18 December 2009
So at some point in late October or early November I lent her the film and when I didn’t hear anything back from her I kind of assumed that she hated END and didn’t know how to tell me. I work with artists, we have opinions and we know creativity so my boss could be a good or harsh critic.
Yesterday, my boss rushed over to my desk and sat down. I have already been laid off by this company once this year, so when a boss desperately wants to talk to me my mind doesn’t always go to positive places. Luckily, I wasn’t getting laid off again. As it turns out my boss finally watched END. I am very happy to say that she loved it.
The feedback my boss gave me was incredible. She went in not knowing anything about the film and the only person she knows associated with it is me. I left the conversation feeling very uplifted. The single best comment she told me was that she forgot she was watching a movie made my someone she knew, after a little while she was just watching a movie. That definitely put a smile on my face.
My bosses feedback reminded me that I knew END was a different movie when we set out to make it, but a movie that I knew there was an audience out there for – we just have to find a way to get it in their hands.
Posted by Megan at 12/18/2009 02:28:00 PM
02 December 2009
The hardest thing about being an artist that is just starting out is that there are no guarantees. When you make a movie for a studio, or if people know who you are then it’s pretty certain that your film no matter how big or how small is going to garner some attention. People are going to see it, festivals will premiere it, theatres will exhibit it.
On the other hand, films like our little film have to fight, push and shove to get any sort of attention. Our actors may be phenomenal, production value beautiful and story exceptional, but without a name or a studio behind it we have no guarantees. In a market where over 9,800 films applied to Sundance, a film shot in eight days on no budget, without famous names and or connections is like a needle in a hay stack. No one has found our needle yet.
I don’t normally talk about the festivals we don’t get into because I don’t really believe in dwelling on the negatives, but if you couldn’t already tell this one hurt. We didn’t get into Sundance. I’m not really shocked, in a way it’s kind of expected.
Out of 9,800+ films only 200 could be selected – that’s only about two percent of the films submitted. I can’t even imagine what it must be like for the programmers to have to chose films out of a selection like that, the pressure has to be enormous; however, I am sure that the films that made it to Sundance this year are phenomenal and more than deserve the honor. It’s still one of my dreams to someday get a film into their brilliant festival, but sadly, END will not be that film.
I wanted to take a moment and congratulate the filmmakers whose work made it into the festival this year and I look forward to seeing what unique visions each of them has. While they prepare for the cold weather and excitement of Park City, I will continue trying to get people to sort through the haystack and see END and all of the passion, talent and heart that everyone involved put on screen.
07 October 2009
Despite our best efforts, Christopher & I are having a tough time getting END seen. When you combine the economic crisis and the ever-changing face of independent film you’ll understand what we’re going through. Fewer films are being picked up because studios want guaranteed returns, and indy film is expecting more and more of its projects to have recognizable faces or names in them. It’s a hard market right now and I am beginning to understand more and more why you always hear indy filmmakers talk about the years they put into getting their film recognized.
I have always believed that great artists aren’t created by easy circumstances, and this is definitely not an easy situation; in the end however, I think we will all come out more accomplished artists for the difficulties we have to go through now.
Christopher and I are not giving up on END and we want you all to know that. We are going to keep pushing the film until we can’t figure out how to push it any further, and that time is not yet. However, we would greatly welcome your prayers, positive wishes and any other mojo you care to throw our way while we continue this fight.
08 September 2009
There are thousands of independent films being sent to festivals right now; all of them just like us are hoping that the screeners and judges will see through any flaws or budget issues with their film and just recognize the care, hard work and fantastic essence that their movie actually has and select it for their festival. Every festival wants something different. So far no one has found END to be a great fit for their festival but that doesn’t mean anything about the quality or importance of our film.
I am still confident that festivals and distributors will want END; when we made END we made a very unique film, one that’s never really been done for this genre and that is going to take some people by surprise. However, END will have a great ending – this I know.
Posted by Megan at 9/08/2009 11:37:00 AM
25 August 2009
The Fred film festival is the festival we pushed END through the last throws of post-production in May so that we could meet their June deadline. We made it, applied and have been waiting ever since. According to withoutabox.com we were supposed to have been notified as to our festival acceptance or denial by August 15.
August 15 came and went and we heard nothing. I e-mailed and still nothing. I assumed END was out and the people at Fred were too nice and too busy to tell me we were out. Finally, Christopher called the people at Fred yesterday and got slightly more positive news.
