Looking Back On Five Months

I thought I’d take a look at the list of things I posted on my ‘to do’ list back at the end of March and see how far each of them has got.

Neg Cut
Deliver negative (ten large heavy cans), Edit Decision List (EDL) and 2x videocassettes to Neg Cutters (Andy at TrueCut)
– okay this has been done.

Get new EDL for Fate & Fortune to include shorter title sequence, phone editor to arrange
– this remains. And now Simon’s gone to LA for five months. Agggghh. Yes, I really do scream. The only contact details I have for him are an email address. He knows that I need the EDL, however.

Titles and credits
Visit graphic designer and finalise opening titles, font, layout and closing credits. Find cash.
– graphics for Last Train are complete and paid for
– graphics for Fate & Fortune are done but not shot

Requires cut negative and cash, so phone bank and arrange outrageous loan for this and various other things. Re-cost out everything on this list in Excel, then take deep breath and contact bank
– grading for Last Train is done. I see the grader again on Thursday to look at the answerprint. Once I approve that, the lab checks the sound is in sync with the pictures and then produces a print. They also will make a video copy for me. Game over!
– grading for Fate & Fortune is on hold.
– funding has been sorted out thanks to getting property revalued and remortgaged. Money should come through by the end of this month.
Sound mix
1. Last Train – done, so go to optical
2. Fate & Fortune – kick sound editor on a daily basis, whine a lot and get numbers of alternative sound editors (in hand)

– regular weekly kicking of sound postproduction people has achieved pretty much no result in five months since writing the above. Latest news is they say they might be able to do it next weekend. I have a three page list of requirements prepared to take with me. I sigh. Loudly.

Optical sound negative
1. Requires Tascam cassette (done), cut neg (in hand) and cash (bank)
2. Requires Tascam (see sound mix), cut neg (in hand) and cash (bank)

– 1. will be complete in a couple of weeks.
– 2. in limbo.

Effects and opticals
Forget it, you’re broke!
– but I now know more about opticals, what they can do and why I might want them in future.

Final print
1. Director of Photography wants Grade A 35mm print in addition to graded print. Tough, unless he’s paying. Will probably go with Super16 print only.
– funny thing, he only wanted a VHS when I phoned him last week and invited him to come along to the grading. Oh, well. Two more weeks until final print, I think and I’ll have two copies both on 35mm. Hooray!

2. DoP wants Grade A 35mm print (surprise surprise) but will go with it because I do too. Takes priority over Last Train as it’s shot on 35mm for a quality look.
– priority schmiority, it’s still awaiting EDL, sound mix, etc.

Exhibition – festivals
– thanks to various people, including friends on the internet, I have a number of contact sites to pull festival listings from. Need to start getting entry forms filled in from this week.
– also, working with production company, Whatever Pictures, who have promised to help with distribution. I think they’d better as they have a credit as Executive Producers despite providing very little so far except their name to use for discounts and insurance. Okay, so I phone them up all the time to ask for advice and help. I admit it.

Exhibition – television
– I really thought early May would be possible when I wrote that last post? Wow, I had no idea! Deadline for BBC Choice scheme has been missed as has Cannes. Need to start pulling together distributor information for elsewhere, including website links (similar to above).

Get more work!
– Well, I will have one film complete by the end of this month and can start sending that one out and about to agents. I also need to update my resume, which is all listed out in job order rather than based on my filmography to date. I can do that this week in between the TV stuff that pays the mortgage I hope. Why don’t I send out a showreel of my video work, you may ask? Good question. Mainly because I’m not satisfied with the one I’ve got and I don’t have access to material I’ve shot that I am happy with. Plus I’m trying to change direction into drama here.

I keep humming and hahing because Last Train isn’t really *my* film in the sense that I don’t feel it really reflects my sensibilities. I didn’t write it either, I just thought it would be quick and easy to make as a trial run before doing something more complicated. It was like the mutant pancake to test the heat of the griddle and the texture of the batter before pouring the real mixture out. Nevertheless, it will be done and I know it is a start.

It’s like I have two seeds, one of which is ready for planting now although the other comes from a stronger stock but isn’t in my hand yet. I don’t know how (or even if) the first new seed will grow, but I am obliged to put it in the soil and see if it takes root and whether it will bring forth any flowers. So, I embrace my dark little mutant of a movie and get ready to send it out into the world in dark batches to see if and where it germinates.

Does this seem like reasonable progress in five months?