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Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Sfumato

For many Sfumato is the Italian term for a painting technique which overlays translucent layers of colour to create perceptions of depth, volume and form.

Sounds like movie making.

Da Vinci himself described sfumato as "without lines or borders, in the manner of smoke or beyond the focus plane"

Certainly this can relate to movie making.

I know the word Sfumato from Michael J. Gelb's book How To Think Like Leonardo DaVinci. There he lists Sfumato as one of Da Vinci's 7 principals. "A Willingness to embrace ambiguity, paradox, and uncertainty."

Now that definitely sounds like movie making to me.


Sfumato, for me, has evolved from just an art technique, into a way of life. To embrace uncertainty. As stated in Gelb's book, to literally go up in smoke. The artistic technique refers to using brush strokes to blend tones together. No harsh lines means a more realistic blend of colors, giving you a better expression of realism. The best example is the Mona Lisa. If we didn't know any better we'd almost think it was a photograph. The paint blended together to recreate reality.

In a way this is what I'm trying to achieve with Monster Cops. It's pretty easy to paint vampires and zombies with harsh lines. Monsters in general lend themselves to a more comic book type world, where the art work can be expressive in it's well defined lines. Just the idea of a Vampire or a Chupacabra does not blend in well with reality. It sticks out, because it's not the norm.

But with Monster Cops I'm trying to blur those lines in order to create a perception of depth. In order to recreate reality. It's practice with each episode, with each shoot. The question always being, how would this play out in reality. If we were REALLY dealing with zombies, vampries, werewolves, etc., how would this secret government agency react? How would we see it on video realistically? What is the most realistic way we can achieve this with the budget we have?

It is practice. It is trial and error. And I'm learning. The first Monster Cops project was The Midnight Special. With it I felt close to the look and feel I wanted, but not really there. With the Shadow Company episode I feel we hit the mark slightly. A good start, but we can do better. I do feel we're on the right track. In the end it is about the essence of your story. What is it we are trying to achieve with Monster Cops? What exactly is that vision?

It's a realistic look into a group of Government Monster Killers. The action, the thrills, and the horror of the investigation and the hunt for creatures of the night, mixed with humor and pathos.

In other words, Cops meets The Office meets Blair Witch meets Monster Squad,

An action, comedy, reality tv show, with realistic depth.

And how do we achieve that depth? How do we blur those lines to recreate reality? By embracing ambiguity, paradox, and uncertainty.

Yup, that's definitely movie making.


Working on the scripts for the next few episodes. Shooting starts back up this Saturday, but with the cold weather, we are relegated to indoor shots. We'll see how it works out. I'm confident we'll have one more episode up before January.

Most likely going to add a cast and crew call page soon.


Ambiguity, paradox, and uncertainty? Where are you guys? Come here, gimme a hug.

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