A little progress this week. The MOD (magneto-optical disc) containing the mixed audio has been produced, ready for shooting onto film as an optical soundtrack. And it looks like we might have our grade lined up.
But it’s two steps forwards and one step back, I’m afraid. For the third time, Dark Side has been turned down for development funding by Screen West Midlands – that’s five times if you count the UK Film Council applications too. Each application has been stronger than the one before it, but for reasons that remain obscure it’s still not good enough.
If you can believe it, we’re still trying to find somewhere to grade. Earlier this year it seemed like we had that all set up, but it didn’t quite come off. Part of the problem is that a particular company has very kindly offered us a free shoot-out back to 35mm, but in order to take them up on this we need to have graded at a place that is calibrated for this company’s recorders, which limits our options.
In other news, if you thought Dark Side is the only Henson-inspired fantasy film being developed independently in the UK, you’re wrong. Raven Waiting is in pre-production right now, and looks set to be pretty amazing if the concept art and the director’s dedication are anything to go by. Check it out.
I’ve been digging through the archives, the 20+ hours of behind-the-scenes material we accumulated while making the pilot, most of it shot by Mr. Gerard Giorgi-Coll. And I’ve put some more of it to good use, as you’ll see on the video page.
There’s a tour of the art department workshop, providing a snapshot of the set as it was just over two weeks into the build. It even includes a rare interview with the elusive production designer, Ian Tomlinson.
And “The Dark Side Guide to Building a Set” is a ten minute featurette covering the issues surrounding making and shooting a set. Building a set was new experience for me (with the exception of a few basic flats and dodgy consoles for Cow Trek way back in 2000) and since a lot of low budget filmmakers will have shot only on location, I thought a rundown of the considerations and costs of set construction would be useful to some of you out there. Or you might just want to hear my cheesy narrator voice; that’s also a valid reason for watching it.
The aim to is produce at least one more “Dark Side Guide”, maybe two, covering the issues around making the leap from video to film, both in production and post-production. And if you have any suggestions or requests for subjects, feel free to contact me.
Essential viewing for any producer or director considering shooting their next project on stage, this featurette covers all the issues you’ll encounter in planning, building and striking a set – including the all-important question: how much will it cost? I share everything I learnt about working with sets while making the demo sequence for my fantasy-adventure feature The Dark Side of the Earth, starring Benedict Cumberbatch (Sherlock), Kate Burdette (The Duchess) and Mark Heap (Spaced, Green Wing).