We’re not out. There are some people that are definitely out and have already been told. END has made it through for one of the final stages and we’ll be notified when the last announcement is made in two weeks.
Whether END is selected or not, it’s kinda cool that our little movie has made it this far.
09 August 2009
At the exact time this blog is published it will be exactly one year since we began principal photography on END. I am decidedly calmer as I am writing this than I was the night before we shot.
The night before we shot I discovered we were shorted by one light kit, which would severely limit our lighting situation. We also discovered the heat would melt the adhesive for the Velcro right off our barricade so we had to nail the wood into the walls of my friend’s house to barricade the door and window.
On our first day of shooting my make-up hero Daniella had to get ten actors though make-up for the first time. This along with normal first day issues meant that we were supposed to start shooting at ten a.m. but ended up starting after noon. Insanely, on a schedule that required us to shoot ten to fourteen pages a day we only ended up behind by one short scene, and needed to pick-up the reverse of a shot.
On day two we started on time but had perhaps our most shocking moment on set – Ashton & Dave had their game-changing argument in the film and while shooting the scene the boys accidently put Ashton through the dry wall of our key set. As you can imagine, I thought we were done for then and there. I immediately had to make the phone call I thought would kill my movie – I had to call Susan and tell her that we’d killed a wall in her house, and send cell phone pictures to David. Somehow, they decided a broken wall wasn’t a big deal, and they let us continue. Let no one call the Dunacheck’s anything less than amazing. Miraculously, we made it through the first weekend of shooting and somehow got completely back on schedule by the end of the second day – broken wall and all.
There were three more life-changing weekends of shooting after that and somehow I managed to come out the other end without hurting an actor, crew member or any more walls.
END refined my directorial skills in a way that I don’t think any other experience could have and I must say that the relationships, memories and final product that those eight shooting days gave me were worth any stress or eventual gray hair that may come my way. I can’t wait to see where END goes next.
29 July 2009
I was sitting at my day job thinking today that it feels like ages since we screened the movie for the cast & crew, then I realized it was only a little over two weeks ago. That pretty much blew my mind.
I have been really impatient lately to get END seen, to hear back from festivals and to continue moving forward. It feels like I’ve stalled, but this morning made me realize we haven’t. It may feel like END has been done forever for me, but in reality it’s been less than two months since Bill, Telly & I finished post-production together.
I think more than anything what I am feeling right now is what any independent filmmaker feels when they get their movie done – a strange mix of satisfaction, pride and frustration. I’m so glad that I finished the film, but want others to see it so badly, and yet want to move on to another project but know I can’t as I still have to push everything I have into getting the film out there. There is a reason that you always read the interviews and hear the speeches by independent directors and producers who talk about spending two or three years on one movie. Even though they finish it relatively quickly there is a huge and overwhelming process you have to go through after the final celebration because you and not a studio marketing or exhibition branch are the only force pushing the film onto the public. It’s like trying to roll a boulder uphill on your own.
I have no doubt that this will be a rewarding process, and one that will help us all a great deal in our dreams, ambitions and careers, but that still means that there are miles to go before I sleep.
11 July 2009
Last night was one of the most nerve wracking, yet exhilarating experiences of my life. For those of you that aren’t aware last night Megan and I held the first ever, world premiere screening of END for cast and crew, family and friends. Needless to say I was a nervous wreck throughout the whole movie, so much so that I couldn’t sit down in a chair. I had to stand at the back of the theatre and pace back and forth so I didn’t lose my mind. I’m very happy to report that I apparently had nothing to fear.
This was easily the biggest audience that has ever seen anything we’ve done. Several years ago Megan and I made a trio of short films and when we screened those we did it in someone’s living room (Funny enough the same living room where we shot END, now that I think about it, how surreal is that?). This time around we did it in a theatre at Cal State Fullerton with an audience of close to 100. Obviously this made the situation even more stressful because if people didn’t like it there would be a whole bunch of them shifting uncomfortably in their seats and checking their watches.
I’m more than happy to report that people really seemed to like the movie. Now I know what you’re thinking, they’re your friends and family of course they said they like it. That’s what I would have thought too if I hadn’t been there. People gasped and laughed when they were supposed to and they had the EXACT reaction to the end of the movie that we had hoped for. Plus afterwards people kept coming up to me and telling me how this thing affected them or how they understood what it was really all about once it was all over. People’s reactions to things can’t be made up, at least not the kind that were given to us. People were mentioning things that Megan and I have been praying people would understand when they watched the movie and it looks like at least this group of people did. I’d really like to think that people left the theatre thinking last night and that’s the exact point of the movie.
