Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Happy Anniversary PHANTOM HARBOR!

Hey Kids!

So, it was a short 4 years ago that the world was introduced to a spooky stretch of beach on a forgotten cove somewhere in limbo known as PHANTOM HARBOR.

With no money, limited technology, a lot of imagination and drive, we shot our first episode in two days in our one-car garage, here in Highland Park, California.  Not 100% sure of what I was hoping to do, the first episode was much more atmospheric and limited in terms of animation. At the time I had no idea of how much work it was going to be; thank God I didn't, because I might have given up before I tried!

I had a lot of great people helping me out including my wife, Tracy, who stepped in and directed my performance. She came into the garage and witnessed me doing a really bad Orson Wells impersonation as the Captain and helped me figure out who The Captain really was.  Mike Deak not only helped puppeteer the Goblin, but helped me figure out how to shoot him using no rods.  The compositing was sketchy, but a conversation with Everett Burrell helped guide me to new software that has greatly improved our composite shots.

However, for the first episode I do need to single out Derek Krout and Patricia Urias (Venuto) who ran the foam rubber in the Goblin mold for me.  They did an incredible job and four years later, I'm still using the same puppet:

Sculpting away!  Boy, look how skinny I was - time to lose some weight!
Every wanted to know what a naked Goblin looks like?
Molding in Ultracal 30.
And now, some videos that I don't think anyone in the world has seen besides me.  Here are Derek and Patricia opening the mold and checking out the puppet:
A little hair, a little paint and he was all done, ready to shoot!
Look how beautiful he is!
He was supposed to be a "Boo!" at the end of the first episode but was so iconic that he became the Cap'n's number 2, right-hand man...well, Goblin! 

And the episode?  If you haven't seen it (or haven't seen it in a long time) check it out here:
Phantom Harbor Pilot Episode (2008)

Thanks everyone for joining us on our voyage!  There is so much more to come so keep tuning in and checking the blog for updates and specials.

Until next time, I'll see you at the Harbor.

Shannon Shea

Saturday, October 27, 2012

Halloween Treat #5 - Frankenstein Meets The Wolfman at the Alex Theater

Hey Kids,

So this Saturday, the historic Alex Theater in Glendale, California became a political stomping ground for two last-minute candidates for the presidency of the United States -
The Wolfman (Dan Roebuck) debated Frankenstein's Monster (Perry Shields)
The Wolfman is a "Lycancrat" and runs on the "Transform" platform, where Frankenstein's monster is running on the "Strength" platform as the Electrican candidate.  They had very different opinions on what to do about renewable energy (The Wolfman favored harnessing the power of the moon, while The Monster favored lightning strikes).  You can check out there platforms here:
It was a fantastic show AND a great opportunity to see FRANKENSTEIN MEETS THE WOLFMAN on film, on the big screen!

Until next time, I'll see you at the Harbor!

Shannon Shea

Friday, October 26, 2012

HALLOWEEN TREAT #4 - Jasper Anderson's Animated TOMBSTONES!

Hey Kids!

The Cap'n received an e-mail the other day from young Jasper Anderson who has come up with something VERY cool!  If you have a small video projector and a store bought or homemade tombstone, then you can have an ANIMATED TOMBSTONE!

Check out his video:
So, what Jasper has done is animated some incredible effects that, when projected onto one of your
own tombstones, really make it come to life...if that's possible!  For a small fee, you can download
the animations - So you still have time to add that little "oomf" to your yard haunt!

For more information check out his blog at: Mr. Chicken's Haunt and THANKS JASPER for sharing this!

Until next time, I'll see you at the Harbor!

Shannon Shea

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

HALLOWEEN TREAT #3 - Craftin' with the Cap'n

Hey Kids!

So, as you can see, the third treat from Phantom Harbor is a quick tutorial about making a papier mache mask!  Okay, so it isn't necessarily "quick" but follow the instructions and you, too, can have a groovy custom mask!  HURRY, there's still time:

PHANTOM HARBOR: Craftin' with the Cap'n - Episode 1 from Shannon Shea on Vimeo.

