Steampunk’d: The Accessories

With any great costume comes great accessories. Or at least decent ones. You can decide what you consider them after you see the ones that I did to accent my steampunk costume. All except for the awesome chest piece prosthetic, which will be my third and last installment of this series. So let’s get to it.

In any makeup job I do, I try to accent the eyes the best I can. As you may have seen in my earlier entry, I had a large prosthetic eye piece, so I wanted to do something simple with the other eye as to not distract away from the piece. I went with a simple brown eyeliner color and flared out the corners a bit. However, the accessory part is the three golden gears that I spirit gummed along my cheekbone. Simple, but it ended up looking really cool.

The next piece is the hat. It was just a simple, $5 black hat that I got from Spirit Halloween. The black, ribbon band was already attached to it when I bought it. I was unable to find any feathers that I liked, until I came across a pair of cheap, black feather earrings. I took the earrings apart and, using craft glue, attached it to the hat. I then used some of the gears that I got from Costume Holiday House and one from the package of gears I got from Hobby Lobby, to complete it. Again, nothing too fancy, but this particular piece actually captured the attention of my director for Dr. Faustus. I will actually be wearing it as the part of Robin in the steampunk version of the show, put on by Lionface Productions. The next couple of pieces will also be featured in the show, but more on that in a later entry.

Now we get into the more complicated accessories. This choker started out as a blue and white Victorian portrait jewelry piece that I got from Wal-Mart. I started by repainting it so that it would match the copper and gold color scheme that I was going for. I then attached it to a piece of black ribbon using a mixture of black thread and craft glue. I had to sew it on to keep it attached and the craft glue to keep it in place. I then used some copper chain that I had gotten with jewelry piece and cut off two parts, which I sewed on. I added a clasp and loop to the back and accented it with a couple of gears where it clasped at so that the back was decorated as well.

Finally, I created a handflower out of some of the remaining chain and gears (again, one from each package). This was a little more tricky to make. The ring part is fit to my size and is made from the chain, which wraps around my middle finger and connects at the gear. I then made the wrist part using one of the large gears and doing basically the same as the ring, only this time I split the chain and attached it with a clasp. I then measured out three lengths of chain which I used to attach the two pieces together. I used ordinary black and brown thread to attach all the pieces, and then used a layer of copper paint to help lay down the stray pieces and make it look more metallic. It took me a couple of hours to get it the way I liked it, but out of all the pieces that I made this is probably the most impressive.

Play-Doh enjoys the hat the most

And that pretty much covers it for the accessories. As stated before, my last installment is how I made the chest piece and put everything together. Thanks for reading!

“If you want something you can have it, but only if you want everything that goes with it, including all the hard work and the despair, and only if you’re willing to risk failure.” – Philip Pullman, Clockwork

Steampunk’d: The Eyepiece

Hello all and welcome to the first installment of my Steampunk series! I’ll be going step by step of how I created my Halloween costume starting with the most complicated piece: the eye piece.

It started with an empty pill bottle. I tore off the labels so that I was left with the just the translucent orange bottle. It’s a regular, prescription sized bottle that I am sure many of you at home will have lying around somewhere.


The next thing I did was use Crayola Air-Dry clay to do the mold. In retrospect, I should have used a stronger clay, as the air-dry one was very brittle when it dried, but  in the end it worked for my purposes. I went with it because of how light it was, as I knew that the weight would make a difference when it came to applying the prosthetic to my face. 
Afterwards, I sanded it down to make it smooth and flat on all sides and to clean up any of the dust left over during the drying process. As you can see, as it dried the clay actually cracked on the bottom. Oddly enough, it still held onto the bottle, unlike the top piece which I reinforced with craft glue. I actually ended up having an issue with Play-Doh the parrot where he bit off part of the top, but I was able to work around it and piece it back together. The clay was really easy to sand, so I had to be careful not to overdo it and shrink the size of the piece. I wanted to make a big impression with it and for that I needed it to be the size that I made it.

After sanding it, I gave my eyepiece its initial paint job. I went with copper and gold colors with a silver accent in the center of the eye. I also used black to accentuate the crack in the clay. When things go wrong, sometimes they can work to your advantage and this was a great case of that happening.

After the paint dried, I began adding liquid latex to the piece. I used small pieces of cotton in between the gear spokes to make it look like there was skin and muscle protruding around the gear. I also added a couple of golden clock hands which I submerged into the latex. In this photo you can actually see where Play-Doh bit the clay and cracked the top piece. Later, I find a way to make it work by adding a flat gear to the top, which actually made it look like it could be part of a gas mask.

