(This is a belated update to the China story – last post here.)
I wake up calmer the next day and join the boys for breakfast, squirreling away fruit to eat later on. (Thank all the gods ever that created fruit!!) The boys tell me that they didn’t actually get to see much of the Halloween show the night before because schedules got screwed up, they were tired and sore, and ended up spending most of their time waiting for the zombie shoot-em-up ride to get going.
I feel vaguely better about having opted for a night crying in the tub.
At the haunt, we’ve hit a point where the effects are ready to be set up – air cannons, animated props, computer screens and the like.
First room of the haunt.
The problem we run into almost immediately is that the Chinese workers assigned to help us are trying very very hard to learn everything they can about everything we’re doing. This means that there’s a constant conga line of guys following J around, watching everything he’s doing, and as soon as he walks away from a project, they’re touching it..and more often than not, they’re breaking it. And we can’t easily get new parts to fix what’s been broken. And we can’t get our helpers to stop ‘helping.’
We’re getting down to only having hours left to finish the project. Having to do something two or three times is making our work load – and our brains – explode.
There’s a crazy-making mix of things to deal with as we go along. Our helpers keep taking batteries out of remote controls, or just taking the remotes. J and S spend hours getting a ghost projection effect to work..and someone else hits a button on it and deletes everything the guys just accomplished. Someone drops a pre-programmed animation controller that’s run via dip switches, and the boys scramble to try to figure out how to reset the switches correctly.
It’s all more frustrating than I can even begin to describe here. I finish hanging bits of fabric across all of the haunt hallway doors to give visitors a sense of overhead ick, and J asks me to start working on some ‘cryotube’ props. In the corner of the haunt housing the air conditioner, there’s to be three large plastic tubes. One will contain an actor; the others, monsters of some sort. C has already hung blue lights in the tubes, so now it’s my job to go find stuff and make monsters out of it.
So these tubes are sorta like huge half cylinders on bases. I scrounge up some scraps of wood and create stands that I drape with fabric…I find some masks in one of the boxes of random stuff J packed for this gig… I dry brush the inside of the tubes so that it sorta kinda looks like they’re frosted inside…and I come up with the crappiest puppets I’ve ever created.
…And my creations immediately scare our interpreter when she walks through to check on our progress. So, yay, I guess!
I also work on fixing one broken prop, whose arms were snapped in transit…
..and repaint a prop to try to take it from ‘wow that’s a horrible fake red’ to ‘wow that’s still pretty horrible but at least it’s not O HAI I’M BLOODY RED! (All of this, of course, is being done with whatever we brought with us. I still kinda wish I could have had all of my paints and brushes with me..)
worst pinata ever…
Meanwhile, the boys had pretty much finished as much as they could for the night, so we packed up and went back to our hotel. I may have some of this out of sequence at this point, but I think this was our last full day of work..