Grab some supplies and customize your own mask this weekend!
Until next time, I'll see you at the Harbor!

Shannon Shea


Hey Kids!

This evening we're all excited about a new feature here at the Harbor called: "Craftin' with the Cap'n" where our beloved Cap'n will demonstrate some spooky, creepy, creative crafts!

First up: Papier Mache Masks!  Now, don't be intimidated.  With a little money, a little time, and a lot of imagination, you STILL have time to make a cool mask for this Halloween!  So tune in this evening and check out the show.

The lesson is long, but shorter than a Bob Ross episode!

Until next time, I'll see you at the Harbor!
Shannon Shea

Sunday, October 21, 2012


Hey Kids!

So what do you think the Captain found in his email today?  Two NEW drawings by a young fan in Winter Garden, Florida.

They were drawn EXPERTLY by one, Jessica Roddy, 10 years old!  Check them out!

Love the bolts, love the scars, but I love the expression on the mouth and the saggy eyelids!
I don't know where to begin!  LOVE the striped shirt, the pink eyes, the lapel button, and the FANGS!
Jessica's drawings will become part of the PHANTOM HARBOR GALLERY next month when the site gets updated again!  We'd also like to extend special thanks to her parents for taking the time to send her art in and for raising such a wonderful talented young lady! 

The Captain sent Jessica a thank you email and encourages young artists, writers, and filmmakers to send MORE work to him. It's easier than falling off a log.  Just write: TheCaptain@PhantomHarbor.com, embed the images or links, or attach them.  We're all looking forward to seeing MORE!

Until next time, I'll see you at the Harbor!

Shannon Shea

Saturday, October 20, 2012

SPOOKY TIME Retrospective

Hey Kids!

Since it is Halloween and we've been hoping that Haunters will emerge from their graves, crypts, haunted houses, lairs, etc. to share their projects, we decided we'd give this a kick-start.

Years ago, while working at KNB EFX group, Brian Goerhing and Joe Giles began handing out DVD's to their co-workers of a Spook Show they had produced called "Spooky Time at the Wormwood Mortuary."
Utilizing purposefully crude effects, costumes and puppets, they created an out-of-control world with their friends that upon viewing, was beyond hilarious.

When you set out to produce something like this, whether you are cognoscente of it or not, you invent rules for your universe and the more outlandish, the bigger risk you take that the show won't work.  Goerhing and Giles, joined by Steve Hartman, Lino Stavole, Joe Gomez and others pulled out all of the stops and went for it.  The result works so well, you should see for yourself here:

I must admit, that when I saw it, I went a bit crazy with enthusiasm!  Even with the audio problems, I could not have enjoyed their show more!  I literally begged to be on their show in some capacity, I loved it so much.

What I discovered was that Spooky Time didn't have a "home" - it was a floating show.  The guys just waiting until someone donated a space for them to shoot and then they would appear with their props, makeup and costumes and do the show.  Had I had a bigger facility and if I hadn't been prepping for PHANTOM HARBOR, I probably would have suggested my garage.

In any case, the boys produced a few more episodes, but were having difficulty getting all of their personnel and resources together.  I suggested that they come to PHANTOM HARBOR as guests and they jumped at the chance.  Brian and Joe said that they were happy that someone else would think of the situations and dialogue and then take care of all of the editing and post work.  They would just be able to kick back and have fun.  And did we have fun!

The Spooky Time Guys visit PHANTOM HARBOR!

They were so incredibly generous with their time - they brought their "Spooky Time Bat" which was puppeteered by the incredible Mike Deak (Mike Deak's YouTube Channel).

Having the guys agree to come over, inspired our first true "Halloween Special" (okay, we've done two, we want to do more, but something always seems to prevent it now!). If you haven't seen it, watch it here:
Phantom Harbor Halloween Show from Shannon Shea on Vimeo.

