Tag filmmaking

24 posts

Becoming Geek

Not so long ago, I was one of those really unsocialized homeschoolers who couldn’t hold up a conversation about Harry Potter but could tell you about ANWR (Alaskan National Wildlife Refuge), domestic (oil) drilling, and how little control our federal government really has over the control of oil prices. I’d only ever played racing video games occasionally – my favorite games were the educational ones my parents bought or that my grandpa got from school – namely, Mavis Beacon Typing, Story Weaver, and Amazon Trail. Those were just the games I was allowed to play, actually. My brother played Need For Speed, and Lego Racers (which I joined in on a few times) and was allowed video games and consoles.
I lived in a very controlling, mentally/spiritually/emotionally abusive home, where I raised and nurtured 6 of my siblings until I moved out days before my 7th sibling was born at 18. I was never encouraged in any artistic endeavor or to do anything but get married and become a breeder for religious reasons. That’s what I got for being born with a uterus – my reproductive organs defined my worth.
I never read The Chronicles of Narnia, Lord of the Rings, or Harry Potter because magic was witchcraft, which we would inevitably start practicing if we were exposed to it (because of our lack of brains?). At one point we abandoned our Disney collection, until my mom had too many kids it was impractical to keep them from Cinderella even if it did have a fairy godmother in it, and she did use a spell (bippity, boppity, boo).
I thus immersed myself in historical fiction and studying history so intensely that I still have a lot of random stuff memorized. It was the only allowed form of geekiness that I had, and so, I used it. I had 4 pocket constitutions; for a couple years I always had one on hand, just in case. I knew where to find ANYTHING by the article, and often section number.
Because I was so intensely set on learning I saw through the bullshit that a lot of the history “teachers” in the Christian community were peddling. Their revisionist history – while I was never allowed to say otherwise without being lectured – was clearly ill informed, completely untrue, and lacking in any historical context. I knew this because I studied everything around and leading up to events just for the context.
Now when people try to tell me that we were meant to be a theocracy by our founders, I call bullshit and brainwashed.
That’s kind of besides the point, though. The point is that I was sheltered. I was not allowed to play actual video games for more than an hour here-or-there if my siblings needed a player 2. I wasn’t allowed to read fantasy books because of religion. I hadn’t seen Star Wars until I was nearly 17, and even then I was bored because it was Episode 1. I’m convinced we only saw it because my mom was confused about the “classic” nature of it, and the kid from Jingle All The Way was starring.
I didn’t see LOTR until I was 17 at my boyfriend’s house, because he was really into it: Tolkien quote in email signature and everything. We started with the extended edition – I had to watch it 3 different times before I got the story and then I fell in love with the genre and with LOTRTwo Towers especially.
When I moved out, and moved in with my boyfriend’s family which is an even longer story, we started playing the PC version of Halo on occasion. That was my first “real” introduction to gaming, even though I hated getting shot all the time while figuring out how to move. I was also introduced to Firefly and Fringe – we’d watch these quietly to avoid waking up his parents, who are also not into science fiction or fantasy.
When we got married, we bought our first console, cable, and I’ve come a long way since then. I’d always identified as a geek, much to my mom’s horror, because I always knew I was – so you can imagine my happiness upon finding not only a ton of content, but a ton of people who were into the same things. We discovered that Focus on the Family outright lied about Harry Potter; Doctor Who is amazing; Browncoats are forever; and GAMING IS FUN. There are games that have stories, you guys! STORIES, not just racing and/or shooting. I had found that piece of me that was missing and wanting to manifest, that piece of me that helps everything else make sense.
Ask any ex-quiverfull or fundamentalist daughter and they’ll tell you it’s reallllllly hard to escape the you-are-your-uterus-mindset and find out who you actually are, what you actually like. This has been a long process for me – an ongoing process even, because I’m still unlearning old thought processes. On bad days, I just sit and wonder if doing what I want is even worth it – if being me (whoever that is) is even worth it.
It is.
Now, I’m making the third season of my web-series. I started it last year in a moment of clarity, sudden bravery, and lack of fucks to give after an existential crisis.
This project, KieryGeek Season Three, is all about storytelling: the things that I love about gaming, sci-fi, fantasy, and geekdom – I’ll be talking about world-building in games and collecting play-through footage. I’ll also be creating stories with the help of my co-conspirator Matt (MALE FRIEND I’M NOT MARRIED TO WHAT? TAKE THAT UPBRINGING!) in a hangout format. I’d really like to see this funded not just because it’s cool and another kind of community, but because it would mean so much to me personally and my constantly self-critical psyche to do something amazing and worthwhile and completely me for a change.
Thank you everybody!

