Alien Production Timeline June 1978

Leading from
 Alien Production Timeline
Robert Venosa

Still Collating

June This month the revised final draft of the Alien is completed 

Thursday 1st June 1978.
  1. In the morning, Giger looked at their model with Ridley Scott. Everything was okay. The changes for the second set of the Alien Space craft as a rock face should be easier to execute than their proposal. The rock face (bones) was cast in the plaster shop and looked good. 
  2. Giger talked with the public relations man from Hollywood. Gordon Carroll explained that they have $10,000 at their disposal to make six silk screen designs of his images, with an edition of 250 copies, 50 for himself, and 200 to distribute to the big bosses of newspapers, radio and TV stations, and of course, to the Alien producers.
  3. They were working on Giger's studio in the B stage all fay long and would be finished the following day.
  4. Giger studied the first stage Alien, in O'Bannon's studio. It seemed to be a criminal act and resembles a cross between a spider and a crab. The plan was to visit Roger Dicken the following day at 10.30am
Friday 2nd June 1978..
  1. HR Giger: 2nd June 1978, Visit to Roger Dicken, the monster-maker, in his witches' den, with Carroll and Scott. During the journey Scott gives me a few warning tips, since this monster-Dicken is apparently a very difficult character. Above all I must be careful not to criticize his work. He had once 'given birth' to some dinosaurs in one of those monster films, and this has a distinct effect on the work he's done for us. Since there are no dinosaurs of any kind in Alien, I can see no great similarity to my sketches. These clay models strike me as lifeless, as if made to measure. Dicken confirms my impression when he confesses to me that he finds my creatures repulsive abortions and would much rather make something beautiful. If I had felt like that I should have declined the commission. When you work on any object, you must love it, you must be possessed by it; otherwise you will never get really good results. I'm disappointed, and let Scott know it. My anger over the six wasted weeks when I was paid off returns more strongly than ever. This silent but holy rage stimulates me to model my monsters myself. I tell Scott and Carroll of this spontaeneous decision. Carroll stares at me in amazement and asks if I've got the technical skill for it. I gulp, and repeat for the umpteenth time that I studied industrial design at the Zürich Art School for four years and I'm in no way ashamed to get his hands dirty at work.(Giger's Alien p54)
  2. HR Giger: 2 June 1978,  England. Visit to Dicken. On instruction from Scott who has given him plate 303 from HR Giger's Necronomicon to work from, he has made a preliminary model of plasticine with an interior framework of aluminium. The creature had a long section ending in an attached tail. These attached extremities still remind me of dinosaurs and I don't like them at all. It will be better to shorten the fore feet and scrap the hind feet altogether so that there will be no sort of resemblance to any known kind of animal. (Giger's Alien p56)
  3. HR Giger: 2 June, 1978 I sit in the garden at the King's head with Mia, thinking over what I said when I went to see Dicken. (Giger's Alien, p60,  2nd June, 1978)    
  4. HR Giger: After the disappointing results we got from Dicken and from a video-tape we've received from America (where they made an alien that looked much more like a dinosaur than like my sketches), I was sure that it would not be possible to leave the Alien as I saw it to anyone else. I'm just beginning to realize what I've let myself in for in the job of modelling the monster myself. Everyone agreed with my suggestion at once, and Dicken was presumably greatly relieved to be rescued from this phantom by my decision. Bolaji (plate 372g) a black man 2.10 (6 foot 10½ in)  tall has been spotted by Scott in a bar, and will play the living nucleaus of the Alien  (Giger's Alien, p60)
  5. HR Giger: Another shed for modelling has been put on on Stage B, it has been finally furnished, and since Peter Voysey is busy with something else Giger is now introduced to Eddie Butler who was an efficient sculptor and a very nice man was hired and assigned to Giger. They have a life size model of Bolaji Badejo in front of them and hanging on the wall is a nice new time table to help them raise the necessary steam. The Alien nightmare that would almost drive the whole production team hysterical during the months to come, has begun  (See: Giger's Alien Diaries and Giger's Alien, p60) 
