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SKETCH GALLERY: Tommaso Ortino


"Mozart in the Jungle" (Amazon TV Show) had decided to shoot its first 5 episodes of season 3 in Venice Italy. Main director/writer of those episodes wanted to end the 5 episodes with a big event, a final concert of a fictional Music Festival in the City to be at night next to Canal Grande. We started talking about a barge floating, a floating concert. 

At that point I had been in Venice multiple times. I’m Italian and was born and raised in Florence. I knew Venice during the 90s because I visited my friend who was from there and went to various Biennale events (film festival, art shows and so forth). The city was familiar but I realized as soon as I got there that it was still a beautiful foreign world. So staying there, walking around the city at night when it becomes a solitary, dark, magical affair, discovering its life rhythm, starting to master the maze aspect of the main island, learning about its history, visiting its darkest corners, its most treasured possessions and the various point of views one can look at it, I started to be able to imagine a version, my version of this final concert.

I then researched way to make it happen in a real world. I wanted to create rafts that would float, meet and mingle with the Canal Grande and the city. When I found ways to actually make it happen I then decided to propose it to director and all of our team (producers, Dp and so forth). At that moment to make my presentation stronger and clear I decided I needed to sketch it with colors.

I knew I was proposing something a bit new, challenging and that would bring up many questions and maybe some opposition. I did not know yet how to fully achieve it either. But I knew it was important to propose and give a glimpse of something attractive.  The sketch had to give an attractive image to my idea and at the same time it had to contain all I learned about Venice. One other element was to show what I thought would be the lighting scheme that I had in mind. This was really to help the DP also envision how we would light it. 

So I did these sketches.

I knew when I finished them that I achieved what I wanted. I had rendered exactly the atmosphere of it. I rendered the Venice I saw at night with its colors and grand sensual and intimate solitude. I was showing how we could light the scene without disrupting “my” Venice around it and I respected in the sketches the realities of budget and time I was given. The sketches represented in the best way my idea that was something new and unexpected but in so many ways doable and clearly attractive and beautiful.

Two months after the sketches were done we basically faithfully recreated them and to my amazement they really become the “guiding light” of that final long concert scene.

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