VIDEO: True Blood Behind the Scenes from Episode 3.04 – 9 Crimes

July 12, 2010

HBO has released a behind the scenes look at True Blood‘s Episode 3.04, “9 Crimes” with director David Petrarca, and writers Kate Barnow and Elisabeth Finch as they discuss Bill’s struggle to hold onto his humanity in the mist of all the intrigue of vampire politics surrounding him. Enjoy!

Ep. 28: Inside the Episode

Decorating the True Blood Sets

July 4, 2010

Thanks to Mandi Bierly of PopWatch, we learned some very interesting and fun details of how many of the sets on HBO‘s True Blood were decorated.  In addition to shopping on eBay, a lot of the decoration items were donated by crew members.

Production Designer for the show, Suzuki Ingerslev, described some of the details and inspirations for Fangtasia, the homes of Sookie, Jason and Lafayette, Bill’s house, Merlotte’s, Russell Edgington‘s mansion and Lou Pine’s bar.

Starting with Merlotte’s, Suzuki said they wanted to maintain a homey, Southern atmosphere.  The bar top consists of resined, old-fashioned coasters.  We probably haven’t noticed it, but the doorknob to Sam‘s office is the face of a dog.  She said the actors get a kick out of it.  “We even have a picture of Alan Ball and Charlaine Harris behind the bar.”

Knowing that Eric is capitalizing on the draw of vampires, there is a souvenir stand in FangtasiaSuzuki said they hired an artist to paint some of the crew members on velvet, and they hung a picture of the Last Supper that lights up.  She said it adds to the “anti-religious artifacts” that would make sense in a vampire bar.  In Eric‘s office in Season 1, her decorator put hot sauce on his desk as a joke – vampires do not eat.

When decorating Lafayette‘s house, “we started with a leopard carpet and some foiled wallpapers that we found in an in-stock book here in the ofice”.  As a resource, a book titled Bachelor Pads was used.  Lafayette, evidently, believes in a variety of deities and there are religious items around that represent all of them.

Decorating Jason‘s house was pretty simple.  “This is the house he grew up in, and he hasn’t done anything to it — so that’s why it’s that kooky wallpaper.”  Making him the stereotypical bachelor, beer bottles and pizza boxes are staples.  And, have you noticed he has black satin sheets on his bed?

For Bill‘s house, she wanted the look and feel to be very old and neglected.  So the peeling paint on the outside adds to the romance without having it look haunted.  Asked why Bill hasn’t upgraded his “daytime quarters”, rather than continue to sleep under the house, Suzuki explained.

“I guess it goes back to their instincts, and they do like to bury down into the ground, so even if he’s a gentleman, he has that animal instinct to go down and hide.”

Regarding the bowl of water and the sponge by Bill‘s front door, which we saw in last week’s flashback, this was a traditional way to warn visitors that sickness was within.

Talking about Sookie‘s house, Suzuki said they spent a lot of time with it.  “The house was so delicate and beautiful and represented grandma.”  A construction worker’s wife donated her deceased mother’s dishes and crochet covers.  Lois Smith, who played Gran, added her own youthful photos and the show’s creator, Alan Ball, provided photos of his own family.  “Everybody in the crew has donated stuff, so it feels like everybody’s family has something in there.”

Sookie‘s kitchen sink was very difficult to find.  It’s an old “farm-style” sink, and although they searched all over the country, they ended up having to rent it as a prop.

The prop master came up with an idea for the table lights in the werewolf bar, Lou Pine’s.  They’re made from “silver doggie bowls and cheap plastic domes”.

Moving on to the mansion owned by Russell Edgington, vampire King of Mississippi, Suzuki said she and her art director found a treasure in Natchez.

“Longwood, a National Historic Landmark and the largest remaining octagonal home in the U.S., which she [Suzuki] was told had never been filmed before for TV or features.  “The interior was never completed.  After the Civil War, they walked away from it,” she says.  “But we just needed it for the exterior, because there’s nothing like it in the whole world.”

They studied plantation homes to get the flavor for the furnishings and they found a wallpaper for the king’s dining room that depicts Mississippi, complete with Spanish moss and alligators.

Decorating the dining room table was rather interesting.  Suzuki said they realized they couldn’t use silverware because silver is harmful to vampires. They instead used gold flatware.  And regarding the crystal, “Waterford was kind enough to loan us some pieces because apparently, they’re fans of the show.”

The last bit of decorating discussed was Maryann‘s “12-foot statue of steel, meat, live bugs and snakes”.  Because Alan wanted authenticity, $500 in meat and vegetables were purchased every couple of days.  Fortunately it was outdoors because the stink was authentic!  But unfortunately, security guards had to be placed around it to keep wild animals away.  Even bug wranglers were involved in ensuring the snakes and bugs didn’t burrow too far into the sculpture.

