Monday, 16 August 2010

Short Film Diary - Week 15...

So last week I

That's not strictly true - Monday we edited one of the tougher scenes. There were four actors, loads of angles, some effects shots and some close-ups that really didn't work which we then had to edit around. It was hard work and took around 5 solid hours to edit together. But we made it. And that was the last thing we did.

So basically my editor has been called away rather unexpectedly and the whole thing is on hold now until he gets back. Which is fine, there's no great rush to get it finished and hopefully we'll be back on track soon. These things happen and we're lucky that this is the first time the process has been interrupted.

I was going to declare an official break - put everything on hold for a few weeks then come back and carry straight on with a diary entry for Week 16 as if nothing had ever happened. But that's not really an accurate representation of how long it took us to make the film. And there's another reason which I'll get to later.

We don't have a deadline - there is no particular festival I'm making the film specifically for, we're done with shooting so if all the actors decide to shave their heads for some reason it won't affect the film, and as long as no one leaves the country we should be able to get them back for ADR. But I'm still anxious to get the film finished as soon as possible. Mostly because of what happened with another film I worked on.

It was a short film called Hit the Big Time. Shooting finished in February 2008. I blogged about it here. I was really impressed at the time as I'd only finished working on the script a month or so beforehand. Ten Dead Men was just about to be finished too and it looked like I might have another short film completed around the same time. Only it wasn't.

Post-production on Hit the Big Time took forever. I don't know the full details, I just know they went through a string of editors. One editor would start working on it, then they'd get paid work or have to stop for whatever reason and it would go to another editor. Which means not only did they have to find someone else, but that person had to then familiarise themselves with all the footage before they could start.

The film was finally finished in November 2009 - nearly two years later. As I said, these things happen. At least it was finished. In the end, what did it matter that it had taken two years?

It was screened in LA and at a festival in Swansea and I think I'm supposed to get a DVD copy. But I haven't seen it yet. And the consequence of it taking two years to get finished is that I'm not really that concerned. I am interested in seeing the film, I want to see how it turned out and I want it to be good...but it's not like when I first heard about shooting being wrapped and I couldn't wait to see it. I'm not excited about it anymore. I've moved on; I'm excited about other projects now. I've lost my enthusiasm for it.

And that's what happens when these things drag on for too long. At the moment everyone who worked on my short is enthusiastic about it and I hope they are excited about seeing it. The advantage of this is that if we need anyone to do anything else like ADR or any promotional stuff it shouldn't be too much of a problem. But once things start to get delayed and you're asking people for favours on a project they thought they'd finished a year ago - then you hit problems. And it becomes the 'Are you still working on that thing?' film.

So I'm hoping that won't happen, and for now the weird part is the stopping. For the last 15 weeks I have been pretty much solely focused on the film. There have been breaks, odd nights off, weekends away, but it's never stopped before without knowing when we were going to start up again. I figured out how to deal with this. I started working on something else - a script I've been writing with Brother Pete that a production company had given us some notes on. By the end of the week I'd had two meetings about other writing projects too. I'm starting to get busy again. I'd succeeded so well in distracting myself that it almost felt like the short film never happened.

Which is the other reason I'm going to continue the diary. And yes, the next couple of entries may be quite dull - 'Week 16 - Nothing to report' - but it will mean we are officially still in post-production. It means that Jenny Ringo and the Monkey's Paw is still the most important project I'm working on right now, and I'm not going to forget that.

P.S. I am now starting to think that perhaps I was a little too eager in setting up the Facebook page, but the one short film-related thing I haven't stopped doing is obsessively checking how many people 'like' it. If you haven't yet you can find it here, and if you have please tell all your friends about it too. That would be awesome.

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