Posts Tagged ‘modelling’

Chloe posted this blog yesterday. You may have seen it.

I’ll paraphrase myself from her blog to explain this. I played Vampire: the Masquerade at university and decided to play a character I’d created from an earlier game, a Malkavian called Summer. In life she was introverted, socially detached, curious in a child-like way, until she was kidnapped and killed by a Malkavian vampire. The ‘Malkavian’ clan are delegated thus for, in short, being insane. This vampire in question made a practice of inscribing this name onto the skin of his creations, but unlike most ‘sires’, he then abandoned Summer. She was found and taken in by another group of vampires, and one among their number was able to remove the scars from her arm. But she later became terrified that her unknown sire would discover this betrayal, and she inscribed the letters back into her arm.

While at university I also did myself a bit of drawing, and decided to draw the above scene, which I was planning for the game. Let me stop here to add, for anyone who has never played Vampire: The Masquerade before, that this is fairly light stuff for the World of Darkness series. I wasn’t trying to be edgy at this stage.

I liked the image in my head, but my drawing did it no justice. So a year or so later, after a few months of frolicking in front of Chloe’s camera, I shyly put forward the idea of creating the image as a photograph, then even more shyly showed her my drawing. Chloe is also a V:TM player, and she was very excited by the idea.

We had some chats on how to best portray the character outside of a game, roped in Hannah Lonergan for her outstanding blood effects and drove over to the abandoned nightclub. The rest of the shoot you can read about in Chloe’s blog.

A few months later Chloe sent me the final image before posting it anywhere to ask what I thought. That alone should have been a warning, because Chloe typically likes to keep things as surprises. I opened the picture on my phone and genuinely stared at it for a good few minutes. Normally I do this anyway in a “How amazing does Chloe make me look” sort of way. This time it was more, “…oh. Wow. That’s frightening.” I really wasn’t sure if I wanted it to go online. Without context (and of course I knew the context better than anyone) it seemed very stark and real. In a strange way, it made me see the character very differently. She was fun to play, cute and funny and a bit sad. But seeing it, even in my own face, was something else.

So I sat down with Chloe to discuss the image and whether we wanted to put it online.

My concerns were twofold. First up was that I know absolutely nothing about, and have no experience whatsoever with, the utterly massive world of self-harm. I’m very lucky. And the last thing I wanted was to either upset someone who was unfortunate enough to have experience, or make light of the concept in any way. My second concern was more selfish – despite breaking a few barriers with more dark and unusual shoots, everyone around me is also aware that I know nothing and have no experience in this world. Putting my face on it felt strange and self-conscious in a way that showing bare skin on camera had never done before.

But we are artists, and artists break genres and show skin and do things that scare them. We put the image online.

I asked for permission to publish a few comments from friends:

“Having known you for years, that final image is just… hard to look at? I don’t know. Amazing make up work, but, dammed. Your face to that image kind of shook me up.” 

“Damn….” 

It was this particular comment which made me realise something I had never been aware of about Summer before, not when playing her, nor when modelling her:

“That’s quite a troubling image that, rightly, or wrongly, or perhaps more accurately: fairly, or unfairly, requires a lot of context to understand.”

Chloe replied:

“Quite. We were so carried away and with the concept already clear in our heads, we didn’t actually consider at the time how it would look to other people.”

And I nearly wrote this on the Facebook thread, before I realised I was getting carried away in my own thoughts:

I think we always knew that it would need the context to work. What we didn’t think through was how that stupid cartoon version I drew would translate into real flesh, literally. But actually it doesn’t need vampires and a character situation to work. It’s about a child who was mistreated by someone whom she trusted, someone who should have been there for her, who tried to leave painful memories behind but just wasn’t ready to let go of them. That isn’t fantasy, not really. If anything maybe knowing the context just makes it easier to look at.

I don’t have a point to make with this. I’m just fascinated by how something has gone from a roleplaying character, to a concept shoot, to an image we never intended to create, to an insight on that roleplaying character that I never intended to have. I hope no one is offended by the image, or upset by it, and I hope Chloe and Hannah’s work is appreciated artistically as well as for its shock factor.

