A lot of things have happened since I last updated this blog. J. Graciano, my producer, and I have been working on the next stages for the film- be it reaching out to production companies, networking or submitting to festivals. The wait to hear back from film festivals can seem like an eternity, but that is often the masochistic nature of filmmaking. What has kept our spirits high is the fact that the few close friends and cast / crew that we have shared the film with so far are giving great responses.
Of the people who have seen the movie so far and the trailer, many have asked about the motion graphics of the film. The lively, authentic, effects that were created by Jarrod Dowalter, our designer have definitely been a crowd favorite in bringing life into the room scenes.
About half of the film takes place in Jessy’s room with static closeup shots, intercut with b-roll of various items around her room. I wanted to really re-create the sensory overload of chatting on AIM during the early 2000s as a young pre-teen. These scenes of Jessy in her room needed to reflect her own world. The fast paced nature of the chats alongside Jessy’s (Evelyn Warner) wide-eyed, uninhibited emotions really immerse the viewer into exactly that - Jessy’s headspace. These crucial scenes served as a visual diary into Jessy’s mind, which would later aid viewers in the upcoming scenes.
The challenge with the AIM graphics were that they needed to meld our desire for authenticity of the AIM software with the need to give a sense of total immersion to an audience with far higher technological literacy - (if the movie had taken place 10 years later, Jessy would probably be on Instagram and we would have a far shorter convo consisting of eggplant emojis and sliding into DMs - highly inappropriate stuff).
Thanks to Jarrod's diligence and patience with our many requests and revisions, we finally reached a perfect hybrid of authenticity and effect. Here are some of the drafts that we went through:
This was the very first draft that Jarrod did. It was based off of a drawing that I had sketched. This was super cool looking, with a very minimal take on the chat box that you see on the right. I felt that the motion tracking was too distracted for the entire scene and ultimately cut that out so that the focus would be on the crucial written dialogue.
For the second draft, I wanted to bring back all the little widgets that the IM box (left) had. These were crucial elements, such as a "warn" button that you could virtually zap people with to make them wait before sending messages - seems like something we should bring back in this age of internet trolls? I wanted to make the whole set up a bit less rigid which explains the top half of the box and why we tried making the text float freely.
This was kind of a wildcard thought of by J. Graciano, who wanted to try out amping up a more modern-day look. Personally, I felt it was too far off from the original look. One of the crucial aspects of this film is the nostalgia factor and that relies heavily on authenticity!
In terms of the final version, all I can say is that I loved how the final recreation turned out - revamping the archaic software of the Internet Stone Age, while still keeping it recognizable to us old timers. You will have to see the movie to see the full, finalized version. It is an all encompassing, full-throttle experience that is sure to give you an adrenaline rush of pre-teen, emotional ups and downs.