ENTITY is dressed in a worn, scorched checkered suit. His eyes are completely black and his face is disfigured, layers of skin cover his mouth almost looking naturally stitched over. – Time Lapse script draft 4
That was my first description of the monster in one of my earlier versions of the script. I remember originally wanting this creature to be more than his ‘image’ I wanted him to be a presence, a void from the darkness consuming life and when full fading into nothing- a lot like a black hole. A Nothing. A Void. A Fear.
They say ‘write what you know’…well thankfully I don’t have any black hole type people in my life but I do spend a lot of my time alone late at work, editing in a dark room. It usually creeps the life out of me; the ‘fear’ would sometimes get the better of me and start to become stronger than my reality until it became as real as my reality. That’s how The Entity was conceived.
Working with a concept artist
Concept Artists can be fantastic collaborators, especially when you’re at the script development stage because they can really shape your imagination, they can take your words or your characters and really breathe life into them. I placed an add on peopleperhour.com eventually meeting Brooke Langton. Brooke was brilliant to work with and after a few initial drafts she sent me the final design…It was exactly what I had envision. The first phase of The Entity was complete.
Working with a Costume Designer
ENTITY is dressed in a worn, scorched checkered suit….
The script didn’t really do it justice, I didn’t just want worn and scorched I wanted dank, dirty and oozing from the pits in hell. In short, not something I could pick up at the local Primark (INSERT APPROPRIATE JOKE HERE). A Costume Designer was the only option. I’d worked with Liz Burton (not that one) on a period shoot through work at The Rural Media Company and I remember feeling a little silly asking Liz to design me what is, essentially, a dirty suit. Liz totally understood and I was prepared, I had my script and the concept art!
We first shopped around the charity shops, looking for the best fit. We wanted a light suit because the colour grade in post would automatically take a lot of detail away from the suit. It also needed to look old and slightly out of fashion and although you can find some absolute gems in charity shops, you can also find some fashion rejects!
This is what the jacket actually looked like before Liz started working on it.
Weeks went by and Liz eventually produced this monstrously decayed suit. Phase two of The Entity’s look was complete!
Working with a Make Up Artist
I’d worked with Maz Leyden twice before, once on a short film recreating a road side bomb and once running a Half-Term Horror School…so I knew she was perfect for creating the third phase of The Entity, the head.
Maz was great, she gave me loads of advice about different textures and styles, different SFX providers. I was completely out of my depth so it’s always always always the best idea to seek advice from someone who knows exactly what they’re doing. The best place by far online was http://www.nimbacreations.com, the wait can be a little excruciating because they make everything to order…in Scotland. The products do not disappoint but if you’re ordering, order well in advance (possible a month before)!
Our first photoshoot and make up test took nearly 3 hours to transform Jack into The Entity. If you’re making a film with any SFX, always have a test day first and see what the quality looks like on camera and then in the edit, with a colour grade.
Finally, after a lot of writing, sketching, stitching, and painting…we had our Entity, the lovely looking face of The Fear. Now to the final phase…
Working with the Actor
At the beginning of this blog I wrote that I wanted The Entity to have a presence. Jack did a wonderful job with the physicality and menace of the character and that brought it to life just as much as the costume, the wig and the make up. Always take time to include your actors and let them shape the characters themselves because it will come from a more natural place, a more believable place.
That’s how the Entity was created, it took a lot of planning and care and I had to surround myself with some talented people but with dedication and team work we got in to a position to start shooting. So if you’re embarking on a massive SFX challenge or any challenge for that matter, take it one step at a time and whatever you do, just take it in your stride!