Posts Tagged With: Literature

The Novel to Film Project: The Tube Riders

I have chosen The Tube Riders (part 1) as my novel to film project for a variety of reasons. The obvious one is the genre. It’s set in future London in the year 2075 so it fits into the sci-fi category as well as having a strong dystopian thread to the narrative. I was also struck by the post-apocalyptic feel to the settings the first time I read it; some futuristic architectural elements are present but there are a lot of existing modern-day locations that are in  varying stages of decay or destruction with some areas of London being more well-kept. There are external locations that can be adapted from today’s London, a large underground complex that contains a lab, torture chambers, an arena and various floors and corridors that would be more than adequate for a model/concept designs and government buildings that provide further concept options. In addition to this there are abandoned tube stations, cars, rubbish filled streets and a general look of a war-torn, unkempt London. There is also an opportunity to work on some interesting character/costume concepts and with horror elements in regards to the “Huntsmen” hybrid creatures that feature all the way through the book.

tube riders

The overall visual aesthetic of the story is that of divisions of rich and poor, but predominantly poor and abandoned. There is a sci-fi genre crossover between dystopian, post apocalyptic, horror/gothic with the characters and locations but also in the way that the buildings are described in the text; empty shells, half-finished building work, particularly the bypass road depicted as “a severed arm” I immediately thought that this way of  describing the landscape could work well with all the buildings, adding a sense of  a gothic, almost Frankenstein look to the film design, which fits well with the cyborg/human/animal hybrid Huntsmen.

The next phase is to breakdown the chapters into potential settings/props/concepts and to list all the  designs/types of work that I will produce in order to explore the role of Production designer, initially for the pre-production stage and then possibly for later stages should it be necessary.

Synopsis from Amazon

“Beneath the dark streets of London they played a dangerous game with trains. Now it is their only chance for survival…
Britain in 2075 is a dangerous place. A man known only as the Governor rules the country with an iron hand, but within the towering perimeter walls of London Greater Urban Area anarchy spreads unchecked through the streets.

In the abandoned London Underground station of St. Cannerwells, a group of misfits calling themselves the Tube Riders seek to forget the chaos by playing a dangerous game with trains. Marta is their leader, a girl haunted by her brother’s disappearance. Of the others, Paul lives only to protect his little brother Owen, while Simon is trying to hold on to his relationship with Jess, daughter of a government official. Guarding them all is Switch, a man with a flickering eye and a faster knife, who cares only about preserving the legacy of the Tube Riders. Together, they are family.

Everything changes the day they are attacked by a rival gang. While escaping, they witness an event that could bring war down on Mega Britain. Suddenly they are fleeing for their lives, pursued not only by their rivals, but by the brutal Department of Civil Affairs, government killing machines known as Huntsmen, and finally by the inhuman Governor himself.”

Further information about author Chris Ward is available at:- http://amillionmilesfromanywhere.blogspot.jp/

References:-

visual and synopsis http://www.amazon.co.uk/The-Tube-Riders-Trilogy-ebook/dp/B007LVFSP8

WARD,C., 2012. The Tube Riders Trilogy (#1) . (Kindle Version)

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Categories: General research, Literature, MA Practical Project | Tags: , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

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

Contexts: Where to go from here

I’ve been giving my project some thought in regards to context and have come up with a list of potential avenues of research.

The question:- Given the post production techniques available today, what is required from the Production Designer at the pre-production stage in terms of scenic design?

Initially I can break this down into a list:-

Post-production techniques

Production Design/Designers

Pre-production

Scenic design

Each one gives me a vast amount of potential research. I have started to look at the role of the Production designer and art department, seeing where it fits in to the production as a whole. I am also looking at the Pre-production stage.  As my chosen genre is Sci-Fi- the post-apocalyptic/dystopian film/TV production, I will mainly concentrate my scenic design and Production Designer research within these parameters.

 

The genre choice also gives me a wide base of potential research:-

Science fiction in film and contemporary culture.

The role of Production Designer within Science Fiction/changing role?

The culture of Post Apocalypse/Dystopia in modern culture.

Scenic design in Science Fiction.

Post-production techniques in relation to pre-production.

Does Science Fiction differ from other genres in regards to design, pre/post production, the designers, knowledge etc.

Practical:-

Visual research for Science Fiction/the chosen novel (this will form the basis for my practical development in stage 2)

 

I also wrote down a few thoughts when I attended the past MA students lecture that relate to the above and my learning agreement.

-Do culture and politics impact on the books and films that are being produced…and why?

-What do Production Designers think in regards to above(this may become part of my case studies)

-Audiences/readers in regards to science fiction/dystopia/post-apocalyptic books, films, TV. What do they think? (a possible case study/survey/poll. This might be useful for the production designer when dealing with budgets/metaphors/pre-production techniques.

-Determine if there is scope for change within Production Design. The future of the film industry with Sci-fi in mind.

-Can we promote a more holistic approach in the design process, from pre-post production?

 

With this in mind, the contexts for research are as follows:-

Technology:- skills, techniques for sci-fi in a changing world.

Culture/philosophical/social/political:- an overlap of background research into dystopia/post apocalyptic ideas and how it relates to society and film.

Economic:- this relates to technology in regards to the changing film industry/design roles/budgets. Producers?

Audience:- aesthetic issues when turning books into films/how the designer uses visual metaphors/symbolism in design. The designer has to portray the directors vision while keeping audience in mind.

Categories: General research | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

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