Making the story line more explicit- an artists diary
Last Friday night we took again to filming and shot an additional scene that was not a part of the original script. One of the actors suggested it might be advantageous to add a scene early in the piece that recapped the previous action and highlighted what was to come- as a sort of buffer- to ensure the audience were totally aware of what was going on in the film. The existing established pace of the movie was a little fast and it did seem like a dandy idea- incorporating the fun of shooting an extra scene and an effort to reiterate in detail what was truly and really 'going on in the movie' to the audience. Losing the arc of the story is an all too familiar part of early-phase movie making that occurs when a filmmaker steps out to make a feature. Think of some of the director 'greats' and their first forays into the feature film market, for example; Spike Lees "She's Gotta Have It" or David Lynchs "Eraserhead". Both films seemed ultra strange due to the movie makers struggling efforts to maintain a solid plot in their early days in the business. This is not to say the movies weren't indicative of great talent to come- but in my opinion there are elements to these movies that reveal a certain developing style of narrative that is yet to be properly refined. I mean by the time Lynch and Lee were working on films such as Mulholland Drive and Jungle Fever they had refined the art! So it was in an effort not to lose the story for the viewer that we added 'additional scene 3b'.
The additional scene was to summarize:
a) that the two main characters had met, hit it off and intended to meet again later that night (reminder: the entire movie takes place in a 'story-world' that exists in a 24 hour time frame) and
b) that the lead protagonists cat has been taken to the vet (whereby he is to become the specimen of experimentation being innoculated with the 'werewolf/ cat' virus- the one that causes all the strife to come in this odd world of 'catpeople')(at this point I highly recommend you watch the original 1942 movie "Cat People")
With these two plot points firmly established the storyline is ready to move on into the full blown werewolf movie that ensues.
Shooting Additional Scene 3b:
Firstly, in writing the scene we realised the movie did not include the mandatory 'over the telephone' conversation that all 90's horrors do. [the film itself is a sort of toned down 90's horror tribute] This became the inciting inspiration- the lead protagonist was to be telling a friend over the phone about a guy she'd just met while out for a walk and about how they'd arranged to meet up later that night for a glass of wine and about how her cat was now in at the vets. However- the scene then got a bit crazy. In order to give texture to the new character, 'the friend', we gave him an accent and a hobby/ interest. His accent was one the actor had developed well- deep Louisiana. The interest a quirky one- keeping his own zoo/ zoo animals. We also added a butler. The scene thus took on a new character of its' own that cannot be described and only seen. It is still sometime until Australian Werecat is to be made available for purchase in the form of a limited usb/ dvd release.
In shooting the scene we made an executive decision that in order to maintain the gothic noir mis en scene that has thus far been consistent in the other scenes we would film in black and white and add colour only to shock. For an insight into the quality of the footage please see the attached screenshots from the scene below...
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All in all it turned into a fun- if not stupendisously outrageous scene- that does serve it's purpose while adding a lot of texture to the film. I'm very interested to see the blogs of other filmmakers works in process but am having trouble finding them on the labarynth that is this site! : )