Category: Help for the Holidays

Help for the Holidays - Screencaps and Clips

'Help for the Holidays' is a great holiday movie, full of joy, happiness, Christmas spirit, magic...and romance. The entire movie is an avalanche of cute. Summer Glau showed an awesome range of expressions again, from shocked to squeeee and all of them were great. She steals the entire film as the lovable elf Christine Prancer, in the funny and in the emotional scenes as well.
No wonder it is Hallmark Channel’s most watched original movie of the year.
Now that the movie premiered on Hallmark a few days ago, a lot of Summer Glau fans have watched it already. It's time to post screencaps and a few clips from the movie to get a taste of Summer Glau as the perky and cheerful elf Christine again.



Gallery link:
If you missed the premiere, there are repeats throughout the month of December on the Hallmark Channel; check the schedule.
'Help for the Holidays' is a must-have on your DVD collection, we will keep you posted as to when it will be available for purchase.
Date: 13 Dec 2012 | Comments (5)

Category: Help for the Holidays

Help for the Holidays is Hallmark Channel’s most watched original movie of the year

Help for the Holidays Poster

Hallmark Channel published via press release the ratings for their original Christmas movie for last Saturday and Sunday, respectively the highly anticipated and advertised 'Come Dance with Me ' and Summer Glau's 'Help for the Holidays'.
'Help for the Holidays' was the #1 program of Sunday and #1 cable movie of the week, scoring a 3.0 Household rating and over 5.6 million unduplicated viewers, making it Hallmark’s most watched original movie of the year.
'Come Dance with Me' was the #1 program of Saturday and #2 cable movie of the week, scoring a 2.7 household rating and nearly 4.8 million unduplicated viewers.
“Help for the Holidays” was the #1 cable program of Sunday and the #1 cable movie of the week. Among the core demographic of W25-54 rating, “Help for the Holidays” ranked as the #2 cable movie and the #5 telecast of the Sunday in addition to the #3 cable movie of the week. In the Sun 8-10p time period, the movie placed in the top 5 for HH and key demo ratings, including #1 in HH (3.0 rtg), #1 in P2+ (1.7 rtg), #2 in W25-54 (1.8 rtg), #2 in A25-54 (1.3 rtg), and #3 in W18-49 (1.3 rtg). In household and total viewer impressions, “Help for the Holidays” delivered #1 in HH (2,617,000), #1 in P2+ (3,639,000), #3 in W25-54 (828,000), and #3 in A25-54 (1,189,000). The Sunday premiere of “Help for the Holidays” boosted Hallmark Channel to be the #1 rated cable network in prime time among households (2.7 HH rtg) and the #1 rated cable network for day among households (1.5 rtg), W25-54 (.8 rtg), and A25-54 (.7 rtg). The film now claims the distinction as Hallmark Channel’s most watched original movie of the year among W25-54, A25-54, and total viewers, and the 2nd highest-rated original movie of the year among households.
Hallmark has been successful with their original holiday movies "Countdown to Christmas" (12 new movies in all) as a whole from week to week (check out in the Blog the compared ratings for all the original Christmas movies). However, learning that Summer Glau's Christmas movie performed so well is awesome and calls for a sequel to 'Help for the Holidays', don't you think?
Date: 12 Dec 2012 | Comments (9)

Category: Help for the Holidays

Help for the Holidays Ratings

Help for the Holidays Poster

The ratings for Hallmark's Help for the Holidays are out!
The Hallmark Christmas movie, starring Summer Glau and Eva LaRue pulled a 0.7 in 18-49 adult demographic and was viewed by 3.639 millions viewers, according to tvbythenumbers. These are preliminary numbers.
Don't forget that Hallmark is a cable network, don't try to compare those numbers with broadcast networks programs on NBC or ABC, for example.
More, it will be interesting to have the numbers for Hallmark's core demographic of women 25-54, but we will have to wait for Hallmark's own press release.
In order to give you a comparison, the Sunday, December 2nd (last week) premiere of original movie The Christmas Heart, pulled a 0.5 and gathered 3.28 millions viewers (numbers taken from tvbythenumbers) but Hallmark's press release mentioned  that The Christmas Heart rated as the #2 cable movie of the day, with a 2.9 household rating and over 5.1 million unduplicated viewers.
Date: 11 Dec 2012 | Comments (4)

Category: Help for the Holidays

Help for the Holidays - Sneak peek

A few more days till 'Help for the Holidays' premieres on The Hallmark Channel. To get you even more excited, here are new still images and a sneak peek, courtesy of US network PixL, who has already broadcast the movie (see informations below).