Simply put last night was one of the single greatest nights of my life. After all these years of talking the talk people were able to see that Megan and I can walk the walk. Even 24 hours later I’m still beaming with pride that people not only got to see our little “zombie movie with no zombies” but that they also seemed to like it. It is a memory that I will never forget one that I will cherish forever. I can only hope Megan and I get to relive it in the months ahead as we start getting accepted into film festivals.
Posted by Chris W at 7/11/2009 11:17:00 PM
09 July 2009
08 July 2009
Originally uploaded by Sameli
"It is worth pointing out that zombies produced through magical or simple chemical means are slow moving, and often smell from decay. Although it should be noted that the apparent slow movement is sufficient speed to keep the zombie no more than a few yards away from even a running Olympic caliber athlete."
01 July 2009
24 June 2009
Most of June through August of last year is a blur for me. I can’t even remember the shooting days too clearly – they all seem like one long day. What I do remember is a constant state of exhaustion. The one huge saving grace of it all was that the downtime for my job is the summer. This meant not only that my exhaustion did not affect my work days but that while working I could also do pre-production. END would not have happened in 6 weeks if work had been slamming me.
Typically, I would do my day job, get everything done and use any and all downtime at work to do what I could for the movie; things like researching equipment, casting notices, schedules, script breakdowns, and all the other odds and ends would get done at work, and then I would commute home, sit down at my computer and do the exact same thing until it was time to go to bed and do it again. Thank God that He gave me such an opportunity.
Again, I am in the down season for my job. The difference is that this year I do not have a movie in pre-production that requires my constant attention. No, this year I have a finished movie. A movie that as I type this is in consideration for multiple film festivals. The most I do with it is complete submissions, send it out and then pray that God gets my little movie into the right festivals, to be seen by the right people, and hopefully help all of my cast and crew onto that career path we all want so much.
Shockingly this is much more nerve wracking than trying to cram 6 months of pre-production into 6 weeks.
13 June 2009
This week has been eventful. I designed temporary cover art for the DVD screeners (temporary because I think someone with better graphic design skills than mine should design it) and am having a bunch of DVD’s made. This will help me a lot so I don’t have to personally burn, label, and put together each DVD and packaging I have to send to a festival for submission purposes. I also think I finally found all of the errors in the press kit and corrected them, it only took about four different people proofing it.
Friday Christopher and I also potentially booked somewhere for the screening. Should be exciting to show it to everyone even though my director’s nerves kick in and I get all nervous when I think of everyone finally seeing it. Even though I am incredibly proud of the film it is still so incredibly nerve wracking to think about. I don’t think I will ever get over that as an artist; it’s been a part of my process since I was a kid. I used to be horrifically shy too, maybe that also has something to do with it.
I digress, Christopher and I are coming up with a list of film festivals to apply to, and here’s hoping we have the luck to get into so many that we end up with scheduling conflicts – that would be one scenario where I would be very glad to be busy.
I am slowly starting to catch up on the sleep that I’ve been missing because of the schedule this past year has forced me into, and this seems to be making me goofy again. I kinda missed being goofy.
Thought I would let everyone know what I have been up to. I mean, heck, it's been almost a year since we started the film. In that time, I got an agent got a national commercial an international commercial and joined SAG, AFTRA, and ACTORS EQUITY. Couldn't be happier.
11 June 2009
Even though I know that is going to happen beat after beat in the film it grabs me, at some point about half way through I was able to let go an just enjoy. It's difficult as a director to just let go because all my brain sees are things to keep pushing at or nit picking to death - but I was able to let go.
After watching I think we made a dang good movie and hope those that watch it enjoy it just as much as I do.
03 June 2009
Now that we are officially out of post-production I've felt my brain and body slowly come out of the tense/stress state I've been living in since last August - the state of readiness and work that has helped keep us in schedule. I knew I was getting loopy earlier today but I didn't think it was that bad...
Then a few minutes ago I was trying to type up something and the below happened.
I really couldn't figure out why I couldn't get 4 groups of three months...one kept coming up with four months...
02 June 2009
IT'S DONE!!! WOOHOO!!! END is officially in the can, we have a complete movie! I will wax much more poetic on this later on but for now I'm going to celebrate and run through the street naked or something. THANK YOU EVERYONE!
