A New Year

I’ve never been one to make New Year resolutions. Not because I don’t think there is any merit to doing so, but because I don’t believe there needs to be a specific day in which to make a change in your life. I feel that if you want to make a change or break a bad habit you should do it immediately instead of waiting for the first of the year. That being said, there are some “resolutions” that I have been making in my life over the past month and ones that I need to start working on more. So, in the spirit of the new year, I’m going to write some of these out. Don’t worry, I’ll interweave some photos as well so you don’t get bored.

1. Stand Up Toledo

In case you haven’t heard, I was one of five comedians voted to come back for a second time to perform at Stand Up Toledo! Stand Up Toledo is a showcase of 10 local comedians at the Maumee Indoor Theatre. I was one of the comedians back in 2012 and I had a great time! This year, I am hoping to improve and do even better than last year. Ideally, I would like to be able to perform all new material, but I think that there will be a couple repeats only because I have improved on a couple of the jokes that I have been telling for a while. If you buy your tickets from me, they are only $15, otherwise they are $20 at the door, which opens at 7pm on January 20th. If you’re in the area, this is definitely a show you won’t want to miss! Along the same vein, I want to try to get as much stage time as possible and start doing comedy outside of the Toledo/BG area.

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A painting I did as a Christmas present to my parents

2. Acting

I want to start acting way more than I am now. After all, it is what I want to make a career out of, but I’ve discovered that just having representation isn’t enough, at least not for me. I appreciate the fact that I am being submitted for work, but thus far I haven’t been getting so much as an audition. So, rather than just giving up or waiting, I am taking a more active approach to my acting career. Thus far, I have submitted myself to multiple websites, casting calls, and have sent out countless emails to local casting calls, such as student films and local filmmakers. I want to get my face and resume out there as much as possible in hopes that the right person will see it and decide I’m worth a shot. Until I get cast, I plan on doing as much local theatre and film as I can and build up my résumé, as well as networking where ever I can.

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My roommate’s parrot, Play-Doh, enjoying the snow

3. Working out

Here it is, the cliché New Year’s resolution: Working out. We’ve all thought it or said it out loud at some point in our lives, “I should really work out more.” But hear me out, this has a bit more weight to it, pun not intended but hopefully appreciated. I have fibromyalgia, so working out has always been a point of hesitation for me. I’m not particularly out of shape by any means, work keeps me pretty active, but I want to start building up more of a resistance to the pain caused by fibromyalgia. Ordinarily, working out is a painful experience for me because of fibromyalgia, but the theory is that the more you work out, the more resistance you build against that pain. I don’t know if that has any truth to it or not, but I think it’s worth a try. It really doesn’t have any negative drawbacks to it, aside from being in a bit more pain then usual. Plus, losing weight wouldn’t be the worst thing in the world

Sam wearing his reindeer costume.

Sam wearing his reindeer costume.

Naturally, I have other things that I am working on improving, but those are the top ones at the moment. I hope you enjoyed reading, or at least enjoyed the photos and I’ll be posting again soon. In the meantime, have a great start to 2013!

 

He who breaks a resolution is a weakling; He who makes one is a fool. – F.M. Knowles

 

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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

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

 

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