Sunday, July 3, 2011

The Witching Hour

Or indeed... The witching FOUR hours... Because that's more in line with what we spent on her yesterday. But I'm getting ahead of myself. Always start at the beginning. It's important for Farscape season four (seriously, come into that in the middle... I DARE you), and it's equally important for blog posts.

As I made reference to last night, I made my drive down here in the night. The reason for that is, quite honestly... I'm sort of terrified by motor vehicles. Those things can do a lot of damage, even when you're NOT traveling at highway speeds. So I tend to be a cautious, maybe even nervous driver at the best of times. When that car also happens to be packed with almost every valuable thing I own... Well... I wanted to make sure there were as few other cars on the road as is possible.

Especially in friggin' New York City. My GPS always wants to take me across the George Washington Bridge, and everything surrounding that detour is friggin' terrifying. Whenever I leave my house early in the morning to make this trip, I seem to hit ol' NYC at right around rush hour. Which isn't good for MY nervous ass, and if the honking is any indication, it's no good for the New Yorkers making for home after a long day of being jerks.

So towards that end I slept all day Friday (though not well), woke up at three in the afternoon, and departed at seven in the evening. I had to make a brief detour to get the finished armor for Glinda's guards (more on that in a later entry), but shortly after I hit the highway. Thirteen hours later, that's eight in the morning for the mathematically challenged, I hit Dahlgren.

Our Witch excitement was planned for one, so I had a little down-time to get prepped, set up my PC's, and the like. Once Marie showed up we quickly left for the home of Norman Rowe, master of mischief, mayhem, and the macabre.

 Norm has a very cool little shop set up outside his soon to be ex-house, and that is where the afternoon's proceedings took place.

DISCLAIMER: There are various moments in which I'm going to use the term "we" but I must stress that I wasn't really involved in any of this. Marie put up with a lot of bizarre junk that I think Geneva may have tried to put the kibosh on years ago, and Norm did all the heavy lifting, with the occasional assistance from Sean. I was just pointing my camera at everything that unfolded and occasionally getting in the way.

Marie went away to the house and returned in full costume. That was cool enough on its own, as it's quite a nice costume. But she's not truly the Witch until almost everything about her is covered up in some way. Next step was some nasty old teeth, which Norm had crafted to impressions taken of Marie's teeth. They snapped in quite handily. Now, if you remember the old piece of concept art, our Witch's magical eye is a blind, creepy looking thing. Because over the past century the eye-patch on a villain schtick has become a little tired.

Speaking of tired, I sure was. Because by this point I'd been awake for over 24 hours, half of which had been spent behind the wheel of an automobile. But anyway, Witch. Blind eye. Norm figured we ought to start the tough stuff by putting in the blind eye contact Sean had managed to pick up after a lot of guff (why would you need a prescription for a contact that... isn't prescription?). Putting it on after Marie's face was buried under silicon seemed ill-advised.

And start with the contact we did. Start small, start simple. Or so we thought. Not one of the four of us adult human people in that shop had ever worn a contact. So we were at a disadvantage from the start. Plus, the contact was all weird... soft and bendy. Maybe they're supposed to be like that, no idea. After getting it out of the little jar, which was a chore of its own, it had to be carefully unfolded and put back to its concave little self.

Marie tried to put it in herself for a start, but she found it difficult to hold her own eyelid open. And the moment you start stabbing things into your eyeball, your eyeball starts to fight back. They're clever like that. Norm then tried holding her eye open for her, but the problems were twofold. Norm the Gentle was hesitant to hold her eye open with the force required, and it kept closing down. And with Norm in there, and her own be-contacted finger obscuring 50% of her field of vision, Marie couldn't see what she was doing in the mirror.

We regrouped, and decided that Norm the gentle would place the contact lens while Sean the sturdy ruggedly held open the lass's eye. That seemed to work alright, they managed to get the contact placed.

But immediately afterward Marie felt discomfort, and there were a couple of terrifying minutes where she couldn't open her eye. Well, I found them terrifying anyway. Because I thought we had just ruined one of our actress' senses. Which wasn't the goal for the day. But Marie handled it all with a ridiculous amount of calm. I don't know how, and I know I couldn't have done it. I get an eyelash in my eye and I spend the rest of the day in bed, crying.

Marie was soon able to open those lids, though, and the problem was immediately apparent.

THAT'S never what you want to see in an ocular appliance. Norm snatched that sucker out of there, carefully unfolded it yet again, and we were all ready to call it quits on the contact. Norm had offered to do an appliance for the mask that would simulate the blind eye without all this Kubrickian torture, and we figured we'd go for that. Marie wanted to give the lens another go, though, and since it's her face we're poking, we let her call the shots. She held her own eye open this time, and Norm was again in charge of the poking. And this time it went just fine.

That done, it was time for the hands. Norm mixed up some goop and painted it on Marie's hands and arms, then applied the prosthetic. This was fairly uneventful. The heat and humidity made for some unsuccessful adhesion, but Norm sorted it out.

The mask slipped over pretty easily, and fit as well as a mask molded on a person's face ought. Norm glued the lips to Marie's own, and used make-up to blend the seams between mask and human. And then we had an awesome looking witch in front of us.

Norm had set up a black background and a cool little bramble of sticks, and he had set-up one of his many fog machines. Yes Norm has a bunch of fog machines, he's just that kind of guy. I'd brought a studio light with me so we dimmed the other lights and set the mood.  Marie then cavorted about while us three guys went crazy taking pictures and video.

We tested out how best to light her in menacing fashion, checked out how the mask moved when she spoke, and just generally inspected the whole ensemble. Marie was surprisingly comfortable in the get-up, and expressed a certain enjoyment for the whole experience. We figured out exactly what we needed to, and we're now all set to film the Witch. I have a little storyboarding and scheduling to do, Norm has some modifications to make to the prosthetics, but other than that, we're good to go. And terribly excited about it.

As the Witch is one of the last major cards we have that still remains unplayed... We won't be showing you much. Not for a while, anyway. But here's a blurry still. It's different than the blurry still we put on the website. So THAT's something, right?

Three guys in a little shed making a woman terribly uncomfortable... What better way IS there to spend an afternoon?

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