Haywire Heart

Technical Details:

completed March, 1997
Digital Beta (filmed in 16mm)
5min 30 sec.

Notes from Doug:

Right after we finished "Wired for the Holidays", Robin Ator and I plunged into filming the Valentine script. After all, if this Video Greeting Card idea caught on, it would be great to have something in place for the next holiday. Robin started with the first scenes inside the house, while I stripped all the snow off the street set (carefully labeling each piece and locating it's position on a map in case we ever wanted to do snow again) and returned it to it's former glory.

This is the shortest of the main pipe cleaner stories, and I wanted to make it like an old Laurel and Hardy film; a series of incidents that build up to one big potential disaster without the trappings of a real story and very few words. This is about Dad trying to cross the street and what happens to him in the attempt, and how he reacts to each situation. So where does that giant wire bird come from? I don't know. Why does it live on top of one of the set lights in the studio? I don't care. Is it funny? I think so. Does it hurt Dad when he crashes into the sun? Does it matter?

Since the main street set was in my house, it made sense to shoot most of those shots there, especially the ones that showed the studio space around it. But there were just too many of those shots for me to handle, so I had photo blow-ups made of parts of the set and then Robin shot those scenes in his coffee-house basement studio. Included in these shots are most of the in-the-street-set close-ups, and even the two-shot with Dad talking to Junior on his scooter. Sometimes we would trade shots back and forth: Robin shot the bird releasing Dad (against a photo blow-up); I shot Dad dropping toward the nest; Robin shot, on a special set piece built to look like a small section of the back wall of my studio, Dad landing in the nest and then looking around; and I shot (in the real studio) the wide shot of Dad in the nest on top of the light stand.

We posted on video (just like "Wired for the Holidays") on December 15th, 1996. I usually refer to this as my 1997 film, however; I didn't want to try to put 3 films into film festivals the same year....way too expensive. As it was, the two pipe cleaner films were too close together, and perhaps I didn't send "Haywire Heart" out as much as I should have. Still, it's one of my favorites, because of the style of action and because of Jamie Haggerty's tremendous score.