Saturday, August 30, 2008


After one last viewing on Friday we locked the picture, which is to say that's it, no more changes to the cut. We made a couple of quick changes, placing the final montage scene back where it always used to be (and no one can quite work out why it moved), so that the final chapter now gives Stevie his two choices in life followed by the montage to represent him making his mind up before the final rehearsal. Makes complete sense and makes you wonder what we were thinking of having it any other way. Also put back a quick shot of Stevie walking down the street just before the letter scene, which is nice to have back in as it was the very first shot we did.

So this weekend the edit list is being prepared (well done Scott, I'm sure it's much more fun than being outside in the sunshine) so that can be sent over to Lip Sync and they can start scanning every frame we need from the original negative, and putting it on to lovely High Def tape. While they're doing that we can get sound mixing.

Happily all the music looks to be cleared now, just waiting for a yes from the US for one of the tracks. Then we can start collecting all the spot FX we need, the soound of amps being switched on, things being plugged in, all that kind of stage noise rubbish. Also it's time to do the ADR, getting the cast back in to re-record lines where we've had to change something or where a plane or somesuch has made their line inaudible. This will be fun as it means we can also finally add audio to the beginning of the woodland scene which will be great to see (or hear, even).

Bits and pieces of press are starting to come through as well, including having to do a quick interview for the Times next week. Simon (Kearney, I think he's one of the producers, though all he seems to do is go to lunch and moan) and I sat round thinking of things we shouldn't say, which now means they're the only things I can think of saying, so this will probably never see the light of day.

Ian Bonar and Lyndsey Marshal came in to see the film the other day. It was great to see them both again, and I hope they liked what they saw. It must be very weird seeing yourself on screen, especially in something you shot three months ago. Hopefully we can get the cast some copies soon so they can watch it a few times and let it sink in. I've now seen the film a ridiculous number of times, probably somewhere in the region of a couple of hundred, almost as many times as I've seen Zoolander.

More pressingly is the need to name the last chapter. The film is broken into chapters, each named after a song that has some kind of relevance to the chapter, but one which also makes up a cracking mix tape. There were 12 chapters, but now there's thirteen, and the final chapter doesn't have a song yet. I've been wracking my brain but can't think of anything as yet. My suggestion of '99 problems' didn't go down too well, which is understandable.

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Almost there

Another day of editing done. The ever floating Job Centre scene floated off once again, from it's recent home of near the beginning of the film off to somewhere at the beginning of act II, and it works very nicely there. A couple more little tweaks were done, including moving the strontium scene into the final chapter, and everything looks just grand. Added some incidental music, and that appears to be working well too, though I can never tell with music until about six months later, but everyone else seems to love it so I'll go with them.

The result is we now have a cut. Possibly the final cut. I'll know after I've watched it again tomorrow (and Simon has watched it. I also have to mention him as apparently his mother has complained he's not being mentioned enough here, which is probably fair enough).

If, as I suspect, this is the final cut, then the first thing that will happen is that the EDL (the edit list) will go over to Lip Sync and they'll begin the very long and laborious process of scanning the film at 4K resolution onto HD. This will then be graded, and will be our master copy, to be shown at any film festivals and transferred to 35mm for release.

While that's going on we'll be doing the sound mix. I'm happy to say it appears that almost all music problems have been sorted out and by the end of the week we should have signed off music for the film, which is excellent, as I really didn't want to change any of the tracks we have as they all fit in the film so well.

This means that, fingers crossed, by the beginning of October we'll have a fully finished screening copy that we can show on the big screen to distributors with a view to at least getting a UK release (for now). How we'll feed ourselves till then is anyones guess, but I'm sure something will turn up. Either that or we'll have to survive on popcorn.

Thursday, August 21, 2008

Back on set

Finally it's been time to do the pick up shots, and it's been great to back on set and actually shooting something. Some of the old crew were free to return, and it was great to see them, and the new crew were all excellent as well. Ian was on set for the first day for a quick shot of him reading a magazine at a bus stop. This meant that we had to keep stopping as the bus turned up and bemused passengers got off, but I'm happy to report that the people of Hackney are still stupidly polite when you're filming. Not one complaint, lots of nice comments, and generally very friendly and helpful people. It's not like this in south London.