  6. HR Giger: Visited (Roger Dicken) with Gordon Carroll and Ridley Scott in his witch's house. I realized for a long time that I'll have to model the various Aliens myself. The best work had been done on the facehugger, even though it still looks too much like a spider. This is largely due to the thickness of the legs. The texture in the latex has to be more transparent. I intend to make a cast of the tail of the spine of a small animal, to insert ribbed tubes and wires in the mold, and to cast it in transparent latex.  The second stage Alien is a catastrophe. [Dicken] is not only a bad artist, he can't even manage to reproduce models accurately. he has already been working for three months and has not yet produced anything usable. Instead, they have me doing nothing in Switzerland for six weeks. I told the two of them later in the car, who realized that they'd made a mistake. [Dicken] is an awfully aggressive nut, who can't take criticism. He was on the verge of a nervous breakdown. [...] On our return, it was decided that I should start working on the Aliens. They hired Eddie, an efficient sculptor, and assigned him to me. Later, we looked at a video tape that shows the clay model of an Alien that was produced in Hollywood, and it is reminiscent of [....] in its Disney-like look. They could have saved the time and money spent on these experiments. My studio in the B stage is finally furnished. We decided to set the sculpting studio right next to it.      (Giger's Alien Diaries)
Saturday 3rd June 1978.
  1. HR Giger: 3 June, Shepperton Studios, During a sleepless night, I've made sketches for the construction of the monster and begins to model one of the Facehugger's long fingers with a wire frame, plastic tubes and plasticine (See: Giger's Alien, p60))
  2. Giger painted some plaster models and had an idea regarding the execution of the tubes and.  ducts in the landscape. They would wind the thick tape or chords, like spiral around the tubes of the right size. They would them make a cast cast of the entire thing and fill it with soft foam. That would be that the finished product woulc be bent in all directions and fitted in to the rock formations. ( See: Giger's Alien Diary)
  3. Giger painted some plaster models and had an idea regarding the execution of the tubes and ducts. They would wind thick tape or cords, like a spiral around tubes of the right size. They would them make a rubber cast of the entire thing and fill it with soft tubes of the right size. That would mean that the finished product could be bent in all directions and fitted into the rock formations. Then he would rip pieces of foam out of the ribbed tubes to make it look as if it's rotting.  ( See: Giger's Alien Diary)
  4. After lunch at the Kings Head, Michael Seymour, who is taking great care of Giger and his mother, showed them around the studios giving Giger's mother and impression of the whole production of the whole thing. ( Giger's Alien Diary)
  5. By the end of the day, Giger started a new skeleton in the landscape( Giger's Alien Diary)  
  6. HR Giger: 3 July 1978, Shepperton Studios. According to Carroll's timetable, already a week behind, the first polyester mould of the Alien's head and tongue, with a full-sized sectional plan of the head, is packed in a well padded case and sent to Carlo Rambaldi in Los Angeles. Rambaldi is a celebrated specialist in mechanization of artificial creatures in films. I suppose King Kong, for which he got an Oscar, is his most celebrated work. To make sure that at least that one example of the head will be mechanized in time, another model of it is entrusted to an engineer who has his workshop on the grounds of the Studios. (Giger's Alien, p60)
  7. H R Giger: 3rd July 1978, Shepperton Studios. After some discussion, a bit troublesome and nerve wracking at first, about how we should work and what materials we should use. Butler finally decides to work my way. These arguments have cost us valuable time. Since I have several other things going. I have to keep rushing from one studio to another. The production division keeps reminding us about which job is most urgent, so I can't get on with anything in peace. I begin modelling the body of the Alien on the mould of the actor. I arrange various technical pieces, as well as the ribs and spines of widely different animals, on a thin sheet of plasticine. I undertake to get one half of the monster ready so that Butler can do the other side. Our two man team is reinforced with the engagement of Andrew, who made the masks for Star Wars and is very experienced with working with all sorts of materials. He is sorting out the problem of how to make the costume transparent. (Giger's Alien, p60-62)

Sunday 4th June 1978.
