Horizons: Filming a Monkey Island Movie (3)

August 28th, 2011 by | No comments

So, you’ve filmed the Secret of Monkey Island and LeChuck’s Revenge. Huge success, fans are cheering! Hooray!

But what now? The environments in Curse of Monkey Island are so detailed, you cannot really blame the pixels if your art department messes up. So, you may have to re-think the design of the sets. Whether you are working with a greenscreen (cheaper method) or filming on location (selling-everything-you-own method), Curse of monkey Island: The Movie will look and feel different from everything you shot so far.

Sure, actors are the same… but the costumes get a more cartoony feel to them. Of course, you’re the director, it’s up to you to decide… but if you make them too realistic, you’ll lose that special atmosphere that CMI tends to create. Oh and you need to bring back characters like Lemonhead. Let’s hope the actor still wants to play the part!

Don’t forget to add chickens. At least add chickens. You must add chickens.

Not to mention skeletons! How are you going to do that? Well, your props department (Aunt Brunhilda) may spend some weeks trying to create puppets that you can later on handle on the set. Or you go with CGI which is much simpler and cheaper, but the feeling won’t be so organic. Again, tough decision, your call.

The lighting changes drastically, as you probably noticed. The mood shifts from creepy to pleasant, from mysterious to down right scary! That’s a LOT of lighting-work and your filming hours may double just for that.

Then you’ve got characters that will take a lot of preparations, such as Murray. Wether you choose wires, greenhand (green glove over your hand, removed in post so you can only see the skull moving by himself) or CGI, Murray will be a handful. Also, you may have to get Denny Delk to provide the voice or talk to LucasArts to allow you to use the lines from the game. Either way, it may cost you a lot!

Now, don’t get discouraged. There are some good news too! …actually, there aren’t. Seeing as you added skeletons, you’ll compete with movies such as Pirates of the Caribbean. Sure, yeah, you and I both know where that movie got his inspiration from… but the regular viewev doesn’t and he’ll just take you Curse of Monkey Island as a cheap copy of “the original”. It’s a tough World, what can I say?

Don’t think you can solve the music problem as well. In the game, the tracks fir perfectly. In a movie, you’ve got shots, cuts, close-ups, wide-angles… in short, you cannot just copy/paste the music from the game on top of your shots. It will not fit. The entire soundtrack needs to be re-done. Have fun with that.

Fun fact from Mr. Jared Emerson-Johnson: Did you know that, generally speaking, hiring a small orchestra to record 60 seconds of music will cost you about 1000 dollars?

(I didn’t really ask him this for the article… I just remembered he told me that once. Thanks Jared!)

As you can see, the Monkey Island Series is becoming harder and harder to film, not to mention it may not even be successful on today’s market. Maybe as an animation, who knows, it may just do well… but until we reach that point, let’s hit MI4 next week!

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