I had to make sure that I applied the latex on a flat surface that it wouldn’t stick to, so I alternated between an upside down metal trashcan and the lid to an old shoebox. After the latex dried around the gear, I peeled it back to make it look as though it burst out of the latex.

Paint job #2! After the latex dried, I painted it with black and red acrylic paint. I also touched up the eye piece paint and added a flat gear that I got from Costume Holiday House to the top. I spatter painted red on the eye piece itself to help complete the illusion that it had burst out of the eye not too long ago.

And that’s how I did it! It ended up looking really cool though it took A LOT of spirit gum to keep on my face. Next blog, I’ll show you some of the accessories that I made to go with the costume and then a chest prosthetic that I made which features a working clock that lights up. Until then!

The finished product!

“To some, ‘steampunk’ is a catchall term, a concept in search of a visual identity. To me, it’s essentially the intersection of technology and romance. –  Jake von Slatt

 

Comedy and Horror

Hello again!

I apologize for the lateness of this post, it is long overdue. I’ve been busy with work and looking for a new waitressing job, as well as doing some filming with Already Indie for our Shocktober series and creating my steampunk costume for Halloween. So I guess the best way to go about this would be to tell you my plans for the rest of the month.

Tonight, I will be MCing for Michael Night, a comedian/magician/hypnotist that has been seen on television and has an incredible act. I am incredibly lucky to have this opportunity and I am hoping to be able to do well. The show is also featuring comedians Kennedy O’Reilly and Jake Dickey, two very funny local comedians whom I have worked with before. Tomorrow, I will be competing in the Best in the Midwest comedy competition! It’s my first comedy competition, so I’m pretty excited about it. The grand prize is $500, although, to be frank, I don’t hold any illusions that I will even place let alone win. Not because I am a bad comedian, but because the majority of other comedians are really good and have more experience in the field then I do. However, I didn’t decide to do the competition for the money, I chose to do it for the experience and the opportunity to hang out with some amazing comedians.

I also designed the poster. Yeah, it’s pretty sweet.

As I said before, I’ve been doing some filming with Already Indie and we are working on doing some things in the area to help promote the show. For example, tomorrow we are taking part in a costume drive, sponsored by STAR 105 and the Andrew Z in the Morning crew. The purpose is for people to donate old costumes and clothes for underprivileged kids who can’t afford to buy costumes this year for Halloween. Already Indie, as well as Lionface Productions, will be providing face painting for the event. Next week, Already Indie will be attending one of the largest Halloween parties to hit Toledo, Ohio, hosted by Angelina from the Jersey Shore and CNN’s Carlos Diaz. We ended up winning tickets from Phototwine, a great new app for the iPhone that everyone should check out. It’s going to be a great networking opportunity for us and a lot of fun to boot.

I’m hoping to start a series on here regarding my steampunk Halloween costume that I am still in the process of finishing. I’ve been making prosthetics for it that I hope are going to work out really well. But for now, I leave you with a teaser photo! Hope to talk to you all again soon.

Getting ready for Halloween!

Clothes make a statement.  Costumes tell a story.  – Mason Cooley

 

Thoughts on a Birthday

It’s my birthday. I am officially 24 years old and have just had my first cavity filled (with a reaction to the anesthesia so I’m feeling a little loopy). I tend to have bad luck on my birthday, but I’ve decided to look to the positive in the few minutes I have left of it.

For starters, BGSU (my alma mater, Bowling Green State University) has featured me in a small insert in their magazine (better than nothing, right?) as one of their “Successful Alumni.” I’m actually fairly proud as I am the only one of my graduating class featured, at least in this edition.

Sure it’s small, but it means I did something, right?

In other news, I had an epic Twitter moment the other day! I’ve been watching SyFy‘s FaceOff, a reality show competition between special effects makeup artists (which as you all may know, I have a huge interest in, though my work is juvenile in comparison to these guys). If you haven’t seen it, go and watch episodes on their website because it is EPIC! One of my favorite contestants, Rod Maxwell, actually answered a Twitter question I had wondered for a while…

Not even a little ashamed at how awesome I think this is

And to make matters even MORE awesome, he wished me a happy birthday!!!

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See! Proof!!!

My birthday has also been a symbol of something else for me: The coming of my favorite holiday, Halloween! And of course, Already Indie is on it as we present our first ever Shocktober series! View the trailer first here —–> Shocktober Trailer!

