Thursday, September 11, 2014
Recently, I caught the promotional spot for History Channel's "Houdini" starring Adrien Brody. The original idea for the spot used storyline montages to emphasize Houdini's greatest fears. As is common in this industry, the plans were changed to accommodate a revised schedule, resulting in the stylish spot shown in the above stills.
Filmed in an abandoned power plant in Hungary (where the series was filmed, though don't quote me on this), the mysterious lighting from the fragmented window-ceiling panels adds to the alluring nature of Houdini's persona.
Erik Blair is one of my favorite writer/directors to collaborate with. He provides me with a script, and together we rough out a shot list and camera angles. We discuss my thumbnail scribbles, and work up the frames. My storyboards for the full-up were loose and designed quickly with minimal detail. What results is a psychological portrait of a man obsessed with his craft, whose fame is burdened with loneliness and his own mortality.
Some of the story moments from the original concepts are shown below.