Sunday, 20 November 2011

Sophie and the Vintage Dress

Hi people!

    I have one little shout out for you today. In Nottingham last week, I was with Crash Taylor when he noticed a girl in a bar who had the potential to look good on screen. This may not sound like much, but when Crash notices a girl in the street, and says they have potential, you'd damn well better take notice - he once noticed the talents of a girl called Leonie Manners and now she's winning modelling competitions and earning thousands!

    The girl we met this time is named Lozzi-Elizabeth (fantastic name) and I wanted to get in on a potentially good thing so I have promised to help start her acting career. Here is her profile if you want to check her out:

    Also, I think I forgot to tell you guys - my lovely PR girl Stephanie Murphy set up a Facebook page for my work: if like what you've read on this blog post or any other of my posts then please give us a 'like' and you can get regular updates including casting, crew jobs, or film news -

You can also follow me on Twitter:!/SophieBlackFilm


    The Stop/Eject funding campaign will be up in the next couple of days, and you can still donate to Jar of Angels but today's blog post shows me doing something a bit different. We are currently entering a bit of a quiet period for filmmakers (tis NOT the season for us) and I've seen a few depressing statuses about people looking for work lately. (If that's you, hold on, we'll all be crazy busy again come Spring). But the silver lining to having a teensy bit of time off is that, today, I got to indulge in a personal project for the first time in months.

    Do you remember my blog post at the start of the summer when I mentioned that I'd bought a vintage dress that needed restoration? I claimed it was 1950s and its style would still suggest that, although some of the fabrics involved are making me think it could be a 50s style party dress from the 1980s. Either way, it's GORGEOUS, and here is a reminder of it:

    The dress came to me - as all good vintage dresses do - a little bit worse for wear. It had a history and it had been lived in: the lining was torn and there was a lovely little lipstick mark in the lining right next to where the woman's bottom went. How interesting is that? It makes me smile to think the girl enjoyed herself in this dress. And here's a photo to prove it:

   So, this afternoon, with my emails done, and my little free patch, I decided to restore this dress and fit it to my body so that I can wear it too. First step - fixing the underskirt:

    The underskirt was made from a delicate, openly-woven fabric so I had to hand-tack it onto the waistband first, before machine-stitching it down. The 50s-style poofiness was restored to the skirt!! =)

   Restoration complete, the dress needed to be taken in about three inches so that it would fit me. Usually this would be a matter of removing the zip and taking away some fabric there before replacing the zip - but the zip was on one side, and if I adjusted it there then it could ruin the shape of the dress. (I once had a lace dress that was proffessionally taken in by adjusting the zip down one side, and it left the waist of the bodice sticking out oddly).

   So the sensible option to me was to take in the dress at the back. To make the fabric easier to adapt, I took out the boning down the centre back - I discovered that the boning was actually padded by a woven length of cord, the same fabric as the underskirt. You don't get that attention to detail in modern clothing!

   And for you costume nerds, here's what vintage boning looks like. It's a little bit... grimy looking, actually:

   Occasionally I do garment alterations for clients - you can message me if you need anything doing - and in just such a situation I would do a detailed job where I pretty much take the bodice apart and re-assemble it to smaller specifications. But, since I intend on wearing this dress myself, I just put a stitch down the fabric at the back and created a neat panel inside to adjust it:

   Next, I had to remove and replace the straps at the back, then it was time for me to try it on. The bodice fitted perfectly but, as I've mentioned before, the fun-loving girl who wore this dress was also very busty, and the fitted bust area of the bodice still stuck out quite far! There wasn't much more that I could do to the bodice there without ruining the shape of it (a constant worry when it comes to adjusting things) but I was able to put a couple of darts in around the bust line - apart from that I'll just have to don some shameless cleavage-enhancing underwear when I wear the dress! Here are the darts:

   For the finished result, I wanted to get a good photograph of myself in the dress; all of my costumes are available for rental (again, message me for details) so it's important to get a decent picture of it for my costume vaults. Unfortunately (or brilliantly, depending how you look at it) I know a lot of very talented proffessional photographers so it's just a matter of deciding how to ask. I'll update this blog with the photo when I've decided.


Tuesday, 15 November 2011

Updates and another shameless plea for finance!

Hello everybody!

    Today's shout out goes to my latest follower and dear colleague Carl Cropley. His company is Full of Squares and they did special FX on Wasteland, Jar of Angels and the upcoming Stop/Eject and Ashes. It's industry quality stuff for a fraction of the price so he's well worth checking out:

    So here are the updates. First off, Ashes is well into pre-production now. Casting for that is now open and easy to find on some of the most popular online casting sites so spread the word! Also my assistant on Wasteland - Gina Hames - is taking the design reins from me
so I'll be meeting with her on Saturday.  But that didn't stop me from doing at least one little piece of concept art. So here is my design for a poster:

(Note - the final poster probably won't look like that!)

    The news with Stop/Eject is that it's taking a little hiatus and is probably set to shoot again in Spring 2012 (after Wasteland's intended February 2012 shoot). The production has also assigned a new Producer.... me! So I will be keeping you updated on that film's process including more funding campaigns (sorry guys....) but, in the meantime, here is director Neil Oseman's poster art for it:

And finally, onto the main news of today.

    The Jar of Angels official trailer is now online due to the combined efforts of director Crash Taylor and cinematographer/editor Rik Winter, and it is officially a stunner. I've said time and time again how much I enjoyed the production and how proud I was of the crew, but the only way to fully express everything that went into the film is by watching this beautiful little trailer:

    We've already having some good feedback (including a great one from Raindance of all people!) but the truth of the matter is that we wouldn't have gotten as far as we did without the support of our followers and film fans everywhere - the type of people who might be reading this blog right now. And what most people never take into account when they go into independant film production is how much is needed AFTER the film has finished shooting. We don't want Jar to be a beautiful little film that is seen by a few people see in one screening, applauded at, and then boxed and put onto a shelf for all eternity. We want to share it with the world, starting with all the best film festivals including the aformentioned Raindance. We know that we can do this, but we need your help!

    I moan on a lot about Hollywood making re-make after heartless re-make and throwing money into these films without much care for content, and I know that lots of people complain too because I've seen it all over the social network sites. But if you want to make this stop happening then you need to show your support for independant cinema. So here's the thing - instead of spending whatever rediculous price a cinema ticket is these days on watching a film you've probably already seen before by a different director, you can spend the same money on something new - give as little as $10 (that's the price of a cinema ticket here) and maybe you'll see Jar of Angels on a screen near you one day. In the mean time, you'll certainly get a free present for funding.

    Together we can stick it to Hollywood and show them the kind of films we WANT made. If everyone donates, Jar of Angels will be finished and distributed to all the best places. And what's more, I will love you all forever.

Thanks for reading!