Sunday, 4 September 2011

Starting a Culture War

To follow up on yesterday's post, which I'd had written for weeks but couldn't publish because the video was being a bitch, I wanted to show you some of the behind-the-scenes stuff about Culture War. I was originally going to take you through the shooting of the film, but aside from that being very boring I thought I would be ruining the final product by explaining how I had to cut corners here and what scenes I missed how there, so I'm going to stay away from the particulars.

Firstly, I'd like to draw your attention to the titles:


I've talked about the titles before, but I thought I should include another mention of them here because - after I had the inspiration from the song - they were the first thing I made for this film. Sitting around waiting for people to reply to my pleas for their help to act in the film, I was so hyped about the project that I made hand-drawn titles, based off the typography of the album's cover art. They were drawn on the thickest card I could find (to prevent it bleeding through) with a Letraset Promarker - an unusually undigital approach for me. I quite enjoyed hand-drawing them, though, and I think they look right. Here's one of the many sheets I scanned in for the titles:


As you can see, the composition of the titles themselves was handled in Photoshop; I simply drew the words and characters on the paper then manipulated them digitally. When the hand-drawn titles weren't going my way (that goddamn S was a nightmare), I also experimented with different digital typefaces (below). The only one that I would have possibly used is the first, Akzidenz Grotesk condensed. The hand-drawn characters were partially based off that, too.


I got maybe a little to excited about this project, and could barely sleep one night, I was so inspired. It was just one of those ideas that I wanted to get done as soon as possible - and had the means to do so. Like Suspension. But Suspension took a week, and due to logistical problems, the need for ten actors and reshoots, Culture War took two weeks. Still a very short timespan. It makes me wonder what I could make with longer holidays - one thing's for sure, I'd be able to go back for more reshoots. There are some parts of Culture War that annoy me a little because I see where I directed wrong. But hey, I said I wouldn't talk about that, so let's move on. Here's a ticklist I made while still incensed with the idea in the first few days:


That was back when I was using my friend Ant as the main character - in fact, I shot the bit at the start on the bus with him first, then he got a haircut and went on holiday right when I needed to shoot the rest of the film, so I reshot the start with Matt, and he was just as good - probably better - in the part. Note also that I originally wanted 20 actors, and got 10. In a way I think fewer is better (or easier to direct), but I'll never know for sure.



Above are some of the pages of planning I did for the film. The first page was my first start at storyboarding - still with Ant as the main character, you can see - but after a while I gave up on storyboarding and instead planned out what would happen in each of the mini scenes (second page). The red stuff is my reminder of what to film in the reshoot - bits to film again, bits to add in, bits to do because the battery of my camera died before we could complete the fight scene on the first night. I stuck quite close to that list, helpfully.

And there you have it; a look at what I did for this film. I hope you all enjoyed it - here's the link again - and have a nice September, I'll try to blog when I can but school starts tomorrow, so, bleugh.

~John

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