Today, I went over to Sarahs house to finalize the tree costume to fit Rachel. Rachel was patient enough for me to stitch her into the costume. I have always paid an interest to creating my  own garments so I was given the task of sewing everything up. This took me a lot of time, effort and energy because I have never worked with latex before. With it being 6 coats thick, it would be very hard to use my sewing machine on it because I did not want to damage it. I thought hand stitching the costume would be better, however it did take me a long time to do.

The costume had to be finished today because we were shooting tomorrow. I found myself working better because I felt under pressure. The costume came out really well surprisingly. I was throughly impressed by the final outcome.

Today, we arranged to meet Lewis again for a costume fitting. The costume looked perfect and the jeans fitted which was my only worry about the costume. This was the final meeting before the shoot so we had to make sure everything was clear, and they knew the plans of where we were going to meet them and what time etc.

It has been decided, after being let down over and over again. We decided it would be best for us to create the tree costume ourselves like we intended to. We got help through Nicola who has a contact – Jonny Godson who creates prosthetics for his career. His advice was to use liquid latex to make a bodice, and to get the tree like effect, we could paint the latex over a real tree to get the barky grainy feel that we needed. This also allows us to sew it properly to fit round out tree.

During the same day, I used http://www.homecrafts.co.uk/ to purchase the following:-

I ordered it for next day delivery to ensure that we could begin work as soon as possible, however there was a mix up with the orders so they came pretty late. When it did come, me and Sarah did some research on how to use liquid latex as neither of us had experience before. I also got in contact with the council because we were not sure if we had to gain permission to cover a tree in latex. They could not quite understand the concept so I manage to confuse them into saying yes. However, with the weather being so bad lately, it was miserable, cold and rainy which we found was bad conditions for latex as it needed time to dry. We decided to try a patch on my wall to see how long it would dry with a hairdryer. It dried in seconds so we mixed the rest of the materials and began our work.

6 layers of liquid latex after, we were left with the end product. This still needs to be covered in some form of powder in order to give it a grainy matted effect.

I also filmed the whole process on camera, I compressed the full 4 hours into a short little clip to show the process.

We had to carry on pushing ourselves to get most of the costume materials completed in time for our actress to come over the day before out first shoot. It was a very tiring process and I still had to complete the head piece and a mask.  I based my inspiration on this iconic picture of Kate Bush.

I used Sarahs head as a stand, and I back combed the wig that we bought in order to give it a dirty lived in matty effect. It took a long time to back comb it because it was plasticy fiber so it didn’t take hair products as well as human hair. Sarah did not seem too impressed to be fair.

Overall it is starting to come along now, I still need to make a mask out of latex and plastic leaves but I will do it later.

Today has been tiring and frustrating. The smell of latex has filled my head –  I still have a giant piece of latex stuck to my wall that hopefully will peel off.

With Kimberly unable to make the shooting dates, we have gone through many ideas in order to find a solution.  Before even contemplating auditions, I suggested a few people that we know that would be perfect for the part. Amy Sarr and Rachel Woodward. However we thought it would be best to follow the more professional route and find actors the way industry professionals do in order to get maximum experience.

We decided to revert back to the original idea, because we have been struggling to find an actress using casting sites and the actresses that did come for the audition were not sufficient enough to carry of the role. Sarah got in contact with her sister Rachel who has experience in acting as she is part of a drama group, and she has agreed to come over for the weekend that we are shooting.

It will be a tight schedule because I will have to make a costume and keep her up to date with the whole plan. It would be useful as well if we would be able to fit in a rehearsal as well as a meet and greet between her and the EGO performance group.

Today we spent what felt like forever in Primark so we could buy Nathans costume. We picked Primark because we did not want to over spend on budget and also we were going to cut up some of the clothes anyways so we thought it would be best that we got lower priced clothing.

We decided on a blue top, dark jeans, grey canvas shoes and a green satchel. I think the outfit as a whole is very neutral but boyish which is what we were aiming for. Everything cost just under £30 which is a bargain! We also couldn’t find the right size jeans so we thought ahead and bought high top shoes just encase the jeans were too short for him.

Overall a good day, it feels like we are finally getting somewhere. All we need to do really is find an actress, make a costume, and then we will be ready to shoot!

