Saturday, 9 March 2013

The Splinter House

Things are moving along quite nicely. I am happy to say that Paul Barton has completed the William's Lullaby score and it is truly exquisite. He has done an incredible job of incorporating the themes and story of William's Lullaby in his music and the result is a sophisticated and layered score that will keep you thinking long after the film is over.

I'll be spending quite a bit of time in these blogs speaking about creating the look of William's Lullaby in various posts. I've already begun to do that with last week's post on the transition from storyboards to screen. This week we'll take a look at the William's Lullaby set and specifically creating the look of the Splinter home.

I've always been a fan of art direction and set design. I love the idea of bringing a character to life through his or her surroundings in a play or film. I've mentioned my Vancouver Film School short, "The Boy Who Knew" on here before, but I'll take a moment to show it again in a different light. This was a film where I wanted to explore how you could create a character simply through set design and art direction without ever showing that person in the film. Can it be done effectively? You be the judge.

For the record, in reality this bedroom was originally a teenage girl's room, complete with a bunk-bed. My Art Director at the time, Red Albert, did a phenomenal job, in my biased opinion of transforming this into the bedroom of a boy prodigy and it fits well with the mood of the final product:

For William's Lullaby, I assembled a small team of extremely creative filmmakers and artists from Kingston, Ontario. Together we worked hard over five months of pre-production to create some of the very specific details needed for the Splinter home. Our goal was to create a home that was missing two crucial ingredients -- love and family. 

For William's bedroom (as seen above) we decided that a running theme throughout his environment would be a love for medieval knights and mythology, and this can be seen subtly with everything from the frame of the bed, the royal bedsheets, the knight's helmet on his dresser to the hand-drawn images of kings hanging on the wall. At the same time, we wanted William's bedroom to be very stark and bare, cold and unwelcoming -- as though slightly unfinished. The baron white walls leave much to be desired, casting harsh dark shadows which we can only imagine would terrify a young five-year-old in the dark.

For our next image we see the Splinter basement:

The script originally called for a living room environment, describing Thomas as often sleeping on the couch. During our location scout, this house provided us with an unfinished basement that peaked our curiosity and provided a much darker, sombre environment for Thomas. It made perfect sense to us that this man, suffering from depression and perhaps even a fear of raising his own son would create a safe haven from that world, a sanctuary of his own, off limits to his young five-year-old son where lost memories and ghosts abound in photo albums and home video flickers in the night light.

Thomas' bedroom had to have the same stark, bare and cold feeling of William's but on a very different scale -- from the adult perspective. And my art team, made up of the wonderfully talented Amanda Shaw, Kat Rush and Sierra Chaykowski did a wonderful job of adding subtle details, bringing to life Thomas Splinter's past AND present in one single room. Fantastic work, if you ask me. I won't spoon-feed you, rather I'll leave you to explore the clues. Very telling reveals of character in these pictures.

That's it for this week folks! Remember to join in the conversation on FACEBOOKTWITTER and comment below! We love to hear from you.


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