‘Smoking kills’ #neorealist #darkcomedy #productiondesign #setdec #artdirectstandby

Now over a year ago, that this one came to be: and I have some time on desk to give some insight into the making of : ‘the making of ‘ , in filmmaking.

opening shot: ‘Smoking Kills’ (2020)

It became clear early on, that flavours of the envisioned story world – and my appetite for sharing a vision was readily available. Building good rapport with the director/writer, a shared vision , ingredient for this production : I was ready quickly, to cook up this creation.

An avant-garde approach, some sprinkling of neorealism and my favourite applications of future retro styling. A human experience as surreal as it can get, stories that need to be told: on a small budget, translated and told in a parallel world – not quite how we know it – but as we got to know and to create it.

… that would have been enough to entice me – but this short “SMOKING KILLS” was also shot in black and white enhancing surreal comedy aspects. In addition with my favourite sprinkling of film noir – yet, future-retro in mind … a mix that certainly raised my appetite to get the production design engine in motion and a mood-board created:

…and the designing of the story world begun. With an eye on subtext and significance: the telling of the story through objects and locations began: some sketches, conversations, assistance and good dose of effort … the world started to emerge. Good costume designer and some tests and more meetings and the day was soon to arrive …

With objects mostly found in my own household , charity shops, skips, made and out of some households of friends and friends of friends. Also unearthing kit from theatre and other period productions, I had looming in dark of my storage spaces from previous creations, brought the right sprinkling of retro: a freshly created unique look: on brief …

A lot of smoke and mirrors in this one and a fair deal of locations (over 6 shot in 5 days) with a skeleton crew working around the clock: getting on set rolling – whilst it is been filmed, next one built, dressed and ready – jumping from some standby and set dec tasks, back to the next aspect of the story world getting set and people ready: adrenaline pumping – all gratefully supported by a great team ( core relations and order intact) and a fair amount of time in planning and pre – production, furniture shuffling, set designing- paid off.

5 days in an artists warehouse compound, with all locations not to far from each other made it possible: late summer 2020 , with helpers and supporters on hand: allowed us to shoot 5 days on the trot and +2 days of preparations – from stuffing cigarettes to folding packets, labelling tins etc … the cameras started rolling:

And not without my a little army of helpers, when things got tight and challenges bigger – supported the realisation of the vision.

Also yet again, good old led and pencil made the communications possible. Communications through all means possible and good we got so used to remote digital communications and effective HOD meetings… on camera ..

…never too far away from a hint to the sureal notions and mood flavourings, not without some additions ( and a costume designer on whatss app and in charity shops )and we got the notions infused in the visual display as intended – for the story to unfold.

and yet another location and set had to be built – thankfully after a day of shooting there is a night….

The vision over shadowing it all, on minimum of sleep, the clashing of colours in the actual world : all translated as intended into the black and white story world- never thought I would be talking so much about shades of grey, smoke and mirrors.

Boundaries of set and behind the scenes became very blurred… just to finish on a high and creating a crowd scene as theatrical as intended, the well oiled unspoken team work with well briefed members of camera, costume and art department helpers , made it possible (just about) to have all the right things in the right place at the right time… with some blood scenes and careful supervision still buzzing on a productive production run – enthused and carried by the team work to give my best, standing – or sitting – by getting it ready by the clap and shout for action.

Having seen the rough cut and some additional ingenuity in music compositions and editing … I shall contain my excitement until this piece has been given to the world, adequately.

This one: shot on black magic is created and designed for the big screen , with cinema screening opportunities: in cinemas abroad – cut short and cancelled -with pandemic hurdles … this will still need to be shared…

…be sure for me to shout about this one, when it happens!

But certainly a screenplay after my own heart and as yet, the one that excited me the most – for it’s ‘otherworldliness’ – yet telling a story all so true…

…the marvels of filmmaking.


Published by danielafleckenstein

Using my creativity as Life Coach to encourage people to move forward in their lives. I also work as Editorial and Art Photographer creating the image you only dreamed of, supporting you throughout the whole process from conception to creation. Find the information you seek about me on http://about.me/danielafleckenstein

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