Last weekend director Huan Vu hosted a film night at German Cthulhu Convention 2013 taking place on Castle Rieneck. After “The Thing on the Doorstep” by Will Severin, the centerpiece of the evening, a short preview sequence of the full Dreamlands trailer was shown to the audience. Ungraded footage, no visual effects, layout sound and temp music only – but it received very positive feedback. And if a small crowd of die-hard Lovecraft fans is loving it, you can really be sure to be on the right path, I guess…
We’re proud to present you a new member of our post-production team: Chris Reinfels is a matte painter and has worked at Pixomondo in Stuttgart on “Game of Thrones” (winning an Emmy for Visual Effects) and the big Tom Cruise sci-fi epic “Oblivion”, where he has created the ice canyon together with other artists.
As you probably have guessed, I cannot show you the painting he is contributing to our teaser trailer, but I can tell you it looks amazing. Stay tuned!
Images © Elisabeth Mochner or © Huan Vu, see filename
It’s a wrap! The storm is over, sunlight’s crashing through…
It has been an exhausting three-days-shoot, but also very rewarding. Loved every minute of it and our thanks go to our awesome crew and our talented cast for embarking on this ship and trusting her captain. Our short journey to the other side went pretty well considering the fact we haven’t shot anything since “Die Farbe” exactly five years ago and that we had to antedate.
On our first shooting day it didn’t look that well, since we started with a delay of more than three hours due to necessary changes to the production design. Many props came out much too dark in front of the white walls, and since we didn’t expect the contrast to be that strong and unpleasant, we had to re-arrange everything, paint some props and use white cloths to create the mood we were aiming for. In the end our first shooting day took much longer than planned and we couldn’t realize two shots, but since they weren’t that important, we could live with that and were happy to get at least a couple of hours of sleep.
Unfortunately our second shooting day didn’t start much better. Again we had to face a delay, this time over one hour, due to production design issues. Windows with intact glass were discovered in the house and our production design assistants tried to put them into the window frame of the room we shot in. They had to be fitted and it took some time, but again the outcome was worth it. It looked more natural, no additional VFX work was needed and the actor could touch the glass in one particular shot. Despite the delay we managed to shoot all scheduled shots but one, a complex bluescreen shot, though we managed to go back to one of the two shots from the day before. that had to be omitted. It would have even been possible to reach planned target if there wouldn’t have been a special event that very evening… an event called Champion’s League Final…
Thus, we had to get that bluescreen shot on our third and last shooting day and the scheduled rest in the remaining time – and we succeeded! One could see that crew and cast grew stronger together from day to day. It’s a pity that everything had to end just when we started to really get to that level. Hope we can continue to push beyond the Wall of Sleep again someday soon!
Tomorrow we will start! We will bring all props and our equipment to the shooting location and prepare the set for the first shooting day on Friday. Our two actors from London, UK, will fly in on the same day:
BEN STERNBERG (to the left)
In 1945 at age 16, Ben was chosen to play in the British premiere of Morning Star by American playwright Sylvia Reagan, at the Alhambra Theatre, Glasgow. A wise old actor he met shortly afterwards advised him not to embark on an acting career until he was older with some experience of real life, before attempting to ‘mirror’ it. He took his advice and embarked on multi-faceted business activities.
Aged 45, the ‘Theatre Bug’ started biting hard, so he did a refresher course at LAMDA and achieved their Silver Medal, but Actors Equity (the actors union) was a closed shop at that time and refused to admit him as they had lots of unemployed members. And without an Equity card it was impossible to find work. So back to the commercial grindstone…
Two years ago when Ben closed his last business, he decided he’d experienced enough ‘living’ and was ready – at 82 years old – to launch his acting career.
He has participated in six short films since then and has been short-listed for a cameo part in a feature film.
SCOTT CHAMBERS (to the right)
Scott Studied a BTEC Diploma in Acting, became a member of the National Youth Theatre in 2009 and then in 2011-2012 Scott trained with various acting coaches including Mel Churcher as well as training at The Actors Centre, London. Scott is now signed to Curtis Brown, one of London’s top agencies for actors.
Scott’s recent theatre credits include: Chicken (Southwark Playhouse, London), Siamese Twins (Theatro Technis, London), Dick Whittington (West Midlands Children’s Theatre/UK&Ireland Tour). Scott begins performing his new play “The Precariat” in July 2013 (Finborough Theatre).
Scott’s recent film credits include; UWantMe2KillHim? (Andrew Douglas/Bad Hat Harry Productions), Ticking (Chris New), A Place For Us (Tom Hunter). Soon Scott will begin filming for the feature film screen adaption of “Chicken” reprising his role as ‘Richard’, filming begins summer 2013.
SCOTT CHAMBERS will take over our hero character ROLAND, a young orphan struggling with his destiny, and BEN STERNBERG will impersonate THE TERRIBLE OLD MAN, an old sailor living in solitary, feared by the other villagers. In the scene we are going to shoot, you will see both embarking on an unbelievable fantastic journey – a journey to the DREAMLANDS!
