Today I escorted a lithe sexy model wearing only a length of string and a bell tassel to Roddenberry Productions for a product photo shoot.
The model in question is the new version of the Ressikan Flute. And yes, sorry as it sounds, I now know the difference between a bell tassel and a chain tassel. Also, how many minutes you have to work with Bondo before it sets and how to glue eyelets to drilled-out finger holes in a rolled tin pennywhistle.
It’s New Ressikan Flute Prototype time here in the basement workshop at the Gendel seaside manse. That means I spent the weekend experimenting with paint treatments to achieve an “aged brass” look as opposed to the earlier version’s “metallic bronze.”
Seems like only yesterday I was cutting purple velvet to fit in gold-painted boxes. That was for Flute 1.0 – still a valued Star Trek: The Next Generation artifact since it looks the way it did in “The Inner Light” before the prop guys gave it a beauty makeover. (The Blu-Ray sampler gives viewers an especially good look.)
So what does a writer know about making prop replicas? Well for one thing, I have help. Greg Weiland, a craftsman I met at the Phoenix Comicon last year, has been helping me with flute production and brought a lot of ingenuity to the grommetted 2.0 prototype. Dave Cohen is a film and TV production designer who applied his can-do approach to the new alien-look flute boxes.
For another thing, you’d be amazed how far common sense and trial-and-error will get you.
Which brings me to the more significant question: What did building stuff teach me about writing? The answer is, a lot. Lately, I’ve been relying less on strict outlines and letting a script wander a bit. I’m experimenting with tones and characters much like I did with paint techniques.
Mainly, I now want to dream less and build more. A finished handmade flute box, destined for sale on-line, is a lot more satisfying than a script pitch headed for a lonely eternity in my archived hard drive backup.
Speaking of which, next week’s post will be all about THE OUTER LIGHT, the “Inner Light” sequel I am “building” as a digital graphic novel. It’s looking great, and I have set MONDAY APRIL 9 as a debut date. Look for details in this space.