Saturday, February 20, 2010

Tricky Cell Phone

This little pink cell phone for The DNA Trail had to have a couple of tricks in it. The scenario basically goes like this.

Teen girl- I wish I could just change my DNA.
Teen #2- Why not (pulls out cell phone, DNA swab pops up out of it, swabs cheek and reinserts it, opens another compartment in phone) mint?

***Please note these are not the actual lines, the playwright is much better than that***

I bought this toy cell phone at Target. I started by opening it up and removing everything I didn't need (batteries, wire speakers to make the buttons beep...) to find out where I had space inside the phone. It wasn't a lot, but it was doable. I decided that the best place for the mints would be the raised box at the base of the phone.

I carefully cut out the "lid" with a matte knife (care and patience is the key here, it took several passes with the knife to get all the way through the plastic, but anything more heavy duty then the knife might have torn up the plastic). I filled around the edges with epoxy putty to seal off the compartment and then glued a ribbon to the inside and to the lid to function as a hinge.

For the q-tip I decided that it would live in the top sliding part of the phone. I carefully cut a notch out of the top and back of that piece to give it space to fit.
During my first tests with it I could shove a q-tip in that would stay in place while it opened and then when I closed the phone, it would stay poking up about 1 in every five times it would catch the back and pop up when I closed the phone.
I needed to find a way to assure that it would happen every time. I ended up cutting out a small hole that the cotton of the q-tip would catch on. You could push a q-tip in and close the phone, pushing the q-tip past the stop point. When the phone opened the q-tip caught the stop point, then when the phone slid back closed the q-tip stayed put and the stick of the q-tip seemed to pop up magically for the actor to grab.
Worked perfectly.
I covered the phone in bling and took it to rehearsal.

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