01 June 2009
The eagle has landed! The cat’s in the cradle, we’ve crossed the finish line, we’ve entered the end-zone. Whatever analogy you want to use go right ahead because WE DID IT!!! I just dropped off the final copy of the movie to Megan, she’s going through it right now to make sure it’s all good, but barring any unforeseen circumstances we SHOULD be done. I don’t want to jinx it and call the game for sure until we know everything is kosher but it’s looking good.
At some point I’ll wax more poetic about this but right now I’m just too darn tired to make much sense of anything. Instead I figured I’d throw something sort of fun and humorous and fun up real quick. As some of you will remember when we wrapped principal photography I carted out a list of things I had learned from the endeavor. Not that I THINK we’re done with post production I’ve decided to throw out a list of things I learned from the last 6 months or so.
James is dead!
You can curse out Elmo and still get him to take a picture with you.
Lauren can be really profound when she wants to be. Read her post on her “ripped jeans” and try not to get a little emotional. Seriously if it doesn’t get to you, you have no soul!
Even though it’s slightly less than 90 minutes long END works with surprisingly well with an intermission in it.
Bill and Telly are gods amongst men; it’s as simple as that.
I am MOST definitely not a post production guy! Shove me in a room for days on end with nothing but a page and my thoughts and I’m fine. Lock me in a room for 13 hours watching and hearing the same stuff over and over again and you’ll test the limits of my already questionable sanity.
No matter how hard you try it’s really hard to fire Bill, which is probably a good thing.
Finding a composer who knows what they’re doing AND doesn’t have their head up their you know what is way harder than you’d think, which is why Christy rocks so much!
If you thought the way the script ended was good, just wait till you see the movie. Seriously it will BLOW YOU AWAY!
Just like every other aspect of this movie, NONE of this would bee possible without each and every talented artist that has devoted so much time, effort, love and passion to making this the single greatest event of my life.
31 May 2009
30 May 2009
We are in the home stretch and a year of my creative efforst is about to be done. I thank God for everything that He has done to me and for me in this last year.
So tonight, I'm going to dinner with my mom. It's pretty much just like any other Saturday night. Except, tonight, I'm wearing these ripped jeans.
Hold any significance to you?
I didn't think so. But they do to me, and maybe, one day, it'll mean something to someone else. Anyways, to get to the point. I'm wearing these ripped jeans, but they aren't just any ripped jeans. These ripped jeans are the jeans I wore on the set of END. I spent every weekend in these jeans for weeks in August and September. They've kind of just been a part of the journey. Sure, their kinda worn and faded, but isn't END kinda that way too? I mean, of course I'll never forget the memories that happened on the set(EARMUFFS!), but it's a bit worn, in a good way. It's been a little less than a year since we started END, and while that time may have flown by quicker than anyone expected it to, it did. And I'm pretty sure that I can say this for anyone who has been working on END in Post, they're tired and worn, just like the jeans. The memories that have come from production and post will never fade, and even though the journey has been restless and tiring, and even though everyone is worn out, we live on, everyday, and I don't know about anybody else, but I'm pretty dang excited to see the finishing project.
So tonight, in honor of the last weekend of post, I'm wearing the ripped jeans. They've been through it all, and so it's only right that they are worn tonight.
I'll always look at these ripped jeans and see the hard work and sweat put into END, and I wouldn't have it any other way.
Signing off, one more time,
28 May 2009
Megan’s right, we’re almost done. We’re so close I can taste it. Over the past few weeks I’ve been able to see the movie come together in ways that I never thought possible. At this point I’m not just exited to finally be done with this year long, grueling process and to finally be submitting the film to festivals, but perhaps for the first time I can honestly say I’m honestly, genuinely exited about sitting down my friends and family and showing them what we’ve done. I think when we do, after all this time, after all this talk; they’ll see we haven’t been completely full of it. I actually think this is going to blow away the people that I love and respect most and that’s something very special to me.
Then there’s my greatest joy of all. Something that as time has gone on I’ve begun to realize will mean more to me than anything else. I think the greatest moment I will experience throughout this entire adventure is when Megan and I get to sit down in a room, probably crack open a bottle of wine and watch END together, just the two of us, alone in a room experiencing the final product of the fruit of our labor.
This project began almost a year ago with the two of us sitting down and deciding we were going to do something insane. Through everything we have been the two people that have been involved in EVERY single aspect of the film. We made this movie for each other just as much for the world of cinema as a whole. By the time most siblings hit their mid to late twenties they’re barely on speaking terms, much less setting aside a whole year of their lives to work hand in hand with each other, toiling to make their dreams a reality.
