Monday, 31 January 2011

The past untethered (at last)*

Nick Gripton's wonderful dynamic poster image - Gettin' Some has a face at last!


The end of November was a hectic time for me as I desperately tried to get a version of Stranded together for the final Son Of Movie Bar. It was after getting the almost final sound mix of the film that John, the sound designer, told me that he was no longer going to be able to do the sound mix on my feature film "Gettin' Some" - as paid work had dried up for him, he was going to concentrate all his efforts on a radio drama that he'd been wanting to make for quite some time. He did offer me the work he had started on the first 7 minute segment of the film, in the hope that I could maybe find someone else to take over the project.

I couldn't blame John - he'd had a nightmare of a time saving the sound for The Crunch and Stranded had taken him much longer than I think he'd hoped...all in all he'd put in many hours of work on my films for free and I'd probably run out of favour for now.

So, during the drive home from John's flat I brought myself to a sad decision - that was it as far as I was concerned with "Gettin' Some." Having been through 3 sound designers over a period of 6 years, all who had either given me mixed results or eventually pulled out of the project I just couldn't muster the energy or enthusiasm to go through the whole sorry charade again...and with each passing year, the technical deficencies in the sound and picture of the film become wider as modern technology advances.

I decided that I would have a go at adding the foley into the film and with the help of some online tutorials attempt to add some effects where necessary to the audio. And then I would finally release the film online episodically, as I had been planning for several years.

As much as I was feeling a heavy sigh of relief at coming to this decision, I also felt deeply saddened and upset. I'd been carrying on with this film for over ten years and had never given up on it and coming to this decision felt in some way that I'd been beaten. Much that I can kick myself for giving up, many people had always been surprised that I had been battling on with the film for such a long time frame and I think 10 years is a pretty respectable chunk of my life committed to a film. It was a realistic way of looking at the situation, but didn't make me much happier.

However, I did regain some enthusiasm when I had the realisation that for the first time since completing the edit there was no longer a locked down version of the film. I'd finished the edit of the film over 6 years ago and since then there had always been a sound designer or grader somewhere beavering away on it (or not, as is most likely) which meant I couldn't go back and tinker with any of the edit. But now was a chance to try and put some of the knowledge I'd gained in the meantime back into the film.

It also gave me a chance to right a wrong involving my original edit - I'd never asked Mark, my best friend who lived on my bedroom floor for a year to shoot the film, his opinion and input into the edit, a decision which he has been upset about. Now I could go back to him and we could look at the current edit, look for any possible edit decisions (within the limited range of footage I could still use) and freshen up the film, hopefully helping the pacing of it at the same time.

This sudden burst of renewed energy for the film also coincided with Nick Gripton (once again, super talent alert at supplying me with a poster for the film, something he'd been waiting to get around to doing for over a year. I'd always expected some kinda indie schmindie type poster for the film, reflecting it's ragged roots, but Nick came up with a super slick dynamic looking poster with the thinking that the slicker it looks, hopefully the more people will want to check the film out.

I'd been waiting on a poster image for so long - I was keen to start a Facebook group dedicated to the film but didn't want to do so without having some identity for the film. With Nick's poster I was able to do that and then went scurrying into the woodwork attempting to contact as many people as possible who were involved with the film, pointing them to the Facebook group as their primary source of contact and information on the film.

With Mark being in Denmark the logistics of us getting together to discuss the edit weren't that simple, but we managed to arrane a Skype conversation and went through the first 35 minutes of the film. At times this was a painful process, as it was still hard for me to hear what was best for the film, though not best for me and my sentimentality for the film...

I've yet to put these editing thoughts into practice, having once again got bogged down in Stranded and Creak's post production (another farcical turn of events which is finally back under some degree of control) but my current hope is to have the first 7 minute episode of the film up online around April time, with the rest following monthly afterwards.

After all this time I'm still proud of the film - regardless of the technical issues I've always believed the film has entertainment value and is an incredible achievement, showing what can be done when you have a) dogged determination and youth and b) not much of a clue.

This year could be the first year in 15 that I don't have a film in post production. The prospect of being free from ongoing projects, stuck in various stages of post production, sounds absolutely wonderful to me at this moment in time, especially as my film making doubts have started niggling back into my headspace again.

Roll on into 2011...but not too fast that I don't get everything done!