Hello friends. We just finished shooting this summers Starting Arts film camp a couple of weeks ago, and I figured I would get into some of the work that went into getting everything ready for that little adventure.
Well, just to give a little background on the fast and furious three weeks that was production proper, we had about twenty middle school/high school kids and a fantasy movie to make. The scenes selected from our feature script were the “10 years earlier” type intro followed by the climax of the main script. There was sword fighting and magical battles a prison break. Lots to do. Oh yeah, that included the second week being up in the hills in the middle of a redwood forest completely disconnected from all manner of communications with 20 kids. A challenge.
This was the most involved set of art department requirements that I have ever had to tackle, and you know what? It looks good. After seeing the footage, shot most excellently by Mr. Elias Woo BTW, I think all the hard work paid off. And I can’t wait to see if after it gets the post works from Geoff Peck, our VFX supervisor.
Now, alot of this is hindsight. I was battling a sense of frustration that everything wasn’t turning out how I wanted it to, that ranged from mild to “i want to burn down the Vatican” through most of production. But when you have a mile long list of little puzzle pieces that need to fall into place at the right moment, and they seem to keep changing shape and/or color, and there is no picture on the box, just the words use your imagination, it can be really easy to get caught up in that and miss the sunrise, so to speak. But after seeing enough playback on set, it started to sink in that all of the rolling with the punches and changing up the game plan to fit the ever evolving demands was working, and the shots were good.
This summer was also the third time that we have shot pieces of the Terra story. In December ’11 we shot a trailer for Terra and before in the summer, we had a full spectrum camp that showed all of pre-production, shooting in productions and some of the post process. I would like to talk about the evolution of the Terra costumes over that time span. When we had the first stab at this story I had the kids involved in the design process from the start. I had them design their own costumes and tried to keep them thinking about the culture and character influences that would determine how the costumes would look. Then I took the drawings that they came up with and refined them to fit our script and what our director James Fox was picturing. Using the character Isabelle, played by Katy Guttman, as an example here is how the costume evolved.
Here is the first version. The first costume fitting and how it looked when shooting the trailer. This particular character is a member of a nomadic tribe who are always moving to keep ahead of the blight. An ever expanding, lifeless desert. That sort of life breeds intrepid, independent, hardy individuals. I wanted to keep a simple utilitarian sort of garment, something that would stand up to the miles, being worn day in and day out, but also something that had individual touches for that same reason. If you had to wear the same stuff all the time, it better be something you like. Something that is “you”. that’s what costume design is all about. No teenage girl of any background wants boring clothes, so a little bit here and there to make it more interesting. A little touch of color on the sleeves, and claws of some desert creature for buttons get the idea across that she lives a tough nomadic life but adds what she can to bring some vibrancy to her world.
Here is some of the reference that influenced some of my thinking for these designs. It is a simple, rugged design, that has little additions to make it more personal. Beads, some embroidered edges, and a decorated pouch go a long way to make it seem like a real persons outfit. In the drawing I added revisions to do that same thing. Tough boots. Patches on the elbows, and shoulders where the wear and tear would be the heaviest from backpacks and such. But also those bands along the edges to add that personality.
The final version that we shot with just a short few weeks ago. You can see Katy in action, and also a closer view of some of the details. You also see Lily in costume and hers is another great example of the evolution of the costumes over the course of Terra so far, but I’ll get into that in another post.
Anyway, I hope this gives you an idea of some of what went into Terra to get us this far. Also, I need to thank Karen Peck, Ashley Grambow and Naomi Gassel for helping me get all of the costumes put together. Without their help I would have been up a creek without a paddle, or an oar, or hands, or a boat even, and the creek is poo, or lava or something equally unfortunate. So, yeah, big thanks!
So, that’s all for now. The Rew signing off.
About the Author
Andrew Bower was born in Ottawa Ontario and grew up in Texas. With a perspective of the world that includes two very different places, Andrew takes great enjoyment in seeing how people view and interpret the artwork he creates. A life of drawing and reading comic books lead him to California, where he received his BFA in animation and visual effects from the Academy of Art University. Andrew has moved up from creating Dawnrunner's storyboards to become their full-time Art Director.