The Galactic Glitch: In which we film a cheesy movie for our space camp

The Galactic Glitch: In which we film a cheesy movie for our space camp

In an earlier post, I described the creative writing “Space Camp” that I taught with fellow writers Stacey Matson and Marcie Nestman through the Creative Writing for Children Society (CWC).

In preparation for that week-long endeavour, we got together with our creative friends and filmed a short Star Wars-inspired film.

The project was developed by my friend Luke Spence Byrd. His day job is working for Industrial Light and Magic, but he recently had some time off and wanted to work on something that allowed him to have some creative license. He’s done previous films in preparation for our creative writing camps, so when he found out our theme was “space”, he went all in.

Luke rented a space for a day of filming and we set up multiple green screens so that we could shoot against them. I’m no actor to begin with, but filming with limited physical props and virtually no practical sets was very challenging!

The only real set piece we had at all was a console for our spaceship, which my friend Rob and I built in the days leading up to our shoot day.

The console began with a pile of household junk and some plywood reclaimed from Rob’s scrap pile!

cwcgalaxymovie_junk

cwcgalaxymovie_console_inprogress

This is how it ended up looking:

cwcgalaxymovie_marcie&console.jpg

It turned out pretty well for a quick-and-dirty job. It even had functioning LED lights that sparked to life with the flick of a few switches.

The only other thing I really did to prep was to put together my costume. Thankfully, I had many bits and pieces left over from previous events:

cwcgalaxymovie_lee_costume

It also helped that our friend Jeff Porter, our cosplay and costume guru, had many costume bits to help us out with the filming. And it also helped that Luke has a full-size Jabba the Hutt costume that we could use!

cwcgalaxymovie_jabba

The cast consisted of myself, actor and playwright Marcie Nestman, authors Stacey Matson and Kallie George, the aforementioned Jeff Porter and Rob Stocks (who actually didn’t intend to be in the film, but got roped into it once he was on set). Oh, and, of course, R2D2, whom you will see in the photos below . . .

cwcgalaxymovie_script

cwcgalaxymovie_l&m

cwcgalaxymovie_lukedirecting_jeff

cwcgalaxymovie_lukedirecting_r2

cwcgalaxymovie_lukedirecting

cwcgalaxymovie_rob

cwcgalaxymovie_studio

cwcgalaxymovie_cast&console

Well, the film turned out to be way more ambitious than originally intended. As it turned out, we could only finish a trailer in time for our space camp, plus a couple of scenes that really helped us when it came to a few specific writing activities. The rest of the film will be finished later this year.

But, for now, here is the trailer for CWC and the Galactic Glitch:

 

 

Advertisements

“Inspircation” Day 16: Secret Cinema, Star Wars style

Yesterday, was such a full day, I didn’t even get a chance to blog at the end of it. So I’m doing a bit of catch up.

It was our first full day in London, and boy did we make the most of it. After a quick breakfast in our hotel, we hoofed it south towards Westminster Abbey. Marcie and I always prefer walking to transit, when possible, because, of course, you get to see so much more of a place. In this instance, we inadvertently ended up trekking along part of the Diana Princess of Wales Memorial Walk. It borders some beautiful park land . . .

london_dianawalkpark

dianawalkplaque dianawalkparkpond dianawalkpark_ducks

We then arrived at Westminster Abbey and went inside to explore. I had been there previously, but it was the first time for Marcie and my mom. Collectively, I think our favourite part was the Poets’ Corner, where many famous writers are either interred or memorialized, including Chaucer, Austen, Wordsworth, Byron, Dickens . . . well, the list goes on and on.

We couldn’t take any photos inside, which started to really kill me as I encountered door after wonderful door. But at least we got a few pictures of the abbey just outside.

westminster_lef westminsterabbey_marcie

And, as it happened, as we exited the abbey, they were sonorously ringing the bells. Yesterday marked the day that the length of Queen Elizabeth II’s rule surpassed that of Queen Victoria. We heard that Queen Elizabeth wanted to keep the celebrations low key (after all, this occasion also marks the anniversary of her father’s death).