We totally miss Brian and Joe (and now that Joe is a "star" from his experiences on THE WALKING DEAD, I don't think we'll be seeing Grimley back at the Harbor any time soon), we wish them continued luck and success, keep our fingers crossed for another Spooky Time episode.  Check out their videos here:
Spooky Time Videos.

Until next time, I'll see you at the Harbor!

Shannon Shea

Thursday, October 18, 2012

Halloween Movies

Hey Kids,

So we sat down with the creeps from Phantom Harbor to discuss what they would recommend for viewing this Halloween season!

The Goblin went first:

(TRANSLATED) - My choices are 

1.) Legend of Boggy Creek - Good, creepy, creature
2.) The Abominable Snowman of the Himilayas
3.) Creepshow - particulary the "Jordy Verrill" sequence
4.) Disney's Pinocchio - the Pleasure Island scene is a good nightmare
5.) Murders in the Rue Morgue

When asked what drove his selections, he said: "Anything with big, hulking, hairy creatures in it is good."

Next we spoke with Captain Keller:

"Normally, I don't go in for all that sort of dreck, but if I don't speak up, I'll be forced to have to suffer under the whims of someone with far less taste than me.  So, since you're putting a hypothetical flintlock to my temple, I'll make some selections."

1.) The Ghost and Mrs. Muir - A ghostly, attractive, exciting ship's Captain meets a lovely widow
2.) The Portrait of Jenny - A ghost contacts an artist that leads them to a lighthouse on a stormy shore.
3.) The Four Skulls of Jonathan Drake - I don't know why this tale of voodoo and shrunken heads appeals to ME, but it does.
4.) 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea - the one with James Mason.  Good ship's captain, like the way he handled his crew and situations
5.) Salem's Lot - again, with James Mason.  Something about Mason's voice is comforting and disquieting at the same time

Finally, Captain McAllister made some choices:

For Halloween, the viewing choices are best when they include the biggest names in outstanding horror movie production juxtaposed with classic Halloween subject matter.

So, my choices would be:

1. The Haunting (the one directed by Robert Wise) -
So, first for Halloween we have GHOSTS!

2. Dracula - Prince of Darkness
For my money nothing beats Christopher Lee and the Kensington gore of old Hammer Films.  So, second we have VAMPIRES!

3. Frankenstein
Universal Monster's greatest creation!  Frankenstein is nearly synonymous with the word "monster."
Third we have FRANKENSTEIN'S MONSTER as played by Boris Karloff, the best!

4. Burn, Witch, Burn
This somewhat obscure British film concerns witchcraft and you really can't have Halloween without WITCHES!

5. Night of the Demon/Curse of the Demon

6. House on Haunted Hill
Technically, THE HAUNTING could be considered a HAUNTED HOUSE movie, but producer WILLIAM CASTLE was a master at fun, thrilling movies and to me this could be the ultimate, classic, HAUNTED HOUSE film!

7. Pit and the Pendulum
Having Halloween without VINCENT PRICE and EDGAR ALLEN POE in a ROGER CORMAN film is like turning your lights out and not giving candy to trick-or-treaters.

8. George Romero's Dawn of the Dead
Really, the defining film concerning ZOMBIES.  There would be no WALKING DEAD without this film.  Frightening, gory, and full of social commentary.

9. Mario Bava's Black Sabbath
Colorful Horror, Italian style with a collection of short films that range from creepy to nightmare inducing.  You can't have Halloween without an ANTHOLOGY.

Director, Sam Raimi's masterpiece is a thrill ride and what would Halloween be without a story of DEMONIC POSSESSION?

Have a Happy Halloween everyone!

Okay, so for the next couple of weeks when you are stumped and looking for something to get under your skin, why not check out one of the films recommended by the Phantom Harbor spooks?

Until Next time, I'll see you at the Harbor.

Shannon Shea


Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Introducing Phantom Harbor Halloween TREATS!

Hey Kids -

Just wanted to let you know that over the coming days, expect to see some short features from your friends at Phantom Harbor for the Halloween season!

