Join Kim Lee for an in-depth discussion in this video Digital and physical production and design, part of Kim Lee: Digital and Physical Production and Design.
- My name is Kim Lee. I do a myriad of things, most recently I'm doing 3D animation. I do that at a company called FuseFX in New York. I also do fabrication, specialty fabrication for custom props and sets. What am I working on at the moment? I'm working on a bunch of TV shows, visual effects for a bunch of big TV shows that are out.
Stuff like Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D., Blacklist, things of that nature. And a couple of new ones coming out this fall. Also working, on the side, working on a fabrication project with my brother, who owns side company with me creating a very strange mechanism related to food. Is all I can say. Well back when I was learning it, there were no schools teaching this stuff.
There were very few published instructional material available for it. I remember running around and having to try to find this CAD book about AutoCAD that happened to have a chapter about 3D Studio. I had started on 3D Studio in DOS way bay back in the day. So there was really not a lot of information, it was all self taught for the most part. Probably around the time when I started getting established, that's when all the books started coming out so it was like, damn, I just missed it.
Most of my material for learning didn't come from the web. It came from sitting with people who were also doing it, which led me to start the user group in New York for 3D Studio. It started at the 3D Studio user group, and then obviously when 3ds Max came out, we changed it over to a Max user group, but the exact reason for not being able to find material to learn from and to find, we basically had to find fellow birds of a feather, right.
Kindred souls who were interested in the same thing. So I had reached out at the time, I guess it was CompuServe or AOL, I mean this was, wow, I'm really dating myself. We reached out there and I found two other guys in the New York area who were working with the same program. I'm like, oh this is amazing, I found other people. And we were talking. I was like, there's got to be a user group to go find out information from. And there wasn't. We looked and we looked and we couldn't find anything and we had gotten together and said, well, what's to stop us from starting one? You know, so we just started a user group just to get community together, to try to find people to learn from.
That led to meeting a lot of people, getting my first job, meeting people from Autodesk, like Frank DeLise and that whole crew, who I became friends with and learned so much hanging out with them. We all would hang out together and we would have Super Bowl parties at Frank's house and never watch the football game, but stop to watch the commercials to see the CG in it. But we would sit there and be making stuff and it was kind of a...
When I was learning it, the best thing was it was a rivalry because at the time, Frank had been the main demo guy at Autodesk, or I guess it was Connetics at the time. When we were learning this stuff and he would show, hey, look at this cool thing, and I can make a submarine with bubbles and whatever, all that. And we would watch and we're like, oh that's cool, yeah, and then you'd go home and like, oh, I know he clicked on something here and you know, you just kind of learn from watching, from each other.
And a little bit of friendly rivalry kind of like, I can make a better one than that. Let me do that, you know, and we kind of pushed each other. So a lot of my learning initially was self taught, like reading the manuals, trying stuff, just making things, making mistakes, reading the forums on CompuServe at the time before there were all these websites and stuff. And then learning from peers and hanging out, and just because we loved what we were doing and we were really interested in it, we would sit down and like, oh yeah, I've got a way to do this and we would check it out and go improve on it.
And so, a lot of that. Very little from books, nothing from videos on the web. There was no video on the web at the time. It was just people typing, oh yeah, click this. I started in the music industry. I got sick of the music industry, left the music industry, had been always interested in building PCs at the time. Started building PCs. Discovered 3D Studio.
I really was building the PCs for games. I wanted to play cool games and no one was releasing games on the Ataris anymore. So I went to PC and in one PC magazine there was an ad for this program, and I was like, oh I've got to find out about it. Found out about it, got an educational copy of it, learned it, came to SIGGRAPH in '95 here in LA. And the rest of history, I just met people and had my demo reel and that's how I got in here. I have some design background from my father, because I worked with him.
He's an advertising art director. So I learned a lot of print, layout, typography, things like that. Got sick of doing stills for him. And realized you shouldn't work with family. (laughs) Left him and started into this and never looked back. How did I do that? So I had been primarily doing very strong on the 3D digital side for a long time.