So I’ve got a lot of things going for me. Most importantly though, I’d like to personally thank my friends and family for getting me this far. I seriously wouldn’t be where I am now without all of you. I am truly grateful, even on days when I’m mood swingy or seem like I just don’t care, let me assure you: I do. More than any of you will ever know (unless they invent a way to show it all in which case you will know then). I really need to get some sleep, work in the morning, and I may still be a little spacy. Good night!

An old photo of me, thanks for reading!

There are three hundred and sixty-four days when you might get un-birthday presents, and only one for birthday presents, you know. – Lewis Carroll

 

Decisions, Decisions

 

Hello again,

Now that I’m settled into my new place, I can finally take the time needed to update this!

First off, no longer homeless! I have a great new roommate (Kate) and her lovely parrot, Play-Doh!

Playing with the parrot

Now on to the news. First off, I finally have some copies of my book to sell! Granted, I don’t have a lot, I was only able to get 8 of them, but I have two reserved and have already sold one. I’m hoping to take the remaining ones and use them to network some more and maybe get the book sold at some stores around here that sell local authors.

I am a firm believer in that it is never too early to start thinking about Halloween, one of my favorite holidays. For the past 3 years I have worked as a Screamster at Cedar Point, a job I have absolutely loved doing. However, I may be sitting out a year due to my “big girl jobs” of which I have two with an interview for the third this week. There is a chance that this may change during the season, but I had to make a decision and so I chose the more responsible route. Anyone that knows me well will know how difficult this decision was for me. However, I am hoping to go and see everyone on one of the weekends, but until then “Chick in a Box” will be staying in the box.

My Screamster character 🙂

However, in spite of all this, I am finally able to do a lot of the things I wasn’t able to do last season. For starters, I have entered into the Best in the Midwest Comedy Competition which is in October. We’ll be competing for a cash prize and though I’m not sure that I can win it, it will be my first stand-up competition which is pretty exciting. Secondly, there are a great deal of costume and makeup competitions in this area and with my experience in both of these fields, I want to see if I have a chance of winning any of them. I’m thinking about making some sort of steampunk costume, which is something I’ve always been interested in but haven’t had a chance to fully explore. Naturally, I will have more information on these as they get closer.

Finally, there is a new episode of Already Indie up! This one is part 2 of our 3 part series on how to make your own green screen. We have some big ideas for future episodes, so definitely stay tuned for that.

That’s all I’ve got for now, but there is a lot more coming! Thanks for reading!

In three words I can sum up everything I’ve learned about life: it goes on. – Robert Frost

 

A very quick update!

Hello everyone! I just wanted to update to inform you all that I am still here despite my absence in posting. This was/is due to a brief 2 week stint of being homeless and between leases, getting nastily sick with bronchitis and some other sort of infection, moving into my new place, and preparing for this week where I will be spending 9 hours working at one job, with kids, followed by 3-6 hours of waitressing. Therefore, it may be a week or so for a real update, though I will do my best. I leave you, as always, with at least one photo and a quote 🙂

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When life gives you lemons, just shut up and eat the damn lemons – 3rd Rock from the Sun (television show)

Finally Beginning

Hello again!

So things are finally starting to happen for me! But before I get to that, there’s some news I need to catch up on.

We have released another episode of Already Indie this past Friday. This episode finishes up our 2 part series on the basics of guerilla filmmaking. In true guerilla style, we went to a local skatepark to get our AI shout-out (if you are interested in possibly sending us a shout-out, please contact us on our website Already Indie or follow us on Facebook and Twitter!). Unlike our previous episodes, I take a turn hosting the majority of the episode. I actually learned a couple of really neat facts during this episode and we found a really neat location to film.

Aside from Already Indie, I am looking to update the Author section of this site with some behind the scenes concept drawings, an explanation of the dedication, and the story of how I came to write it. I’m not sure if anyone would be interested or not, but at the same time I don’t want to forget it (not that I would, but one never knows). The creativity of kids was a big inspiration for it and the book is actually based upon how I felt children would react upon hearing the theatrical terms. And speaking of creative kids, here’s a finger puppet made by one of the kids I work with! It’s Domo! I didn’t even realize that kids her age knew who Domo was, so I was incredibly excited by this. Below that photo is a “fake tattoo” that the same kid painted on my arm as we were messing around with face paint. I taught them a quick workshop on stage and effects makeup and we let them play with their own designs.

Domo! No help on this either, this kid did it all by herself! So proud!

