Terrorium: A Recap

Now that The Grand Cinema’s 253 Film Screening has happened, I can share some of the work I did in 24 hours (with a 8-hour break for sleep in there).

When I met with Derek Schneider, Candace Schneider, and Caleb Fisher for the first time, I had recently finished working on a presentation regarding immigrant and refugee stories in Tacoma, WA. Much of my other published written work has been on social justice and political issues. I have spent years doing uncredited written material for educational and non-profit institutions, as well as confidential reports for vocational rehabilitation cases. Derek brought forward the concern that he typically produced comedies.

After focusing on such serious material for a long time, I made it clear I was ready for a fun project, and so…

I wrote a script that can be summed up as a feminist poop joke meets Japanese monster movies. And then I scrambled to prepare the costumes and props in time for the shoot.

It’s not completely without redeeming qualities. As a migraine sufferer, I hope this project will draw attention to some people’s reliance on chemical air fresheners in the work place. But let’s be honest: in 72 hours, it’s pretty darn hard to create a 253 second film that meets a competition’s required elements (includes dialogue “back to square one,” references fake news, has a white dress, and includes a scene from a well-known movie) AND serves society beyond entertainment value.

 

Hastily made buildings
The day before the shoot, Director Derek Schneider dropped off a load of cardboard boxes per my request that we create a model city to destroy. While painting the grid in my yard, a neighbor’s Husky decided to rampage through the city a little early. (Thanks, Shiner.) Actors helped work on this project in between takes on set up until the very end.
Robot 1
Actor Sarah Dullanty was awesome to work with. I told her the idea for the costume, and she helped piece together her arm bands and staple claws while I worked on the rest of her costume. She also used her costume making skills to create straps for the inside of the box so she could have more mobility. Paul Figueroa created little satellite dishes for the buildings, and was more than happy to make extras to serve as the robot’s ears.
Robot 2
In case it’s not obvious, Actor Sarah Dullanty could not see while in this costume. Props had to be placed into her hands.
Robot vs Turtle 1
Actor Alicia Longman was also great to work with through this whole process. Honestly, the whole crew rocked.
Robot vs Turtle 2
The turtle armature is light, but not sized to actor Alicia Longman as I met her for the first time on the day of the shoot. For the face, I cut a N95 air filter mask in half and painted it like a turtles nostrils. The elastic did not want to stay on her head, so we used painters tape on the sides. We wanted bad props, and I think we succeeded.
Air so fresh_low res
Label design for the air freshener, which is the catalyst for the robot vs. turtle fight. Yes, I know, it’s impossible to genetically mutate into a robot. That’s not how science works.

 

 

I’m looking forward to my slightly more serious next project, this time as writer/ director/ and probably producer. If you’re interested in working on a feminist dark comedy series for the web, hit me up. I’ll need editors, sound, actors, funding. Camera operators would be great, too. More information to come.

 

 

[All photos and text by Suzanne Skaar. All rights reserved. 2019.]