I had always been interested in carpentry. I had been doing it on the side for fun just as a hobby, building stuff for myself. My brother, who I own a company called Worlds Away Productions with in New York. He's a production designer. And once in awhile he would say, hey, can you give me a hand? I don't have a carpenter for this, can you just help me build, it's really simple stuff, can you help me build some stuff? So he would bring me on to a project if I had some time, I was in between projects, and I would help him out building stuff, fabricating, doing carpentry.
A few years later, I got a little slow on the digital side, self imposed kind of lull in business. I just wasn't pursuing it a lot. I wasn't going after work. So as that happened, I had gotten very interested in electronics. It was one of those things where it's like, you know, if I don't learn it now, I'm never going to sit down and learn this stuff. So I decided, I'm going to teach myself electronics.
Got into the Arduino, went that whole route, learned it, played around, made some stuff. That led to an interest in other things mechanical/electronic. I started, you know, this was right about the very beginning of the 3D printer craze when everybody was doing these do it yourself kits. And I had also discovered this thing called the CNC machine, and seeing this people building their own CNC machines.
So the combination of those things led me to get into like mad scientist mode and I basically spent all my time in my garage trying to build 3D printers, I had bought some books on it. And I built a 3D printer and then I built a small CNC machine, which was kind of crappy. It was, I mean it worked, but it was a little, what we say in New York, it was a little foogazy. And it really didn't do the greatest job, but it worked and all the principles worked and I saw how it worked together and I figured out the electronics.
It's like, alright, I'm going to build a bigger one. And that kind of led me to build this five foot by nine foot steel aluminum wood CNC machine. And this was a big deal. I mean, it was just me being crazy, but it turned into a very lucrative and useful tool because I had shown that to, my brother had been seeing this the whole time, and like we can fabricate custom scenery with this stuff, custom props, we don't have to go out to have this stuff cut, we can do it ourselves.
So that led to me doing a lot of stuff for him, cutting big custom props for like Showtime promos and other things. Other signages for commercials, stuff like that. That led to me being noticed by a buddy of ours, who was a union carpenter, and he happened to be, a friend of ours named Danny Rivera in New York who became the construction coordinator, the top construction guy for a new show on Cinemax that was coming out called The Knick about a hospital in the 1900's New York.
And they basically hired me on to be the first in-union CNC operator. Usually they send that work out, so next thing you know I find myself with three palettes of lumber delivered and like, alright, we're building a big 50 foot operating theater for this TV show that Burn's directing. I'm like okay (laughs), cool. So did that for a few months, helped build the sets there, cut a lot of fake brick for the sets and it was great and the sets were amazing and it was really cool to be a part of something that you could touch, because for so many years, if there was no electricity, I couldn't show you anything I did.
(laughs) And you could never touch it. It was kind of nice. And we did a lot of those and I did some of that. And we did a lot of specialty projects where it was a lot of kind of mechanical, or there was a lot of planning involved that needed to be done on the computer. So it kind of was this natural progression to me working more with my brother. Not just I do the CG and he does the practical, but more kind of working together on the same projects.
Because originally when we had started the company it wound up like, he would do physical projects and live action shoots, and I would do CG projects, and there's really a big divide. It was like two companies under one roof. And then we started working together and that really led to a whole slew of interesting projects for like Google, and American Express, and Panasonic, things like that where we were actually combining. At the beginning, all the digital to do all the planning, show clients previs, things like that, renderings.
And then into planning mechanical or just anything complex that had to be done that if we didn't do that first, we would be wasting a lot of fabrication time making mistakes. So we did that quite a bit and it was great and then eventually I got this offer to work with Fuse and my back had started hurting a bit from, you know, all those hours of standing on concrete. (laughs) And I was trained as a digital artist, and I'm sweating in a warehouse.
