Author Archives: Rachel Poling

About Rachel Poling

Rachel Poling is a serial hobbyist and one of those sopranos who can sing really high notes and likes sparkly jewelry. She enjoys researching, mulling, doodling, and implementing costume, makeup, and hair ideas. She also enjoys working on film scores, doing color correction, and generally having a toe dipped in anything pre-production. She has yet to act in any films, but she hopes to play an evil queen someday.

Come One, Come All!

My Lords and Ladies of the realm,

I come before you today to announce an occasion worthy of marking on calendars.

You have asked. We have heard.

Ladies and gentlemen, please get out your pens and pencils (or smartphones) to mark the soon coming Friday, the 4th of October at high noon (according to the time of the Pacific Ocean).

You are invited to attend a live moving picture query and answer session with the “Loyalty” production team!

*thunderous applause*


You are invited to the ‘Loyalty’ Q&A, where you can ask questions and we will answer them live! We will be talking about “Loyalty” (duh) and I’m sure, about filmmaking in general. It will be geared towards our young fans, but we welcome anyone who would like to hear more about the making of our “award-winning” 😉 film.

Sign Up Here!

(We are experiencing some technical difficulties with our email system this week.
If you are having issues with the signup process or have not gotten your confirmation email after signing up,
please email for assistance. Sorry for the inconvenience!)

We do need you to sign up if you want to come, so we can send out an email to you with a link to the live video feed and the Facebook group where you can ask your questions. If you do not sign up, you will not receive this information and will not get the details. This will lead to sadness.

Again, the date and time is THIS FRIDAY, the 4th of October, at Noon, Pacific Time. You can send in your questions before the Q&A starts or at any time during the Q&A. You can even send in your questions even if you can’t make it, as the video will be recorded and available later.

Please share the signup link with any of your family or friends who might be interested!

We are VERY much looking forward to seeing you there!

~ The Swet/Poling team

P.S. Here’s the link to ‘Loyalty’ again, in case you want to refresh your memory.

XI sabers_comp_loyalty


My Experience With the Enumclaw Film- By Lizzy Poling

Hello everyone! This is my first post here, totally new for me, so here it goes! I don’t have my own WordPress account yet, so I’m using Rachel’s today.

IMG_0697 As you may have heard, us Polings and Swets had the opportunity to participate in the making of a professional film for the 100th Anniversary of Enumclaw. Rachel already wrote about what she did for the film, and since everyone else is busy doing stuff for LCC XI, I thought I would write about what I did on set. My official title in the credits will be PA (Production Assistant) and Actress.

As an actress, I got to play a minor side character: a 1940’s school girl. I had so much fun wearing a period dress, walking around in high heels, and carrying school books. Though, by the end of the day, my feet hurt terribly as I do not wear high heels on a regular basis.

As a Production Assistant, my job was basically to do whatever was needed, but mostly what I did was carry around the director’s script as she had a lot on her mind, and often left it somewhere and forgot where it was. I made sure she didn’t have to go looking for it. Even more exciting, I got to operate the clapper board on occasion!

Annie doing the clapper board for LCC. The title is still top secret.

Annie doing the clapper board for LCC. The title is still top secret.

Max was the main clapper-board-person, but he was also an actor during some scenes, so I did it when ever he was acting or otherwise unavailable. I knew the basics of clapper board, but I learned there is a little bit more to it than I thought.

For instance, on a clapper board, going from left to right, you write the

  • scene number (a scene is a section of the script that takes place in a certain location. The scene changes when you go to a different location)
  • use a letter to state the shot (a shot is where the camera is pointing, so you can change the camera view within the scene)
  • take number (the take is how many times you’ve done or re-done the shot)

The letters used to state the shot are important. The letters signify a different shot that is in the same scene. The clapperboard-person says it out loud for sound reference, but they don’t say “A”, instead they say “Alpha”, or other words starting with the letter of the shot (i.e. “Bravo” for “B”, “Charlie” for “c” etc…). There are a lot of names. You’ve got Alpa, Bravo, Charlie, Delta, Echo… and so on, or sometimes for fun, people use different words, like Apple, Baron, Crest, Divinity, Equator… it can go on and on.

A picture of Annie and me in our schoolgirl costumes. <br />So Cool!!!

A picture of Annie and me in our schoolgirl costumes.
So Cool!!!

