Sunday, January 17, 2010
Lemony Snicket: A Boy Thinks.
While working on Lemony Snicket, Brad Silberling introduced me a book called "The Architect's Brother" by photographer Robert ParkeHarrison. Its great to work with directors like Brad who not only are great story tellers, but who also have great interest in fine art and photography. It makes the Visual Effects business a lot more interesting when the director is willing to use the digital tools to not only mimic reality, but to use them to evoke imagery from a wider aesthetic spectrum. The children's book upon which the film is based has to do with the tragi-comic events that besets the Baudelaire orphans, and the clever ways in which they use their ingenuity and imagination to save themselves. The entire series also has a timeless pseudo-victorian vibe to it that Brad wanted to translate to the film.
The images here represents some early experiments with how to cinematically represent the way Klaus solves a problem in his head by thinking about all the things that he has read and learned. The 1st few panels show a dense cloud of words (in courier font) so cluttered that the screen is almost black. As he thinks, the cloud of words parts, revealing the solution in the shape of an umbrella tied to a rope with shower rings as footholds. The feel of ParkeHarrison's manipulated silver gel prints is evoked with a very compressed stage-set depth.
Cinematic visual design is the art of taking words on a page and giving it an undeniable reality, until it becomes completely understandable to the audience.
Even though this concept didn't make it to the final movie, this is one of my favorite example of concise cinematic visual design in the service of a fairly abstract concept.
Lemony Snicket's A Series of Unfortunate Events. COPYRIGHT ©2001 WARNER BROS. AND DREAMWORKS, LLC. All rights reserved