I would like to think that great things are in store for END. I can honestly say we have surpassed our wildest expectations. I’d like to think that this will be the beginning of great and lucrative careers for all involved. I’d like to imagine that twenty years from now all involved will look back on this movie as the break point of their careers and lives. I’m hoping that what we did with and on this film is just a drop in the bucket compared to what the future has in store. I think, no make that, I KNOW we’re going to make bigger and better movies but for me none of them will ever hold quite the same meaning this one does. END has been a labor of love from the beginning and more importantly it wouldn’t have happened without love. I love my sister and I love that WE did this crazy, remarkable thing together and that’s why when we finally get to sit down and watch it done and complete, for the first time together… well, that’s going to be something I cherish forever.
The movie will be done this weekend. It's actually going to happen. I am happy but exhausted. Thank You God!!!
12 May 2009
1. Working with people whose dedication matches their talent is a must – especially in post. Whether it’s staying up till 3 in the morning to finish music so I can review it, pumping out new version of FX files when the mixer can’t open what was provided in record time, color correcting every shot to match my vision, or partnering with me to get all my phone calls made makes all the difference for me. Without everyone’s willingness to make sure the business gets done we’d be nowhere.
2. Remember it’s not about a deadline but a product. Every time we have set a deadline on End we have ended up pushing it. I’ve come to realize that in this budget area of filmmaking what can go wrong will go wrong: files will go missing, tapes will get eaten, people will get sick and life happens. What is important is that while I go nuts during post-production that I keep putting out fires and moving forward. We need to make a good product more than we need to make a fast product, and eventually we will be done.
3. I need to live my film, but I also need to live my life. I don’t need to do this so that I don’t become Kubrick-type obsessed or so that I remember to do things like shower, but because if I have tunnel vision for my movie I will stop being influenced and inspired to be better. End is worth the effort for me to keep looking at it with fresh eyes.
4. I have to keep being willing to listen. It is incredibly important for me to have a vision as a director but I have to be willing to listen to other people. This doesn’t mean I have to like their ideas, or even use them but by opening up to what other people bring to me it makes me think about why I am doing what I am doing and sometimes it even gives me an idea about how to do something that I would have never done before. Film is collaborative and the moment I think I have all the answers is probably the moment I will crash and burn.
5. God is always with me. While I already knew this, you have no idea how much stress and tension rolls off of me just because I know my fate is not in my own hands. I get to work hard and then see what God does with it.
End is finally reaching a conclusion and I am like a kid at Christmas Eve that just can’t wait for morning to come. I look forward to the adventure ahead even though I know that it will be filled with up and downs and probably have me jumping for joy as much as it has me pulling my hair out. This is why I went to college, made short films, worked with my friends and continued my love affair with the movies. I am not the same person I was when I graduated college and I am excited to see where I can go from here.
11 May 2009
Final delivery of sound effects for End was made this last weekend. I scoured through it for every minor little sound.. everything from a door being closed to how a bed hits a window with blinds. Then I burned it to disk (properly labeled, of course) and left it on my doorstop for pick-up. And that is that..
It's weird handing it off to someone else, but at the same time, a little nice. It'll be interesting to see how someone else interprets the script and incorporates everything together. There are times as an artist, you have to step aside and let someone else take a swing at it. Out of ego, I wouldn't have minded staying on until the final mix, but out of "knowing what's better for the project", I like having someone else do it.
Besides, I've put a lot of personal time, money, and gumpshin into this project as it is. It's sort of nice to sit back and wait for the screening.
It's a good ride and I'm lucky to have been involved. Looking forward to the next one!
28 April 2009
It's a weird thing: sound.
In most films, the sound person essentially cleans everything up, does the explosions, bottles breaking, etc. Ultimately, it's all pretty standard stuff that's easy to find, and sound person knows how to do.
Then you have something like this. When I'm actually creating an entire unseen atmosphere, it's a very surreal process. Especially after shooting the thing; I'm constantly battling myself. "Wait, he wasn't doing that then". "But it doesn't matter if we see it, because the SOUND will tell us what's happening". "Oh".
So for me, it was crucial to have Megan swing by and let me know if I was anywhere near the right track. Fortunately, she seemed pleased with the direction I've taken. Later, she Twittered that she heard the monsters for the first time. That really hit me. All this time, the monsters were these unseen, unknown creatures and with some clever placement (and some pretty freaky noises), I've actually brought to life that which is never seen or known of.
