Steampunk: the State of the Genre

I thought I’d collate all the other upcoming steampunk film projects I’m aware of, mostly for my own benefit. The question is, will these projects suck away the potential audience for Winter, or can we ride their coat-tails to a greater audience than we could have reached without them? I’m an optimist – I think we’ll benefit from the increased awareness of the genre.

  • Boilerplate – JJ Abrams, based on the book by Paul Guinan.
  • LarkLight – dir. Shekhar Kapur, based on the novels by Philip Reeve. Delayed to 2013.
  • Les Aventures Extraordinaires d’Adele Blanc-Sec – Luc Besson, based on the graphic novels by Jacques Tardi.
  • Steampunk: The Movie – dir. Billy Boyd (not the Billy “Pippin” Boyd). Low-budget US indie film, currently in post.
  • Bioshock Infinite – upcoming videogame set in a flying city above turn-of-the-century America.
  • I’ve definitely missed some important ones. I’ll update when I remember…

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    First Steps to World Domination

    So, it’s been a while. Sometimes I get very busy at work, so not a lot of filmmaking happens. But this weekend writer Steve and I met for a discussion of the Winter project and set some short-term goals, so it feels like things are moving again.

    The chief difficulty with a greenscreen project is that it requires vastly more preproduction than a conventional shoot – although actual production is logistically simpler. Every virtual set needs to be concepted, blocked out, lit and tested in a rough cut beforehand. The actual shoot will be entirely in one room with very careful lighting changes, and focused on helping the actors feel comfortable performing in a green void. I’m inclined to shoot chronologically on this project because the whole story will feel so much more coherent to the cast that way.

    But to get that far, we require the application of considerable artistic talent, for an unreasonable length of time. It’s hard enough to find collaborators who can generously spare a weekend for shooting, let alone weeks of late nights hunched over a computer. The guerilla filmmaking model doesn’t really work for what we’re trying to do.

    Fortunately, it’s not a roadblock – just an uphill struggle. We have a plan for building a pool of committed talent, and as Steve refines the script I’m going to refine the list of assets we require – replacing some full 3D sets with digital mattes, and re-using assets wherever possible.

    Step one is to kick things off with a signature image – our first item of pitch material. This will be our best tool (other than our winning personalities) to attract talent and investment. I’ll let you know how that goes.

    There’s also the small but critical detail of coming up with a name for our alternative steampunk universe, which I suspect will be by far the hardest task…suggestions welcome!