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LMC: How did you meet and become friends with Gary Phillips?

PD: He contacted me about buying the Shatner 99ís.  Before MMP he was doing conversions.  He had some neat stuff at the time.  He really studied Myers and was getting in on the trend.   So the Myers trend was just building.  I have no problem with him, we talked on the phone and became friends.  I donít really know where it all went wrong, or how it began.  I mean, if Gary asked me for help I would help him.  Hell, if anyone asks me for help, I would do it.  Really, thatís just my personality.  There is a rumor that I taught him how to clay press and to enlarge masks, but to be honest, I donít even know how to do it myself.  Iíve never had a reason to do it, so I never learned.  You know, I always see posts and hear talk now and again about how I helped him, but I helped him like anyone, offering airbrush advice, etc.  You know.  This was before any of the problems began, so Hell, what did I know?  In the beginning, everyone was getting their conversions, so no problems.  Then with the Samhain, the orders were just overwhelming.  I mean the master came in after preorders were taken and that was a big backlog.  You know, I try to stay out of problems.  Gary and I were friends, we helped each other with their business, but I donít want to associate with the problems because thatís not how I run my business.  People are going to blow up any association I have with the guy, with all the flaming thatís going on.  I really feel bad for those people that lost money, thatís not how you run a business.  If all what is said is true, then Gary deserves it.  I mean he never screwed me over.  I donít know any behind the scenes information that anyone else would know.  He did a lot of web work for me and did an outstanding job on that, but Iíve moved on.  Let me just finalize by saying, does he and his family deserve to be berated and attacked on a daily basis, nobody deserves that. It is nice to see that things have begun to move forward away from this whole mess.


LMC: Talk about some of the production details on some of your masks

PD: Certain paintjobs can kill me.  The Jester is unreal.  I said there is no way I can do it like that.  I may put a hat on that guy just to ease the pain.  Maybe a collar too, but I cringe when I got orders for it.  I may limit the number on super shit paintjobs.  I donít want to really change it and piss off people who got it last year.

Smilin Jack, now that one is super easy.  Paint it black and then stipple the orange over it.  Itís an easy one unless you have 20 blanks sitting in front of you, then you just want to bang your head against the wall.  You turn on the music really loud and  you just go nuts.  Itís just a lot of time.  I paint it black, then stipple orange, then stipple the stem and neck a light brown.  Then highlight and shade with the airbrush, stem and neck.  I use the latex base paint from BF and just tint it. Sometimes Iíll use regular latex for really large runs and loosen it up with water.  I think I sold over 35 of those, but I donít have my books in front of me.  I did runs of 3 with Alís help stippling.  He does unreal stipples.  Al is just a nut for detail.  He does it right and really spends the extra time getting it done.  The individual attention to each mask is important, donít want to just grind it out.

Most of my paint jobs are stippled.  I like the depth they give.  Jeff does a lot of stippling now.  Jeffís trying to cut down his production time too.  He was getting like 1.5 to 2 hrs sleep per day for a while and thatís just nuts.  I couldnít handle that.  Jeff had to kill off the Bad Moons due to hair costs.  I had to cut my wolves too due to the same reason.  Iím still looking for new hair.  I used up all my white hair I had. Damn, you actually were one of the last ones on your white wolf that you bought.  I think I did one more then ran out of hair.

LMC: What about other items, like hands

PD: Oh gosh!  Hands.  Yeah, I hate em especially if they are long and skinny.  I tell you I've thrown away so many wasted hands from trying to pull them out of the mold and they just stuck and a finger breaks off or something.  You know, Jeff told me once.  If you dread getting an order for a particular character, then it is time to stop carrying it.  I mean, if I did all my hands in a 2 piece and had to seam them all, I would go nuts.  It's not worth the trouble and headache. That is why I'll probably get new hands this year.

LMC: What is the key to a good mask?

PD: The key to a really good mask and Iíll tell you one that captures it.  Put really good eyes in it.  They draw you.   Jeff has sold 100ís  of Salem Lot Vampires, because that mask is it.  I mean, everyone owns one.  It just looks right through you.

LMC: Talk about coming up with a paint scheme.

PD: You know, I donít particularly like to stick to a paint scheme like from a movie or a character.  If I do one, I like to play with the scheme some.  Some artists are phenomenal talents.  Justin from Nightowl can do an amazing Jason.  I was totally blown out of my seat by his Raw 3.  Itís such a great piece.  I know the NMM78 will be the craziest thing.  So good.  Iíd like to see Justin get into original pieces, Iíve asked him before but he just hasnít had much time.

LMC: Who are your typical customers

PD: I get less of the people that frequent all the boards.  Mostly repeat customers or people just surfing that buy.  Best thing I ever did for sales was to accept credit cards.  Impulse buying really pays off.  Damn, thatís my favorite way to buy.

LMC: Any bad customers?

PD: I donít really have bad customers.  Most of the transactions are smooth.  There are a few that bug you with emails whereís my mask and those are the ones that are first to complain that it isnít exactly what they wanted, so you canít please everyone all the time.


LMC: Any advice for someone starting up their own mask company?

PD: I would say, go get a motorcycle and pick up women.  You wonít get any from doing this.  It takes a lot of time and dedication and you arenít going to get rich.  So many nights I gave up going out with friends.  Eventually, they stopped asking.  Sometimes itís discouraging.  Especially when you put something out you are so proud of and it gets no attention and then the next Myers comes out with 90 follow up posts and yours drops to the bottom.  The one post you get is someone asking what movie is your mask from.    My opinion of the Myers trend, I think for $250-$300 Iíd rather have 5 masks then one Myers.  It hurts the market when no one can afford anything else.  I mean, I feel better about handling a $60.00 mask then handling a $300.00 mask that you have to keep in a glass case on a high shelf.  If thatís your goal to strive for the best Myers, bless you.   Go for it, live and let live, but I will never carry a Myers. Been there/done that!  If Dick Warlock gave me the mold and said make em, I would say no, honest, I donít want the problems that go with it. Myers = Big pain in the ass!

Here's a tip for  new mask makers.  You know that gunk you get in the bottom of your latex pail.  That stringy shit on the sides?  Take that and stretch it over a wound  and hang it all over. Splash blood on it and you have some gory stuff. I do this with Norm the victim.    Norm is a cool piece.  He's a bit undersized, but cool as shit. 

I want to reiterate for those that think getting into making masks is instant woman magnet.   If you are a mask maker and you do have one, they are grumpy or bitchy, well except for one female mask maker and she knows who she is J .  I joke with her a lot.   She knows I wouldn't hurt her, just kiss her a lot. I'm kidding! If anyone takes me serious, I'm in trouble. My wife would split my head!

LMC: You ever get discouraged?

PD: I did see a post once where someone told a certain mask maker they should carry 7 or 8 really nice masks, then 40 or so mediocre masks.  I took that as a shot at folks like me that my stuff is subpar, when it really isnít.   I mean I love that stuff guys like Lee Romaire and Russ Lukich put out.  I mean, itís like comparing pizza from Little Caesars to the Italian guy thatís been doing it for 40 years.  Itís top of the line, but thereís also a market for my stuff for people who want quality at a reasonable price, but of course what they put out is the best of the best and I love it, all of it.




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