The Sunday Intertitle: Think Positive


This intertitle is from CRY FOR BOBO — I made it out of lettering and borders I photocopied and stuck together, sourced from a book of naughty Victorian/Edwardian imagery found lying around in the office space we’d rented to make the film. It turned out that there was a print shop next door and I had them flip the white paper to black acetate, with transparent border and lettering. The day after the shoot was a Sunday, so we couldn’t return the camera gear until Monday, so cinematographer Scott Ward and assistant Steph Bates came in and shot some stuff, including the main title and this one, hanging them from lighting stands and backlighting them so the letters glowed. Scott tried a few fog filters, giving the glow a softness– like a 1970s movie set in the 1930s.

Strange how everything was so handy on that film. All the locations/sets (about fifteen of them for a ten-minute film — crazy!) were within half an hour’s walk of my house, as if I were Kubrick or something. But more than that, stuff fell into our laps.

The Glasgow Short Film Festival is going to show CRY FOR BOBO next Sunday in memory of Scott, along with THE PERPETUAL TWILIGHT OF GREGOR BLACK, a visually stunning film with oneiric rear projected backgrounds. Thanks to Matt Lloyd. Remembering that Scott had shot that film, I thought of using rear projection for our reconstruction scenes in NATAN, and Scott was able to put actor Niall Greig Fulton into backgrounds from LES VAMPIRES… Particularly apt since Bernard Natan was responsible, in a roundabout way, for the popularisation of the rear-screen process in Hollywood.

The screening is at 9:30pm at the CCA in Glasgow, accompanying the prize-giving. BOBO producer Nigel Smith and I plan to attend.

Cry for Bobo from David Cairns on Vimeo.

11 Responses to “The Sunday Intertitle: Think Positive”

  1. the unforgettable Cry for Bobo shoot where I turned up early to be an extra (plus my mother and various family friends) so exhausted by early start I lay down on some plastic chairs and was woken by some assistant saying my snores could be heard by the sound recordist …

  2. Wonderful crowd of extras we had that day. Had an anxiety dream the night before the shoot that was so predictable it woke me up: I dreamed we had ten minutes left in the location and ten shots still to do. Not that far from the reality as it turned out, though we got all the really essential stuff, just in the nick of time.

    “Happy, Scott?”
    “Yes — the plan is working.”

    Scott’s lighting scheme was so elegantly simple we could flip around and shoot in any direction at a moment’s notice. Would’ve been a disaster without that flexibility.

  3. Sung by the great Mildred Natwick, “Yes” is the climactic number from Kander and Ebb’s musical version of Make Mine Mink. It was not a hit, but is greatly beloved by musical mavens of all ages.

  4. Or we might have “Send in the Clowns,” given the film’s subject.

  5. Barbara Portman Charley G#s mom is STILL dining out on being a ‘featured’ extra in the bus station scene

  6. She dines out on it? I can’t even dine in on it, and I directed it!

  7. gotta learn from the master!

  8. Cry For Bobo is truly lovely.

  9. Thank you, sir. I love I Clowns. The other clown film that I saw just before making Bobo, but after the script was written, was He Who Gets Slapped — my favourite movie.

  10. […] David Cairns’ short subject Cry for Bobo is premiering at the Glasgow Short Film Festival on Sunday, February 10. […]

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