Variation

The second episode of The Wakefield Variationrevised – is out! Hopefully the text should help you to have a clear idea of where the story is going (or where it has been), as you may have noticed how much we like playing with time 🙂 Also, please welcome a couple of new entries: one of them has been actually there since the beginning but… well, enough talking, watch the episode!

Il secondo episodio di The Wakefield Variationversione rivista e corretta – è online! Speriamo che il testo vi aiuti ad avere un’idea chiara su dove sta andando la storia (o dove è stata), dato che avrete notato quanto ci piaccia giocare col tempo 🙂 Inoltre, diamo il benvenuto ad un paio di novità: una in realtà era sempre stata lì ma… beh, basta parlare, guardate l’episodio!

She’s leaving (on monday night)

2014 might be the year we manage to keep promises: here is the (new) first episode of The Wakefield Variation, and considering (as you should all know about) our decision to make a three-parter out of the original pilot, there will be two more. So for three weeks Monday will be the day The Wakefield Variation airs, and we hope the tradition will be picked up, sooner or later.

This new take on our series has shorter episodes (well that was obvious), a slightly faster pace in storytelling, and tries to help the audience with flashbacks and flashforwards using some text. It would be great if you told us what you think!

Also, we gave titles to the episodes: the first one is called “She’s leaving“. So now sit and watch, it’s going to take a little more than 3 minutes. You can do it here or on the official youtube channel. Enjoy – and come back next Monday!

Il 2014 potrebbe essere l’anno in cui riusciamo a mentenere le promesse: ecco il (nuovo) primo episodio di The Wakefield Variation, e considerando la nostra decisione di dividere in tre parti il pilota originale (come tutti dovreste ormai sapere) ce ne saranno altri due. Quindi per tre settimane il lunedì sarà il giorno in cui The Wakefield Variation va in onda, e speriamo che la tradizione venga ripresa, prima o poi.

Questa nuova versione della nostra serie ha episodi più corti (ovviamenti), un ritmo di narrazione un po’ più veloce, e prova ad aiutare il pubblico riguardo la collocazione temporale, usando il testo. Sarebbe fantastico se ci diceste cosa ne pensate!

Inoltre, abbiamo dato dei titoli agli episodi: il primo si chiama “She’s leaving” [Se ne sta andando]. Adesso mettetevi comodi e guardate, ci vorranno poco più di tre minuti. Potete farlo qui o sul canale youtube ufficiale. Divertitevi e tornate lunedì prossimo!

Living the exile

Today I was thinking that we’re about to enter the fourth year of The Wakefield Variation: the project was conceived in late 2011 when Alessandro and I finally agreed on which previously-written-material should be the base of our creative vision. Soon after we picked up Nathaniel Hawthorne’s “Wakefield” I wrote the first draft of the screenplay of what should have become a one-off cutting-edge short film to showcase our filmmaking skills.
The project was developed during 2012 and went through several stages (check out the previous posts!) morphing into a series; the pilot episode was set to be shot on early 2013, involving an international cast, a whole crew of film pros, and the need of a lot of money.
The huge storm that hit us on the last day of shooting should have warned us that 2013 wasn’t going to be easy… and it proved right. All is still stuck, not a festival accepted our work, and the continuation of the series is still in our head.
2014 will see a new cut of the pilot episode, split in three mini-episodes tailored for the 21st century-superfast-casual-websurfer. Will it work? We definetely hope so. In the meantime, time goes by… in a fancy we would expect to see in a future (but currently unlikely) episode of The Wakefield Variation.
I guarantee there will be happier posts :-): for now, Effetto Espanso wishes all of you a Merry Christmas, Happy Holidays and a great 2014!

Wakefield is watching you.
Oggi stavo pensando che stiamo per entrare nel quarto anno di The Wakefield Variation: il progetto fu concepito alla fine del 2011 quando I e Alessandro scegliemmo su quale materiale-precedentemente-edito basare la nostra visione creativa. Poco dopo aver scelto “Wakefield” di Nathaniel Hawthorne scrissi la prima stesura della sceneggiatura di quello che sarebbe dovuto diventare un eccezionale cortometraggio per mostrare le nostre capacità nella produzione cinematografica.
Il progetto fu sviluppato nel corso del 2012 attraversando varie fasi (date un’occhiata ai post precedenti!) fino a diventare una serie; le riprese del pilota furono fissate per l’inizio del 2013, con un cast internazionale, un’intera troupe di professionisti e la necessità di un sacco di soldi.
L’incredibile tempesta che ci trovammo davanti l’ultimo giorno di riprese avrebbe dovuto avvertirci che il 2013 non sarebbe stato facile… e aveva ragione. È tutto ancora bloccato, non c’è un festival che abbia accettato il nostro lavoro, e la continuazione della serie è ancora nella nostra testa.
Il 2014 vedrà un nuovo montaggio dell’episodio pilota, diviso in 3 mini-episodi fatti su misura per il navigante del 21esimo secolo, casuale e superveloce. Servirà? Lo speriamo con tutto il cuore. Nel frattempo il tempo passa, nel modo che ci aspetteremmo di vedere in un futuro (ma al momento improbabile) episodio di The Wakefield Variation.
Garantisco che ci saranno post più allegri :-): per adesso, Effetto Espanso augura a tutti voi buon Natale, delle piacevoli vacanze e un fantastico 2014!

