Thursday, August 11, 2011

And Now For Something COMPLETELY Different...

Man, we do some weird stuff sometimes. Anybody who's been to the cast page on our website knows that we've cast the Good Witch of the North. And that the actress we've cast is an attractive young lady. Anybody who's read the first book will know that the Good Witch of the North is a pleasant old lady. So our casting choice would seem at odds with the character as described, AND as illustrated.

This is when the screaming starts...
Stacey brought this unique energy to the part, and we thought that having an old-looking woman who moves and sounds younger than she should would make the character other-worldly. Which is suitable for a character from what is essentially... some other world. So the problem becomes how to make Stacey look like an old woman.

Maybe we could just wait fifty years...
The hair is easy enough to take care of, and the white wig we bought will do the trick just fine. But her face is a little trickier. We had a guy who was willing to come out for free, if we would cover some of his expenses, and handle wigs and old age make-up for us. But then he got a paid offer from some Broadway thing of some kind, and he decided to go for that instead. Can't blame him for that, I'd have done the same.

But that left us with no way to age Stacey. After a little bit of looking around, I found a very insightful tutorial for applying old age stipple, and it seemed like something Sean or myself could do without too much difficulty. It's just this liquid latex stuff that you sort of... stipple onto the face, and it creates this wrinkly layer on top of the person's skin. Like when you used to rub Elmer's glue on your hands in grade school.

Time in a bottle... Only backwards.
So Sean ordered some stipple, and I figured since he's the art major he can be the applicator, and offered myself up as guinea pig. Didn't want the first time he worked with the stuff to be with poor Stacey. My one stipulation was that we wait until our presentation at Banner Elk, in case the material didn't agree with my skin in some horrific way.

Banner Elk done and over with, last night seemed like a good night. Who does anything on a Wednesday anyhow? And so we broke out the nice brushes we'd picked up the night before, our liquid latex old age stipple, and my face. Sean started dabbing the stuff on, and my eyes almost immediately started watering. It smelled like he'd brought back a fish from a vat of chemical waste and just started rubbing it ALL up on my face. He was using a brush to apply it, but pretty quickly it started to ball up in the bristles and ruin the brush. Supposed to use a sponge, I guess.

Maybe he's born with it...
Having none on hand, we moved ahead with a wadded up paper towel instead. At my insistence, Sean stayed well away from any areas with hair, and I had shaved and washed my face before we began. I had to contort my face in weird ways to try and pull the skin tight while the material dried.

Vaudeville is NOT dead.
We ended up putting on a couple of layers, and that's when the wrinkles really started to show. It worked best around my mouth and chin, because those were the areas I have the most control over, and could really pull my skin around while the stuff set up.

Steven Tyler doesn't seem to care for his new haircut...
It also helps if you use your face and work with the stuff a little once it's been applied.

nonaC, the camcorder of choice for L. Frank Baum's The Wonderful Wizard of Oz...
Our testing successfully completed, it was then time to remove the gunk, because I don't want to spend the next week looking like somebody who aged REALLY strangely. The tutorial had mentioned a remover, which we'd neglected to buy, but also said that the stuff should be able to peel right off. And it did.

"I TOLD you you shouldn't pick at that, man."
It felt weird as hell coming off, and it did hurt a little on the neck, where there were more little hairs. Also, Sean's a terrible make-up artist and got near my hair anyway, so there was some surprise pain in store when I peeled my forehead, as well.

It's really surreal to have David Cronenberg direct a scene in your life...
After all the stuff was removed, though, I felt delightfully smooth and exfoliated. And as you can see here, we ended up with what looks like a little ball of dead skin and hair. But it's not. Well, except for the hair. The hair is real. But the rest is just latex. It feels like picking up a popped balloon.

Some of the newer Pokemon just feel lazy...
Mild pain and grotesqueness aside, it was a successful test. Sean learned about what works and what doesn't when applying this junk, and we did a little more research to figure out some additional materials we'll require. Once those arrive we're going to give it another test run on me before we shoot with Stacey on the 22nd.

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