Posts Tagged With: books

Books Versus Film and My Final Project (The Tube Riders)

As a separate part of my project review I wanted to not only share a handful of the designs from my novel to film project with the wider world but look at the book versus film scenario.

We’ve all heard the phrase “yes I saw the film but I preferred the book”. I see these comments posted regularly on social networks, but why is that?  As readers we have a personal experience when we read a book. The author will guide us and entice us with their own vision, but that doesn’t mean we all see the characters or locations in exactly the same way as another reader or even the author. Novels allow us to get inside a characters head whereas  film, by comparison,  can be more selective. It’s probably because we spend so much time with these fictional people. A book can take anything from a day or two to several months to read depending on the reader compared to a film which is normally set around 2 hours.

Perhaps it’s unfair to compare the two given the time constraints for film makers to produce a believable world. All we can do is to strive for the very best rendition we can, using the best technology, scripts, actors, talent available. Some film versions are better than others for this reason. In many cases some novels are just more adaptable.

My own opinion is that films and books should be treated as two separate  experiences, after all, there are a lot of people who don’t read. Films allow a window into an author’s mind albeit for a few hours and makes a story accessible to all.

What’s important is a good story and a set of characters that an audience can relate to.

For this reason I chose The Tube Riders by Chris Ward. Immediately I was drawn into the world from the first page. There was a great blend of character insight and world building without being too caught up in unnecessary verbal clutter. It also had the right pacing for a film and fell into the science fiction/horror/dystopian genre that is currently popular in both film and TV. Given the time constraints of the project I concentrated on a couple of settings and also worked on some visuals as future guidance for VFX. Working without the normal set up of director/art department/producer I had to make my own decisions through discussions with my tutor. I also used some artistic license as there was no screenplay to work from.

The purpose of this post is to firstly share my work, maybe get some opinions or comments and secondly to hear from those who have read books and seen them transformed into films. What are your experiences negative or positive? Feel free to comment below and let me know what you think about the designs or the subject matter.

tube riders visuals

Below are some photos of scale models for the Medical Research Centre reception area and arena.

DSC01001

DSC01047

arena render 4

 

The book can be found at:-  http://www.amazon.co.uk/Tube-Riders-Trilogy-ebook/dp/B007LVFSP8/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1409468188&sr=8-1&keywords=the+tube+riders

 

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Categories: General research, MA Practical Project, MA project | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 7 Comments

From Page To Screen: Visualising Literature 1

There are two strands of research that will be my main focus for the practical side of the MA project. One is the role of the production designer in the science fiction genre, the other is the realisation of film designs from a novel. Many films are adapted from literature and recently  there has been an increase within the teenage/young adult category– The Hunger Games being a good example of a book  developed for the screen. The Hunger Games is the most popular Young Adult dystopian novel to date, still dominating the lists on Goodreads.  https://www.goodreads.com/list/show/12408.Best_Young_Adult_Dystopian_Novels [sourced on 31/01/13]

This is a selection of some of the films that use source material from dystopian books.

pd james  Hunger-Games

Pictures are PD James: The Children of Men  http://www.librarything.com/work/14944#  The Hunger Games http://www.carriesaba.com/blog/the-hunger-games-trilogy-3-books-that-get-you-thinking/

[sourced on 29/01/2014]

I thought I’d look at a few of these books in terms of designing for film before choosing my own source novel, taking on board some of the thoughts and approaches of the Production designers when dealing with literature.  Each film adaption can be different for a number of reasons.

Realism and the director/screenwriter approach

The Children of Men

This film was always going to have a strong guiding force as the director was also the screenwriter. Alfonso Cuaron had definite ideas about where scenes would take place and what details should be included. It was the job of the designers to allow Cuaron’s visions to materialise, solve problems and make sure there was continuity for when the scenes were finally put together.

Production Designer Jim Clay discusses dealing with the screenplay version of the book

Production designer Clay says, “We had to find locations that served all the actions, which are always very clearly in Alfonso’s head from his writing of the screenplay. One of my greatest challenges has been to join all of the pieces together in a convincing way.” http://www.visualhollywood.com/movies/children-of-men/about6.php

Cuaron was also hands on with his approach to the overall vision often adding props to the scene before filming. Actor Michael Caine recalls such a time when the director added  postcards to various areas around the back of the actors ” …It didn’t mean anything to us, but it’s important to him and for the look of his film.”  (www.visualhollywood.com/movies/children-of-men/about6.php)

Detail was also important to the look of the film, particularly when you’re dealing with a near-future England. Here, the director/production designer relationship comes into play as Clay recalls the importance of other creative inputs from Cuaron.

