SEPTEMBER 2010

SEPTEMBER 2010

Postby Barry » Fri Sep 10, 2010 7:45 pm

September 10th 2010

Crikey guys, I've not written for two weeks. Put that down to being totally overwhelmed with the shooting of the film, difficult sequences, a lot of homework, and not being relaxed as the glorious lido has closed for the season, even though there was still some great weather. That still leaves two creature comforts in this desert called Chateau Renault.....the cinema and the cake shops.

But yes the film.....well we have all found that losing Gilles has doubled the pressure, and work, and given me less time for the actual shooting, and things take just that much longer to set up. Actually for some of this last period the crew was just justin and I as Nadia had a terrible car crash, which wrote off her car but so fortunately she is ok, but needed the week off and a few trips to doctors and hospitals. That of course complicated things for us, but under those circumstances we did not grumble.

I wish i had a tape recorder to record my thoughts as i was filming, as I do get flashes of real inspiration and clarity about the technique of how it should work. When I finish the shot, that thought has gone. now these thoughts really would make an interesting and practical book, even if schedules and stuff mean that I can't quite live up to those ideals. Schedules! My own limited ability actually.

Well things are nasty for Cliff at the moment, and that does rub off on me - some shots are quite disturbing to film, but it is racing along, being suitably violent and dramatic. I would like more time to really play with the choreography, and close up lenses with bigger depth of field, so that we can film very close and i can move things without them going out of focus. It's fine me writing 'big close up' in my rather flexible board but the reality is that these are harder to animate, needing more care and time, and more sensitivity to the light and focus, but also with the camera beign so close, I just can't get in. Today it looked as if I was having unnatural relations with the camera as I was quite literally straddling it. The animation was not great. I do prefer my wide shots where the movement is so much more forgiving and focus is not so limiting.

A lot of the action at the moment involves characters touching and grasping each other.....a terribly hard thing to do as, being separate entities, and myself only possessing two hands, you have to move one puppet first and then the other, losing contact in the process. as you join them again, things have shifted. Such a tricky thing. Another hard challenge I have faced on this film is getting up from lying down. This is probably one of the hardest things to animate. A good challenge. Cliff has fallen over so many times, or dropped out of the sky and landed splat, and still he keeps getting up, but oh there is such a tricky moment when you go from kneeling to putting weight on the foot. You need very fluid puppets and to be able to reach the puppet clearly. Today I was trying to do that but Cliff was surrounded by the three shadows. tricky, but having a rather odd quirk helps here. I have two dislocating thumbs, or double jointed thumbs, and I can sort of get them into very odd positions and still have them function. A useful quirk. A third prehensile arm would be even more useful. That would be brilliant actually. And that was one of the bizarre thoughts I had today as I tried to give the impression that Cliff was rising from his haunches to standing. Editing will help, but it is tricky as you have to straighten one leg first, using one hand to hold the foot/body steady, and then the other hand to pull the puppet upright. But you haven't moved the other leg, so you repeat the process, by which time the body has wobbled all over the place. If you had a third hand you could move both legs at the same time, in a nice clean movement upwards.

Actually, with all the compromises and hurdles caused by schedules, technology, mechanics, fatigue, egos, and so forth, it really is amazing that we produce any decent footage.....and we do. This crew is certainly working hard, and hopefully four months from now, we'll have a corker of a film.

I can't pretend I've been the most sociable of people here....I'm not sociable by nature, but with so much pressure I really need time and space just to think about things, the next days' shoot, the choreography, the story, the whole film. I'm not good if I can't do that.

We've been here twelve weeks and whilst I am still excited to be shooting every day, and looking forward to the next sequence, cabin fever has clearly set in, and I do look like a zombie, a bearded long haired zombie. Still I'll be home in four weeks. Just a swim, or a sauna, or a massage, or beans on toast, or a theatre, any of that would help.
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Re: SEPTEMBER 2010

Postby Barry » Sat Sep 18, 2010 8:54 pm

September 18th 2010

Well there pressure keeps up, and the violence of the characters in the scene is rubbing off a bit on me in that I am a little tetchy and agitated. But it's all looking good. A lot of close-up work which is tricky as the camera is out of necessity right in the way...reachng in to adjust puppet's eyes and such is difficult when you can't actually get to them. I think what I enjoy doing, and which will be totally invisible to the audience, is to make the shots flow as much as possible, putting in stray bits of movement left over from the previous shot...it all helps to ties the fragments together.
the wings are now sadly looking very tatty. So many observations about the wings....I have been using them like a dog's tail, to express emotion, and that seems to have worked well. But a tricky thing is than in tilting the body just a millimetre, this is magnified a hundred fold by the time it gets to the tip of the wing.....just too big a movement so I have to keep correcting it, and add some sort of delay as well. Interesting things!
These next two and a half weeks are going to be long and tough, very tough - keep those pastries coming!
And things at home, I can't even begin to find space for, but I must.
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Re: SEPTEMBER 2010

Postby Barry » Sat Sep 25, 2010 1:58 pm

September 25th 2010

A day to myself catching up with chores. I have been away from home for 100 days and part of me is dreading getting back with all the stuff that must be caught up with. Being here in Chateau Renault my world has become much reduced - well only the illusion of much reduced as bills are still piling up and the house is still there and the car still sat in the drive, all that will need kick starting shortly, probably literally.

And so the film reached a bit of a milestone in that the shadow characters are now done. I hope I have used them well and they make an impact. Of course if they had longer or if I had longer we could perhaps made more imaginative choreography, but i'm hoping they are pretty strange and vicious and violent, and with something going on between their blind eyes. In some ways they were satisfying puppets to animate, especially their faces, but with huge long legs with unevenly proportions thigh/calf they were difficult to walk, so did a lot of crawling. I still maintain getting a puppet up from lying down and onto his feet is one of the hardest things to do, and yes in every minute of this film someone is doing exactly that. Poor Cliff is up and down like a yo-yo, and a rather tragic yo-yo this week. the sudio has been littered with soiled feathers, and the scene suggests some terrible roadkill or a bird attacked by a whole army of cats. Yes we've done some pretty dramtic shots this week, and they have taken their toll on me.

I'm totally focussed on what's left to do, and that, I'm afraid, is really all that is my head just now. I'm even less open to social stuff - I jsut have to make sure i don't rush this last sequence. Both myself and the puppets are flagging physically if not mentally. Both of us are showing signs of strain after this epic summer. A summer of croissants, of sitting outside for quick lunches, a summer of sunshine, but also a summer of intense, and i mean intense work. Hopefully it will be all worth it.
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