N7 COSPLAY BUILD – GAUNTLETS

Mass Effect N7 Armour build – Gauntlets

I have finally done it. I have finally finished…one piece of my armour. Raise your hands and shout hallelujah!
I didn’t screw it up…well that’s a lie, I screwed up a little, but still, I actually managed to make something, look like the something it’s supposed to look like. Whoop Whoop!

‘Clears throat. Composes self’

Right…

Celebrations out of the way, I want to show the gauntlets I made for my N7 armour. Which, in my opinion, were the easiest thing to make and paint. Below are some pictures of the gauntlets all shiny and new, painted with red and white acrylic paint.

Unfortunately in my haste to finish my gauntlets, I neglected to take pictures before I painted them, but just imagine them grey and…foamy.

ArmsThe process of painting is a long laborious one, but it pays off in the end as the foam looks shiny and holds a metallic tint, without you spending money on a metallizer.

Firstly, cover the foam in two coats of PVA and water, waiting for them to completely dry before painting over them. Add a thin sheen of Plasti-dip and wait another four hours for the foam to completely dry.

Next, spray paint the entire piece with a silver spray paint, (I just use fast dry project enamel.)

Lastly, spray paint over the silver, whatever colour you want your armour to be, the silver undercoating leaves a metallic shine under the second layer and even aids to adding battle damage such as scuffs and weathering.

Here are my finished gauntlets with battle damage. To make the cracks, simply cut the foam with a crafting knife then heat the area

Arms damagedwith a heat gun, the foam will expand from the head and open up, leaving a gash in the foam. Simply paint the inside of the cracks silver, rub in the paint with your finger and leave to dry.

If you wish to create scuffs, get a bit of masking tape, stick it on to the place you want to create a scuff and rip it off. The masking tape will rip away the second layer slightly, leaving specks of silver underneath.

This is only one way of creating scuffs and battle marks.

N7 BUILD – Greaves

Building the Greaves – First try (Still need to be painted) 

Boots2

I spent most of the day yesterday building the greaves for my N7 armour and I have to say, I am pretty happy with how it turned out. The picture on the left is the unpainted base for the N7 greaves, made with a Nike shoe spray painted black, and a shin pad.

I did not use any templates for the foam, so I was expecting the greaves to be a disaster, but I am pretty happy with them. The next stage is to paint them red and add battle damage. Boots 1

The engraved lines were created by cutting the foam with a very sharp knife, then heating the foam so it expands.

This is what they look like when I put them on. As you can see they still need to be painted and the laces need to be changed. When it comes to finishing them, I shall be painting them red and black. Attempting to add battle damage and weathering.

Wish me luck!

N7 Armour build update!

Building the weapon

Having to put the armour build on hold until I get paid, I have decided to build a weapon to go with my armour. I did not have enough foam to build a weapon, so I decided I would create my own shotgun with a Mass Effect look and feel using a water-gun!

I started out thinking it was going to be a disaster, but it actually turned out looking pretty good. (I think)

I used the M-300 Claymore as a template for my own weapon build, then tried to find a water-gun that looked similar in shape to the weapon shown below.

This is the M-300 CLAYMORE

This is the M-300 CLAYMORE

I then painted the water gun with black, silver, red and white, creating my own spin on the M300 Claymore, painting the distinctive N7 stripe down the side.

Below are pictures of the gun before it was painted and after it was painted. Hope you like it!

Water gun before

After

Day 2 – N7 Armour build!

Sorry for the massive delay, I have been super busy!

Anyway, the armour build is going well, much better then I expected. You can see the progress below, along with some descriptions and pointers of how to make your own. As I said in my previous post, I am using EVA foam for this armour build.So far, I have not had any problems with it. It’s easy to cut, east to shape and holds a good, sturdy shape when the foam cools.

Chest

Chest

What you see here is the chest piece. I know it looks a little wonky, but when it’s wrapped around my torso, it looks pretty good, I must say that I am pretty proud of it. The bottom piece is just a template for the lower torso. As you can see, I have not added the detail yet.

To make the chest piece, I used a thick bit of wood and two circular sauce dishes. (See below.) I glued the dishes to the plank of wood. (Which was originally a door to…something ) and put paper-mache over the top to make the flat bottoms of the the dishes more rounded.