KieryGeek: Kickstarter

Over a year ago, I launched KieryGeek, and I was terrified. It’s been a wacky and wild ride  since then. Amazingly so, actually – I’m happy that this is still something I’m just as, if not more invested in than when I started. It’s kind of huge, to be doing something that I want to do, not something people tell me I should do.
I sometimes feel bad, because I occasionally hear the voices and people from my past in my head, scoffing and frowning at me for following this crazy dream. I know a lot of people who don’t really get it, because it’s not very adult-y. I know in their minds I should be doing home-maker-y things, but, I’ve said this so many times, it’s not me.
I’m going where my passions lie, where I come alive as a whole person, not split up into right brain/left brain, or brain and heart. I am going in in the direction of where I live. Which in turn has caused me to evolve more, as myself, and bridge gaps within my own mind – my limitations, and fears, and tear down my walls of “shoulds” (or at least start).
Last year, I was terrified and just decided to start – and didn’t stop. This year, I know people – more people in fact – who get it, and who are standing there with me. This year, I’m terrified because I’m approaching season 3 with a kickstarter. I’m starting off the next season asking for help and support – which is really out of my comfort zone.
I feel like, I can actually make this become everything I want it to be – which has grown exponentially since last year, and has become bigger than just me.
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If you want to back my project, click here or the image below, and share with your friends. FUND

Week in Review

I’ve never felt the need to wear makeup, and only applied it rarely – usually focusing on eyes, because no one kisses my eyelids. I think some of it was because I was given the ability to wear makeup when I was 13 and just never had the desire. It was one of those things where it was available, I felt, to cover up the imperfections on my face and serve as a mask to hide the things that I should be ashamed of (or at least feel the need to hide). I subscribed to the reasoning that if people didn’t like me because I didn’t wear makeup or cover my acne, then I didn’t really want to be friends with them anyway. So I didn’t put any effort into either skin care or makeup. When I did start to wear makeup, at 17, it was because I felt the need for a mask – psychologically, makeup presented that option. So for much of my life I’ve equated the frequent wearing of makeup to wearing a mask. In a way, with filming that’s still true – but I never saw the creativity in it, just a barrier to hide imperfections or flaws behind.
The last week has shaken that theory. Instead of building a psychological wall, the face is just another kind of canvas – and makeup just another kind of medium. Over the week I’ve done lots of crazy shit with my face. I did this kind of heavy winged look with eyeshadow (which is sort of becoming my paint of choice, as I had no idea how versatile it could be with just adding a little bit of water to the brush), made designs and played with various kinds of eyeliner. I have black and sparkle pen, pencil and liquid eyeliner, and a purple cream eyeliner. I learned Tuesday, that my lines are straighter when I use cream eyeliner as opposed to the other kinds. I think it’s because it’s harder to move, so I can take my time on it and it won’t squiggle as much – I could however, do with the brush being less pokey.
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2013: The year I inevitably become a makeup artist (and have so much fun)

It’s funny how life kinda throws things at you that then propel you into something you kinda wanted to take up, but didn’t have a huge need to. Without spoiling anything – I need to learn how to do a lot more makeup, a lot more things with it, and I need to learn it relatively quickly (okay, not really, but it’s more fun).
During my early teen years, I avoided makeup like the plague because I saw it very much as a mask. I didn’t start wearing it until I was 17 because at that point, psychologically, I felt the need to wear a mask, and I took comfort in it. Although my skill was limited to knowing where things go, and applying blush in a circular motion along the cheek bone whilst smiling, it was enough to use for “every day” wear (in reality, I rarely wear makeup due to my oily skin and feeling lazy). I have a basic knowledge of makeup and application, though doing anything too creative and I wind up with what happened a few posts down.
Fortunately, for filming, I didn’t need to do anything extensive – within the world of hendstrom makeup just needed to accentuate the natural features and not do anything fancy, which is well within my comfort and ability level.
With this episode, I want to be a little more ambitious with one of the new characters we’re introducing, and it’s important that this character looks a certain way.
Last year, I started putting together a rough makeup artist kit, because it’s handy to have better and not 5-year-old cosmetics for filming. I think at this point, I’ve probably spent around $120 on makeup and supplies. E.L.F. is my favorite ever. I discovered that Target carries them, and I’ve been stocking up there because I don’t feel bad about spending money on makeup when it’s good quality and inexpensive.