UPDATE: we have added a few more promo stills.

Watch this sneak peek, inwhich a self-assured elf Christine is unaware of what awaits her once in the real world.

Help for the Holidays - Promo TrailerHelp for the Holidays - Promo TrailerHelp for the Holidays - Promo TrailerHelp for the Holidays - Promo TrailerHelp for the Holidays - Promo TrailerHelp for the Holidays - Promo Trailer

Summer Glau as Christine looks adorable and her character seem to have great chemistry with Dave (played by John Brotherton).

Help for the Holidays - Promo StillsHelp for the Holidays - Promo StillsHelp for the Holidays - Promo StillsHelp for the Holidays - Promo Stills

Gallery link:
The Hallmark Channel has finally started to advertise 'Help for the Holidays'. Fortunately we did it for quite some time now; in this regard, you may want to (re-)read the exclusive interviews with writer Bob Saenz or with makeup artist Myke Spezzano, or watch the fan made movie poster. With the same aim, I strongly invite you to leave a nice comment on Twitter mentioning the movie or on the Hallmark's Facebook page.
Date: 06 Dec 2012 | Comments (8)

Category: Help for the Holidays

New Images for Help for the Holidays

To get you into the Chrismas spirit, check out these exclusive still images from Hallmark's Christmas movie 'Help for the Holidays', featuring Summer Glau, Eva LaRue, Izabela Vidovic, Mason Cook and Dan Gauthier.
These bright, colorful images give us a first look at the movie's twists and turns. Can you guess what is worrying Christine (Summer Glau) in the first picture?
More exclusives images and a sneak peek video will follow, stay tuned!

Help for the Holidays Promo StillsHelp for the Holidays Promo Stills

Gallery link:

'Help for the Holidays' is big on family, romance and the meaning of the holidays...not to mention Christine's magic tricks.

Don't miss the premiere on Hallmark Channel on Sunday, December 9 at 8/7c.

Date: 05 Dec 2012 | Comments (3)

Category: Help for the Holidays

Help for the Holidays - Makeup artist worked his magic to make Summer glow

Help for the Holidays - Makeup artist worked his magic to make Summer glow
Following our interview with Help for the Holidays's writer Bob Saenz, here's an interview with Myke Spezzano, Head of Makeup on the Hallmark movie and thus the man behind the amazing tranformation of Summer Glau into an elf from Santa's village.

Summer Glau in Help for the Holidays

Myke Spezzano was the Head of Makeup on the film 'Help for the Holidays' starring Summer Glau (Firefly, Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles) and Eva LaRue (CSI:Miami). Myke has been a makeup artist for over 20 years and he was pivotal in bringing the vision of what Summer’s character had to look like to the screen. One technical detail of this portrayal was that Summer had to sport a pair of pointy ears (think Legolas of Lord of the Rings or Mr. Spock of Star Trek). Judging by the still photographs, Myke’s photos from his blog, and from the video clips that we have posted on this site, it appears he did a great job. And as always, Summer looks radiant and we are sure that Myke worked his magic there too.

For anyone that is interested in reading really interesting reviews of various celebrities, such as Nancy Sinatra and others, we highly recommend you check out Myke’s blog. He offers thorough research and fair treatment of the people he writes about.

