Wednesday, February 26, 2014

'The Muse' needs help to bring reality to fantasy

     ORLANDO — Matthew Carroll’s inspired passion project “The Muse,” is a short film that’s been under development for three and a half years, and now this determined director is looking for donors to help bring his vision to life.

     “I’m putting my blood, sweat, and tears into this and wrapping everything up in my soul,” said Carroll, who is the writer, producer and director for “The Muse.”

     “The Muse” will follow the story of a young girl named Rose, who searches for answers to help solve her parents financial problems after she hears an argument between them that threatens to divide their family. Being a child, she escapes to a fantasy world to find answers, and discovers a traveling troupe of street performers that work to help her and become inspired by Rose along the way.

     The overall tone of “The Muse” will be a balance of fantasy and reality, happiness and sadness, and how we accept the world for what it is by using joy and positive relationships to cope with harsh truths we encounter.

     This film will also feature the diverse worlds that make up different art forms, with each of the troupe members Rose encounters representing a different creative genre, inspired in part by the Italian comedy style of commedia dell’arte. These characters will expand on the Italian performance style with specific archatypes they will embody such as dance, music, theatre, visual arts, and photography, with their own unique traits and skills used along the film’s journey.

     Carroll finds inspiration as a screenwriter and director from Terry Gilliam, who is known for his visually creative production style on feature films such as “Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas,” “Brazil,” and “The Imaginarium of Doctor Parnassus.” He is looking to build on his character’s development throughout the film, in addition to elements of comedy, visually striking sets, and unique costume and makeup designs.

     This film project is personal for Carroll who based the film’s lead character, Rose, off his long estranged half-sister whom he lost contact with over the years due to deep-seated family issues. Rose’s journey in this film is reflective of struggles Carroll went through in his own life, growing up as a child in Rhode Island with his family facing many financial constraints.

     “The Muse” will be shot on-location at historic parts of Central Florida, and will feature local actors and production members, with the concept that an independent film of this nature should support the local community. Carroll sees film projects like this as the ultimate collaboration between visual and performing artists, and technically skilled individuals working together to create something that benefits everyone involved.

     To ensure this benefit; Carroll, and the production company he co-founded, Ragtag Troupe Productions, is looking to raise $16,750 to cover production costs and allow all cast and crewmembers to be paid for their work. Currently the film has raised $2,060, a little over 12 percent of its total, with an overall deadline to raise the rest of the money needed by April 9.

     “I think I’m going to be selling my car in the next couple of weeks to get some more money in there,” said Carroll.

     Helping Carroll on the production side of this film is Amy Jo Bursley, the other co-founder of Ragtag Troupe Productions and unit production manager for “The Muse.” When asked why people should support independent film projects like this Bursley said, “I think supporting the independent film industry really helps develop artists and gets them to another place. Everyone has to start somewhere, and we all have something that drives us, weather its art, science, or family.”

     Some of the local actors involved with this production include Roger Floyd, Sage Starkey, Candace Doerner, Bill Warriner, Alexander Mrazek, Jennifer Bonner, Anthony LoPrinzi, and the young actress Keely Wilson, who is set to play the part of Rose.

     The current state of production has the final script complete with only changes based on actor feedback left to incorporate. Some makeup testing will start soon for the two cast members that will wear prosthetics on their face, which require molds and sculpting.

     Shooting is scheduled to begin on May 4, and take place during eight days over a two-week period, with a slight break in-between and days for contingency. Carroll plans to spend the rest of May to ensure all the footage is captured and have all post-production finished by the end of summer, and ready for applications and submissions to several film festivals in the fall.

     “Our main purpose is to get this film shown at film festivals,” said Carroll. “We’re looking at some of the bigger ones, because I believe this film will have the quality to be at that level.”

Updated information on “The Muse” can be found by following Ragtag Troupe Production’s Facebook page, and you can support this film project by donating to their GoFundMe page at this link.

By James Tutten

(Above teaser poster image by Shane Wheeler, graphic designer for "The Muse")

Design sketch from pre-production by Boris Ugatechea.
Preliminary artwork for the location of Hank's hut created by Boris Ugartechea.
Prosthetics sketch artwork by Amber Beck, MUA.
Logo for Ragtag Troupe Productions designed by Kristen Wheeler and Shane Wheeler.
Teaser poster for sort film "The Muse" created by graphic designer Shane Wheeler.


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