  1. Giger works on modelling a finger in the studios. He hoped to be able to make a model of it the following day in order to cast a sample in transparent polyester before the regular transparent latex rubber was supposed to arrive. The weather was a little overcast for the first time in his stay (( Giger's Alien Diary)
Monday 5th June 1978.
  1. Giger painted models of bone mountains.( Giger's Alien Diary)
  2. At 2pm, Giger was called to Ridley Scott's office to inspect the man who was black, approximately 2.10 metres and was supposed to play the Alien stage III. Ivor had made some black and white photos following his instructions. Happily the man's actual stature didn't conform to the actual plaster casts that was revealed to have been badly made, and made him seem too fat and built somewhat strangely around the hips amongst other things, because he had to stand the whole time and the mold took long to make. ( Giger's Alien Diary)
  3. 5pm, they made test shots in the C stage with the rehearsal mask, it didn't look bad. However the interior of the Nostromo spaceship looked as if it had been built too low for the Alien. Ridly assured Giger that he would fulfill all his wishes and get the help needed to turn Bolaji into the perfect monster, promising a props man by the following day. ( Giger's Alien Diary)
  4. Clinton Cavers, an art director that Giger had to treat as one, was recommended to Giger by Gordon Carroll. ( Giger's Alien Diary)
  5. The Alien finger was cast in polyester at the plaster shop , and Giger would be able to pick it up the following day to rework it. The entire production crew now seem convinced that Giger will conjure up the perfect monster or monsters. ( Giger's Alien Diary)
  6. Later in the day, Giger and Mia are taken to the Big O office at 228 Fulham Road for a conversation with Alice Lindsay. They want to make 16 postcards and 8 posters with his pictures, He agrees to the postcards, but the posters can wait. First the book had to be published and payed for. ( See: Giger's Alien Diary)
Tuesday 6th June 1978.
  1. Eddie Butler, the specialist assigned to Giger, started working on Alien stage III. The construction of the Alien head in styrofoam started from inside out. ( Giger's Alien Diary)
  2. Giger picked up his freshly cast Alien finger at the plaster ship.( Giger's Alien Diary)
  3. Giger watched with others the test film shot the previous day, it was not exactly overwhelming
  4. There is the plan to cast Bolaji from the chest down the following day, hoping to get better results ( ( Giger's Alien Diary)
Wednesday 7th June 1978.
  1. Today it starts to rain
  2. The production company decides not to build the corridor as a single set due to budget and look for another way to deal with it, 
  3. Giger painted a rock formation on set 2
  4. Eddie began to work on a styrofoam mold of the monster's head. Various people gave good advice on technical problems
  5. Giger received three snakes and the spine of a dog. In the evening, another truck with bones arrived, but this time they from not fresh. They stunk  and they were mostly skulls of various animals
  6. They cast Bolaji and did his hands seperately. 
  7. Giger is invited by Michael Seymour and Mercedes to come to London with them on the following day.
  8. Giger finds out that at Shepperton studios, there is a specialist who made all the masks for Star Wars, that he can supply the various materials and manufacture diffcult individual items. 
  9. They still don't have the neccessary tools, but everything is supposed to be believed in the next fre days
  10. Giger receives payment of 3000 swiss frances
Thursday 8th June 1978.
