Thursday, March 27, 2008

On a Roll... or 20

(upper left) me sitting in the stream bed wiring the Time Frog's pond, to the right the pond taped up. Below that, you can see the maquette trying out his spot dreaming about the water lillies that will appear. (lower left) I love the storybook way the Rana stand-in looks positioned on the path down to the stream waiting to snag her friend Kyra the mermaid from the stream.

Rolls...of MASKING TAPE!!! Lots of Halflandian action been happening here, s l o w l y. After laying down the set base in cardboard, I used aviary wire to fill the gaps between levels of ground and along the shore of the stream. the wire was then completely covered in a conforming layer of masking tape in order to allow the upcoming layers of papier mache to adhere to it.

Today I was able to cover the ENTIRE set with taped down crumpled newspaper shapes in order to get the papier mache layers that will be smoothed over the top to be sculptured like organic ground terrain would be, rather than just flat surfaces. When the ground layer is completed and cut into removable panels, I will glue down a thin layer of sand, paint it to look like soil, and top the landscape with natural and synthetic foliage.

My kitty checks out the pleasant tabaccy scent lingering on Octokitty from his trip out here in the cigar box from New Orleans.

I have been so busy working on design projects, I've been unable to mention the excitement at receiving more delicious puppets from the most kind and generous reader friends, until now...

The Ides of March deadline has come, but before it did, Jeffery Roche, one of my multi-talented sweethearts, Ubatuber, finished and sent the outstanding Octopuss pupp. I am so attached to this clever playful melding of sleek black cat and shiny octopuss I could scream over how much I love him/her. It's of course brilliantly animate-able and Jeff even included a drawing of her components and materials so I'd know. What fun the package it came in was. He put a copy of the little book he'd illustrated last year, Quis Separabit, by Brian Showers, he wrapped the pupp in crinkly spiderweb paper and mailed the whole thing in a super deluxe wooden cigar box. I don't know how he parted with it but I'm glad I get to keep these treasures. Thank you, Uba!

Also that week, the charming, Enrica Prazzoli aka Enui, sent me a large parcel all the way from Italy filled with Italian candies and art treats. She sent two creatures for the film, one an exact replica of curly starfish out of white clay (Be sure to compare how well she made this, check out the photo she took of live specimens at an aquarium featured in the slideshow at right.) And she made a lacy jellyfish out of painted and melted plastic cap, skirted with lace, beaded wire and yarn tendrils. It will be fun to make those wave gently in the sea current under dappled blue shadows. She also sweetly included a fantastic glass bottle just the right scale for Halfland (which was capped perfectly by a tiny cork Shel Rasch had given me). The perfect bottle was something Enrica had been saving for herself but she un-shellfish-ly thought to share it with me. I love everything, Enrica, thank you.

More than even the fantastic puppets everyone has sent, I'm deeply moved and humbled by the lavish hearts that came along with them. I am taken aback by how so many talented people took their precious time and talent to make something wonderful and send it here, often with little goodies and drawing on the packages, etc. What magnificent people have shared themselves with Halfland. Thank you to everyone who reads this journal. And to those who've contributed puppets for the scene, I look forward to placing your critters on the set, turning on the reflecto-balls and blue gel covered lighting, and watching them come to glorious life! Thank you!

Monday, March 10, 2008

Stable as a Table

It's a new Day in Halfland as my husband Paul is now managing my schedule. I'm actually getting things done that I'd normally stress over for months yet never actually do. I'm very very good at being creative but doing things in reality, especially if discipline were required, has eluded me nearly in total. But no longer. All I do is say what I'm doing and he makes sure I'm doing the correct priority and staying on track when I get discouraged. Enormously valuable, priceless help. I have Paul to thank for his making my minutia his concern when he's already so busy and we have Sven and Gretchin to thank for introducing us to Twitteriffic, the beautiful Twitter 3rd party application that makes this new management so easy to do.

Saturday I was able to lay in the cardboard base for the entire main set. I couldn't believe how LARGE the set is and how small the cottage and tree now look. The scope of it caused me to question whether I am Richard Dryfus on steroids with this, not just making a giant mashed potato mountain but now the entire desert landscape around it too. I decided that I am not off my rocker and this is doable and will be an incredible film.

When I saw how much square footage would need papier mache-ing I enthusiastically thought of throwing a papier mache party here, inviting everyone I know in Los Angeles to come over and get messy lending a hand to finish it in short order. May still do that (let me know if you're interested) but at this point, I think I can do it fast enough on my own, will see.

I screwed thick cardboard box flats into the wooden set bases and then supported the cantelevered ends with free cardboard tubes from the factory next door. I am shocked at how strong and stable the set base is. It doesn't even wiggle when jiggled! This is going to work fine for building up the topography in paper, wire and plaster! That's me wearing extra sweaters on my frozen arm returning a cottage wall panel in place.

Character Progress

I've also discovered the joys of inDesign's table features. It allows me to create fast and easy tables of all kinds to better visualize the project's progress. Above is the current status of Halfland's characters. This table shows how many characters will be built, the order of their appearance in the film series, who has sketches made, armatures, sculptures, etc. all the way through to ready to shoot. Only two puppets are finished all the way at this point. But many others are underway and this charts their progress.

There's more to say, like how I realized this morning how to make an inchworm crawl up the paper roses on the trellis with micro magnets that I have. (going to have add a little worm to the chart now) and how there may be mini smiling lizards cast into the chandelier. I also discovered a paper-cutting folk art called Rimambelles (thanks to ULLA and Meggiecat!) that will now replace the puppets in the last scene. Now Jessica (Rose Red) will be cutting out the characters in paper, both as scene titles and under the final credits. Samples of that in the next post along with showing you the little Time Flies puppets in progress. I've got three foam clay sculpts made and am looking to find watch parts to add to them.

This is so fun, now back to other work... Wishing you every joy.
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