Clarification and A Scanner Darkly
A few comments to clarify ideas I've been touting as I try to put some thoughts down this evening:
Firstly, the viewing of Sky Captain has really spurred my enthusiasm for the tools that are available to regular people, like myself, in film making. I actually agree Caitlin and Swambo's comment that they hope that CGI gets used in different ways from the "big budget FX extravaganza's" that, as she rightfully pointed out, often end up shite (Chronicles of Riddick anyone?).
I don't think Sky Captain is one of those films. For one, up until a few years ago Kerry Conran was just one of us; sitting at his iMac working out six minutes of test footage for his dream project. Sky Captain was born in one person's love of comic books and old pulp films rather than some studio trying to cook up the next big hit.
However, a conversation with Luke regarding animation films and Caitlin's comment on alternate uses of digital technology brings me full circle to talk a little bit about Richard Linklater's take on Phillip K. Dick's A Scanner Darkly. For those who are unfamiliar, the story is about a group of drug addicts, one of whom (Arctor, played by Keanu Reeves in the film) is an undercover cop. Of course being a Phillip K. Dick story, the twist is that Arctor suffers a schizophrenic breakdown and begins to track himself to the source of the drugs. Some screen shots have been released.
Here's Keanu Reeves...
...and Winona Ryder.
Here's an animator using digital technology to trace over the hi-def digital film using a graphics tablet and pen.
Linklater is a Indie film hero (even though I hate the term "Indie"). He works only on projects that he wants to, often on a super low budget. His films are personal yet never pretentious. A film like Before Sunset (which I highly recommend to anyone who hasn't seen it yet) is so low key and personal. It is truly a masterpiece of American independent cinema. A Scanner Darkly shows the potential that the digital era is giving to filmmakers who work apart from the big studios.
What I hope to bring to light is that there is a place for digital tools in the world of filmmaking beyond the FX heavy "epics." I'd love to hear what some of my fellow flimmakers out there have in mind.