We stopped to get a picture at Big Ben, along with the hordes of other tourists (which is a fortuitous thing, since there are lots of people to take photos of one another). So here’s my big belly in front of Big Ben:

bigben_family

Afterwards, we headed to the Churchill War Museum. This is an amazing installation. Much of it is in intact from the way it was left at the end of World War II. It’s truly like a rabbit warren down there, with passages turning this way and that. It’s well worth the visit, but just make sure you do it in order and not get turned around like we did. (Which, should come as no surprise, given our history of getting lost on this trip).

I loved this wall of keys. These are the original keys from the period, which were used to open the various rooms.

churchillmuseum_keys

And here’s an original map—in fact, all the maps there were intact, left exactly as they were in 1945.

churchillmuseum_map

And here’s the office of Churchill’s secretary:

churchillmuseum-office

As you can see by the above photos, the lighting wasn’t great, so we didn’t take a ton of photos and instead just chose to enjoy the experience.

Here’s a few doors from the day’s explorations . . .

london-rippledoor

london_doorrippledetailwestminsterabbey-doorhandle london_door_handhandle

Then, in the evening, came the BIG EVENT. Months ago, Marcie and I booked tickets for Secret Cinema Star Wars. I had only found out about this event after we had planned our trip and since we were already planning to be in London during its run, we decided we better go. The tickets were quite expensive, but now, after having gone, I would have paid double.

Actually, I can’t even begin to express how amazing and surreally awesome Secret Cinema Star Wars. It was like walking into the movie. Or like playing some sort of Dungeons & Dragons game—except that it was the 5D version (6D, if you count the Force—and why wouldn’t you?).

Marcie and I had both been assigned identities months ago; she was Losa Starkiller and I was Joruus Macaque. Since we have been on the road a lot this year and coming all the way from Canada, we had not pre-ordered costumes. We had assumed we’d be able to buy costumes on site, so were much distressed when we discovered the shop is far away from the event. So, we arrived in our plain old clothes and there wasn’t much we could do about it. Everyone else, it seemed to us, was dressed head to toe in the most amazing costumes!

As it turned out, we did arrive at a stage of the event where we could buy some simple accoutrements, and we did—instantly we felt better.

But I get ahead of myself. Basically, the first part of the event focused on immersing us—the audience, the participants, whatever you want to call us—in the world that you seen in Star Wars: A New Hope.

Together, Losa Starkiller and I played Sabaac with Lando Calrissian, bartered with Jawas to buy valuable spice, drank engine oil in the cantina, watched the Modal Nodes play, sat at Aunt Beru’s kitchen (she served blue milk), witnessed Chewbacca break out of a Mos Eisley prison, were interrogated by imperial officers, personally booked passage to Alderaan with Han Solo, and were recruited—just the two of us out of at least two hundred people—by General Madine to prowl hidden corridors on the Death Star so that we could located Stormtrooper TK-144 and negotiate procurement of the secret plans vital for destroying the Death Star.

Which we did. Then watched Obi-Wan fight Vader, Luke destroy above said Death Star, and stood in the award ceremony to see the rebel heroes get their medals.

At the very end, we watched a version of The Empire Strikes Back. I say a version, because while the film played there was some live-action events going on, too.

There were no photos, phones, or devices of any kind allowed at this event, which made it an even more immersive experience. Honestly, the event would have been wrecked otherwise. But we did get a couple of photos outside at the end.

If you can go to this event . . . GO. Honestly. No matter how many words I write about it, it wouldn’t do the experience any justice. Best. Play. Ever.

secretcinema_marciebarcode

secretcinema_loot secretcinema-l&m secretcinema_marcieplans

Best. Play. Ever.

A tour of my writing studio ~ Part 3

studio_wallov

Here’s the final part of my virtual studio tour, in which I’m showing the items that I have collected or built over the years, and which serve to offer me daily inspiration.

We start off in a corner of artwork and photographs . . .