As further justification for my insistence that Summer was never meant to represent this, here is a response from my mate Ian, who played John alongside Summer in Vampire: The Masquerade:

“Ah, she was such a fun character…having a fairly good day by the looks of it. It’s only an arm!!!!”

There’s a discussion starting on Chloe’s blog about roleplaying characters and how they are perceived by people around them – jump in!

Welcome to my newly branded website! In an effort to celebrate, here is a miniature map of the new shape of the site:

Home!
From the Old English ham meaning ‘dwelling’, ironically where content changes most frequently and people linger the least

Modelling!
More pictures, less text; the best of my modelling portfolio, plus links to the other places you can see my face online

Project Flashcards!
A big part of my life at the moment deserves big fancy capital letters. The question is, which of the three movies currently in post-production will make it to this page first? (Hint: THIS ONE)

Writing!
My fiction, my featured writers, and my proofreading services

Blog!
This one, specifically

About!
Including links to other places you can find me online and other things that I like

As I’ve been pushing Flashcards pretty hard recently, here’s a brief update on how the project is going. In mid-January we shot STRINGS, the first short written for the project, utilising the professional help of Kiera Gould, Bill Thomas and Jon Boylan, among the other friends Kiera convinced to convene in the woods at 7am. Estimated wrap was 8 o’clock that evening, but following a joking conversation a week earlier, we had at the last minute arranged to shoot Ben Daly’s OUT OF BREATH the following day. Both shoots went surprisingly smoothly, with Out of Breath only marginally slowed down by everyone’s collective exhaustion and the only moment of panic in Strings caused by a stage light exploding on the Vincents’ driveway.

Having pulled several (proverbial) strings to make the shoots work, I left several parties eagerly awaiting the finished films, while my own interest was quickly snatched by the SCI-FI-LONDON 48-HOUR FILM CHALLENGE. I tentatively approached those who were already involved in Flashcards and scraped together some interest, which eventually became a team of twelve. Then, in a sleep-deprived desperation to meet deadlines, Phil Grigg and I made the painful (read: easiest) decision to remove the credits from the final product in order to stay below the time limit. So while the film sits with the judges with no names but that of the team, here are the awesome people who helped make it happen:

Andrew Cunningham (2nd unit director, composition, voice actor)
Chloe Isherwood (director of photography)
Alex Twinn (writer, production assistant)
Phil Grigg (production assistant, editorial assistant, foley artist)
Toby Warren (sound recording)
Fran Green (production assistant, and one of the first to encourage me to make this happen)
Gemma Druce (actor)
Jon Boylan (voice actor)
Adam Gould (voice actor)
Michael Vincent (voice actor, art department)
Matt Evans (voice actor, cybernetics consultant)
And Dan Tull (lender of Macbook and Final Cut Pro)

Curious? Watch A SPECIAL ANNOUNCEMENT on Vimeo now!

Hello friends and followers,

Following an unnecessarily lengthy dark period over Christmas (where Christmas lasts from mid-November to late January) and a sudden burst of everything to be done, I’ll soon be completely overhauling and revamping this website, and until then I won’t be updating this blog regularly. Here are a few final updates to tide you over until the new website is up and running:

> I got a new job. Woohoo!

> Surrey Rollergirls were on GetSurrey and TGTSurrey recently, and we’re playing at Eastbourne Extreme  in July.

> In late January I directed the first two shorts for the newly branded PROJECT FLASHCARDS, both of which are now in a lengthy and incompetence-highlighting post-production.

> Isherwood Extreme informs me she has a few modelling shoot ideas she would like me to take part in, but in classic Chloe style won’t tell me what they are. I am hoping they involve warm clothes.

Two more shoots for Project Flashcards are in preproduction for the next few months, as well as initial planning for Three-Sphere’s first music video “Diamonic”. Until my new website is up and running I’ll be updating in miniature on Twitter, so follow me @cnhwilliams88 and look out for #projectflashcards and other such hashtags.