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Cig Neutron

Wingman Wednesday

Laura Monaco

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Welcome to the seventh (and final) installment of our MYSTIC COSMIC PATROL WEEK ongoing feature!

Debuting yesterday at Funny or Die, “Mystic Cosmic Patrol” is a nostalgic sitcom romp of mystical proportions. Created as an homage to kid-friendly shows like “Power Rangers” and “Ultraman,” the fast-paced webisodes combine monsters and comedic mayhem to create a parody worth every bingeable minute.

We recently sat down with series star and producer Laura Monaco to discuss how ‘fun’ was always at its core, the joy she discovered in wearing multiple hats on the project, and how hugs may be in store for any future cosplayers who choose to dress up as her character.

TrunkSpace: From an outside perspective, it sure seems like the “Mystic Cosmic Patrol” experience was just as much fun as it was work?
Monaco: Yes. Absolutely. It’s a very, very fun project. Early on, Gavin (Hignight) and I talked about our goal, which was to just have a job that we could go to work and laugh every day, and feel good coming home and wrapping up. We definitely did that. It was a lot of work, but we definitely did accomplish that goal. We had such an amazing team around us. Everyone who worked on it was just as excited to be there, so it made it a really uplifting experience.

TrunkSpace: It just seems like a show that would not cost a network a fortune to produce, and yet, because of the nature of the series, the smaller production budgets wouldn’t hurt the look and tone of it either. A network could get a franchise at a relatively affordable price.
Monaco: I love that you get that. I’m very curious to see where it goes.

TrunkSpace: The trick there is, you don’t want to show them that you can make it for basically nothing because then they will give you basically nothing. (Laughter)
Monaco: (Laughter) Yeah. We can get away with some tricks, but we still need money.

TrunkSpace: You’re a producer on the project as well as starring in it as the yellow Mystic Cosmic Patrol member. Did you view your two separate jobs through a different set of eyes on set?
Monaco: For sure. It was an idea that Gavin had. We were working on another project together and I just got so excited about it. He and I would meet, and it started from there. The more we would talk about it, the more I just had so much I wanted to contribute creatively on both sides of it. It’s a little blurry for me where things kind of stopped and started with producing and acting, but it was just so amazing to be able to jump in creatively on both sides. I really enjoyed that.

TrunkSpace: Did you enjoy the problem solving aspect of producing? Putting out the fires that crop up on set?
Monaco: Definitely. And trying to find on the fly what’s going to work.

We kind of had an idea for some stuff and had creative discussions about how it was actually going to go down. Luckily, I had such a great team of producers that when it was time to act, I could really just go do that and enjoy being in that role and know that everybody else was running everything smoothly. We really had a good family on this.

Monaco in Mystic Cosmic Patrol

TrunkSpace: Because “Mystic Cosmic Patrol” isn’t grounded in reality, were you able to approach performance from a different perspective than previous projects you’ve worked on?
Monaco: Yeah. I mean, it’s kind of funny because early on we had a few rehearsals and we had all of these ideas for different character work and things that we wanted to do. At one point they were just like, “Just be you.” I was like, “I don’t know if that’s good or bad that you just think it’s me living my life here.” (Laughter)

For us, it had to be reality. I basically am a girl who likes to be feminine, she likes to dress up and do all of these things, and she really takes her job seriously, too. Whether she’s good at it all the time or not depends, but she’s trying to do good in the world.

TrunkSpace: And getting to work with those costumed creatures, both in creation and in performance, must have been so much fun.
Monaco: It was unbelievable. The ideas that we have are one thing, but when Cig Neutron came on and created them, and then seeing Stewart put on the costume and moving around in it, I was just like, “What is happening right now?” (Laughter) It was so crazy.

TrunkSpace: The series is streaming on Funny or Die, but as far as long-term is concerned, are you hoping that it finds a home at a major network or on another platform?
Monaco: I could definitely see it on a network, but it’ll be interesting to see what Funny or Die has to offer and how this really goes down. This is the first time I’ve done anything in that format with them. It’ll be interesting to see what’s possible. But really, the way everything seems now, content can live in more places than it ever used to. It doesn’t seem like there’s anything quite so typical anymore.

Monaco with Potty Mouth on the set of Mystic Cosmic Patrol

TrunkSpace: And it’s a great show for what people need now more than ever… escapism.
Monaco: Yeah. It’s such a serious time, and there’s so much that people are trying to figure out, big issues in life… it’s so nice to escape to something that is totally silly. You can just really go into another world, play around for a little bit, and not take things too seriously. I feel like it’s a good time for that, for sure.

There’s heart behind the show as well, which I really appreciate. There’s silly humor for sure, but there’s heart involved, too. I think if anything, that will just keep growing.