  1. At Shepperton Studios, Ridley Scott's secretary named Sandy Malloy, asks Giger if he can accept the cost of the picture frames for protecting his pictures because there are no provisions for them in the budget. Giger didn't see why he should be the one to pay for the frames which in any case he couldn't take back to Switzerland, and then he suggests that they use the difference between first class flight and economy flight between Zurich and London, multiplied a number of times. He did actually fly first-class on his first visit to London, as agree, but after that he traveled economy just like everybody else. It seemed that no one had thought that Giger would have a head for business, and he saw the astonished faces of everyone around him. Only the secretary laughs as if it was a good joke
  2. On stage H, the work on the derelict entrance passage is getting on well. Voysey cuts the oval entrance bulges out of styrofoam. The results look like a pair of gigantic sunglasses and might have come from the American pop artists Oldenburg (See: Giger's Alien, p30) Also See: The Derelict Entrance Set 
  3. Giger discusses with Michael Seymour his problems with someone and Seymour would diplomatically deal with the person
  4. Giger shows two different alien heads to Ridley 
  5. Giger spent the evening with Michael Seymour and Mercedes. It was all very agreeable until they took the taxi home. Mercedes explained their route to the cab driver. This was a mistake because the cab driver thought that his passengers were German tourists who couldn't speak the language and didn't know their way around. Instead of looking at the map, the cab driver drove in the direction of Oxford which was the direct opposite direction and when he noticed his mistake he got aggressive driving them for two and a half hours into the middle of nowhere. ( Giger's Alien Diary)
Friday 9th June 1978.
  1. Giger visits Stage H to see the Alien Spacecraft entrance being built
Saturday 10th June 1978.
  1. Giger makes two versions of the alien head in styrofoam
  2. Mia works on the wings/backpipes
  3. Michael Seymour and Les Dilley visit him just as everything is going wrong.  
Sunday 11th June 1978.
  1. Mia works on the Alien stage 2, a facehugger, using the ribcage of a small animal, back of a fox's skull, ribbed plastic tubes and plasticine.
Monday 12th June 1978.
  1. Giger intends to work on an upper arm and a thigh with buttocks and tail
  2. Ridley chose version V4 of the alien head and the back of the head from V4. 
  3. The creature will have a tail like "The Magician" that sticks up between its legs like a penis when it attacks
  4. Giger takes a plain to Zurich to go the Art Basel art fair. He would meet up with Bijan Aalam, Sybille and Kamp and then go to Saxenried. 
  5. (In the Making of Alien by J.W. Rinzler it says that ) Gordon Carroll telephoned Rambaldi to tell him that he was no longer required to make the alien suit but to proceed only with the mechanics
Tuesday 13th June 1978.

Wednesday 14th June 1978.

Thursday 15th June 1978.
  1. Giger returns to England by plane, arriving in London. There wasn't a problem with customs. With him, he brought two new belt bucklets ( Giger's Alien Diary)
  2. He came to find that Eddie Butler disappointingly hadn't had the upper body of Bolaji produced with the joints nor had he done anything else worth mentioning. There was nothing but endless discussions in which they both defended their own working method and uselessly squander their own energies. ( Giger's Alien Diary)
  3. Ridley Scott came to visit, and Giger found it embarrassing when he had to take responsibility for something that someone else did. Eddie had made a kind of cap in polyester to anchor his wires and the Asian skull.  The idiotic wire frame left hardly any room to do anything, and Giger didn't have the energy to waste on what he referred to as a "miscarriage". As soon as the upper body is back from the plaster shop, Giger would make his own version. He was worried about not finishing it to the point that it was making him feel ill.( Giger's Alien Diary)
  4. JJ Wittmer was supposed to arrive on Saturday night, he would bring Giger's camera and hand lamp. He would also check in at Warren Lodge hotel for a stay of approximately one week. ( Giger's Alien Diary)
Friday 16th June 1978.
  1. Giger worked on Alien stages I, II and III  , and felt so low, that he lacked the energy to write his diary ( Giger's Alien Diary)
  2.  Roger Dicken comes to Shepperton Studios and demonstrates the Alien II (Chestburster). Giger was impressed by the mechanics, and found that the best part of the monster was the front, It seemed, as if inadvertantly, Dicken created a powerful effect because one could see the mechanics through the transparent coloring of the monster( Giger's Alien Diary)
  3. Ridley visits B stage afterwards and on the way, Giger discussed with Ridley the future steps of producing Alien II.( Giger's Alien Diary)
  4. Mia works on the Alien I skin
 Saturday 17th June 1978.
