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Sunday, 12 August 2007
48 Hours: Hours 28 to 48...and beyond!
Topic: Makin' Movies

Sunday (continued from Saturday's entry)

2-something a.m.: A knock at the door. Brendan delivers a hard drive with all the footage from yesterday’s shoot captured and catalogued.

Sleep resumes.

6 a.m.: Scott is up and starting to work on the rough cut.  He send the shot that needs a big visual effect to the effect house NEO f/x so they can get started. There’s no way I can really help at this point, so I bury my head under the blankets and sleep more.

12:30 p.m.: The rough cut is done and sent out for comment and review. Ben Jasmine down in Monterey, CA, will be doing music for the title and the opening action cue.

Sometime in the afternoon: Lots of tweaks. I hover nears Scott’s shoulder and make lots of suggestions about tweaking the edit.  The film has to be no more then 7 minutes long (minus credit roll), and the rough cut was about 8. Scott worries that we’ll have to whack a lot out. I suggest we just methodically go through it shot by shot and “let the air out” wherever possible, meaning tightening the edit, trimming pauses between lines, shortening reaction shots, etc. 10 frames here, 20 frames there, it all adds up.  Before long the edit is down to 6:58... 2 seconds to spare!

NEO f/x delivers the first version of the effect where Solar-Man and Ice Meister throw their powers at each other and the beams meet and cancel each other out.  The effect looks good, but it feels a little pasted on.  I tell Scott it needs a little interactive lighting, and suggest that the effects guys cast a glow on the ground below the beams, “as if there’s a neon pole between them, casting a glow on the sidewalk”.

2ish: I need to eat something, but Scott’s not about to take a break, so I take a walk, find a pub and get a big salad and some beer. I try to clear my head of everything that’s happened since Friday night so that when I return to Scott’s I’m looking at the film with fresh eyes and able to make suggestions that’ll really help.

3:30 p.m.: Kelly comes by and bring us donuts, to make sure we’ve eaten. Scott barely nibbles at his.  She laughs at the edit, which is encouraging. She comments on the line “Do you really think your henchmen are going to take you seriously once they find out you’re Sister <snap> Freeze? <snap>” and says we should have done “you’re an Ice <snap> Queen? <snap>” We get a laugh out of’s only that we were in such a hurry that we missed out on the joke that our leads are an Ice Queen (Ice Meister) and a Flaming Queen (Solar-Man). Still, I’m glad we got “Sister Freeze” in because it’s not an obvious a cliché. Plus it’s a play on a Batman villain’s name.

Late afternoon: NEO f/x delivers a revised version of the energy blast and it looks great. Not only did they get the glow on the ground that I requested, but they added a little explosive blast when the beams finish, followed by a drifting puff of smoke that forms a roughly heart shape as it rises. Scott and I both love it, and he says it’s too bad we can’t use the puff of smoke. I encourage him to tweak the edit to get it in there, because it’s the kind of little touch that buttons off the action in a way we need.  He does. It’s great.

Ben delivers a great action cue for the opening scene, but Scott is a little perplexed by the music. He said he asked for something that sounds Batman-esque, but I point out that Ben probably thought he meant Batman circa 1989 with the Danny Elfman score, not Batman circa 1966 with a jazzy Nelson Riddle score. We got the former, but it works fine. Ben also sends over music for the nightclub scenes. One piece is used as a loop in the first nightclub scene, and the longer one is played under a later scene. The first one sounds awkward when it loops, but by the time Ben delivers a revised non-looping version time’s running short and it’s dangerous to start monkeying with the soundtrack, so the looped version stays.

6:30 p.m.: Closing in on the deadline. I start pulling all the paperwork together, and then notice that not all of the forms are properly filled out. Each person on the set had to sign a liability waiver, and anyone who appeared on camera had to sign a release form, only I can’t account for them all.  It takes a while to sort this out.

Scott scrambles to get the credit roll done, and it’s sloppy and somewhat erroneous, but we’re out of time.

9:30 p.m.: I’d like to say we rushed out the door and delivered the film just in the nick of time (whoever "Nick" is), but we run into a snag. Scott can’t get the film to output back to the camera so it can be recorded on tape. He’s never tried this before with this camera (which shoots at 24 fps instead of 30), and it’s not working.  Ultimately, it turns out that the switch that puts the camera into VTR mode isn’t obvious, and Scott’s got a few settings wrong in the editing software, but it puts us into a position where it’s not going to be possible to get the film output in time to get it over to the competition by the 7:30 p.m. deadline. Scott burns a data DVD of the film instead, but it pushes us over the deadline. If we get the film in before 9:30 p.m. we’ll still qualify to be screened and have an opportunity to be voted on for an Audience Favorite award, but we won’t qualify for all the other awards for best directing, acting, screenplay, etc. 

Scott is devastated. He feels like he let everyone down. I remind him that a finished film can be entered in other festivals, so there will be other chances to be recognized.

The film is delivered, and it’s over.

Wow, I’m tired...but I can honestly say I haven’t had this much fun in...well, maybe ever.

Posted by molyneaux at 12:01 AM PDT
Updated: Tuesday, 19 May 2009 10:53 PM PDT
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