My husband jokingly calls me ‘grandma’ because I won’t watch any horror or thriller type shows or movies (and I can’t stand the commercials either, he knows now to skip ahead or change the channel if something comes on). I find it disturbing and I don’t want to spend my time giving attention to things that can affect my frame of mind.
I was approached to create paintings for ‘end credits’ on a film project. The imagery was to be in the theme of mental health, gun, suicide, thriller and suspense.
A very cool opportunity. BUT and this is a big one, I am very careful and selective of the thoughts and experiences that I want to allow into my life. I do have a big soft spot for mental health. I think everyone at some point in their life, deals with mental health issues to various degrees. I think mental health awareness is so important because I can see how quickly thoughts can lead someone down a dark path. I do find that I am very empathetic, so it scares me because you never know what people are dealing with or when it is affecting them. I want people everywhere to have good experiences and to love their life, so I get overly worried that this isn’t the case for lots of people.
I wanted to consider this chance since it could be an experience I may not get again. After much deliberation about how I would feel illustrating things in this theme, I agreed, but responded that my concerns were that I wouldn’t want to lead them on. I would produce some works and they can see if it is a good fit. Also, that if they didn’t like it, to be honest and not use it, that I wouldn’t be offended. I know what it is like to be on the creative vision side – that you don’t want to compromise the vision that you have.
I spent two months thinking, planning in my head and then mapping it out on paper and getting some pieces painted. Then I was sent a link to see the ‘rough final.’ Once I had viewed this, I changed direction on a few of the illustrations based on still images. These two months of the planning ideas and then the paintings, I hid from everyone. I didn’t tell anyone including my family, that I was working on this. I hid my sketches and sample paintings of the gun (and other) images I was working on. It’s ridiculous that I would be painting a gun of all things. Amusingly (ridiculously), I was worried if ‘something happened to me’ that a few sketches and painting samples of a gun would be found as well as the still images on my phone. Then I took pictures of my work to send in and wanted to be able to delete them quickly once I had submitted the final pieces. I laughed at how stealth I was being with this. I had decided not to talk about it, as I wasn’t sure if I would like the illustrations, let alone if they would like and use them.
The film has now been submitted to the film festivals: 2020 Canada Screen Awards, Sundance, Toronto, Calgary and Vancouver International Film Festivals, as well as for Oscar 2020. They ended up deciding to use a ‘black slate’ for the end credits for the version that the judges will see, but my art will appear on the public release version.
To me this means my work didn’t have a certain ‘je ne sais qui’ to boost the impact that extra level. And that is ok. I do like how it turned out, and they can’t compromise their vision with such heavy competition.
Overall, a hugely satisfying win working on this. My work will be on the public release version (yay!). I worked through something I was unsure how I would feel illustrating, as well as being unsure how I would actually illustrate it. I completed the work before their deadline. It was great experience creating something from a few directions to start with and then pulling detail from the film to create the images I would use.
When it is released next year, I will find out details on how you all can view it! From watching the rough final, I thought it was very well done, and am thankful I had this chance to be a part of it.