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Ambience and perfectionism

Phew, good comments. I sometimes wonder if this Web 2.0 thing really could be a good thing. But today I think it is…



First thing I started with was both a to-do list and a to-buy list. I feel a lot more tidy now. There hadn’t been any volunteers so I’ve got to organize it by myself. That’s ok. I remembered why I’m doing this film and it is because I’d like to. I must not forget that… ;)

Strider mentioned a few good points within his comment. To answer that clearly I have to ask myself some questions. Do my ideas of set design and lighting match to my story? My story is about Orpheus who was married to Eurydice. I guess most people do know the ancient greek tale of them. He lost her because she was bitten by a snake and died of it. Being stunned Orpheus decided to descend to the land of the death to bring Eurydice back to life. This is the very short version.


They had been marriaged just a few weeks ago and had just moved into this fresh furnished house. And then she suddenly died and that burst their bubble. He’s been left alone. And this is what my set design should show: His lonelyness and his desperation. There is a beautiful house with beautiful furnitures and happyness should be another room mate. But it isn’t. The house’s beauty seems to him like cynical monster. He doesn’t feel save there but defencelessly at the mercy of something he couldn’t name. This feeling I would like to show by lighting and set design. It is a good idea to get his clothes dirtier because he didn’t had a shower for days and didn’t change clothes. I think dark circles around the eyes would be a good thing, too. Ok, cosmetical puppet design.


But what about the set? I think it is a good thing to make it a bit darker by adding a greyish layer of colour to the walls. The curtains could also be grey. I think cold lighting would be better then the light I used for the picture in the last post. More ambient lights, als Nils recommend, could also make sense. The picture doesn’t show the final situation. Through the window you could see some landscape and parts of the graveyard. So there will be light from the outside, too. There will be a died down fireplace on the right side and yes, it should be a moody and cold atmosphere.



What are my other motives for set design decisions? I don’t want it to look too perfect because I don’t like too-perfect-looking stuff. To me this house and also the puppet are looking too clean. I like the more trashy production style. But I can’t do it with my own hands, they always like it clean and smoothed… I’ve seeen a lot of animated film the last weeks (thank youtube and santa!) and I much prefer the “a bit darker” style. Like Madame Tutli Putli which is an absolutely disturbing film. It is done lovingly but they kindly did not do it perfectly. You can see it is a handmade world. This is what I’d like to archieve: people watching my film knowing it is fake what they see. But the story and animation are so well done that accept it could be real. Another good example is Nightmare before Christmas. We all know it’s done the most perfect way. But that’s okay to me because it fits to the story. They made it to get the moody Tim Burton stuff into an authentic and perfect story. They managed to be perfect and moody. How did they do that?


I wrote much more than I supposed to. I’ll have another coffee yet.

Thinking about ambience is always reflecting about your story.

22. February 2008 by Jessica
Categories: Stuff | Tags: , | 4 comments

Comments (4)

  1. Ausnahmsweise auch mal auf Englisch, da sich scheinbar ein Brite beteiligte …

    To be honest, I completely dislike greek mythology – It’s like an old Aaron Spelling Show, where everybody is rich and divine – with the lack of Spelling’s daughter. But sometimes the stories got nice ideas. Although I don’t believe Orpheus has one, there are some aspects I like and that you seem to dislike, following your story fragments.
    I just want to say, what I think about your “His lonelyness and his desperation”.
    Orpheus reminds me of two other mythical figures:
    First Michael Jackson – biggest pop star in history and afterwards persecuted for molesting children. Okay, just kidding. But the pop star status of Orpheus seems important to me.
    Secondly, Victor Frankenstein, the guy who rebeled against death and god and got over it.
    So – if i had to write the story, I always would ask: “What would Victor do? And what Michael?” And both would not act “defencelessly”, they would revolt impassionately against their fate, as Orpheus do, with all their arrogance they have because of their status.
    I don’t think, Orpheus would feel lonely. He would cry like a baby, get angry, and then run into the Hades and rock the gods the socks off.

    Und nun ab auf Sünne Peider!

  2. Yes, he will do. But first he will have cabin fever. Before his personal turning point he will go home and cry and feel helpless and desperately. He has to be in big desperation. I totally agree with you about Frankenstein and Mr Jackson. These are the other important parts of the story. If I don’t show how he got depressed about losing his one and only true love there’s no reason to tell story about his descending. Orpheus know about his outstanding talent but he’s also aware of the power of Gods. He’s the Son of Apoll and knows best what will happen by incuring the wrath of a God.

  3. Mein Englisch war gar nicht so schlecht, wie Du mir Samstag unterschwellig unterstellen wolltest!

    Ich denke allerdings nicht, dass die große Depression an der Stelle notwendig ist für die Geschichte. Das hängt natürlich vom dramatischen Konstrukt ab, aber letztlich hätte ich mich dafür entschieden, die Depression nur ans Ende zu setzen, wo er gewissermaßen hilflos in das Loch fällt, in das er zuvor voll Tatendrang hinabgestiegen war.

  4. Heh…. I think Michael Jackson would probably just get some more plastic surgery and become even less human!!!

    Ok, I understand a bit more since your explanation. It makes sense that the house and everything are so clean and tidy since it’s all brand new, and it also serves to heighten his discomfort I think, since he was supposed to share it all with her. I didn’t know the story.

    I think you could show his misery and lonliness, 2 ways I can think of….

    I could see a nice blue lighting, coming in from a low angle, casting his shadow up on the wall very large, so it looms over him. I don’t know if you plan to show the house in happier times when she was still there, maybe as a flashback or something, but if so you could have warm yellowish lighting then for contrast. I think it can work even though the puppet and set are made so clean and bright. And one thing you might do is change to tilted ominous camera angles after her death, but before have nice stable level camera angles.

    Also he could keep noticing things that remind him of her, and that she was meant to be there. Sleeping single in a double bed, her picture next to his, or pictures of them together, when he sits at the table to eat, he might look at the chair where she should be sitting, when he opens the closet maybe her clothes are in there…. just brainstorming.

    Ok, I hope my comments aren’t causing you problems or stress!!! Sometimes I sort of blunder in uninvited and just start thinking out loud….

    ;)