As for the constraints Eric used on Yvetta in last week’s sex scene, Suzuki couldn’t believe they had a conversation over whether to use ropes, metal or chain.  She said that building that set was pretty strange.  Actually, she used the word crazy.

“We started with brand new metal, brand new concrete, and then we aged it all down.  And then we do a wet-down [before shooting] so that it seems even more dank and disgusting.  When you’re in that set, you feel like you need to shower afterwards.”

So now, when you watch the episodes for the 3rd and 4th times, you can start paying attention to those quirky decorating items you didn’t notice before.

You can also read’s exclusive two part interview with True Blood’s Production Designer Suzuki Ingerslev by clicking here for part 1 and here for part 2.


(Photo credit –


True Blood Season 3 Behind The Scenes Video

May 20, 2010

The Buzz takes a behind the scenes look at the various shows that HBO is getting ready for the new season and they agree with what True Blood fans have been saying — waiting sucks. Enjoy the clip!

Series in Production Summer/Fall 2010



True Blood Season 3: Filming on Location Photos

February 18, 2010

True Blood is out and about filming on location in the Los Angeles area shutting down a street and using the Trianon Apartments as the backdrop for a scene as tweeted and by LafayetteTB and JimHegarty on Twitter. They were able to take a few photos of the scene to give us the opportunity to speculate what scene they may be working on. also provides some pics from the scene featuring Anna Paquin (Sookie Stackhouse) wearing a short denim mini skirt, a lace tank top with a cami below and sunglasses.  As LafayetteTB tweeted on his twitter, are we seeing a scene from Alcide‘s apartment?   We will have to wait and see when season 3 of True Blood returns in June to find out, but in the meantime, let the speculations begin.

Filming Notice

Smoke Machines

True Blood Filming Set-up

Trianon Apartments

True Blood night filming

Trianon Apartments

Anna on location

Anna filming on location

Anna on set

Anna on a location shoot


LafayetteTB on Twitter

JimHegarty on Twitter

(Photo credits:  LafayetteTB, JimHegarty, and


True Blood Season 3: Photos from the Set

January 10, 2010

Just in time to help with many to deal with their feelings of True Blood withdrawal, photos from the set of True Blood have emerged.  These photo features Sam Trammell, the lovable shapeshifter, Sam Merlotte, taking a break from shooting a scene on the set for season 3.  Looking at the photos we see a garage scene in the background, indicating that perhaps Sam is working on a scene dealing with him trying to find his family.

Whatever the scene may be about True Blood fans are just thrilled to see and know that the production of season 3 is on a roll.

(Photo Source:


MastersFX Launches New Digital Division

December 22, 2009

true_blood_coupleMastersFX, an organization founded in 1987 by Emmy Award winner Todd Masters, is renown in Hollywood for its creation of special and visual effects, has launched a Digital Division. The company has designed, created and produced prosthetics, animatronics, and character effects for many hundreds of motion pictures, television programs (including True Blood), and commercials.

Todd Masters, Founder of MastersFX, has announced that Andreé Bustanoby, formerly an FX artist with Stan Winston Studio and Digital Domain, will head up the new division as its Visual Effects Supervisor.

The new Digital Division will enable the company to integrate practical character effects with digital FX, consequently allowing for tailored effects for each shot design with regard to the specificities of the particular project budget, time constraints and production preferences.

Regarding the establishment of the new Digital Division, Masters said,

“Our new digital group allows our company to integrate the best of both worlds within special and visual effects. There will always be room for practical, on-set effects that include make-ups, prosthetics, puppets and other character gags. By enhancing these moments with our digital expertise, our company’s contributions to film, TV, commercials and multi-media projects lets us plan every FX design in advance, pre-visualization, so we can best determine the most dramatic—and efficient—element to deliver. We can ‘throw all the tools’ onto the table, and can then decide which to ultimately deliver to the director.”

André Bustanoby, the new Digital Division’s Visual Effects Supervisor, is a veteran of Visual Effects and comes with a solid portfolio of previous work. Prior to joining MastersFX, he worked at Brain Zoo Studios, where he supervised Visual Effects on such videogame projects as Lost Planet and Mercs2. Between 1995 and 2001, Bustanoby was at Digital Domain, where he contributed “performance capture” work to the projects The Island of Dr. Moreau, Michael Jackson’s Ghosts and the hit film, Titanic. After making his Visual Effects Supervisor feature debut on the feature film Lake Placid, he then moved over to Digital Domain’s commercial division. There, he worked on many projects, winning a 2001 Silver CLIO Award for client Iomega, in the category “Best Animation.” From 2001-05, Bustanboy helped build a new digital division at Stan Winston Studio, where he contributed digital FX work to feature films such as, for example, Terminator 3, The Cat in the Hat, The Fantastic Four, among others.

