Unit 4 – Reflective Report

The first project I started on was the plinth for Pallant House. It seemed really simple at first, just a large quarter of a circle. The construction was easy but for the front we had to bend a piece of ply around the curve. Here it didn’t work out and I had to screw and unscrew it several times to get it to lay in line and then still had to filler a section of it. The problem lied in small bumps on the inside curve that the ply was sitting against. The bumps were a flaw from another classmate using a jigsaw. In the future I should check the work my peers have done before moving forward. All other problems with the plinth were hardly in my hands. It was really annoying having to deal with an outside company making the Perspex for the piece.

During that time I switched back to doing boxes for Evita. I did a lot of wood work which I enjoyed because although I am fairly good at it, its merely my approach to it not actual experience. I like to do all the wood work I can because it’s something I want more practice in. The boxes for Evita went well, no problems. It was probably the most cut and dry thing we did. It even seemed like work I would expect to get in a moderate theater. Simple build attached to scaff, very normal. Much later we finished Evita.

Another project I worked on and finished were the daisies. They were simple but there were a lot to make. The daisies were not a fun make. It was almost as if I knew the whole time that they wouldn’t be used. I just knew they looked so terrible no matter whether they were supposed to look like that or not. I didn’t get any satisfaction out of making something that was destined to be terrible. No real hiccups in the make though except that the surgical tubing wouldn’t glue to the plates very well. Next time I would have just gotten a ton of araldite instead of a ton of uhu.

The next large thing I did was paint the clothes for Evita. I hung them up to spray them and quickly realized it would be better to lay them on the ground. After all were done we had to staple them to a bit of rope(clothesline). The problem here was that we couldn’t staple the clothes directly to the rope only around it. So they slid around. We really needed some clothes pins but they weren’t provided. That would have fixed the problem. I liked Evita as a whole because although it wasn’t extremely challenging I did a lot of wood work and learned a lot about wood and how strong a set needs to be.

After Evita and Pallant house were out the door we had Children of Eden. I decided to take the boxes as my project and just knock them out as quickly as possible. I still had time to do the turtle shadow puppet but only reluctantly did I do it. Making the boxes was really satisfying. I cut every piece before I started assembling them and then it was like putting together legos. Feels silly how much fun I can have doing that. The boxes were apparently going to be stepped on so they needed to lay steady. Unfortunately the boxes weren’t perfect. I fixed that, but the problem wouldn’t have been as bad if I had been more careful on using the hacksaw in the beginning.

I made the shadow puppet and did the turtle because I’m not extremely good at drawing and the turtle seemed the simplest. I also didn’t want to spend much time on it because it seemed really dumb. I didn’t really run into any hiccups here, but I learned nearly nothing. It almost felt patronizing. I understand that prop makers will be asked to do dumb things sometimes, but as a student I expect to be challenged and Children of Eden was a joke.

Last and largest project was Benchmarks. I will start with the designing process. I had a large problem to begin with the concept that the brief presented. It really didn’t offer much room for excitement. The only thing worse was the actual designing. I could not stand the “design by committee” technique. Dan keeps speaking of whether or not it’s possible to design by committee and I don’t think you can. It was impossibly irritating. Everyone had their own imagination to put in and I had no drive to create anything because of it. In the industry I believe it would never be set up like this. Although there may be theatres doing devised work I doubt every department would design their own pieces.

The next aspect of Benchmarks: the mock up. Parts of the 1:10th scale model were made by me. The only problem is that nothing I made ended up being used. I thought the best course was to make it just look nice and not make it that interactive because then we would have to deal with the actors using it. No doubt yes that ended up happening. I don’t know exactly how to fix this in the future aside from being more assertive and lowering my expectations in others even further. I again didn’t like this bit. If I am going to design I want to do it all myself or with one other person. Anything more than three is intolerable.

Finally the build. The building of Benchmarks was the least annoying. The pebble rugs were repetitive but other than that I actually liked each individual task. The moon was the one that thing I worked on the most by myself. I had a good time making it because I really like fiberglassing but we ran out of resin and I couldn’t finish it the way I wanted. I ended up having to leave it with big nasty lines where the fiberglass was cut into strips. In the future I would have a more realistic idea of how much product is required to cover a surface and make more effort to blend lines while I am fiberglassing. (especially now that I did the Work Experience) The other challenge I had was in painting the moon. This was an area where I just really had no idea how to do it well. I ended up having to leave most of it to Gemma. I need more practice but more importantly teaching in how to paint.

In the end I don’t quite know how to feel about the unit as a whole. It had a lot of ups and downs. In a short defined list. Pallant House excting, Evita good, Children of Eden too easy, Benchmarks awful. I felt challenged at times, but patronized at others. I enjoyed the hard work to put into Pallant House, Evita and C.O.E. but Benchmarks left me without much to do. I do have to say though; it presented a chaotic environment and a sign of things to come if I want to make my way in this industry.


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