Sauce dishes for boobs!

Sauce dishes for boobs!

I then took my flat chest template, and heated it under the grill until it was soft enough to mould.

WARNING: Wear gloves and a face mask, the smoke  the EVA foam gives off is toxic. Make sure you ventilate your workspace. Do not let the foam burn.

After the EVA foam is soft, it will become floppy. Mould the foam to the breast template as quickly as possible, making sure to press down hard on the bits you wish to mould. Weight the foam down, or have a friend help you. If you don’t do it the first time, repeat the process, but flatten out the foam first before giving it a second try.

This took me six tries.

Chest piece on its own

Chest piece on its own

Twinkle toes and I attempt an armour build!

Firstly, let me make one thing clear…I have no idea what I am doing. In fact, when I first attempted to build my N7 armour, it ended up looking like a hat a member of the royal family would wear…I was trying to make an arm guard.

So when my best friend flew in, in a flurry of flamboyant excellency, offering to help me build the armour like my very own fairy god mother, I was more than happy to let him help me.

Me and my fairy god mother

Me and my fairy god mother

This project could go one of two ways. Either, we build some amazing N7 armour, I become the prettiest gal at the fair and live happily ever after as long as I shall live…

Or…we do a a terrible build on the armour and are forced to cross the border to live out our lives as fugitives in Mexico!

Either way…it should still be fun. 🙂

I will keep this page updated as often as I can with the build. So wish me luck! Because I am going to need it!

What it is to be an Actor

What it is to be an Actor

It is a dream many of us have, but few of us follow. Many people at some point in their lives has wanted to be a superstar, but then they grow up, get ‘proper’ jobs and leave the ‘childish’ fantasy in the past.

Yet, there are still those few who follow the dream with the hope that they are going to be the next Angelina Jolie or Jonny Depp. These determined people participate at the local theatre, donating hours of their time, and probably spend most of their wages on head shots, acting classes and expensive audition sites. Some even go to Drama school.

Anyone who has pursued acting as a career would be aware of the countless conversations with people who say this is not a real degree; that you are wasting your time on some pointless pipe dream; and the only job you will be able to get with a qualification in acting, is one that required you to say the line ‘Would you like fries with that?’

I remember telling my eighty year old grandmother that I was going to University to study a degree in both Drama and Film. I also remember the way she looked down at me, her eyes narrowing as she glared over the silver rim of her large glasses. She asked me why I chose to choose something so pointless, why I did not choose to study something like science. The simple answer was – I do not want to be a scientist.

I am sure every actor remembers people telling them that Drama must be an easy degree, that it is not a real subject as it involves nothing more than messing around with your friends, then writing about how and why you were messing around with your friends.

This makes me just a little bit temperamental. So I am here to set the record straight, once and for all.

First of all, Drama is far from an easy degree. You are constantly judged not only on your ability to act, but also by your appearance, and then you are expected to write about how and why you did not get the part you have wanted for years, because you were either too tall or your nose was not the right shape.

You can forget about having a social life, because all your time is devoted to either reading the mountains of material that you are given, remembering entire scripts, theatre practitioners and historical influences as well as hours of rehearsals with groups that include at least one know it all Diva who always wants to steal the spot light.

There is a reason that almost half of the class disappear after the first few months. They thought it was going to be easy too.

Secondly, when you have finally done your three to four years at University, you dread coming out into the real world, because you know when you do, the hard work truly begins.

Being over thirty grand in debt, no job and no ‘usable’ qualifications, you live day by day, normally living out the clichéd life of an out of work actor working as a waitress or waiter. You obsessively apply for auditions, agents, extra work, intern-ships and sometimes become one of those people who dance around the Town centre, wearing one of those ridiculous full body costumes, essentially becoming a classically trained panda.