Most of what I learned I can’t really put into words, because I kind of just absorbed it, but I feel much more equipped to make other films, which is good. This is something that I would really like to do again, only hopefully next time, I will be able to get into what I really want to learn and get better at, which is screen writing.

Another helpful thing I learned on this shoot is what I don’t want to do. I don’t want to be the camera person, maybe assistant camera, I don’t want to do the lighting, I don’t want to be production manager, I don’t want to do catering, and location manager… not so much. I would like to be the director, maybe the sound person or props master, the editor, a more prominent actress, and somewhere in the costume department would be fun as well.

I pretty much had way too much fun learning, and I thoroughly exhausted myself. I would really like to do it again someday, though hopefully sooner than later.

And that’s the way the carrot crunches.

~ Lizzy

Working on a Professional Film Crew

Hey y’all,

EnumclawFilmLogo3.1-03I’ve been crazy busy, and haven’t written here in a while. I thought today I’d share a bit with you about my crazy busy-ness, as I found it very educational and interesting. Everyone else has their own stories to tell about our work these past weeks on the “Enumclaw Film”, as we call it, but mine is rather lengthy just because I was doing so many different things for both pre-production, and production.

A few months back we Polings and Swets volunteered on a local historical film project. We’ve been talking about it off and on, as you may remember. Well, we’ve finally shot the film! I’ve been doing a variety of different jobs on the project. These are my “official titles”; things I will be credited for in the credits of the film and on IMDB:

  • Hair and Makeup Lead
  • Associate Producer
  • Locations Manager

I also volunteered to handle social media and the blog for the project, which included designing a logo, and writing a lot of the information the public would see about the project, and now, posting pictures from the production on Facebook etc.

Hair and Makeup

Our makeup and hair setup for day 1.

Our makeup and hair setup for day 1.

I originally signed up to be the Hair and Makeup Lead. Whew! It sounded like such a big job! I was kinda scared, very excited, and still nervous up until the very last person was done. The director assured me that even though I didn’t feel qualified for the job, she felt I was because she knew I would focus on details, and do tests to learn the things I didn’t already know how to do (like apply crepe beards and moustaches, and do temporary hair coloring).

After my original assistant fell through at the last minute, I found an assistant on Craigslist who was much better at makeup than I was. We devised a system where I did the hairstyling and FX makeup, and she did most of the other makeup. It worked wonderfully, and I felt much more at ease having someone who has a lot more makeup experience under their belt do the majority of the looks. It also made it much easier to churn out finished actors because we could both be working on the same person at once: she on makeup, and me on hair. Or, we could work on different people, then have the actors switch chairs. It was an awesome partnership that worked really well.

This is the crepe beard I applied.

The infamous beard!

I learned a lot, not just about makeup, but preparing for something like this. I learned how to go through the script and be able to translate what the director was seeing into specific notes and looks for certain actors. I learned how to make a budget and what kind of things you need to think about buying when you have to do a lot of people’s hair and makeup in a sanitary way. I learned how to clean and pack “my kit” in a way that makes it easy to get what I need really fast, keep things clean and organized when I have to move from place to place quickly. I also learned how to estimate how long it would take for each person to go through my department, so that the Assistant Director could make sure they were there early enough for us to work our magic. 😉

I had a few heart-stopping moments, like when the main actor who I was supposed to put a beard on (I scheduled 3 hrs for him) showed up 45 minutes late and the schedule had to be completely re-arranged so that I could get it done. It was nerve wracking, and the beard kept having issue after issue, and finally, I had to take him down to set with a beard I was very unhappy with and had worked for a really long time on. It turned out okay, because the heat and a couple of costume changes calmed down a lot of the issues with the beard and it looked good for the rest of the night, but I was just sick in my stomach for a while because I thought it looked so bad.

I had some wonderful moments too, where everything turned out so perfectly, in spite of my inexperience, and I had a little internal squeal of delight that I got to work on such a cool project. 😀

Associate Producer

A few months ago, the Director noticed that I was really good at organizing and keeping track of details, so she hired me to schedule the casting. This seemed like a fairly simple job, so I said, yes, and dived right in. Right away, I found out why they hire someone specifically to do this job. As soon as the casting announcement was posted, I was sending and receiving probably almost 100 emails a day, cataloging actors, scheduling them a time slot at the audition, answering questions, sending them little bits of script to prepare… It was a monumental job! Then came the audition dates, and I needed to make sure everyone signed in correctly, got us all of their information, and got their questions answered. It was fun!…. and I was tired.

