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CONFESSIONS OF A
DANGEROUS MIND

About The Production (Continued)
With the help and guidance of a superb team that included director of photography Tom Sigel, production designer Jim Bissell, storyboard artists J. Todd Anderson and costume designer Renée April, Clooney worked vigorously to establish the look and feel of the film. "We spent four and a half months prior to shooting, sitting in a room and going through the shots in order to come up with creative transitions and ways to visually make the story work,” says Clooney. "The challenge was to make it visually exciting without getting in the way of a really good script. What resulted were storyboard drawings for every shot in the film,” or, as some described it, "a comic book of the entire movie.” 

Clooney put his confidence in Tom Sigel to render his vision on film. "I was so impressed by Tom Sigel's work in ‘Three Kings.' In fact, I've heard several cinematographers say they thought it was the best film shot that year, and in my opinion, he should have won an Oscar for it. He has a brilliant view and he's really experimental. He understands color better than anybody, and he's willing to take wild risks.” 

Sigel explains some of the techniques used to create the look and evoke the mood of the film: "The look of the film is quite a tapestry because the script is such a collage. It ranges from a pastel hand-painted look for the game shows, to a stark, de-saturated film-noir look for the world of the CIA. Along the way, there are documentary interviews shot in color infrared and childhood memories done in black & white infrared. Then of course you have the contrast of the tobacco world of Mexico. All of this was being done not only in-camera, but through the new process known as ‘digital intermediate.' This means that once the film is shot, we turn it into data. Then, the picture is manipulated frame by frame to get the desired look we want before it is scanned back to film.

"All in all, I have to say it was one of the most enjoyable and fulfilling experiences of my career. George never failed to create a very positive tone on the set. Open to collaboration, he really brought out the best in all those around him.” 

As a reference tool throughout pre-production and filming, Clooney and his team kept a video library of almost three hundred actual "Gong Show” episodes, as well as "The Dating Game,” "The Newlywed Game” and other shows that Barris produced. These videos were kept on-hand, for filmmakers and actors alike, as a visual aid to help recreate the look and feel of Barris's game show world. 

However, as production designer Jim Bissell explains, the challenge was more about creating effective dramatic imagery that would reflect the characters' settings and situations and help propel the story along. Says Bissell, "Recreation is always fun because you get to present a sense of time to the audience, especially audiences that may not have lived through those periods. You can look at the 1950s, ‘60s and ‘70s and immediately think of all of the clichéd looks, but it's always a challenge to the designer to create a sense of time and place without trite images, and rather contribute to the narrative by having strong dramatic imagery. 

"We wanted the settings to be reflective of the character's interior thoughts,” adds Bissell. "In fact, there are some very clever shots that George thought of in which we integrate Chuck's memories of his life with his response to the world. These scenes, ranging from his childhood memories, to working at Rockefeller Center, to ‘American Bandstand' and all of the game shows, are more akin to memories than historical records and allowed me some creative license.” 

About Bissell, Clooney adds, "Jim is flat-out brilliant. He not only nailed the game shows sets, which may have been easy for someone of his talent to do, but also he achieved the difficult task of building sets out of ideas that were in my h

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