We filmed episode 2 of my upcoming web series, “Persephone”.
Episode is 2 centers around a crossroads of sorts that Persephone has to pass to ascend from the Underworld. We filmed in the mountains on a cold, gray, windy day – perfect for Underworld shots! In this series, I’m focusing on Persephone’s emotional struggle as she grasps to take on her responsibility of bringing life and death to the world. In this episode she meets the Enchantress who was inspired by the Sphynx – and gives Persephone a riddle to solve before she can pass. The answer is a message and a warning to be mindful of what you carry on your conscious and what you allow to mark you in a detrimental way.
I wanted a landscape that was neither here nor there. :) So we chose a wooden staircase that winds its way from a creek up the side of the hill. Our camera shots never show you one end or the other of the staircase, just its steps disappearing into the trees, creating a distant no man’s land. In this borderland between the Underworld and the World of the Living, Persephone can hear echoes of each world. She can hear Althea pounding on the ground above pleading for Persephone to bring her deceased brother back with her. She’s raw and exposed and unprotected.
I find it to be very interesting what you can do filming outdoors, strictly by what you exclude from your camera shots. And it’s not all about how the landscape looks, but how your actors interact in it, and what sounds/sfx you add and what their purpose is to the story. We’ve all seen numerous Star Trek episodes run out to the desert and make it Alien Planet #405 – but when you start playing around with your camera angles, for instance, engulf them in the landscape (like I did in the TITANIA Dream Scene) or have them fill up the screen masking the landscape a bit (like we’ve done in episode 2) – it becomes more than a foreign landscape and starts to reflect your characters emotional state. Are they are overwhelmed because the landscape around them is so vast and they are small in it? Are they trying to hide in plain sight using tighter shots in an open landscape so highlight their vulnerability that way? Or do they fill up the screen, as the Enchantress does in episode 2, because she towers over anything that the landscape holds?
I find sometimes, you can’t really plan for these shots. You make your shot list and head out into the wilderness and once you’re in place with your actors, new ideas are presented to you and it all falls together. This is one of the reasons I like filming outdoors, because it’s still spontaneous and you’re not in control and artistic inspiration continues to happen rather than being so rigid and planned.
We’re heading into production on episode 3 now, and plan to have the series premiere @March 21st.