It's like, yeah, I'll take a break from it for right now. I won't make this my primary, let me go back to digital for awhile and I still do CNC cutting and making things, so I'm very much in the maker movement. I should have said that as my answer before, when you asked, like, so what do you do? And like, I make things. My brother came to me with a project that had landed in his lap. He came to me and he showed me this drawing, he actually sent it to me on a phone.
And it was a pencil drawing that the director had given him of this big machine that he was tasking my brother with making. And I sat down. I was like, so what is this? He's like, it's for the Toughpad. They want to make this testing ground machine. It's kind of Rube Goldberg-ish. With all this crazy stuff that torture test kind of device that it goes through and it can wet, it gets hot, it gets cold, it gets dusty, you get all these things. And it pops out at the end.
I'm like, oh, that's cool, that's really cool, but let's sit down with them and go over it. So we got the job award and preceded to go to their office. And I spent a few days sitting with them doing previs, and we would just sit there. I'm like, so we have the drawings up on the wall that the director had done. I was like, alright, let's plan this out. We're not going to build each machine, but we're going to block out what the action needs to be. So we did a previs with very primitive geometry, more for timing, more for pacing, more for getting a sense of how this is going to feel and how much time it was going to take to get through the machine, versus how much time they had for a limit for the duration of the piece, which would also inform us for the next step of designing each piece.
I'm like, how big does this particular part of the machine need to be? Well if we need to get through it really fast, it can't be this long 12 foot piece of machinery. It's got to be shorter so it takes up less screen time. So we went through that process, we did a previs. I gave the files to the director, he would tweak them in his 3D program and give them back to me and I would tweak it a little bit more and clean it up. And then we'd make a previs so that they could show their client. That got signed off, and that's all typical stuff that you would do even if it was a full CG commercial, even if it was just a regular live action commercial without all crazy mechanics or anything like that.
So pretty standard stuff. Once we got through the previs phase, then we were tasked with sitting down like alright, what do these machines actually doing? And how are we getting this device from you know, this tablet, from one machine to the other? So it was really kind of a big engineering thing. It would fall under engineering more. I have no degree in engineering. So it was fun. (laughs) So we basically just dreamed up all these crazy things of like what we could do, and what we couldn't do.
The director gave us a lot of input like saying, well, you know, we have right now in the previs, we have an awful lot of conveyor belts. Because that's a very easy way to move something linearly from one point to the other. It's like, I think we're relying on too many, too many conveyor belts in this. It's like okay, great, now we've got to dream up, we've got to reinvent the conveyor belt now. So it was like well, we could have it on a zip line. Okay that's good. Or we can have it on this, have it slide down and then something lifts it back up.
So we were thinking along those lines. So we spent a couple weeks, maybe a week or two, to plan out mechanisms, like how are these going to really be built. And that I did in 3D, my tool of choice is 3ds Max. So I would sit down in Max and just bang out this model and actually use some of the mass effect physics from it to just like try to test things, not trying to be super accurate with the physics, but just say, is this plausible? Will this kind of work? And we'd always tweak it in the real thing.
So we did that for a bunch of mechanisms for this thing. The machine that we were making ultimately was this little car on a track that had the tablet on it and the person in the talent in the piece would push a button or release it and it would go down this track and it would release. It would trigger a point that would release a... It would cause a torch, one of those Butane torches, to fire, burning a string, releasing something else.
And these pool balls would fall down and by now, our tablet is rested on this platform and the pool balls would hit the screen of the tablet, and when the third one hits, it would trigger the tablet to get dumped into a ramp that would go into a boat that was on a canal that would get blown by fans. Then up an elevator that was triggered by a Jacob's ladder that lit a fuse that released a can of paint to pull the elevator up and it would dump it onto a kind of a strange slide onto a platform of strange mechanical arms that would move it through, essentially, a conveyor belt, but our cheat for not doing a conveyor belt.
