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!

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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”…

Wakefield unleashed (the pilot is out!) – UPDATE Nov 25th 2013

Following the decision to recut the pilot into three new mini-webisodes, we set as private the original first episode. It will probably be back as an extra, meanwhile we hope you will stay tuned to check out our new take on The Wakefield Variation!

Dopo la decisione di rimontare l’episodio pilota in 3 mini-episodi, abbiamo impostato come privato il primo episodio originariamente caricato. Tornerà probabilmente come extra, nel frattempo speriamo vorrete continuare a seguirci per vedere la nuova versione di The Wakefield Variation!

We’re sure you don’t need words, but we can’t help spending a few: after all, it’s been over one year of struggling pre-production, 3 days of shooting in worst-possible wheather, and a month of post-production. All of that to deliver the following, and hopefully many more. If your internet connections allows it, we suggest you to watch it in HD, as we worked so hard to make it look as nice as possible 😉 Just click the gear button and select an HD resolution from the menu. Oh, comments deeply appreciated!

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ecco i sottotitoli

ecco i sottotitoli

Siamo sicuri che non avete bisogno di parole, ma non possiamo fare a meno di spenderne qualcuna: dopo tutto è stato un anno di faticosissima pre-produzione, 3 giorni di riprese col meteo peggiore possibile, e un mese di post. Tutto ciò per realizzare quello che segue, sperando di poter passare presto agli episodi successivi. Se la vostra connessione lo permette vi consigliamo di guardarlo in HD, avendo lavorato così duro per fargli avere l’aspetto migliore possibile 😉 Basta cliccare sulla rotellina e selezionare una risoluzione HD dal menu. Oh, e i commenti sono molto apprezzati! Per i sottotitoli in italiano cliccate sull’icona col relativo simbolo e scegliete italiano dal menù a tendina.

and THE teaser trailer shows up

We know what you’re thinking: here we are again, with the same old dull teaser-trailer-then-renamed-episode-alpha-then-renamed-a-taste-of-what-is-going-to-happen posted once again just to give the feel of the work in progress while the work is actually not progressing at all.
You might be right, since it took us a lot of time to move to production stage, and that video was the only thing we could show you…until now! The Wakefield Variation (that is, the pilot episode) is almost ready to meet the internet audience, and as our team is polishing the details about music and sound design, we’re happy to show you a new teaser trailer! The first one worth to be called like this, being made from real pilot footage.
It may look like it doesn’t reveal much, but if you pay attention you’ll find a lot of things never seen – or heard – before 🙂
Enjoy the watch, and tell us what you think: we might still be on time to make changes to the pilot, which is due… in a week 😉

Sappiamo cosa state pensando: eccoci ancora una volta col solito trailer sfigato che ha cambiato nome 10 volte, per dare l’idea che lavori sono in corso quando invece non lo sono affatto.
Potreste avere ragione, dato che ci abbiamo messo così tanto per arrivare alla fase di produzione, e quel video era l’unica cosa che avevamo da mostrarvi…. fino ad ora! The Wakefield Variation (cioè, l’episodio pilota) e quasi pronto per il pubblico di internet, e mentre la nostra squadra sta definendo gli ultimi dettagli relativi a musica e sound design, siamo felici di mostrarvi un nuovo teaser trailer! Diciamo il primo meritevole di essere chiamato tale, dato che è stato prodotto dal girato originale.
Potrà sembrare che non riveli molto, ma se prestate attenzione vi accorgerete di diverse cosa mai viste – o sentite – prima 🙂

Quindi buona visione, e fateci sapere le vostre opinioni: potremmo essere ancora in tempo per modificare l’episodio pilota, che dovrebbe arrivare… tra una settimana 😉

It’s a wrap!

