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a star is born (well, kind of)

With the main set still needing work and Dave just itching to have his 15 minutes (or should I say seconds) of fame, I thought I’d get started on a small snippet from the mega mad montage I have planned and take you guys along with me for the ride, so sit back, relax and enjoy a day in the life of Dave.

now B4 we get STARted (haha get it), I had to make all the bits and bobs for the set and background, including a ton of tin foil stars (helpfully labelled at first but soon forgotten about), some greenery for Dave to stand on and most importantly those radioactive crisp fountains of pure greasy loveliness.

First things first, I had to lay down the groundwork (hehe) and figure out how to make my miserable desk look a little more scenic. After rooting around the cupboards for anything green and periodically plotting how I could hack up a piece of the back garden without my parents noticing, I suddenly remembered some leftover fur we had in the attic for a dog puppet made long ago. Unfortunately, after years up there it had started to smell like a dog too, so after a quick scrub in the sink I got to work on my own DIY hair dye (a mixture of food colouring, hair gel and soap pigment) and started manically combing it through before hanging these soppy sheets up on the washing line to air, where they can hopefully take in the suburban scenery and gain some inspiration.

Next up came the crisps, where I had to figure out a way of suspending the packets without relying on my puppet to hold them (not saying I don't trust Dave but I don't trust him). So after pinching the LED lights from my giant air freshener costume (don't ask), I decided they'd be the perfect base not only to support the slackers but give their streams an appetising, radioactive glow. Using some glue sticks for transparency, I cobbled together the support. I must say, hot glueing hot glue to hot glue was an experience I never thought I'd have.

Now came the tricky part. Animating liquid is notoriously hard - I needed to find something stable enough to hold it's shape while fluid enough to fool the audience. In another act of hope and desperation, I took to the cupboards, this time discovering an 'olive oil hair mask' (no doubt a relic from Christmas long ago) and decided it was the perfect consistency for a greasy sub in (I mean it was snot green but nothing a little food colouring can't fix). When it comes to stop motion, it's all about being resourceful and using anything you have, even if it is smelly dog leftovers or a bathroom 'beauty' reject.

This stuff was HORRIBLE btw and I couldn't bear to keep it on my fingers for more than 5 minutes, never mind cover my head in it! No wonder it never got used. Anyways, despite the nasty consistency, I was really chuffed with how these pools turned out and super thankful to find my LEDs had survived the greasy mess so I wouldn't need to go fishing for them. Thank God.

Ladies and gentlemen, boys and girls, it's time for the main attraction, getting the star himself on set. Right away I knew he was going to need a rig (considering Dave's a big guy without the luxury of tie-down toes) but was pleasantly surprised to find how well I could hide the bugger behind his bent leg (huzzah! no nasty post rig removal for me!)

Despite how lovely it was to see Dave come to life after months sitting on my desk, he was certainly quite the Judy Garland diva to work with, with the shoot totalling 3 hours+ of straight animation. Every frame was a matter of manipulating stars (originally marked out in pencil but soon made redundant by greasy fingerprints), adjusting the cling film streams, gently ruffling the grass and most importantly making sure Dave was well balanced and happy enough to survive another shot. All this work required my absolute Butlins Anthems to get through so if you see my top Spotify artist suddenly change to Steps mind your own business.

Being hunched over for the best part of three hours, it’s safe to say Dave and I were getting tired towards the end and probably not producing our best work. Once those sweet 75 frames were reached (just over 3 secs total) we were clocking out asap. This abrupt ending should hopefully make more sense in context of the montage and was definitely not a result of me wanting my tea.

Like I say, it's certainly not perfect and it's all a big learning curve but I hope that gave you a small insight into the kind of madness it takes to move little men about. If you've made it this far, thank you, thank you - you're a star, every single one of yers. If you liked these ramblings I'd love to do more in the future. It's quite cathartic and makes me feel a little less insane dragging others in.

anyways much love until next time,

georgia x

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