Saturday, August 13, 2011

Where's a good "hi top" joke when you need one?

One of my favorite things in the world are actor's resumes. As a filmmaker, I see a TON of headshots and resumes. Most of them aren't anything that you'd remember outside of what you're specifically looking for. But the best part is down at the bottom where they start listing "special skills."

Every actor puts a few things that are really worthwhile in this section, like languages they speak, accents they can do, stage combat experience, etc. But there's also always at least one entry that's designed solely to make them stick out in your mind and make you remember their resume above the others. My favorites have been "Arnold Schwarzenegger Impersonations" and "Stilt Walking." Which brings me to this week's episode.

Thankfully this week's PR will be faster for me to recap since it was a team challenge. The thing that gets me is that it really reeks of running out of ideas. "What haven't we done? How can we avoid repeating ourselves. I know, STILTS!"

I wish I was in THAT production meeting. Mostly so I could have what they were having.

Anya and Olivier

I loved watching the two of them work, with Anya perched on the table. I wish something more impressive had come out of their partnership, but if nothing else they at least showed the rest of the teams what they COULD have been acting like.

This is another one of those garments where there's just nothing all that good OR bad to say about it. I like the fabric, though since it's on a stilt-walker there's just too much of it to be a good thing. It's rightfully the middle of the pack.

Bert and Viktor

What. a. disaster. That fabric isn't hideous, and it could have been made into something nice if it was in much, much smaller quantity. But on a challenge like this where there's supposed to be yards and yards of everything, it's just awful.

Everything about this came out bad, and it's because of the teamwork, or lack there of. While they both get a lot of blame for this going wrong (a lot of the worst decisions did belong to Bert, I admit) at the same time, the poor teamwork should rest squarely on Viktor's shoulders.

At nearly every juncture that he could be dismissive, rude, and a jerk he took it. Bert's comments and problems usually had a root cause, and while he could have taken a higher road, in the vernacular of their behavior: Viktor started it. I found myself thrilled to see him on the bottom even if the major problems the judge's had were Bert's fault.

Danielle and Cecilia

How does that hair even HAPPEN? Please tell me that the hairdresser responsible for that was demoted or at least fined for crimes against decent hair. I know they do what the designers say and so something sent them down that road, but really, how do you do that and then think "Yes, my work here is done."

I can't figure out if it's the hair that sours me on it, but I don't like this outfit AT ALL. I don't feel like the colors really go that well together, it looks really old and old-fashioned. I would be okay with the top if the sleeves were slightly smaller so that it didn't just look like a bunch of fabric swallowed the model.

But I really can't do anything but look at the hair.

Bryce and Fallen

Okay, now we get into the part where I teach those of you that don't sew about a new and shiny thing. You see, I've never been to any fancy-schmancy school for fashion and design. But I do know how to sew, at least enough to make costumes, and I've been doing it since I was rather young. What Bryce was saying about cutting on and off grain was right, although it was explained to me as "with" or "against" the grain, since my mom was using woodworking as a base to explain it, since I understood that already.

Anyway, Bryce is not wrong. You have to go with the grain of the fabric. What Bryce was wrong about was his attitude and his general being a jerk about it. Do you want to know how SIMPLE it is to make sure that every single thing you cut out of a piece of fabric is with the grain, even if you turn it around and mix it up?

You put in a couple pins, going along with the grain of the fabric. Then you can always use those pins as reference. If you're having trouble finding the grain, you go to the edge of the fabric and check the selvages (just a fancy name for the edge of the fabric). And what's even more fun? Sometimes you actually DO want to cut on the bias...All things that I bet Fallene knew perfectly well, she just couldn't keep track of the grain, and I've had that problem a million times when working with remnants and scraps. But if you've ever even picked up a pattern, you've seen these things, because I've never seen a pattern that doesn't explain it when they say how to lay out the pieces to cut them.

So my problem is, how did Bryce, with his fancy schooling, NOT know the trick with the pins? I'm pretty sure I learned that when my age was in single digits, but I forgive Fallene for not knowing. He could have pinned the fabric down, or taped it, so that she could lay all the pattern pieces out and pin them before getting mixed up again. Personally, I think he was doing the hoity-toity "I have SCHOOLING" attitude and didn't even contemplate helping her despite the fact that it's a team challenge and he should have gone down for it.

Because let's face it, even WITH the bodice, this would have been the bottom look, and Bryce would have deserved to go home for it. Because here's the trick: Fallene might be a bad seamstress, but Bryce is a bad DESIGNER.

This look is a hideous mess, and it's not because Fallene cut against the grain. The skirt alone deserves to get somebody sent home, especially considering that Bryce seemed to be spending so much time on it.

When I was little, I had a piece of crinoline with a cheap piece of elastic sewn through it. This doesn't even look as good as THAT. It looks like another evolution of the skirt Bryce made last week with the puppy pads, and Fallene took the blame for it and went home.

That's just WRONG. I can only hope that Bryce goes home next week when everybody figures out he dodged a bullet two weeks in a row.

Josh and Julie

Josh made a very astute observation that the three bottom looks were more costume-y, and honestly I thought with the parameters of the challenge that was a mistake. They asked for garments for stilt walkers, it shouldn't be something boring. Which is part of why I don't like Danielle and Cecilia's look. It's dull for a challenge this fun.

I can't say that I loved this look, and I think the model (as with most of them) went completely overboard with the runway walk, which did it no favors. But at least they tried, and I think they succeeded. I would put them above both Anya/Olivier AND Danielle/Cecilia. They embraced the spirit of the challenge, and they deserve some credit for that.

Kimberly and Becky

This was a toss-up for best look for me. I really enjoyed this one, and I loved the way that it looked. It was also so perfectly tailored, like the judges said.

I love the attitude of it, the fun, the stripes, the asymmetry. I think if the model had sold the look better on the runway it probably would have been a much harder decision for the judges on the winner.

Yet another case for me to think Nina is out of touch with everything. That collar is awesome, and it's just the pop that it needs. Maybe it could have been placed a smidge better, and I think it looked better when it was popped rather than laying down like it is here. But that jacket's shape is BEGGING to be extended past the shoulder by that collar.

Laura and Anthony

This was a really lovely look, and I think it was probably the only one that would look good without the stilts (Becky and Kimberly's would be fun, but not as awesome). But that's why I don't think it actually SHOULD have won.

The challenge was to make a dress for a stilt walker, not to make a dress that could also work on a stilt walker.

I do love this, it's a beautiful red, it flows like nothing else, and the feathers on the shoulder were a great touch. The model also was probably the best one, which didn't hurt.

In the end though, the one thing this proves to me is that Anthony Ryan is the person to keep an eye on.


Also, I'm going to go back to something for a second. Bryce and the rest of the group seemed to be jumping on this ridiculous "these are the things you learn in SCHOOL" junk. You know what you learn in school? How to live on no money because you're in debt.

Okay, I have to say that's unfair. I'm a bit bitter because I was just working out my student loan payment plan for my graduate degree in film. Listen, I think art school can be a great thing, and I have no regrets about going. But I also don't believe that I'm any better than any other filmmaker because I've been to school and they haven't. Their artistic voice is just as valid as mine, and they can probably express it just as well. I have a bit more experience than they do probably, and I feel like school gave me a better safety net in case of failure. I know some more technical things, I have a better vocabulary. I can usually express myself with a little more authority.

But the moment I assume I'm better than another filmmaker simply because of that degree on the wall is the moment I've lost the point of it all anyway.

For the record, we totally cast the girl that listed stilt walking on her acting resume.