She's So Sweet She'll Make Your Teeth Wiggle
Sometimes our ideas will start with one random moment... and from there we just go and make something.
A while back Mermaid Child had mentioned she wanted a multi color wig. No particular reason... just wanted one. Sometimes you just don't question what she wants. Thankfully Tacocat found an amazingly good deal on an a wig from Arda that someone was selling on eBay. They had colored some tips of the bangs and the ends. The deal was just too good to pass up even if there wasn't a specific reason to use it at the time.
So fast forward a few months later where we were discussing ideas on what shoots to do so we could have print material at Classic Game Fest. One of the sets we did from that was Allybelle as Whatagirl. During that discussion there was an idea floated about doing something with donuts. Now Mermaid Child loves donuts so she was all in for doing something. We weren't just sure what to do at that time especially since we had many things planned out for CGF.
After Classic Game Fest passed we started to work on ideas that we wanted to shoot in the upcoming months. And the donut idea was brought up again.
I had really been wanting to explore what we could do with colors. And if you ever look at donuts some are made to be really eye catching with the frosting and toppings. So this seemed like a good avenue to see what could be done there. Mermaid Child mentioned the wig she had... and we knew we had to do it. Now we just needed to figure out the rest out of the outfit among other pieces.
As we were talking through this idea I knew I just didn't want to refer to the character as 'Donut Girl'. It was way too generic and pretty close to Whatagirl. And I think when you have a particular name tied to a project it helps everyone get attached. So I started looking at the baking and candy section of the Joann Fabrics website for ideas. In there I saw an item called 'Sweet Sugarbelle'... and that would become her name.
Since we knew we wanted various kinds of donuts in the shots and we wanted to play with color we had to go for an outfit that would work well. Aiming for a single color there would not work. Nor did we want something that was super painfully obvious in multi-color patterns.
Then I remembered there were 'holographic' dresses out there where the base color would be silver but depending on how the light catches the material they could show off different colors. So there would be a good base color that would allow us to play with the color palette but yet could show off some colors on it's own. And it would certainly be eye catching like a well made donut. Thankfully we found a perfect dress for this from Coquetry Clothing.
There was another interesting random piece that came into play here. Through some random happenstance Mermaid Child ran into an article about inflatable chairs. The one bit that really caught our eye here was how one of the chairs had multi-colored glitter in it. Which would totally fit the motif we were going for here. Unfortunately Target never had them in stock (they were the exclusive seller). But I saw the company who made them also had a completely clear one. And given some ways I wanted to do things with color I thought it would work.
One bit that came about was how we wanted to present the donuts. I knew that Mermaid Child couldn't hold the donuts all the time so there had to be some way to get them in the shot. I originally looked at things like candle stands or planter stands. But what I discovered was that they were either not high enough for what I wanted or they were way too ornate and distracting. So I decided to make them myself.
As for the donuts themselves... we purchased those from Round Rock Donuts. They had a really good range of different kinds of donuts that I knew would work well for this idea. Though I think I initially confused the poor woman who helped me by saying "Yeah, I want four of all of these". There were so many donut boxes they had to get a garbage bag for me to carry them all in.
This time around I wanted to shoot at Waveform Austin. They have a great setup for lights and backdrops when you need them. Here I knew I wanted to use their white seamless paper they have available. Now we did have to layer things since they only had so much of the 108" paper there and therefore we had to layer the smaller width seamless to get the depth I needed. This did create a bit of a neat vignetting effect I liked so I kept that in some shots.
For this set there were a couple of things I wanted to experiment when it came to colors. One idea I wanted to try was to do something with color gels on the lights. That particular piece didn't quite work since this set didn't call for a well focused key light. Some more work to be done there.
One other thing I wanted to try was doing some things with colored cellophane. A while back I had seen a video from Joe Edelmann where he had some really neat ideas on what to do with it. So the was another opportunity to do something with color. The main thing we quickly learned was that single colors were really too light to be picked up. But once we doubled up on certain color combinations and stretched them out it worked really well. So now that we know that there's more space for us to work within that idea.
Overall we did some really good work here. We had a lot of fun with this, got to explore some new ideas when it comes to setting, Mermaid Child and Tacocat got to 'experience' unfiltered Luis, and more importantly... we took a dumb idea and made it awesome.