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NYE – THE WORLDS FIRST MULTISENSORY FIREWORK DISPLAY LONDON New Year Documentary - The storiES a treatment by Laurie Castelli September 21st 2013


This series of films will tell the story of an extraordinarily ambitious project which is to create a unique new year’s eve celebration in London 2013 – the first multisensory firework display. Each short film will document the process – the various steps along the way to achieving the event. Each episode will be a self-contained piece, but together they will build like jigsaw pieces, an entire multi layered picture of the whole process. The viewer should be entertained and engaged by what they see in each episode, they should be captivated and satisfied by that particular story, but at the same time intrigued by what is to follow. There should be a sense of mystery as to what the project is building to.


Fruit alchemy The main ingredient and theme of the series is how to take the experience of fruit, and turn it in to a multi sensory totally immersive, unforgettable visceral journey. In a real sense this project is about alchemy – a seemingly magical act of transformation of the familiar in to the extraordinary. The concept of a simple strawberry is transformed in to cascading red fire; a perfumed bubble floating in the air; a delicately flavoured mist; edible rain, and so forth. Each film is the story of a particular alchemist, engaged in their own quest to create something new, or to do something in a way that has not been done before. These are the characters that we get to know in each episode – we set up what it is they are trying to achieve – we understand their motivations, and we see their attempts, their failures and their eventual successes.



Human stories

Further detail will emerge from researching and understanding At other times the camera will capture them in their daily process in greater detail each of the stages involved in the overall task of of trying to achieve their goals. We will see them in conversation creating the final event. with collaborators, searching for the right materials and doing experiments as they try to perfect their processes. However, whether it is creating the purest and most powerful strawberry essence, or finding the most accurate way to scan a As the visionaries behind the overall project, Bombass and Parr will human being and turn them in to a jellybean, or discovering how add a further human element as we will capture key conversations confetti can be made edible – the story is a human one. We need between them and the person at the heart of each story. They will to know what excites them about the challenge, what problems they then add asides to camera that comment on what has already been foresee and follow their progress in trying to get it done. Each film said. We will get a sense of whether their expectations are being met will be like a moving portrait of the key character or alchemist who and how they get to know and shape the work of each contributor to the project. is contributing to the final spectacle. The task will be to spend time with each of the key people in the In this way the intention would be to build some drama in to the piece process so that they become familiar with the camera. When they as we see the projects progress but are unsure as to the success or are interviewed they should feel comfortable and open, almost failure of the end result. confessional. 5


Visual and audio sensory experience It is important that this does not follow a typical fly-on-the-wall documentary format. In particular, if the overall theme of the project is to be a multisensory experience, then I believe that each chapter of this documentary series should aim to inspire a sensory experience in the viewer. In other words I believe our task is to not simply to be informative, not even just entertaining, but also to try and transmit sensation – touch, feel, smell as well as sight and sound.

When introducing a character let us show them in extreme slow motion, and focus in on an extreme close up of them breathing or their pupil narrowing as they watch one of their experiments. These are just early examples, but the intention would be to create a consistent visual style and language for the whole series, that presents each story, although quite different, in a way that intimates the sensory and experiential nature of what is being attempted.

This implies a filming style that is not simply about standing back and observing, but getting close and intimate with the subject matter. If we are to see a strawberry then let us film it in a macro photographic way so that it feels as if we can taste it and feel its texture – if we are witnessing a pyrotechnic test, then let us slow down the action so each spark of light takes on an individual life, and we see the action from a fresh perspective.

Colour is another key aspect of the pieces, and I would propose that in each of the chapters when we introduce the key person, we see them against a coloured background that is unique to that particular film, and reflects one of the colours of the fruits flavours that will be the essence of the whole project. Our imagery should create vibrancy and colour and an energy that reflects the impact that Bompas and Parr, facilitated by Vodafone, are seeking to create.


A title sequence In a sense the style that I am seeking to describe would take on some of the characteristics of a cinematic film montage that might inter-cut with more conventional imagery. This style I believe, should be extended in to creating a short title sequence for each documentary chapter. It would comprise a series of close up images cut together that might include some of the ones that I have already described. This would be accompanied by a specific themed musical/soundscape piece, and would be an opportunity to hint at the overall project, introduce the particular chapter, and above all to present the series as a Vodafone Firsts Production.

Capturing NYE as a Human experience By trying to bring to life the experiential aspect of each story I am interested in the NYE event being as much an internal experience as a spectacle. To explain in visual terms – an amazing fireworks display is impossible to replicate in a video, but it might be argued that seeing close up slow motion awed faces in the crowd as the lights of the fireworks illuminate their faces and reflect in their eyes, is a more effective way of using the medium to transmit the feeling of actually having been there to witness it. Hence I think it would be great to maintain this visual approach of intimate ‘sensory’ imagery, right through to the filming of the actual NYE event itself.


Bompas & Parr and Vodafone Whilst B&P are clearly integral to the overall story, the series should not feel like The Bompas and Parr show. They are the high priests of the alchemists, and their larger than life characters will add interest and entertainment to each chapter. The opportunity to involve their talents should not be passed up. The key is to introduce B&P in to the pieces as important players – catalysts to the alchemy – but not as its presenters. Careful wording would be introduced in to the dialogue to make it clear that they, B&P are being facilitated by Vodafone. I think this may be a question of interspersing at key moments, interview material in which B&P talk about the aims of Vodafone to facilitate something extraordinary, that ‘as yet we can’t tell you about’. Every now and then there is an intervention from Vodafone that keeps the wheels on track. Perhaps it takes on the role of the silent voice or presence guiding the project from the background.

Vodafone - 'NYE'  

Dir. Laurie Castelli (RKCR) / 2013.

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