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The Studio Build - Days 3-5, Accidents, Interruptions and Shakespeare

Told you I was tempting fate on Wednesday by suggesting I'd get two posts done Thursday... It's now Friday and I haven't managed one! So, let's move right along and combine the three days in one...

 Day 3

Day 3 was always going to be a half day, because I had work to do for the IT role in the afternoon. We also had to do several things in the evening, so no chance of catching up then either.

After doing a lot of clearing up, I hung the blinds, put up the curtain poles ready for the curtains to go on when we found them; they were in the props box somewhere, but given how many props there were from years of being a hoarders, that was about as easy as searching for the source of the Nile...

Started putting together the sofa bed (which will double as a prop for the boudoir and seating for visitors), so first stage is to open the box. I always have a Swiss Army Knife on my belt with the blades honed to Death's scythe sharpness, so undoing boxes with a bit of sticky tape is dead easy. You can see where this is going, can't you? Sure enough, I have my left hand the wrong side of the cut when the knife slips and gouges a large slice out of my thumb, which starts bleeding profusely over the studio floor I've just cleaned!

At this point I note an omission in the studio... I've got no First Aid kit. There is one in the car, so pressing the wound edges together and with some tissue around it to reduce the bleeding (I was taking asprin all weekend for a painful shoulder, so it's not going to clot any time soon), I get out to the car. Can't hold the wound together and open the boot, so hold my arm out to let the blood drip off the damn thing while I do so.

Ever tried binding a wound with a sterile dressing on yourself? It's not easy! I get it into some semblance of order (see image), and get back to work - more carefully!

Julie arrives having seen her friend off, and we set about doing some more work helping her to learn the lights. She's quite excited by some of the creative possibilities and shoots lots of images of me under various lighting effects before I have to zoom off.

Day 4 - tidy, fix and finish

Assembled sofa, and part of boudoir area flooring

We've got some vinyl flooring to start laying out the boudoir area, and the sofa bed is now completed. We need some more bits and fabrics, and in particular something to get the boudoir set so you can shoot from multiple angles; the black skirting even if we cut the vinyl floor to it just isn't going to work. We decide a wallpaper type pattern on it, possibly a printed vinyl might work.

Fixing the Council-installed blinds has helped, but even with them drawn we still have too much light. It doesn't affect the shots - the flash overpowers it easily, but it makes setting up harder because you can't see the modelling light well. Julie has some blackout material that might work, which we try out, but it needs fixing and we need more of it. Problem for next week now, because we can't change it at this point.

The other, less pressing problem, is the window to the changing room; the view through it isn't right. We can leave this for now and just use the curtains closed, but it needs something done later. Julie and I spend quite a time getting various bits and then tidying up ready for the first customer at 11AM tomorrow.


Day 5

 A new day; I have a shedload of IT work to do before the customer, and finish that with 30 minutes to spare. Customer phones me, they are lost, and finally arrive just about on time but quite flustered. The young lady, Lorien, needs acting portfolio shots. Her mother notes that she's not comfortable in front of a lens when not in character; a common thing in actors I've found - many are shy offstage. So, we try and put her at her ease - fortunately, she's got a good sense of humour and we try a number of things to help her relax; including running through out views of various Shakespeare plays, doing Rosalind's epilogue from As You Like It, and arguing about which comedy is the best. It takes a full hour but we eventually get a good few usable shots. I'm not completely happy with the setup, we have a few technical issues on the way which I would have preferred not to have, but we end up with shots suitable for her needs, if not completely satisfying me :-( The one below wasn't the final one chosen which is more neutral (brief from agency was no makeup, minimal retouch and neutral expression), but I liked this one better.

Lorien, with a slight smile

Julie and I spent the afternoon finalising sets and doing some test shots of the boudoir. Here's the "American Beauty" light test as Julie called it...

Light and set test

Getting there...

Next week we will start advertising and do some test shoots with models to see how things shake down. Volunteers welcome!