Art Design and Location Shooting: Creating a mood board for the film Frankenweenie

“As part of my recent Art and Production Design class at Full Sail University, I was tasked with creating a mood board for a scene from the film Frankenweenie. What an amazing experience! It was like putting together a puzzle using texture, colors, light and artistic elements. You can read more below about my inspiration for this board. I hope it inspires you to create your own!” -Cindy Heath


Scene: A nighttime exterior, whereby a dog named Sparky has run away from his owner (a young boy named Victor) and is wandering around the town’s fair, lost and confused. Victor employs the help of his parents in finding Sparky and the scene ends on a sinister note where four kids are plotting to sneak into Victor’s house when he and his parents leave to find Sparky.

Colors: A pop of red is a nice contrast to the other earthy tones and brings some life to what otherwise could be a very muted, dark, earthy color palette.

Lighting: Dim with the effect of streetlights, strings of lights and an overall glowing feeling. In addition, the casting of shadows lends itself to the anxiety that Sparky feels being lost and Victor feels as he discovers his dog is missing.

Set dressing: A town square with fair booths and rides and Victor’s backyard that contains an empty dog house.

Images: The black and white photo of the somber little boy shows Victor’s feelings of losing his dog, and the photo of the dog, tucked under the chair, conveys Sparky’s feelings of fear as he’s in an unfamiliar space with many strangers. The crowd photo with double exposure, seems to vibrate, giving off a sense of confusion, which the characters are experiencing in this scene.

The photo of the lit canal in the city and the photo of the line of balloons represent the feeling at the fair. Rows of booths create straight lines with vanishing points. Photos of several rounded items, including the bicycle, ferris wheel and balloons show a softness of emotion that contrasts the harshness of the situation.

Textures: The brown carpet is reminiscent of a dog’s rich, soft fur, while the photo of the asphalt pavement shows the roughness that both Victor and Sparky have to face in trying to resolve this dilemma. In addition, the black denim represents the edginess that nighttime brings while the photo of the golden glass mimics the glow of the fair lights.

The overall mood of the scene is one of questioning—Will Victor find Sparky before something bad happens? How will Sparky manage the strangeness of his surroundings? What will the kids do inside Victor’s house?


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