It feels good to get stuff done

Hello again blog readers!

So I feel like I’ve managed to make some good progress over the last 2 1/2 weeks, even though I wish I had gotten more done by this point (isn’t that always the case though). Despite being a little behind where I’d like to be, I do feel like I’ve been good at putting in the hours and making progress with each work session. Last week was my first week on the schedule I came up with for the summer months. Getting the schedule itself done was actually the first thing on my to do list. I’ve planned out what I hope to accomplish up through the end of August, aiming to complete all the shots for each individual set in about a 4 week time period. Based on the number of sets I have, that should get the film completed in time for spring screenings and graduation.

My breakdown for June tasks is as follows:

6/1 – 6/7: come up with schedule, finish building and assembling the large stage section, finish one set of clothes for Randy, and design the blueprint for set #3

6/8 – 6/14: (start of 4 week time period) build set #3, finish one set of shoes for Randy, design and build the heads needed for all shots that take place on set #3 (shots 2-1, 2-2, 2-3, 2-5, and 2-7)

6/15 -6/21: assemble finished puppet, shoot shot 2-1

6/22 – 6/28: shot shot 2-2, shoot shot 2-3

6/29 – 7/5: shot shot 2-5, shoot shot 2-7, design moving camera rig (end of 4 week period for set #3)

A side note to myself in this time period is that I also want to get the finalized version of my animatic finished. I put it aside for the moment so I could focus on the stage, set, and puppet building tasks I would need to make sure I could start shooting this month. I plan to keep working on it in between the other elements of my schedule so that I will have it available to more clearly plan the rest of my shots and the schedule.

So at the moment I’m in the middle of the second week on the schedule. Last week I got through almost all of the tasks I had set for myself. The schedule is done through August, as you can see from the June section above. I also managed to get the final holes drilled and the stage assembled on Monday of that first week and got that out of the way.

Photo Jun 04, 2 14 29 AM

Here’s the finished joint for the lower leg segments. I went out and got some L-brackets to give added support and to keep the legs from wiggling at the joints.

Photo Jun 04, 2 15 16 AM

This is the upper section of the lower leg piece, connected to one of the extension pieces with bolts and nuts. The lower legs alone give me a stage height of roughly 3 feet, and the extensions allow me to increase that height by another foot and a half (and the heights in between) if needed. For my first set of shots I only extended the height slightly so that the platform comes up to my mid-torso so I won’t have to bend over when I’m manipulating the puppets.

Photo Jun 04, 6 04 38 AM

This is a view from the underside of the stage so you can better see how the extension pieces and the top platform section are connected.

Photo Jun 04, 6 11 09 AM

And wah-lah! My stage is ready to go.

I spent most of the rest of the week (about 15 hours) working on the patterns for the final set of clothing for Randy, my main character. Unfortunately I didn’t manage to finish that portion of my work from last week – so I’ve been continuing on it this week, putting in an extra hour here or there once I’ve completed the set number of hours I’ve given myself for each day. I feel like I’m quite close to being ready to take the patterns and move on to working with the final fabrics that I bought for Randy. I just need to make a few small adjustments to various parts. Mostly tweaking the waistline of the jeans, and adjusting how the hood is attached and how it looks with the sweatshirt design.

Photo Jun 13, 11 55 23 AM

A set of pattern pieces from a recent clothing test.

Photo Jun 13, 11 56 37 AM

Photo Jun 13, 11 57 00 AM (HDR)

Photo Jun 13, 11 57 35 AM

A couple of views of the test clothing having been placed on the puppet to judge the fit.

So as you can see, the clothing is close to what I’m looking for, and I’m hoping to be able to catch up on that part of my work at the tail end of this week once I get my hours for the set building done.

Here are the sketch version and the finalized version of the set #3 blueprints (I use that term loosely) that I put together at the end of last week. Set #3 is part of the second scene where Randy has just dashed back outside his house and is figuring out how far away the nearest mailbox is and how close by the mail truck is as well. Randy and his parents live in a shared house where the other section is lived in by an elderly aunt of his father’s. (Yes, I have put way too much thought into all of this).

set 3 blueprint001

set 3 blueprint 2

So far, actual work on the construction has been a little slow. Some of the supplies I needed, I didn’t get until later than I thought I would. Some still haven’t shown up by mail and I likely won’t get until tomorrow – and that’s assuming they actually get delivered to my door, and not just dropped at the apartment office which often adds a day to the shipping time.

I got started on what I could. I measured and cut out the homesote base which includes the sidewalk and yard section of the set design as well as cutting the pieces I’d need for the risers on the front steps.

Photo Jun 11, 2 04 15 AM (HDR)

Photo Jun 13, 11 06 09 AM

A lot of my time recently has been spent cutting the wooden pieces to make the framework for the house and porch sections. This is a task that has made me greatly miss the well stocked prop shop back at RIT and all the lovely power tools, specifically the ones with ‘saw’ in their names. I have already spent a few hours on the cutting wood portion of building this set and know that I have at least several more, as I turn this:

Photo Jun 13, 11 06 26 AM

Into this:

Photo Jun 13, 11 06 44 AM

using only this:

Photo Jun 13, 11 07 15 AM

And, as much as I do love my awesome Japanese hand saw, it it not quick work to be done by hand. On the plus side, once I do get those pieces cut, not only should the rest of the set construction move along at a faster pace, but I will also be able to reuse and re-purpose those framework sections for other sets in the future – cutting down on those construction times. Yay for reusing materials!

So that’s mostly where I am right now. I still have most of my day’s work ahead of me so I’m going to leave off the blogging for the time being. I’ve also decided to shift the work on the puppet shoes and replacement head into next week of the schedule with the assembly part of the works, partially because of time constraints, but also because some of the supplies I need for those tasks are in the shipment I’m not expecting to get until tomorrow.  Wish me luck! Hopefully my next post will have some awesome set pictures in it. Til next time!

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