And it would move it through that and get blasted with all this dust, colored dust, to show that it could get dirty. And then it would get dumped onto a zipline that would go through shower heads that were getting it wet. And these umbrellas were closing as it was getting to them so it would make sure it would get wet. Dumping it into a tank of live piranha to show that it could be submersed, and then picked up out of the tank of piranhas by a drone that had a basket underneath it.
It would go through another part of the course and dump it into our freezer machine, which would just, a conveyor belt that would bring it through this cold area. And you'd see the temperature and all this vapor from the chilly air. And then it would go to another machine, which was the oven, showing that it could get hot. Come out of the oven onto another cart, down tracks in front of fire ball machines that were shooting real fire balls. Onto an RC car with saw blades as wheels, going up a track, through a car, this was the noisy section, and we dropped a 300 pound boulder onto the hood of this car, which would trigger its alarm system to go off so you'd hear all this noise.
The idea was that you could hear, in a loud environment you could still hear this thing. And then it would get catapulted at the end of that track. A catapult would throw it onto the ground to the finish piece where they would pick it up and say, look, it still works. So we built that. (laughs) We had to figure that out and we couldn't have done it without melding the two worlds, like doing a lot of digital planning, working things out, make sure it was going to fit and then that would inform how we build it.
We'd have dimensions then. We'd have tested it out. The client would have seen the idea. Like, yeah that idea's fine. And we could go forward. It was already a tough schedule, but if we hadn't done that, we would have wasted a lot of time building something that didn't work, or that we thought might work but didn't. Yeah, that was a really good mix of the two worlds, I thought. The hope is that we don't lose the traditional. Like for example, the show I worked on, The Knick, when I was doing all the specialty CNC cutting.
I remember asking them at first, alright can you send me the CAD files? Because I have to set up cutting files for all these pieces so everything's going to fit and the carpenters don't have to do a lot of work when they put it together. And they said, well we'll send you a scan. I'm like, send me a scan? So they send me this scan. It's, you know, hand-drawn scan. I was like, alright, when I finally visited the stage and saw the art department that was working and the guys who were working there making all this stuff, it was all the best union draftsmen sitting there, brilliant work, but they had gotten them and none of them were on a computer.
They all had drafting tables. They were doing it old school. They had the slide rulers and everything about that set was drawn on the big paper, like old school. And I was like, really, nobody's using AutoCAD? Nobody's using, like wow, okay. This stuff looks great. My point being, there are certain sensibilities, there's a lot of knowledge and a lot of experience on the non-digital side that I hope doesn't get lost in the transition.
I hope it's not a alright, these people know this tool, and now they're doing it, as opposed to a mix of that and people who know, and have the eye and have all this other knowledge that's tool agnostic, them coming over and learning some of the digital tools. Maybe not trying to be as good as the kids who grew up with it, but I'm hoping some of that happens, enough of that happens to preserve a lot of the craftsmanship and the artistic stuff that's in all these artists who came from the traditional.
- [Voiceover] Digital and physical. - For 3D app, my app of choice is 3ds Max. As far as the main package, but that doesn't mean I won't use other stuff. I've used Softimage, may it rest in peace. I've used it, it's great. I've animated in it when I was freelancing for CIOP, way back in the day. And it's a great tool. Played around a little bit with ZBrush, but not enough to say I know ZBrush, but it's another great tool to use.
I use, you know, I played with RealFlow, not played with, I've worked with RealFlow quite a bit. A lot of the plugins in Max. Fume effects, things like that, editing package, because I'm interested in the whole process and I've been around long enough to do, so I've composited of Photoshop work, all that stuff. So, all the usual tools, all the Adobe stuff. I like Premiere a lot these days.
I used to be all Final Cut and I looked at Premiere recently again. I was like, oh, this works pretty nice. This is good. It's not like Premiere 10 years ago when probably was the last time I looked at it. So it's not really a fair comparison. So I'm using Premiere Pro for editing these days. Compositing, I'm actually, for myself, I'm really interested in playing around more with Fusion. I know it's not the popular choice right now, but it looks very interesting to me so I want to play with it some more.
