Summer 2012 Chronicle of the Yellow Wallpaper

my descent into madness

Month: June, 2012

Driskill Shoot

I want to try to post as much rough work as possible on this blog so that it fully documents my process, so here is a rough edit of the video so far.

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Messed around with watercolors. This would be the scene where the bats fly out of the wallpaper.

Rotoscope Test

This is a test of a very short clip from “Woman in the Window” which is an old film I found on ze Youtube.

I’ve never rotoscoped before but it was pretty simple, but I can see how it’s super tedious. I wasn’t even trying very hard with my lines and it still takes so long for a few seconds. Le sigh. Also the first 2 seconds are still. Oops.

the dris kill shoot

Apparently any old famous place in Austin is haunted. This lady from the lobby kept talking about orbs on their video tapes. I am scurrrred mama.

Well, I shot at Driskill finally with my actress. I was sort of disappointed with the size and look of the room – it wasn’t very Victorian and it was also pretty tiny compared to what I had imagined.  I might want to reshoot some scenes and also footage of a Victorian house (12th and windsor?/Littlefield exterior?).

Fortunately, however, my actress was great and had the creepy crawl that I imagined in my head. I felt eerie just looking at my footage..at 1 in the morning in the dark. Insanity is imminent…

Anyway, I want to post the 20 minutes of the very rough edit I made with shots that I might use. I’m not sure if my non-premium vimeo account will let me. My favorites were some of her crawling, this one shot where she is shaking a sheer curtain from behind, and my last shot with her picking up the “pill bottles.”

What I had used for the wallpaper was gift wrap with Hannah Montana’s face all over it which started to look creepier and creepier to me as time went on (The Hannah Montana Gift Wrap: A Modern Retelling of “The Yellow Wallpaper”). It didn’t have the right thickness as wallpaper which is sort of an issue but might also not even be important.

Since I don’t have much experience with actors, I wanted to just note down a few things that I realized I did that was annoying…

  • -Instead of telling her what to do, I would ask it. So every sentence started with a “Can you…?” I should be more assertive. But also, I don’t think it’s bad to ask sometimes, it’s just a waste of time.
  • -Have a legitimate shot list. Not my scribblings of a mad lady (which I will scan and put up cuz it’s ridiculous). Although I didn’t even take out any paper and did it in a more intuitive way as I just went along, it might have saved me some time to have a good shot list. I just really hate shot lists.

    ridikulus.

  • -I should have used just one lense the entire time. Changing lenses was unnecessary and a bitch to do all the time.
  • -Be quicker with the tripod. I had the urge to get rid of it the entire time but it is a necessary evil for this project.

Other than that though, I think the shoot went fine. I wish the room was bigger and we had more time so I could have gotten more coverage more easily. But issss okay. I’ll live.

I am shooting today methinks, I think I might just knock on people’s doors but perhaps people don’t like strange ladies with cameras knocking on their doors?

updates and shot list (so far)

Overall Look/Feel of the project as of now.

Aesthetics:

  • watercolor-y, messy paint, highly textured
  • duller tones for other colors, emphasis on the wallpaper and yellow in general OR using only white/black for background and vibrant colors for Jane and the wallpaper, windows, other objects of importance
  • increasingly jittery/shaky animation as it progresses, eventually become abstract paintings that have flashes of reality (or rather her reality)
  • journal entries being written into the scene (i’m not sure of the logistics of this one yet)
Sound Design
  • piano music in background? i need to find someone who composes stuff like this. it would start out at a slow tempo and at the end it would be a high tempo jazz
  • or pop music/unrelated to the century/time. i feel like that would give it a more funkiness to it which could be fun.
  • if I do narration though, i would want something more minimalistic.
  • i also want the sounds of her going insane in the room – ripping, chewing, breaking, etc.
  • sounds of other details that i can’t include as visuals or narration such as the baby crying, wind/ghostly noises, ticking of a clock, etc.
  • goal – never mention word ‘wallpaper’

Shot List

  • ES- Dollhouse (allusion to Ibsen’s Dollhouse)
  • Pan into dollhouse
  • MS of Bars out of focus with Jane in the background only seen through the gaps
  • MS of Jane writing
  • CU of writing – words are written on screen (as opposed to narration…still debating about this.) – she would be talking about her husband John in this entry and her ‘condition’.
  • words are being written into the scene
  • CU of various pill bottles neatly stacked (panning across)
  • MS of windows/ overlay of her writing about them being barred for children
  • LS inside of room from perspective of window (based on Van Gogh’s Bedroom painting)
  • MS of floor on ground level – with her foot tapping in the BG
  • CU of scratches (“scratched and gouged and splintered”)
  • LS of bed
  • CU of nails holding down bed and bite marks
  • small montage of MS and CU of wallpaper. Show tears/ evidence of handprints/ movement within the wallpaper
  • MS silhouette of Jane with wallpaper in BG as it evolves into different shapes  (Rorshach inkblots)
    • “recurrent spot where the pattern lolls like a broken neck and two bulbous eyes stare at you upside down…” (5)
    • “strange, provoking, formless sort of figure” that “skulk[s]” behind
    • bats that fly away –> reference to Alice Littlefield (if we shoot in Littlefield house?)
  • CU of wallpaper evolving
  • _____________

Uncertainties

  • should the whole story be shown?
  • does the whole story need to be understood by all viewers?
  • how much abstraction of the story should be done?
  • writing vs. narration
  • how to incorporate references

References/ inspirations?

  1. the awakening
  2. dollhouse
  3. story of an hour
  4. wyeth’s painting – christine’s world
  5. van gogh – bedroom
  6. the bell jar
  7. ophelia
  8. wuthering
  9. a room of one’s own – virginia woolf
  10. antigone
  11. macbeth
  12. there’s a certain slant of light – emily dickinson
  13. munsch scream painting
  14. melancholia?
  15. zora neale hurston?
  16. anne sexton -http://www.poemhunter.com/poem/wallflower-2/
  17. Littlefield story

…will come back to this later!

ghost hunters

I am trying desperately to film inside the Littlefield Home for my project! I think it’s now a corporate building for UT (allegedly.) and it’s difficult to get ahold of the lady that gives permission for stuff like this. I think there’s a giant conspiracy since the house is rumored to be haunted.

Not only is the house the right type of Victorian Gothic architecture I want, but it also has this history which is eerily similar to the story of my animation. One story that is circulated is that the wife of the owner was “a depressed, agoraphobic woman who slowly went insane later on in her life” (not plagiarizing).  There’s also another story that she was locked up in the attic by her husband to protect her from Yankees who didn’t know that the Civil War was over. She ended up languishing in the attic and being attacked by bats, and it’s rumored that her screams are still heard. I am peeing my pants right now even typing this actually.

Also, the house was built in 1894 and the Yellow Wallpaper was published in 1892.  The woman also had painted some artwork in the house, which is interesting since Jane, the protagonist in YW, is a creative individual as well.

It’s creepily similar how the stories match up, especially since I am trying to have a lot of references to other stories inside my animation. So. I just HAVE to film inside this house. I kind of feel like the dumb teenager in horror movies though but it will totally be worth it I think.

The picture that I found of Alice Littlefield is kind of how I want Jane to look, but in an animation it will be different of course. I am also not thinking about revealing her face until after Jane becomes the woman in the wallpaper.