Extra Credit Project: Wildwood
In the beginning, we simply wanted to pull together a talented crew and make a video that all of its members would be proud to share.
Then Colin Meloy and Carson Ellis published a children’s book called Wildwood. They do for our city’s bridges what C.S. Lewis did for the back of closets.
We’d found our inspiration.
No one paid Sheepscot Creative for the work. This was our first Extra Credit Project, a genuine labor of love. To the production designer, the director of photography, the editor, the soundtrack musicians, the actors, and the art assistants, we said, “Make it yours.”
Kami Gray built an elaborate set in our basement. Tracy Talley prepared a five-course tasting menu of dishes described in the book. When Colin and Carson arrive, they should feel as if they’ve stumbled into the kind of place they’d be interviewed in Wildwood, itself—the North Wood Inn, as we imagined it—that was our aim. We welcomed them as professionals but also as fans. Bags of books waited to be signed.
And then we went out to shoot the city. We shot Forest Park, known to readers of Wildwood as The Impassable Wilderness. We shot St. John’s, the north Portland neighborhood where the main characters live. We stood on the platform of the real-life railroad bridge, over which Prue and her classmate Curtis first cross into the Wood. We visited Pittock Mansion, home of Wildwood’s corrupt Governor-Regent, Lars Svik. And of course we shot Colin’s inspiration for the Ghost Bridge; we were fortunate enough to capture the St. John’s Bridge on a dreamy bed of Willamette Valley fog.
My background is the book industry. Matchmaking: connecting authors and stories to the people who’ll most appreciate them. Our video grew from that idea, that we should make it for people who’d like the book: Ten- to fifteen-year-old kids with a thirst for adventure…Portlanders of all ages…Decemberists fans besotted by Colin’s penchant for chimbley sweeps and barrow boys, pantaloons and parapets…
Are we introducing you to Wildwood? We’d like that.
—Dave Weich, March 27, 2012
STARRING: Colin Meloy and Carson Ellis
MUSIC: Adam Selzer
Shot on location in Portland, Oregon