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Still image from film credits (Design by Knut Erik Øverjord)
Just before re-visiting New York for the summer I've finally managed to "finish" (apart from minor details with color) my short film "Return to Sender". On that note, I would like to share a post-it note that has been sticking around during the long period of making this film and it has proved to be a very useful one too. Unfortunately, I can't remember where I discovered these wise words:
Set yourself a goal.
Set yourself a deadline.
Define success at the start.
Make a plan to make it happen.
Build a team to help you.
Get the team to sign up, head and heart, to the plan.
Understand there will be hurdles, barriers. Accept them. But defeat them.
Work each day toward getting things done. A little can do a lot.
Keep the end goal in your mind at all times.
Understand the importance of your energy. Your stubbornness. Your persistence.
Half way through a project is always the lowest point. You are neither at the start, nor at the end. Energy dips, morale is low. Have a day off.
The next day remind yourself why you started it in the first place.
Focus. Focus. Focus. But focus on the most important thing.
Tell the world what you are doing.
Tell the world your deadline.
Celebrate progress. Any progress.
Never give up.
Look back at how far you have traveled. It will surprise you.
It will also tell you that you are closer to your goal than ever before.
Then one day, after many, many days, you will complete your goal.
You got there in the end.
Your words and your deeds are one. Most people in life are just talkers. But you are a doer. Well done.
A BIG THANK YOU to everyone who has helped making this film!
Still images and a clip from the film will be up on my website soon.
Children's festival in Tokyo (October 2009)
This Summer, I will be working on developing two new projects that both got development funding from different Norwegian film funds (Midtnorsk Filmsenter and Fond for Lyd og Bilde)
The first project is a documentary for which I will direct the animation parts. I am working on it together with the documentary director Mali Finborud Nøren who has already directed two successful documentaries Uteliggernes Sang and Memento Mori. I am looking forward to collaborating with Mali and to developing our ideas further.
The second project is a new short film which I am co-directing with Viggo Knudsen. It has been his long time dream to turn the Norwegian novella "WANDA LØPER" (Wanda Running) into a short film. Viggo is a cinematographer & photographer who works on different projects all over the USA and within Norway. Based on an adapted script (with guidance from the Norwegian writer Tale Naess ) as well as visual references and input from Viggo, I will be developing the characters in the animated short film, as well as the style & technique and storyboard.
I am extremely excited about both projects and I feel very privileged to be able to work on two projects with such a huge amount of creative freedom and being paid for it. Thank you Norway!
In between adding the final touches like snow and fog to the exterior shots in my film I am working on adding some "last minute" details to certain scenes. I've made a fetus collection (mini sculptures) that show the different stages of human development before birth.
These fetus creatures will grow out from a seed via umbilical cord. Each time the test tube glows a new development stage of the fetus will be revealed.
The mini sculptures are made of "Fimo" some sort of plasticine that hardens when you leave it in the oven for 30min. Just before shooting I sprayed them with water to give them a shine and to make them look more realistic.
Camera setup for shoot
Øystein Moe and I shot them yesterday with the RED camera using lighting techniques to reveal them from the darkness.
Screen shot of test tubes scene with fetus missing.
I am currently editing and comping the shots into the scene with the test tubes. Creepy!
Film Still (Work in Progress)
As mentioned before, I will give a work in progress presentation tonight at 5pm at Nova cinema as part of Kosmorama International Film Festival. I am looking forward to see you there. In the meantime, a little treat from the voice recording at Soundtree in London: Perfect Match Helium
Regents Park, London
Whilst in places like Zurich and London summer isn't far away, we "Norwegians" have to deal with late March snow storms blowing around the studio corners whilst we're shooting the details of my film. Summer couldn't feel further away.
Still image from Sky shoot.
We have spent some time shooting the remaining sky backgrounds. Some of the things we've managed to re-create: star sky, thunderclouds with lightening, overcast sky, snowy night sky, bright sky and a sun-rise. To achieve this, we used several canvas pieces that I painted, cotton clouds and the superb lighting techniques of Øystein and Stian (considering the by now extremely limited budget). What we haven't managed to re-create yet is the Aurora Borealis. Strangely enough, I haven't yet even seen the real Northern Lights even though I've been living in Norway for a while now.
For the star sky shoot I painted a wooden plate black and drilled different sized holes into it.
Øystein and myself then shot the black plate with the RED camera and a light from the back so that we got some lens flares and other pretty light effects.
Fixing the lights for the cloud shots.
The cloud doctors testing LED lights.
Stian Eriksen playing god with some LED lights.
The final picture for the thundercloud shot.
The shoot is now almost complete and my plan is to update the film edit until the end of next week. In April, I'll be able to focus on finishing the detail work and coloring whilst my collaborators in London can properly start working with sound design and music. Exciting times!
Henning Knoepfel and Shearan Thomas during the voice recording.
I just got back from a successful voice recording session at Soundtree in London.
We used two evenings to record all the seven voices for the characters in my film. Next to a few sentences for each character there were a lot of off screen sounds we had to record such as sneezing, breathing etc. In some instances, the actors were asked to talk whilst chewing popcorn or to perform after having inhaled helium.
Henning Knoepfel had previously cast all the voice actors. Within two days after putting up the add we had over 100 responses (!!!) and most of them from people with very professional voice reels. That gave us enough material to cast the right voice for each character. Everything went according to plan and I am very pleased with all the performances. The next step is to listen back to all the recordings and to choose the best clips.
Thank you to the people from Soundtree who kindly let us borrow their brilliant studio, to Henning Knoepfel who has arranged all of this and who saw to it that all the technical aspects went so smooth, thanks to Shearan, Leonor, Chris, Will, Charles, Deeivya and Lisa for their time and their great performances.
Together with my cinematographer Øystein, his assistant Stian and my assistants Viveca & Sondre we've been shooting some extra material to work with for the backgrounds in my film.
The action included heart balloons being poked, throwing glitter and confetti, dressing up balloons wit hats and making clouds with cotton wool.
I recently got inspired by the wonderful miniature work of Matthew Albanese and decided to try using some of his technical tips to make my own backgrounds. Painting canvas and making cotton clouds fits in better with the rest of the miniature shots than using stock footage or painting the backgrounds in Photoshop.
It looks awesome. More to come in a few weeks time. Thank you again to all of you amazing people who have been helping me so much to make this film!
Me and my helpers are working busily away trying to finish my new short film. The deadline is set to April and we do everything in our hands in order to complete this goal.
In the meantime, you are invited to come to a work in progress presentation that I will be giving (if you're in the neighborhood). The presentation will take place at Kosmorama International Film Festival on 6th of April at 17.30-18.00 at Nova Cinema in Trondheim, Norway.
I will be showing some work from behind the scenes and I will be talking about the process. I'm looking forward to see you there.