“The job of production designers Kirkland and Clay was to create and provide an expansive, reality-based world full of texture, one with sufficient space to allow for the action of the story. Clay says, “It was very exciting and very challenging for the whole crew, because we were charged with knitting together a series of shots that should hopefully become seamless as one timeless piece of action. Alfonso has a brilliant eye for detail and sometimes, when you’re designing the bigger picture, you forget to put in those detailed elements. He’s constantly reminding us what makes it real.”

There is so much visual information in a novel that it is quite easy to forget important little additions in set dressing. The audience has to be submerged visually from the outset. They have to be told a story through imagery rather than suggested text. Usually in a novel there are descriptions that allow the reader to form elements of scene or props in their imaginations.  Of course each reader will then interpret it in a slightly different way. Readers often flesh out what isn’t always there. (This is often dependent on the wording used in each book as some are more descriptive than others) That’s probably why many readers are often disappointed by the film versions of their beloved stories as they don’t match the images that they have created in their own minds.

Maybe films are and should be treated as  different experiences altogether and it’s the job of the filmmakers and designers to make the story as real as possible. Visually it should speak to an audience on many levels and not just through pure spectacle. Props, visual metaphors and colour palettes help to create a mood and therefore allow the audience to enter the characters heads in a way that might be similar to a book, or as close as possible, through detail and realism.

References:-

Current Young Adult popularity list to date https://www.goodreads.com/list/show/12408.Best_Young_Adult_Dystopian_Novels [sourced 31/01/14]

Images from  http://www.librarything.com/work/14944# [sourced on 29/01/14]

http://www.carriesaba.com/blog/the-hunger-games-trilogy-3-books-that-get-you-thinking/ [sourced on 29/01/14]

Article  information  from   http://www.visualhollywood.com/movies/children-of-men/about6.php [sourced on 29/01/14]

Categories: dystopian film and designers, Literature | Tags: , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

My new Pinterest page

Yesterday I created a Pinterest page on which I can pin or collect visual bookmarks of websites, pictures, articles etc. of all things that relate to my MA project or anything that inspires me. It’s a kind of sketchbook/ pin board/ visual reference scrapbook that is already taking shape with dystopian/post apocalyptic images, books, films, stage designs and art. Any that get used academically will then be added to my main reference list and some of the most inspiring pictures will be featured in my Pinterest gallery on the right hand side of the journal page.

http://www.pinterest.com/amandafullwood/boards/

dystopian goodreads

Image from Pinterest but originally sourced from Goodreads.com  showing the increase in dystopian books since the 60’s, pinned at

http://www.pinterest.com/pin/378161699932030338/

http://www.goodreads.com/blog/show/351-the-dystopian-timeline-to-the-hunger-games-infographic

Categories: General research, sketchbook and visual diary | Tags: , , , , , , | 4 Comments

Abandonment and project starting points

As a child and living in Wales I was surrounded by ruins, all of which held ancient stories and secrets. I would often spend much of my summer wandering around castles, finding part hidden walls and houses that had been abandoned. This continued as I got older and moved to the city. The city revealed altogether different settings; old disused canals and factories, derelict hospitals and graffiti. Over time I developed a strange fascination with derelict buildings and knew I wanted to use it in some way.

smaller factory      dystopian landscapes3

dystopian landscapes1      dystopian landscapes2

Photographs that capture elements of dereliction and abandonment in Nottingham.

Alongside my aesthetic interests I also developed a keen interest in reading and watching post-apocalyptic/dystopian books and films. Through that I became fascinated by society’s obsession with ‘end of world’ scenarios and oppressive situations.

Whether it reveals something about the human condition or our ability to survive against the odds, it’s hard to say, but from a design point of view–it allows for some interesting research.

My plan is to look at post-apocalyptic films that often use abandonment, dereliction, war-torn landscapes alongside dystopian films that  generally show futuristic, oppressive, claustrophobic or controlling environments. Sometimes the two combine into one film.  Both are classed as science fiction. Both types of film have requirements and constraints story wise and  I want to look at these in conjunction with the practical approaches, such as location verses the built/devised set.

This journal will document my journey and will include photos, research into existing films, sketchbook work and experiment, the development of new skills, side projects and the realisation of a final design brief in which I aim to use a novel to create designs for film.

Categories: sketchbook and visual diary | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , | 4 Comments

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