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Epilogue: You Need a Console? I Make You A Console

Posted in Projects by unboundpage on May 3, 2012

Firefly: The Musical ran its inevitable course – it got shut down prematurely by Fox.

So the theater finished out the second month with the Joss Whedon Pajama Party, a variety show with sketch, musical, and improv acts inspired by the work of Mr. Whedon, as well as a collection of videos that were written and shot usually in a week or less.

One video series featured Firefly’s Wash playing with his toy dinosaurs at the bridge console when he should have been flying the ship. Simple enough, right? We had the actor from the musical, toy dinosaurs aren’t hard to come by, we just need a stationary camera and… oh yeah, the console.

Mind you, this is the week that I was getting minor surgery done on my face. I should have volunteered for lying in bed and being useless. But no.

“Yeah, I can make a console.”

Surgeries were Tuesday and Wednesday mornings, the shoot was scheduled for Wednesday afternoon. Monday evening was my only available work time.

Step 1: Raid the Craft Cabinet
Available materials:
poster board (assorted sizes and colors)
faded black construction paper
chalk pastels
oil pastels
air-drying clay
assorted wooden doo-dads
ribbons
felt
yarn
fabric
acrylic paints
fabric paints
water colors
one tiny can of metallic spray paint
foam sheets
pipe cleaners
assorted scraps
odds
ends
hot glue
wood glue
tacky glue
Modge Podge
white glue
spray fixative
three rolls of packing tape

Wait. That is a ridiculous collection of materials. Pare that down.

Useful Available materials:
poster board (assorted sizes and colors)
faded black construction paper
chalk pastels
oil pastels
air-drying clay
assorted wooden doo-dads
ribbons
felt
yarn
fabric
acrylic paints
fabric paints
water colors
one tiny can of metallic spray paint
foam sheets
pipe cleaners
assorted scraps
odds
ends
hot glue
wood glue
tacky glue
Modge Podge
white glue
spray fixative
three rolls of packing tape

In the interest of time, I opted for drawn-on buttons, knobs and screens, rather than some complicated collection of bits and pieces that would take too long to construct, and would be very likely to fall off in transit.

Step 2: Find Reference Photos
Folks, I challenge you to find photos with a clear view of Serenity’s bridge from the tv series. No really – Google it. More than half of the images returned are from the film, which used a much more complicated and rounded set – not ideal for a reproduction that is clearly going to be made from poster board base.

How about a shot from the show itself? Every time you see the console, there is someone between it and the camera.

Finally, finally, I collected a few decent images.

Step 3: Get Over Any Expectations of Making an Accurate Replica
Seriously. The set designers had a budget, better materials and probably a couple of weeks. A high-quality replica is not going to come out of a pile of paper products and some spray paint in 6 hours or less.

Step 4: Construct the Base
The console is basically broken into three parts, each at a different angle. Using the poster board and a truly stupid quantity of packing tape, I built fairly close approximations, then painted them with a combination of spray and acrylic paints, in shades of metallic bronze and brown.

Step 5: Make the Doo-Dads
I made the lights, switches, buttons, and screens using chalk pastels on black construction paper, then liberally applied fixatif to keep it all from rubbing off on Wash’s hands while he played with his toy dinosaurs.

The final product was not at all glamorous, and bore only a passing resemblance to the real thing, but given that the video showed only a small portion, and that wasn’t the focus anyway, it served its purpose.

Sketch – Wash has too much time on his hands, Part 1 from Peter Rogers on Vimeo.

Sketch – Wash has too much time on his hands, Part 2 from Peter Rogers on Vimeo.

Sketch – Wash has too much time on his hands, Part 3 from Peter Rogers on Vimeo.

As an added bonus, I was able to just slice through the tape along the edges and store it flat, just in case the need arises again.

—————————————–

Oh, and that “seamstress for the band” bit?

After the first Firefly show, the cast and crew hung out and sang karaoke for a few hours, and toward the end of the evening, they sang Tiny Dancer to me.

Blue jean baby
L.A. lady
…seamstress for the band

🙂

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