So there haven't been many blog entries lately. The majority of my Oz time has been spent working on all this Witch nonsense, and Sean and I wanted to keep this all under wraps until it happened. Which meant I was left unable to talk about the majority of what I was doing. But you're all in the loop now, so I can just go nuts. You're about to embark on the first in a two part adventure that will shake your worldview. Or like, a really little portion of your worldview. The small bit of your worldview that you devote to our film.
Believe it or not, it took a number of years for those two minutes to come into existence. And while our independent nature may leave us lighter on the crew side than your typical Hollywood production, it still took a load of people to bring this thing to life. Here in part one I'm going to outline the pre-production and production processes, with a focus on the many talented people involved.
It begins in the late 1890's, with L. Frank Baum. Oz fans already know how the book came about, and there are better sources on the internet to find that sort of information, so I'll refrain. But without his imaginative story, we obviously wouldn't be doing this at all. By that same token, there's W.W. Denslow, illustrator on the original version. While our Witch design doesn't owe much to his own, our Dorothy costume surely does.
|The military used to be so much more glamorous...|
|Let's hear it for CHINA, everybody. THEY'VE got the right idea...|
We'll jump ahead again to 2009, now. Sean and I had hatched this crazy scheme, and were planning to shoot some of the film in the summer. Which left us struggling to put together all the props and costumes we'd need in time. The costumes were more his thing, since I not only have zero fashion sense but zero fashion interest. He designed the Emerald City bell dress, based on Denslow's illustration, and figured out where and how to get it made.
Which brings us to our next important person, the quirky Barbara Miller. After a little snafu with a previous costumer, Sean managed to find Barb, who was willing to do the work for free, provided we bought the fabrics. So Sean and Barb went on a cloth shopping spree (SO fun...), picking out all the right materials. Barb had the costume ready in time for us to film the sequences that required it. You can see us going to pick it up in this video.
So we had the costume, but a costume is no good without somebody to wear it. And when that person happens to be the lead in your film, they also need to be talented with the acting. Which brings us to Mariellen Kemp, our Dorothy. It's her fault that we're shooting this film in the strange way we are. As we've said before, her audition so impressed us so that we wanted to make sure we could get Dorothy filmed before Mare outgrew the part. Based on our (lack of) success with fundraising so far, we were right to handle things the way we did. Because Mare's in high school now...
We filmed the Dorothy half of the scene on June 29th, 2009. That's over two years ago, that's crazy. It's not a scene where Mare has a lot to do, the Witch is doing the villainy and getting her monologue on in front of a scared little girl. But just because there's no dialogue doesn't mean there's no acting. Mare had to look credibly frightened by something that was meant to be in front of her but was not, and in fact would not become a physical reality for two years. All we had to show her was the one piece of Witch concept art from our pre-viz gallery. We didn't even begin Witch auditions for two more days, so we had no idea what to expect from the Witch's performance.
|There's a reason they never made a movie about zombie Bob Marley...|
|It's actually not acting, she's just wrinkling her nose at me. Because I'm an IDIOT.|
|Our A-Team reboot was doomed from the start. I pity the fools...|
|Because we were afraid NOT to...|
|I was going to make a Diamonds Are Forever reference, but I think I may be the only one who remembers that movie exists...|
I've gone on before about how freaking awesome Norm is, and Sean did likewise in his most recent article. We love Norm, he's a great guy, and very talented. He did fantastic work crafting the appliances necessary to bring this character to life, and he lost a lot of sleep figuring out how to make it all come together. He did it though, and the Witch turned out better than I could have hoped for.
|A scene from our sequel to The Man Who Fell to Earth.|
|Yeah, they're good drawings. Sure... Let's just avert our eyes from the chin on the left, shall we?|
Our last crucial individual is a Mr. Drew More. I stumbled upon Drew quite by accident, in June of 2010. I'd posted on a forum looking for critiques on the then in-progress teaser trailer, and he not only helped out with some very helpful critiques, but expressed a love for the book and volunteered to help with effects work, if we'd have him. And of course we did. The shots of the teaser that hold up best are all him. His talent and experience secured him the position of our visual effects supervisor. Since then he and I have been working together a lot on some stuff that you all may get to see someday.
Obviously, having met him after she was wrapped, Drew had no input on the Dorothy material. More on that tomorrow. But while he could not be present (low budget film, remember?), Drew was still on hand for VFX supervision when the Witch photography was underway. He masterminded our improved tracking set-up, and through video correspondence tested and approved what we went with. We consulted with him before up and moving to Norm's air conditioned shack. And he and I did a lot of tests with shutter speeds. I'll outline the rest of his contributions in tomorrow's entry.
|This is just here to prove that there's still more friggin' creepy left in this character... You've not even seen the best of it yet.|
So there you have it. A substantial number of people working on this across two years. And that's just to make everything happen in front of the camera. Obviously when we capture a character in front of a green dropcloth we're not ready to send the footage straight to the theater... Check back tomorrow for an in-depth write-up on the editing and visual effects work. Or don't, if technical details bore you. I'm gonna get SERIOUS!