Wednesday, June 17, 2015

Night Falls

A veil of Night slowly falls behind Rana's hat as she strolls beyond Halfland, just as Yanu affixes the lantern of the moon into the darkening sky.

Sunday, June 14, 2015

Put the Petal to the Metal

As soon as the Urhu puppet was finished, I thought it might be good to see whether I could find a spot to set up the Desert Set to at least shoot some close-ups on the character for part of the trailer sequences. I took a few plastic storage bins to the closet-sized breakfast nook where I keep my sewing table because it had loads of windows and great light in the afternoons.

As I filled up most of the available floor space with this partial set up, there isn't enough space behind the tent to install a background sky and distant sand dunes. But I'm hoping to at least shoot something productive there. Hopefully, the entire Desert set can be set up later to the side of where the Main Cottage sits in a bedroom, sharing the Day portion of the sky after the bug party gets shot and is put away. Consider this a Desert holding pattern until the real shooting runway is cleared for take off. Worst case, I can transport the set up you see here to the actual beach for outdoor long shots. We'll see.
If I sit on the floor, I can scootch up close for some of the tighter shots, as long as I don't show anything behind the tent. The Dick Kaneshiro camera smooth-mover can rest along the edge of the boxes holding up the sand blanket for some of the panning.

Bases for the palm tree and tent were screwed in through the sand blanket into the plastic boxes with short screws to secure. Instruments and decorative posts were installed through cut holes in the blanket surface. Puppet was tied down via a heavy bracket screwed into the seat of him and then down into the set. Only his head, arm, and tail tip will need to move.

The sand blanket worked amazingly well overall. It's flexible, and yet not a single grain of sand comes loose, no matter how I drape and shape the cloth. I can dune it.

Saved and dried flowers, sorted by color, await being glued to the bottom of Urhu's robe and on the sands around him, symbolizing past thoughts.

Let's GO!

Saturday, June 13, 2015

Rendering Flowering Thoughts

Studied various plant types/structures for this important element in the film series. The thoughts needed to feel slightly Eastern, appear to work as a slim, vine-like plant to fit in the turban's tube rigging, and feel "potent", full of substance, as worthwhile thoughts should feel.


32 gauge steel wire was wrapped around glass beads to form the structures, each leaf a paper/glue and wire sandwich before being cut down to shape and attached. All wrapped with handmade paper, tufts of silk, cotton, and linen threads added to each pod, wire-filled crepe paper petaled flowers, one bloom for each cluster of burgeoning potential thoughts, were affixed tightly to enable some animated motion of opening once grown into place on Urhu' head. They will be detailed with color slightly and then finished in matte medium to keep the edges crisp while in use.
 How the rigging structure works under the turban.
Testing the turban with in-progress flowers.

Friday, June 12, 2015

Finish the Tail: Urhu's Scales Take On Color

After painting the black sequined fabric covered tail with Nova's Sun Gold, I slowly added layers of pattern and color in greens, yellows, and oranges. These were painted on in geometric shapes strongly at first (lower left), and then knocked down with a top layer of more gold (lower right).

I wanted the tail to be as beautiful as a serpent sage musician's living in the desert tail should be.

What won't be seen are the construction details above; Urhu has an open-able mouth complete with pose-able tongue, but will likely only appear with his mouth closed as much as possible. On the right, you can seen the rigging for how the wire plants will emerge from beneath his turban. Made from a saved piece of plastic packaging and segments of vinyl tubes. This head hump provided structure for the wrapped fabric turban while ensuring there'll be three open passages for guaranteed Thought growing. After additional bundles of wire were tied onto the bottom edge of the puppet's head, the entire fixture was secured with wire strands. And lastly, lower left, his twisting golden vertebra will indeed always be hidden beneath his robes.

Thursday, June 11, 2015

Finish the Tale: Urhu Arrives

Well, Wonderful Folks still following along... here he is, in all his serpent sage-y spiritually-healing erhu-playing musicianal glory, ready for the climatic scenes of the entire Halfland folktale series. Please notice the colors, very specific to this character, a marigold/Indian yellow/apricot confection, set off by the greens of his tail and growing things.

Notice too his turban ornamented with seed pods and his thoughts blooming as the music plays. He is as naked as a reptile can be, but only human in flesh on the left side of face and body. His hair painted wires for positioning, mixed with preserved grass and roots. The necklaces around his neck are a sort of long, slender pine cone, suggestive of both serpentine scales and plants, that I collected while they were still green and supple. Rounding them into shape, I allowed them to dry several months before preserving them with green and gold tinted medium to ornament the bare chest of the puppet.
His eyes, neither closed nor open, yet both. His smile neither happy nor knowing, blissful fool. His life is one of Silence and Music. Of Deserts and Oasis, barren yet constantly growing, as our own thoughts do, in the fertile gardens of our innermost minds. To emerge from within, extending ever outward from us, for all to see. Aren't all our thoughts growing somewhere, petals blossoming into flower, as they reach their full maturity?

Please welcome Urhu into Halfland, and stay tuned as the next posts will show more of this character's finishing and desert set up.
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