|Mark Naisbitt atop some or other building we climbed in search of...|
|...this cityscape, for the opening sequence.|
Wandering around searching for location reference helped us in two ways (three ways if you count the health benefits of walking endless miles): firstly it gave us detailed visual reference for specifc shots we'd already come up with, and secondly it inspired stuff we wouldn't otherwise have thought about. I remember quickly scribbling out this idea for a shot featuring a zig-zagging flight of stairs:
Walking to and from work over the next few days I kept an eye out for any real location that might vaguely match this set-up, figuring that a real place could give me far more in the way of details and textures than anything I dreamt up from pure imagination. Then one lunchtime I walked past this:
And another piece of background art was born:
Other times it would be less about seeking out a specific location and more about a location creeping up on us and offering inspiration. I remember during the scripting process that I'd sketched out this idea for a shot showing Wally falling into some telephone wires and being flicked back up into the sky:
I showed this sketch to Mark and after looking at it for about three seconds he said, "There aren't any telephone wires on poles in central London."
I shrugged and replied, "Yeah well, y'know, this is a cartoon. We can have a little artistic license can't we?"
"There aren't any telephone wires on poles in central London." he repeated, frowning.
And I had to admit he had a point. But I was buggered if I could figure out how to achieve the same effect without using stretchy telephone wires. And I didn't want to lose the shot.
Then one night, a whole month or two later, I was sat in the car with my girlfriend as she drove us home along the Thames embankment, idly chatting about our day... and there it was! The answer to my problem: the Albert Bridge, lit up with a thousand fairy lights. "That's it!" I yelled out loud, nearly causing a collision.
The next day I raced back to the bridge with my camera, and trudged through the heaving, pissing rain (the downside of not using Google Image) to take this photo:
And from this we found the solution to our Falling-Into-A-Bendy-Wire problem:
Well, OK... the real lights on the real Albert Bridge aren't actually on bendy wires, but like I said, we can have a little artistic license, can't we?