Thursday, 9 October 2014

Whisper Short Film

A few months ago Alex and I were approached by production company Breakneck Films to design and art direct their new short Whisper, directed by Jo Lewis. 

The script is a modern adaptation of M.R James' ghost story 'Whistle and I'll Come to You'. Shot on location in a little Sheerness beach cabin, on the eerie coast of the Isle of Sheppey. 

Here are the initial concept boards we provided which we shared amongst the DOP, the make-up artist and costume designer. 

Alex and I allowed the location to dictate the feel of this short. The grey skies, murky sea and drab muddy shingle associated with an October Kentish coastline already created a distinct backdrop. The sun-bleach blue cabin, our main location, had no electricity so paraffin lanterns as practicals with silvery exterior moonlight was a decision that was reached very early on. 

An important element to the story was the discovery of a flute hidden within a cabinet of ghostly sea trinkets. Inspired by shipwreck artefacts, beach-combing collections, Joseph Cornell boxes and curio cabinets of the 1800's there was a danger of this element becoming very 'period'. Something we wanted to avoid.

More photos of the making-of and stills to follow.

Saatchi & Saatchi commercial for EE

Earlier this month I was approached by the lovely folks at Saatchi & Saatchi London to art direct a web commercial for the new EE TV box. 

The client brief was to dress a stylish (but not designer) middle-class family home using the EE company colours as accents. Below is the concept board I supplied for the client's approval. The best and worst parts of the shoot include: my vase gift (thank you Saatchi!) and the van door collapsing off its hinges at Baker Street traffic lights.

With thanks to my super assistants Sarah Daily and Alex Grant-Said who thankfully were able to laugh all the way through.

Fungus The Bogeyman

In August I had a lovely little job from art director Amanda Bernstein who had commissioned Anarchy to make a leather, spiral bound notebook for a new Fungus the Bogeyman children's tv series. Covered in mould and mildew I set about making Fungus' to do list from the sketches Amanda had provided. 

Wednesday, 8 October 2014

Stop Mo music video with Chris Ullens

Sadly this particular project was canned in its final post stage and never made it to release. Still, what a fabulous way to spend a couple of weeks... 

In August I teamed up with production company Squire and talented director and stop-mo extraordinaire Chris Ullen (brains behind London Grammar's Hey Now video), to art direct a stop-motion music video for Aussie duo Angus and Julia Stone. The track: Grizzly Bear. Chris' beautiful concept centred around the siblings taking a road trip traversing a cardboard city, countryside and finally outer space from the safety of their VW camper. All using a clever combination of stop-mo, projections and low-fi in-camera effects. 

The treatment outlined a child-like and hand-made aesthetic to the set, with little attempt to disguise what materials were being used.  

Working closely with Chris, we settled on a subdued colour palette which would work within a cardboard universe. I wanted to retain a simplicity in the sets and designed everything so they would be built in a similar way in which a child would draw them. Domes for hills. Triangles on sticks for trees. Colour was applied in a similar way, using chalks, sprays and dry brush paint effects for graduated colour. Everything was to be cut freehand. (Rulers were banned!) However I felt it was important to maintain a neatness and avoid dripping glue and too many chewed up edges, especially when working on such a small scale.

I then set about assembling a small team of talented model makers who worked around the clock constructing the miniature and life sized props.

With special thanks to Chris Ullen, animator Jamie Durand and Scenic Sets Ltd.


And a huge thank you to my wonderful all-girl team: Hannah Reed, Christy Matta, Laura Surcombe and Jo Farr for pulling through the late hours with smiles, Dirty Diana and minimal injuries.  


Purina: Roland and Eugene

This Purina job was a sweet little web commercial I art directed back in June. The client wanted to apply a Wes Anderson feel to a believable British country home, to tell the story of Eugene and his dog Roland.

We made use of most of the furniture and furnishings that were available to us on location, with tactical dressing and additional sourced props.

Ronald McDonald Model

In July I was approached by Sing! London who commissioned a model for children's charity Ronald McDonald House. A lovely job to do and for a great cause. The brief was very free and simply asked for the model to be self contained, colourful, and to reflect the charity's tag line 'The house that love built.' 

Naturally my love for paper and miniature came into play. Here is the work in progress and end result which featured a half built paper house in a red box with perspex window. 

Monday, 2 June 2014

Pan, Bean and Shorts in Essex

The last few months have been a flurry of all manner of exciting new projects and new faces!

The highlights included:

Art-working spitfire elements with the wonderful folks at Anarchy for Pan. Joe Wright's live-action feature based on Peter Pan currently in production. 

Working on some fiddly bits with the loveliest, and most fabulously talented Kyle Bean.

And finally working alongside art director and top bloke Ben Swailes on a four day shoot for short film Sweetheart. Written and superbly directed by Jack Taylor Cox. A fantastic crew, fantastic location in Essex and some nice art department makes.