In lieu of producing another lengthy Halloween special, the Captain and his pals will instead be posting smaller segments featuring subjects of interest all pertaining to the spookiest time of the year!

Want to be included?  Contact TheCaptain@phantomharbor.com, let him know what you are up to and he'll get in touch with you right away! Happy Halloween!

Until next time, I'll see you at the Harbor!

Shannon Shea

Monday, October 15, 2012

Halloween Music

Hey Kids!

We caught up with the Captain and asked him to tell us what his favorite Halloween albums were, here is his response:

Ahoy!  Yes, it is that time of year when a frosty breeze slips through the air bringing with it the fragrance of autumn leaves and cinnamon!  Halloween is nearly upon us and during this month, I like to listen to some of my favorite Halloween Records!

5. What would Halloween be without Disney's THRILLING CHILLING SOUNDS OF THE HAUNTED HOUSE?  This album really shook the old Cap'n when he was a mere cabin boy!  The screams and moans of the undead punctuated with thunder, wind and rain!  Frightening!  AND introduced by a weird narrator? Man? Woman? Who knows?

4. MONSTER MASH AND SOUNDS OF TERROR! This old record was the first time the old Cap'n heard Jack the Ripper stabbing a victim to death!  The echo-y screams on it became the soundtrack to my youthful nightmares!  The cover of the song "The Monster Mash" is fine, but once the tune is over, prepare for some real audio TERROR!

3. DAWN OF THE DEAD soundtracks.  Yes, nothing is unnerving quite as much as hearing Goblin's electronic soundtrack to George Romero's classic tale of zombies!  It may be just me, but the visual images of this film were so embedded in my brain that the moment I hear the music cues, I'm transported right back into the theater, experiencing that terror all over again...And if you love this record may I recommend this:

The "Mall Music" alone is worth the listen!

2. GHOUL-A-RAMA - Instant Halloween...seriously.  This comes in 2nd Place only because I prefer the song collection on the companion record:

1. SPOOK PARTY - Like Ghoul-a-Rama, this collection of songs, sound effects, and surprises could put you into the Halloween mood on December the 25th!  I can't count the times I've listened to this collection and have been transported to a dark world of ghosts and monsters!  Oh wait!  I'm already here!

HONORABLE MENTIONS:  Custom Collections sent to the Cap'n from two friends TRULY top the list.  J.Michael Roddy's Halloween Collections that he sends out yearly are always an incredible Halloween Treat.  As well as, the Haunting collections of former GHASTLY ONE member, Norman Cabrerra who is truly a Halloween Audio aficionado.  Their collections play almost constantly around here all year long!

The Captain with J. Michael Roddy, director of THE SHARK IS STILL WORKING and the upcoming MONSTER KIDS
Norman Cabrera working on HELLBOY!  The man's got talent and LOVES Halloween!
 Put some spooky music on and get inspired!

Your humble Captain,

Jonas McAllister

There you have it!  Halloween Audio treats to get you into the spirit this season!  Who knows, maybe one day someone will convince the Captain and crew to make their own Halloween Record?!

Until next time, I'll see you at the Harbor!

Shannon Shea

Sunday, October 14, 2012

Now that the cat is offically out of the bag....

Hey Kids!

No doubt you have watched the latest episode of Phantom Harbor...I've been belly-aching about it now for years so if you haven't, you owe it to yourself to see what all the grousing was about!  Please...help support the show by watching it.  I know most/all of you that read this blog do anyway, so THANKS!

Okay, now that the cat is out of the bag I can share photos of Cap'n Keller!  I sculpted him in brown plastillna clay (yes, the cheap stuff...someone gave me tons of it so why buy something else, right?)

Here is the sculpture being roughed out.
Refining shapes, clay stitching to get an idea of the final piece.
The final sculpt!
I made a two piece Ultracal 30 mold (yes, I'm paying for that now) and cored it with aluminum-filled epoxy.  At the time, I was working at KNB EFX and I believe Derek Krout ran the foam assisted by Patricia Urias (DAMN IT! FORGOT TO THANK THEM!).