TrunkSpace: If the series takes off and becomes a huge hit, and in a year from now you see someone cosplaying it up as your character at a convention, what would you think about that?
Monaco: That’s my dream! I would love if people were just having so much fun that they would want to dress like that and be part of it for a little while. I’d probably just want to run up and hug them, but I love that idea. So awesome!

“Mystic Cosmic Patrol” is available now at Funny or Die!

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Wingman Wednesday

Cig Neutron

MCP_CigNeutron_Wingman_wednesday
Neutron and Gavin Hignight with Potty Mouth monster.

Welcome to the sixth installment of our MYSTIC COSMIC PATROL WEEK ongoing feature!

Debuting yesterday at Funny or Die, “Mystic Cosmic Patrol” is a nostalgic sitcom romp of mystical proportions. Created as an homage to kid-friendly shows like “Power Rangers” and “Ultraman,” the fast-paced webisodes combine monsters and comedic mayhem to create a parody worth every bingeable minute.

We recently sat down with special effects makeup artist Cig Neutron to discuss Grinch smiling, embracing goofiness, and what you’ll find beneath the skin of his creatures.

TrunkSpace: Because the project wasn’t tied to a specific studio or network, there were a lot of “ifs” involved in “Mystic Cosmic Patrol.” Does working on an independent project require a leap of faith and what was it about this particular project that made you take that leap?
Neutron: Yes, it absolutely requires a leap of faith. A lot of projects like this come my way and I only take the ones I truly believe in. From the first time I met Gavin, I could tell that he had the creative fire, and those are exactly the types of people I want to work with.

TrunkSpace: Potty Mouth is an amazingly fun character. How quickly did he come together design-wise?
Neutron: Gavin and I are pretty much on the same page style and influence-wise, so as soon as he described the character I knew exactly what he wanted. When you work with people who are just as excited as you are, it doesn’t take long to arrive at an end result.

TrunkSpace: Does your process involve extensive sketching and planning or do you work directly from your brain?
Neutron: I actually don’t do very much sketching. For Potty Mouth, there were no preliminary designs. I just jumped right in and started fabrication. Gavin had enough faith in me that he actually didn’t see the full character together until the day it was supposed to shoot!

TrunkSpace: If “Mystic Cosmic Patrol” has a long future and turns into an ongoing series, would the longevity be part of the fun for you – getting to explore so many different designs within a single universe?
Neutron: Absolutely!! The genre and inspirations for the show are near and dear to my heart, so if I have a long run of making Kaiju, I’ll be Grinch smiling the whole way.

TrunkSpace: What are the aesthetic factors you have to consider when designing creatures meant to fit into a world inspired by “Power Rangers” and shows like it?
Neutron: It’s hard to describe to someone who hasn’t grown up with the genre, but there’s just a certain magic to the aesthetic. Even when the genre takes itself seriously there’s always an air of goofiness. That’s why MCP is so much fun. It is self-aware and really embraces that goofiness, which opens up the door to really push the limits of the style.

TrunkSpace: As the designer, are you the first person to take a suit like Potty Mouth out for a test drive?
Neutron: Designs that seem like a good idea on paper, don’t always translate to the physical world. It’s very important to try on pieces of the suit to make sure the actor can move, breathe, see, etc… because you know, those things are somewhat important.

TrunkSpace: How do you personally know when a design is finished? Are your creatures ever truly complete or do you view them as works in progress to be tinkered with as inspiration hits?
Neutron: Time is our most precious resource. As artists, we’d love to spend forever on making something pristine, but that’s just not realistic. Me personally, I need to constantly move from creature to creature because if I spend too long on one thing, I’ll get bored. I’d rather populate the world with an army of crazy critters, than just one immaculate creation.

TrunkSpace: Where are you the hardest on yourself as a creature designer?
Neutron: Probably anatomy. I’m a real stickler for anatomy that looks like it actually functions. Sure I bend and stretch the rules, but at the end of the day, if you asked me to peel off the skin of any of my creatures, I would have a fully functioning system of muscle, bone, and organs underneath.

TrunkSpace: As a creature designer, was (and is) Halloween your favorite time of year?
Neutron: Halloween is and always will be my favorite time of year.

TrunkSpace: Do you have a costume design for yourself in the works for this All Hallows’ Eve?
Neutron: Whenever anyone finds out what I do, the first thing they say is, “Oh, you must have THE best Halloween costumes!” Actually, it’s quite the opposite. My costumes are usually lame because all my time is spent getting hired to make other people’s costumes. Which is totally rad… but also kinda sucks.

“Mystic Cosmic Patrol” is available now at Funny or Die.

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