Only five days till shooting begins! In the last three weeks more and more props started to fill my appartment. But it wasn’t until last week, when a beautiful auctioned model ship arrived and when we discovered a fantastic old door by chance, that the pieces really began to come together.
I was struck by the strong symbolic power of a ship next to the idols and artifacts that we have gathered: It suggests and hints that they all have come from for away. It links everything together and it all starts to make more sense now.
Our old house door is a heaven’s gift: We got permission by Freilandmuseum Wackershofen, where we have shot a big part of “Die Farbe”, to have a look into their archive of museum objects to find a suiting table, bed and door for our purposes. Inside a huge hall that Dr. Henry Walton Jones, jr. would be proud of (somewhere there in a dusty corner, you might stumble upon the Ark of the Covenant) we found a unique door at the end of a dark hallway. We went out to get a normal wooden door, but this surpassed our expectations, it looks really interesting and fits nicely into our planned colour scheme.
In the next blog article I will present you our two actors that will fly over from London to join us on our trip to the Dreamlands.
Shooting preparation has begun. We were forced to move up the date to end of May, meaning that there is less time available for organization than expected. We are casting our actors now and began looking for props. If you’re from Germany, please switch to the German version if this article, where we provide a list of things we would like to use as part of our production design.
We just recently completed work on our previsualization video. That’s a rough animated version of the teaser trailer we are going to produce to check if everything will work as intended, and give us a feeling for the pacing and the mood. It is also a playing ground to try out different layout sound effects and music themes. And last but not least the whole project becomes tangible now for all artists involved, they can see and hear where we are heading towards. All in all it turned out quite well and clocks in at around 3:30 minutes.
In other news: We have found our shooting loation in the meantime. It is quite close to our home city Stuttgart, located in Böblingen (yes, that’s where the Mercedes are manufactured) – an abandoned rundown building under monumental protection that once has been the entrance office of former Böblingen airport that is just about to be transformed into a new city district. You can see it featured here in this video, surrounded by some new modern buildings that have already been built.
We also had the option to return to Wackershofen where we shot most parts of “Die Farbe” but despite the full support we would have received by the museum’s administration and much better working conditions there we decided for this building, because of its old wooden walls with peeled-off white paint. We will take one larger room and bring it to life with props – and two actors.
First Visual Effects Meeting yesterday afternoon with 3d artists Jan Roth and Stefan Hähnlein and 3d & matte painting artist Marco Wilz. Soon the room filled with pure geekiness and ramblings and murmurs of tech talk, that I better do not recite here.
Marco is a friend of mine since we worked together at Pixomondo in 2006 on the misguided big budget German (anti-)war flick “Red Baron”. It tanked at the box office but it featured great VFX work, thus drew much attention from abroad and placed the young company on the world map. While I finished studies and spent three years to make “Die Farbe”, Marco returned several times to Pixomondo and worked on many high-profile projects, his latest credits feature “Hugo Cabret” (Academy Award for Visual Effects) and “Game of Thrones” (Emmy Award for Visual Effects).
Stefan and Jan are fellow students from university, while Jan spent three years to co-produce and work on “Die Farbe” (and doing smaller stuff to earn his living), Stefan – apart from helping us by creating the decaying mushroom in “Die Farbe” – did freelance work for companies like Scanline in Munich, where he contributed to two big budget German movies, “Wickie und die wilden Männer” and “Hotel Lux”, and most recently to the international spectacle that is “Cloud Atlas”, directed by Tom Tykwer and the Wachowskis.
But enough with the namedropping. What did we talk about? Sorry, but I really can’t tell you. You will see and I hope you will like it. Don’t expect too much, it’s a small team (I will introduce the other VFX artists later) and no one can work on this full-time in the coming months. But I’m quite confident that we will surpass the quality of visual effects you have seen in “Die Farbe” by far. After all I have switched from a single core 4GB RAM to a quad core 16 GB RAM machine in the meantime, yes I did ;)
If you happen to be a VFX artist yourself and you are interested in helping us, please give a shout and provide us some information about your work experience and skills, which programs you use, and also please show us some work examples. We’re especially keen on finding experienced simulation artists for fluids and/or destructions (oops, did I say that?).
From time to time we would like to share with you where we will draw inspiration from for this project, be it artistically or in terms of production spirit. First entry is dedicated to a unique independent film project from UK that we have stumbled upon last week: The UnderWater Realm
A group of devoted and enthusiastic young film makers embarked on the incredible task to create five short films mostly playing underwater to showcase their concept for a fantasy film trilogy about the mythical people of Atlantis. Many hours of behind-the-scenes footage show their dedication and hard work in the last few years to make it happen and if you haven’t seen them yet, head over to their webpage and watch the five finished short films that they have published last December. It is truly impressive and for us, as fellow independent film makers being in quite the same boat, a huge boost for our own endeavours.
We really hope they can fulfill their dream and someone big from Hollywood will call them up to get this started. And let’s hope we can achieve something in that league to reach a similar position. But don’t expect us to go underwater and make five short films in a row – we’re rather bad swimmers …