In a few minutes, I'll be starting to make a film, which should take the better part of the next twelve months. It's called "The Polish Language," and the script is the poem (of the same title) I wrote a few years ago. It will be an animated film, made with Orla Mc Hardy
, who made "Wax Ear" with me (see two posts below this one to view it). Click on her name and watch "The Grass is Greener" if you'd like to see a beautiful film based on Ivor Cutler's poem (with his narration). Steve Woods, a veteran experimental animator and film-maker, is our producer.
Orla phoned a few minutes ago, and I have to call her back so that we can talk about how to start. How to start? We have been plotting, scheming, storyboarding and dreaming this film for over a year--a year spent also trying to get funding; we finally got a Frameworks award from the Irish Film Board/Arts Council/RTÉ. So now we get to make it, tra la.
The storyboard is drawn out, and we know the overall arc and visual style of the film. Simply put, the poem and the film are about the subversive force of art. And this idea is set in the particulars of Polish poetry and culture in the 20th century. (More on that later.) Hmm, we are going to make a film...Yes, I think it will be good for me to keep a log/blog of the process of making this thing...
SO the first thing to do in my mind is to decide on the font we will use. (Letterforms are central to the action of the film.) A modernist font. One used in Polish posters from the interwar period. So it's to the typography books we shall go first. And second on the list is to settle on the palette. The film is going to be in black and white and beetroot red. But what exactly is beetroot red? Do we veer toward the pinkish hints in beetroot or toward the earthier, yellower tinges in that deep red. Time to start mixing gouache.
I don't think we should start at the beginning. I think we will start in the middle and let the thing bleed out toward both ends. Beginnings are too daunting. Endings are too inevitable. The middle of this film has lots of archetypal images from Polish culture: storks, amber, honey, concrete, primeval forests... Yes, let's start with these simple images and build out from there. The image here is a very basic storyboard image for the lines from the poem: "to make an effigy, you'd need/a lot of concrete (more than you'd think)/a stork..."
Later on in the film, the stork alights on the Spire on O'Connell Street in Dublin and why not.