Mer-movie trivia for your 2020 Leap Day February 29, 2020 18:35

From Jess:  

My husband and co-author Chris's movie "The Call of the Wild" FINALLY came out earlier this month! Hooray! And although the film is an adaptation of Jack London's classic tale of a dog overcoming adversity and getting in touch with his inner wolf in the 1890s Yukon, there was originally a mermaid-related Easter egg or two before -- in true Hollywood fashion -- the relevant parts of that scene ended up on the cutting-room floor. Bummer. But, because I love filmmaking trivia and deleted scenes, I'm going to share that with you here!

The town of Dawson's saloon, the Argonaut, advertises a "magic lantern" show. For a place full of prospectors and not much else, a slideshow of tintype photographs from around the world made for an exciting evening, and several of the images that Chris chose referenced some of the Disney films he'd worked on in his lengthy animation career: the Eiffel tower for "Beauty and the Beast," lions for "The Lion King," and hula dancers for "Lilo & Stitch." Also included were some geishas, the leaning tower of Pisa... and yours truly, dressed as a mermaid (naturally), which served double duty for "The Little Mermaid" (the film that was wrapping up production when Chris started at Disney) and "Rescue Sirens."

(Crown, jewelry, and tail by none other than my beloved Merbella Studios, of course.)

This is a really-for-real tintype: a "wet plate" form of photography most popular in the mid- to late 1800s (so, totally period appropriate!), made -- per Wikipedia -- "by creating a direct positive on a thin sheet of metal coated with a dark lacquer or enamel and used as the support for the photographic emulsion."

So where do you go to get a tintype in the 21st century? In our case, we visited Bailey-Denton Photography in Garden Grove, California. Using authentic equipment -- hundred-year-old cameras and original 19th century lenses -- this husband-and-wife team really knows their stuff, and Chris and I left with multiple stunning images that were developed right before our eyes like an 1800s Polaroid photo!

We were so pleased with Bailey-Denton's work that I suggested Fox hire them for the crew gift at the end of principle photography for "The Call of the Wild." Because tintypes were a portable photography method, this means Bailey-Denton can travel, and indeed they do much of their business at Civil War reenactments, steampunk events, and Victorian-era festivals. With racks of fun clothing and props to choose from, the cast and crew were able to take home a really unique memory of their time on the film. Of course, Chris and I took one together!

(Finally, my RBF comes in handy!)

While the saloon scene changed focus and the tintype slideshow was sadly lost, I'm happy to be able to share this little bit of trivia with you. Maybe part of it will show up on the DVD? Fin(ger)s crossed!

The Diving Belle and Lophelia's Council Chamber January 31, 2020 23:11

From Jess: 

Oh my cod, how was January SUCH a long month, and yet the 31st snuck up on me like this? I'd intended to publish the January blog way earlier than this, but my husband/co-author Chris has been wrapping up his live-action/CG hybrid debut, "The Call of the Wild," and it's been another weird month. Fortunately, the movie is in the can, and, after the premiere in less than two weeks (!!!), we can both shift our focus from the beautiful but harsh and snowy Yukon to the warm waters and sherbet colors of Miami Beach. Ahhhhhh...

To that end, I wanted to kick off 2020 with some fin-tastic artwork from Nicholas Kennedy. We commissioned Nick back in 2018 to create two layouts for our "Rescue Sirens" pitchbook; because we were pitching the property as an animated series, we were looking for something bold and fairly simple that would feel right at home as a background in a cartoon.

First up: the pool and cozy sheltered courtyard of the Diving Belle, the rundown little motel-turned-condominiums where our Rescue Sirens live while they're topside. Nick did an amazing job capturing the soft colors of a Florida sunrise, and illustrating the twin bell-shaped pool and Art Deco-inspired two-tiered diving platform.

Next is a peek into the secret mermaid community of Lophelia, specifically the grand council chamber/library that is first glimpsed in one of Genevieve Tsai's gorgeous black-and-white illustrations in our novel "Rescue Sirens: The Search for the Atavist." For this illustration, we wanted to pull back a bit to give a wider view and also feature the moody underwater lighting and glowing crystals inside the chamber.

Didn't Nick knock both illustrations out of the park? He's such a pleasure to work with, and fast, too! We really owe one to Gabby Zapata for recommending Nick to us when another artist left us in the lurch right before our pitch.

To see more of Nick's work, check out his Instagram!

I'll be back next month with more goodies (provided I survive this movie premiere, haha). Until then, I hope your 2020 is off to an auspicious start!