Saturday, February 24, 2007


I had always planned to keep the design of From Inside (the graphic novel) transparent and free of typical comic book conventions. No sound effects, no word balloons, no crazy-angled panels, no characters bursting from panel boundaries. I had also planned to keep most of the panels in a rectangular, widescreen ratio. In a sense, the book was designed, from the very beginning, to look a lot like storyboards.

One thing I remember being undecided about was whether to lean heavily towards a sepia look or to use a wider, more-colorful comic book palette.

At the time, I had never seen any of of Lars Von Trier's flms. After watching The Element of Crime (1984), my mind was made up about where to go with the From Inside color scheme. The Element of Crime was lit almost entirely with sodium vapor lamps, creating an amazing yellowish sepia-toned color... I loved the color.

With the From Inside film I have pushed the colors even more in this direction. (I should pause here to say Stu Maschwitz kicks ass. If you are a filmmaker and don't already know about the work of Stu Maschwitz and The Orphanage, go learn. Besides the every-day work-horses of After Effects, Photoshop, and Maya, the one tool I have used on every shot in From Inside is the Magic Bullet plug-in, particularly the Look Suite. I can't recommend it enough. Same goes for Stu's new book: The DV Rebel's Guide).

Back to The Element of Crime. Besides the colors, I loved the the slow pace of the film, the dark visuals, and its dreamlike quality. A big influence on From Inside.

This scene from From Inside (it's in both the graphic novel and the animated film) is an homage to Lars Von Trier's first feature film.

I think I read somewhere that Lars Von Trier said his horse shots in The Element of Crime were an homage to Andrei Tarkovsky. Homages within homages.