Wednesday, 30 March 2016

The Walking Dead

As some of you may know, I’m currently at college studying Hair, Make – Up & costume design for Theatre & Film and I’m obviously specializing in make up. So, a reason for my disappearance is actually a reason behind today’s post. In January, I was set my biggest project of my college career and that was too design & create a installation inspired by the walking dead. Lights, Sounds, Set, Make up, Costume, the whole thing!! As fun as this sounds, the work behind it was endless, it was continuous daily work from that first day in January right up until last Thursday when our installation went live to the public.

So lets start from the beginning. My team’s first challenge was to come up with our scenario, because we had 2 production girls in our team, one of them being me, it meant we would have two actors in our installation. So we took this into consideration and started thinking of 2 jobs that interrelated, we came up with everything from pilot & air hostess to taxi driver & occupant when we finally came to our decision of chef and waitress which led us to our location being an American Diner set in LA. We then escalated to our character profiles, our chef was 23, he owned the restaurant, his name was Jim, he’s a former apprentice and this is his first restaurant, he’s a happy chap, not your stereotypical “chef”. Our waitress is 19, she works part time and studies acting at a local college, her dream is to work on movies, be a big star!! Our waitress was working a Monday evening shift, the diner was dead until one man stumbles in to the Diner, the bell at the door rings, our waitress thinks nothing of it, as she’s wiping down the tables “anything I can get you?” she asks over her shoulder, not quite looking at her customer. The customer grumbles, she turns around “pardo-“ she was interrupted by her own scream as the customer bites into her neck. At this point, Jim was in the kitchen, he was making some dinner for him and the waitress as there were no other meals for him to cook for the empty diner. The door separating the diner from the kitchen swings open and in enters our waitress, Jim can sense something isn’t right, as he’s turning off the gas to the cooker, the waitress grabs his arm and snarls, he pushes her off him but fails and falls to the floor taking the pan of boiling water with him, spilling all over his left hand, he screams in pain whilst kicking away the waitress. He finally gets to his feet, running around the kitchen, knocking over glass as he escapes but its too late, she has him and now, he’s one of them too.

So I set the scene right?

Okay, moving on!! So now we have our scenario, it was time to make the set. We found our backboards and started painting these white; we needed a blank canvas to create our bloody scenes. After so many white coats, we started on “Jim’s Diner” we wanted a stereotypical sign here, so we used the traditional red colours with the inspiration of Broadway’s white dots. Now time for the fun bit!! Using different shades of red paint, congealed blood, film blood, our own blood recipes, we covered our hands in it all and smeared them all over the backboards, we really wanted to show the audience how much of a blood bath it was! After this, we created the “staff wall” where we included pictures of our 2 actors, the chef & waitress and 2 other random people we grabbed from college who’s photos we crossed out with red paint to indicate that they were gone. We then got a bit ahead of ourselves and me and my team mates smashes one of the picture frames so that the glass would smash, which it did, however this did not please out tutors. So we then had to cello tape it all back up for health and safety reasons,oops! Now we’re only weeks away from production day and we still have so much to do!! Our next step was to get our backboards standing, which I left to the technician in my group, just like I did with the lighting and sound which ill get to in a bit. We stated thinking as to what we could use as our flooring, as we based the set in a kitchen, we found some simple white flooring which we taped down and again, got our hands mucky and slid all across this floor, sacrificing a random boot we found on the way to use for blood footprints. While we were at it, we already had our hands dirty so we added some more blood to the backboards.

Now its time for props. We went down to our college underdrawing and grabbed anything kitchen related we could find, wooden spoons, kettles, food props, glasses and we took it all back up to our installation and guess what? More blood!

I make it sound like we just put the blood anywhere and everywhere but a lot of thought went in to it, we had to consider the reality of it, the direction and the texture relating back to the incident and how it would appear had it been real.

Moving on from the set to the make up, I was responsible for the chef. I wanted to include a lot of burns and scars with glass as this represents our scenario best. But there was one particular special effect that I was bouncing to try, which was an exposed mouth, now this was rather time consuming but I must say I love the outcome!! What do you guys think of it?

So our installation went live, the audiences toured round the theatre, lights and sound went up for 30 seconds on every set and our actors were amazing! Our waitress poured blood from a kettle in to a cup & our chef was offering out bones for dinner! Our sound and lighting was great, we had a white wash with a flicker and our sound was old duke box music with kitchen noises such as slurping and chopping food with the slight scream here and there so credit to our techie!!

I hope you guys like to see what I’ve been up to! Let me know what you think! And if you were to undergo this project, what would your scenario be?

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