It has been a while since I first met Corinne and Lewis from the EGO theratrical preformance company. We thought it would be best to arrange another meeting so Sarah could be introduced to them too. The meeting lasted longer than the first time as they weren’t as busy when I first met them.

The meetings main aims for today were to answer any questions or any doubts, I think we successfully accomplished this task. We also asked Lewis for his clothes measurements so we could get his costume as soon as possible for the shoot.

After Fridays auditions, me and Sarah both knew who we would definitely want for our final tree creature. Sarah got in contact with her pretty much straight away to inform her about her successful application. Sadly she replied with the following:

Unfortunately, I have a schedule conflict with your proposed shooting schedule. I have been cast in a London stage production that begins rehearsals on the 4th for 5 sundays and offers me both the opportunity of garnering a London agent and also is being adjudicated for further production. I’m really sorry as I was truly unaware of the conflict when last we spoke. I’d be keen to do your project but I recognize what a hassle re arranging would propose.

Sincerely, Kimberly

Once reading this, I felt absolutely disappointed. I do understand that it was a better opportunity for herself, however I felt that it was unprofessional to agree on our verbal agreement and then pull out. Our shooting date is coming up quick and all we needed was an actress for our final piece but to no prevail we are back to square one. I personally think that we could easily rearrange by swapping the 2 dates over, however there could be a chance that we can over run the shoot. Also with her hectic schedule, I doubt she would be able to make it back and forth for costume fittings and rehearsals.

We have considered the other auditionees but we both know that they really arent fit for our production. We have decided to carry on searching for our Human Tree via casting sites. A lot of people are helping us by offering contacts that they think fit our tree.

Time is of the essence – we need to work harder.

I have completed the second storyboard! this time following the shot list. I think it flows really well and now that Ive done it, it has helped me and Sarah to visualize our project better!

We’ve been unable to get a response from Leicester College, and other prosthetics companies are far too expensive.  We talked to Nic who has a contact who may be able to help with prosthetics.  I will arrange a meeting with him, but with only two weeks left, it looks like we shall have to make the costume ourselves with help from the fashion student.

Today consisted of waiting around, highs, lows and awkward moments. Our first auditonee was due at 2.15pm, me and Sarah thought it would be wise to turn up earlier in order to prepare ourselves, set up a camera to capture the auditions and reflect upon at how far we have come and how it finally felt like we were getting somewhere.

We thought we would have plenty of time today, however a meeting for the final degree show filled up most of our time so in the time following up, I personally felt rushed and flustered. With time being short, a sandwich in hand, we bumped into Phil who was kind enough to give us some direction and tips in regards to the auditions.

Some of the main advice he gave us was to

  • Exchange information about ourselves as well as pay an interest towards them
  • Ask them to perform the same task in a different manner – if theres no difference, they’re no good.
  • Be confident, and know the characters well
  • Take your time  so it won’t make them feel like they wasted their time
  • don’t reveal any casting information

Philips advice made me less nervous as I felt more prepared than I was, I had already written a few guidelines in a book to follow so I would try my best to not be sidetracked, and Sarah had printed paperwork so I knew who was coming, at what time and some information about them.

Our first actress came earlier than expected so we had to quickly compose ourselves from the mundane waiting around that seemed like forever. I found that the first audition process was similar to pulling a plaster off – Quick and painful. I think what made it so awkward was our inexperience, and her lack of talent and understanding. There were times when she couldn’t follow instructions at all. Upon reflection, it sunk in – what if they were all at that level?

Our second auditionee was much better, we tried a different approach and she understood what we wanted from her pretty much immediately. It was fascinating to see such a range in a professional actor that it was hard not to compliment her. She was also the right stature for our character, and she was also very keen on the part.

However, when something good happens, there always seems to be something that happens to knock us out of our flow. Our final actress was really good also until she realized she came all the way from Nottingham just to remember she would not be able to make the shooting dates. She started ranting, f-ing and bleeping at us, I honestly did not know how to respond to it so I thought the best way was to reassure her.

Overall, I think the audition process went well despite the lack of auditionees. I felt that as the day went by, I improved my technique and I felt I gained a lot of practice when it came to directing. This will help towards the shoot as I am the designated director. Me and Sarah have decided which actress we would like so Sarah will hopefully contact everyone soon to tell them whether they made it or not.

Oh and heres our set up:-