"ARM WRESTLING MACHINE"
Although only a 3-minute short, "ARM WRESTLING MACHINE" posed certain design challenges.
Basics: 30's slapstick silent film set in a bar. Its heart and centerpiece, an enormous homespun arm wrestling machine.
Here's the low-down on making it work on a budget!
Co-writer/producer Cean Okada's outdoor cabana was converted into our bar, requiring a new paint job. We maintained a basic color/value scheme, despite desaturating the film in post.
A theater flat with a hole in its center was positioned against the far corner, making a "fifth" wall. This dark nook became a defacto control room, complete with monitor to oversee the action.
Building the AWM took first priority. Brian Ludmer and I spent the better part of a Sunday building the base structure, improvising dimensions to accomodate the actor (me). The table-top is mostly MDF, with a luan back-piece. The outer framework, 1x3 and MDF. The entire upper half removable for travel purposes.
Next came adding a skirt to mask the bottom half, using the same material to paper the backboard (a cheat to avoid painting it)
This caught up with me later when the decal graphics refused to adhere to the fabric. Solution: Foam core backing and carpet tape, producing an unplanned raised lettering effect, which played nicely under the lights.
Rounding out the set were miscellaneous knickknacks and wall-hangings, the latter just printouts mounted on cardboard and framed with black tape. Two-dimensional renderings of bottles hopefully add a little poor man's trompe l'eua.
For the end result, watch the movie below!