View Full Version : Character Busts and Headdress Design

06-06-2010, 10:20 PM
I appreciate all of the interest, feedback, and comments from "My First Post and Set Design".

Well now that the only real tasks left on the sets I built for my movies back story are covering the wigwams and adding talent.

The latter part of the missing pieces before my fall shoot date is relatively simple for the village I built. Considering I am following the look of Algonquian tribes from the southeast (pre-contact) the clothing for the villagers is rather simple. However the group which will inhabit the small wooded lair I built wouldn't be so easy.

In the script I have written, this group are the antagonists that set this epic tale in motion. They are a warrior sect led by a power hungry shaman who is evil to the core. Considering they leave a wake of death behind them, I wanted their headdresses, and body paint to reflect these things. However, I want to keep them as realistic as possible.

So sitting in a pile of feathers, fur, and antlers I realized I would have to tackle some renderings and designs before I began sewing these headdresses. Ahhh the fun of trying to be a one man creative team strikes again.

So I went to the most recent on screen depiction of a Southeastern, pre-contact Native American tribe for possibilities. Terrence Malick's, The New World. I found exactly what I was looking for.


I would base all of the Shaman's clan around the gray scale, considering the color white represents death in Native paint schemes. Also, this will stand out against the vibrant oranges, yellows, and reds that will be prevalent in the fall woodland scenery.

So here are the depictions of the Shaman (aka The White Eye), and his group of followers, The White Eye Clan.

The Shaman (The White Eye)

The requisite femme fatale of the Shaman's band.

The leader of the Warrior Sect

The rest of the White Eye Clan:







Let me know what you all think. After spending the past week drawing, and going through a sewing crash course thanks to a long time seamstress grandmother, this has me a little excited.


06-13-2010, 11:55 PM
Very cool. I like the lead warriors the best. That'd be scary to see coming at you through the trees.

I'd recommend when you actually show these on film, use quick cuts and leave the audience wanting more. Thats the case of almost all the Indian films I've seen. Theres a couple awesome looking Braves that you could watch for hours but you never get the best view or complete look and I makes you want to watch the movie again.

Sad Max
06-14-2010, 07:02 AM
Yeah. These look like they could be very detailed, and it would be nice to reveal the fullness of that detail slowly rather than all-at-once...

07-02-2010, 09:47 AM
Just seeing these comments... sorry for the delayed response. I agree on showing brief glimpses of them and thankfully the portions of the back story where they are present are very quick and dynamic which will hopefully lend themselves well to glimpses.

However their is a an interior shot in a long house where they are all seated around a fire, as the shaman performs a smoke ritual with a turkey wing. He will be fanning a smoldering bundle of sage over each one of them. I think this would be a good situation to slowly reveal the intricate headdress designs, and then pull out for a wide of the collective group. What do you all think?

Sad Max
07-02-2010, 09:48 AM
I think that sounds pretty cool.

One of the worst mistakes in The Village was revealing too much of the forest-people's costumes too quickly and too early in the story. Of course that was probably a very different sort of project but their error is instructive.

07-02-2010, 10:12 AM
Agreed Max. I am trying to get the most powerful impact visually from the designs... so hopefully by combining the quick shots with a scene of slow reveals will allow the audience to fully take in the intricacy of each one.

I am slowly realizing that I would be content doing just the design aspect of a movies... this is some serious fun. You are a fortunate man Sad Max, to be able to have this as a career.

Sad Max
07-02-2010, 10:31 AM
Yeah, it beats working for a living.

Based upon what you've been showing here I don't see any reason that you shouldn't be doing the same, if that's what you want to do. You certainly seem to have a gift for it.

07-02-2010, 06:32 PM
Thank you Max. After this fall, when shooting wraps, I guess I will get a chance to sit and think long and hard about what aspect of this process grabbed me the most. Right now though, seeing my designs go from drawings to actual physical items and locations has been the most gratifying.