I won’t lie, I dreamed of shouting the above countless times 🙂 Now that I actually did it, it looks like we’re coming back to reality, as if the shooting of The Wakefield Variation was some sort of dream… It must say that it looked like it was turning into a nightmare at some point, but with the help of an amazing cast and crew we woke up safe and sound in our beds. In the last week we tasted filmmaking… (I mean, the real thing) and it was a great professional and formative experience, the kind that made us a slightly better producer and director. I suggest you to follow us on facebook and twitter as well to know about all the problems we had to face and get a glimpse of what was going on, while we enter the post-production stage. Oh, and… people who helped us getting to this point: thank you so much!

Brifing with some tea and coffee

Gianluca Olmastroni (series creator/director, on the right) discusses minor script changes with actors Michael Brian (left) and Kelsey Gillis (center). Photo by Lisa Carpitelli (associate producer/script supervisor)

Sarò onesto, ho sognato di urlarlo (it’s a wrap!) innumerevoli volte 🙂 Ora che l’ho fatto, sembra di tornare alla realtà, come se le riprese di The Wakefield Variation fossero state una specie di sogno… Devo dire che in certi momenti sembrava che stesse diventando un incubo, ma con l’aiuto di una fantastica squadra di attori e tecnici ci siamo risvegliati sani e salvi nei nostri letti. Nell’ultima settimana abbiamo assaggiato il fare cinema (intendo, “quello vero”) ed è stata una bellissima esperienza professionale e formativa, del tipo che ci ha reso un produttore e un regista leggermente migliori. Vi consiglio di seguirci anche su facebook e twitter per conoscere i problemi che abbiamo dovuto affrontare e per avere un’idea di tutto quello che è successo, mentre noi ci immergiamo nella post-produzione. Oh, e un grazie infinito a tutte le persone che ci hanno aiutato ad arrivare a questo punto!

The Wakefield Week

Here we are, this week will finally mark the shooting of the first episode of The Wakefield Variation! While we are trying to make every piece to fit in its place (and it’s not an easy task, considering how much every piece is going to cost) we can’t help thinking about how everything begun… and how much things changed in a year. We talked briefly about this in the previous post, but we keep thinking that if someone told us – one year ago – that it would took us a year to start shooting the series pilot… I don’t know, maybe we might have given up. It started as a small project, mainly for showcasing purpose… and as soon as we discovered crowdfunding (ages later than the rest of the world I guess) we decided to give it a try. The rest is history – which is all written down right here on this blog, by the way – but I think that all those expensive and time-consuming issues we’ve been through, they were worth it. Building a cast and a crew for a web-series with a cinematic approach, as opposed to just start and shoot… it truly was an experience, and some… very educating journey. Anyway, we’re eagerly waiting for the next one… which is not the flight Michael Brian (Wakefield) is going to catch in a day or so. Keep reading us 🙂

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Ed eccoci alla settimana che segna le riprese del primo episodio di The Wakefield Variation! Mentre proviamo a far incastrare ogni pezzo al suo posto (e non è facile, anche considerando il costo di ogni singolo pezzo) non possiamo fare a meno di pensare a come tutto è cominciato… e quanto le cose sono cambiate in un anno. Ne abbiamo parlato brevemente nel precedente post (english only, sorry!) ma continuiamo a pensare che se qualcuno ci avesse detto – un anno fa – che ci sarebbe voluto un anno per iniziare a girare l’episodio pilota della serie… non lo so, forse avremmo lasciato perdere. È partito come un piccolo progetto, principalmente a scopo dimostrativo… e appena abbiamo scoperto il crowdfunding (una vita dopo il resto del mondo, immagino) abbiamo deciso di fare un tentativo. Il resto è storia – che è scritta tutta proprio qui su questo blog, a proposito – ma credo che tutti i complessi e costosi problemi che ci siamo trovati davanti, siano valsi la pena. Costruire cast e troupe per una web-serie con un approccio cinematografico, al posto di iniziare a girare così dal niente… è stata un’esperienza e un viaggio che definirei… educativo. In ogni caso, aspettiamo impazienti il prossimo… che non è il volo per l’Italia che Michael Brian (Wakefield) prenderà tra circa un giorno. Continuate a leggere 🙂