Thursday, July 14, 2011

The Cabinet of Dr. Quelala

Seems to be a rule with this project that even things that ought to be simple are stupidly difficult. If you'd like an example of something like that, you're in luck. I wrote that first sentence JUST so I could talk about something that ought to have been simple but has turned out to be stupidly difficult. That's a writer's technique, is what that is.

After our heroes thwart the Witch's raiding party of rabid wolves, she decides it's time to burn through her last monkey summoning. And to summon a monkey (a winged one, at least) requires a magic cap. The magic cap we already have. Been in our possession for two years, actually. Just for fun, here's a picture of Mariellen Kemp looking miserable wearing it:

Who's your stylist? You should FIRE them...
 Great. But we're talking about the hat before it became Dorothy's. Back when it was the WWW's. We figured a magical-flying-monkey-commanding hat would be a pretty precious commodity, and as such, a paranoid old hag would keep it locked up. Like Mary Ann Cotton and her arsenic.

It's scripted that she goes to get the cap out of a cabinet. I'm not lying, see:

When I storyboarded the scene the other day, I kept to that. See if you can figure out which of these pencil-y blobs is meant to be a cabinet:

And the award for best storyboard artist goes to... Anyone else.
 So. Cabinet was the plan, which made cabinet the task. With no suitable cabinet handy, the purchase of one became a requirement. We didn't want to go for something from like Ikea or whatever, because they're too modern looking, and also pieces of crap. Unless Ikea wants to sponsor our movie, in which case Ikea makes A-number-one type stuff. Swedish cardboard furniture off the wobbly table, we figured we needed to go look for an antique.

Which meant Sean and I had to go antiquing... Which isn't a fun afternoon out for two heterosexual men, but what has to be done has to be done. We started with a place only a few miles from Sean's house. The closest we came to something suitable were a couple of nice tobacco stands which were sort of okay, but when you're paying $40-$100 for something, you're not really crazy about compromising. And certainly not when your search was only just beginning.

We decided to check out a big ol' antique barn a little ways away. We poked around there and didn't even find anything sort of okay. Sean knew of a couple of places in Tappahannock, so that's where I ended up driving. On the way there we made a surprise stop at a dinky little place by the side of the road. Surprisingly enough, we didn't find what we were after there. There was a nice-looking trunk, but again, quite expensive, and I'm even LESS willing to make an expensive compromise when it's going to mess with my framing.

On to Tappahannock. One of the places, indeed the place that we headed there specifically for, was closed. Like for good. Inside the other place, though, fortune seemed to be smiling. After a very quick look around, we found this lovely cabinet sitting atop a dresser. It was just about the right shape and size, quite obviously old and beat up, and a beautiful sort of cherry color.

It was unmarked, so we asked the old guy behind the desk if he could give us a price. Apparently the proper old guy who belonged in the store was away being boring someplace else, so the old guy we got stuck with had to make a call to determine the price. He called and got some assistant or something, because Proper Old Guy was busy, but could call him back in a few moments. So we poked around the store for another five or so minutes, waiting for our call to come in. Found a creepy Victorian mannequin that talked...

The phone rang, and we slowly eased back over to the front counter. The guy went over to the cabinet and told us what price had been decided on. Seven. Hundred. And. Ninety. Five. Dollars. Let me just make it perfectly clear, this was a beat-up piece of crap. That's why we wanted it. There were dents, dings, scratches, the doors didn't stay shut, and it'd been propped up with a shim to keep it level.

The old guy started going on about how nice it was, how rare this faint pattern of a woman on the front was (I frankly couldn't even see it), picked it up and recommended a method for hanging it... But of course Sean and I had shut down immediately after he told us the price, and were slowly backing for the door. The second he quit yapping we politely thanked him, lied about how we'd be back later, and power-walked the hell out of there.

Our antiquing a bust, we realized that we were only ever going to get something sort of close to okay for a lot more than we wanted to spend. Which made the decision to make our own cabinet an easy one. Which is what we got up to this evening. Well, I say we, but once again I was really just there to get in the way and put my camera in Sean's face.

RIGHT in his FACE!!
Though occasionally my body-weight was useful for stabilizing the "workbench."

Couple of drips in this picture, amirite!?!?
 All that really went down cabinet-wise was some measuring:

And some sawing:

And a whole lot of pointless conversation. But that's inherent in any activity we undertake.

Earlier in the afternoon we put together our new set-up, with some alterations to the tracking markers and new lights. I took some test footage to send off to Drew, and am currently awaiting a response from him.

Tomorrow we'll make any changes he may request and do some more test-photography, after which we'll continue our work on the cabinet. So... y'know... look forward to THAT...

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