Tuesday, January 29, 2008

Staying Upright

Sorry there was no blog last week. There likely won't be one next week either. Criminal, I know.

Women's Studies has really become a full time job again over the past couple of weeks. I feel a little like I'm skiing ahead of an avalanche. No thoughts of fancy tricks or reaching the end of the slope. All energy is focused on simply staying upright.

There's not a whole lot I really feel like talking about. It's all minutia, technical hiccups, and trying to stay on deadlines that seem to be constantly shifting. Things I thought were figured out aren't. Things I though were set in stone turn fluid in an instant.

A movie is a fickle thing. You think you have it and then you step away and all of sudden, it's not right. Then you think you get it right again and send out for someone else to work on, and that someone else goes, "Are you sure?" Then you remind yourself, "Doubt is the enemy." But so is over-confidence. It's a high wire act on a very thin line.

I feel a little too close to the movie these days, but I don't really feel like I have the time or luxury to step away. Of course, next week I'm being forced to step away. I'm leaving to bike a hundred miles down Key West come Saturday. Plans for the trip were made months ago, but I feel like the timing is just awful. My baby needs me, and I'm basically going on vacation.

Right now, I'm trying to get everything to a point where I can leave and the project won't implode, or worse, stop.

No fancy tricks. Don't even think about the end. Just stay upright.

Tuesday, January 15, 2008

A Turning Point

I've been working on this movie all day today. I'm talking the whole friggin' day. I got up at 7:30am, took a bike ride, ran a couple errands, and by 11:00am was sitting in my office doing all I can to get Women's Studies to the people.

It was a good day. I got a lot done. In fact, once I get through this blog, I'll have hit everything on my "to-do" list for today. That's good too, because I have a feeling the next couple weeks are going to bring A LOT of new items for that list.

See, production reached a turning point today. Our first "picture-lock" scene was released to sound, music, and color about an hour before I wrote this. It's a nice little milestone. I took a moment to sit back and enjoy the accomplishment.

Only a moment, mind you.

Up until now, post has been almost exclusively editor Jim McGivney and I. Ours were the only schedules I needed to be concerned with, and the only needs I had to be aware of. Oh, sure I was fielding music from Ryan Sayward, talking process with Sound Guru Sean Russell, and discussing color balance/correction with DP Aaron Shirley. However, as of today they're down in the trenches with Jim and I.

It's taken a lot of willpower to make this movie happen and it'll take more before all is said and done. The journey to finishing this film is VERY far from over. I'm sure parts of it won't be pretty either.

But hey, at least Jim and I aren't alone anymore.

Wednesday, January 09, 2008

Chaos Precedes Transformation

The blog is late because of Melisa Breiner-Sanders. It is 100% her fault that I didn't get it done on time. I encourage you to go to www.melisabs.com, watch her demo reel, and then flood her email with complaints about how her behavior is jeopardizing the production of Women's Studies.

Jim McGivney on the other hand is a rock star. Right now, he's chest deep in the scary world of frame rate conversion, Panasonic's proprietary 24p bullshit, and hard drive space finagling. To boot, He's flying solo on all of this. We unfortunately don't have the resources to get him a proper assistant to help with not only the crazy HD workflow, but also handle all the administrative paperwork as well as the dozens of tiny little things I keep asking of him. Jim's a pro though, so all is good.

I've made it a point not to bother him this week unless absolutely necessary. Oh sure, we BS-ed about Joe Gibbs retiring from the Redskins and the primaries. That aside, I've tried to leave him to work through it in his own way. I've been there, in that place where no one can do anything but offer encouragement. His time of chaos will be a bit shorter than mine was, but I imagine it's just as intense if not more. Jim's frustrations with the the process mirror my own during production. There were times while shooting when I was so caught up in the minutia and technical details of the process, I lost sight of what I was working towards.

Looking back on it, I realize that moment of confusion is a necessary part of the creative process. It's kind of a cliché, but "chaos precedes transformation." I believe you have to lose yourself in the journey to the point where you can't see the path. And once you're lost, you have to dig deep into yourself and find what it takes within you to make it through.

Jim, if you're reading this, I'm very positive about the work you've done so far. Hang in there, buddy. You're almost to the good part.

Tuesday, January 01, 2008

Out With the Old, In With The New

Happy New Year!

While I'd rather look forward to the year ahead than the one that was, I've thought a lot recently about 2007. It's been a life-altering year. This time last year, I was wondering if Women's Studies was even going to be able to happen. A year later, the film is in the can being edited. It's crazy. Deacades from now, when I look back on 2007, it will ALWAYS be the year I made "that crazy horror movie." And I'll look back on it with fondness, laughter, and a great sense of accomplishment.

I have a lot of good memories of the production, the people, and the even the problems. In recent weeks, I've found myself laughing at situations and events that at the time they were occurring, I never dreamed I would EVER find funny. "Distance lends perspective," the prolific but mysterious "they" say. It gives you the ability to see the whys and wherefores of the chaos.

While 2007 was the year cast and crew shot Women's Studies, 2008 is the year we'll finish and release the movie. I'm very excited about the opportunity to show people what we've done. There's still a great amount of work to be completed in order to get there, but this will be the year it happens. There's a real joy to that thought, that after what will be almost two years of work, we'll finally be able to show people what we've done.

2008 is here! The year of Women's Studies! May it bring happiness, success, and growth to everyone.