Something that I’ve noticed over the last few years is that I have grown more and more interested in the art direction in my films.  I remember one of my first student films the art direction consisted of making a fake market in a somewhat post-apocalyptic town.  It wasn’t bad actually, considering I did everything myself and we shot on an old Bolex in black and white 16mm so the faults weren’t readily seen, especially when transferred to SD video back in 1996.

Erica Smith holds a wooden elephant in Useless Things (2009).

Now, especially with my last film Useless Things, art direction is almost the most important element I use in telling a story.  I’ve been blessed by the work done by Zahra Peal who has production designed my last few films, even the opening sequence to My Cultural Divide.  Inserting a little subtext and metaphor into the props and decorations have become vital ways that I have been able to create a world for characters to inhabit.  The music video I directed and Zahra worked on for the High Dials, My Heart is Black, created this kind of space for the band, and I am still quite proud of what we did  there.

Mr. Crab, which goes to camera in a few weeks, marks our next challenge.  I’m incredibly excited about it, especially since as opposed to previous films, the RED camera we are using will show off every single detail.


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