Songs in the key of Wakefield

Great news: I’m getting back at writing in first person – for a few posts, at least. And I don’t want to give up on making this place a real diary about everything that happens about this project. I just got back from Rome where I had two things scheduled: attending a screening of the pilot to a small but selected audience at Caffè Letterario, and a business meeting with some important (yet undisclosed) person who might mean a lot to the continuation of our series.

Shortly after I got home, I received an e-mail from Michael Brian, our lead actor, that is Wakefield himself! He was asking news about the project, as it looked stuck from “outside”… and I must say he’s right. There haven’t been any major updates lately, and that is because dealing with development, distribution, funding, etc is time consuming, and being our production company still made of just two people, there is no much time left for promotion, updating, advertising.

And this is bad. It really is. A project like this is kept alive by audience, readers, bloggers, casual surfers too: being born from the internet, for the internet, it needs to be appealing to the people of the internet. I tried to figure out something to change things… and I thought about going back a little bit.. back to the origin of this project, of its story, its atmosphere, its inspiration.
I couldn’t help thinking about music, and I mean way before Michele Bettali, Stefano Carrara and Fabrizio Castanìa delivered their great score. Some specific music was in my head while developing the concept behind The Wakefield Variation, and it provided a lot of inspiration for what I thought this series needed.

So I thought it could be a nice move to share with you the beginning of the creative process through the music. I’d like to start with a song that has long been in may favourite playlist, and has kept me thinking about the lyrics since the first time I listened to it. It’s Time in a Bottle by Jim Croce. In those words lies a lot of Wakefield’s “experiment”…


While we were looking for a story to adapt, we knew that we should use a short story. We felt that starting from scratch was too much of a responsability, so we started looking for some inspiration. That’s when I stepped into a bunch of small books at my parents’ house: they’re from a collection of short novels that the italian newspaper La Repubblica published as a bundle in the mid/late 90s. Wakefield came as a “double bill” paired to “The Minister’s Black Veil”, also by Hawthorne.

Wakefield as published by La Repubblica

Wakefield as published by La Repubblica

Origin of a name

I won’t talk about where The Wakefield Variation comes from. Not yet, at least. And besides, half of the title should be pretty much obvious, by now. I* will spend  some time on the name of the company behind everything, Effetto Espanso. It’s the least we can do, considering that one of the goals of this blog is to get financial help to make this project possible.

Well, Effetto Espanso comes from two parts blending together: Effetto is italian for Effect, and is part of “Effetto Notte”, which is the italian distribution title of “Day for Night”, the french movie-about-the-making-of-a-movie by François Truffaut. That (wonderful) movie is originally titled, “La nuit Americaine”, the french-slang name of the day-for-night filter. So “Effetto” stands for our “golden age of filmmaking” side, since we can’t help looking back at those times, even when we’re doing some heartless corporate video.

Espanso is italian for Expanded, and it comes from the avant-garde video artist bible Expanded Cinema, a 40-year-old yet unmissable book by Gene Youngblood. Way ahead of its times, the book explores possibilities in media crafting and distribution that sound like prophecies come true. Therefore “Espanso” stands for us looking forward, trying to be smart – staying hungry but not foolish! 😉

Our work, including The Wakefield Variation which we hope to become our flagship, is meant to be this way: something from the past, something from the future.

* You may have noticed the use of the first person: no particular reason, I could have done that since the first post, since I’m the only one writing, for now. I just felt more comfortable right now… but you’ll see a lot of switching between “I” and “we”. Gianluca, writer/director.