Monday, 27 July 2009

What, you ask, has become of Chatterton?

Since writing last, I've finished the casting process. Then, over the course of four days and dozens of phone calls and emails, I established a shooting schedule during which all four of my actors, my major locations, and equipment are all available. Production on Chatterton will take place over the first two weeks of September, and editing will be completed by the end of October.

In the meantime, I continue to track down props, including a working typewriter, an easel, and an antique large-format camera with tripod. One prop I have bought especially for the shoot is a beautiful new paintbrush that will appear, plastic sleeve intact, in one of the first scenes. It may be cheap and inefficient as a painter's tool (I don't have high expectations of a $3 brush) but I love the way it looks, its elegant curves and the striking contrast of the bright blue grip with the transparent handle. Every tiny detail counts when constructing a character's world, and this little brush will play an important if subtle role in a long dolly shot near the beginning of the film, in which we explore Daniel's studio and bedroom.

I've also brought on board my friend Cindy Ye to create the only custom-made costume for the film: the dress that Donna wears in the forged historic photo that Daniel hopes will make his fortune. One of several pictures I've sent Cindy for inspiration is the above photo of Alice Liddell, the inspiration for Alice's Adventures in Wonderland and a frequent photographic subject of its author, Lewis Carroll (the above photo was actually taken by Julia Margaret Cameron).

While Cindy works on the dress, I'll be story-boarding the animations and creating the drawings and paintings that appear in Daniel's notebook and apartment. I usually don't story-board an entire script, only the most complex sequences. In this case, the scene will involve some complicated shots in which live-action portions of the frame interact with animated parts and every aspect must be coordinated beforehand.

In this animation, Daniel's drawing of Donna comes to life on his notepad, while poppies blush and a handkerchief flies away like a bird in his whimsical fantasy. Below you can listen to the song that will play during the sequence.

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