Epic vintage car-ness. Photo credit: Micah Swet

Epic vintage car-ness. Photo credit: Micah Swet

This eventually fell under my “Associate Producer” title, because I went on to handle a lot of other details, like helping to find classic cars and trucks for the film (which Micah eventually took over, and did a SPECTACULAR job with), filtering through resources that the community was offering in terms of props and costumes, and finding and communicating with last minute extras. Basically, The Producer is the person who gets everyone what they need to do their job, and this can be as big as finding and hiring members of the crew, or as small as bringing extension cords. As the Associate Producer, I handled a lot of the details in making sure each department actually had what they needed when the 3 days of production started. And yes, I brought extension cords…. and a few power strips.

Locations Manager

Filming Miss Ostregard. Photo credit, Micah Swet

Filming Miss Ostregard. Photo credit, Micah Swet

A couple weeks before production started, the Director hired me for a second job: Locations Manager. Technically, this is a very producer-y kind of job, and on small films like this, The Producer usually handles it. My job was to contact all of the places, large and small, that we wanted to film at, about 13 in all, figure out who the owner was, make sure we could film there at the day/time we needed, and make sure they were comfortable with us being there. I was on the phone pretty much ALL day for a couple weeks, as locations we had planned on fell through, and we had to find new ones, and owners were not returning phone calls. I learned a TON about talking to people on the phone, and having a friendly business-like presence when talking to strangers.

Filming a scene in front of an old church, that is now a private residence.

Filming a scene in front of an old church that is now a private residence.

Another part of the Location Manager’s job is to make sure that each department gets their questions answered for each location. For instance, the camera and lighting crew needs to know if they can plug their equipment in, the sound crew needs to know if they can turn off any noisy things in the background (a big problem when filming in restaurants), the art department needs to know if they can take things off the walls and re-dress the room to fit our set needs… I needed to make sure we could use the bathroom at EACH LOCATION! It was my job to figure out where we could park in the downtown areas, where we could store our equipment, where we could eat, and where we could go to the bathroom (which is an issue when you are planning on filming in a field for more than half the day). The more I got into this job, the more I realized how big and important it was!

At the last minute, I also learned that it was my job to make sure that there were signs everywhere so that people didn’t get lost and that actors and extras knew were to go for wardrobe, hair and makeup. This was a big job in-and-of itself, and my brain was already overloaded with everything else, so Micah became my right hand man in this area. Together we made sure that people knew where to go, that the toilet paper never ran out, and that the buildings we used were clean and locked up before we left.

In Conclusion

Is it weird that I learned a ton about beard and moustache grooming? ;)

Is it weird that I learned a ton about beard and moustache grooming? 😉

I used up a TON of note paper and was juggling more lists than I’ve ever written in my life- the upside being I learned how to organize massive amounts of information in new ways. I feel re-affirmed in my hair and makeup abilities, especially in the hair department where I had quite a few vintage looks that consistently turned out wonderfully. My feet hurt like crazy with the 12+ hr days, I got up crazy early and went to bed crazy late, and I practically lived out of my van for 3 days. I don’t think I’ve ever exuded more brain power in my life, but I had so much fun!

I think Producing is something that I am good at, something I have been naturally (and unknowingly) preparing to do for several years now, and something I’d love to try doing again. I had fun meeting and getting to know the filmmaking professionals who worked with us, and I hope I made a really good impression on them by working hard, being prepared to solve problems that no one else had thought of, and being ready for everything that got thrown at me with a ready smile and a good attitude. I have a secret (or not so secret now) hope that the contacts we made doing this film will turn into work on other fun projects in the Seattle area. 😉

I’ve done way more with this film than I was originally planning to do, but I feel like this opportunity was something the Lord hand-crafted for this time in my life, as well as the rest of us Poling’s and Swet’s lives. I’m sure they’ll be writing more about their experience on the Enumclaw Film, and I’m VERY sure we’ll be excited to share the finished product with you when it comes out in early 2014.

Thanks for reading this monstrous-long post!

And that’s the way the cookie crumbles,


P.S. If you haven’t already, take a sec and “like” the facebook page for this project. I’ve been sharing lots of cool pictures and there’ll be news about the premiere, etc.


Howdydody y’all?!

We’ve been crazy busy around here, but we managed to squeak in some fun when our good friends, the Lamas, were here for the extended 4th of July weekend. Needless to say, silliness ensued.