Pretty damn cool.
I like a challenge like this. I've always appreciated sound because it has the power to completely change the meaning, atmosphere, ambience, idea, concept, or whatever you see on screen. I thought it would be funny to just make everything kazoo effects. Now THAT would change the feeling of the film.
The tough part now, as I work to finish the sound effects, is to keep the creativity up and not let my rational mind keep me from really pushing this story. Or over-doing it and killing the story.
Fortunately, the actors gave me plenty to work with (as far as how high or low in emotionality I can bring the threat).
All I can do is hope I didn't suck. It's tough to invent from scratch that which never even exists in the film. Until now.
19 March 2009
I have been going through photos we took at the photo shoot so that I can start to layout the press kit. It made me start to miss my entire cast and crew and relive shooting End in August.
As I was looking through the photos I found some absolutely hysterical ones. I love them, but I really can't put them in the press kit because they would just kill the more somber mood of the film. But I still thought they needed sharing. My actors are great people.
These photos were taken by the wonderfully talented Regan Hutson.
16 March 2009
So we mailed out Christmas cards to the entire cast and crew in December. I had a feeling a few weren't going to make it to their destination, but I was shocked when this came to me in the mail.
This was the card Christopher and I sent Shannon our super talented AD. Evidently it got lost and damaged in the postal system. The card got so lost that it didn't come back to me until last week.
I seriously think the postal system owes me a refund.
15 March 2009
So I am back to work tomorrow. Exciting stuff. Lots has happened in the month and change since I wrote about being laid off.
We achieved picture lock! Yay, woot, cheering, etc. Editing was a long process, but it was definitely worth it. I am now waiting and working with the rest of the post production team; Christy on the score, John on dialogue editing & the final mix, Beth with the sound design, and then of course the million other little things Christopher and I keep doing to polish up End and get it ready for public consumption. This is seriously cool stuff, but it’s also exhausting.
Dave left for England a few weeks ago. I am sad to see him go, but Dave seemed pretty excited about heading back to the mother country. I believe that Pearce is headed back to Canada as well, and Regan is starting an exciting new job that’s taking him away from the local color. All in all as I look back over the people and events that led up to making this movie last summer I am truly in awe – there were a lot of cogs lined up to get End made in the short amount of time that we did.
What’s weird is that by this time I thought I would be so over my anticipation for End to be finished, but the truth is that I can’t wait. I am just as excited as an audience member to see what our final product is going to look like and sound like. I can’t wait for people’s reactions and I am incredibly excited to see where we can get this little film into.
I don’t want to jinx us or give anyone a false sense of destiny, but I can’t let this story slip between the cracks. Megan and I are people of faith and as such we believe in divine intervention and fate. If that isn’t what’s happening right now then I don’t know what is?
Megan got her job back. Yeah, you remember the one she got laid off from on the 27th of January? Apparently the company she worked for realized they made a huge mistake and as a result she’s going to be back at her desk Monday morning like nothing happened. How crazy is that?
I think I’ve mentioned several times that all great independent films have great stories to go along with them ala EASY RIDER, CLERKS, EL MARIACHI, etc. While I am in no way trying to put END in remotely the same universe as those classics you’ve got to admit there have been some pretty great stories that have come out of the production so far and this is yet another one to throw onto the pile.
Think about this for just a minute. Megan was laid off at the EXACT time when we really needed to ramp up post-production and trying to work a full time job and complete a movie all at the same time would have been more than a little taxing. So what happens? She gets about 6 weeks off work with pay (Thanks to the severance package) to devote all of her time to getting END ready to put in other people’s hands. Just as we get END to the point where we can start giving it to the people involved with sound, music and so on (All of which don’t require quite the same time commitments form the Director and Executive Producers) and right as that severance money is going to start running low Megan’s former / current employer calls her out of the blue to inform her they’d like her to come back from her paid vacation. In essence Megan was paid to work full time on the movie so that we could get it to the stage where we need it to be.
If you ask me all this is more than coincidence. This is all more than just a fortuitous spate of random good luck. I’m a writer and there’s no way in a million years I could have scripted this fortuitous, darn near fairy tale type story.
Is END destined to succeed? Is it in the cards or whatever other metaphor you want to use that END is the movie that’s going to break all of our careers wide open? My parents always taught me the negative effects of putting a cart before a horse, counting chickens before they’ve hatched and so on so I’m going to heed their advice and shut my big trap. I will say this though; all this has got to make you think doesn’t it? Stay tuned because I can’t help but think this is going to get a lot more interesting before it’s over.
