A behind-the-scenes look at Chalk
What to say about Porter V. This kid rocks! Now, I might be a little biased (fun fact: Porter is my godson) but sitting down and talking with Porter is always so much fun. He is a charismatic kid with a FANTASTIC sense of humor and is always making other people laugh. Today I got the opportunity to hang out with him for a a bit to start prepping for a scene we are filming on Sunday. By meeting with Porter, the goal was to get him excited about doing the project and take a little bit of ownership in this project. He jumped right in and before we knew it he was bringing Chalky to life, right before our eyes. I think it will be a blast having Porter on set and I can't wait!
Here's a little bit of Chalk Talk coming at ya! But first, let me introduce myself. My name is Christina Bailey. I am a local RVA actress and I love all things film, both in front of the camera and behind the camera. My friend, Alexyn Scheller, and I have been working on this Chalk idea since the middle of January! It came out of a conversation over dinner about movies and animation. After many months of meetings and a really good rewrite, we are FINALLY starting to get this thing underway! Today has been a very creative day for pre-production, with Alex on his end working to get our website up and me sprawled out on my concrete patio looking for inspiration in a box of chalk. Alex sent me a few texts with ideas for the website, so I sat on the hot summer concrete drawing different social media logos, praying that it wouldn't rain. Let me tell you, I was in. the. ZONE! (If anyone cares, the twitter logo is harder to draw than you may think.) But finally after a few hours and several broken chalk pieces later, I have run out of room on my small patio. I now give mother nature permission to rain...
Location Location Location! Today we did a location shot. I always wanted a shot that was awe inspiring and plain at the same time. In my mind I knew I wanted that to be some sort of hill that overlooked a city. We landed on Church Hill in Richmond, Virginia. This place is the perfect park, and when you look at this park from different angles, it brings different character to it. This location will be central to the movie and help the chalk character realize how much he was missing by living in a 2-Dimensional world.
Christina and I wanted to take some of the storyboards and test it out in a real life filming location. We used a notebook with the chalk character and moved him around to see how it would look in real life. We also decided that in order to capture the characters amazement at coming to life, it would be best to show a mixture of first person and third person angles. These pictures to the right show various test shots in order to get a sense of the atmosphere of the movie. This will most likely be the location of opening shot.
This short movie has very little dialogue and mostly is a visual piece. Because of this limitation, a script would not be able to capture what we trying to write. As a result, our first draft is a series of storyboards (shown the right). The storyboards shown here is an early draft, but it shows how we began laying out this project. Since I am directing this movie, it's easy to leave a little gray space so we can improvise on the fly. Too much gray space however would make this impossible to animate the sequences and make sure the right locations are secured.
Storyboards by Christina Bailey
From the beginning, we knew the central character was had to be a cute, but not too cute, little drawing. We originally were going to have it be a piece of graffiti, but realized the vandalism aspect might make the audience not relate as much to artist. We shifted our focus from a graffiti tag by a teenage girl to a chalk drawing from a young boy. We felt that it would be an easier more relate able story if we had the chalk character show his emotions in his eyes and hide his face. You can see on the right it took several iterations to figure out exactly how to display the right level of vulnerability, cuteness, emotion, and simplicity in a silly little chalk drawing. This is important because we will ultimately have to draw this little guy hundreds of times to mix this animation with live action shots.
Final Version Shown Above
Drawings by Christina Bailey
During dinner, Christina and I got thinking it might be a good idea to make a movie. We chatted a bit, then just went on a brainstorming tangent talking about how a full length movie would look if a piece of graffiti came to life, realized it actually lives in a 3 dimensional world, and then dreamed of going to an art museum. Christina was un-phased by the creative mess, in fact she encouraged me to keep going. I then pulled out a piece of a paper (shown on the left) and started to brainstorm. We talked about how it would be possible to do the animation we wanted to do, then thought about how the story would progress. We ended up later changing the story radically, but some core elements remain.
Chalk is currently in production and will be released in 2016. It is written by Christina Bailey and Alexyn Scheller. It is filmed in Richmond, Virginia.
815 Porter Street
Richmond, VA 23224
Interested in dusting up on the latest on Chalk?