrics to the montage song without letting Ralph know. Ralph watched the rough cut unawares, and ended up enjoying the joke. He found the lyrics so bad, he wanted to keep them for the movie. With some slight editing and tweaking, Casey’s joke vocals are the vocals you hear in the final film. They were done on the fly and in one single take.
For promotion, a behind-the-scenes shot from the film was uploaded to social media on December 8. The film was released on YouTube October 17, with the poster being released shortly after the film with the tagline “Merry Digmas”.
In 2013, Cat cat Productions completed their first short film, HOnTed DOG, which was a Halloween special and released dutifully on October 31. Wanting to keep with the tradition of holiday movies, Ralph and Casey decided they should film a Christmas movie.
Their first ideas for such a movie involved elves working at Santa’s workshop, who were disgruntled and unpleased with the harsh working conditions of Santa’s Workshop (no doubt inspired by their jobs at the time). Due to budgetary restrictions, this idea was put on the back-burner. The idea for the film eventually became about an undercover cop confronting Santa, who had become a notorious perpetrator of vehicular manslaughter (by his sleigh). An abandoned idea for the end of the film was to have a knife-weilding reindeer. This was also cut for budgetary reasons.
Pre-production started in November, with the writing of the script, and the ordering of an extremely cheap Santa costume. The package suggested the Santa suit be used one time. The suit would serve as the Santa costume on both future Saint Dick sequels.
After the script was written, it was time for production to start. Excluding the first shot of the film, which shows a cabin in Big Bear, CA, production took place entirely in La Verne, CA. This is where Cat cat crewmember Carly’s parents lived at the time. Upon arrival, Ralph and Casey were delighted to see the “set” (really a living room) completely dressed with lavish Christmas decorations. Due to busy work schedules and weekends, the entire shoot place after the work day. Shooting began on Saturday, December 14 at 9pm and went well into the next morning, wrapping up at 4am. Loopiness crept in around the 1 am mark, with Casey, who had rapped along to Big Will Style on the way to the shoot, started extensively imitating Will Smith between takes.
The final shot of the film was filmed outside the house early in the morning. The police lights effect in the film were caused by stuffing bike lights between the head-rest and chair of the driver’s seat. (This would be the second time in a row bike lights were used in a Cat cat Productions film after Honted Dog’s demonic red lights in the microwave).
Casey and Ralph returned to home-base around 5am, where they put on an Ernest movie (at this point, not yet a subtle inspiration for the ongoing chapters of the Saint Dick series), and promptly fell asleep. Casey woke up a few hours later to go work his Sunday shift at a German market.
Old Saint Dick was edited shortly thereafter, and was a relatively straightforward process compared to their other productions (especially their future productions) since it didn’t include any special effects, montages, music cues, or a great variety of scenes. The only visual effect in the film was to covertly paint over a copyrighted character on one of the stockings. The beginning of the film features a version of the Christmas classic “Here We Come A’Wassailing”, sung by Ralph and Casey. The full version (three verses of the original) displays a steady descent into silliness, and is still available on Casey’s bandcamp in its entirety. (Surprisingly, it has 8 downloads).
A poster of the film was released to Facebook December 18th, and the film premiered shortly after on YouTube December 24, 2013.