Do you remember when they first came out and people would say “We have to get this Xeroxed!” Talk about branding! Xerox because a verb. 🙂
I never paid much attention to copiers before I started working in the motion picture industry. I mean, who really cares about copiers? I would soon find out that a copy machine can become an addictive playtime toy when left unsupervised.
Copiers, or Xerox machines, can be a lot of fun! The imaginative collaboration of minds turned loose in an Art Department while making a movie can find endless ways to utilize and bend the hard and fast rules of making a simple copy.
The “community copier” was located in a small room next to the coffee machine across the street in the Production Office. It was a behemoth of a copier that collated, stapled and sorted massive bunches of paper all at one time. Big jobs were taken there and while the machine bumped and grinded it’s way through the task assigned, you could roam the Production Office craft service and basically make a meal out of the fruit, cheese and crackers they laid out everyday like a buffet, meant only for the Producers and the Accountants. You know, the important folks working on the movie.
My friend Connie and I took great stealthy delight making the Xerox Girl over a period of weeks during the filming of one particular movie.
Every few days she and I would secretly rendezvous in the copier room and while one of us played lookout, the other would Xerox another body part to add to her growing physique. We were respectful of the placement of Xerox Girl and kept her clothed. I did photocopy just a hint of lace around her cleavage and we added bits and pieces to keep people guessing.
We taped her to the wall next to the copier. She had a head, then hair. She had thighs and then a neck. It went on and on and on until she finally took on a rather sexy female form. Of course, all the girls in the Production Office were endlessly teased that it was one of them. I think they enjoyed that teasing.
She became quite famous and no one ever figured out exactly who Xerox Girl was. And unless someone from that movie is reading this, no one will ever really know who she was, except you guys. Xerox Girl was a combination of Connie and I and she was quite stunning to behold.
Then there was the discovery of transparencies and acrylic paint!
That was a blast!!
You had to get the settings on the Art Department copier just right so the ink would laser onto the transparency solid instead of beading up. You could copy any image you wanted onto the clear plastic. I liked copying people’s faces from polaroid pictures. Then you take another transparency and tape all of the edges closed with cellophane tape, leaving a nice opening on one side. Squirt whatever color paint you want into the opening. Throw in some glitter too if you have it. Carefully finish sealing the opening shut with more tape.
Then squish the paint around and around to create this freaky looking painting inside of the two pieces of transparency.
Color copiers were just hitting the mainstream market back then, so you had to go to the mall to get color copies made. They were great big huge machines!! And they had specially trained operators and the lowly customers were not allowed to get near them!
A bunch of us in the Art Department decided that going to the mall to see the new color copier should be a field trip one afternoon and about 6 of us descended on that poor lady at the color copier kiosk. All of us wanted a turn at sticking our hands in the copier to have color copies of our hands and bless her heart, she let us do that. She drew the line when one of the Set Designers wanted to stick his face in there though. I think she was worried about him going blind.
Xerox machines, copiers and the like have all become passe these days, but I must confess…I still love to play around with them and to see just how far I can push the envelope when it comes to what can be copied. Just think what those new 3D copiers are going to be like. Now I bet those are going to crank out some awesome activities and just think of the possibilities for the next generation of Xerox Girl!!