The good idea syndrome

I watch a lot of TV series, and I’m sure most of you can say alike. The format has become even more popular in the last decade, and the quality bar keeps being set higher and higher. Many actors are eager to be part of an episodic show because they have a better chance at developing their character, and the viewers love to grow affection towards their weekly heroes. Also there are stories that fit much better in a serialized context.

In my opinion, the latter has always been the case of The Wakefield Variation, and besides being a fan of many shows myself, I always try to sit in front of the screen with a critical perspective: if I’m trying to make my own show, I can’t help analyzing other people’s work.

That’s why yesterday, just while Italy was showing how far behind the civilized world it still is with the controversial-to-say-the-least family day, I decided the give a shot to the highly praised Amazon Prime‘s show Transparent.

The series tells the story of a family who find out their father, played by Jeffrey Tambor, is a transgender. I just recommend you this show and I won’t go through many details, I’ll just focus on the soundtrack here. The characters find some old records at their dad’s house: when they run into Jim Croce’s Operator, they start to sing along. You might remember my Songs in the key of Wakefield category posts, in which I mentioned the lyrics to Time in a Bottle to be pretty pertinent to the story I was trying to tell.

You may think that Operator has a more specific background which wouldn’t suit The Wakefield Variation as flawlessly: but what is Wakefield trying to do, if not trying to reach out to his ex girlfriend? All right, he’s got his way to do it, and he’s definitely beyond pay phones… but it’s undeniable that he has unresolved issues with that relationship. That’s basically the point of the show, as told in the three-parter web pilot.

I always imagined to use covered versions of existing songs in the show, alongside the original soundtrack, and I’ve been thinking that a female voice could be great to sing Jim Croce. It could be diegetic, with Eleanor or some other character (hint: three more female characters have been outlined during these years of undisclosed development) playing/singing on screen, for some reason. When I saw, and heard, Operator played by the two girls at the end of the pilot episode of Transparent, I had an epiphany.

Maybe I won’t be able to feature a song by Jim Croce in my show, maybe I’ll never get to take The Wakefield Variation to the next level. But I got a confirmation that I might have had a good idea, and that’s enough to keep me in the game, for now.

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.

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 🙂

Shooting days locked down!

Here is some news I’m sure you were all waiting for: The Wakefield Variation – that is, the pilot episode – will be shot next january, on the 17th-18th-19th. It took a little more than we originally expected, but we’re happy to finally do it. Pre-production is going to hit its craze peak during the next weeks, so keep following us as we’ll tell you a lot more!

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Ecco una notizia che sicuramente molti di voi stavano aspettando: The Wakefield Variation – cioè, l’episodio pilota – sarà girato il prossimo gennaio, il 17, 18 e 19. C’è voluto un più tempo di quanto immaginassimo, ma siamo felici di poterlo finalmente annunciare. I preparativi raggiungerano il massimo livello di frenesia nelle prossime settimane, quindi continuate a seguirci e vi racconteremo molto di più…

The Wakefield Digest

We’d all love to talk about filmmaking. I mean, practical, hands-on filmmaking. I wish I could post something about how wonderful (or how bad) was a shoot today… but we’re not quite there yet. So you’ll get what we have 🙂

Casting: we met an actress in person, and we’re in touch with a couple more. We only have one candidate for the male lead (that is, Wakefield himself) …we’ll see what is going to happen. As we want to shoot with native english speaking actors, we have to deal with a lot of communication/travel/expenses issues, which makes things even harder than they would be anyway.

Script: it’s in the works, really. Jonathan Robbins and I agreed to a diagram as the base of the pilot/standalone short script. We also talked about the outline of the series, and being such positve people, we brought in topics like “first season” and “second season” 🙂 Jokes apart, Melanie Hunter is currently working on an actual second (or is it the third, or fourth?) draft of the script, which I hope to lock down soon. The idea is to have slightly different edits for the short and the pilot… but just one great script.

Technical: our DoP is currently abroad for a shooting, so we haven’t been able to talk with him about locations, light, lenses, cameras and all of this nice-but-expensive stuff, which leads to:

Crowdfunding: the sponsume campaign is going slow, but we’ve never thought of it as the only funding method. Nonetheless, help is appreciated, as we have just about 40 days ahead before the campaign ends 🙂 It’s still a little early for product placement, but we’re working on it.

Talk to you people soon… and don’t be afraid to post a comment, it’s free of charge 🙂