Tuesday, 28 March 2017

Scene 1 - A Design for Life

Scene Name - May's ideal french life

Essence - "libraries and work gives us freedom" - except they don't.

Type of Animation:   2d / toonboom or 3d puppets and sets (TBC)
Backgrounds:               photo of May's Meudon apartment and Louisa's bedroom at Orchard House
Length:                       15 seconds / 375 frames / 10 storyboard cells
Characters:                 May (age 37 but looks younger) and Ernst (age 23); Louisa (age 45).


May has met Ernst in London, shortly after her mother has died. They had a whirlwind romance and married in a quiet low key ceremony before moving to Paris. She is blissfully happy in an idyllic life, a beautiful yet humble apartment on the outskirts of Paris in Meudon and a loving husband with plenty of time to paint. This is in contrast to her sister Louisa's sad, sick and unfulfilled life, caring for parents back in Concord, MA


Camera starts outside Meudon apartments, zooms into window and then changes to inside the apartment. May standing at her easel and Ernst in the armchair reading the paper as per the drawing. its a bright spring day, sun in shining through the large open windows to the garden, the curtains move slightly in the breeze. birdsong.Close in on May painting, top half body shot over her shoulder.

Voiceover of Louisa

"A happy event, May's marriage to Ernest Nieriker, the "tender friend" who has consoled her for Marmee's loss, as John consoled Nan for Beth s. He is a Swiss, handsome, cultivated, and good ; an excellent family living in Baden, and E. has a good business"

Ernst is in the armchair reading a paper. they smile at each other.

"Happy letters from May, who is enjoying life [...] E. writes finely to Father, and is a son to welcome I am sure. May sketches and E. tends to his business by day, and both revel in music in the evening, as E. is a fine violin player."

"May settles in her own house at Meudon, a pretty apartment, with balcony, garden, etc. She is leading what she calls "an ideal life," painting, music, love, and the world shut out. I plan and hope to go to them, if I am ever well enough, and find new inspiration in a new life.

May's voice in conversation with Ernst

 saying how lovely she finds the house and being able to paint but how she wishes Louisa would come and stay and how much she would love it there in a wistful way

Scene changes to Louisa's room, darker colours, cold, gloomy, browns and greys, quiet. Louisa is writing at her desk and looking at a picture of May on the wall.

Although Louisa is happy and supportive of her sister there is still a wistful resentment of her current situation where she is trapped caring for her infirm parents and suffering from her own failing health, despite the freedom her wealth has brought her.

Voiceover of Louisa

"How different or lives are just now ! I so lonely, sad, and sick ; she so happy, well, and blest. She always had the cream of things, and deserved it. My time is yet to come somewhere else, when I am ready for it. I dawdle about, and wait to see if I am to live or die. If I live, it is for some new work. I wonder what?"

Reference Pictures for Character and Scene Design


May Alcott and Ernst Nieriker
Louisa May Alcott in 1976
Louisa May Alcott at approximately this period

Costume for Louisa

Costume for May

Hairstyles of the period

Outside May's apartment 
(but a sepia or black an white drawing of this)

May's Meudon Apartment

This is a sketch that May did of their apartment. Ernst is sat in the armchair. The colour scheme was blue and white but the furniture was upholstered in scarlet.

Inspiration colour schemes and styles for May's apartment

Louisa's room at Orchard House

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