Looking Ahead

It’s Wednesday! First, the latest video:

(Watch it on YouTube if you like.)

I shortened the stanchions (they’re now 16", like you might find in an art museum), cleaned up their arrangement (symmetry!), and added cables between them. I also touched up the flats and continued work on the front gates. I hoped to avoid walls but now I think I need them. They’ll just be black floor-to-ceiling curtains. I also have to add backdrops to each scene, and the whole thing needs more grave markers. That character at the very beginning and very end is still very tentative.

I haven’t done much since last week in terms of deliverables, but I’ve done a whole lot more prep. I now have all the supplies I need to produce three-dimensional characters for the scale models, to get an even better idea of sight lines and footprints; and I’m also ready to start sculpting the full-scale characters! I’ll start with the skeletons, then move on to the ghosts, then the cats and tombstones, and by the time they’re all done I should know what I’m doing with the first scene and can get to work on that figure as well. I’m planning to sculpt the final characters out of papier-mâché, coated with monster mud for strength, a consistent surface, and fireproofing. If I’m unlucky and monster mud doesn’t get me the result I’m looking for, I’ll go commercial with Foam Coat. I’ll be building the characters in disconnected pieces while I decide how I want to pose and rig them.

I’m optimistically aiming to have the full-size characters finished enough to rig by the end of June. (That’s five weeks.) I plan to have a commitment and deposit on a space by the end of July. At that point I’ll know exactly what my floor plan will be, and I can adjust the scale model to suit reality. I’m hiring friends to paint the backdrops, characters, and props, so at that point I can focus on the tech (sound, lights, and animatronics). Somebody has to make those stanchions, too—they’re way too expensive to purchase—but that should only take a day or two if I can get my hands on some power tools.

We should be all ready to go by mid-August, which is cutting it close. Not for Halloween (which is, you’ll remember, in October), but…I mentioned December in the last update. In December we’re doing this all over again! Another walk-through, vaguely Winter-themed. I’m picturing an ice castle and penguins right now, but we’ll see.

A lot of the stuff we’re doing for October will be reused for December: the lights, speakers, stanchions, and curtains don’t change. We’ll need new props and characters, but I’m hoping to optimize the Winter concept for shorter fabrication time (less sculpting, more scenery). After that, there are two more narrative productions in April and July 2017, and then we’re back to October, and we start all over again. That’s the dream.

Back to work! Next week I’ll have more photos and videos: the scale characters will be sculpted and painted, and I’ll have a big pile of cardboard bones littering the floor of my poor apartment.

One more thing: I said “we” a lot in this update. I’m still figuring out who is in that “we,” and I want part of it to be you! Email me and let’s talk about how you can get involved.

See you next week!