Everything was going Ok until we had to do the balcony cut aways at dusk, when it decided to piss down. Obviously shooting in August you should be prepared for bad weather, but luckily it blew over so )I hope) we managed to get everything. The plus side was that when we went to shoot the pub exterior (the Bricklayers in Hoxton for Richards bar) it looked as if we'd paid for a wet down, all gleaming neon reflected in the roads. Day two was more of the same, and by five o'clock we were all done. It's a terrible feeling because you don't want to pack everything up and then think of a shot you're missing, but after much wracking of brains we decided we had enough.

This was followed by the good news that we're now working with Lip Sync, a post production house in soho, to get everything ready up to the HD master. We still need to find a little more money, but not nearly as much as we did before. So Friday we're back in the edit suite to drop the cutaway shots in, try adding some of the excellent incidental music Remy the composer has been writing, make maybe one or two final tweaks before officially locking the cut down so we can start scanning the film ready for the final print. Maybe then I can go and get some more work and stop living off dried bread. Until we realise we need to go and get some more pick up shots.

Friday, August 15, 2008

Reasons why filming in England is rubbish

When we shot in April we were quite lucky with the weather. There were a few rain delays, and some days it looked sunny but was freezing, but for the most part it was OK. But now we're in August, the height of the summer and guess what, we're having to move the pick up shots because of the weather. I've never seen so much rain. So it's pick up shots mid next week then into edit to drop them in, and also to try dropping in some of the incidental music Remy our composer had come up with.

I'm not a big fan of incidental music, and there's so much music in the film anyway it might be too much, but he's composed some really excellent stuff that hopefully will fit right in without making it all sound too Hollywood. It's going to be really interesting to try, and I predict a bit of a nightmare to decide if it's right or not. Still, at least it can't rain in an edit suite (yet).

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

There's always trouble

Just as everything was fitting into place comes news that one of the featured songs, for which we were promised we could have full rights to use, may now not have been the bands to give away. It appears they'd sold the international rights to another company, maybe even two other companies, who now of course all want money. There was obviously some kind of mix up when we asked for a track they had the rights to, someone didn't get the message, but it now leaves us in a tricky situation.

The choices appear to be pay too much (not really an option) cut the song (a real pain) or hope we can re-negotiate with these other labels. Fingers crossed they'll see sense and charge less as I really don't want to cut this song.

In other news we're just gearing up to do the pick up shots, maybe some on saturday with the rest early next week. Some of the old crew will be there and some new, it'll be very odd. Six simple scenes, then it's off to finally lock the edit. In theory.

Friday, August 08, 2008

Pick ups

Everything is coming together now. Next week we're getting the locations for the six or so pick up shots needed, then we'll shoot those the week after. We've done a little more tweaking to the cut (don't worry Kev it's still your cut), taking out a couple of things that had started to bother me, and best of all finding a couple of really nice cut aways in the balcony scene. Then we drop in the pick ups and that picture is locked. Then it's fun fun fun as we start on the sound mixes and the ADR work, and that's when you know you're nearly finished.
The financial plan for the post work is almost in place, a few options still to be finalised, but it looks pretty much OK, and not a minute too soon. We're planning to end on a 35mm print, but first stop will be getting the HD master made that we're going to strike the print off. Once that's done we've got something we can show distributors so can take our time getting the print down.
On the subject of distributors, someone is obvioulsy saying nice things about the film as we've started to get phone calls from distributors and other sales agents saying they'd heard good reports and what stage were we at. All very nice to hear, but who is it that's saying these things? Whoever it is I'd like them to carry on doing it. Best call of all was from a sales outfit that are also a financing house. They knew we already had a sales agent, but they'd seen our last short film Home as well (how?) and wanted to have a look at our next project. So I'm off to the post office to send them a script right now. Oh wouldn't development money be nice.