Welcome, Stranger

Hello all! My name is Rob Cartwright. Welcome to my blog.

Allow me to first share a little background about myself and explain what this blog aims to do.

I’m a nut for all things creative, especially in the entertainment field, where I have a fairly mixed background. I hold a music degree with an emphasis in composition and entertainment productions. I have many years of experience as a touring performer, drumming independently for many artists, with my own bands, and with performance ensembles. I worked as a show designer and director for Six Flags Entertainment where I created in-park entertainment, helped produce parades, and managed show casts. I have been involved in stage design, scenic design, and haunted attraction design. I have also served as a staff member for various DCI and WGI ensembles, collegiate bands, and high school music departments. I am currently the live drummer of hip-hop artist, KB, and am a performer for a Blue Man Group-style ensemble called StikYard.

Besides live entertainment, most of my daytime work resides in production. Over the past several years, I have been involved in mostly commercial video production including motion graphics, compositing, visual effects, cinematography, editing, sound, and some limited UI/UX design. I also have some experience building scale models for green screen work and special effects, as well as prop fabrication. I sketch daily and am currently obsessed with sculpting, but am by no means an expert.

The Purpose Of This Blog

This blog will serve two purposes. First, it will serve as yet another creative outlet to post my creations. Having an online archive of my thoughts and ideas allows me to track my progress and growth as an artist. You may find a sketch one day, a scratch built model the next, and a musical composition the day after.

The second purpose of this blog is to exchange knowledge. Though I am by no means a master in my field, this blog will aim to give you some insight into my creative process, from planning to completion. Because I do a lot of research for creative projects and like to share that new knowledge, I tend to be wordy in my blog posts. If that’s not for you, I will always share plenty of photos with short descriptions. My hope is that you can learn from me and I can learn from you.

I hope you will enjoy and will follow me in this journey I have begun.

Rob Cartwright

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Hover Car Update #1 | Introduction

A Quick Introduction

Though I am by no means a master in my field, this blog will aim to give you some insight into my creative process, from planning to completion. Because I do a lot of research for creative projects and like to share that new knowledge, I tend to be wordy in my blog posts. If that’s not for you, I will always share plenty of photos with short descriptions. My hope is that you can learn from me and I can learn from you.

I’ve started a new scratch built / kitbash model for use as a green screen model in a short scene on a small commercial project. The concept behind the scene is the city of the future. In this time period, technology has afforded humans with the means to make any preexisting car fly. The art direction leans toward the grittier version of the future, often seen in Hollywood, quietly paying homage to films like The Fifth Element and Blade Runner.

A Short History Lesson

If there’s anything I’ve learned in my relatively short time in production, it’s that anything you create will be more believable if it’s grounded in reality. Even the most foreign sci-fi concept can read well if there is a shred of familiarity. Take a look at the photo below, a scene from The Fifth Element. Though this is obviously a distant future with flying cars, the remainder of the scene is grounded in reality. We see familiar architecture in buildings that have stood the test of time, but have progressed upward. We see sidewalks and traffic signals elevated to match the higher altitude of the lanes. The fine details may feel distant, but the broad picture is familiar because essentially, it’s simply a city without roads.

The Fifth Element City

America was basically raised on the idea that we’d all have flying cars in the future, dating as far back as 1917, when Glenn Curtiss introduced his Autoplane. Later on we’d see flying cars in The Jetsons, the aforementioned sci-fi films, and my personal favorite, Back To The Future. These concepts are engrained in our culture, giving me free reign to design the car as I see fit, but it still needs to read well and fit in with its environment.

Onto The Build

Because this is a small project with a quick turnaround and a tight budget, I don’t have the time to sculpt a custom car and make a mold. Instead, I’ve purchased a 1/25 scale 1950 Oldsmobile model and will scale anything else the client needs to that size. To aid in this conversion, I have a bank of various parts (models and scrap plastic styrene) and tools that I will do my best to define.

Referencing our storyboards, it is unlikely the viewer will ever see a full shot of the underside of the car, but it still must be detailed and based in reality. Therefore, a set of guidelines were created that I’ll detail throughout this process. Moving on.

“Rocket Thrusters!” the client exclaimed!

I have a firm belief that most of what you will need to construct the main forms for any scratch build can be found by scouring your local hardware store.

1/2″ sprinkler plumbing pieces.

I cut them both in half with my Dremel.

I cut the center out of a water bottle cap and glued it to the top of a 1/2″ PVC coupler.

I then glued a piece of 0.5mm styrene to the bottom, cut off the excess, and drilled a hole what will eventually house wires for the LEDs.

That’s all for now! Tune in for another update soon!