I should feel a little threatened, this girl is good. No doubt she’ll be better than me in a year or two 😉

Now onto my big news! I finally received an audition for a film in Pittsburgh! Unfortunately, we got the news an hour before it was supposed to take place, so I wasn’t able to make it. However, this means that my face has been seen and that I am being considered for roles, which is amazing! I can honestly say that I am grateful to even be considered, though I do wish I would have been able to make it. However, as luck would have it I did get invited to attend a movie première in a few weeks which will help me meet more people in the industry. I am truly honored to be invited and I hope that I will be able to make a good impression while I am there. Additionally, my business cards came in and they look great if I do say so myself! So I hope to pass a few of those out while I am there.

Alright, that does it for this episode (or entry, if you will) as I have to go catchilla sit for my friend. At least, that is what I have been referring to me babysitting for two cats and two chinchillas for a friend. Below is a photo of the chinchillas for your enjoyment!

Chinchillas!

“I’ve learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.” – Maya Angelou (1928-)

“Vampire Leprechaun”

Dear Reader,

Things have been rather busy for me as of late, though no more than usual I suppose. I’ve been working hard waitressing and working with kids through the Educational Service Center as well as filming and doing some promotional things to network more. Things with Already Indie have been going very well and we just released another episode:

I think I am starting to get more comfortable in front of the camera then when I started working with the AI group. Naturally, I still have a long way to go, but there are things that I noticed from the first episode I did that improved with this episode. A lot of it has to do with confidence and the more confidence I have in my performance, the better the performance will be. There is also a commercial that we shot for this that you can also find on YouTube.

As I stated before, I have been working more with kids at the ESC and I absolutely love doing it. It never ceases to fascinate me how intelligent kids really are and how these first few years of their lives can completely set the standard for who they will be in the future. I had a great moment with one of our first grade students where I was able to help him figure out how to do long addition problems by using tally marks. It was a great feeling, especially because he had previously been reprimanded for sitting and staring at a problem for too long (the teachers just thought that he didn’t want to do it so he was just procrastinating to waste time). It also kind of annoys me to see people simply write things off as misbehavior, when most of the time there is more to the story than that. One of the more interesting things that happened was that several of the students deemed me a “vampire leprechaun.” The vampire part is due to my incredibly pale skin and slightly sharper than normal incisors. The leprechaun part was because of my red hair and my ability to find four-leaf clovers without really looking. This was a gift I evidently inherited from my great-grandfather, who would walk along the fields and would randomly bend over, pick one up, and throw it out into the field. I discovered this when I was very young and would be walking around outside and just randomly see one and pick it up. One would think that this would mean I have good luck, but it seems that it only applies to finding four-leaf clovers.

One of the four four-leaf clovers I was able to find at work one afternoon

Aside from the things previously stated, life has been fairly quiet. I finally got around to ordering business cards from Vistaprint and I had the opportunity to hang out with some of the radio crew the other day which was a lot of fun. I am hoping things will start picking up for me again soon, but that may not be until after I find a new place to live in this area as my lease is up soon. I am still waiting for acting work, but my casting manager is confident that I should be hearing back from people fairly soon. The most I can do now is be patient and ready for whatever comes at me.

“Have courage for the great sorrows of life and patience for the small ones; and when you have laboriously accomplished your daily task, go to sleep in peace.” – Victor Hugo

Makeup and More

Hello again!

The last few weeks have been a blur of busyness for me, but in the best way. I’ll attempt to recap the best I can, so bear with me.

I’ve continued my work with Already Indie and I am absolutely LOVING it! Working with the cast and crew has been so enjoyable for me and I am proud to say that I will be becoming an official member of this group. After the two previous clips I have posted here, we have gone on to do another Monday Challenge for Film Riot and we have come out with another episode featuring me and my charming compadre, Herschel Powers. For this episode, we paid tribute to a classic television show, The Twilight Zone. We filmed until very early in the morning, but got a lot accomplished, including some filming for an episode a few weeks from now.

During our shenanigans behind scenes, we decided to experiment with some theatrical makeup (done by yours truly) for the episode coming out a couple of weeks from now. Of course, I couldn’t resist working in some latex to make a truly gruesome and realistic chest wound.

Me looking angry and guerilla-esque?

A close up of the chest wound

This was all in preparation for our next episode (or the one after) where we will cover guerilla filmmaking and its history and it’s use today. I’m looking forward to continuing my work with Already Indie and I hope that you will check us out on Youtube and subscribe!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Speaking of doing theatrical makeup, it seems as though I have had the opportunity to do a lot of it lately, something that I assure you was not at all awful for me. One of these instances was for a friend of mine, Comedian Kool Keith. As a part of project that he is doing with The SOSEG, Keith hired me on as a makeup artist to turn him from a black man to a white man. An Italian singer named Tony Bonaducci, to be precise. It was a challenge that I was more than willing to undertake and would like to think I succeeded in.