03 March 2009
We are entering the home stretch now. We achieved a picture lock on Saturday, so now my time is being devoted to creating the credits and overseeing the rest of the elements that are going to polish off End - sound design, dialogue editing, color timing, score and the final sound mix. I have many, many balls in the air right now and I am truly wishing we were a big budget production so I could have a post production coordinator instead of coordinating everything myself! I guess I will just have to add that to my list of things I want when I have a big girl budget for a movie.
I have also been working on getting all the elements for the press kit together and been waiting on a poster draft from Kevin. I am confident that it is going to be phenomenal because the photos Regan took for us at the photo shoot were absolutely amazing.
I know that I (and the rest of the post-production crew) still have a lot ahead, but I am finally starting to see the light at the end of the tunnel and that is a very nice feeling. I am really looking forward to showing off the finished product to the crew and trying to get it to festivals and garner interest in the film. I am hoping and praying that End will be the start of a great era for everyone that helped make this movie.
14 February 2009
Holy shit! I’m not the kind of guy that likes to count his chickens before they hatch but I’ll be damned if we don’t maybe have something here.
I’ve mentioned multiple times that no matter how hard I try I have this latent fear that no matter what this whole endeavor, this whole movie isn’t going to work. Well, I saw the first rough cut of the film the other night and it doesn’t just work, it REALLY works! It works so well that there was more than one occasion that I forgot I wrote the darn thing. I don’t want to get too into it now since the movie is still in very rough form but I was pretty much floored by everything I saw, even in its very rough basic form.
From day one I’ve felt that there are certain things, certain elements and scenes that simply MUST work. If not no matter how good everything else might be audiences won’t buy into the film. They won’t allow themselves to be engaged by it and as a result the film will reap us the benefits we are hoping it will.
I could not be happier to report that those scenes, those moments and things that are so integral to the very essence of the movie don’t just work; they excel in every possible way. At one point I had to stop the footage and allow the goose bumps on my skin to go down and my breathing to return to normal as I realized we NAILED it.
Like I said I’m not trying to get people too worked up yet or cash a check the movie can’t write but I am a very happy man right now. As a writer, producer and simply as a dude that’s been working his ass off at this for a long time now… well, I couldn’t be more ecstatic. As I told Megan, we’re gonna need to start looking into frequent flyer miles, cuz we’re gonna need them.
13 February 2009
08 February 2009
Bill and I finished rough cut number one last weekend. It clocked in at over eighty minutes. Woot! Now we are refining the cut bit by bit until I am happy and nothing drives Bill crazy.
Before long Bill will be color correcting, Beth will be in the midst of sound design, our score will be completed and we'll have a genuine gosh darn movie.
This is pretty cool.
28 January 2009
So yes, I am quoting the movie. I am doing so because yesterday I got laid off from my job. This doesn't sadden me because I have put more love, passion and ambition into End than I have in any job I've ever had. I have to be thankful for my job at Money Mailer because not only did it help me finance End but the schedule just helped me put enough time into pre-production to get End filmed. But just like Christopher wrote in the script "Everything is going to be OK."
Now back to post-production.
26 January 2009
Hi there boys and girls. I am still alive, I’ve just been a bum about updating the blog in like forever. I’ve been busy with all kinds of stuff and there’s lots of fun behind the scenes stuff going on as we enter what I hope is the home stretch of getting END finished so we can start submitting it to festivals and actually begin showing people what we’ve been up to all this time.
In the not too distant future I’ll check back in here with a post about the whole process we’ve been going through to find a composer, but since we’ve still yet to make our final decision I think that’s a little premature. Instead I real quick wanted to jump in and in a way respond to Megan’s last post. Megan ended her last post with, and I quote: “I truly hope that it is going to be worth it.” Believe me people it most assuredly is.
Something that I’ve revealed to very few people is the fact that I’ve been terrified whether or not this whole thing was going to work. As the writer and a producer on this movie I know we have a good script and I know we had GREAT work by our cast and crew but at the end of the day that sometimes means absolutely nothing.
It’s never really anyone’s fault, save for maybe mine. I wrote something that READS well but admittedly it’s pretty complex with the time shifts and the unusual structure so from day one I’ve always been a little wary about how that would transfer to the big screen. Also, no matter how great things look in person while we’re filming them doesn’t mean they’ll come across quite as well when they’re being played back. I mean no one sets out to make a bad movie and I don’t think anyone ever thinks they’re making a bad movie while they’re filming it yet we have the likes of BATMAN AND ROBIN and INDEPENDENCE DAY anyway.
