This article from Vanity Fair is a good read:
Mas Max: Fury Road Director George Miller: ” I Can’t Help but Be a Feminist”
This part in particular caught my eye:
“Having storyboarded the entire film with artist Brendan McCarthy, Miller used one of the delays as time to collaborate even further with co-writer Nick Lathouris. “We wrote back stories for not only all the characters, [but] every vehicle, every steering wheel,” Miller says. “That gave it its texture.””
Reading this reminds me of the task we had at the start of the second semester to build schematics/narratives for the side character’s in our given movies, similar to Phil Campbell’s totems. I’ve never really sat down and considered the extent to which you can go when building characters, side characters and the world that they inhabit. Maybe this is because in the past I’ve participated in a lot more passive reading and watching than actively creating and building my own story worlds (to any large extent at least). It’s one thing to appreciate how well ‘the world building’ is in a book and quite another to actually start crafting and piecing all the pieces together into a cohesive story. After the schematic/artifact project I could say that I had a greater appreciation for building the off screen and back stories of side characters. After Fury Road I realise that I can take it a step further and consider everything in frame as having a potential side story!! (maybe everything off frame too…ummm?) <—-This is an important reason for story artists/writers and concept artists to work as one. Fury Road is not only a great example of how concept art can be realised to look cool but also how it can be used to fill out the history and context of the world.
I’ve heard complaints about the likes of Christopher Nolan’s Batman trilogy, saying that elements of the world are over explained in order to satisfy the scrutiny of a disbelieving modern audience. I think it’s safe to say that in the minimal-dialogue (ha my kind of movie) experience that was Mad Max that the imagery spoke for itself. The details are present on screen throughout settings, vehicles and characters but the audience is left to flavour the pieces with their own imagination/experience.