Zip lines and hide the banana

Easter holidays are upon us! Well, not everybody yet... I just get really early holidays from uni :) David and I took Tyler, my lovely little sister, to Barshaw park to feed the ducks (turned out to be swans) and have a good old run around and gulp down some fresh air!

The park was pretty awesome, they had a zipline which was such a good laugh, and loads of swings and twirly about things that we chased tyler around.

We went to see all the wee animals at the animal corner, guinea pigs and birds and even ostriches and a big bad ass pig! In paisley eh, who would have thought ;) I remember going to that park when I was younger and they had a little train that you could go on with your mum and dad and it kinda circled round the centre of the park. The track is still there, but the train is gone :( Maybe they bring it out again in the good weather. Summer is almost here, im totally loving the blue skies and that dry smell in the air! Of cut grass and pollen :) ha, thank goodness I dont have hayfever.

Had a lovely day with my two favourite people. We then went back to Jean and Alberts for some lunch and a cuppa, and played a game called hide the banana. Its pretty simple, all you do is hide a banana within view, not under anything or concealed away, and the first person to see it gets ten seconds to hide it. Tyler... didnt really get the point. Smiles all round none the less :)


The past 4 weeks of my elective study within the digital film and televsion course, led to our biggest art department challenge - Recreating scenes from the tv series DEADWOOD. Set in 1870 America, the whole theme and look of the show somes down to dirty whores and prospectors, saloon bars, guns, and mud! So not your average squeaky clean cowboy scenario. We had less than a week to turn a room in the academy into a double set, one for the Deadwood saloon bar, and one for the whore house. Elected as Art Director (cheese) it was my responsibility to make sure everything came together on time, and within budget. Time was really of the essence, so my first stop along with designer Kelli, was the BBC props store (above) which is full of the most random stuff available on this earth. We spent £200 on props to hire for our sets, all which were very fitting of the time period. We found, bought or sourced all the other props from in and around glasgow, and built and painted and wallpapered the whole thing in a matter of days. This is only 6 of us mind! Myself as art director, kelli as designer, ash as wardrobe mistress, rachel as set dresser and iain and scott as construction and scenic artists.

The run up to the shoot, there was so much stuff to do, but we tried to stay within our hierarchy and job titles as much as possible. But sometimes it was hard not to end up doing other wee odds and ends jobs and dabble your hand in someone elses work to give them some help. We are so used to working like this in theatre, so it was interesting to see the crossover in skills and job titles when it comes to film and tv, and the different sort of ettiquete you have to conform to. I did get to do a props make which didn't take long but was good fun :) a ye olde style letter and envelope and reporters notepad.

The ladies in the first area of the whore house. My camera doesnt really do the set much justice, but the atmospheric lighting set by the director of photography really added to the eerie and almost illegal setting of this charming brothel!

We were still setting up the saloon bar as the crew were filming the whorehouse. Halfway through filming week it was a quick turnover at night to strike the whore house set and fully erect and complete our saloon bar. We had wallpapered flats to cover three walls, a fully constructed bar and behind bar ensemble, and treads leading up to a banistered platform which later in the week one of the saloon ladies did a lovely singing and dancing routine on. We also had a door at the top of the platform, with the same red drape that hung in the door to the whorehouse. This is quite an ovbious fakery technique, to link one room to the next and make it look like that door led straight into the whorehouse. When the footage is cut together in the edit suite, you would never suspect the saloon and whorehouse were actually at opposite sides of a room from one another ;) you totally cant cheat it like that in theatre! With jamie at the foot of the stairs playing away on the piano, and everyone drinking fake whisky shots and cheering and hooting western american slur and cusses, it really did feel like the fictional town of Deadwood in the 1870's.

We had a guy in to mentor us called Stephen Mason. He' been assistant art director on taggart and some other scottish shows and films. He really pushed us out of our comfort zone, and sometimes enforced too much of the fear factor into us, rather than constructive and motivational chat! People got really upset and pissed off by him, and that made me worried and upset too because I didn't want our teams morale to dip :( It was really horrible at times, but I had a good few chats with him and he told me I took criticism well, and that I will go far! But basically, we pulled off something pretty bloody awesome considering the time and money and resources we had. And he really gave us loads of praise at the end of the week. But also said that the film industry is tough, and sometimes you need to leave your emotions at the door because its easy to get hurt and offended and its quite a selfish and greedy fucking industry! Ha, and why the hell do we want to work in it? Who knows. The past 4 weeks did make me miss my usual territory in theatre, but it was good to get my tools dirty in foreign lands :) And it was an almighty buzz to see the finished thing. We filled in feedback sheets with Steven, and apart from what angry/emotional/honest words were said by folk in the debrief session, the sheets were a good chance to just get how we felt onto paper. Hopefully that helps the set up of the elective for next year. More time, people, space, and money... would be lovely. And will definately benefit future filmys that do what we did. But at the end of the day, and after all our teams moans and tantrums and tears, and all the wee things that fell apart and got glued back together (oh, and that wall that fell ontop of me) we still managed to pull it off. Ooooh arrr :)

Photoshop Virgin

Ashamed that I am so bad at photoshop. Maybe I would be better if I actually had a copy I could practise on! In the mean time, here are some lovely fruit I prepared earlier.