8 Days to Go... Ashes Design

Hello Dear Followers!

   Much as I've been yearning to direct again, the only downside is the fact that I can't be 'part of the crew' anymore. I'm going to revel in the one on one time I'll spend with my actors, but at the same time, I'm so used to rushing around on set, not only doing my own job but also helping to lower tripod legs, put up light stands or even offer to do the clapperboard. As they say, it's lonely at the top.
Concept Art by Gina Hames
    The hardest thing for me to let go of has been the Production and Costume Design. I've spent the last few years carving my way into the industry through my specialism of film design, and I've got quite a reputation for being a perfectionist, even positioning twigs to the exact milimetre I think that they will look good in the frame. The idea of standing back and letting someone else do that has honestly made me twitch.

    So, when I offered Gina Hames - my assistant on Wasteland - the opportunity to design her first film, I did so knowing that I would be training her along the way and therefore have a strong input into the design. And I have done bits towards it; there's two costumes in Ashes and we got to make one each, and we've bought a lot of the props between us over the last few months.
    But she hasn't always needed me. I'be taught her technical elements such as camera placement and the effect of lenses on props, but when we were painting the set the other day (with Production Assistant Ellie Ragdale) I found that I was more of a hinderence than a help. I'd put my hand in the paint or trip over dust sheets then look over at Gina's bemused face, and then I knew: the set in progress is no place for the Director.

Ashes Concept Art by Gina Hames

Gina paints her set
   Luckily Gina looks at the experience of working with me in a more positive light. "The chance to work with Sophie gave me an exciting opportunity to be involved in showing a controversial yet important subject – a message that everyone needs to be aware of.  Ashes gave me the chance to use the set and costumes to reflect the stages in the characters relationship, allowing this film to have a strong visual impact.

    "Without giving too much away, Ashes will portray different emotions of the main characters thoughts – it will be shown through four different scenes, each expressing a different aspect of how the main character, Sarah, views her relationship."

    Gina's next stop after this film is the adventure of university, and from then on I'm sure that she will go into the industry (be it in theatre or film) and never look back. She may even outshine me one day!

   And what I've learned from Gina is that a Director's job is as much about creating a world as it is about letting go.

Ellie Ragdale and Gina Hames at the end of our set-painting day
    Now that the set is painted, it will be partly wallpapered and then dressed, ready for the crew to come in and pre-light it on the 5th.

   Tomorrow's blog post will introduce you to our lovely stills photographers.

Sophie x


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