Sunday, 4 April 2010

Baby Steps

It's been several months since I've updated the blog -my last posts were around the 22nd of January. On this day I finally got The Crunch uploaded to Youtube and got the making of posts uploaded here.

The next day was the birth of my first child.

So excellent timing really. In a way, putting The Crunch up on Youtube did feel like some closure in a way with that film - it had no joy at the film festivals I'd entered it to (think probably around 25) and with it being a year old and suddenly past it's sell by date for some festivals, it seemed to make sense to get it online.

Ironically, since then, it has been shown in Brighton at the Future Shorts event where the local organiser looks for local artists to add a local flavour for the screening before the touring programme is shown. Very nicely Stephen, who runs the Brighton event, became a big fan of The Crunch and spoke glowingly about it after its screening. Sadly, it didn't get a round of applause until he said it deserved one...compared to every other film on the bill which got an immediate reaction! He's pushing the film to the guy who sorts out the touring programme, so there is a chance it could get on there in the near future.

It's also been shown at a new film maker's networking night - "Sex, Lies and Videotape" in Cardiff on the opening night. Due to geography and the little matter of a baby it was impossible for me to attend the screening and I've been unable to get any feedback from the organiser, despite requesting it. Still, it's another showing.

In the last few days it's also been confirmed that it's going to be screened in London on the 15th of April, at an event which takes place over two floors in a converted warehouse, with various other arty aspects going on, which I will thankfully be attending (hell, there's no choice as I have to take the dvd in person!)

I'm pleased that the film is finally getting any airing of any kind - there are more film maker's networking nights across the country I'm going to submit it to which hopefully will show it, so the film isn't a complete lost cause.

I'm less pleased that Youtube shows that most people can't be bothered to watch the whole film - due to the annoying Youtube running time restrictions, I had to split the film into 2. With this, I can see that the first 10 minutes has been viewed over twice as much as the concluding part. I accept that 20 minutes is probably a long time to sit through an internet film, but it seems worthless to sit through the first ten minutes and not bother to watch the conclusion of it all - it makes those first 10 minutes completely redundant. Oh well. Hopefully I'll be able to get it up on Vimeo, where it can stay in a complete form for people to discover.

From The Crunch I move to Stranded. We finished the edit a month or so ago, which I have doubts about. The first half seems to have a pleasing, relaxed pace to it...then the second half becomes disjointed and fragmented. I cocked up at the script stage, having a conclusion to a storyline around 8 pages before the other two conclusions had played out, which in filmic terms felt like one storyline ended mid film with two characters leaving the film. Our struggles to work around the potential film destroying performance of one of the actors continued to be an issue and in the end we had to admit defeat - we just didn't have footage to cut around some aspects satisfactorily.

So I had to make the call and say the edit was over and now it's in the hands of the grader, musician and sound designer...but as I've heard from none of them, I'm thinking realistically the film won't be done until June at the earliest, despite my hopes for a May "preview" screening at Son Of Movie Bar. Never say never, but I'll be all that's left for me to do on Stranded at this stage is write the making of, which will be opening a can of worms in my head.

With that film in a sense out of my hair, I've turned my attention back to Goodnight, Halloween, which again seems to be hanging over my head. Nick, who is responsible for all of the desktop animation, is now aiming for an end of April completion date for the footage - even he can't believe it's taken him nearly two years to complete, though the distractions of full time work last year and a heavy workload from Lego this year have scuppered it being complete at most stages. I figured I need to get the final day shot, regardless of whether the desktop footage is complete, so we've got a shooting date of the 8th of May pencilled in. So far everyone can make it, so fingers crossed this will be shot and Teery and I can start the edit of this, which I'm expecting will again be a tough edit.

An aspect which is going to be an issue for the shoot is the lack of a CG artist involved. Having lost the first CG artist to freelance work and masses of paid work, I contacted a CG artist who had been involved in a short shown at Son Of Movie Bar. Before Christmas, he was very much up for it...but several months down the line he is also swamped with paid work, which is great, but leaves me with no CG artist and nervous about how I should shoot the final footage. It probably also means that I lose my tracking shot that I really wanted for the finale of the film. Maybe I will find another before May and be able to pick their brains, if not, well, I'm not's going to have to be all physical effects and make up, which I'm worried will look naff on screen.

Oddly, Terry spotted that one of the actors from Goodnight, Halloween was in a recent pisstake advert for E4 for the "EPad", playing one of the talking heads. This follows the actor who he played opposite also appearing in a previous E4 advert ("Ladies night in kit"), the leader of the right wing Khristian group appearing in a cereal advert and the newsreader appearing in countless adverts and TV programmes. It's almost like I have an "all star" cast in this one!

I've also been thinking of further ahead for the year - it does feel that the scale of the three films above have got me bogged down. The disappointment of The Crunch getting no festival screening, along with doubts regarding Stranded's viability (both due to running time and quality) has resorted in me thinking of much lower scale projects. There's also an issue of time and spare finances now my son is here, which have also contributed to my thoughts.

So I'm trying to create a series of 5 minute type films, all mostly in minimal locations, with minimal cast and a view of casting local actors so no worries and expense with travel etc. They are all, well, I wouldn't go so far to call them horror, but attempting to be deliberately creepy. The two I've written so far, "Creak" and"Knock, Knock" are not particularly stunningly original, but they're supposed to give me a chance to do something short, fun and hopefully not too long term. With reduced running times and the genre link, hopefully I can get them into more festivals too. (And in yet another one of those ironies which appear to pursue me and out smart me at every corner, I watched a film called "Things That Go Bump In The Night" the other day on Shooting People, which was agonisingly close to "Creak" at times, though I felt it was rather flatly made and acted, with an obvious shock which had no build up and failed to shock...whereas I'm hoping my film will have an odd subliminal creeping dread which reveals itself at the climax.)

I'm hoping to put these shorts together under an umbrella name as a series once they're complete as a way of separating them out from the "proper" Faster films.

As always, plenty of plans and not enough hours in the day...and right now, less than there were before!

Back to bouncing on the birthing ball to soothe a fractious little one...

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