But I've worked with NUKE before and most of our, I don't really do much compositing anymore since we have a department for that. So for CNC cutting, especially when I'm doing dimensional cuts, anything 3D and contoured, like a face or something like that, or a spaceship, or a robot, like we did for Autodesk. I tend to like DeskProto. It's a really great package, very affordable, that gives you huge amount of tool path options. Some of the other software, a little bit more limited with that.
And then, once it's made, and I'm in the physical realm, it may sound embarrassing, but at home I use RYOBI because they work fine. And I've actually used them for years on set doing stuff and I get laughed at because I don't have a DEWALT, but it puts the screws in. (laughs) So it works. I like RIDGID tools for some of the saws.
We have a bunch of RIDGID saws at the shop. But DEWALT is also there. We have DEWALT nail guns and drivers and things like that. I've been building a lot of tools lately, so like I'm in the midst of building a big CNC wire cutting machine so I can cut big 4x4x8 blocks of foam, in like one piece and just do contour stuff with that. So it's not really a brand, it's like Lee Tools.
That's funny, I'm not used to being asked about like what are your favorite tools when it comes to the physical side. So it sounds silly to me, saying like, well I'm a RIDGID man, or I'm DEWALT man and it's making me think how silly we sound on the digital side. Like I'm a Maya guy, or I'm a Houdini guy, I'm a Max guy. Like, you're 3D artists, it doesn't matter. (laughs) I started with Arduinos. Just because, at the time that I got interested in electronics, that was the thing to start with.
I mean there's so many other things out now. BeagleBones and you know, Raspberry Pis and all this stuff. And they're all great, and I've played with some of them since learning originally. But I think for, I mean it depends on what level you want to come in at. I was a little fearless, so I didn't mind the Arduino, but there are even more entry-level board out there, I think, to get started with. I mean, these guys from, I think MIT, the Makey Makey board, is a really great introduction to the concepts if you want to get your kids into it or if you want to play.
I might actually buy one just because you can make bananas into buttons, or anything that you clip onto it becomes a button. You know, you can have your stairs become a piano and play music. Or you can do anything like that. It's crazy stuff. I would probably suggest, because when you say to someone, you're learning electronics a certain vision will pop up in there head of what that means. And it's usually complicated. (laughs) It's very like, whoa, you're got a scope and you're doing all this crazy that's like way over my head and it doesn't have to be that.
I think if you start people with context, and this goes for everything for me. I'm very big on this whole context thing with learning and education. Electronics is scary if you just look at it that way. But if you say, we're going to make a light that does this, and we want to make that lamp be able to do this. And then you go through what you have to do to do that, and you're not trying to teach these principles first and then show, now that you know these principles, we can do this.
I don't have, most people don't have the patience to get to the "and we can do this". Put that "we can do this" up at the front. (laughs) And then, this is how we can get there. You know, and break it down. I think it would be much easier for people and more people would be willing to be fearless and try it. If you've got a goal, like anybody doing anything, once you've got that goal, and you realize, I can use this stuff to do it, but I have to figure out how to do it, you'll figure out how to do it.
And it's a lot less of a painful path because you're like well, it didn't do this, and I've got to get this, it's not making it bright enough, or it's not turning on when I get close to the lamp and what did I do wrong? And then you suddenly, it will just kind of lead you through the learning to get to it. So I think if you show, if you guide people with some well-thought-out examples that progress up, just like in teaching anything.
You know, teach simple to complex, but don't make it boring simple, make it like useful simple. Like oh, this is a useful thing, this is great. I can actually do something with that and then the next thing you learn is also useful. It would be even better if those two things, lesson one, lesson two, if you combine them and mix them in different ways. Oh, and they can start making connections in their own heads then you're really teaching. You're not teaching button pushing. Because we can teach monkeys to do what we do in VFX.