The before picture

The after picture

And finally, Tony Bonaducci! I hope I got the spelling right, Keith!

I would like to consider the whole endeavor a complete success and I hope they were able to shoot the footage they needed! Next up on my list of theatrical makeup jobs was for Horizon Youth Theatre, a local children’s theatre in the area. They were performing William Shakespeare’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream with a Mardi Gras theme. Everyone did splendidly, but sadly I am unable to post the photos of the makeup due to privacy issues (and my utmost respect for the kids and their parental units). However, I did get the opportunity to entertain them with some backstage makeup gore!

This fun wound was brought to you by Ben Nye stage makeup, tissue, and latex!

For more photos of my escapades in makeup, check out the Makeup Artist section of my site, where I will be posting some more pictures of Keith’s transformation and other gory photos such as this one!

Needless to say, life is going really well for me lately and I am truly grateful for all those taking the journey with me. It hasn’t always been easy, but I have truly come a long way from where I used to be. I am far from perfect and though I may show a confident face, I’m terribly insecure about the kind of person I am. However, if you could meet the person I was in high school and compare it to the person I am now, I’d say it’s a night and day difference. Here’s hoping that I can continue changing and perhaps one day change someone’s world.

“It’s not just children who need heroes.” ― Tamora Pierce

On my way

Time for another update!

This past few weeks have been rather busy for me, but in the best way possible. Currently, I am working two “real” jobs and have been getting more hours at both, which is great for me as rent will be coming up very soon. I’ve gotten to do a couple more gigs with Random Acts, playing Tina in “Tony and Tina’s Murder Mystery,” which thus far has been a very fun role to do. Tina is an interesting character for me, as she is an over exaggerated “bimbo” who occasionally has insightful moments, but they are often due to someone else having them first.

A dramatic picture of the bride and probably the most serious Tina would ever look

As you may have seen from my last post, I have been working with a fantastic group called Already Indie, who makes web videos on guerrilla filmmaking. Last week, we took a break from filming for the website and decided to try to apply to win a contest through Film Riot. We have two submissions, one from Already Indie and one from Cullen Park Productions, a sister company to Resurrection Films/Already Indie. For the contest, we were told to use 3-point lighting and follow some dialogue from a pre-prepared script. The first one we did was a horror-style clip (Warning! Though the dialogue and filming are clean, you may want to review it before letting your kids (if you have any that wish to see it) watch it, just to be on the safe side).

I felt that this one was pretty good, all things considered. There are several things that I would do differently if I had a chance to shoot it again, but overall it was a lot of fun and I really enjoyed doing it. We also got a LOT of great feedback for this one, people seemed to really enjoy it and we are very hopeful that it will be considered, at the very least, for the contest. The next one we did for Cullen Park Productions was more of a comedic take on the script. We set it up as an infomercial and, due to the lack of available actors and because we thought it could be funny, “cloned” myself so that I played the two characters. The ending is also improv-ed, I was actually unaware that this would be included, so I had to laugh when I saw it show up on YouTube (again, watch before your kids do, you know what’s best for them!)

Sadly, this one did not receive as well as a reception as the other one did. While we did receive some really good feedback, we had an issue with a troll (for those not up to internet lingo, a troll is someone who is purposely rude on message boards, Facebook, etc. in hopes of a comedic effect, or in this one’s case, to be simply be a jerk) where he was posting inflammatory comments about Cullen Park Productions, Already Indie, Resurrection Films, and myself being one and the same. Originally, the troll was simply being annoying, but was later blocked by Cullen Park Productions after he began to insult me personally, saying that I was “too ugly” to be an actress and that I should get my “hook nose” fixed before I even bother trying again. I won’t lie, initially this stung a little as I have never thought of myself as someone who is particularly good-looking. My self-esteem in this area is rather weak, though I’ve come along way with self-perception than from when I was in high school. However, the more I thought about it, the more I realized that he didn’t actually insult my acting. To me, this means that he felt he needed to attack some other part of me because he didn’t see an issue with my acting. I realize this may just be stretching it, but I did feel that this is almost a compliment in that regard. Granted, if he knew that this was how I felt no doubt he would find a way to contact me to tell me that this was not the case, but at least it made me feel better about the situation. Plus, coming from someone who didn’t have any videos or photos of himself, I’d say that his opinion is moot.

Next up, I will be filming with Already Indie again tomorrow for yet another episode! Additionally, the Stand Up Toledo DVD should be out soon, so I will finally be able to get some of my comedy clips up on here.

“If you were absent during my struggle, don’t expect to be present during my success.” – Will Smith