Earlier in his career, Bustanoby worked for Boss Film Studios as a Design Engineer. He has been involved with several movie projects. These include, for example, Alien 3, Batman Returns, Cliffhanger, Species and Multiplicity. His first job in the special effects industry was for MastersFX in l990, when he worked as an Animatronics Engineer. In that role, he was involved with the films The Howling: 6 and Tales from the Crypt.

The new Digital Division will undoubtedly consolidate and solidify MastersFX’s already highly regarded reputation in the industry. During this past year, MastersFX has provided prosthetic FX for feature films such as, for example, Marley and Me, The Day the Earth Stood Still, and for the television series Sanctuary, Dexter, Eureka, and Stargate Atlantis. Previously, the company has contributed to Star Trek: First Contact, Tales from the Crypt, Nightmare on Elm Street 5, The Horse Whisperer, Snakes on a Plane, Six Feet Under, Buffy the Vampire Slayer, among others.

In acknowledgment of its expertise, MastersFX won an Emmy Award in 2003 for its contributions to HBO’s Six Feet Under. The company is also the winner of a 2006 “Saturn” Award for its work on the feature film Slither. In addition, MastersFx has just won a 2009 “Gemini” Award for its contributions to the cable TV series Stargate: Atlantis. The company contributes FX to a number of high profile television and feature film projects. It is currently producing FX for Season 3 of HBO’s True Blood. MastersFX has also created FX for Twilight: New Moon, The Vampire Diaries, Fringe, Flash Forward, Eureka, Sanctuary, Big Love, Private Practice and Grey’s Anatomy, among others.

Now that Season 3 of True Blood has commenced shooting, I am sure I’m speaking for all True Blood fans when I say that we are all beside ourselves with excitement about the digital effects that will be deployed in the next season’s portrayal and characterization of vampires and werewolves.


Picture credit: HBO Inc.


VIDEO: Behind the Scenes of True Blood

December 14, 2009

vampires_on_true_bloodThe irrepressibly enthusiastic host Nar Williams of the channel Science Of The Movies speaks to Zoic Studios about the visual effects techniques used in HBO’s True Blood.

Zoic Studios is an Emmy award winning visual effects company based in Culver City, California. They deal primarily with computer generated special effects for movies, television and commercials. In addition to creating effects for the HBO vampire series True Blood, Zoic’s impressive resume also includes creating visual effects for such popular TV shows as Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Angel, Battlestar Galactic, Halo 3, CSI, CSI Miami, Firefly (which eared the team an Emmy) and numerous feature films such as, for example, Spider Man 2 and The Day After Tomorrow.

Nar Williams speaks to the visual effects team at Zoic who makes HBO’s True Blood seem as realistic as a nature documentary. In particular, Nar speaks to Andrew Orloff, Zoic’s Creative Director and Visual Effects Supervisor, about their work on HBO’s True Blood.

Nar and Andrew discuss how the visual effects augment the narrative arc, strengthening the build up of the dramatic tension within True Blood’s plotlines. As Andrew Orloff explains,

“You want to feel that it’s a completely day-to-day organic amalgamation of these supernatural powers with the real world.”

Nar also speaks to Steve Meyer, Zoics’ Facility 2-D Supervisor, who supervises the team of compositors. Their work has contributed to making those vampiric features believable and realistic.

In Part 1, for example, Steve Meyer speaks in-depth about the staking of Longshadow in Season 1 of True Blood. This is the first time we see a vampire getting staked and according to Steve Meyer, Alan Ball’s directive to Zoic was,

“just make as gory and as bloody as you can make it”

They also discuss the make-up and visual techniques used to convey the effects of sunlight burning vampire skin. Steve reveals the techniques they deployed to convey the sense of realism when Bill Compton ventures out into the sun to save Sookie, consequently getting his skin burnt at the end of Season 1 of True Blood.

In Part 2, Nar speaks to Jon Massey, Visual FX Supervisor at Zoic. In addition to True Blood, Jon has also worked on Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles and Cold Case, among others.

Nar and Jon discuss the digital effects used to create the vampire fangs popping out and retracting in True Blood. Jon explains the differences between the vampire fangs of True Blood and the fangs in other vampire movies and TV shows. He reveals that the fangs True Blood vampires are lateral incisors as opposed to the canine incisors typically seen in other vampire movies and TV shows,

“When you’re trying to bite somebody […] it is a lot easier […] to bite into somebody and actually draw blood [with the lateral incisor fangs]”

When it comes to the vampire fangs popping out or retracting, Jon explains,

“We didn’t want it to be magical. We needed it to be something that was physical and natural. One of the ideas that was presented [was that the fangs be] based on Diamondback Rattlesnake fangs.”