Without further ado, I can announce the filming of…


The Great and Awesome Zombie Hunters


If you haven’t seen the first one, go check it out here. You probably shouldn’t watch it at night. You might wake up the neighbors with your uproarious laughter. *Content Warning: One character has a cigar (made from paper, not real), and guns are shot (no blood or wounds)*

Here are some behind-the-scenes pics from our day of shooting. (If you click on a picture a bigger slideshow will show up… just FYI.) 😉

Anyway, be on the lookout for awesomeness and zombiehunterness coming to your computer screens sometime in the near future.

And that’s the way the cookie crumbles.

Experimenting with Fake Beards – Crepe Hair

Hi everybody,

Before I get started, I just wanted to mention: Happy Memorial Day! To those who have served their country in the armed forces, to those who have died to protect the freedoms that we enjoy in the USA, you have my deepest gratitude and thanks.

Well, Monday snuck up on us again this week. We all had a late night last night going to see the new Star Trek Into Darkness (which was supercalifragilistiAWESOME!) and talking about it over pizza afterwards. Nothing super exciting has happened with Evasion this week, but I did do something fun that has to do with movie-making, so I figured now is a good time to share it!

One of the other films we are involved in this summer is a short film celebrating the 100th birthday of a little town nearby named Enumclaw (where the Swets live) funded by the city arts council. Several of us have official positions in the film (very exciting), mine being the Hair and Makeup Lead. Part of the plot of the movie involves going into the past, and a few of the characters need to have very full beards and some super moustaches. Meaning, I need to learn how to do fake hair, stat! This week, the director gave me some supplies, and Max volunteered to be my first victim *evil scheming face here*. I learned a lot, there are several things I didn’t do quite right, and I’ll be practicing some more before we shoot, especially in the moustache area.

I’m not going to give an in-depth tutorial this time. I think I will let the pictures speak for themselves. I’ll just give a little background about the supplies I was using:

1. Crepe hair: a wool, which is usually used for beard and moustache prosthetics. Comes in lots of different colors. Usually, two or more colors are used because it makes the beard look more realistic.

2. Spirit Gum: an adhesive. Kinda smelly. Very sticky. It is advisable to use a spirit gum remover solution, rather than just ripping the beard or moustache off.

3. Silver gray: a liquid for putting silver in the hair to make the model look older.

4. Random other: Fingers. Moist towellettes for constant cleaning of said fingers. Toothbrush or disposable mascara wand for applying the silver gray. Scissors for cutting and trimming the hair.

Let the pictures begin!

Presenting, Maxwell Swet, as we all know and love him, to grandpa and weird-hobo-guy-with-gun!

silver hair makeup

How to apply a crepe beard

applying fake hair

Crepe beard with Maxwell Swet

Well, that’s it folks! As always, please leave your thoughts below; we LOVE to hear them and eagerly await the email saying we got a new comment. 😉

And that’s the way the cookie crumbles.

Making Movie Posters from Scratch

As Annie mentioned, my computer took a little time-out at the Apple Store last week, and I wasn’t able to write this lovely long post about poster making. Everything is all sorted now, so let’s get down to bit’ness! *rubs hands together*

First of all, a small warning: Poster-making is Photoshop intensive. I have learned soooo so much about Photoshop from trying to make posters. I learned way more than I can squeeze into one post. Instead of detailing the exact steps I took in Photoshop to create these posters, what I’d like to do is take you on a little journey through my learning process, and point you in the direction of the websites and resources I found helpful.


When we were first thinking of making posters, I quickly realized that we needed to have a photoshoot to get lots of high quality pictures with lots different poses to choose from. I dragged my siblings, our dSLR, and the tripod outside in the freezing intermittent drizzle and tried various different things.

1. We have these big sheets of poster paper that we used to create a white background. Someone would stand behind our current model, and hold the paper while I took the picture. We did this so later it would be much easier to remove the background in photoshop so we could just use the person in our poster.

Lizzy movie poster

2. We held the white paper like a “bounce board” down below camera. The light from the sky reflected off of the white paper and onto the model’s face, making the picture very evenly lit.

Lizzy poster 2


3. We got lots of different poses, lots of different faces, sometimes had weapons, sometimes not, sometimes used the white background, sometimes not. We took, at the very least, 15 pictures of each person. In retrospect, it would have been better to take even more. Closer to 20-30 would have been better.