Brunelleschi Print

My wife bought this print of a Brunelleschi blueprint for me when we were in Florence, Italy. As a student of art history, it had long been a dream of mine to visit Florence. This is a fitting memento.

studio-brunelleschiblueprint

* * *

The Young Astronomer

This is a print of one of my favorite paintings: The Young Astronomer, by Oliver Van Deuren. I bought it at the National Gallery in London a few years ago. I just love the pensive look on the figure. I think this scene reminds me of how I feel during a moment of study and discovery.

studio_youngastronomer

* * *

Zōjōji in Shiba

This is a print of a painting done in 1925 by Hasui Kawase. I loved this scene the moment I saw it. I bought the print in the Asakusa outdoor market when I visited Tokyo in the winter of 2014.

studio_japaneseprint

* * *

Travel Photos

These are three of my favorite photos from my travels: ceremonial weapons on the Great Wall of China, the stone head of a buddha statue cradled in the roots of a bodhi tree at Ayatthaya, Thailand, and a spiraling staircase at St. Stephens’ Basilica in Budapest, Hungary.

studio_travelphotos

* * *

Keys

I hung these keys in the far corner of the orange section. First, because there was a space to fill and, second, well, you can never have enough keys to inspire you.

studio_blackkeys

* * *

These next pieces are all from the opposite wall of my studio, what I call the “white corner.”

Mickey Mouse Sketch

This is a print of a sketch from the famous “Sorcerer’s Apprentice” scene in Fantasia. That scene has long been one of my favorite pieces of animation.

studio_fantasia

* * *

Clair de Lune

This is a print of a painting by the Czech art deco artist, Alfonso Mucha. I picked it up on a visit to an art gallery in Prague. I’ve always been a huge fan of art deco art and illustration.

studio_artdecopainting

* * *

Ozymandias

This frame combines a picture I took at Luxor in Egypt with the famous poem by Percy Bysshe Shelley called Ozymandias. It has always been one of my favorite poems, and when I saw this truncated statue, I was reminded of it.

studio_ozymandias

* * *

We now move into another Star Wars corner of my studio. (Yes, I have two Star Wars corners!)

Autographs

In this frame are a pair of postcards signed by the actors who played Chewbacca and Boba Fett (I met both in person).

studio_starwarsautographs

* * *

Star Wars Trilogy Postcards

This frame features the poster series of the re-release of the original trilogy. I can’t remember how I came into possession of this.

studio_trilogyframe

* * *

R2D2

My fully-functioning voice-controlled R2D2 droid stands on guard in the white corner of my studio. He actually has a security alarm as part of his features, so intruders beware!

studio_r2d2

* * *

Rancor and Ticket

On the shelf near the white corner of my studio is a ticket I was sent from Lucasfilm for the re-release of Star Wars in 1997, standing proudly next to my Rancor action figure.

studio_rancor&ticket

* * *

Griffin

Well, he’s more or less a permanent fixture in my studio, so it seems apt to conclude the tour with a photo of him in his usual position!

studio_griffin

The Force of Folding

I just wrapped up a few creative writing classes in which we were studying the Origami Yoda books. For the uninitiated, these are fantastic middle-grade books by author Tom Angleberger. There are three books so far: The Strange Case of Origami Yoda, Darth Paper Strikes Back, and—the latest—The Secret of the Fortune Wookie (featuring my all-time favourite character).

Speaking of fortune, I’ve had the great joy to meet Tom Angleberger in person. He is certainly full of the Force, which you can tell if you listen to the interview we did in 2011. 

The Strange Case of Origami Yoda. Darth Paper Strikes Back The Secret of the Fortune Wookie

One of the best things about the Origami Yoda books is that they offer teachers lots of great hands-on activities, foremost of which is Star Wars Origami. I thought I would post some pictures of some of my students’ creations.

Origami Star Wars

Origami Star Wars

Origami Star Wars

Origami Star Wars

Origami Star Wars

Origami Star Wars

By the way, I hope the next book involves Boba Fett (or whatever the origami equivalent of his name will be)!

The Secret of the Fortune Wookie