  1. Giger continues to work on Alien stages I, II and III, feeling slightly better than he did the previous day. The constant visits with all the distractions and Eddie Butler working so meticulously and slowly was driving Giger mad.( Giger's Alien Diary)
  2. Giger receives the cast of the Alien I facehugger in polyester and plaster.( Giger's Alien Diary)
  3. Giger gives the core of Alien III to the plaster shop for casting. They also cast a spine in latext.  ( Giger's Alien Diary)
  4. JJ Wittmer arrives and stays at Warren Lodge, and will stay for one week.
 Sunday 18th June 1978.
  1. Film maker J J Wittmer arrives from Basel with Giger's camera to film him at work. 
  2. Mia flies to Zurich in the afternoon, she goes to make some payments and go to the last day of Art' 78. ( Giger's Alien Diary)
  3. Giger attempts to start on the plasticene model of the derelict for Brian Johnson to use as reference for the derelict ship to be used in the film. Did he actually get to start that day?
  4. In the last two hours, Giger manages to model a prototype of Alien stage II. ( Giger's Alien Diary)
Monday 19th June 1978.
  1. Giger inspects H stage in the morning, takes some pictures and explained that( Giger's Alien Diary)( See: Giger's Alien Diary)
  2. He went to work on Alien stage II, inserting teeth as dentures. He felt like a dentist in the Wild West. He was so agonizing slow as usual and so nervous that he didn't do anything at all( Giger's Alien Diary)
  3. He had a phonecall from Robert Venosa who is staying at Big O in Fulham road,and with Peter Ledeboar would visit him on Wednesday in the studio at 4pm. There was a plan to see the latest attempt at creating transparent latex on Tuesday( Giger's Alien Diary)
Tuesday 20th June 1978.

  1. Giger goes to the studio with JJ Wittmer, waiting for a taxicab. They finally start filming on H stage, but when he started filming on the scaffolding on the Alien spacecraft, Peter Beale showed up and yelled something as Giger. JJ Wittmer told Giger that Peter Beale said thay Giger should work instead of filming. It was part serious and part not. ( Giger's Alien Diary)
  2. Gordon Carroll and Ridley Scott came to the studio and started rushing Giger because of Alien stage III. The head should be sent to Rambaldi as soon as possible, so he could start working on the animation of the tongue and tail.( Giger's Alien Diary)
  3. Giger wanted to begin with the design of the Alien egg silo, but they asked him to concentrate on Alien stage III instead. He is afraid that this will turn out to be similar to a horrifying job at the theatre in Zurich. ( Giger's Alien Diary)
Wednesday 21st June 1978.
  1.  Giger works on Alien stage III, i.e. the teeth of the tongue. He started with a construction drawing that showed the mechanics. The tubes and cables will now work properly. He hoped to make progress. They kept promising that they would hire more people for him to work with.( Giger's Alien Diary)
  2. Peter Ledeboar came with his secretary Johanna and Robert Venosa. They had bad news regarding the book Printing in the Netherlands would cost an additional 30,000 Swiss francs so now Peter is looking for a new printer, which naturally meant it would be postponed. The printer in Basel is about to do a reprint of the French and German edition, so perhaps it's an option. (Is this about HR Giger's Necronomicon or Giger's Alien? Talking about the reprint makes it sound like HR Giger's Necronomicon) Venosa's own book Manas Manna would be published in two weeks time. ( Giger's Alien Diary)
  3.  Mia returns from Zurich ( Giger's Alien Diary)

Thursday 22nd June 1978.
  1. Giger filmed in the H stage. He worked on the tongue on Alien stage III. Everything went wrong. He received a list from Gordon Carroll indicating when what would have to be finished. In the morning, he was nervous and at 5am started writing down everything that he wanted to say to Gordon Carroll and Ridley Scott. ( Giger's Alien Diary)
  2. Eddie Butler brought a new man along whose name was George, who was over 60 years old, but was even more slower and complicated than Eddie. ( Giger's Alien Diary)
Friday 23rd June 1978.
