The Five Muses – Production Notes

“A Multi-lingual Script”
The script was originally written in English but the dialogue was translated into 5 other languages: Latin, Ukrainian, Polish, Philipino and German. I translated Rob’s dialogue (Wood Chopper) into Latin, while the other cast members each translated their lines into their respective language. Each cast member is fluent in the language used by their character, except for Rob! The idea to translate the characters’ lines into different languages came from the Director’s desire to show that no matter what language one speaks, everyone understands the language of music.

“Soundtrack”
The soundtrack is made in the style of an old radio broadcast of a traditional Ukrainian hopak, a celebratory dance that usually accompanies dance groups as they display their dancing talents. The musicians who played on the soundtrack were different from those in the film. I have performed with most of the musicians I invited to participate in the making of the soundtrack. Katrusia Basarab and Taras Babiak were both members of the Taran Musical Ensemble, a group that which garnered considerable attention in the Ukrainian community between 2002 and 2007. Sophia Bilozor and I  have known each other for a long time through the Ukrainian music community. Lastly, Steve Baria and I  were both members of Ciaira’s tears, a Winnipeg-based indie rock band, active between 1999 and 2005.

“Traditional Clothing”
The clothing was an important element in the production since it would give the Muses an “other-worldly” look and appeal. The clothing worn by the Muses were traditional embroidered blouses. Dianna (Euaida/Singer), Kristen (Kitharoida/Guitar) and Ashley (Tessarachorda/Violin) supplied their own costumes, while Andrea (Rhupo-aggeia/Muckbucket) and Mary (Polutumpana/drums) used Ukrainian shirts provided by the Director. All of the Muses’ costumes are traditional outfits that reflect both the cultural background of the actresses themselves and the character they portray on screen. Many of the cast members had previously participated in cultural dance groups that required the use of blouses with such elaborate embroidery. It is said that the embroidery on each blouse has a special meaning to each culture.

“Cinematography”
The look of the film was geared toward the old-style of movie-making when the film makers had only the camera and some film stock and used available light. Shot on location using available light on a mainly overcast day, Josh and I used an old Keystone Criterion 16mm camera with a fixed lens. The film stock we used was black and white Kodak 7222. The in-camera effect of distortion during the drummer muse’s solo was achieved by loosening the gate in the camera and running the film stock through the camera at 24 fps. Minor colour correction was done by the transfer and processing house in Toronto, and then transferred to DVCAM for off-line editing and finishing to DVD and digital file formats.

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One Response to “The Five Muses – Production Notes”

  1. The Five Muses Online Release « S.O. Blog Says:

    […] posted a director’s statement and some production notes, and you can read about the technical specs here. But to watch it, you must go to my Vimeo […]

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