FROM HELL HE RIDES has my first ever time jump. The majority of the film takes place 7 years after the events of the opening scene. I’ve completed those early shots so I spent this past week aging the cabin appropriately. One of the questions I get asked most often is, how do I know when a set is ready. It’s a tricky question for me to answer. It may surprise some to hear that I actually do not fully design my sets before I build them. I know the general architecture, I know what the script calls for and I gather a lot of reference material but there are no detailed drawings. It all comes down to experience and instinct. When I think I’m getting close I will take dozens of stills from the angles I plan to shoot from. Once those look good it’s pencils down and bring out the puppets.
After a month of building, I’m back animating again. I expect to be finished all the shots on this set in less time than it took to build it. If I can keep the quality at this level, FROM HELL HE RIDES will certainly be my best looking film. Shooting widescreen has been a real learning experience. You might think that going from a 16×9 to a 2.35×1 aspect ratio wouldn’t be that big a deal but it drastically changes how you compose a shot and in turn, how you shoot a scene. These are the types of challenges that keep me intrigued with the film making process.
I’ve built a lot of sets over the past 20 years. I find the process as fascinating as the final product. With that in mind I have assembled a quick video showing how I went from a few lines on paper to the finished cabin.
I assumed someone would catch the reference to Evil Dead with respect to my cabin but I was a little surprised at how fast and how many people did. While not a direct copy it was certainly my intention to pay tribute to one of my favourite horror films with this set. So much of what I do has its roots in the films I enjoyed growing up. If I was ever to create a haunted house you can bet the house from Psycho would serve as my reference. For me it’s a wink to fans that enjoy the same things I do.
I had planned to write another half dozen posts about FILTH and its adventures on the festival circuit but the more I read over my notes the more it all started to sound like endless whining. No one wants to listen to that so let’s get back to the fun stuff. FILTH has made two Best of 2019 lists so far which is very cool. I continue to push it to as many sites as will promote it which is starting to pay off with some very nice write ups in the last month. You can find links to them HERE. FROM HELL HE RIDES is moving forward as well. My cabin set is starting to take shape and I’m hoping to be animating by mid-January. As I said back when I started this project, these sets are very labour intensive which inevitably will stretch out the production time but I think it will all be worthwhile. The results so far have been very encouraging.