Studio Monday – Dry Run

My Studio Monday will start two weeks from now and I thought it would be nice to do a dry run today. I cleaned up the studio, and started working on my Orpheus film project. Who would have guessed?

I spent the whole afternoon in the basement and worked on a set, the entry cave to the underworld. I’ve got two kind of sets, the “real world” stages, where everything is three-dimensional, and the Underworld also known as The Land of the Death, that will be silhouette-like. The cave is one of the real world stages, and according to that I design it similar to Orpheus’ house or the cemetery.

Today I first ripped off some of the old prop pieces. I’ve already worked on this set in December but then I got stuck somewhere in the process. – I found it helpful to start again from scratch, though I re-used some of the old parts as well. I painted the ground plate with a first layer of acrylics, and did the same with the surrounding cave walls. I chose the colors close to those I’ve collected on the initial mood board.

Underworld Set Building 1.

Next I glued the walls to the floor, and added the stairs I made a few weeks ago. At this point it already looked like a set… But because every cave in my inner-head library has huge rocks close to its walls, I also modeled some rocks from paper: I crumpled the paper up and wrapped it with masking tape. I placed the stones into the scenery, and hot-glued them down. Finally I began covering them all with a layer of paper mâché.

Underworld Set Building 2.

The first rock is drying while I’m writing this, and I look forward to continue. Up to now it went much better than I thought, and I feel relieved and happy. Ha!

I still have some problems to solve: I need an idea for the water of the River Styx which should be made of paper and be also animatable. At least it should look like paper. I don’t have a clue right now, but perhaps you might have a suggestion? I love to read your ideas in the comments!

21. February 2011 by Jessica
Categories: Stuff | Tags: , | 7 comments

Comments (7)

  1. Hmmm … Crazy idea maybe … but in details of the water, you could use blotting paper nd animate the filling with water as well as the drying. This would in fact limit the possible scenes, but maybe a cool effect.

  2. Fantastic progress, Jessica!

    As it happens, I do have a suggestion for paper-looking water that you can animate…

    Have you thought of cutting asymmetrical wavy long lengths of translucent paper (perhaps even sandwich paper you’ve used to great effect already) and secure them at each end, slightly overlapped, so that they look like watery texture that can be ruffled frame by frame and/or pulled along just under the set? You could even slip puppets in between the strips to convey characters being in the water.

  3. Nils, I love the idea, but the water has to be easily replaced by the silhouette water when both Charon and Oprheus enter the “deep” Underworld, and the sets blend into each other.

    That’s why I like your idea better, Shelley. – I already used a similar technique in [Ein anderer Traum]( (see around 2:00). I have to test this if it works here…

    Thank you both for your ideas!

  4. Boooh for better liking other person’s ideas … :)

  5. Yes! Like that! Would make for obvious water silhouette although, I wasn’t imagining the curved wave shape, something softer, just slight curves in multiple layers might look watery and translucent at the same time.

  6. the set looks really nice – and I like the ‘organic’ look of the rocks very much.

    About the water: I (personally) would ask myself, which way the water should move – like: more gently floating or a broad stream or a more stagnatn water.
    Where it comes in mind for me: how much does actually vividly move in the after-world down below… styx is a river, but then, wouldn’t it be interesting and adding something to the mood, if it moves … odd ?

    My ideas about the water. No actual solutions, sorry. But – as always – I’m quite curious about with what you might come forth this time. All the best

  7. That’s what I thought, Shelley. But Michael is right, too: I have to be clear about how the water will move, and right now, I’m not… Some more thinking is needed here, and propably some testing as well… But thank you all!