Summer Glau makeup in Terminator : The Sarah Connor Chronicles

Myke, first off, thank you for agreeing to this interview. We are fans of Summer Glau but we are also very interested in all aspects of the work that she does. Makeup is a very big part of getting her ready to get into character. If you have had a chance to see her other work, such as Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles, you will see that the extensive use of makeup was critical in making the audience believe that she was a cyborg, made up of living tissue over a metal endoskeleton.
Looking at your blog, we were impressed with the research that you have done into the celebrities that interest you. Full disclosure: we think Nancy Sinatra is an overlooked talent too. Given the restrictions of the times, and the expectations that the public must have put upon her, it is a wonder that she was able to resist the pressure and focus on her art as she did. Your kind treatment of her is both fair and admirable.
What also impressed us about your blog is that you clearly share a quality with Bob Saenz, the writer for 'Help for the Holidays' whom we also interviewed, of being passionate about what you do. And with that passion, you have achieved a mastery of your craft as well as an ongoing interest in improving what you do. You are also very willing to share your knowledge and skill. Reading your blog was not only interesting for the various artists that you described but also for the tips, techniques, and product reviews of the various products and tools that you use.
So, with your kind indulgence, on to the questions:
Myke, on your blog, you talk a lot about your art and celebrities, but you also talk about the craft including products and tools. You seem to have a good balance between your artistic side and the very workmanlike approach that you take. You even go so far as to describe your interest  in your early years (amazing memory for detail by the way) including your workshop in your parent’s garage where you tried a lot of different things. Would it be fair to say that you grew into your profession from very early on? What motivated you from so early on?
Myke Spezzano: As a kid I was the only boy to 4 sisters growing up and I can remember always being to myself so maybe that’s where my love of art stemmed from. I was always doing some form of art. When I was in junior high, I used to love drawing floor plans, my dream house  that I’d have when I grew up or stores I’d want to own. So for a while I was pretty keen on becoming  an architect and well, yea, that didn’t happen. I really enjoyed sketching and later painting was a big thing for me. I even dabble with sculpting for a bit. I hung around my older sister’s Patrica and Susan a lot when I was little,  Patty was a dancer and an artist and still does amazing work and Susie well she’s where my love for movies & all things tinsletown came from.  It’s a crazy thing, now that i am a makeup artist, the desire to paint is gone, unless its a face.
A lot of Summer’s work has been in the science fiction genre. This film is a departure for her although we believe she is an excellent actress who can tackle anything. Like you, from an early age, Summer had a fascination with performance and creativity to the extent that her parents recognized it and did a lot to encourage it (home schooled, enrolled in ballet, and very supportive). But her desire to create and to perform seems to know no boundaries. Would it be fair to say that you see your art and craft as being without limits, that you would work in any type of film or genre?

Summer Glau in Help for the Holidays - Behind the Scenes

Myke Spezzano: As a makeup artist you take jobs that are offered to you or let’s say, that come your way. I have worked in many genres and I know my strengths and my weaknesses. I won’t take a job that I don’t feel I can do with the best of what I know..I am not technically trained, per say. I’m pretty much self taught, and from my experience there are way too many artists that sell themselves really good and then can’t meet the tasks at hand. I just would never want to put someone or myself in that position. So yes, I guess there are limits to one’s craft, but there’s always room for learning..
We understand that you recently worked on another Christmas movie for the Hallmark Channel, ‘Matchmaker Santa.’ How was it working with the Hallmark channel and their production team?
Myke Spezzano: I love the Hallmark Family, but I technically don’t work for them. I work for a production team that makes films for the hallmark channel. And working with them is like being with your family on an extended vacation, it really is, I love my producer, Lincoln Laggeson. He’s become a close friend and a great boss, I am grateful to have worked with him and the Hallmark Family since 2003 , so there’s a long history between me and both teams!
We don’t mean to distinguish Hallmark as anything other than a film company that is interested in doing good work but clearly, they have a particular focus. Was this, in any way, a challenge for you to be creative or was it all just business as usual? What were they like to work with?
Myke Spezzano: As I mentioned earlier, they're a great team to work with. Different productions and scripts have their challenges, they all do and there are times when you have to set your creativity aside and be business as usual to just get the task done.
In the makeup treatment of Summer, did you have a brief to work from or was it purely left up to you? And as an artist, do you get to look at the script early on so that you can learn what you need about the characters and the settings? 

