When All Else Fails

I thought it was time for an update on With A Little Help From Our Friends and how it’s going in post production. I’ve had a couple of people ask me about it, so thought I’d give you guys some updates on where we’re at.

The cut is picture locked. This means that there will be no more edits to…well…the pictures. It was a bit long so I, with a slightly heavy heart, cut a few sections and the running time is down to around six minutes, which I think is a good length for a comedy short film. The sound is locked too, I just need to track down some credit music to run over the end of the film. I’ve been trying to hunt out a colour grader for the past few months and, after a couple have fallen through, I’m going to try to do a basic colour grade myself. If anyone knows anyone else who might be interested in helping out, any suggestions would be much appreciated!

It is tough going when you don’t have much incentive for people other than a great project and showreel material. It’s even tougher when you have to rely on other people to get your film finished and they don’t come through so that things drag for months and months. It is, unfortunately, the nature of the beast in some ways when you’re working with friends of friends on a favour.

So, when all else fails, it’s good to have the skills to do the job yourself.

I’m not suggesting that you become an expert in every single aspect of filmmaking. But I’ve found that a small amount of knowledge of the other areas of the job really helps for cohesion when you’re working together. I’ve worked in lighting departments before, so I know the simple things like don’t ever touch the lights. EVER. I’ve had great DOPs who were willing to teach me little bits and pieces about white balancing and focus pulling. I’ve cut several projects before so I know that sometimes the best way to get things done is to give your editor an idea and a deadline and let them work themselves.

That’s not to say if my DOP pulled out, I’d immediately step behind the camera. Not at all. But if his camera assistant was still there and wanted to have a shot, I’d be happy to let them try and work closely with them to make sure they were across everything (which they usually are. Camera assistants generally rock).

So, with slight trepidation, I’m going to attempt to do a basic grade on the film this week to get it properly locked before going on to hunt out music.

Wish me luck!

(Seriously though, if you know someone who might be interested in helping out, I’d love to have a chat.)

Post Production Update!

Sorry for the delay on the blog post over the past fortnight. I could regale you with reasons why I haven’t managed to write anything but that would waste perfectly good time when I could be telling you about all sorts of fun stuff that’s been happening with the ‘With A Little Help From Our Friends’ edit!

We are getting much closer to a picture locked cut. We’ve got to a point where it’s cut to the script (and even cut a little shorter than that), but we’re concerned that the running time is too long (and, yes, you can call seven and a half minutes too long). So I’m waiting on feedback from a few more people and then really looking at what we can take out structurally that won’t hinder the overall story.

I’ve got a sound designer doing a mix on the sound – as we’re not putting anything back in and only taking things out from here on in, I don’t feel like this is a waste of time. I know that it sometimes can be, to send a sound designer an unlocked cut, but when he gets back to you and tells you he’s got two days to work his magic, you don’t say no.

The next step is colour grading, which I’m not one hundred percent sure how we’ll tackle yet and, obviously, getting the cut locked. It’s definitely not too far away at all and it’s been a fantastic learning curve – particularly in how hard comedy is to make! So much depends on timing and every single person in frame acting all the time (you’ll be surprised how often a joke falls flat because one extra in the background isn’t giving the right reaction. Luckily this didn’t happen for us as we couldn’t afford extras, but I have definitely seen it happen). And, of course, the timing of the jokes in the edit can effect it enormously.

In other news, I’ve been asked to read the entries for the London Screenwriters’ Festival’s free script and filmmaking competition: 50 Kisses. Write a two minute script or make a two minute film and you could have your film premiered in a London cinema on Valentine’s Day 2013!

Off to watch the edit again. What to cut?