Alright, maybe we can't. But, very smart monkeys. But anybody can learn the software, it's learning how to really work with the software and express through it, and have it do whatever you want without being limited by, whoa, I thought you could only model this way. Well, why can't you use an animation tool for modeling tools? Not just pulling vertices, but what if we use this to generate this and then we snapshot that that we just used an animation tool to model.
You know, thinking that way and making those connections and teaching people how to make those connections is probably more important than like oh, here's how to make a lens flare. Or here's how to track something. Well, what can I do with tracking? I can use tracking not just to put a sign on a bus. I can use it for other things. And when you start doing that and making all those dots for them to let them connect them, then I think that's the best way to teach electronics. it's the best way to teach CG, anything.
What am I learning right now? There's a bunch of different areas. I'm one of those kind of scatter-brain guys who's interested in a lot of stuff. So I'm at various points in learning a bunch of things, one of which is I'm learning to be better at Synthize. Oh that's another one, Synthize, used for tracking. Love it. I'd like to get better at Synthize. I'd like to know the under the hood guts so that when I have problems. I'm not just kind of hopelessly clicking buttons. That I actually understand why things are failing.
Knowing under the hood is important for me. I'm in this constant learning process over the past three, four years about becoming more knowledgeable about car mechanisms so that I am not at the mercy of mechanics. Because that is the quintessential example of why knowledge is power. (laughs) You know when your car breaks down and he says, that's $2,000 and you have to say, okay, you know.
I want to know, even if I can't do the work, like that's not a $2,000 job, dude. Learning car mechanism stuff is kind of an ongoing thing. I'm actually learning, I'm planning on very soon Sitting with Daz and playing around with that a little bit more. The Daz software, Daz Studio. A friend of mine works at the company and kind of told me about it. I was like, why? That's a kid's tool, you know.
It's not really a professional tool, and it's changed a lot. So I'm looking at that, you know, for myself, just to see what its capabilities are. It seems really cool. I just want to check that out a bit. I'm learning Fusion for compositing. I hadn't used it much, so I wanted to start playing around with the version that they have for download. I'm on Beta for Max so it's trying to keep up with the new stuff that the team is going crazy this year.
So much good stuff coming out. I kind of can't keep up with it. So learning what they're doing and trying to stay ahead of the curve with that. Learning more about adding things to machines, like I want to add a fourth axis to my CNC machine. I want to rebuild the 3D printers that we have, getting into Delta printers. Actually I'm very interested in learning more about where we stand now and how quickly I can build an SLA printer.
I know there is a few on the market now, like the FORM 1 I think it's called. That's great, but I'm kind of one of those guys like, I want to build my own tool. I just want to know how it works. So that if something breaks down, I can fix it, I don't have to go to support. So learning more about that and where we are current state of the art for building any of those light-based, you know, resin based printers, is kind of interesting to me.
Learning to be more patient, learning to be kinder. (laughs) I'm going to say, learn what your limitations are. You know, learn, in anything, learn to, me learning that I'm not Superman. There's points in one's career as a maker, especially if you're a commercial maker and you're doing it for money, that you have this tendency, and this is probably coming more from the mentality of the freelancer, that okay, I can't not turn down a job.
I've got to do this, this, this, this, this, and I can do this, and I can edit that in five minutes, and then I can model this in 10, and I'll be able to squeeze all this in. And knowing what you really can and can't do and when you should collaborate and bring other people in and stuff like that. It's probably the most valuable thing I learned because it's very painful when you're learning those lessons the hard way, and you overbook or maybe you're not as good at this as you should be and you should have brought a friend in to do the compositing.
(laughs) Or whatever, things like that. Learning to be okay, be at peace with your current limitations. Not failings, but there's things you're great at, things you're not so great at. Be aware of that and be okay with it and you know, use it as a strength, not as a weakness so you don't screw yourself up. (laughs) Oh right, right. I mean, I look at movies still.