The perfect number

Something needed to be done, as we could not watch The Wakefield Variation like that: you probably know that we’re talking about the project as a whole, not the single pilot episode, and you may also got a clue about we’re about to do… yes, we’re going to recut the pilot to three new (shorter) episodes, as a way to get a broader access to festivals, show the audience our serialized idea, and last but not least, save our (and partly your!) investment.

We set the youtube video to private – it will probably be back, someday – and deleted it from Blip.tv, too; we already started the editing process, and considering the non-linear narrative structure, it won’t be just splitting the edited material in three… it’s a true recut, hoping it will help some narrative, audience-catching elements to come out.

The three new episodes should be out soon, early january the latest, and they may feature something not seen or heard previously. Hope you didn’t run out of faith in us, stay tuned! 🙂

editing

Qualcosa doveva essere fatto, dato che non ce la facevamo più a guardare The Wakefield Variation in quel modo: probabilmente sapete che stiamo parlando del progetto nella sua interezza e non del singolo episodio pilota, e dovreste aver intuito cosa stiamo per fare… sì, rimonteremo il pilota in 3 nuovi episodi (più corti), come modo per aver maggior accesso ai festival, mostrare al pubblico la nostra idea di serialità e, ultimo ma non ultimo, valorizzare il nostro (e parzialmente vostro!) investimento.

Il video su youtube adesso è privato – tornerà probabilmente, prima o poi – e l’abbiamo cancellato anche da Blip.tv; abbiamo già iniziato il montaggio, e considerando la struttura narrativa non-lineare, non si tratterà semplicemente di dividere in tre il montato originale… è un vero e proprio ri-montaggio, sperando serva a far venire fuori quanto necessario ad attrarre spettatori.

I tre nuovi episodi dovrebbero uscire a breve, non più tardi dei primi di gennaio, e potrebbero contenere qualcosa di mai visto o sentito in precedenza. Speriamo non abbiate esaurito la fiducia in noi, restate sintonizzati! 🙂

Come Nasce Una Spia

TWV - Come Nasce Una Spia - Kindle EditionEcco dopo tanto un post in italiano… anzi, solo in italiano! Questo perché il graphic novel che racconta l’antefatto di The Wakefield Variation è finalmente disponibile anche su Apple iBooks e Amazon… ma su quest’ultimo, solo in italiano, almeno per il momento.

In ogni caso ci è sembrato rilevante sottolineare che anche i possessori di dispositivi Apple (iPhone e iPad di qualunque misura e natura) e Kindle o compatibili (per chi non lo sapesse c’è un app Kindle anche per dispositivi Android) adesso possono leggere Come Nasce Una Spia… così come possono farlo tutti gli altri con la versione pdf, acquistabile ad esempio su Ultima Books.

Qualcuno che l’ha letto e ci posta i suoi commenti?

Where’s Wakefield?

September has been another month without any post, and we’re the first ones to be sad about this. It looks like things are kind of stuck, with the original series way far from being greenlit (by whom then, that’s a whole other story) and the graphic novel still waiting for a proper debut – as it is not available from major on-line book stores yet. Even more sadly, festival and pitching response has been disappointing so far.

Nontheless, it would be legit to answer the question in the subject with “he’s hiding”, as that’s what he’s actually doing in the series… the one in our minds, the one you briefly tasted in the pilot. He’s hiding so well, that not even us, the series creators, could figure out how to find him. Then we realized that maybe it was all about the proper way to look for him… and ok, now I’m putting it down so it should all make sense: The Wakefield Variation was created with big cable network production in mind, just a little bit shrunk for web audience… if you’re thinking we might have overlooked a few things, you’re smarter than us, as we only got it lately. Well, since it looks like we didn’t impress either of the two above worlds (which often collide, but I digress) we thought about some suggstions and feedback that we received in the last few months… some of them going back to the 2012 Marseille Web Fest. Ok, enough talking: what if we recut the pilot to have three 3-minute episodes?

 

 

A spy is born

Almost three months without a post: it never happened before, and we could understand if you thought our project was dead for good. We won’t lie, things are going slow, but it looks like it’s the way independent production is meant to be and we can assure you, The Wakefield Variation is in our minds, every single day! And now that One Look Behind is finally out, we hope you can say that as well (at least for the short time it will take you to read it ;)): yes, the long-awaited graphic novel prequel is available for purchase… check out our company site to learn more!