$22  (2 kinds osfmascara, 1 eye liner, primer, foundation, matte powder, makeup remover)
$22 (2 kinds of mascara, 1 eye liner, primer, foundation, matte powder, makeup remover)

I’m building my kit as I go, buying things I think I’ll need for my specific project – I bought a box, and prior to that I inventoried all of the makeup that I own.
ALL the makeup
ALL the makeup

The majority of the makeup I own is eye focused. I have a full set of brushes (I think) very old lipstick (except for the three in the pen shaped tubes), and all the non-elf foundation is at least 4 years old. It all works still, except for the two really old mascara tubes in the foreground; those are clumpy.
I bought a case, because they had the pretty lace caboodle one at Walmart and sorted everything into it.
Makeup Case
Makeup Case

Today, the book I ordered “A complete guide to Special Effects Makeup” came in along with tattoo pens.

Which brings me to my final point(s). Upon reading and flipping through the book this afternoon I learned something that forever changed my researching. A phrase, a makeup that is commonly used is called greasepaint. And that, my dear friends, was the key to finding all the blogs and tutorials I was looking for this whole time. Upon further reading, I’ve concluded that I don’t need it in my makeup artist kit just yet, so instead I went to eyeslipsface.com and $27 later, I have (hopefully) all the tools I need to complete the new character’s look, plus some red lipstick (to replace the old, going one) and a plum liquid eyeliner just for me because it was like $3 and I couldn’t resist, it just called.

I have decided, that with the discovery of blogs and tutorials, and new makeup coming in, I’m going to attempt to learn how to apply it creatively, try different things, and hopefully get good enough at it so that the new character doesn’t suck. Whether or not I post the pictures on here every day, I don’t know – depends on how much I botch it up in the process, but it’ll probably at least be on instagram.

In which I buy lots more makeup

We’ve been working on preproduction for Hendstrom a lot lately – I’ve drawn out some costume alterations, put together a list of costume thingies I need – and, as you can see in the last post, started trying crazy stuff with eyeliner. I’ve decided to invest in tattoo pens instead, because 10 minutes in the sink isn’t as fun as it sounds. Tonight, we braved the cold and quelled our stir craziness and stopped by Target so I could pick up some more makeup to experiment with.
I ended up with 2 kinds of mascara (well 4, but 2 tubes), eyeliner pen, face primer, foundation that is (hopefully) lighter than my skin tone, and makeup remover cloths – all for $22 because E.L.F. is the best ever and I don’t feel bad buying loads of makeup – because it’s good makeup and way less expensive; perfect for low/no-budget filming and preproduction!
Our notebooks are filling up with pictures and plot lines and rough set designs. Earlier this month, we started a vlog tumblr (vlogblr?) of our preproduction process and what we’ve been working on – we’ll be releasing another one later this week, so if you’re keen, follow hendstrom.tumblr.com because documenting is fun!
Work is ending soon which will give me time to expel some of this creative energy into doing ALL THE SEWING. I’m looking forward to it, honestly. And playing with face makeup. I have a book I’d like to order along with the tattoo pens that should hopefully help with the makeup-artistry.
Interesting thing about being a very very indie filmmaker, is that you have to balance everything that goes into a film yourselves. You have to build the world, write the world, fill the world, film the world, light the world, and dress the world all by yourself with whatever resources you have or can hack together. It makes you realize why exactly there are so many departments on movies: art teams, painting teams, makeup, costume, lighting, DP’s, AD’s, sound, noms, everything. Because it’s hard enough balancing all that for a handful of people, let alone hundreds.
Thing is though, this is an all encompassing art form, and I love it; that’s why I vlog, and draw, and pour everything into preproduction, and act, and watch Alex edit it all together.