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Charlotte's Web on a Budget

Discussion in 'Scenery, Props, and Rigging' started by gafftaper, Apr 16, 2008.

  1. gafftaper

    gafftaper Senior Team Senior Team Fight Leukemia

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    We are doing a very low budget traveling children's production of Charlotte's Web. I'm looking for ideas of how to do the web and the writing effect. The director was suggesting a rope web with plexiglass in front of it and a dry erase pen. Not exactly what I would call a cool trick. But it's cheap! I'm hoping to figure out a better trick that I can afford. Any ideas of how to do this for only a couple hundred bucks?
     
  2. Spikesgirl

    Spikesgirl Active Member

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    Gaff -

    This is what we did for our traveling "Charlotte" show. We used clothesline
    (you might want to give it a try with some scrap rope first) but first lay out the pattern and then you tied it and then put a drop of hot glue on the knot, that holds it in place. By rolling it around a paper tube, it keeps it from tangling between shows. I would do a dry run and see how it could work.

    You could then spray it with some of that clear gloss that has glitter in it for the 'dew'. They didn't have such a thing when we did it.

    Char5lie
     
  3. gafftaper

    gafftaper Senior Team Senior Team Fight Leukemia

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    Did you do anything for the writing on the web?

    And actually I need to clarify that this show is being performed at another theater... a nice proscenium space I have half a day to load in. So it's not exactly a traveling show in the sense most are thinking. I'm going to build a platform for Charlotte to be perched up on with the web behind it.
     
  4. Spikesgirl

    Spikesgirl Active Member

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    We 'wrote' the words on the replacement web with more string - gaaa, I wish I was there to demo it for you. We did the web outline, created the word out of string, added some web support pieces and then knotted and glued everything in place. We did this long before the show went up. All my help for the show was with the students from the Children's theater class - i.e. untrained, and the webs came out great. We had to lightly brush them with some white glue and sprinkle glitter on them so that they sparkled when the 'sun' hit them.

    Ours played at eight spaces in three days, some classrooms, auditoriums, even a couple of gyms and the webs did okay. If you have some fast release hooks for the web and someway to engineer the change - I think the kids actually held up a blanket (on poles) with stars and the moon sewn onto it to represent the passing of night to hide the change. It was many children shows ago.

    Char5lie
     
  5. gafftaper

    gafftaper Senior Team Senior Team Fight Leukemia

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    Brainstorming here...

    I'm thinking that I can build an 8'x8' frame of wood. Suspend a web within the frame made from rope... around a half inch in diameter. Spray white glue on the rope to make it stiff. Spray paint black.

    Now the tricky part. The writing. I was thinking I could take a section across the center of the web and hide a grid of Pegs in the web... think LCD calculators... I can then give the actor some brightly colored string to spell the letters out by wrapping them around the pegs hidden in the web.

    I think it can work, I'm just having a hard time with the details. The web will be located on a platform 6' above the deck and about 24 feet upstage of the first row... so "good from far but far from good" is in full effect.

    Problems:
    How to actually attach the grid of pegs.

    What material to use to make the pegs.

    The string needs to go on easily, stay on, and then come off easily... so how are these pegs designed?

    I'm thinking I can use a brightly colored yarn for the writing.

    Ideas?
     
  6. jwl868

    jwl868 Active Member

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    Maybe hooks instead of pegs?

    I've forgotten all the words that Charlotte spells - but the one I remember - Humble - is going to be tough...

    Also, with the three (?) sets of pegs superimposed in one place, it may take the actor some practice in getting the correct pegs, unless there is some way to subtly label them.

    Maybe use an elastic cord so the word holds its shape better on the pegs?


    Joe
     
  7. jwl868

    jwl868 Active Member

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    Another idea - velcro in place of the pegs, and velcro on the cord, where needed.

    (Would there be a problem with the ripping sound when it's take off?)


    Joe
     
  8. Spikesgirl

    Spikesgirl Active Member

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    You're going to have to seriously rehearse with whomever is going to handle the web writing to keep the time lapse at a minimum - remember kids don't have a long attention span and if you go over a couple of minutes, you'll lose them. Still think having the web 'preworded' works the best. You just carry it out and hang it up. We had four corners with clip hooks that held the webs securely and each corner marked clearly. Worked like a dream for us.


    Char5lie
     
  9. derekleffew

    derekleffew Resident Curmudgeon Senior Team Premium Member

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    Project the web using a DL.3 and a Green Hippo server. The current solution to every problem is projections.
     
  10. gafftaper

    gafftaper Senior Team Senior Team Fight Leukemia

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    I've been brainstorming with some students and we came up with a pretty cool solution. We take some 1/4" thick rope hot glue wire on the back bend into shapes to create letters. Paint with white glue to stiffen. Repaint with Char5lie's glitter. We create panels of 3 or four letters so they can quickly be attached and removed. The last piece I needed was how to fasten it to the web... and I think JWL868 is the winner with Velcro.



    That would be great except for the $1000 budget for the whole set.
     
  11. Grog12

    Grog12 CBMod CB Mods Premium Member

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    Funny...you'd think you worked where I do.

    Except as opposed to DL3 and a Hippo its a Proxima C460 and Pure Data.

    God forbid we used a real media server.
     
  12. nveenstra

    nveenstra Member

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    Not to resurrect an ancient post, but I came across this when researching how to create the words in the web for a production of Charlotte's Web we are currently putting on. I just wanted to contribute the route we took incase somebody runs into this in the future.

    I purchased some clothesline, and created a jig with some 2" screws into a piece of plywood, spelling out each of the words. I then wrapped the screws with the clothesline to spell the words. I bought some of the white Gorilla Glue (I'm sure any hard-drying glue would work fine), and rubbed the glue into the clothesline, but not the line in-between each letter. After it dried, we made small wire hooks, so Charlotte can hang each letter in the web.
     
  13. gafftaper

    gafftaper Senior Team Senior Team Fight Leukemia

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    Here's a couple pictures of how mine turned out from the technique described above. Nveenstra, post a picture or two when you get a chance of yours.
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]
     
  14. metti

    metti Active Member

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    Why would you need a DL.3 AND a Hippotizer? The DL.3 has a built in media server. I'm more of a Watchout fan when it comes to theatre anyway.
     
  15. chausman

    chausman Chase Premium Member Fight Leukemia

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    I know this is long done, but when I saw it when I was in second grade, they had the web, and it spelt all of the words out the who time, and then when they had something that lit up. I'm assuming it was something like christmas lights that had all of the lights very close together, or they used some really thin light rope. Each word has it's own dimmer, as well as the web around it so it looked like the whole thing changed even though it didn't. For them, when we (the audience) sees the web with the words it is in a shadow so the lights would show up better.
     
  16. gafftaper

    gafftaper Senior Team Senior Team Fight Leukemia

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    Oh yeah, well when I was a kid... and that's a long time ago... I saw a production where they embedded fiber optic in the web and lit it up to spell the words. That was a VERY cool trick.
     
  17. nveenstra

    nveenstra Member

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    Apologies for the poor quality, and inability to embed the images. Taken with a phone.
    Unfortunately I didn't get one of the word on the web, but you can use your imagination. As I mentioned, the sections between each letter were still flexible, so we hung each letter in different cruxes of the web, and thus it disappeared as though it was part of the web.

    http://www.flickr.com/photos/[email protected]/5544457782/
    http://www.flickr.com/photos/[email protected]/5544450538/
     

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