I don’t like to talk about money or budgets. My reasons are simple. Let’s say I told you HIVE cost $20,000. You might look at the film and think, “Ya that looks like about 20Gs.” Now let’s say I told you it cost $200,000. You might say, “What did you spend all that money on cause it’s sure not on the screen.” Now, what if I told you it cost $2,000. Your response might be, “Wow, you did all that for two grand?” 3 budgets, 3 different reactions to the exact same film. Money changes how people look at things so before anyone asks, FILTH will cost exactly as much as I spend on it.
I did my first experiments with stop motion animation in 1978. That was a long time ago. My early films had a lot of giant monster destruction. What did you expect, I was a kid. Later the fights got a little more immediate but they were always short and involved weapons. Even The Lady of Names, whose finale is a 9 minute battle scene, was all sword play. That’s why it came as a bit of a surprise to me that I’ve never actually animated a straight up, mano a mano, gloves off, drag down, no holds barred, last man standing fist fight. These two very large puppets are about to spar in just that fashion and I must say I’m giddy at the thought of it … like I’m 10 years old again.
I’m animating again. The last scene, 133 shots, all muscle. I’ve just past the ninth month of filming which means FILTH is now my second longest shoot. By way of comparison The Lady of Names was 9 years in front of the camera and I will never ever do that again … EVER! The odd thing is, since November 2012 I’ve been working on one film or another pretty much without a break and if I were to move into another 2 year project after FILTH (that idea I had is starting to evolve) that’ll take me to 2021 … which would make it … 9 YEARS.
I had an idea for a new film the other day. This set and its dark atmosphere no doubt inspired it. I left today’s picture in colour to give you a sense of what I’m looking at when I’m working. FILTH started life as a completely different film, a simple concept that scratched and clawed its way to life. The original idea is totally unrecognizable in the final film but that idea started it all and is responsible for what FILTH has become. I’m not so close to the end that I should be looking to my next film but that’s how these things go. Ideas come when they come. I don’t need to actively work on it now … but it will quietly fester in the back of my mind until I’m ready to let it out.
I’ve been spending a lot of time going over the storyboards, trying to get my head around the logistics of the coming scene. There’s a lot that goes on in the finale to FILTH and I expect it to be right crazy over the top nuts. Close to half the shots in the entire film take place in this one scene which will run only 5 minutes. That’s a lot of shots crammed into a very small space but hey … you need a big finish.
This is a big set, easily the largest of the film. Not just in scale, some of the exterior city streets were about the same size but they didn’t require this level of detail. My guys are going to move through this entire room which means every corner, every angle, every prop needs to be completely finished. The addition of the ceiling with its practical lights will have a huge impact on its final appearance. It’s quite startling how one element can push something over the edge.
Not every set in FILTH is built from scratch. Many of the pieces have been redressed and used twice, three, even four times. Cover up a door, turn the thing upside down, change some window trim, repaint and you’ve got yourself a new piece. This is by no means revolutionary. It was standard operating procedure in the days before CGI took a bite out of the need for making models. Some the best work ever done was in the 1980’s (Bladerunner being a high water mark for me) I learned just about everything I know about making models from that era. With all of the linking scenes for FILTH completed I am now a couple of weeks away from finishing the last set.