Summer Glau in Help for the Holidays - Behind the Scenes

Myke Spezzano: When I get my script I sit down a read it really good, then go back over it and take what ever notes I think are important. Then I usually sit with the producers, director and 1st Ad and talk it through. Based on budget, time, location, sometimes things just aren’t going to work so you make adjustments and so on. On bigger films you are allowed camera test and makeup  test sessions to get all the kinks out so that you’re all on the right track when you start filing. With “Help For The Holidays”, I had the ear choice and just hoped they fit. The rest of  Summer’s makeup looks, I have to say, where made while she sat in my chair.
Reading your blog, we can’t help but think that you are very thorough in your research and you bring a lot to your work. There is probably a lot more going on than what we the regular viewers would pick up on. Would you care to share with us any of your thinking on what you wanted to achieve or what inspired you in working on Summer’s makeup and the prosthetics?
Myke Spezzano: For Summer’s makeup I just thought, 'fairy dust!', I know that she played an elf not a fairy but i just wanted her to glow.  I guess in the back of my mind I was thinking, 'Doll', i wanted her to be doll like. I’m not sure why, but that’s what I was thinking. She’s so elfin in real life so I just played up on that. As for the ear prosthetics, oh man, I tried several types of ears, the first pair where longer, much bigger ears and they where just not pretty, effective, but so not pretty. Then a smaller pair that where more like ear tips, they where much to thick and made the upper ear bulbous.  I wanted them to just melt into her natural ear shape. If you notices the male elves, they have different  shaped ears....
And although you were Summer’s personal makeup artist, of course, we don’t want to restrict this to Summer’s character. Any comments on the makeup of the rest of the cast? Did the production company ask for something specific for one character in particular (apart from the elf ears)?
Myke Spezzano: No, I was free to just do my thing. I took actors ideas and mixed with my own to create their looks.
Those ears were excellent by the way. You would not believe how much discussion that sparked amongst the Summer Glau fandom. Did you get them right the first time or was it a learning, trial-by-error process? Some fans thought that the ears lacked detail compared to the elf ears in Lord of the Rings for example. Maybe they didn’t get that Help for the Holidays is a Christmas movie, not a horror/fantasy film. Just as an aside, have you ever worked on any trolls? You don’t have to answer that.

Summer Glau in Help for the Holidays - Elf earsMyke Spezzano: Thank you so much for saying that, I do appreciate it. Let’s just say what ever ears were to be used had to be pretty ears and not a girl with troll ears, that’s just not a pretty look unless you're a girl troll.  Some days I disliked doing those ears with a passion, it was time consuming and there were days that production didn’t care how long I needed to apply and paint them and still get her beauty makeup completed. I had never done ears before so 3 days before we started filming me and my hairdresser, Ali Reyes, just played, and learned how to do it, so yes, very trial and error I would say. But now I know how to do them and towards the end of the shoot it took me 20 minutes to apply. 

And it’s all for the better because my next film has more elves in it ! oi!
You said in your blog that you used a honey-hued luminizer on Summer Glau to give her a “fairy-like look.” Did Summer’s makeup change at all between the two settings (in the workshop at the North Pole and with the family in California)? We ask this because many fans have said they did not recognise Summer when she was not in her elf costume; kudos to the hair and makeup department.
Myke Spezzano: Yes. Summer basically had two makeup changes. If you notice when she is in the “real world” and she’s called back to the north pole, she is automatically changed into her elf gear. I used this amazing compact color called Mary Lou Manizier  by The Balm Cosmetics, It was perfect! In fact the cinematographer would say, “ Myke she looks a little shinny",  in his thick argentinian accent, we would have to remind him by saying "Maximo, she’s an elf" and he would say, “oh yeah, right”. Made me laugh every time.
Purely technical but what is Summer’s skin like to work on? Other makeup artists, such as Robert Hall in TSCC, have described her skin as being like a porcelain doll, very smooth and with fine, close pores. She also has very small features which could make prosthetics a challenge perhaps. Does her skin type and her face shape have any particular requirements or present you with any challenges?
Myke Spezzano: Summer has beautiful, smooth and even toned skin. She took a lot in the makeup beating department that’s for sure. There where many days that the elf ears had to be on then off then back on again in the same day, she was a trouper. And YES! Summer has small features and small ears that where close to her head so it took a little time to get the ear technique figured out!
We understand that you have to be on set during filming as well as be ready in the early morning to get the actors ready for filming. This must lead to some very long days. Do you have to spend a lot of time in the background watching the filming? Do you have to re-apply or touch up the makeup for the actors between takes or before each scene? Is that you working on Summer’s makeup at 0:59 of the behind the scenes video?

