The Name Of The Beast

The name of the beast is film making. It sounds like a series of phone calls where you discover one reason after another why your project can’t be completed right now, or even this week, maybe next week. Maybe never.

Ring ring: sound studios, rerecording mixer. Has got telecined tape. At the right frame rate. Hasn’t been able to prepare yet. Should be able to get a studio one evening this week.

Ring ring: laboratory, account manager. DP has been in and sat through a projection of the answer print with the grader. They’ve made copious notes. If the sound is with them by Monday morning, then should have a final print and telecine to master tape by Friday next. The grader is away until Friday this week anyway so wouldn’t be able to do anything before then.

So far so good-ish.

Bad: account manager pauses. “This project was originally booked in through Whatever Pictures wasn’t it? Under their account?” “Yes. Yes it was. But it’s my personal project and I’m paying for it.” “Well, I only mention it because Whatever has an outstanding amount owing to us which they haven’t paid and there’s a possibility, a very slight possibility, that we might not be able to release the neg if money is owing against it.” (Imagine my face at this moment.) “Well, I’ve paid for the developing, through Whatever but they should have just sent the cheque straight to you so I don’t see a problem.” “There shouldn’t be but I just thought I’d better point it out.”

Bad bad bad.

Ring ring: director of photography, just come in the door from a shoot in India. Yes, he’s made notes with the grader. I tell him the print should be ready next week and we’ll do a graded telecine to get it off in time for the Cannes deadline. Oh, he says, I’m flying out again on Sunday. Where are you going? Australia. For two weeks. Making a holiday programme for TV. Well, I’ll just have to get it done without you otherwise it’s never going to get anywhere but we’ll meet up and compare notes.

Now I need to call the people who will make the sound negative and the guy with a telecine suite. And Whatever Pictures.

It never ends.