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!!!

IMG_0536

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

 

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

Already Indie!

Hello dear readers!

Time for another update from yours truly and this time, I have stuff to report!

As far as the book goes, keep an eye out for a Kickstarter project that I am going to be putting up. More on that once I get that up and running, just a forewarning.

More importantly, I recently did some film work with a fantastic bunch of people for the web-series Already Indie!

Already Indie: Where you are a Film Maker! The web-series is designed to teach others about the basics of low-budget filmmaking. They go over things such as special effects makeup, making your own equipment, proper film techniques, etc. all for an affordable price. It’s incredibly informative and although I have done special effects makeup for a couple of years now, I still learned things that will definitely help me out in the future. In this clip, I am guest hosting the web show as well as doing the voiceover. I had a lot of fun, but looking over the clip a few times has told me that I still have a way to go about being in front of the camera. I am hoping to have more opportunities to act for these guys, but honestly, I am just happy to be a part of such a rewarding web-series. Even if I don’t act as much in future shows, they have already said that they would like me to help out with things such as writing and perhaps using one of my many skills to help them in future episodes. Tomorrow I head out with them again to work on some things and I am definitely looking forward to it!

One of the goals that they mentioned having was to showcase some of the local talent in this area and I couldn’t agree more. There is so much more talent around Northern Ohio than people realize. Growing up in a small town in the middle of Ohio has helped me to see why though. Despite their best efforts, schools don’t always have programs to aid students of different skills. For example, up until I was a freshman in high school, we didn’t have a drama club. Even when we got one, it was a struggle to keep it going, not for lack of interest, but for an initial lack of support from the school itself. Gradually, this changed over time as they began to see a need for it and now we have a wonderful program going that I can only hope will continue to grow. Unfortunately, in other schools this is not always the case. So much talent is wasted because the focus is put on one or two things (sports and academics, that was the school I grew up in). I am hoping that this web-series will not only create interest to do these sort of things, but also create an awareness that there is ALWAYS more talent around then what meets the eye. It just needs the chance to come out and for people to try to see if they can do it, rather than assuming that it’s all too expensive or that they will fail.

Aside from that, I’ve finally started hearing back about auditions and possible jobs in the film industry! It is only a matter of time before I start getting the opportunity to go out and start actively applying for acting positions and I couldn’t be more excited. Nor could it have come at a better time, especially with school loan payments being right around the corner. However, I am trying to keep a realistic mindset about things: I will get turned down. That is a given, but I will not always get turned down. So the goal is to stay positive, but to also realize that this is a rough industry and I’m not always going to be lucky. Despite all of this, this is what I want to do with my life, uncertainty and all. I would not have gone into this if I didn’t think I could succeed on some level or another. I won’t lie, I’m terrified about having to make payments and always being unsure of where I will find work, but I’m in way too far to turn around and crawl back out. I don’t want to do that either; I have never once doubted that this was what I was meant to be. Fear is merely a part of being alive and I’ve had enough of it in my life to know that I can not only handle it, but often times overcome it in ways I never thought possible. So here’s hoping for the best and should I fail, there’s always going to be other jobs to fall back on and I already know that I can fold myself into a box.

A photo of me during a scare-actor/haunted house kind of gig. The box is two feet deep, no joke!

“Courage is resistance to fear, mastery of fear, not absence of fear.” – Mark Twain

Short Update

Hello again,

Alas, Murder in the Cathedral has ended. Though the crowds for each show were somewhat small, the quality of them could not be beat! Honestly, despite the size, I preferred this crowd to many others that I performed in front of, so I definitely considered the show a success. Plus it is always fun to be in shows with friends. I do believe that I will miss the show, but I am ready to move on with other parts of my life and perhaps break away from the Bowling Green scene of things.

Rocking the Rosie the Riveter look while backstage for our final performance

I have already made some plans to do some more comedy now that I have more evenings free. For starters, I will be MCing BG’s Professional Comedy Night this coming Tuesday. Though I have done this a couple of times before, I am a little nervous as I feel somewhat out of practice. Work has made it difficult for me to get stage time, but I am confident that the nervousness will subside rather quickly. As they say, “this isn’t my first rodeo.” Additionally, the DVD for Stand Up Toledo is almost ready to be released! They have already released a few stills from the DVD as teasers (see photo below). The people in charge are hoping to do a public screening of the DVD some time soon, although I won’t lie: I don’t always like seeing myself on camera. Not so much performing, like something with a script, but watching myself perform my own material or just “be myself” always feels awkward. However, this is something I will have to get used to quickly as I begin to do more and more performances for the camera.

Stand Up Toledo DVD still

Another update is that I may have yet another outlet for selling my books! Horizon Youth Theatre has offered me an opportunity to work with them on promoting my book at some of their shows… now I just have to get a hold of some books to sell/promote. So watch for a Kickstarter update! I really want to get this off the ground as I feel that this book is important for any kid who is interested in technical/backstage theatre (and believe me, I have met a few that are!).

That’s all for now, just a short update on the direction in which things are headed for me. As I tell some of the kids I work with before they head out to school: Have a good day! Make good choices, do good things!

“If you’re going to be crazy, you have to get paid for it or else you’re going to be locked up.” – Hunter S. Thompson