I look at you know, when I go to SIGGRAPH sometimes for inspiration. I mean the joke was that you would go to electronic theater and you'd watch it and everybody were like, oh it's amazing, look ILM did. And I'd be like, those bastards. Man, they make it hard for us. They just raise the bar again, damn it. (laughs) You know? Jokingly of course, I'm in awe of what they do. Inspired by that stuff and you go to the movies and you see what the latest Avengers or whatever.
And you're like wow, it's just great work. Like, it does push you. But I'm inspired now by watching a lot, my scope of what inspires me has widened a bit to be less just CG and look at the great visual effects in a TV show or movie, but now also, like I'll be looking at these mechanisms as we take the taxi from the airport to here and I see these construction machines, like what does that thing do? Like, oh my god, look at what they're doing as they're doing roadwork or anything like that.
There's such a wider world of like, wow is all this cool stuff that I didn't really look at before. It was kind of like, eh there's a crane, whatever. What's that crane doing, like wow, how the hell are they balancing on that building? You know, those kind of things, which seems like well, that's because you're doing the physical. Yeah, but that'll also inform my if I have to do a CG shot with a crane crashing off a building. God forbid. (laughs) You know, as we sit on the 31st floor.
You know, you'd want to have some knowledge about that. So I'm kind of like looking at everything as inspiration these days. A perfect example, I'm looking at you guys shooting me here and I'm looking at the camera heads you guys have. I'm like, you know, could that be improved? You know, how is that working, how is it locking? Oh, it's a lot of mass. You know, inspiration from everywhere is what I'm saying. Like oh, I like that locking mechanism that you use for the tilt, because I could use that on my CNC machine for this.
You know, and taking from different fields, mixing and matching. I'll give you a silly story. This is related to Panasonic. It's related to production. Live action people will appreciate it. So we had this Panasonic job and we had to get a car for it. We had to acquire, in our budget, a car to be smashed by this boulder in the end of the Panasonic spot. So my brother sourced a car. He spent x dollars on it and had all the fluid drained from it so that if the rock hit and something happened to the motor, we didn't have oil everywhere to clean up.
So we had it brought to the warehouse and great, it performed well. We dropped it, we did the shoot. Dented the engine, screwed up the car, and now we're cleaning up and like, oh, we've got to get rid of this thing now. We got to have to call a guy to come tow this thing, sell it for scrap, maybe make some of the money back that we spent on the car for the budget. And, oh what are we going to do? So we're cleaning up. The owner called us and said hey, we have this producer who needs to shoot a music video in two days.
At the other location, not far from us. And they want to know if you guys can blow up a car. I'm like, really? Why don't you have them come down. So they brought them down. My brother met with the producers and the director, and they said well, we happen to have this here. Would this kind of car do? And they looked at it like, yeah that's fine, yeah, yeah. Well what do you guys want to do? Well we want to set it on fire and do stuff. I'm like, okay. So my brother sold the car to them for I think about the same price he bought it for.
They came and towed it to the new location. And then they hired us to blow it up. We hired a licensed pyrotechnics guy out of New Jersey to be supervising. And then we got hired, the same crew, two days later, we're hired to rig it with charges and do stuff. And we used the same fire ball cannons that we had just built for Panasonic. We put them behind the car so it made this big you know, fire ball behind it.
And then we shot a music video, a hip hop music video, with that car. And then it was now a burnt out hulk with a dented hood from the thing. And then it was like, okay, thank you, see you. Because it's your car now. You have to get rid of this burnt thing. And we walked away and I'm like, that should happen every time. (laughs) That was amazing. Like, lightning struck. So anybody in live action will appreciate like oh, we didn't have to deal with anything. It's done, see you.
And we got paid to walk away from it. I'm like (laughs) that was great. So that's my funny story.