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The Making of Christmas Dreams



Take a look behind the scenes at the making of Story Productions food-filled stop motion Christmas film, telling the story of 2020 in allegorical form

The Making of Christmas Dreams

After a year that felt as long as five years, the Story Productions crew made one last push to wrap production on our special festive stop motion short film: a gift to our clients, friends, and family. The published film may have been short and sweet, but the making of was anything but. It involved five days of pre-production, six days on set, five in post-production: all in all an impressive effort by the talented Story Productions team. How did we manage to cross the finish line in time?

The original idea for this year’s Christmas film was to depict a race across a dinner table set for the holiday season. The theme required a bit of brainstorming and troubleshooting. If the set was to be edible, it also needed to be hardy enough to withstand the countless iterations of still frame poses that make up a stop motion film.

Food styling of the stop motion film

A good food stylist knows all the tricks when it comes to making food look tasty and fresh on camera. When the film's director Rafael Terpins suggested using eclairs to depict our main protagonists, he knew that using a traditional chocolate icing, which easily melts, would not be viable. "Since stop motion involves a lot of manipulation by hand, we had to replace a small piece for each scene," he explains. "We found that fondant icing was the best solution."

Repeatedly adding fondant pieces to race car eclairs was just one of the many challenges of making the delicious stop motion short. Without a storyboard, our sweet protagonists would have stalled before the race had even begun. “With stop motion, you really need to plan everything very accurately,” explains Nick Story, executive producer at Story Productions. “You need to be lined up with the story and know exactly what you’re going to do.”

Photography for the Christmas film

With the storyboard thoughtfully planned out and the edible set sorted, filming was ready to begin. Every element was considered for how it would fit within the larger theme of the story. With a short film on a small scale, how do you help transport your viewer into such a universe? “One option we found was to use a LAOWA 24mm lens,” says director of photography, Marco Antonio. “It’s an angled lens, but it’s super macro. It is hyper macro. It made all the difference in the film.”  And so we experience the heart-racing adventure of our protagonists like a fan in the stands of an Indie 500 race—feeling the energy as they speed by, and the danger of the looming antagonist as if we were there.

An original soundtrack for 'Christmas Dreams'

A film without sound is a film without depth or emotion. The special lenses, finely-tuned lighting and carefully constructed eclairs would have been worthless without a brilliant soundtrack to set the mood and pace. Adding sound to a film is a bit like creating a memorable Christmas present: there are layers involved, and it takes care and patience to put it all together.

Ambient sound provides the base on which to build, with sound effects carefully laid on top before any dialogue is included. With all these elements in place, the final ingredient can be added: the music. The set may have been a festive dinner table and a nativity scene, but the race – and our Brazilian DNA – gave room for the soundtrack to include moments of samba, funk, and other rhythms, resulting in a short film as unique as the crew that made it happen. “That's when the most of the film really happens, when you combine image and sound,” Nick says. Bringing the film together in our post-production suite took five days.

And so we are transported into the world of our protagonists, who overwhelm the villain—a black-gloved hand representing the year 2020, yet another successful acting performance by Nick Story’s forearm—and cross the finish line into a new year. In their journey, they reflect the journey we have made ourselves, as a full production services company in Brazil, as individuals, and as citizens of the world.

“Hopefully 2021 will be a much better year for all of us,” wishes Nick. “We’ll have the vaccines, the borders will open up. We’re looking forward to helping you shoot your film in Brazil.” We’ll keep an eye out for you, on this side of the finish line.

Miss out on the release of the Christmas Dreams short film? Watch it now! Story Productions full range of services—creative, pre- and post-production, location scouting, and more—is at your disposal

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Story Productions, Fri, 29 Jan 2021 13:03:42 GMT