Shortly after moving to Montreal in late ’97 I joined the crew at CinéGroupe on Heavy Metal: F.A.K.K.2 – the sequel to a film that I had really enjoyed as a kid. The story of this production for me isn’t a happy one, so I’ll save that for after the art, first here’s some of what I did!
So, how did that go?
Well, It was exciting to be on board at first, and I worked on the film for about four months as a senior designer doing locations and props mainly. I worked under Director George Unger. He seemed cool, but the production was disorganized, mismanaged and literally generally under equipped.
The first day on the job I discovered they had no desk ready for me, paper or pencils. So, I was sent home for a few days. When I returned the next week they had managed to scrounge together some equipment for me to use. Paper and pencils were still in short supply for some time though, so it was a good thing we had lots of erasers. No really, that’s not a joke. But we made the best of it. Also for a floor with three productions on it, we had just one photocopier. That was fun.
The film did get done. But for my full time on the crew, there were a lot of production management problems and politics. After a chaotic four months the line producer quit, and then the director quit on the same day over the mounting disorder. I left shortly after, I suppose it was deemed that I was part of George’s crew politically and when the new director came in they purged a lot of us. It was not a classy move frankly.
I was also never credited on the film for my work, but they ended up using my designs for the pit in the city of Shantaar nearly for verbatim, some of the shots look a lot like different angles I drew of it.
I’m not surprised, that location had been pioneered by another designer who was I was told by other crew, freelancing and not being paid for his work! I don’t remember his name but one of the pieces has ‘by Guy,L’ written on it. I was handed his rough concept art for the locations seen here below, and asked to refine and develop the locations we’d need from the boards. Some of my work including the designs for the pit are at the start of my set up above.
Despite the awful train wreck of a film that was made, and the comically badly managed production I witnessed, I’m pretty proud of the work I did, and would love the chance to do something like it again on a decent production.
Early on we were all asked to take a stab at designing the main character too, who was based on Julie Strain.
They didn’t use it but this post ends with my take on her.
Fun. Course, not nearly enough skin compared to what they went with, but oh well, I liked it.