the art director's cut

Jean, a young woman living alone, struggles with leading a normal life whilst also living with insomnia. She spends her time awake into the early hours browsing online, reading news articles and editing photos of herself to post on Instagram. When she gets fired from her job, she makes the decision to become an influential figure on social media, using her political know-how and photo editing skills to her advantage. This works for a while, and she gains a decent following and some fame. However, when she receives a 'Final Notice' in the post, she realises that she has to become involved in illegal activities to supplement her new career. As her life becomes more embroiled in the digital world, she begins to lose sight of what is real and what isn't. This loss of reason soon leads to fatal consequences, as her brother becomes entangled in her illegal activity. No longer able to tolerate the 'voices in her head', she seeks solace amongst the public. This, however, becomes the last straw in her mental breakdown, as everyone around her acts like she doesn't exist.

I was the art director for this production, which had its first screening at Raindance and is now in the festival circuit. 

Here are a few of my thoughts regarding the pre, post, and filming process:

- Pre-production we met under strict Covid19 protocols, which essentially meant the cast and crew were assembled via Zoom.

- We decided the themes for the script and screenplay together and the writers came up with pure magic. I was incredibly surprised and am still in awe of what they've put together as it tackles several issues at once and captures a whole mood.

- Rehearsing was naturally challenging and I was pleased to take on the role of art director for this very reason as it allowed me, under these limitations, to focus on aspects of the work that were more within my control.

- Sourcing costumes, props, and set material wasn't easy. Luckily one of our cast members had a location ready for us to shoot in, but it was tough to get it all done within the time.

- Post-production editing has been a great learning opportunity in terms of what we got right and what we got wrong and how ultimately we work with the best of what we have to produce a high-quality final product that does justice to everyone's vision.

A note on art direction:

- I wanted there to be a blue monochrome palette, which I feel we achieved and it helped that our lead dyed her hair blue.

- The adverts for Aurelia Isleworth were most accurately representative of the original vision I had in terms of colour scheme and we're very pleased with the posters that came from that as well.

- Props were all sourced in London and we were very lucky to have a crew member offer up their apartment for us to film in, which initially was a Covid concern due to size, but ultimately created the claustrophobic atmosphere that was desired in the script; however, we were limited in our ability to be selective.

- Colour grading and after effects/VFX would have been slightly different if we weren't under the pressure of a deadline.