Saturday, July 16, 2011

Treason of the Witch

Son of a witch. That's a punned up version of an expression that was tossed around plenty today. First day of witch shooting, and things didn't go exactly as planned. Which we should have expected, honestly. This project has a way of walking up to our plans, jacking them in their manly business, and running laughing into the bushes.

Started with an early rise. Which is never the way to start your day. Early to bed and early to rise makes a man want to find a high powered rifle and a tall bell tower. I myself woke up at six, I can't speak for anybody else. Had a quick breakfast and a quick shower, then spent some time getting my cameras and computers ready for action.

When Sean was ready we went out to clear our "set" and get the green-screen ready for action. Marie Rizza and her son, Xavier, showed up just as I was sweeping off the screen. About eight o' clock. She got here a bit before Norm, and, ever the professional, wanted to find a way to put that down time to productive use. I would've just face-planted on the couch or something...

We first went over the storyboards, I showed her the CGI model of the battlement, all so she'd have a better idea of what was going on today. Then she wanted to go out to the green screen to run her lines and walk through everything we'd be doing. So we went out there with the camera and blocked some stuff out.

She also wore a silly hat and stood on one leg...

The weird thing is... I didn't even ASK her to DO that...
Norman Rowe arrived, and when Norman storms in on the scene he brings with him a maelstrom of mayhem. Also some nifty little kits and utensils.

He uses them to concoct... concoctions or something
So Marie went inside to get into character. Literally. I followed her in like the freaking paparazzi. Because I had a camera... Contact lens was still a little iffy this time, but it went much more smoothly than that first test a couple weeks ago. Teeth snapped in as easily as before. At this point Marie looked like the best anti-smoking poster ever.

You got it all wrong, Doc. I have like, one cigar a month... max.
Then we got her into the mask, and Norm glued all the pieces down. After which he held them in place for four to five minutes. Four adults in an air conditioned room, one of them filming as another presses his hand into a woman's face for four minutes... Y'know, good clean American fun...

That's a lovely frock. American Eagle?
Satisfied with the mask, Norm then went on to the hands. Like y'do. Now. I didn't mention in the entry for our make-up test that we had a bit of trouble getting the hand appliances to stay attached to Marie's actual hands. But we did. The fingers kept coming off her fingers and flopping around. Norm reckoned he'd solved the problem this time, something to do with powder on the backside interfering with the adhesion. Powder that he'd cleaned off this time.

Norm's career as a manicurist never really took off.
Hands applied, we got Marie into her costume and prepared to film. We all clomped outside, eager to get going. Of course, we didn't get through very many shots (two, actually...) before her hands started coming undone again. Norm mixed some fresh goop like he likes to do, and reapplied the hands. Went outside, got through a couple more shots, and the fingers were flopping around more violently than a raver on MDMA.

Since it was clear that the adhesive... wasn't, Sean suggested a temporary ghetto fix. You all know how we like those. And so it came to be that, hand close-ups finished, the fingers were tied on with fishing line. This proved to only be a temporary fix as well, because the line kept coming untied. Which meant flop flop flop.

It's worth making note of, friends, that while we got an early start at eight o' clock, it took about four hours to get Marie into make up. And with all the delays these fingers were causing, two o' clock rolled around and we only had one scene in the can.

But it wasn't ALL hand problems today. Oh no. It was also lip problems. Norm sliced the mask like he'd suggested, allowing him to glue it to Marie's mouth area more cleanly. But the adhesive (same stuff as we used for the hands) was only good for a few takes with dialogue before the bottom lip started to slide down her face. Between reapplying the fingers and reapplying the lip, we burned through adhesive pretty fast.

Norm used the last of it to do one really excellent application of the lip. Beautiful. Seamless. We managed to get through all the dialogue for one scene with it before it detached itself from Marie's face. We then sped through all the remaining shots for that scene. Shots like this:

You didn't think I was going to show you her FACE, did you?
Five o' clock, two scenes down. The fingers were flopping, the bottom lip was no longer attached, and the mask had started slipping down over her eyes. Also... Marie couldn't eat in that mask. And since Marie couldn't eat in the mask, and we couldn't take her OUT of the mask, the rest of us weren't going to just take a lunch break. Because that would be rude AND waste time Marie had to spend in the mask. So nobody had eaten in ten or eleven hours, if at all, and we'd all spent most of the day out in the sun.

With our resources depleted, the mask and hands not snug enough to do half of our required shots, a small group of exhausted, hungry people, and the sun encroaching on our light set-up, I decided it was time to call it quits for the day. Nobody voted me down. We got Marie out of the costume, and then regrouped and discussed what to do next.

We were hoping that after all the careful planning and preparation, the make-up tests, rough edits, storyboards, etc... That we'd be able to blow through this stuff pretty quickly, and wrap the Witch in a day. We ended up finishing two very short scenes. Guess we failed to factor in some wild cards... It's not the least productive day we've ever had, but obviously very far short of our goal. Which means at least one more day of Witch shooting is required.

Norm's schedule leaves him available only on Saturdays, so we can't do anything more with the mask and hands until then. He figures the adhesive just wasn't holding up well to the heat of the sun, and the perspiration it caused. We'd hoped to be able to film this in an indoor, air-conditioned area, but that proved to be financially... not... a thing that we could do... Norm's going to order us some different adhesive to try on Saturday, stuff that will hopefully hold up to the rays.

Marie is free tomorrow, so she's going to pop by and we're going to do some foot shots, costume inserts, get done as much as we can without having the prosthetics on. It won't be a lot, but any progress is progress, and one less thing she'll have to film while she's melting (get it?) under all that wool and silicon. As an aside, Wool and Silicon would be a good name for a death metal group... Made up of preppie super models...

This could be their album cover.

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