Jon discusses how the physical aspects of vampire fangs resemble that of rattlesnake fangs. The physical anatomy of how the vampire fangs would actually work was also discussed in detail with Jules Sylvester, Wild Animal Trainer and expert on rattlesnakes. After the spine tingling discussion of how these fangs work like hypodermic needles stabbing its victims with toxic proteins, I’m going to look at those vampire fangs in new light and watch my back when I step out in the evening.

Many thanks to Michi for putting the video up on Youtube!


Science Of The Movies via Science Channel (Part 1)

Science Of The Movies via Science Channel (Part 2)

Picture credit: HBO Inc.


True Blood’s Masters FX Effects

November 29, 2009

Sookie-InjuredWe have seen True Blood‘s special effects and somehow we now have an idea on how True Blood vampires would die if you staked them.  The Twilight Saga, New Moon, hired the same company that True Blood uses to do their special effects. That company is none other than the 22-year-old Los Angeles-based company – Masters FX.

Masters FX is owned by Todd Masters, a graduate of Sammamish High School. Masters is a drop-out of Seattle’s Cornish School of Arts after attending for just a day when he was 18. But this did not impede his dreams and look at where he is at the moment. His company is credited for the contributions to films like Predator, Mortal Kombat, Nightmare on Elm Street and the t.v. show Fringe. The company’s latest assignment was Twilight Saga’s New Moon. Among his company’s contribution to New Moon were the wounds, scars, tattoos of the Quileute characters and the very sparkly vampire death.

But Masters is not into the sparkly death of vampires He said,

“We’re not really into the whole sparkly vampire thing. Vampires don’t sparkle.”

However, Masters FX worked their expertise in the third installment in the franchise, “The Twilight Saga: Eclipse,” which is due out in June.   If he doesn’t like the sparkly deaths of Twilight vampires, perhaps he loves True Blood vampires‘ messy death.

(Photo credit: HBO Inc., screencaps courtesy by James)


Inside Look at the Making of True Blood’s Opening Credits

October 29, 2009

True-Blood-opening-scenesWe recently found a video showing a behind the scenes look at the production of the opening credits for True Blood. As the video starts we hear the crew explaining how they came up with the concept for the opening credits. They wanted the feel of a predatory creature watching humans. They also wanted to incorporate the sexiness and violence that goes along with the show. The idea of the credits was to have these feelings and emotions build and build until you felt like you couldn’t take it anymore. The credits were produced in more of a documentary fashion rather than normal film making. All types of different techniques and equipment were used. The church scene that takes place in the credits was actually a last minute shoot taken in Chicago. They cast an actual church and shot the scene in the basement of the church. You also get an inside look into how they shot the final sequence where you see the True Blood title under the blood. It was very inexpensive to create and the crew was extremely proud of how it turned out. This is a neat inside look into one more facet of this amazing show! Enjoy!

True Blood Making of and Featurette from DIGITALKITCHEN on Vimeo.

SOURCE:  Digital Kitchen


Ryan Kwanten…DOES NOT Go To The Gym?

October 25, 2009

ryan-kwantenRyan Kwanten of True Blood, is many things; however, high on the list is his extreme fitnessRyan is in simply incredible shape, which he has achieved by NOT going to the gym!

The 32 year-old Australian has led an active lifestyle, which in the past included competing in Triathlons and boxingRyan was state champion in the welterweight division, from the ages of 13-15.  Participating in these sports have left him with a leaner, more natural looking ‘beach body’ effect, compared to the pumped up appearance of someone who purely goes to the gym.

Since moving to Los Angeles, there’s been a change in Ryan’s approach to working out, leading him to do more body weight exercises, such as sit ups, push ups and pull ups.  He also does more interval training and jumps rope, to help with his cardio fitness.  He doesn’t compete in Triathlons any more, but has competed in biathlons in LA, winning it in 2006 and 2007.  He doesn’t believe in using gym equipment for cardio, preferring to run on outdoor trails and the beach.  The variable resistance in this type of exercise ensures that his body cannot grow accustomed to the exercise, which means it burns more fat.

If Ryan has to get extra lean for a particular scene or photo shoot, for 2-3 days beforehand he changes his diet to a ‘paleo diet’, which is mainly based around protein and vegetables, with few refined grains and carbs.  This lessening of carbs means his insulin levels stay stable, which is the key to burning body fat round the clock, as the body cannot use fat for energy when insulin levels are high.

This style of working out, without using a gym, is becoming more popular in Hollywood – it challenges the traditional structure of going to a gym, and keeps workouts more varied and interesting, which makes it easier to stick to a fitness regime.  A trainer who specializes in helping people to achieve this look is Rusty Moore, who has named his technique the Vacation Body Blueprint.  If you want to achieve the fitness of Ryan Kwanten, check out his video and report at:


(Photo credit:


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