It starts with a sheet of plywood. I’ll stare at it for awhile, make some measurements, think about where I might put the lights, the props, where the action will take place, scribble some notes, sit down and stare some more. It’s a little more involved than that. I usually do a hell of a lot of visual research before I start a new set. For a major set like this I will print out dozens of images for floors, ceilings, furniture and any unique apparatus/props. I’ll have studied the storyboards, purchased supplies and made some sort of scale drawing but something always changes when that sheet of plywood goes up. That’s why I stare. I see for the first time the actual size and shape of what I’m planning to build and I’m trying to SEE the finished set. Even after all these years it doesn’t come easy.
The more I film, the more extreme the lighting gets. This could have been a problem but because of the order I have chosen to shoot FILTH it has proven to be a benefit. You need that kind of luck when making a film. Lighting for miniatures is very tricky. You don’t want to wash your set out with flat lighting but creating and directing all those shadows can be a real pain. I’m getting better at it. As is always the case, by the time I finish I will know exactly how to make this film.
I am between sets again. There are 4 minor sets to build through before I reach the final location and while they are all fairly small in scale they still require a significant amount of detail. They will encompass a total of 12 shots in the finished film (doesn’t seem like such a great return on investment) The thing is … the look of any film must be consistent (along with its internal logic but that’s the subject of a whole other post) so the work put into these sets has to match that of the major locations. It’s moments like this when you can find your resolve tested. You just have to get past it.