A month ago a friend of mine, Sebastian Solberg, asked me if I wanted to be production designer on his next project, Colton’s Big Night, and of course I said yes. I wanted to be a part of this production for a number of reasons.
Firstly, I loved Nathan Gower’s script. It was really endearing and immediately set my imagination of fire.I also wanted to get involved because it presented a new experience.
I have worked on many short films in the past, in front and behind the camera, but I have never worked with children. And so, as the first piece of advice in entertainment is ‘never work with animals or kids’, I was intrigued.
My main goal, when preparing for the shoot, was to allow the artwork within the film to represent Colton and his emotions on his ‘Big Night’. This is why, when designing the props, I really wanted to expand Colton’s passion for superheroes and comics. I thought their childlike simplicity, alongside their ability to tell amazing stories, would be a great tool for both the visuals and narrative. The comic strip is my favourite prop for this reason as it looks great and gives depth to Colton’s motives, as well as his character. It was also my biggest achievement as I have never drawn a comic book strip before and really enjoyed the process. However, the best part of pre-production had to be unleashing my inner ten year old. Most of the artwork in the film is to look like Colton had drawn it himself, so I was able to go mad with my crayons and go over the lines and make a lot mess…after working with precision on the comic strip it proved to be quite therapeutic!
On the shoot, it was great to put everything together and see my ideas materialise. My favourite set within the film has to be the picnic. This is because on the surface it looked so romantic and grown up but on a closer look, I was able to add loads of little touches that revealed it had been created by a ten year old- such as a posh bowl of gummy sweets. This set also opened the door to my biggest challenge during the shoot…children love sweets and don’t understand the concept of continuity. I have never felt so anxious and protective about a bunch of multi-coloured dinosaurs in my whole life!
I won’t say much about my role in post-production for now as I am yet to see the end result and want to share my excitement. All I will say is that I got to do some really cool artwork and I can’t wait to see how it looks…Watch this space for updates…
This project has taught me a huge amount about being a production designer, especially from an organization and technical aspect. I owe a huge thanks to Seb for letting me have the freedom to bounce ideas off him and an even bigger thanks to an amazing crew for making the shoot so enjoyable. It has been a great journey revisiting my inner ten year old…
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