Musing #2

I found myself doing something today that I rarely ever do (and for good reason); I watched the news. Amid all the stories of the horrible things that have happened within the last few days and the political drama that is our government  there was a story about a girl in a wheelchair overcoming her disability and raising money for a summer camp. It was intended to be a heart warming story and in most ways it was, but there was one thing that really bothered me. Throughout the story, it was repeated over and over how all this girl wanted was to be normal and that she wanted the kids around her to feel normal and how everyone should strive to be normal. Frankly, the word normal was repeated more than any other word in this five minute segment and held more emphasis than the fact that this girl was able to walk despite being told she never would.

And that bugs me.

Not that the girl was able to walk, because that’s awesome, but the emphasis on “being normal.” What is normal? By the way it is portrayed by the media, normal is basically being a perfect, cookie-cutter replica of the people around you. It is having no features that put you apart from the rest, having no strong personalities or opinions. You’re just another face in the crowd. I won’t lie, there was a time when I believed that was what I wanted and it is only now that I’m older that I realize how horrifying this concept is.

People shouldn’t strive to simply be normal, people should strive to be extraordinary! Why must we limit ourselves to only being normal? History is littered with names of people who were far from normal. Albert Einstein never wore the same colored socks and never learned his own phone number, yet was one of the greatest intellectuals of his time. Vincent van Gogh cut off part of his own ear over a fight he had with a friend, but still created beautiful artwork that is still studied today. Joan of Arc was born a simple peasant girl who would go on to lead an army and ultimately saved all of France at the age of 16. None of these people were what we would consider normal and yet these are names that we know. “Normal” people don’t make history because it is not considered normal to stand out or to make a difference, so why are we insisting that people try to act and be normal? Why do we act as though being abnormal is wrong or bad?

If I should ever be blessed to have children of my own, I won’t insist on them being normal, nor will I encourage something so limiting. We should be encouraging our youth to make a difference, to have thoughts that are their own and not what is simply being told to them, to resist that urge to just stand back and let someone else take the lead. If we all become normal we will lose everything that makes this world interesting. There is no advancement to be found in being normal, no room for growth or evolution.

Therefore, don’t try to be normal, work hard to be amazing, original men and women of the world, to be one in a million and not one of a million. Take control of your own personal story and maybe you’ll be lucky enough to be considered one of the stranger people in history.

Our girl, Chula, has a far from normal story, but one that ended happily

Our girl, Chula, has a far from normal story, but one that ended happily

For me, insanity is super sanity. The normal is psychotic. Normal means lack of imagination, lack of creativity. – Jean DuBuffet

 

Advertisements

Creating Art

It’s been a busy month for me, hence the lack of updating, so I’m going to try to catch up with a few things on here.

Firstly, I’ve been cast in a production of Shakespeare’s Merchant of Venice as the character, Launcelot Gobbo. Additionally, one of the plays I wrote was accepted into the 4th Lionface Winter One Acts, so it will be performed through Lionface at the annual showcase. I’m excited to see what people do with my script!

I’ve recently moved out of my apartment and into a new one, so I will be spending another year in Bowling Green. I have quit my job waitressing, but will be returning to Cedar Point as a Screamster in this years Halloweekends. More on that as it gets closer.

Chula is doing wonderfully, her adult fur is coming in a lot darker, so her tail is almost black now. She also won “Best in Class” at her doggy obedience class and was described as being “the happiest dog” at a local doggy day care. Her growth has been amazing and I couldn’t be more proud!

The beautiful Chula!

The beautiful Chula!

Within the past month, I’ve started doing some more modeling and I have been really enjoying it. I will most likely add more of the photos to my website eventually, but for now I will post a couple of the more popular ones here.