Laying up the clay wall to make the mold.
 A quick mold of the core was made with plaster bandage and I ran a thin fiberglass core.  I had contacted Henson Studios animatronic expert and friend John Criswell to ask if he could do some rudimentary mechanics.  He said he would use some left over bits and pieces and do what he could.

Meanwhile, I seamed and painted the hero skin.  When John returned with the mechanics he had OUT DONE himself!  Utilizing three old servo motors and an old, banged up radio transmitter, John had given life to the puppet. A two axis jaw mechanism (which means it moves up and down as well as side-to-side), and little eyelids to strain uncomfortably against the stitches!  He glued the hero skin down onto the mechanism and returned it to me so I could do the hair work.

During the painting process, I'd bring the skin to the set and check it in the stylized lighting to make sure that it read.
 I bought an old gray wig from a costume store, cut a small section of the wig at the crown, glued it onto Cap'n Keller's scalp and punched the rest of the hair around the hair line.  Then he was finished off by gluing stitches (rather than sewing through the skin) onto the lips and lids and then fired him up!

Casting the character of Cap'n Keller was a long process.  Originally, I had pegged long-time friend and performer Alec Gillis (co-founder of ADI Studios) to play Keller's voice.  I had always imagined Keller having a James Mason-esque quality.  But as the months wore on and schedules shifted, I approached Emmy-Award winning prosthetic make-up artist and composer of the Phantom Harbor theme, Andy Schoneberg to play Keller.  Andy has a naturally resonant voice (go watch Mike Deak's short films on youtube - somemannerof channel and you'll hear what I mean).  But alas, shifts in schedules etc. prevented this collaboration as well.

The night of the shooting, I had asked my daughter, Molly to come to the house and puppeteer.  During the evening, she was doing a very good imitation of James Mason.  So good that our director, Tracy Shea, suggested to figure out a way to use Molly's performance.  That is when Cap'n Keller REALLY came into his own.

I re-recorded Molly reading Keller's lines and in the editing program, re-pitched her voice lower and added a slight reverb to it.  A star was born!

Like the show, Keller was A LOT of work all on his own and through a series of misadventures and unexpected twists, what we finally got was so much better than we anticipated.

Keller in an early lighting test.
"Why, I oughtta!"
So, there it is!  Finally, I can truly share with all of you!  Again, thanks so much for being so patient and supportive.  PLEASE recommend the site and stories to your family and friends and...

Until next time, I'll see you at the Harbor!

Shannon Shea

Thursday, October 11, 2012


Hey Kids,

Now that this is done, I can loosen my belt a little, slow down, and really look around and appreciate how this all came to be.

During the shoot of the film PREDATORS in Austin, Texas, my long-time friend and colleague, Gino Crognale, suggested that I shoot as much footage at that location for PHANTOM HARBOR for no other reason than it got the character off of the set and into an exotic location.

The Art Department on PREDATORS led by Steve Joyner and Caylah Eddleblutte had built what was an impressive exotic jungle set and with their permission, we grabbed my little Hi-8 videotape camera (yes, before digital!) and we began to shoot with no story in mind. 

I knew, however, two things: Exotic jungles need headhunters and there was no way I was going to be able to hire a bunch of actors to portray headhunters for my humble show.  The idea of making puppets hit me and soon the concept of a Geckoniki had been born.  Truthfully, it was such a seat-of-the-pants idea that in unused footage, the Captain keeps mispronouncing the word!

I asked Robert Rodriguez if we could shoot some elements on his massive green screen stage and I'll never forget his question: "How big will your crew be?"  My answer: "Just Gino and me."  "Oh, " he responded, "Go ahead then."  So one Sunday Gino, Dave Wogh (who had been making props on location for Phantom Harbor with little more than rubber bands, tape, and whatever he could find) went onto the green screen stage to shoot. 