Oh, and what if this small teaser spawned an actual graphic novel series on its own? Would you read it? Let us know! 🙂

First page of the actual graphic novel (english version)

First page of the actual graphic novel (english version)

Quasi tre mesi senza un post: non era mai successo prima, e potremmo capire se aveste pensato che il nostro progetto fosse defunto una volta per tutte. Non mentiremo, le cose procedono a rilento, ma sembra che sia il modo in cui funzionano le produzioni indipendenti e possiamo assicurarvi che The Wakefield Variation è nei nostri pensieri ogni giorno!
E ora che Come Nasce Una Spia è finalmente uscito, speriamo possiate dire lo stesso (almeno per il poco tempo che vi ci vorrà per leggerlo ;)): sì, l’atteso fumetto-antefatto è disponibile per l’acquisto… date un’occhiata al sito di Effetto Espanso per i dettagli!

Oh, e cosa ne direste se queste piccolo assaggio desse vita ad una serie a fumetti a se stante? La leggereste? Fatecelo sapere! 🙂

The “Before” factor

I recently found out that Before Midnight is coming to movie theatres in these days: I can’t tell how surprised I am (or hold my happyness either) to know that Richard Linklater has decided to give us a third installment in what can now be called a saga.

For those of you unfamiliar with the previous chapters, Before Sunrise tells the story of how two 20 something met on a train in the summer of 1994 and spent one day in Vienna, falling in love without never having the chance to meet again, the girl (Julie Delpy) being french and the guy (Ethan Hawke) being american, thus living thousands kilometers away. Before Sunset is set – and filmed – 9 years after the first movie, and shows the couple meeting again. I won’t tell you anything more because if you haven’t watched them yet, this is the right moment, and I guess I may have given away some plot points already.

Anyway, I’m not implying that this story is a direct inspiration for The Wakefield Variation, but connections are not hard to find, also considering how steadily these movies reside in my imagination. Time passing by is the most obvious reference, and the nine years between the first two movies are pretty close to our idea of how long Wakefield’s exile should have last. What I loved about the second movie, is that it made you feel like only a couple of months had passed (and Jesse/Ethan Hawke says that too!): the amazing dialogue and chemistry between the characters/actors let the audience feel that an afternoon spent together, condensed in a mere 75 minute movie, would be more than enough to fill in the blanks of almost a decade spent apart.

Again, I won’t go deeper in the plot analysis, yet I’ve always imagined that the day Wakefield met Eleanor again, it would be like their connection was never gone, and not because of the wiretapping or the hidden cameras. I know that the situation is completely different, and the cliffhanger we used to end the pilot episode doesn’t add much to the feelings Eleanor may or may not still have for Wakefield, but:

  1. Wakefield has been watching Eleanor for all these years… he may be obsessed, disturbed, whatever, but he’s not stupid, and I take all the responsabilities here saying that the series will not go in a direction for which it was all a dream, or anything like that. He did what he did for a reason, and if he kept watching her, he must have known there still was a tiny chance for them (whatever that means).
  2. the newspaper clippings should be some hint 🙂

Although the series development has just begun (and I’m sorry to admit that it’s going to be a while before we can watch anything) I’d like to point out that when I’m talking about connection I don’t mean pure uncompromised love: beyond the mistery, The Wakefield Variation is basically the story of a tricky relationship, something that won’t be overlooked. Also remember that a relationship involves (at least) two people, so our story won’t be just Wakefield’s point of view.

Let’s now put fictional characters aside for a moment, and ask yourself the question: “will I ever be able to completely forget that specific important person – boyfriend, girlfriend, whatever, you say – from 9 (or 7, or 12, or 20 it doesn’t matter) years ago?” Let me be skeptical of any positive answer to that. So if time passing by doesn’t affect us, with all the real life issues, how could Celine, Jesse, Eleanor or Wakefield be affected? 🙂

Ethan Hawke and Julie Delpy in Before Sunrise

Ethan Hawke and Julie Delpy in Before Sunrise

My Weakness

This is going to be a major post. Not in terms of lenght,  but because of its importance in the whole Wakefield universe. I’m revealing one of the major sources of inspiration here, and the title is not only a reference to my Songs in the key of Wakefield series, it does define an undeniable truth. My Weakness, from 1999 album Play by Moby, was the first “external” song included in the soundtrack of The X-Files (the episode was 7×11 “Closure”) and my devotion to that show is the weakness meant in the subtext.

Not that The Wakefield Variation is going to dig into paranormal anytime soon, but the atmosphere, the mistery, the unresolved tension between the main characters is something I’ve always been looking at when developing our project. The X-Files sits among the best television series ever, and has been the first popular culture phenomenon to spread across the internet back in the 90s. These two things alone should be enough make it a model to us. But that grim chorus repeating itself, mixing so perfectly with Mark Snow‘s music (who praised the choice instead of complaining), kind of made me preview the expression of Wakefield, then greatly portrayed by Michael Brian.

That episode, and that music, marked one the darkest revelations of the show, that is Mulder finding out his sister (whom he spent looking for over two decades of personal and professional life) was dead. Seeing the closure of that obsession – or it becoming immortal – made me think it was the same Wakefield needed to feel towards his relationship with Eleanor… that it was all his experiment was about, overcoming his obsession and being at peace with the world.

If you’re eager to know whether Wakefield is going to succed or not, well we’re even more!

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”…