By John Holdun on May 18th, 2016
An article about Graveyard Swing
Let’s start with a video.
(Watch it on YouTube if you like.)
This is that same 1/12 scale model from last week, but now with exterior walls and figures! I removed those little stage barriers in favor of stanchions, but they feel way too tall (about 40") and bulky, even without chains; I’m going to split the difference and go for ~24" stanchions with taut cables between them, like you might find at an art museum. I’ve also opted to make the figures a little larger (they’re ~5ft tall, scaled, in this mockup) and put them flat on the floor, instead of building stages.
The figures are rough and sketchy in the video. As a reminder, in the final product these will be three-dimensional sculpted figures, not sharpie on painted cereal box cardboard. I’m still playing with my choice of gags, but in this video we see:
A living human figure, looking suspicious of entering any farther, in a top hat and cloak. If I keep this character design, he will be an overt reference to The Hatbox Ghost.
Two skeletons playing catch with a skull. The very first gag I designed for this; I have a prototype of the mechanical bits that I haven’t shared publicly yet because I keep forgetting to finish assembling it. (The mid-air skull is missing in the video.) Depending on how much space they actually take up, there will be more stuff in this scene, but probably not another character. Maybe a gravestone.
A ghost band! These ghosts are blatant references to how Koko the Clown ends up looking at the end of his sequence in “Snow-White,” the old Betty Boop cartoon (i.e. Cab Calloway performing “St. James Infirmary Blues”). If you’re not familiar, stop reading right now and go watch it!
Two cats yowling on top of gravestones (a reference to Skeleton Dance) and a third, headless skeleton, searching for something. What’s it trying to find?
That first scene again, but from the other side! It’s not represented in the video, but the second time you see this scene it will be revealed that this “living human” wasn’t so alive after all.
Also, the entrance and exit are flanked by stone columns, which will have iron gates attached to them, and a fence will connect them across the front. There will be some grave markers and trees scattered throughout the non-walkway areas.
We’ve come to an interesting spot. I want to improve the fidelity of this mockup, but the returns on that effort diminish very quickly. The next meaningful things I can do are:
Start building full-scale set pieces. This requires me to find a workshop, because I’m right up against the limits of what I can physically do in my apartment.
Start talking to theaters and studios about renting their spaces for October. This is a scary and expensive step and marks the point of no return for realizing this project!
Next week might be a smaller update, because I have some logistics to settle, but we’re doing well. Have we talked yet about what happens in December? Maybe that’s next week’s topic. See you then.