I was scanning through a lot of poems at the Poetry Foundation website with a mental criteria in my mind: The poems had to be short (so the stop motion wasn’t too long) and it needed to be open to an interpretation that was based on a visual object. Moreover, the object needed to be something that worked well with stop motion.
Charlotte Mew’s Fin de Fête didn’t strike out to me too much initially; there were some other finalists that I was considering. However, after some revision of the poem and the concepts within it, the idea of doing stop motion on a bed seemed like a good idea.
I must admit, I misinterpreted the poem because of the meaning of ‘fête’ which can be interpreted as ‘festival’ in French. To me, it seemed more like a lullaby from a mother to a child. However, during the recording, I reread the last stanza and saw that the intention of the poem was slightly different. That being said, I felt my idea was still possible and I could create a dreamy atmosphere that fit the context of the poem.
I knew that music was going to be a big part in achieving this effect. During the recording, I made sure the music was gentle and had feminine voices to read the poem. The mastered track was great and effective in the final product.
The idea to animate the bed was with me since I read the poem. But the exact specifics of this didn’t materialize till the day before I started shooting. I discussed it with some friends and we came about the slug idea. I wanted to animate each object associated with the bed such that it looked and acted in a tired and sleepy manner. This would not only amplify the sleepy state of the poem but also bring about a sense of eeriness which was definitely present in the stanzas.
My final artistic decision was to cover the entire set with a black blanket. This wasn’t done completely in the final product but still effective in the end. The idea was based on the life of the author, Charlotte Mew. Upon reading a brief biography, I felt that the blanket showed that something was hidden which was present in her dramatic life.
The actual act of filming was long and back breaking. My bed didn’t have much space around it so I really had to extend my flexibility to its limits. I also knocked the camera a few times. There were some technical difficulties like the camera running out of battery which proved troublesome because it meant that I had to remove it from the tripod to charge.
Nonetheless, I am very pleased by the final result and think it represents the effort I put into it. I also look forward to possibly doing some revisions to this work to improve it further.