by Koala
[Part 1 of 3]


For this "VLC - Behind the Scenes" featurette, I've been asked to tell you how I made my prom photo fakie.

First job was selecting the cast photos I wanted to use. My requirements were that they had to 'look happy' and be 'current.' This would determine the mood of the piece, and set up body language and emotions. Skin tone and shadowing was also a concern, chiefly making sure they all matched. This thing was a formal evening, I also preferred Buffy and Dawn with their hair up, if possible, so I searched RL events that SMG and MT had recently (independently) attended. Since Willow was not going to the prom, merely included in the photo, all I needed was a current pic of AH where she was smiling. I really like this shot I found for her.

For Xander and Giles, same requirements. I found one of NB attending something, and the one of ASH came from a promo shot from his other series, "Manchild." This shot worked well for him because he was wearing his earring, as described in the fic. This was actually not my first choice for a Giles 'head' but more on "The Many Heads of Head" later.

You'll note that the coloring of each cast photo was different, and some needed to be flipped to fit my pic, both of which could be easily fixed later. Expression was the key thing I was looking for here.


Next came choosing the dresses for the girls, and the tuxedoes for the guys. With the help from my fellow Lunatics, we searched sites selling prom dresses and tuxes, and actual private photos of prom experiences. In the end, we went with the catalog sites, and in these photos you can see the faces of the catalog models.

Originally, I picked different dresses (styles and colors) for Dawn and Willow, as the episode was being written concurrently with my photo creation. Then later, I was given a snippet of the scene on the stairs, and did my best to match to colors and styles described for Buffy, Dawn, and Willow. Coincidentally, I always had Buffy in a strapless black dress. Willow was also originally in a strapless dress in the text, but that didn't work out, so the text was rewritten to match after my photo was done. Same with Dawn; she was in blue, but the dress style was changed to match the photo.

Putting Giles in a classic tux just seemed right, but for Xander, I went with something modern and fun, befitting his personality. Note the lapel flower that needed to be deleted from Giles' suit. Also, the model wearing Buffy's dress needed her right arm deleted from her side so that Buffy could hold Giles' arm, as per the finished photo.



Next I gathered the cutouts I would need. Shown here is the photo I used for Buffy's arm (yes, as you can see it really is SMG's arm!), and the stock photo of a couple, from which I cut the "hands on arm" segment. Both were manipulated and added to represent Buffy holding the arm of Giles' tux, as shown in the final photo.

Also shown right is Buffy's locket, which was added later after a discussion with GF about what jewelry Buffy would wear. The story text was rewritten after to accommodate this small change, and--Voila!--Giles presented Buffy with a special heart-shaped locket. And yes, in case you are wondering, I actually took this idea from my other independent fic series, "Unbreakable" in which Giles gives Buffy a gold, heart-shaped locket. This stock photo is the one I used for my fic fakies for that series too!


Finally, I needed a background. Because the fic was still a work in progress, I was given the choice of making it indoor or outdoor, and the text would be adjusted accordingly. This was probably the hardest shot to find. I needed either an interior or exterior of a house that resembled Scoobie Manor and/or Oregon! My Google search eventually led me to the shot below--I'm still not sure where it's from or where I stole it from! ;) I was lucky that it was a large photo (1600x1200) taken with a digital camera, so I clipped it to use only what I needed to give the illusion of an Oregon backyard, leaving in just a smidgeon of the house to suggest Scoobie Manor. Possibly the whole thing would have passed, but playing it safe, I used a cutout section similar to what I've marked in red below.

Now all there was left to do, was put it all together in a believeable way!

On to Part 2 »»»

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