Picking Up where We Left Off – February 2011

February this year has mostly been about filming. Last August I began work on a feature film, Violet City which is an incredibly ambitious project – a steampunk fantasy film, around 3hours long, filmed entirely on green screen on a very small budget. Due to the lack of funds, we film as and when people are available. Luckily, on the green screen there is no issue of weather, lighting, seasons etc. so that greatly helps with continuity. However, for a make up artist, filming over such a long period of time is a big continuity issue, hair grows, is cut and restyled slightly differently, beards grow, people have holidays and come back tanned (no envy on my part at all – honest!).

detail from Professor Mercuria’s make up – Violet City

Its been a few months since we last filmed any of Violet City and it’s been really nice to see everyone again. (I say everyone – back in August we had a massive crew – 8-10 people on the production office, 3 ADs, script supervisor, 3 make up artists, 2 props assistants, 3 camera assistants, wardrobe, sound, about 20 runners etc. Due to the nature of the schedule we’re down to 2 camera operators, 1 director, 2 actors and me). It’s a slow process but it’s such an unusual concept and way of working that I’m still excited to be working on it. Because we’re down to a minimal crew, I’ve found myself clapper loading, boom operating, props sourcing and even, rather terribly acting. All skills that can hopefully prove useful in the future.

As well as Violet City, February has also meant pick ups for another feature I was working on last November, First Time Loser. It’s a music film, set around the Merseybeat scene of the sixties. As it’s a period film, again with a very small budget, authenticity has proved to be a problem.

The wedding scene in First Time Loser

We put out a casting call for girls to come along and be extras in a nightclub scene. Due to a misunderstanding, the majority of girls turned up in Mary Quant, late 60s psychedelic outfits, with very modern looking quiffed hair. What we were looking for was a Mad Men era, early 60’s pencil skirted beehive look. Tears ensued. A mad frantic couple of hours, changing hairstyles, outfits, wiping face-painted flowers off cheeks and not stopping to breathe meant that we managed to film all the required scenes, action and angles before the venue shut for the day. Phew.

There was even just enough time for the director, Joe to make the obligatory announcement, “Ladies and gentlemen, that’s a wrap”.

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