Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Over My Shoulder

Just discovered FaceTime can record movies. Thought I'd show how crazy things are here with the full set up right behind me. Got everything decked out for the full Bug Party scene.

Storyboard and new puppet showcase coming soon...

Saturday, April 05, 2014

Halfland Trailer #1 Script

Halfland Trailer #1 Script – 4/5/2014

Voice Over Artist: MJM (Luckily for me, a friend with the deepest, richest, most full-throated tones I've ever heard, with a marvelous precise Spanish accent and her wonderful foreign enunciation of English) *Emphasis to be weighted on underscored words. [Spoken style as though an important story is being told for the first time to the world.]

[Ext, Day: looking up into handmade paper sky, camera pans downward ] [slow, peaceful]
...Let me tell you of a New Folktale…
[majestic music, chords, nature sounds; bird song, breezes] [00:03]

[Ext, Day: long shot of sky dawning over Rana's cottage and landscape] [nearly still]
...It's about a world between the worlds called, Halfland.
[majestic music, chords, nature sounds; bird song, breezes] [00:06]

[Ext, Day: camera moving slightly closer] [barely moving]
Where everything is half of something else.
[softer music, stranger chords, attention shimmer, nature sounds; bird song, breezes] [00:04]

[Fade down to brown-----transition------fade up] [00:02]

[Ext, Day: camera careens over picket fence and front garden toward Rana's cottage] [slow, like drifting]
Many creatures make their home there.
[pleasant music, nature sounds, sung abstract tones] [00:03]

[Ext, Day: camera slowly pans through Answer Tree branches] [slow, languid]
Some, among the branches of the Answer Tree.
[pleasant music, nature sounds, sung abstract tones] [00:04]

[Ext, Day: among branches, birds in hats arguing over the hand mirror: each bird in hat, flying, landed, tug-of-war over mirror, tussle, hat falling, looking down on sleeping cat below, cat doesn't move, just opens one eye when hat lands on his head.] [swift cuts]
Where birds in hats argue over vanity.
[loudly bickering birds, tussling of cardboard hat boxes, hat landing on sleeping cat with dull thud] [00:05]

[Ext, Evening, Change of light; glimpse of luna moth-winged Yanu in Answer Tree canopy carrying the moon lantern and hanging it on a high branch.] [quick cross cutting]
Where a mothman hangs the moon lantern each night.
[pleasant music, nature sounds, wind through leaves, butterfly wings flapping] [00:05]

[Fade down to brown-----transition------fade up] [00:02]

[Int, Night; Rana sits in armchair by the fire silently sewing, inset close-up of her pulling the needle] [peaceful, homey]
Hidden in her woodland cottage, Rana awaits a friend from the sea...
[wooden creaks, fire crackle, gentle sigh, thread running through cloth] [00:06]

fade down to brown------transition------fade up [00:02]

[Ext, Night; abstract darkness, shadowy figure riding a creature, neither ever actually seen] [desperate quick cross cutting]
...While another struggles to reach there in time.
[Woman breathing heavily, howling wind, baby crying, glass breaking, running horse hooves, sung disturbing tones] [00:04]

[Ext, Day, frog in motion leaping; cut to close-up of clock eye] [quick cross cutting]
Not the Time that is kept nearby...
[pond splash, clock ticking, crickets] [00:03]

[Ext, Day; desert set, close-up as sprout emerges from Tarn's black hair and grows in time lapse to blossom into flower ] [peaceful slow motion]
…But in time to have all her hopes realized.
[Eastern style music, attention shimmer, unfolding chords, sung abstract tones, ringing crystal bowl, bird wing whipping through air] [00:04]

[Fade down to brown-----transition------fade up] [00:02]

[Ext, Night, sampling of the bug party festivities] [quick cross cutting]
Come along, and discover for yourself what you already knew.
[Bug Party band music, insect noise, party clatter/chatter, relentless air horn blowing] [00:05]

[Ext, Day, medium shot of Rana smiling with a wink in front of her cottage] [slow, peaceful]
Watch what happens, in Halfland…
[pleasant music, nature sounds] [00:05]

[Vintage sepia spyglass distressed framing] [slow, flickering, becomes steady when name and tag appear.]
Fade to brown with sounds still on. Up with name plate.
[pleasant music, nature sounds] [00:03]


[Visual Shots]
[Sound Design]
[Pace/Speed of Cutting]
Total Estimated Runtime [00:66]

Sunday, March 30, 2014

A Sound Idea

You'd never know what this peaceful, sleepy little mushroom ring turns into at night...

