Wednesday, 7 June 2017

Character Design

       One of the most exciting parts of writing is character design. Once the characters are created, they begin to speak to you and the story begins. A long time can be spent just writing down character traits, character flaws and creating character goals. Having a rough visual image of what a character might look like helps make a story come to life as you’re writing. If you can create environments for the characters to live in, those environments can provide the final push you need to define goals and dreams of a character. Stories grow and change over time, as you bring in new artists to finalize the character designs the characters take on a life of their own. 

Below are samples from the character designs that have been done over the last few years for Painting My Life

Lead Character Evolution: Alice



Samples of Environments: Courtyard


Samples of Environments: Painting Studio


Early Gargoyle Designs:  


Monday, 31 October 2016

Anna's Diary - Drowning


With time running out before casting the film, I realized that there would not be much prep time for the actors. I needed to find a way to build a character study into an easy-to-read format for an actor who may only have a week of prep on a complex character, so I decided to write a diary for the lead character of Anna in the film Drowning. Ever since my 2010 film Measuring Tape Girl, which was basically a video diary, I’ve been using character diaries as a way to build characters for the stories I’ve been writing. Usually no one ever sees the diaries and it’s an just an exercise in character development. With the film Drowning’s compressed casting-to-shooting time it seemed like the only solution to creating a character bible in a short time span. The sixty-page diary was created over about two months and then handed off to the actor once the film was cast. The plan is that this will help create a short hand between the actor and I on set, where we can directly refer to page numbers in diary for different scenes. Directly putting us into the head of the character when we won’t always have time to have long discussions on character creation. Hopefully this allows us to create a character in the short time provided, without losing any depth and background required to build a back story that the actor can build on.






Link to Measuring Tape Girl:





Friday, 28 October 2016

Art Direction in 'Drowning'

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    A dark film noir style lighting will be used to help separate Anna’s imagined world from the real one. In each scene the lead character will move from darkness to light. The movement from darkness to light will be used as a visual metaphor for change. Within scenes, light will be an active participant in the story. Every scene in Anna’s dark world will use side lighting that allows for light to wrap around the characters, giving their faces both a dark and light side. The characters will live in a world where in every scene they can choose to move from the darkness of their old life into the light of a new life. Light will bleed into rooms from the outside creating environments where the characters can walk in and out of shadows during the daytime. Light that wraps around the character but still leaves their face in shadow. Compositions will challenge the frame as light moves across the characters in an active way. The main lighting influences will stem from the paintings of Vilhelm Hammershøi, Jack Vettriano, Edward Hopper and the film noir style of the 1940s. (Samples of stills from 'Drowning' with the painter that influenced beside it)

    Vilhelm Hammershøi

Vilhelm Hammershøi

    Jack Vettriano

 Jack Vettriano

 Jack Vettriano

 Jack Vettriano

    Edward Hopper

Edward Hopper

Edward Hopper




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