  1. Final revised script from June 1978 up until October 4th 1978 for this day includes script revisions covering scenes 97-98, 140-143A. 149A-150, 156-170, 175F-190?
  2. Giger talked with the cine artist in the H stage about color samples (Is this the cinematographer?) ( Giger's Alien Diary)
  3. Michael Seymour installed a strong light to make it easier to film. ( Giger's Alien Diary)
  4. Giger discussed his problems with Garth, Gordon Carroll, Clinton and Ivor. They promised to send him Peter Voysey in the afternoon. By then Giger had already modeled the rock landscape with him and collaborating with him would be fruitful, but he doesn't show up and Giger is not allowed to work on anything except the large Alien. ( Giger's Alien Diary)
  5. Mia worked on the joints of the Alien stage I. The plan is that the following evening, the head of Alien stage III had to be ready for casting . One copy would be sent to Carlo Rambaldi in the USA and the other to a local animator in order to build the tongue in. ( Giger's Alien Diary)
  6. Giger received £350 expenses and £56 for transportation insurance on June 23rd, 1978 (Giger's Alien Diary)
  7. That afternoon, Roger Dicken gave a new presentation of his Alien stage II, the chestburster. The people from the special effects smeared the creature with disgusting colours and hung rags on it that are supposed to look like intestines. ( Giger's Alien Diary)
  8. The "balls" of Alien stage I, the facehugger are filled with slime, and they give Dicken some ideas for improvement. Lots of praise. At the time, it appeared that Dicken's Aliens were to only be used in emergency if Giger didn't get his own work done in time, and if Dicken knew of this, he would surely lose interest in his own work ( Giger's Alien Diary)
Saturday 24th June 1978.
  1. Giger works on Alien stage III
  2. The rough outline of head are finished, and according to the plan it should be finished by that night, but Giger realised that they wouldn't make it. Voysey showed up after lunch to help. Giger finds that one of his helpers costs more time to explain what he is supposed to do than for Giger to do it himself. ( Giger's Alien Diary)
  3. Mia is working on the skin of the ankles of Alien stage I (or is that StageIII?). 
  4. Filmed them at work with JJ Wittmer. After that, Giger thought that the plan to get the head done would be complete, but standing on
  5. Jon Sorenson arrives at Bray Studio around mid-day with a small suitcase and £60.00 
  6. Final revised script from June 1978 up until October 4th 1978 for this day includes script revisions cover scenes 143B, 149
Sunday 25th June 1978..
  1. Alien head is ready. 
Monday 26th June 1978.
  1. Giger continued to work on head 
Tuesday 27th June 1978.
  1. Giger works on oval shaped shaft comes to an end when the set is scrapped. 
  2. The producers have now decided that the egg silo is to be an integral part of the derelict ship and now the shaft forms a direct passage from the cockpit to the egg silo. 
  3. George is busy with finger for Facehugger. The Facehugger is ready for casting. 
  4. Final revised script from June 1978 up until October 4th 1978 for this day includes script revisions covering scenes 13-18, 25-31, 33-35, 98-114
Wednesday 28th June 1978.
  1. Dan has the great idea of adding an opposing thumb on each hand of the Alien III. 
  2. Dennis Ayling does a lighting tests for the stars. 
  3. Eddie worked on one hand of Alien III. 
Thursday 29th June 1978.
  1. Agreement to make the creatures translucent. 
  2. Work on Alien III body continues to go ahead. 
  3. Dennis does a star test with painted star backing on black plastic. 
  4. Giger meets Sigourney Weaver who might want to move into the hotel. 
Friday 30th June 1978.
  1. Dennis Ayling continues with Star Backing tests. 
  2. Third day of Eddie working on the Alien hand. 
  3. Giger works on the belly and the legs. 
  4. The polyester cast of the head is finished. 
  5. Final revised script from June 1978 up until October 4th 1978 for this day includes script revisions cover scenes 21-24, 32-33

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