Photo taken by Capital Photos

Photo taken by Capital Photos

Photo taken by 2StepsUp Photography

Photo taken by 2StepsUp Photography

Photo taken by Alyson Knezevich

Photo taken by Alyson Knezevich

These photos were all taken at a group shoot in Toledo, Ohio, where I had a great time and made a lot of great connections. I am hoping to create more art with some of these talented people soon, but my schedule has been hectic. So that’s it for now, now you are caught up on my life a bit.

 

“This world is but a canvas to our imagination.” – Henry David Thoreau

 

Steampunk’d: The Chest Piece

Hello again and welcome to the last installment of my steampunk Halloween costume series! In previous episodes/entries, I showed you how I made a prosthetic eye piece and several different accessories for the costume and now I will show you how I made a pretty sweet chest piece.

I started with a thick layer of liquid latex in the shape of a sloppy triangle. I left the end of it curved for when I would add the clock piece. If you plan on doing this, you want to do it on a surface that the latex can be peeled off from, so a smooth surface that won’t have any chipped paint pieces or anything like that. I ended up using an old lid to a shoebox, which worked very well, especially if you want an easy cleanup and for your project to be portable while you are making it . After this layer dried, I added another one right on top of it so that the base would be thick and not fall apart when I added pieces to it.

I added a third layer of liquid latex and began to add pieces. As you can see, some of the pieces got another layer of latex over parts of them to make it looks as though pieces of flesh were growing over them. It also gives the impression that there are more gears inside the body, behind the ones that you can see.

Interestingly enough, as the liquid latex dried, the colors from the gears actually caused the latex to change colors. So, naturally, I added another layer over it and some more gears to see if that would cover it up. The liquid latex continued to react to the gears even as I added more latex, so I ended up leaving it the way it was. In the long run, it actually worked in my as it looked as though the gears were having a reaction to my body and therefore leaking pus. Disgusting, yet very effective in what I was going for.

Paint time! Using the same red and black acrylic paint that I used on the eye piece, I painted the latex around the gears and added some red on the gears to make them look as though they are covered in blood. After the paint dried, I used a knife to cut away some of the latex so that you could see more of the gears and I cleaned up the paint on the gears so that they would still reflect off the light. Then, I used paint again to clean up the latex pieces that I had cut away from the prosthetic.

This is actually the piece once I took it after wearing it. I attached the piece to my chest with spirit gum and then added the watch piece separately. It was actually a watch piece that I had gotten from Wal-Mart and added copper paint to it in order to keep with my gold and copper color scheme. I also repainted over some of the gears to make them stand out, as the ones from Hobby Lobby were a bit darker and less shiny then the ones I had purchased at Costume Holiday House. Once I had the pieces applied, I made strips of latex about an inch wide and about 3-4 inches long on the shoebox lid. Once I had two layers dried, I peeled them off and added them to the top and bottom of my piece to give the effect that the skin was cut apart and hanging over. It also helped to make the wound look deeper and more three-dimensional. I made a few more inch by inch pieces of latex to fill in the spots that weren’t covered on the far side of the watch piece. After all of that, I used makeup to color the latex to my skin color and to make it look a bit more bloody and natural. I topped it off with some liquid fake blood, which gave it a glossy look and made the clock look as though blood was dripped on to it as well.

Here’s what the piece looked like when it was applied. This also shows why I added the extra layers last, so that I could attach them to the skin as well as the wound and make everything look seamless. I had no trouble keeping the pieces on once the spirit gum had dried and actually had this piece on for most of the day. Now, I’d also like to point out that the watch piece is a working one and actually lit up with a blue light when you pressed a button (which was located near the number 2 and could be pressed despite the latex). Initially, I had considered using a bigger watch piece and trying to make it seem as though my heart was a clock, but I felt that this looked more realistic than that would have, so I adjusted accordingly. All in all, I was very happy about the way that this piece turned out and it will actually be featured again very soon in Lionface Production’s Dr. Faustus on the character of Mephistopheles. Pictures to come!