As luck would have it, one of Robert's trusted collaborators, cinematographer Jimmy Lindsey, was there, knew us from our past work, and offered a couple of Kino Flo lights to light the stage!  Shooting could commence.  At the end of the day, we had all sorts of footage including the Captain in a boat that had been lent by the Art Department along with a fishing pole.  Elements were coming together, but not a clear story.

One night, I cooked up this story about a missing sea Captain, Captain Keller, and that at least gave us a template for shooting when we left Troublemaker Studios and headed for the forests of Austin.  Again, with no rhyme or reason we began shooting the Captain darting through trees, calling for Captain Keller, etc. and I kept thinking: "How the heck am I going to put all of this together?"

The show wrapped and Gino went back to Pennsylvania while Dave and I returned to Los Angeles.  I had so much footage to now sift through, and a script I had typed and printed in Austin to sort of go by in assembling the episode.  I was able to cut together what I considered Part 1 of the episode entitled "A Cry from Captain Keller" and posted it on Vimeo in 2010.

I was so full of optimistic energy that I was SURE I could complete part 2 in a matter of weeks.  I gave myself 2 months and started building.  I had no idea.

During this time, www.phantomharbor.com was getting "Birthday Requests" (which I thought was a great idea to increase awareness of the site and show) so The Captain was making appearances there and in a couple of Halloween Specials (that I so love doing...again, we'll have to wait for 2013 for a BIG special!) but I always felt that the Captain really was still on Geckoniki island.

If you've been following the blogs, then you know how much I had to accomplish just to create part 2.  Geckoniki puppets (rod and hand versions), Captain Keller, miniatures, props,sets and then shooting, shooting, shooting...What am I saying?  Then, EDITING, EDITING, EDITING!

My original intention was just to pick up the action on Geckoniki Island as soon as The Captain had hit shore, but in thinking about it, that would mean that Captain Keller would not be introduced until the end of the show and he is such a great character, I didn't want to waste him as a "boo" at the end of the show.

I realized I could do a rewrite, make the entire episode basically a flashback, and feature Captain Keller throughout the entire thing.  This meant that some footage I shot would become redundant and unusable while new footage would be needed to pin the entire story together.  Trust me, it's no way to make a movie.

So now it is done.  You've been with me on this voyage for nearly TWO YEARS! And, yes, I'll be resting for a bit.  A BIT!  But we're coming back soon with more fun!  Thanks again for your patience and support.  I really, really could not do this without you all!

Until next time, I'll see you at the Harbor!

Shannon Shea

P.S. - What are you standing around reading this for?  Go watch the episode!

Wednesday, October 10, 2012


Hey Kids...

Not much more to say.  Slow rendering.  Hope to post soon!

Until next time, I'll see you at the Harbor!

Shannon Shea

The Calm Before The Storm

Hey Kids -

Yes, you've heard very little from the creepy shores of Phantom Harbor recently and that's because yours truly has been up to his ears in post production.  I'm sure I sound like the boy who cried 'Wolf" but trust me when I say that any day now "The Rescue from Geckoniki Island" will be posted.

A little over a week ago (it seems like an eternity, trust me), friend and performer Mark McCracken joined Mark Tavares and me for a Geckoniki/Goblin/Corpse puppeteering marathon!  It was a fantastic shoot and within a day, the Geckonikis began being cut into the movie.

I had hoped to arrange for Alec Gillis (co-founder of ADI and "Hotel Superman" star) to play the voice of Captain Keller.  I had also offered the role to Phantom Harbor theme composer Andy Schoneberg but my schedule and their schedules were out of sync.  On the night we shot the puppet, my daughter, Molly Shea performed Capt. Keller and so, based on her brilliant performance, I recorded her voice and altered it in post to play the cranky, James Mason-esque character.

So, dropping in sound effects, cutting scenes, finishing credit rolls, and hoping to get this posted soon.  You've all been so patient; I thank you!

Until next time, I'll see you at the Harbor!

Shannon Shea