No Wrist for the Wicked!

Hey Guys,

   And hello to my latest follower, Samantha Eynon. She makes the cutest hand-made old fashioned toys, often out of paper, and she's a good illustrator too. So check out her work!

   It's been a very exciting time down my end. There's been a couple of great bits of news to hit me, one of these being the fact that I am now (finally) on IMDB!

   Although I was pipped to the post by six other Sophie Blacks (and another popped up STRAIGHT after me), I am still delighted to be on there. Being on IMDB has been one of my life-goals, and it's finally been achieved thanks to Light Films and their decision to hire me last year! Plus Se7en was an amazing film - and there were seven deadly sins - so I'm happy to be Sophie Black VII (particularly if you say it in a Len Goodman voice). I will now strive to be the biggest Sophie Black on IMDB!

   But the main thing that happened recently was the end of the Ashes Crowdfunder campaign. I've finished riding the emotional rollercoaster with most of my whits in tact, and - in spite of technical problems with the website that were beyond my control - we have certainly got some money out of it. However, I lowered the total midway through the campaign from £1,500 to £800 to make sure that we got something out of it (with Crowdfunder, if you don't reach your target, you don't get any money at all). People assumed, then, that when we hit £800, we had enough to make the film. And I was thinking, nooooo...

    This isn't to say I'm not extremely grateful to everyone who donated. You will all be forever in my debt, and I will get some presents sent to you after the film is made. Because of you, I was finally able to change out of my Ashes campaign shirt after nearly three weeks, and lots of messy sauce! 

   So we have enough to start the film (hurrah) but not enough to finish it. Particularly when you consider the fact that, after cuts, our total from Crowdunder was closer to £700. If anyone still wants to donate to the project then you can do so by getting in touch with me, and I will get a paypal button on here as soon as I figure out how. For now, I'm having to figure out where to use the money we have raised, until the 9th when producer Chrissa Wadlow (nee Maund) joins our team.

   According to Wasteland director Tom Wadlow, being a filmmaker means having to be prepared to 'kill your babies'. Not literally, thank god, as his baby is gorgeous. Rather, you have to be prepared to make major changes to a script, particularly when money is involved. And the first thing I thought might be able to 'go' was the scene where the floor is covered in 'a sea of ornamental hands'. This would be visually inspiring, and a great (albeit obvious) metaphor, but it's not vital to the script. Certainly not compared to many other things which we also have to pay for.

Concept art from scene four in Ashes, where the floor would be covered in a 'sea of hands'.

    I had already sourced a few hands, as you can see in the picture below. A couple of these were borrowed, and Production Designer Gina had managed to borrow another one. The smaller hand was a bit of a 'pity buy' - it is probably too small to use for the shots I had in mind (see my latest video diary for more info on that) but, at around £2, it didn't hurt to give it a home!

   The one larger hand I did buy gave me an idea of the cost. Altogether, including postage, it cost almost £5.00. Individually this isn't bad, but when we need 50 - 100 hands to cover a floor space (depending on which lens is used for our wide shot), you're looking at serious amounts of money for one gratuitous piece of set dressing!

 Four of the hands collected for the 'hands' scene in Ashes, which may have to be cut.

    Just when I prepared to cut the scene completely, my mother came up with an interesting idea. She loves anything crafty so the prospect of making hands seemed like a great option, particularly in place of having no hands at all. So the two of us went out and bought a 'test bucket' of plaster of paris, and set about moulding our own hands:

Our first attempt at Plaster of Paris hands

      The hands ended up looking pretty good, so once we'd figured out the perfect plaster-to-water mix (and once we'd stopped laughing at fat palms and broken plaster fingers), we were able to figure out how much it would cost us. One bucket of Plaster of Paris cost us £3 - although it might be cheaper elsewhere - and, with the right mix, you can get three hands out of this. The moulds were rubber gloves bought from Wilkos, around 50p for a pack of four, and we can re-use these for every hand we make, at no extra cost.

   So it's certainly much, much cheaper than buying hands online. The only downside is that it is time consuming, although that time is very enjoyable. The cost of the hands is still not as important as things such as food or travel, either. So we made a second batch of hands, and we'll leave it at that for now, perhaps coming back to it when we can. 

The hands drying on the washing line in their 'moulds'. God knows what the neighbours thought!
     So, where do we go next? Well, apart from scheduling and buying set-dressing, the main thing now is promotion, particularly if it can get us more money for the film. Luckily the Crowdfunder campaign itself gave us some good publicity. It pushed the viewing figures for the trailer up to 700 on Youtube alone, and we had two higher-profile supporters. Clothes on Film (voted the top blog of its kind by channel 4) sponsored us financially, and the gods at Raindance gave the following tweet:

    You can imagine my happy reaction when I saw that...!

    In terms of the media, this is probably a good time for us to make Ashes. I hope that it will succeed on the merit of its visuals, but the subject - although taboo - is turning out to be its biggest marketing tool. The recent acclaim of Shame has filled me with hope (and provided a good source of inspiration to our lead actor, Adam Lannon) and the BBC has recently released a new advertising campaign about rape amongst young couples. Following on from this, they also broadcast a short documentary called 'I Never Said Yes'. This was presented by a woman called Pips Taylor, who I quickly found on Twitter and sent her a link to the trailer. Her endorsement certainly wasn't on parr with Raindance's, but she did reply:

    I'll let you know if anything else comes from this.

   We now have our shoot days, too. Originally we were going to shoot on the 5th and 6th of April but, due to crew availability, we are now to film on the 28th and 29th of April, with the rehearsal/set dressing day on the 27th. Just under a month to go and a fair bit to sort out, but it's still exciting!

   The only down side now is that these new shoot dates fall only TWO DAYS after the end of Stop/Eject. Although I think I can handle the stress of a quick turn around - particularly if we prepare everything in advance - it does mean I won't have time to apply for the BBC Costume Trainee Scheme again this year. That sucks a lot but I think the sacrifice will be worth making, and luckily these chances do come every year.

   Speaking of Stop/Eject, that's still well into Pre-Production too. Director Neil Oseman came down this week to give a talk at 5Lamps Films (who also screened the Ashes teaser trailer), and we raised a bit more towards the budget that night. While he was down, we also had the most amazing location recce around the Peak District, in the sunshine, with my Grandad (and his old stories) as our chauffer. It was an enjoyable day and also a productive one because we nailed all of our locations, some of which were literally handed to us on a plate.

Stop/Eject director Neil Oseman on a location recce in the beautiful Willesley, near Matlock.

       Inspired by our new locations, and by what I believe will be the perfect room for our characters, I did an updated piece of Concept Art for 'Dan and Kate's Living Room'. Doing concept art on photoshop, like here, is not always an option - but it certainly makes things easier and quicker when it is!

My new concept art for 'Dan and Kate's Living Room' - Stop/Eject 2012
    So, that's you pretty much up to date, apart from the news that my Costume Advert will be finished and online VERY SOON. I was able to sit-in while it was edited yesterday, and it's looking stunning. If you can't wait for a taster, then some screengrabs from the raw footage are on the Triskelle Pictures Facebook Page now.

The AMAZING Halo Haynes in Chris Newman's raw footage screengrabs from the upcoming Costume Advert.

   Right, now I need to go clean out some animals before getting back to work. I promise to blog again soon!

 Sophie x


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