The online mien of Benjamin Nowicki

Till the End of Time


Till the End of Time
Credited as: Art Department Coordinator
Production Designer: Marek Dobrowolski

Till the end of time was a troubled production long before I was involved. By the time I joined the production, the show had started and shut down twice already. Some of the crew had been working on the film a year or so previously and had still not been paid from the first time. The first script I read was quite good. It was to star Linda Fiorentino as Georgia O’Keefe and Ben Kingsly as a very convincing Alfred Steiglitz.

The film is based on the early career of O’Keefe and her turbulent relationship with Stieglitz. It probed the volatile character and lifestyles of the artists. The film did not have permission from the O’Keefe estate to use any of her paintings, and so a small army of rendition painters were engaged. Because this was an independent film, there was next to no budget (of course). What was accomplished is a testament to what a dedicated crew will do for a project that’s easy to believe in. However, in this case it was all for naught. What exactly happened that lead to the demise of the production, I can’t be sure. But after working for 3 weeks with no pay, the crew was ready to walk, and the production finally coughed up our paychecks.

For the next 2 weeks, things started to unravel: vendors were not paid, there was panic on the faces of the producers, the quality of the rewrites deteriorated, relationships with our best vendors were strained to the point of damage. The actress would not show up for fittings and camera tests. We were told to stay home, then to come in. Then, mercifully, they pulled the plug on the whole thing. It’s really a shame.

I’m quite proud of the work I did on that show. I created a database for the administration of the Set Decorating and Art Departments which could easily access information from the sets in Chicago, Santa Fe, and Germany. The database included financial information, of course, but also script notes, shooting dates, scene numbers, research images, locations photos, etc. The information was organized according to set number and contained the most current data. The idea was to let designers design and artists create while not having to worry about the administration of the department. I was also responsible for shuttling graphics to artists in California, locations photos from New Mexico, and visual effects and storyboards to Germany. In order to facilitate this, I kept a running website of information that was needed by the various crew members around the country and around the world. Volumes of research were scanned in, pertaining to the different phases of Georgia’s career and Steiglitz’s own work and exhibits. Rather than printing dozens of copies of this cumbersome research bible, which would have been both time- and cost-prohibitive, I created an interactive CD-ROM equivalent, which was much more convenient, dynamic, and easily reproduced. The CD proved an efficient way to get the crew up to date quickly.