Wednesday, June 25, 2008

I love London

Well, I might. It depends. Had a great meeting with Moviehouse, the sales agents for the film, today. They're really enthusiastic about the new cut, so westarted talking about a schedule for festivals to enter.

They've always favoured starting with sundance, our worry has always been if we apply and don't get in it's a long wait, so we wanted to go for London, and after watching the new cut I'm pleased to say they agree. The film has a strong London feel, though it's not the normal touristy London (the day tourists go to Hackney is when you know everything really has gone mental), and so with any luck the London film festival will look favourably on it.

But who can tell. Film festivals are funny things. Maybe they already have a low budget gentle rom com about an indie band and don't need another. When we made Home, a film that ran backwards, we found out there was another backwards film applying to most of the same festivals as we were, and I don't believe any film festival wants two backwards films. So it's fingers crossed for London.

I've also had a load of emails form people who've been following this struggle to make the film after I expressed my horror anyone else was reading this. I should have chosen my words more carefully, it's not horror it's amazement. I never set this up with that in mind, and until we linked to it from the main site I only told about three people it existed, but I just wanted to say thank you to everyone who got in touch about the film. You're all very welcome here. (though it would be nice if you could make sure every single memeber of your family goes to see the film at least twice).

Tomorrow we continue to cut the trailer. It's much harder than I thought it would be, not knowing if we should give that away or put that joke in. I would like to get that VO man with the really deep voice to give it a proper hollywood trailer VO, one of those ones that starts with 'In a land before time...', but it may not fit.

Oh, and we went to see radiohead last night and gave Ed a copy of the film. I hope he likes it and doesn't ring up demanding his money back. It's a bit late now.

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

I don't know a cheap song title pun about sales agents

But the good news is that they love the film. And they love the music in it too. So far the tracks included are:

statement of vindication by Bikini Kill
I wanna be your dog by the Stooges
My wandering days are over by Belle and Sebastian
Techno self harm by Sunnyvale
Love without lies by Comet Gain
Great Expectations by My sad captains
something I don't know the title of by the very excellent Betty and the werewolves
All the great songs from our band

We still need to finalise rights for Bikini Kill. the Stooges and Belle and Sebastian, and also Kill Rock Stars are looking at a copy of the film to see if they can think of any more bands, but either way it's going to be a great soundtrack.

Also still thinking of getting bands ot cover all the tracks on the title cards for an album. This would be great fun but may also be lots of work. Pah, like I'm that busy.

Finally, someone put a tracking something on this website so I could see if anyone was reading it, and to my horror quite a lot of people appear to be visiting it. I only started doing this as my memory is terrible and I wanted a way of looking back and remembering when that happened, and I only did it on the interspazz as a way of not losing it. Well, that'll learn me.

Don't stop till you get enough

One of the things we had to do to get this film off the ground was to pay ourselves (Simon and I) just under fuck all with the rest deferred. I had no problem doing this (in theory at least, in practice it's been less easy) as I'd rather get the film made and be poor than hold out for a proper wage and not shoot anything. Obviously.

But one result of this is that we both now need money, so even though we're still finishing off the edit I'm putting together the proposal for the next film, A girl and a gun. We're going for the development fund at the film council. In theory this should be the logical thing to do as we've shown we can put together and complete (almost) a feature so now we'd like to do it again, and isn't that what the FC is there for. But in reality it's never that straight forward. I'm not a big fan of soft money anyway, I'd rather see it go to projects that will never be able to get funding, for people like Jarman (when he was alive) or Andrew Kotting, proper 100% arthouse pieces that can only be made with the intervention of public money. But if those in power consider that the remit should be wider, then I certainly won't hold back from applying on principle.

So we're talking to Minter, who did the excellent proposal for 1234, and getting one made for a girl and a gun. My idea is to style it like a French comic book, as it's all set in the south of France and has a slightly comic book feel to it (this link may be a little tenuous).

It's also a way of filling up my day not wondering how we're going to finish 1234. I'm not worried about it, it's all very straightforward, it's just that it takes time and I want to get on with it now.

It would certainly go quicker if I had Peter Carlton of Film Four's email address. Oh Peter, why must you be so mysterious?

Sunday, June 22, 2008

Picture this

The website is up. There's a couple of photos on there, as well as a link at the bottom of the page to Susan Smart's website. She was the photographer, and if you go there and click on film stills there a whole host more photos from the shoot.

And soo there will be a trailer up there. Well that's what they tell me because I have no idea how we do that. I believe some kind of monkeys paw is involved.

The in sound from out there

So , here we are, after a four week shoot and a six week edit, we have a cut. It has holes in it (or to be more precise it has black title cards saying what the shot will be) about eight times for the pick up shots we need, but they're all nice and easy. Seven are just objects, and the only one that involves a member of the cast is still up for debate about whether we need it or not (I think it would be nice).

