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.]

Projects

The last few weeks have been jam-packed with projects, and I feel like I’m just now able to catch my breath.

On April 19, I presented my research project, “Immigration and Tacoma: Past and Present,” at Tacoma’s Tripod Series. Thank you to all those who agreed to be interviewed for this project, and to the fabulous Lynn Di Nino for allowing me to be a part of this event. I will share more on this at a later date.

Earlier in that same day, I hosted South End Neighborhood Council’s Neighborhood Moment, in partnership with TV Tacoma, as well as guests from Tacoma Community House and the Tacoma Refugee Choir. Click here for more information.

If you’re in Tacoma on Friday, May 10, you should check out the Grand Cinema’s 253 Short Film Fest Viewing Party! I signed up with a group of total strangers, wrote the script, and constructed props for the project “Terrorium”, which we had 72 hours to complete. Like you, it will be my first time seeing the finished product! Click here for tickets and more details.

Currently, I’m available for writing, presentations, consultations, and more. Send me a message at suzanneskaar@hotmail.com.

Cheers!

Suzanne

“Unicoooorn!! Unicoooooorn!”

Promotional photo for Peter S. Beagle's "The Last Unicorn." Animation by Studio Topcraft, which later morphed into Studio Ghibli. How cool is that?!
Promotional photo for Peter S. Beagle’s “The Last Unicorn.” Animation by Studio Topcraft, which later morphed into Studio Ghibli. How cool is that?!

 

For my birthday this year, Tim gave me a DVD of “The Last Unicorn.” It has to be one of my favorite presents of all time. The artwork is gorgeous and the stories behind the movie are just as interesting as the plot itself. I remember watching the film as a young kid overseas, and now I love sharing this experience with mine. The fact that our 2-year-old just said “harpy” yesterday for the first time should attest to how many times we have watched it since July.

 

So while watching the special features interview with Peter S. Beagle, the author of the novel upon which the film is based, I learned that the film would be screened in theaters for the first time since its release. Tacoma is going to be one of the lucky cities on the tour! There will be three showings at the Blue Mouse Theater on November 8, and the author will be present at each one. Just as cool, artist Dana Simpson will be joining the tour. In addition to being one of my favorite co-workers from back in the day, she is the author of Heavenly Nostrils, a comic about a girl named Phoebe and her magical unicorn, which you can (and should!) now buy in book form.

 

To get your tickets and see if the film will be coming to your town, check out www.lastunicorntour.com.

 

–Suzanne