Tuesday, June 05, 2012

Grimm Pilot - take two

Life goes by so quickly sometimes, I shiver with the thought of it.?  This small bit of work I did for the pilot of Grimm unfortunately didn't see too much screen time, but here's the rest of the story..  The show's been through a whole season, and picked up for another, but I've been so busy with teaching and freelance, moving my studio again, and acclimating to a new work flow, I've been completely delinquent in watching it..  Perhaps I can have a marathon when the new season starts and catch up on all the episodes missed?

In any case, my students love the show, and every episode I've seen has been proper acting, and fast but extraordinarily creative effects and props.  Before I went into the Grimm lot studio to work, Elisabeth had me do a couple treatments of the directors chair logo (shown previously), and a couple sketches for pages what would appear in the book.  I was super geeked about this potential, as being the "guy who sketched the Grimm book" would've been the newest height of this thing I call a career?  Not having seen the graphics for any monsters, and going off the ideas of the show that were given to me,  I sketched these two characterizations; one of Rumpelstiltskin, and one of the Old Crone of Hansel & Gretel fame.  
 The Crone character was actually in the pilot script and described to me a bit, but the Rumpelstiltskin was basically me spit-balling some ideas of how the mythos could be delivered in a new horrible way.  Then after my first day, I got a look at the script, a better idea of what they wanted, and they had me sketch up a couple mock ups of what the pages of the book might look like.. The script at the time said the book should be a sketched archive of the 2-3 monsters that would appear in the pilot; Wolf, Snake Guy, and Crone, wherein one page would be a likeness of the person in human form with something like a police form attached; stats, criminal encounters, notes, etc., and the other would be a likeness of the beast within, and what they look like to the Grimm. At first I thought this was something that, over the ages the Grimm Family would've developed, or perhaps a universal system of documenting in some way, where pages from 100 years ago, might look something like they did for the grandmother Grimm, but this changed, and a couple times. The nature of television perhaps.. =)

The book was a massive tome, so I did my samples actual size but in graphite at first. These two samples, with all the different "hands" of nonsense filler script I could think of, were shown to the director, and although the smoking guy was closer to what they wanted, the direction quickly started to change into a scrawled "untrained" hand and more primitive skills, rather than my "too illustrated" "too good" work.. So that day I tried my best to dumb down my skills, and perform on command, with the already "aged" paper they'd ordered for the book.  Bringing in thicker tools; pens, brush markers, graphite sticks, charcoal, conte' and fixative, I sketched about 6-10 sheets of characters, scrawled script and in every different way possible.

I remember a beaked character with hooks, that turned out looking quite 40's nazi-ish, an orge, also this Blutbad in conte' that looked older, matching the paper quite nicely, but also the two portraits of a Blutbad, and Crone straight from the 3D models the design team had done at that point.  Neither made their way on to the screen, even after limiting myself to 10min. sketches, and really working at aping a less skilled approach.  Alas, I've not seen any of them appear in the pilot or show so far, and didn't get phone pics of them either.

Funny thing, being inadequate for anything you're truly geeked about, jobs, relationships, or otherwise.. but when what's needed is, loosing your skills and not developing new ones, it's especially odd?  I was basically trying to reverse my skill set, desperately scrawling to give them what I was used to doing when I was 12?  Hell, I probably didn't do an "untrained" look when I was 12?  I even tried sketching with my opposite hand, in a balled fist, and I couldn't imagine having my name attached to it, even if it was what they wanted? So, could be a blessing, could be a curse.?  I've a pretty impressive new client on my client list, and with some luck this won't be the last television has seen on this Lightpusher.. =)  Stay tuned !!

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