Come along, you're invited to see what's going on after hours in Halfland.

Here's a little preview of the sound design for the Bug Party scene. It's just two low res still shots of the set in the dark with a few tracks thrown into After Effects. My very first attempt with the program. Had to start somewhere.

I've actually collected many dozens of sound files for Halfland just last month. I believe to have 97% of all audio that will be needed for every scene of the film, from the pond to the desert. They've all been gathered into scene folders, labelled, organized. Ready to drop into compositions.

This was a huge milestone for the project and brought to light several surprising realizations about actions and the nature of of what happens. It helped me visualize each moment in a more concrete way which made everything even more tantalizing for me.

You will laugh so hard when you see what's making that horn blow at the party! xoox

It's a Full House!

Started assembling the separate set pieces into their new configuration by using sawhorses, tripods,  and crates at different levels, stuffing the undersides with big crumples of thick brown paper for support. 

Since the shot above was taken, the foreground piece is set-up, the full picket fence and gate is installed and the bug party mushroom ring and cottage pathway repaired and finessed.

The set takes up the whole bedroom where I work, you walk right into the Answer Tree's tiny Writing Mouse house as soon as you walk through the door.

With the landscape in position in it's new configuration, it's nearly impassable to my desk back there. I mostly walk around through the bathroom while the full set is set up. Once the cottage interior scenes are being shot, the landscape can stack and stow to clear up space.
The picket fence (seen above midway during installation process) is now fully incorporated into the foreground set piece, painted with whitewash, and the ground around the base patched and repainted to look like ground.

The fence makes the smaller scale of the Bug Party set look even more diminutive. And you know what that means... intensely more appealing results. It's the one thing against the other that makes the illusion work. The bug party glimpsed from a distance (at first) through the fence in the same frame will enhance the magic of the scale differences.

The next post will give the idea a bit.

Just My Cup of Tea Tree

I've made many plans for flower plantings along the picket fence set piece, spent a lot of time thinking of how to make the greenery and flowers. Then I noticed a specific plant in our neighbor's yard and took a little snip to test (lower left). It looked right, right away. The right scale, the right feel. But how would they be made stable to last over time?

As it would happen, the very next day I saw the gardeners had trimmed back that very shrub (They kindly told me it was called Australian Tea Tree) and welcomed me to grab as much from the bin as I'd like. I stripped off the best looking tips, with the most pink blooms, and happily brought them back to the set.

Today I filled a ziplock bag with my trusty Nova Color matte medium, dropped in the stems one by one, smooshed around to coat, and then tapped off excess inside a cardboard box, and hung all over the studio to dry (center).

I really coated each stock heavily, some twice after each coat dried. The result so far is perfect, with all little leaves strongly attached and even the flower petals withstood the treatments (lower right) and look unaltered after two coats have dried.

The other half of the armful I clipped and crushed their stems to absorb a mixture of hot water, glycerine, and vinegar.  Ideally the solution will be drawn up into the stocks and preserve the whole branch longer term. That batch will take several weeks to fully process, so this matte medium technique, by contrast, is super fast and easy.

I used nearly the same method back in September with a batch of myrtle greenery with mixed results. They looked good at first too but the larger leaves curled and don't look lively enough for the use anymore. Might have them in a blurry background.

Crossing fingers that the Tea Tree branch tips will look like this long term. Planning to add other quick (QUICK!) paper blossoms to the greenery at the fence as well. Yellow Sweetpeas (center bottom).
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