Summer Glau in Help for the Holidays - Makeup session

Myke Spezzano: Yes, that is me.... and yes once the initial morning is done, when all actors have come through makeup &  hair, I head to set  and stand by, usually behind the monitor so I can check what she looks like and to maintain the integrity of the look. we call is , “LAST LOOKS”, its when me & hair are allowed to step in and give a last looks before they roll. Hence, the name of my blog.
While you were on set, watching the takes, did you form any impression about Summer’s work or her chemistry with the other actors? How would you describe her approach and preparation?
Myke Spezzano: She was amazing with the child co-stars and her leading man, John Brotherton. They had mad chemistry, at least to my eyes. You can always tell when someone is deep into it, when I am doing makeup, sometimes it’s music blaring, coffee sipping and mouths chatting, then there are times of stillness and quiet....when you know that she was totally in prep mode.
Following on from that question about Summer’s professionalism, did you form any personal impression about Summer?
Myke Spezzano: I adored her. We hit it off right from the get go, we had some communication prior to the  film starting, while she was filming Alphas in Canada. So the second she walked in the makeup trailer are connection was made. She knew I had her back and would protect her. Summer is a sweet, thoughtful person, She was so thoughtful with the entire cast. She’s the real deal. I tend to get little crushes on my leads, it makes me do good by them and i think they appreciate it.
We don’t mean to pry into what went on when the two of you were working together (YES WE DO! Liar, liar, pants on fire!) but are there any anecdotes or observations you would like to share? Why we ask is that we know from past research that Summer has quite a sense of humour and she can be a bit mischievous and from your blog, you clearly have a good sense of humour.

Summer Glau in Help for the Holidays - Funny scene

Myke Spezzano: She is pretty funny and i would do my impersonation of CHER as if she was Rizzo in Grease or we talked in accents. We had some fun and she is liked by everyone. You really can’t say anything bad about her and you wouldn’t want to.... it was a hard show for us, the hours & the schedule alone, you get really close really fast on these types of productions and many thing get shared. Other than that I have to respect that time together.
Eva LaRue was on CSI:Miami and played a challenging role with some tough, demanding scenes with her fellow actors. She was intense. How would you describe the scenes with Summer and Eva? From the summary we read, it appears that Summer’s character has quite an uphill battle in trying to adjust to the new setting and to the demands of the family.
Myke Spezzano: Well, you know I just concern myself with the beauty elements of it all really. They had some great scenes together.  Eva’s character  had its challenges. She plays a working mom, who just doesn’t have the Christmas spirit. She and her husband run a Christmas store so for them the Christmas cheers is a paycheck, and her lack of spirit affects her kids in a sad way. Then Christine shows up and starts to undermine her rules. So those scenes to me where acted with so much more meaning than what I think was intended in the script. They are both such great talents and I am looking forward to seeing their work.
Eva  and I have been acquaintances on and off for about 20 years so it was so  amazing to work with her again and finally be able to call her friend. I would work with her on anything!
Myke, your study of classic film stars and other artists leads us to ask how much their work informs your choices. Your interest in their work is surely just for more than the makeup but have you learned anything in particular about your craft and your art from the work of other makeup artists or from the performances of these actors that you admire so much?
Myke Spezzano: Great questions! All my work steams from my love of classic films and the leading ladies of that time and up to the 80’s. They are all my reference guides, my muses. I used imagery from films a lot, for example, on my last film I wanted the actress, Emily Rose to look strong, stern, yet still sexy, so i would refer to that as, “let’s go Hitchcock blonde”, it’s homage to the blondes from films like Vertigo!
Myke, what upcoming projects can we look forward to for you? Do you have any dream projects that you would like to work on?
Myke Spezzano: Well, I have a film PLAYING FATHER, coming soon Directed by Eriq La Salle starring Eddie Cibrian. And getting ready to do yet another movie for Hallmark that has yes, more elves. Dream projects? I am working on writing one right now. We will see!
Myke: thank you so much for taking the time and for your effort in answering these questions. We wish you every success and sincerely hope that we see more of your work. And we look forward to reading more of your blog. To the readers, we highly recommend Myke’s blog called 'Last look with Myke the makeup guy' for his wit, insights, and breadth of knowledge that he so willingly shares.
'Help for the Holidays' premieres on Hallmark on Sunday, December 9 at 8/7c.
Christmas movies usually carry with them joy, happyness, romance and Christmas spirit. 'Help for the Holidays' has them all and has magic on top of that 
A big thank you to our gifted member Alex for writing the questions and the introduction.
Date: 30 Nov 2012 | Comments (5)

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