Annie Poster

Here’s what I learned from the photoshoot:

  • It was a really good idea to take these pictures when it was cloudy outside. Even though it looks good with your eyes, direct sunlight is much harder to take pictures in. Clouds help diffuse the light- spread it out and make it very evenly lit. This is perfect for taking this kind of pictures, especially if you don’t know yet exactly what style of poster you want to make.
  • If I ever do this again, I want to have a system down for getting all the poses I want from everybody. I was giving directions willy-nilly, and some of the poses that we really wanted to use later on in our posters didn’t have a white background, and some people were just missing poses that we didn’t get. This made it a little bit harder to do what we wanted. I’d almost want to create a checklist of sorts: facing right, facing left, facing front, facing right with white board, facing left… etc.
  • Like I said before, I took at least 15 pictures of everybody, and chose about 6 of my favorites of each person from that pool. We did end up having enough, but if I do this again, I want to take closer to 20-30 pictures to choose from.


So now I have all of these awesome pictures…. What do I do with them all?!? Being a first time poster-maker, I did what I always do when I don’t know how to do something- Google it!

I spent quite a while poking around on various websites trying to find what I was looking for. This is what I found:

Here is a tutorial I started with. Mostly what I needed was some new techniques to use in Photoshop. By following the tutorial, I learned the techniques I needed to make what I was seeing in my head appear in Photoshop. By the time I got to the middle of the tutorial, I didn’t really need it any more, and I was able to move on to adapting what I learned to the poster I wanted to make, instead of the poster in the tutorial. I also used this tutorial for inspiration and ideas.

Here are the process pictures of the first poster I did. I uploaded them to the private Facebook group we use to share ideas with each other. I got lots of really good feedback from everybody, along with suggestions and help.

poster 1 first try

1. This my first attempt while I was learning the techniques used in the tutorials. At the time, it looked really cool. Looking back at it, I think it looks… like a first attempt that got much, MUCH better later on. I didn’t have pictures of Max and Micah yet.

poster 1 second try

2. I decided to put some of the color back in. I also found a font that I liked for the title and played around with that a bit. I got some new watercolor brushes for photoshop (downloaded for free somewhere), and that made it WAY better.

Poster 1 third try

3. Max and Micah had their photoshoot and sent us their pictures. I spent hours tweaking little things like getting the little bits of white outlines out of everybody’s hair, and getting the color balance just right. I know how to do those things WAY faster now.

Poster 1 fourth try

4. After sending everybody a new copy of each try, this was the version that everybody said was finished! I moved Lizzy into the middle because it looked too balanced before. It needed to be balanced, but interesting.


One of the most important things I’ve learned about creating graphics, in Photoshop or otherwise, is how to use textures. Textures provide our eyes with that little element needed to know that what we are looking at is real. Pure color just looks wrong, but add a subtle texture to it, and our brain accepts it much better.

Textures can also help cover up and smooth over mistakes or imperfections.

For instance, here is a copy of the first poster I made without any of the stone or watercolor textures I added.


Now you can see any mistakes I made, or any little imperfections. They are glaringly obvious.

Here it is again with the stone textures added in:


And the finished one with the watercolor textures back in:

Poster 1 fourth try

I’ve found several sites that provide wonderful textures to download for free. I just love them! You can also take pictures yourself to use as textures once you know what you are looking for. I must admit to being slightly addicted to downloaded textures, especially antique paper and cool stone packs. *guilty face*

Here are my favorite free texture sites:

Lost and Taken
Zen Textures
Design Instruct

Also, here is where we like to get free fonts:

In Conclusion

I learned so much by just trying and seeing what would happen! Every time I ran into a little problem, our whole little movie group was there to help me with advice and ideas, and of course, I read many tutorials and articles on Google and lots of videos on Youtube to fill in the little gaps.

If you are making posters and would like another set of eyes to look over it and give you constructive criticism or help, I am more than happy to give it. Just send it my way! Often we learn the best from someone else editing our work.

As always, I anxiously await comment notification emails, so don’t be shy! We all love to read what you think about what we are doing!

And that’s the way the cookie crumbles!



Makeup Test #3 – SCARS!!!

I recently got a certain something special in the mail from Amazon, and was very eager to test it out! We’ve been talking about one of our characters having a scar on their face, so I’ve been researching how to do realistic, but simple scars. Whilst doing said research, I came across this product called “Ridgid Collodion”. I watched a couple of tutorials on youtube about using it, and sure enough, it looked to be the product for me!

Here’s some reference pictures I looked at to give me something more than my imagination to go by.

And here is one of the tutorials I watched to learn about how to use it.

