Tuesday, 12 September 2017

UNIVERSAL EARLog III: Day 21

We lived the movie twice today. This morning, following a ‘show-and-tell’ of our respective photo tours of last week’s visit to the Palais Jacques Coeur - each photo set being almost identical since we walked the same route and were essentially on the look out for tympanums, cheeky sculptures and fancy colours - Yuan and I sat down with our new sound recordist Nina Quiessner in order to create a foley list by combing the script for sonic potential. Items such as ‘howling landscape of despair’, ‘awkward silence’ (“we should at least consider it”) and various thrums and thuds prove it a rich hunting ground.

In the afternoon, Niemczyk’s Tangibles squad take a break from rebuilding the city out of cardboard in order to step into the limelight, 'volunteering' to take starring roles as we video an entire script-reading of the movie. One of the key aims of this exercise is to physicalise the dead leaves of the screenplay to get its rather wordy thematic and visual potential out in the air (particularly important since the words are tough enough for a native English speaker to get their head around, let alone our Polish-French-Chinese-German crew).

The 'Curse' plot in a nutshell.
The women (for everyone in the studio except for me is one) have fresh-toasted printouts of the screenplay, while I work from the latest shotlist; the inconsistencies between the two soon lead us into chaos. We also run out of readers, or become confused as to whether we have enough people around to see the show through, since the story contains multiple cross-identities and layers of disguise and even physical properties (some characters are made of light, or metal, or flesh, or glass; at least one is history disguised as flesh disguised as stone).

The endeavour becomes not so much about carefully staging the shots so that I can cheat by pre-editing the finished movie, as about just getting through the dummy-shoot: we rush on to the end without even stopping the DV camera between shots; a cruel parody of next week’s proper shoot when we’ll likewise allow just one take per shot but will urgently stop the camera as soon as or even before each character finishes speaking, such is the premium on the Super 8 film stock through which we’ll be burning.

Afterwards, thankfully, the crew claim to have a better understanding of the potential movie. There’s nothing like a shared perilous experience to tune folks in to the precise frequency of their situation.

At our digs, where Niemczyk and I are currently holed up with Yuan and Bandits-Mages associates David Legrand and Julien Record and an artist called Pierre, a partial electrical outage has caused us to huddle together in the kitchen around a warm circle of Wi-Fi, when otherwise we might have kept to our rooms. With only wine and eco-detergent and brief flickers of Facebook to sustain this awkward pack of strays, who knows what frequencies we might tune into or into which layered personae we might lapse. If I don’t tweet by tomorrow noon, please send somebody to shoot this damned movie for us, since we will be lost.

The 'Curse' plot in a different nutshell.

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