Monday, March 14, 2011

My Pirates of the Caribbean Scene

My final project for my directing class required us to choose a scene from any script, and to film that scene. The only requisite was that our final scene should look different from what the scene looked like in theaters. I chose a scene from Pirates of the Caribbean- Curse of the Black Pearl. Our class was organized in groups, with each person assigned to a specific task. Before we were allowed to film, we were required to turn in a brief description of what our scene was going to look like. Here was my conceptional view of the scene:

This scene from “Pirates of the Caribbean- Curse of the Black Pearl” takes place during the first half of the movie, shortly after the Black Pearl has attacked Port Charles. Jack Sparrow has been captured and is stuck in his cell. Will comes seeking information and strikes a deal with the pirate. Here we learn more about Jack Sparrow. He knows the story behind the Black Pearl and possibly more. Jack only agrees to help Will when he discovers that Will is the key to capturing the Black Pearl and stopping Captain Barbossa.
            The shift in the scene comes when Jack learns Will Turner’s full name. While he doesn’t express his interest fully, he does change the way he acts towards Will, now acting as if he wants to help. Will is hesitant to make the deal with Sparrow, having picked up on the change in the pirate’s demeanor. From this point on, you can begin to piece the puzzle together. We know that Will Turner is important to Jack Sparrow, but we do not know why and we do not know Jack’s plans. At this point, the adventure begins.
            In the film, this scene takes place in the morning. I chose to have my scene take place at night. This allowed for more dramatic lighting. Dark shadows in the cell helped give Jack Sparrow a more mysterious feel. Will Turner, coming into a dark cell to speak with a pirate felt more eerie than having him come into a well-lit cell. It is as if Will Turner is going into the underworld to make a deal with the devil.

My crew consisted of members from my class, while the cast was made up of local actors.


Will Turner                                    Ty M. Williams
Jack Sparrow                                  Dustin Saiidi


Director                                       Alejandro S. Vargas
Assistant Director                        Kiazad Ehya
Boom Operator                           Shannon Latham
Wardrobe & Props                      Natalie Kafader
Art Director & Set Dress             Craig Ryan
Props & Slate                              Joseph Shultz
Camera Operator                         Eusebio Gonzalez
Director of Photography             Priscilla Anselmo
Sound Recordist                         Anthony Weaver
Continuity/ Script Sup.               Hannah Choe

I had an idea of how I wanted my set to look and how I wanted the lighting set up. I met with my crew and showed them detailed sketches and a map of the set. We were only allowed to use what was already in the sound stage and what few props we could rent from the Drama Department. The day of the shoot, I came in early, mapped out the location of the flats on the floor with tape, fixed and prepared some flats, and spoke again with my crew. Later that day we would have 3 hours to set up, film, and clean up.

Here are some pictures of the set.

Here is the hallway to the jail cell. All the walls were flats. Fake brick was nailed to the flats that would get the most time onscreen.

Another view of the hallway, from inside the cell.

The jail cell was made up of tan flats with fake stone attached, a blown out window which was quickly repaired, and half a barrel for the prisoner to sit on. I wanted light to come into the cell, but not only from above. In the scene prior to this, pirates had attacked the town. In my head, their cannons had blown a hole in the cell wall and in the roof. Guards hastily repaired it with wooden beams. The gaps in the beams let us play with the lighting.

Here is a closer view of our blown out cell wall. Unfortunately, we were not allowed to paint any of the flats so this one had to stay purple.

A peak at some of our lighting setups.

Once the house lights were turned off, the set looked much better. Props were brought in, and we were ready to shoot.

Another look down the hallway, now with a small table and props. I wanted there to be a warm glow down the hallway as if it were being lit by torchlight. The cell was given blue lighting as if the moon were peaking in through the gaps in the walls. And the red and orange light peaking from behind the wooden beams in the wall was from the town burning.

I am very happy with the way it turned out.

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