Unspoken is the senior thesis film by Elllington Wells. Ellington’s film is a very intimate story about a young African-American college student and her struggle with the discovery of an unintended pregnancy.  The young woman, Margaret, is very isolated and the film follows her as she goes through her day unable to share her struggle with those around her. She tries to tell her mother over the phone but stops just short of saying it aloud. When she finally does tell the father, her boyfriend, she does so simply by moving his hand to her abdomen.  Margaret’s boyfriend, James, is a large, imposing man who speaks very little and holds a lot of aggression, which is sometimes directed at Margaret. As attached to him as she is, his unpredictable nature is a significant factor in the decision she makes at the end of the film to not continue the pregnancy.

Ellington wanted her film to have a very real aesthetic, intimate but almost documentary style in its look. Her characters needed to look natural and imperfect. She had the idea that James’ character be associated with fire and steam. We decided that we could keep both characters natural yet still emphasize their differences by focusing on texture. James would always be moist, as if he carries too much heat in his body and is always perspiring. Margaret would be smooth and natural. She is not spending much time on her appearance, but she feels like she has something to hide and must “put on a good face” and appear to be alright. I decided that she might do this by wearing lipstick. Lipstick is easier and less time-consuming to apply than eye makeup, so a woman who wanted to appear “normal,”  but who was struggling too much to really be concerned with her appearance might put on lipstick to mask what she is going through.

Margaret in Unspoken

Margaret in Unspoken

James and Margaret in Unspoken

James and Margaret in Unspoken

For James’ look, I simply applied a thin layer of petroleum jelly over his skin, and sprayed a mist of a 50/50 mixture of water and vegetable glycerin. This made him look as if he was constantly sweating. Margaret’s look required a little bit of concealer, a thin line of black eyeliner in the upper lash line, and dark red lipstick.

Ellington’s film also includes a series of dream sequences in which we see Margaret in a field, by a tree, and in a river. For these scenes, she appears very natural, no eye makeup or lipstick. One sequence required that the tattoos on the actress’ back be covered and two fresh cuts from a whip be added. To do this I covered the tattoos with layers of compressed makeup, and then painted the cuts with alcohol activated makeup and fake blood.

Cuts on Margaret's back in a dream sequence from Unspoken

Covered tattoo and cuts on Margaret's back in a dream sequence from Unspoken


~ by alanigauntmakeupdesign on April 19, 2010.

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