Sunday, 18 December 2011

Die Hard With an Audience...

It's time for me to pick my six numbers I think - this week I've 'won' two separate 'contests' and the undeniable fact is that 'you must be IN it to win it'.

A little effort, that's all it took to be selected as 'best letter to santa' - a polite request and a kind thought for others... And there only being ONE other entry, well that helps!
But that's the point, if you don't even throw your hat into the ring, you have absolutely ZERO chance of a favourable result.

That brings us round to the Die Hard themed Christmas Party; a beautifully conceived audience participation event held in a 'high rise office block in LA'.

The terrorists just took over - but who will save us!??

What we knew for sure was that the film would be shown, there would be an 80's disco afterwards and the audience were invited to come in dance dress - and that there would be a prize for best costume...

A prize you say?

Related to something I do for a living?

...and one of my all time favourite films..?


Obviously I chose to go as the lead character, John McClane; bruce willis in a dirty vest... Too easy?

It's the attention to detail that I relish; me and Hans Gruber...

It's relatively easy to pick up a White vest and it's not a prize winning activity to splash a little fake blood and dirt over it... So how does one go that extra mile?

Barefoot? Yes, although there was a stipulation that the audience must wear shoes (we later found this was partly because they'd dressed the set with fake broken glass - lovely eye for detail these guys!)

Writing on his arm? Of course...
Wrist watch, right arm, watch face on inside of wrist; check

A 9mm Beretta. I don't usually 'do' guns but times, they are a-changing...

Not bad for a hunk of MDF

The skull-in-top-hat tattoo - goes unnoticed by most people...

But I told you already - I'm a fan. I've studied this before on many an occasion, for pleasure and for work.

I used to sculpt a range of collectable figurines called 'The Turds' - here's 'DRIES HARD'

And that hair is pretty iconic. For the past decade, Bruce Willis has pretty much played Bruce Willis: bald-headed tough guy. But 25 years ago he had a fantastically receding hairline with a swept-back spike.

My hairline is the exact opposite of what it needs to be. Moreover, I wasn't going to chop it back for one party as it was the 'floppy hair' that landed me the extras work on Song For Marion.

I decided to make a rubber hairpiece - that worked really well and wasn't as sweaty as you may think.

Good work starts with great reference

Needs a littlemore work!

If you look really close, you might be able to see the join

This look was complimented by my health-and-safety-compliant RUBBER FEET SHOE COVERS!

What a hit! Just a few details left - the tattoo for one... But hang on; the party starts in six hours, I'm on my own till then, I need a tattoo on my left arm... And I'm LEFT HANDED!?!

Time for a little lateral thinking...

 My first thought was to cast my arm and make a rubber copy. Too long. I decided to paint layers of flesh coloured latex onto my arm, build up a thickness which I could then peel off, draw on the tattoo and reapply.

This REALLY hurt when I pulled it off!
That worked, although it took every spare minute up until the last one!

I attended the event with prop and costume maker Sean collins and had arranged to meet film maker Andrew Coates, of Duffel Films, at the event.

The setup was excellent: huge prints of the LA skyline adorned the Walls, along with fake stone and water features, all in keeping with the look in the film. The music playing was 'Ode to Joy', heard throughout the film itself and waitresses handed out champagne and party food. Nakatomi Corporation stickers and signage adorned every wall but subtly, really selling the atmosphere.

We met up with one of the organisers pretty soon after we arrived and I showed him my pics from the real 'Nakatomi Tower' in LA, the Fox Plaza building on the Avenue of the Stars. He quizzed my knowledge of the film and wished us well for the party. Lovely bloke Hal.

And then nothing happened. We stood around mingling, waiting for the film to start but there being little sign that it would... It was all a ruse to wrong-foot us, for sure enough, a bunch of 'international terrorists' burst into the room and ushered us at gunpoint into the cinema room!

We were treated to a welcome speech in the style of Alan Rickman as 'terrorists' waved plastic guns at us! (On a side note: a John McClane lookalike ducked into a side room as it all kicked off, although that 'story thread' seemed to go nowhere)

REALLY scary terrorists!

The film started and it was clear the majority of people felt comfortable enough to treat it like a screening with friends in their living room, rather that at a cinema. Silence was out. As too was sitting still.

Beer, toilet, cheers as Hans shoots the slimeball charater, beer, toilet, cheer as the baddie has his knees shot out...BEER... TOILET... AAAAAAAARGHHHHH!!!!!!!

Ok, maybe I was a little naive thinking I'd just watch the film but I didn't expect to sit on the busiest row in the house!

At the end of the film, we all sang along to 'Let it Snow' and the winner of the 'best costume' was announced...

And the winner was...

Drumroll please...

Oh it was only flipping ME!!!
Another t-shirt for my Die Hard collection

Yes! The prize was a Nakatomi Plaza tshirt but for me it wasn't about the prize - it was about the WIN!

The after-film disco was packed with 80's classics and Die Hard samples!

These guys thought of everything - they even threw out Twinkies to the crowd!

I've had a few knocks this year and I need to relish every good thing that comes my way; I'm happy to start small, every strong building relies in good foundations. I'm rebuilding my confidence; I'm getting there. Next month well find out if Distraction Jackson can beat the world, then in March my Regent Cinema film will compete against who knows what else at the RTS Awards - it's a big year ahead and I'm going into it guns blazing!

Yippee Ki-yay Mother F*ckers!!!

Merry Christmas!!!!

Here's a link to Press Play Festival website:

Here's a link to the BA Entertainment Design Crafts course at Cleveland College of Art and Design - come on board and I can teach you everything I know:

Here's a couple of links to 'Dries Hard' - I wasn't kidding about this!?!:

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