Soul Searcher: June 18th 2002

The three amigos drove off into the sunset, towards Rotherwas and other glamorous potential locations. The third amigo was none other than multimedia personality Chris “Whitney” Mayall, who served as note taker, video documentarian and surreal commentator on our journey from Sublimesville to Ridiculous City, USA. We checked out some warehouses and factories, and a cool abandoned Nissan hut, before heading back into town to wander the streets, pointing a video camera at various buildings and going “that’s nice”. Needless to say, we ended up drinking thin cokes at The Courtyard.

To be honest, I didn’t feel like we’d achieved anything, but perhaps it was my fault for not really being in the right mindset. It’s also an unusual experience for me to be directing a script which I haven’t written entirely myself, so as a result I don’t have every word etched into my brain… yet.

It was only when I got home afterwards that I got clear in my head exactly what I want from this film’s locations. Firstly, like I always strive for in my photography, it needs to be uncluttered. Especially on video, where everything’s in focus most of the time, if you’re not careful to keep your frame fairly sparse, your subject gets lost in the background. Secondly, I like uniformity. That’s what I love about Maylord Orchards and the Left Bank Village. Everything’s been designed by one architect, so you get a visual consistency, unlike in the high street where every building is a different age, colour and design.

On the bright side, shooting at night has it’s advantages in that if you don’t like the look of a particular building, you just don’t light it. It also hit home this evening that simply the fact that our actors will be walking through the main streets in the middle of the night with no-one else around will look very eery and interesting. Like it’s a ghost town. Hardy ha ha.

Anyway, it looks like I may have to force some of the locations into the visual style of the movie by careful framing and coloured lighting. I plan to have a very stylised palette for the film; in homage to the beautifully photographed Terminator 2, I shall be adopting a Fire & Ice colour scheme – ie. pretty much every scene will be very orange or very blue. Of course this isn’t just a lighting issue – it also needs to be worked into the props, costumes and set dressing.

The problem I have at the moment is visualising it. I’ve never shot at night in an urban environment, or with the size of lights we’ll be using on Soul Searcher. I’m not entirely sure what High Town’s going to look like with a blue-gelled 5KW HMI shining on it. Still, it’ll be fun finding out.

Soul Searcher: June 18th 2002