Saturday, January 30, 2010

Staging for the assassination...

So here it is. The shifty eyed fellow is the one in the top hat, center screen. All the principals are the ones on the right. Matthew Brady is getting ready to shoot the group in front of the mighty steamship. I know it looks like Mulvey and Farnsworth are saying vows, but it's supposed to be a manly handshake. Oh well. As long as my actors make it look good, that's the important thing.

Oh, and that's Wu in the foreground on the left.

You'll notice I'm staging as much as possible with their feet hidden. This is so I don't have to worry about accuracy in compositing. Yes, this entire shot is greenscreen.

Thursday, January 28, 2010

The assassination attempt...

Here's the board where Wu steps in and saves the day. Originally, this whole prologue was kind of boring. I attempted to liven it up by having everything work against the clock, trying to get launched at noon. However, that felt really contrived and when I hit upon this idea that Glowerston had been receiving death threats which would then culminate on an attempt on his life (we are led to believe, anyway) that sort of made the tension happen without forcing it.


The loading dock establishing shot...

I'm going to need to rent a greenscreen studio for this shot, but it will be worth it. This will establish the entire prologue with the addition of a Western Union Messenger Boy who has an important message for Mulvey. This bit of business was the key to figuring out how to have Mulvey agree to build the bathysphere for the next story without coming off as a wimp.

People will be moving around as the boy enters and walks about halfway to where Mulvey and Grimmauld are arguing.

Monday, January 18, 2010

My good Friend Dr. Grymm passed this along to me.

It's important because of the octopus.
It's also important because it's so damned awesome.

Thanks, Dr. Grymm!

Sunday, January 17, 2010

Reflections on early cinematography...

As you know, Adventures in Science is going to be a silent film. Originally, the Steampunk flavor would be that someone, earlier than the Lumiaire brothers would have invented the moving picture camera, and that I would be using that camera to make a film from that time period.

Well, having watched a bunch of movies from the early 1900s (1903, 1904, 1906) I've decided to go another way. Those early movies, while innovative for their time, really suck. It feels like the movies don't really know what story to tell, and the actors don't have a clue what they're doing. Some randomly dance, others look baffled, it's chaos. Even later pictures, like Metropolis, have the sensibility of static photographs that just happen to move. The timing of Buster Keaton films came much later, and while my film isn't a comedy, I like the beats.

What I really want to do is tell my story from a modern film making perspective, that just happens to be silent, and just happens to have cameras that are mostly locked.

With few exceptions, what those early pictures are missing is a sense of depth and... purpose? Mood, maybe? Clear storytelling- the stuff I went to school for twenty years ago is something I really hope to bring to the table. Will I succeed?

I sure hope so.

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Here's a miniature rail car from Huzzah the Moon!

I found this great place online that sells little tiny models in HO scale from the late 1800's. This will be part of the Columbiad set where the train with Mulvey's moon ship pulls in. It's been ten years since the Baltimore Gun Club made history by going around the Moon, and Mulvey intends to make history by landing on it and returning. In the intervening years, Rock Hill (Tampa) has become something of a theme park- part carnival, part beach resort. The set will be built about eight feet by eight feet in HO scale and I will be building a full scale set of some of the tents in my backyard and augmenting them with greenscreen combined with minatures and matte paintings.

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

A period span bridge...

I found this model in the bargain bin of my local train store. I put it together tonight and even unpainted, for six bucks, it looks pretty cool. I will be using this to show Mulvey's train heading south in Huzzah the Moon and am planning on putting the whole thing on a mirror, and shooting the reflection. That way, I can get the angle I need without having to worry to much about focus issues. This stuff is looking SO awesome!

Another ship for the graveyard...

What with the holidays and all, I haven't had a lot of time to build these things. I just started up again, and the fore deck of this ship is huge- easily the size of that smaller schooner, and this is just the front. Two more pieces of the hull to build.

Sunday, January 3, 2010

The prologue!

So it's on it's sixth rewrite and I think I am finally pretty happy with it. Once it's done, I will be sending it out again for everyone to read, I'll get the feedback, incorporate it and have a shooting script.

The major change is that now, when the Glowerston ensemble enters, one of the reporters will ask about the recent death threat the Baron has received. Glowerston waves it away as another member of the party starts looking shifty.

At the end of the prologue, right before the final photo is taken, the shifty fellow pulls a weapon and apparently attempts to kill Glowerston. Wu is too fast, however, and before the camera's shutter is clicked or Glowerston is shot, the would-be assassin is dead. The final photograph shows the various players reaction to the killing.

The reason I added this bit of business is to throw in some additional tension based on a comment one of my readers made about how my earlier script was "more telling than showing." I tend to rely on dialogue too much, and in this case, a silent film, it's even more crucial that I captivate my viewer with action rather than people talking to one another.