Dust Settles At The Halfway Mark

Now I have the finished prints for Fate & Fortune and Last Train the next step, of course, is to get them screened as widely as possible. Film production is only fifty percent of the process. Exhibition is the other half, which is why film marketing budgets are so enormous.

Since the end of last week I’ve been typing up content for the website, which makes it a whole lot easier for festivals to take the publicity and other information they want. Plus I can cut and paste chunks into application forms for things. I’ve also done a bit of a redesign on the front page and will update the whole site probably over the weekend. I’ll post a link here when I’m done.

On top of that, I’ve designed publicity postcards using one of the stills from Fate & Fortune and have sent off a CD with these to the printers with an initial order for 1000. Once they’re done, they’ll be sent out on a mailing list by Whatever Pictures to 600 industry people, plus I’ve a list of agents I want to contact as well as my cast and crew–dahlings all, except a couple of pesky sound people, ptah ptah. Would it be wrong to point the finger at them and blame them for the two year delay in postproduction? Hmm.

Anyway, meanspiritedness aside (and who needs it really?) the best thing of all is that, through my producing associates at Whatever Pictures, I’ve managed to get a date for a first public screening of each film between the main features at the Curzon Cinema on Shaftesbury Avenue in London’s West End. This is quite a coup. I told the guys at Whatever and they were really pleased too.

Then we realised… The dates they’ve given me are both during Cannes fortnight. So no one would attend. Doh. Think again. I call up the cinema manager who has left for the evening. I call him the next week and he’s off. This all sounds kind of familiar don’t you think?

Meanwhile, I get VHS tapes run off and send them out to Cannes and Edinburgh to go just as fast as the postman’s little legs can run across the channel to France and then back again and up to Scotland. You can see the smoke coming from his trainers, he’s going that fast. And I ring my cast up to tell them that finally, finally, Fate & Fortune is finished. They’re all really pleased. With one exception. Norman Mitchell, who plays Flattley the Butler, died in March last year, which is just too sad.

Norman was 88 when he came out to make the film, so he had a good long life and carried on working right to the end, which is how I think most actors prefer to be. But nevertheless it would have been so nice if he could have seen how it turned out. He was such a great trooper, turning up on location early and waiting patiently without complaint, gentle words of encouragement and support throughout.

He was a veteran of the Carry On era with minor roles in all of those films and many many more. He used to send me these postcards during rehearsals and production, the fronts depicting great oil paintings of history, the backs crammed with his tiny handwriting full of praise and bonhomie. I spoke to his agent last week and she said his wife might be interested in seeing the film and I promised to send her an invite. I hope she can make it when we have a screening.

I pause to reflect. For now I know I must press ahead with filling in more festival applications and keeping the momentum going. As I say, halfway there. Can’t really stop but I can pause, look back and see the view from the summit. The rolling vistas roll majestically in my vision and I breathe the clean crisp air from up here before beginning the next leg of the journey. Ponder for a moment, then press ahead.