Picture Source: https://www.google.co.uk/search?q=panda+suit&espv=2&source=lnms&tbm=isch&sa=X&ei=dU6sU4DACdGb1AXg7YCwCg&ved=0CAYQ_AUoAQ&biw=1440&bih=732#facrc=_&imgdii=_&imgrc=cHTKW46cfHBJwM%253A%3Bp7f8wk9eecJs6M%3Bhttp%253A%252F%252Fbearmascotcostume.com%252Fwp-content%252Fuploads%252F2010%252F07%252FEconomicalPandaMascotSuit-300x300.jpg%3Bhttp%253A%252F%252Fbearmascotcostume.com%252F%3B300%3B300

Picture Source: Clipart

Then, just as you are about ready to disappear forever, the phone rings and you have been invited to an audition you forgot you applied to. They send you a script and you cancel all your plans to learn the lines by the next day. However, you are never able to get rid of that cold floating feeling in your pit of your stomach, or the thought that you will make a total fool of yourself, resulting in the Director dramatically standing from his chair with a flail of his arms, saying, ‘You will never work in this town again!’

Cue the dilemma of Actors Equity. If you don’t have an Equity card, you are unlikely to get any other role other than the panda I mentioned earlier. However, if you have not had a paid role as a principal character in either theatre, TV or Film, you cannot get an Equity card…Twenty points to whoever came up with that one.

When you do finally get a part for a commercial or a production, there is always the fear of that dreaded line, the line that strikes fear into all actors hearts , the line that again makes us question absolutely everything we have done in our life to this moment.

‘We will not be paying you, but its great exposure!’

Cue the blood boiling rage that you always seem to have under control, even when you want nothing more than to rearrange the smug look on the casting director’s face, then continue on a psychotic killing spree that would make even the most hardened criminals fear for their lives. But you force a smile and a nod, all the while thinking. ‘Exposure doesn’t  pay the bills buddy!’

Many people reading this article probably still question why people go into acting. Maybe even the actors themselves are starting to question what they were thinking when they chose such a risky and cut-throat career. The answer is simple. So many people refuse to follow their dream, simply because they believe they cannot do it, but you can still fail at something that you don’t want to do, so why not risk it all, by working hard to succeed in something you do want to do?

Acting is like a drug to many actors -they cannot live without it. It runs through their-blood, keep them going and makes them happy, and even though it comes with hardships…it might just be the best job in the world.

Sources

http://dysfunctionalbachelor.wordpress.com/2011/08/25/get-a-real-job-the-life-of-an-actor/

Why Do We Get So Attached To Fictional Characters?

It happens to the best of us. When we watch TV, read a book or watch a film, we always find ourselves getting close to certain characters, coming to care about their feelings and actually becoming upset when something bad happens to them.  It seems that no matter what you are watching, there is always a character who you will somehow relate to.

So why do we get so attached to fictional characters? In reality, they are just words in a script, brought to life by the actors that play them, but it is not the actors that we become attached to, it is the person they are portraying.

In the words of the great Howard Sklar, “The way we respond to fictional characters has a lot to do with our ability to connect with others and to feel for a person’s situation.” He also states “As anyone who has watched an engaging film or read an engaging novel knows, we invest ourselves deeply in the experience of living with those characters; we tend to respond to them as though they were real individuals.”

As we watch a movie, a TV series or read a book, we find ourselves subconsciously filling in the gaps of the character’s lives and making up fictional stories about them to make them seem more human. The narration of the novel or storyline of the film or episode allows us to stare through the window and into the personal lives of the characters, somehow making us feel closer to them.

Then when something bad happens to our beloved character, they either get hurt, they die or are written out the series you have loyally watched for years, it is like losing someone close to you. It literally hurts.

When we see our ordinary characters go through extraordinary challenge sometimes coming out on top, we look up to the character as a role model and an example of how we should be ourselves.  When reading a book, we get to see the inner thoughts of our beloved characters. Even watching our favourite TV series or a movie, we learn so much more about that character than we would know of the real people that surround us every day.

Because we get to know them on such a personal level, we gain a connection with them where their success, becomes our success.

An example of this would be my own attachment and borderline obsession with a certain character in the US television show called ‘NCIS’. Ever since the first episode of season three, I found myself becoming more and more drawn to a certain female character called Ziva. She is an Israeli Mossad agent, with very bad temper and a love for all things deadly.  Not only did I find myself becoming attached to this character, I also found myself feeling upset and hurt when the actress decided to leave the show.

I am not saying that I can relate to this character on any level – I did not grow up in Israel, I did not work for the Navy and I am not a kick ass assassin (and even if I was, I wouldn’t tell you ) but there was always a sense of familiarity between myself and the character. A sense of comfort.