As the writer it’s not very constructive for me to sit in on most of the editing. Not only do I not have the saint like patience that Bill and Megan do, to go through each frame of footage, but I’ve also been living with this movie in my head longer than anyone else who has been involved. This means that if they do something that doesn’t match exactly what I’ve pictured in my head for close to a year now I’ll go out of my already fragile mind, even though what they are doing is probably 100 times better than what I’ve been thinking about all this time.
As a result for the most part I’ve been willingly, completely in the dark as Bill and Megan have been editing END and because of this my doubts and fears have only had a chance to grow and fester. I’m a writer, I’ve got an overactive imagination and these are the times that said imagination puts holes in my stomach. That is until Megan and Bill showed me what they’ve been up to.
One of the greatest things that I’ve learned from working on END is how much of a collaborative art movie making is. Writers like to think that we are God when it comes to out stories. We should have the final word and say, right or wrong because gosh darn it, it’s our idea, our baby and we know what’s best more than anyone else because it’s our blood, our sweat in every finely honed word of the gospel according to… me. Then you have actors come in and blow you through the back wall. You have a cinematographer paint jaw dropping pictures out of your words with a camera. You have an editor give every single thing you wrote more oomph with each finely tuned cut and a director that shows you what artistic vision really is by taking your words and bringing them to startling, beautiful life.
I’ve seen about 20 minutes worth of END and I don’t “hope” that it’s worth it; I already KNOW it’s been worth it. What I’ve seen so far has done nothing short of drop my jaw to the floor. As the writer / producer this footage has played in my head a hundred different ways a hundred different times so you would think it almost impossible for me to watch anything from this movie as a normal, casual observer. I thought the same until I watched the first 10 minutes of the movie and found myself jumping out of my seat in surprise because of the editing decisions that have been made. I KNEW what was going to happen yet within 2 minutes my mind became so engrossed in what I was watching that I of all people forgot I had written it and when the defecation hit the ventilation (figuratively speaking in the movie) I found myself taken aback by something I should have known was coming! If the rough, edited footage, sans color-timing, music or final sound could do that to ME, imagine what effect it will have on audiences when everything is completed and done?
In less than 5 minutes every fear and doubt I’ve had was washed away only to be replaced by uncontainable giddiness and joy. We made a movie, an actual honest to God movie that looks to have a hell of a lot more working for it than not. We’ve still got a ways to go but I can already say I’ve never been prouder of anything else I’ve ever put my name to. I’m not trying to count our chickens before they’ve hatched but we may very well have something here, something that we’re going to want to show the world. Here’s hoping they’re ready for it.
25 January 2009
I live in Orange County. Where I am editing with Bill is in Burbank - over 50 miles from where I live. This doesn't bother me much because of two things: 1) I like to drive and 2) the price of gas has gone way down. I love living in Orange County, but it does sometimes make my movie making a bit of an ordeal; I have always conquered it but occasionally the commute gets on my nerves. This was one of those weekends.
It doesn't rain very often in California, but when it does everyone freaks out. I am a native Californian and it makes me mad that people can't seem to drive in the rain. The most annoying part is that I hit the worst traffic when it wasn't raining! I ended up 20 minutes late to editing on Saturday because of the traffic.
When I left editing on Saturday the rain had stopped and created an incredibly beautiful sunset. It was a much needed visual because I spent most of the day watching the two hours of footage we shot on the last day of shooting; it's not that I was upset with the footage, I just spent far too long looking at the same images over and over again. I even went home and kept working but going over my script with a director's eye to try and solve the two hours of footage that Bill and I still had to whittle into a scene on Sunday.
On Sunday it didn't rain on my way to editing, but I still ended up with traffic problems! For reasons not apparent to me a CHP car did a round robin and stopped traffic in all lanes when only the right lane needed blocked - you see I could tell this because I was only the second car back from the traffic stop. Seriously, was that nessecary? But I somehow still ended up getting to editing on time. This was a good thing, because Bill and I finished Angela's flashback today! The film is now over 70 minutes (and we're not done yet) so we are safely in feature terroritory! Woot! There was no traffic on the way home.
As much as my brain always feels overloaded when I leave editing, I always start to miss the movie once I'm home. I really want to see the finished product on End because I truly hope that it is going to be worth it.