Finishing touches

It’s been a busy few weeks. The Etiquette edit is pretty much locked now. That’s not to say it’s been easy or that it’s even absolutely finalised. You could argue as director – when is your film ever finished? The point is that Sherilee and myself are now feeling ready to draw a line and move on with the next project.

85% of it or so came together incredibly quickly. That last 15% has completely exhausted us. Am I happy with the end result? To be fair, I find it hard to be completely objective at this point in time. The project for me was really about:

  1. Working with a larger crew.
  2. Working more with the actors and a larger cast.
  3. Using DSLR rather than HDV video.
  4. Dipping my toe into crowd-sourcing and trying to put whatever budget we had up on-screen.
  5. Seeing how I got on working with a producer.
  6. To have some fun shooting it and gain experience.

To those ends, I have to say it was pretty successful. As always, if I started again tomorrow I would probably do lots of it differently and there are still a number of things I really don’t like. But the same can be said of my last project also. This is probably just because I am too close to the film to see rationally (obsessing over the tiniest of details which most people won’t even notice, yet they will point out a bunch of things you hadn’t even considered). Within the constraints we had, I think we gave it a pretty good attempt, it’s not perfect by any means – but what is? The constraints continued right up until the very end.

As mentioned in a previous post we were frantically trying to finish this for a deadline set by Alex Babic’s agent Rob Groves. Rob holds a BAFTA screening called Shortfuse each month. Each month he gets sent a sack load of films to consider. He plays the best three or four from each month. I met with Alex over the weekend who showed me Rob’s feedback after watching one of the edits we did. He liked it, said it was quirky so asked us to send over a DVD copy for consideration next month. Fingers crossed, but no guarantee – if nothing else – we tried!

One thing the editing of this film has taught me is how different Sherilee’s editing style is to mine. We didn’t get to the stage of falling out, but it got a bit heated for one scene which had us at odds (for all 2 seconds of it). I don’t think anyone would notice – but it irked Sherilee enough to challenge it. Right or wrong, there were frankly bigger issues still to consider, so I reinstated it. Sherilee’s editorial style is slower but smoother than mine, mine tends to be more spiky. I try to cut things right back. I also don’t believe it is a bad thing to leave a few blanks for the audience to fill in so long as the core story is still simple enough to follow. Being as Sherilee is the primary editor – I didn’t want to mess too much with her style. So for those who receive a DVD copy, I’m curious to hear some feedback (and indeed I’m curious to see if you spot the scene in question – even if I have alluded it’s existence!).

So our edits have been going back and forward quite a bit, and I’m happy to say we sorted out our initial Premiere/FCP issues. In fact I was even able to import Sherilee’s edit into Premiere without incident. There are several subtle variations of the film now. One thing I am sad to report is that one of my directorial “in-jokes” didn’t make it into the “screening” version. It is in the style of the in-jokes Duncan Jones (aka. Zowie Bowie – David Bowie’s son) does for his films such as Moon and Source code. His joke is that he plays Chesney Hawkes – I am the one and only in a scene somehow (seems a rather expensive gag on paper unless he holds some special rights to use the song?). Our gag (somewhat less extravagent) was suggested by my good friend Nick Holloway. In my first film, Nick wanted to play a cameo role. When editing, I decided it was more ambiguous to never see his character’s face, being as he worked for a faceless organisation. We joked afterwards that his shoes had a bigger starring role than he did (that said he pretty much stole the entire show on the blooper roll).

Therefore it was decided that we would put his shoes in future efforts. Sadly because of timing purposes and the fact no one at the BAFTA screening knows the story behind the shoes, the decision was (painfully on my part) made to take them out. So my apologies to Nick for this, although they will be on the DVD version. Incidentally, I still have a random pair of shoes after the location shoot. If any cast/crew member is reading this and is a pair of shoes short, they may be yours!

In amongst all of the last-minute switching around in the edits, I was also doing other stuff such as sound fixing and adding the finishing touches to the credits, creating a short Baby Oak logo sequence, composing a couple of short ditties. Speaking of which – composing an hour or so before finalising your edit really gets the adrenaline going. Thankfully it all went well considering – just as well as there are days you can compose and days when you can’t! Here is a link to a track called Bumbling Trevor. Technically this is nothing too revolutionary (other than my first attempt at something a sounding a bit jazz-like). It seemed to sum up Trevor’s character well (for some reason a bassoon just seemed a natural choice for Trevor) and came together within about 10-15 minutes. I prefer this new tune to the original ditty I did for Dan’s version, but then that was more of a concept tune/blog entry.

My next step will be to start concentrating on adding some DVD features. Unfortunately I won’t be able to spend as long as I like on these as my next project Spare Change is needing some pre-production attention. Interesting the writer Gail Hackson recently entered a Filmstormers script-writing competition  with a script called Working Late. The script won with 55% of the final vote. This was the script I almost picked, but ultimately I decided to go in a different direction with Spare Change script. I wish the team behind it the very best of luck and can’t wait to see what they come up with. It should be tremendous fun to make if nothing else…

3 responses to “Finishing touches

  1. Gutted! I want my money back 😉

  2. Thanks for the shout out Andy.

    Can’t wait to see what you make of Spare Change.

  3. Honestly, I can’t wait to get started on it Gail. 🙂 I’ll get the Etiquette screening sorted – then it’s full-steam ahead. This said, the pre-production wheels are turning (albeit slowly) now…

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