We Are Seven is a one-woman art studio currently producing books, comics, and graphic novels. This blog chronicles my progress.

Saturday, December 26, 2009

Ultima Uploaded

<- "Ultima sits in her bedroom in Texas."

I can't believe I've gotten this far. I am almost done. I'm really almost done.

I'm making a list of things I've learned during this (long) first step into filmmaking, which I'll post when I put the final product up on Youtube.

When that happens, I'll have one more retort for the snarky voice in the back of my mind that keeps telling me I'm only kidding myself, and I'm really too lazy to actually produce any finished piece of art. I really want to believe myself when I tell that voice it's wrong.

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

New Pictures

How long has it been since I've updated?
Fox is completely wrapped, non-puppet animation is underway, and Ultima's scenes are being filmed. This has taken much, much longer than I originally thought it would, but the end is near.

I've added a few pictures of Fox to my Deviant Art account:
Someplace New

and a "Production Still."

Friday, September 18, 2009

Filming At Last

Wow. Long time no post.

Let me first apologise for not having any pictures. My point-and-shoot finally died after a drawn-out and probably painful stumble toward oblivion, so I have nothing but the Nikon, and that is busy filming the video.

Things have gone pretty well so far. My monopod, which I made (with help from my ever-helpful grandfather) out of a desk lamp doesn't work for stop-motion shooting. It trembles ever so slightly, making it useless. Still, my super-adjustable tripod is working just fine, though I'm perpetually worried that my clumsy self will knock it and ruin hours of work. I need to remember to find a solution to that ...

I battled with numerous software programs before finding one that works. I also downloaded a multiple-image resizer, which makes life much easier.

In other, non-Ultima Esperanza news, I have the armature for my next puppet. My grandfather made it for me (more thanks to him!), but I'll be buying the next one. I just can't put him through that much trouble on my account.

I'll try to take pictures of everything for the next update, and I'll try to make sure I update again soon...ish.

Monday, July 13, 2009

Future Projects

I'm not getting ahead of myself - just planning for the future.

I talked to my mechanically-inclined grandfather (who made Ultima's desk) and asked if he could help me make the elusive ball-socket joints I want for my next puppets. Being the wonderful man that he is, he agreed.

Previously, I'd tried to bring my project to local metal fabricators, but for one unstated reason or another, they couldn't help me. I can only assume that the job of making tiny puppet joints was a little too small for a metal fabricator. They tend to work on buildings, cars, and the like.

Needless to say, that is one very important item off the list of things to do before my next project. Now I can continue with my current labor of love.

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

June-July recap

This past month has been busy. I've visited two states, 1000 miles apart from each other, to see two seperate segments of my family. I've tried in vain to get a "real" job to support my really real job. I've cut more little silver tiles out of soymilk cartons than I can count.

These are thing things still on the "Ultima Esperanza" to-do list:

- finish hamster cage
- adhere arm and leg plates to puppets' arms and legs
- ask my grandfather to build a chair to match the desk
- attach all the titles to the floor
- scan and print miniature items for miniature bulletin board
- make and attach puppet forearms
- scrap the old miniature computers and make new ones (again)
- finish the flexible camera mount

It's become a short list. I'm doing my best to make it shorter. Meanwhile, I'm also creating OOAK dolls to put up on Etsy to try and make at least a little cash. I'll post a link to my store as soon as I have the first one listed.

Now back to the studio to work on the hamster cage and bake the polymer hamsters.

Sunday, June 7, 2009


"Ultima Esperanza" has a two-in-one set. Fox's room segments will be filmed first, then Ultima's flooring and wall-hangings will be added and filmed afterward.

<- Ultima's floor will be carpeted in the dark gray fabric shown here. I should have spread it out to give you a better idea of what it'll look like - but it's gorgeous material. Deep, lightly textured, with just a bit of shine.

Fox, on the other hand, has a more time-consuming bedroom floor. His is tiled, and the tiles--such as they are--come from the insides of dozens of soymilk cartons. Yes, these things. I still need about 15 more cartons to finish the floor.

(Note: The tiles in this image are placed, not permanently adhered. It'll look better when it's finished - I swear.)

Thursday, June 4, 2009

Read the Instructions!

I decided I needed a toaster oven for the polymer clay parts of my puppets, because heating up the kitchen oven for such small pieces was a waste (not to mention the health warnings against using the same oven for food and clay). So I bought one. I set it up. I read the directions. I re-read the directions. Then I put my pieces in to bake.

They burned to a crisp (see "after" in the image below).

After grieving over the hour or so of work I'd lost in mixing the clay to a matching shade of gray, I decided that the oven must be broken, or have some bad wiring. I mean, I'd put it in for less than the recommended time, and it was burned to the point of complete discoloration. I decided to return it.

Before I did, though, I re-re-read the instructions. Not surprisingly, when I'd read the numbers before, I'd switched the times between the different temperatures--despite my foreseeing such a thing and trying to prevent it. Sometimes I really think I must be dyslexic.

[And now, the power of MS Paint allows you to see what I'm talking about. The large "before" piece is the color that the smaller pieces were before they went in the oven. I decided to paint them rather than make new ones.]

Monday, May 25, 2009

Memorial Day Monday - Puppet Desk

I didn't finish the puppet hair yet.

However, I did visit my grandparents yesterday, and look at what my grandfather had for me:

The female puppet's desk. :)
(sans paint--working on that)

This desk is largely a model of the desk I used all through high school. It was sturdy, big, and bulky. It was the kind of piece that stayed around for years, bearing the etchings of its various owners in its decade-old varnish. As everything in Ultima's (female puppet) room is slightly out-of-date, it seemed appropriate.

The male puppet's desk, which is much more sleek and modern, needs three remaining pieces before I can assemble it. After that, I have only to make the chairs, computers, a bulletin board, and two puppet cores (inner torsos, that is).

It's getting very close to film time.

Sunday, May 24, 2009

Memorial Day Weekend

I'm not fond of holiday weekends. They're like line-cutters who jump in and screw up the assigned order.

Nonetheless, they come whether I like them or not, and I try to make the best of them.

This Memorial Day Sunday, I've been twisting yards of wire to make my male puppet's hair:

It's rather dull work. The thought that keeps me twisting is that if I finish it today, I can move on to something more interesting (assembling a minature desk) tomorrow. Sadly, this is the part of puppet films I don't like: puppet construction. In high school, the biggest reason I pulled away from becoming a theatre costume technician was because I hated sitting for hours on end pulling strands of faux hair through wig fabric.

I have a hard time sitting still, even at the computer. I am fidgiting and looking for distractions right now.

If the studio ever has money someday, I will hire an artisan to construct my puppets for me (after hiring a real photographer, that is).

Tuesday, May 5, 2009

Current Project - Ultima Esperanza

My current (non-commercial) project is a fan-film for The Dresden Dolls' "Ultima Esperanza" (see a few pictures of the pre-production process here).

I decided to start the studio off with a fan-film to prevent any wide-eyed aspirations of earning money off of indie, stop-motion puppet films. My only goal with this is to produce a really cool music video. No profit, no losses, nothing in it for me but the satisfaction of seeing my work. Besides, the idea wouldn't leave me alone.

The start of filming will have to wait until after graduation (only a few days away), and the excitement of moving fully into the production stage is starting to get to me. I've been chewing / filing my nails to the quick as I sit around at the computer tweaking the weareseven.com website. My cats are wondering why I stay up at my desk so late at night instead of going to bed.

Sorry, kitties. No rest for the mentally itchy.