Saturday, September 27, 2008

Le grade, c'est finis

Mais oui. At last, the grade is done, and it looks wonderful. Scenes that never quite looked right, such as the dressing room scene, now look amazing, and scenes that always looked quite nice, such as the balcony, are now just stunning.

Now we're doing the sound mix. Great things have been done, dialogue cleaned up, spot effects added, all the little things that you only notice when they're absent. The odd thing was that I'd spent the last eight days looking at the picture getting better and better but with a ropey temporary soundtrack, and now I'm looking at a poor copy of the original offline but with an amazing soundtrack. Next week, when we marry the two together, should be something special, as well as providing a number of new headaches along the way (why is this bit at 24fps and this bit at 25fps? How did that happen?)

And even more exciting is the fact that the premiere in NFT1 is almost sold out with only six tickets left. I'm jaw droppingly amazed. The studio screening is sold out, but it only has about 40 seats, NFT1 has 450. I had visions of having to introduce the premiere to my mother and about a dozen people dotted around the cinema, but now it looks as if I will be introducing the film to my mother and a cinema packed full of people who didn't manage to get tickets to Quantum of Solace.

Monday, September 22, 2008

Threat of light at end of tunnel

About halfway through the grade now. Just done the balcony scene and it looks amazing. It always looked good, but because it was shot at dusk and made up of a number of takes, the light levels always jumped about a bit, but now they all look the same and it looks wonderful. Likewise the gallery scene, which was always a little muddy, is now gleaming white, just like a gallery should be in fact.

Meanwhile, in a studio across town the sound is being finished off, and hopefully later in the week we can have a listen. What this means is that by the beginning of next week we should be in a position to marry the two and have a finished film (well, kind of).

Also have a new poster design, which is excellent, but don't tell Minter or he'll only get all big headed about it. Hopefully we'll be able to put up a version here one day, though I have no idea when that day might be.

And finally a big thanks to the Film PR who sent us an enormous email full of tips for promoting the film. It was excellent and very much appreciated. Time to start emailing journalists, I think.

Sunday, September 14, 2008

This week

is hopefully the week everything pretty much comes together. The extra audio effects are being recorded while the sound mixer goes through the dialogue one last time to make sure we know all the bits that need re-recording. Once we've got that list we start doing the ADR, hopefully towards the end of the week.

We also need to finalise the end roller. We have to go through this time after time because we really, really don't want to miss anyone's name off. It's surprising how easy it is to do. I went through it on Friday, then again on Saturday and already noticed one missing name. We should also get something close to the finished opening credits, the rough ones look great and I can't wait to see the finished version. After that we need to think about some kind of opening company logo. When we've finally decided on what on earth that is going to be we can send them all over to lipsync who can start to put them in the finished, scanned master copy.

Then there's some new music from Remy to try fitting in and seeing how it all sits, all the while avoiding the urge to make any changes to the edit (because WE CAN'T). Then on Wednesday we start the grade. I love doing the grade, but have to be quite strict as it's all too easy to get carried away and to keep trying different things, because they all look so cool, but we have neither the time or the money, especially not the time. Or money.

Minter has also taken his crayons out and come up with a very nice poster. It's being bounced backwards and forwards while everyone who needs to has their input, but I'm a little worried we might be trying to cram too much in and simplicity might be the best way forward, but we'll see. If you want to know what the process is it's a bit like this (which is of course the new version of the excellent original ).

So by the end of this week everything should be falling into place. At least that's the theory. But more importantly, I've been given a ticket to go and see Metallica tonight. I only know their first album, and this new one is their eleventieth, but it will, if nothing else, be a laugh. If it's really good I may overdub all the music in our film with metal.

Saturday, September 13, 2008


Most films will hire a film PR to get out there and put the word about. Obviously we can't afford to do that, so we're doing it ourselves. There's nothing like trying to learn a new skill. As a result every person I know who has even so much as bumped into a film journalist is being roped in to send emails about 1234.

Right now we're just trying to get on peoples radar, let them know the film exists. There's something like 200 films in the festival, and no one can see them all, so we've got to make sure at least a few journalists choose ours when deciding what to see.

Everyone has been very helpful (special thanks go out to eithne and Jeremy here), and Moviehouse have played their part, getting a piece in Screen and talking to various other, so now we just need to get the press screening dates so we can send those out and, fingers crossed, get some coverage.

To help with this I was forced (and I mean forced) to go to a photoshoot for the Times, who are doing a special booklet on the festival for the 11th October. There are few things I hate more than having my photo taken, but it's all for a good cause, and it's not like it was heavy lifting or anything. It was just me and two other directors, Pat Holden and Richard Jobson. Pat and I didn't look too comfortable, but Richard Jobson is an old hand at this sort of thing so it was a lot easier with someone like him about.

I think next time I may hire a male model to be my public face. They can go and do all the photoshoots and I can stay in the pub.

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

We love London

Or more specifically, we love the London Film Festival, because that's where 1234 is going to have it's world permiere. The press launch was today, and so were we. I was sat with Richard Jobson on one side and Terrence Davies on the other (both of whom were very nice and introduced themselves, like I didn't know who they were). The cinema was packed with press, and 1234 was also included in the clip reel they showed the journalists today. After that it was upstairs to do interviews with sky movies and, best of all, London TV, where I used to work.

It was great to also finally put a face to all the LFF employees we've been in email contact with over the last few weeks. Michael Hayden, who programmed the festival, has given us a fantastic write up in the programme, so nice we may have to nick some of it for our synopsis, he does a better job of summing up the film than we ever did. His review is online here

Best of all though were the screening dates we've been given. Most films get a couple of screenings, but we've got three, two at the NFT on the southbank and one in the Ritzy in Brixton, but even better our first screening, our world premiere, is in the huge NFT1 at 9pm on friday 17th October. I really don't think we could have asked for a better slot or location.

All we've got to do is finish the stupid film in time now.

Friday, September 05, 2008

The grade

Went to LipSync with Mike Eley yesterday to talk to Stuart who will be doing the grade for the film. They've already scanned some of the film in so we were able to get that projected up on the screen and have a look at some options. It's amazing what they can do now in a grading suite, isolating small areas and pulling those up while darkening everywhere else, changing the skin tones on one character while leaving another untouched, it really is remarkable and I can't wait to start on the full grade. We went today because Mike is going to be in the US grading the film of Grey Gardens that he shot, a grade that has been supposed to be happening for the last six months but is now finally underway. Sadly it means he won't be at our grade until right at the end (hence the meeting) but we may be able to send him pictures over via the wonder of the internet to get his input. In theory.

Meanwhile the director of the Sundance festival is going to be in London in 2 weeks time so we need to get as near to a finished version for him to watch while he's here. Fingers crossed that's possible, but I have a feeling it will be a very last minute thing (like everything else).

Meanwhile Minter, not content with making the proposal document and appearing in the film with sunnyvale, is now designing some poster ideas. It's always easy to look at other peoples posters and see what was wrong with them but I'm finding it's a lot harder to come up with one yourself. They say find that image that sums your film up perfectly, well I've looked and I can't think what it is, so we may go with something a bit more abstract. Anyway, I don't care today because in a few hours I'm off to the NFT to watch a new print of Badlands on the big screen and I can't wait.