So, now it’s my turn! Forgive the quality of the upcoming pictures- I took them with my iPhone in my poorly lit bedroom. 😉

Picture 1: Me, on a bad hair day, with clean skin.

Picture 2: I put on a base- a tiny bit of foundation mixed with moisturizer so that it was really translucent, a little bit of concealer under my eyes, around my nose, and on a couple red spots, a hint of a really light eyeshadow to make my eyelids look less puffy and a really light brown powder lining my eyelash line to give my eyes the slightest bit of definition. A dusting of a very light peach blush and a little bit of mascara completed the base. I was going for a non-made-up look – this is called “no-makeup makeup”-  and I think I succeeded. 🙂

The rest of the pics: I put a little bit of “dirt” around on my face, just like I did with Lizzy and Annie in previous posts, then I began the scarring process.


When I first opened the little bottle of scarring liquid, my first thought was, “WHEW! This stuff smells like the dickens!” And it does! It’s very important not to get it near the eyes, and I was tearing up a little bit just being downwind from the smell when I was working on the scar above my eye.

I tried two different kinds of scars. One with a red base, and one with a white base. Guess which one is which. 😉

For the one on my cheek, I used a red lip liner pencil to draw the line of the scar, then covered it with at least 15-20 coats of the ridgid collodion. Each layer made my skin tighten and depress more and more. It’s really hard to tell from these pictures, but I really had quite a divot in my skin!

For the white-based scar over and under my eye, I used a line of really light foundation, but I accidentally made it too wide to start with. Also, I wasn’t really ready to sacrifice my eyebrow at this point in time for the scar to go all the way through, like it would if it were a real healed wound, so the look of a continued scar over my eye socket just didn’t really pull itself off.

Needless to say, the red one turned out way better, and I will definitely go with a red base, should we use a big scar like this in our film.

I then coerced a couple of siblings to take some photos of me with our dSLR, which is one of the cameras we will be shooting with. I think the scar translated wonderfully!


For those of you who have not met me in person… here is a little introduction into the many faces of me. ^^ 😉 Only kidding! I’m only crazy… half of the time.

Things I learned:

OH MAN. Does this stuff smell. You get used to it after a while, but that first whiff is enough to bring tears to the eyes.

It takes quite a long time to do a large scar. I spent a good hour layering and waiting for it to dry. The bigger and deeper the scar, the longer it takes.

Since the ridgid collodian becomes about the consistency of a toenail when it’s dried, it’s a good idea to not put it in a part of the face that moves a lot (like your smile line, which is right where I put mine 😛 ). Eventually, it’s going to separate from the skin around the edges, and the more movement of your face, the faster it will separate.

In another tutorial I watched, which was rather long-winded and lengthy, I learned that it’s not a good idea to create a scar, peel it off, and make the same scar again the day after. The reason for this being: when you peel the dried collodian off, it takes a bunch of dead skin cells with it, which is fine. BUT, if you apply it too soon after, when you peel it off again, you are ripping off skin cells that your face actually needs. Doing it too often can lead to some weird things like a dry patch, discoloration, or a more permanent slight scarring look than you intended. This is going to be interesting using it in a movie. I shall have to plan carefully.

Let me know if you have any comments or questions. I anxiously await the arrival of comment notifications, so don’t be shy. ;) Until next week! Ciao!

And that’s the way the cookie crumbles.

Costume Concepts for ‘Evasion’ – part 2

Howdydodyday! I hope y’all have had a spectacular Easter!

Another thing I’ve been working on, besides makeup, is costumes. I love planning, shopping for, and building costumes, so I was very excited to get do help with this part of our film.

When we first started talking about our characters and plot line, Lizzy was inspired, and put together this costume with things we had around the house. We all liked it, but once I saw it, I realized that we needed to stay away from too much camo, because we wanted the costumes to feel much more militia-like, rather than army uniforms.


I like to draw costumes because it helps me think through the characters story, and gives me a better idea of what exactly I need to look for when I start looking for the various little pieces.

Here is my costume concept drawing for the character Lizzy will be playing.


Before I drew this, I looked up pictures of characters from movies who’s costumes were similar to the one I was seeing in my head. I posted them to everybody else, so they could see and give their opinion. We all liked this one the best.

This is Trinity, from The Matrix. I really liked the ripped and running knit sweater on top, with the hole-y and worn cuffs.