Photo courtesy of Laura Fairman Photography

Now we have come to the end of my series and now you know the story behind the creation of my steampunk costume. I may be doing an encore post as well in regards to Dr. Faustus, given that it is being done in a steampunk fashion, so stay tuned for that. In other news, I was voted one of the top five comedians from last years Stand Up Toledo, which means that I will be in it again this year! More information on that as it gets closer as well as some updates on Already Indie and life as an actress. Thanks for reading!

“We can control the future, my boy, just as we wind up the mechanism in a clock. Say to yourself: I will win that race–I will come first–and you wind up the future like clockwork. The world has no choice but to obey! Can the hands of that old clock in the corner decide to stop? Can the spring in your watch decide to wind itself up and run backward? No! They have no choice. And nor has the future, once you have wound it up.” – Philip Pullman, Clockwork

 

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

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-)

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

Waiting…

At the point in my life, I find myself in a nearly constant state of waiting. I’m not a particularly impatient person, but I do find myself wishing that I could take a more active role in my life. Unfortunately, many things that I could be doing require me to have money that I simply do not have.

For example, it was recently pointed out to me that in order to promote my book more I need to have more copies to sell, hand out, use for book signings, etc. Unfortunately, the way my publisher works is that I have to pay for copies of my book to have them to sell/use for my own devices. Additionally, if I am going to get any sort of author discount I have to order a minimum amount of 25 books (which would be roughly $250, with my discount). All in all, this is a great deal, but when you factor in rent and living expenses, it’s a difficult number for a young actress who also has to worry about health and paying back school loans.

A peek inside my book, “Silly Billy’s Guide to the Theatre”

However, this fellow author whom I was speaking with brought up some very good points. I would be able to make the money back simply by selling the books, therefore not really losing anything. The difficult part is simply getting the money to start with. He suggested possibly taking out a loan or setting up something through Kickstarter. Since I had never heard of this program, I needed an explanation: Basically, Kickstarter is an online fundraising program designed to help artists, such as myself, begin projects. People can donate money on the site towards these projects, and are given rewards based upon how much they spend on your project. The best part? If you don’t reach your monetary goal by the date that you set, no one is charged anything. So someone could donate money towards the cause, but not have to pay if the project is scrapped for some reason. Cool, right? It’s definitely worth looking into, although I worry whether or not there would be anyone willing to donate money towards my cause, but you never know if you don’t try. Plus, I’ve already been asked to do a few book signings, so it wouldn’t necessarily be an exercise in futility.

Another route I’ve looked into is selling some of my artwork. Well, technically I have already been doing that (thank you, Redbubble!), but I’m speaking specifically about selling some of my oil paintings through Etsy.

One of my oil paintings, currently making my kitchen wall a bit more classy

Instagram made the coloring a bit brighter than it actually is, but you get the picture (lol, lame unintentional pun). For those of you that don’t know, Etsy is essentially a site designed to help artists sell their art online without having to worry about not getting the product or not getting paid for your art. Shipping would still be my responsibility, of course, but this not only gets my art out there, I don’t have to worry about giving it away to someone who will neither pay for nor appreciate it.

Another route I’d like to look into is doing comedy on a bigger scale. This is something I may not have to wait for, I just need to be more aggressive on finding work. However, I am making the choice to do this after…

The finished product! It took a lot of work, but I finally have the poster where I want it. It’s definitely one of the better posters I’ve created.

Murder in the Cathedral! We are drawing closer to tech week and the inevitable opening of the show. I am truly fortunate to be in yet another show with so many of my friends. I am also fortunate that the director has been very patient with me, I have unfortunately been fighting a cold for several weeks now. I’m hoping that this will have passed by opening night, though the doctors are, frankly, a little stumped at this cold’s insistence on staying in my system. Never the less, as the old saying goes, “the show must go on” (and it’s often forgotten counterpart, “or else we’ll have to give them their money back”). Speaking of the show, I have to get some things ready before rehearsal tonight, so I will end this entry here.

“All things come to him who waits – provided he knows what he is waiting for.”  – Woodrow T. Wilson