The temporary soundtrack is in and working well. I'd really like to get it out to a composer just to see where they felt any extra music would go. Personally I like scenes that play without background music, but it would still be fun to get someone else's thoughts.

As for what I like, I'm glad to say that pretty much every scene I wanted to play out in a single shot, does so. Obvioulsy there are times in the edit you realise this isn't as good an idea as cutting it up, and so in those cases that's what we've done, but I'm pleased to say there are no cuts for the sake of it. I'm so bored of that TV style where people keep cutting just to keep the audience awake. We've got long shots and we like them.

Things have moved all over the place, scenes that were near the end are now in the beginning, but it all works. Watching it again yesterday my only thoughts were to put a reverse in the final hall scene so we can lose Stevie's final line (the acting in the scene is so good I want to use that take, but I never liked the last line so I want to cut it with a reverse), and I also want to try moving the final montage scene back to just before the hall, see how that plays. Well, I suspect.

But now we have to take a step back. We need to raise a bit more money to go into the final stage, but I don't think that will be a problem. The film looks great and I'm sure anyone who sees it will want to be a part of it, so now we just have to get in touch with all the potential people (film council, etc) and get the final completion money.

Tuesday and we're off to see Radiohead at Victoria park. One of the band is an investor in the film and invited us down to the gig (life could be worse, you know) so we've got to do him a copy of the cut so far, then do some copies for the other investors, then the hardest part I think is going to be keeping the momentum going. Oh, and the big argument about which festival to first target. Simon and I favour the London film festival, the sales agent wants to wait for sundance. Given that there's no guarantee of getting in either my vote goes for London (it's a london film after all), while the sales agent says that our best bet is to offer sundance a world premiere. God knows, think we'll have a long chat with them about this tomorrow.

Meanwhile, time to get the proposal done for the next film, A girl and a gun. This one is set in the south of France. Someohow we'll probably still end up filming it in Hackney though.

Wednesday, June 11, 2008


Well we lived with the first cut for a while, then we made some changes and the second cut looked great. then after a while we weren't so sure about that we made a third version. And then we decided that while bits were working, other bits weren't and maybe we needed to try mixing things up a bit. So that's what we did. A lot.

We moved scenes all over the place. Gigs that took place near the end now happen early. Shots from act three now appear at the start of act two. but the main thing we did was rearrange things thematically. that is, rather than have a standard linear narrative, we used the fact the content was broken into chapters to make each chapter about a certain character. So while most of the story belongs to Stevie, there are now a couple of chapters that just belong to Billy or Emily. Obviously they all appear in each others chapters, but the difference is that we now see everything through each of these characters eyes independently.

And I don't want to get too certain, but it appears to work. Plus it adds extra information. So now that Billy goes to the job centre early it informs everything that he does after. Likewise Emily and Richard. It's also seen a return to Bikini Kill as the title music, which makes everyone happy (until we ask them and they say no).

Meanwhile Kieran Bew (Billy) came down to have a look and thankfully he loved it, or atleast did a very good impression of loving it. Pleased to say he laughed in all the right places, and looked upset in all the sad bits. If we can always have audiences like Kieran then I think everything's going to be alright.

Next up, time to find a deal for the completion money, then it's off to shoot the pick up shots we need, audio mix, grade, then collapse. I'm quite looking forward to collapse.

Wednesday, June 04, 2008

Cuts, cuts and more cuts

Cut two was a great improvement on cut one, and cut three a further improvement. The sales agent came round and saw this cut and liked it, but obvioulsy had points to make, so now we started to get more brutal, cutting a couple of scenes all together and shifting some to other parts of the film.

One of the main problems has been the opening credits. The look, and music, I always imagined work really well, the only toruble is that they work really well for a different film. The tempo is just to high for what follows. So we tried different bands, slower bands, more slacker bands, heavier bands, even at one point trying northern soul (which worked quite well) but still none of them were perfect.

And then Rob Pursey gave us the idea of moving the credits, having the opening scenes of walking and setting up first, then the credits (with the original up tempo music) and then we're straight into the office scene, which although it's a shift of atmosphere, works because it's supposed to be grim.

The next two days are being left open so the editor can try any ridiculous things he wants free from Simon or I wondering what he's doing. With the schedule as it is it's probably the last chance for wholesale changes, so now's the time to be brave and move the whole rehearsal scene to the end or whatever. Bold moves can really improve things and I don't want to be six months down the road and suddenly think what if. Of course, bold moves can also come up with a load of old shit and ruin everything, so we'll see where we are on Monday.