This is Trinity, from The Matrix. I really liked the ripped and running knit sweater on top, with the hole-y and worn cuffs.

One day, when we had time, us Polings took a trip to the thrift store together to look for some good costume stuff. This is what we came home with for the base of Lizzy’s costume. Later, I took it through a weathering process (to be written about soon!) to make it look more like I was thinking.

Sorry the lighting is so bad. You can't really tell, but the sweater is dark green and the pants are a dark mulberry color. We still aren't sure about having reddish pants, and we might go with different ones.

Sorry the lighting is so bad. You can’t really tell, but the sweater is dark green and the pants are a dark mulberry color. We still aren’t sure about having reddish pants, and we might go with different ones.

Here’s a more finished look for Lizzy. There’s still some pieces missing, but I really like the look of it.


I also drew a concept drawing for one of the other characters (casting yet to be finalized). I was really glad I did this because it helped me think of what we wanted and didn’t want specifically. I got a lot of good feedback from everybody else, and I came to understand what each person was thinking a bit more clearly from their constructive criticism.


Here’s some reference photos I used from Denzel Washington’s costume in The Book of Eli:



We have yet to put this costume all the way together, but it was still really helpful to have something down on paper when we went to the thrift store to look for anything and everything we could find.

Here’s a couple of costumes we put together from our thrift store adventure + some things we already had at our house that we may or may not use.



Aaaaaand finally, Phillip and I worked together to get his costume put together. He looks knee-knocking-shakin’-in-me-boots good and totally deserves several pictures. 🙂




I’m so scared.

Anyway, that’s it for me today! Let me know if you have any comments or questions. I anxiously await the arrival of comment notifications, so don’t be shy. 😉 Until next week!

And that’s the way the cookie crumbles.

Makeup Test #2

I’ve been doing more makeup tests whenever I have the time. I’m learning a lot more about techniques for different kinds of wounds that are a little closer to how they will actually be in our film. I did a test on my sister, Lizzy, soon after my test on Annie. We were also watching the Super Bowl at the same time, and I was going rather slow in between watching the game, and eating pizza, and in the process, we lost our rather small window of time in the afternoon where it’s light outside. (It gets really dark really early in Washington State during the winter.) The pictures from the photo shoot are a little grainy because of how dark it was, but you can still see a bit of what I did. 🙂

The Base


I did a very similar base as I did on Annie. I made a couple mistakes, the most notable of which is picking a powder that was too dark for lining her eyes with. It made her look a bit too “made up”, which is not what I was going for. Woopths.

I also wanted to put on any liquid latex I was planning on using before I put on her foundation. That way, I could make sure the latex was covered with exactly the same color as the rest of Lizzy’s face. I forgot about that, (woopths, again!) so I settled for putting on the latex bits before I set her foundation with transparent powder (notice how she’s just a tad shiny).

Wound Prep


Picture 1: I took a tissue, took it apart so that it was 1 ply instead of 2, ripped off a bit of it and rolled it into a very tiny log. This is going to give some depth- make it look like Lizzy’s skin is separated up near her hairline.

Picture 2: Using liquid latex like glue, I draw a line where I want the cut to be and place the tissue roll I made on her forehead.

Picture 3: On the “downhill side” of the (now stuck) tissue, I put a few layers of latex doing my best to get it super thin at the bottom so that it will blend into her skin.

Pictures 4-5: I dotted liquid latex on her temples and on her cheekbone. I wanted it to seem like she hit her head on a rock, splitting her skin, and also like she fell down or was dragged over something rough like a rock or a tree, scratching and bruising  the side of her face.

After I applied the latex, I powdered her face, setting the foundation, and put on a tiny bit of blush and conturing powder, just like I did with Annie.

Blood and Dirt


For dirt, I burned the end of a wine cork (purchased for a few cents at the thrift store), and when it cooled, I spread a bunch of the charcoal on my fingers and smudged Lizzy’s face. I also used a little makeup sponge with some brown, dark green, and dark purple eye shadows to get more a more textured dirt and bruise look around the “wounded” areas.

I used a very small brush and the same makeup sponge to layer on blood gel and the darker eye shadows to give the cut depth and the scratched areas texture. I really liked the effect!

That bottom picture is me putting on the finishing touches just as a touchdown was scored, so we both were looking at the screen in the next room. 😉


We hurried out during halftime to go do a quick photoshoot outside. Like I said before, we kinda missed our daylight window, so the pictures ended up being a bit grainy and dark. We still got some epic shots though!