Another example would be the countless fandom’s floating around the internet, or the innumerable armature fiction dedicated to characters from books, TV shows and Movies, or the privately funded conventions where fans dress up as their favourite characters to go meet more likeminded individuals such as themselves.

In a nut shell, we are all human, we crave companionship when we are sitting alone in front of the TV, and we create that companionship with the fictional characters on screen.

If you are sitting there reading this article with a strange disbelieving expression on your face, just think about it… when was the last time you got so engrossed in a film, or a TV series or a book, that you actually cared about the characters?

Next time you sit down to watch your favourite film or TV show, or read your favourite book, keep this article in mind.

Which character are you attached to?

Sources

http://www.psychforums.com/schizoid-personality/topic109224.html

http://www.thecredits.org/2013/07/the-psychology-of-character-bonding-why-we-feel-a-real-connection-to-actors/

SCRIPTWRITING: A STUDENT GUIDE

SCRIPTWRITING: A STUDENT GUIDE PART 3

It is not easy being a scriptwriter. Not only do you now have to come up with amazing ideas that are both interesting and understandable, a story that does not offend the easily offended and write about your subjects and scenarios with an all most unfathomable expertise, you also have the job of creating a character an audience can relate to.

 It is not an easy job to write a character that is both original and identifiable, a character that has his or her flaws just like everybody else, but also has qualities that make an audience look up to and idolise them with a character that in the end, becomes a better person.

 But where do we even begin to think of these characters?

 As a writer, you sit there with your fifth cup of coffee cooling next to you and endless amounts of snacks with copious amounts of sugar surrounding your cluttered desk of screwed up bits of paper and novelty pencils. A new Word document stays open on your fingerprint smudged screen. The curser, blinking every so often, taunts you.

 To spark some ideas you consider searching the internet for something, anything that will help you come up with a character that everyone will love, but as time passes, you find yourself looking at Vines and funny cat videos on YouTube, and even though these habits are harder to shake than a long term drug habit , we have come up with five ideas to help you come up with believable, likable and original characters.

Star signs

 Surprisingly, the method of using star signs to invent the personalities of your characters is widely used by many authors and script writers. Using the already set-out template of good and bad personality traits can help a writer expand and improve their character. For example, if your character were to be a Capricorn, they would be confident, energetic and courageous and if he or she were to be a Scorpio, maybe you can give them a temper?

People Watching

 Instead of sitting at your desk in a dark and suspicious smelling dorm room, why not go outsideand sit at a table at the local cafe or a park, and just watch. Hundreds of people pass through every day, each with their very own little personal traits and appearances. You would be very surprised at how much you notice when you just sit and observe.

Famous people

 Basing your characters on famous people or famous characters is a great way to create a likable character that is relatable and familiar to the audience. People are more inclined to like a character if it reminds them of their role models.

However, remember not to copy everything about your chosen person, it is still your character.

Draw from your own experiences

 Basing a character around people you have met, people you know or people you don’t even like can be an extremely effective way to create a fresh new character with interesting personality traits. Just don’t use their real name.

 I once based a character on my Father, and even though he started out as a grumpy old man, as the script developed, the character evolved and become a much more likeable and three dimensional character. Even if you only have an outline of your character, if you are good at what you do, they will grow into something great.

Your imagination

 Not everybody can do it, and in my opinion, it is the least effective on this list. But if you take a moment to just sit and think of a random character, with a random personality and a random appearance, you will eventually come up with a character that will grow as the story does.

 So what have we learnt by this?

 Whatever happens, always remember to give your character a hook, maybe he is a mummy’s boy, or maybe he never goes anywhere without his funny looking dog named Spot?

 Whoever they may be, remember not to force the character. An audience can always tell when a character is forced. So if you are struggling to think of the next character for your next short film, just relax, have a cuppa and maybe watch a cheesy old film.

 It will come to you.

Here are a few links to help you along the way to creating a masterpiece.

 Five ways to start a script : http://2012.scriptfrenzy.org/node/2003510

 Developing your characters :http://www.wikihow.com/Develop-Characters-in-Film

 Characters for the screen :http://thescriptlab.com/screenwriting/character

And here is the link to the original article including parts one and two of  SCRIPTWRITING: A STUDENT GUIDE and many, many more interesting blogs and information.

The Birdies Film Festival : http://www.thebirdiesff.com/#!blog/cnms