There were some things I disliked about what I did with Lizzy’s look, but on the whole, I was really happy with it. I was especially pleased with how well the wound on her cheek turned out, and how well I was able to get the latex for the cut on her forehead to blend in. Her hair covered it up a lot, but it still looked really cool. The one on her chin wasn’t my favorite, but it wasn’t bad! If anything it really made it look like her whole face must be in pain. *hiss of pain* Yowch!

I was kind of thinking I should time how long it takes me so I can start practicing on working faster, but the Superbowl went and ruined that plan. 😉 I’ll have to make a point of doing that one of these days.

More to come!

And that’s how the cookie crumbles. 🙂

Film Makeup Test, Part 2 – The Blood and Dirt

Continuing on from my last post, I’m now in a position to apply the fun stuff: Blood and dirt! 😀

This is how Annie looked at the end of the last post:


Parents, please be advised that in this post, detailing how I made the wound, may not be appropriate for small children who do not do well with a little blood. Previewing may be in order. 🙂

Blood and Dirt

IMG_2095Now that I have the base ready, it’s time to mess it up. 😉

Liquid Latex

I took a tissue and separated it into one thin sheet, taking it from a two ply tissue to one really thin ply.

I ripped off a little bit and rolled it into a little log.

Taking a small paintbrush I didn’t care about, I drew a line of liquid latex onto Annie’s forehead.

using liquid latex for wounds

Before the latex dried, I put the little rolls of tissue on top of it, sticking them to Annie’s head.


I layered a few more coats of latex over the paper rolls, doing my best to blend it into her skin.


We used a hairdryer to help the latex dry faster. (Impatient us) It’s already starting to look cool and yucky.


When it was dry, I tried to blend it in a bit more by using a sponge to dab some foundation on the latexed area. I realized too late that I should have worked with the latex before I put on her foundation. It was much harder to match the exact shade, plus it did some other goobering I was disappointed about. Nevertheless, I went on and did my best to cover up the little mistakes.


I decided to move on to the dirt next. Taking a wine cork that I had burnt the end of with a lighter, I rubbed the charred end on my fingers and rubbed my fingers on her face putting some streaks on her cheeks and on the sides of her nose. I tried to put more “dirt” in the places on the face where it would naturally accumulate more, like the sides of the nose, by the ears, and on the temples.

I also took a makeup sponge and chopped up the end with scizzors. I then used it to dab eyeshadow in the colors purple, brown, and green in the wound area as well as a few of the other “dirty” places.


Taking that same chopped up sponge, I dipped it in a little blood gel and sponged all around the wound area. This helped cover up the end of the latex-covered area quite a bit!

Taking the smallest brush I have, I traced over the top of the raised bump with several layers of blood gel. At this point it still didn’t look right, so I tried  adding some little spillover veins on the sides. This immediately helped a lot, but I got them a little too widespread and spidery. Max said it looked too “zombie-like”. 😉


I added some scratches on Annie’s cheek by lightly tracing the lines with a red lipliner pencil, then going over it with some brown eyeshadow mixed with the blood gel. I tried to make parts of the scratches thicker and darker than other parts, because I know that scratches like that are not usually even lines. However, I think I got them a little too thick. It still looked pretty good.

I finished everything off with a few more pats of “dirt” with the different dark colors of eyeshadow.


Silly Annie kept giving us her “dead look”. With all her wounds, it was very creepy. 😛


Time for a photoshoot!

Time for a photoshoot! Annie was a very good model. I was scared she was going to attack me with the stunt knife. 😉










In conclusion,

I was very happy with how this first test turned out!

Here are some things I didn’t really like:

1. I mixed the foundation a little too light. In my next test I will not be afraid to go a bit darker.

2. The blood gel is a little too bright red for my taste. I would like to figure out a way to make it a bit darker so that it doesn’t look so fresh and fake.

3. The scratches on Annie’s cheek didn’t look very 3D; they mostly looked like red lines. I need to try some different techniques.

4. I didn’t plan beforehand what kind of wound I wanted to make, and so this wound isn’t really one that could happen in real life (that I know of). It seems to be some sort of a cross between a cut, a scar, and a burn. Next time, plan beforehand.

5. The paper was a bit too thick. Next time I’ll make the paper smaller, if I use it at all.

Another test will be coming soon!

Please let me know your thoughts in the comments below! If you have any questions about the products I used, I’d be more than happy to answer them!

And that’s the way the cookie crumbles.