Wednesday, April 30, 2008

One Month Away . . .

Tomorrow is May 1, meaning the post-production crew and I are basically one month away from our deadline for having Women's Studies completely done.

The past two weeks have been almost as busy as the shooting schedule. I've split my time between recording ADR in the studio with Post Sound Super Sean Russell, meeting with Colorist Aaron Shirley about color correction and VFX, and trading emails with Composer Ryan Sayward about music.

Next week Co-Producer Cindy Marie Martin and I start planning for the "post June 2" schedule of festival and review submissions. Cindy will focus on that more than me as I'll be once again splitting my time between Sean, Aaron and Ryan as we near the finish line.

It's exciting, but also a whirlwind. I hardly have time to sleep. Then again, so what? I can sleep in June . . . snuggling a finished movie.

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

ADR Scripts + Melisa Breiner-Sanders = Hell

If there's a hell, it's an eternity of writing ADR (Automated Dialogue Replacement) scripts while Melisa Breiner-Sanders stands next to me yelling in a shrill voice, "Where's the blog? Where's the blog? Where's the blog? Where's the blog? Where's the blog?"

Why does Melisa get mentioned so much on the blog? Because she hounds me like she's Ahab and I'm a big white whale. Seriously. She makes Dave Letterman's stalker look as normal as Donna Reed. I'd have her IP address banned from my email, but I'm afraid she'll show up at my house.

(And really, all my mentioning her does is feed the fire of her (self)obsession. I keep telling her that my beastly sexual prowess she finds so irresistible is merely a freak genetic accident and she's going to have to learn to resist it. But you know, she's totally fucking psycho.)

Anyway . . . what is an ADR script, you ask? Well, it looks like this:

(Click to enlarge.)
Women's Studies

Basically, the actor uses this script to loop lines that had something goofy in the production audio like airplanes or air conditioners. Or maybe the dialogue didn't come through loud enough because the sound guy was forced to put his mic a hundred yards away to keep it out of the shot. Or maybe I just want to alter the delivery because on set the actor was too busy trying to sleep with everyone regardless of gender instead of focusing on their performance, though I won't mention names. *coughMelisacough*

ADR scripts are pretty tedious to write, especially at this point in production when I've literally seen Women's Studies almost a hundred times. I hope I don't sound like I'm bitching. (Though I'm sure I do.) I actually like posting sound quite a bit. Writing ADR scripts is just more busy work than creative expression.

They're vitally important though. Having scripts with proper time code and scenes makes the process go so much quicker. We don't have to waste time figuring out where the right cue we need is. We can instead focus on picking a drunk Melisa up off the floor and trying to get her to say, "You can't make men into the enemy," without slurring.

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A quick side note:

I read a great piece recently by Lexi Alexander, director of the upcoming Punisher 2 in which she talks about how all her blogs have to go through studio approval. Basically, she doesn't post them very often because she "writes like shit when [she's] being censored."

While I'm sure any studio that might think about hiring me will look at this blog and run in the other direction, I'd like to make two points.

First, I would never publicly talk shit about anybody I worked with unless I was joking. I'm not that stupid, and I wouldn't want six ugly cheerleaders to kidnap and beat the shit out of me. (Melisa of course is the exception. I'm deadly serious that she's crazy and she scares me. I can't prove it, but when I'm dead you'll know I was right.)

Secondly, People don't just want a rosy view of filmmaking or the world for that matter. I went through a brief period when I tried to make everything on the blog happy and wonderful. But you know, sometimes life isn't that way. Sometimes, you're stuck doing tedious work that you don't really enjoy. Sometimes, you even get confused and forget why you're doing something and think you want to quit.

It doesn't mean you don't love what you do OR believe in the project you're working on. I refer you back to my mantra: Nothing worth doing is easy. I think it's the hard stuff people want to hear about. It reminds them that there are other people out there who deal with life's little hiccups.

And crazy stalker actresses.

Tuesday, April 08, 2008

Persistence of Vision


The past week has been a level of intensity I can't even begin to describe. I had always said that the recent Horrorfind Weekend would be the coming out party for Women's Studies. However, I had no idea that things would rev up as they had.

It's good though. The light at the end of the tunnel, once just a faint glimmer, gets brighter and brighter with each passing day. Well, that might be an overstatement, but at least I can see the end ahead of me.

First off, the big news: As of earlier today, Women's Studies is picture-locked, which means the video is as it will always be. Hats off to Editor Jim McGivney who has spent the past four months (Nine if you count the "rushes" he edited while we were shooting) putting this thing together for me. He's worked his ass off and I'm damn proud of him. Special mention goes to Cindy Marie Martin who was really a driving force behind the last few editing sessions.

The specs? Women's Studies clocks in at almost exactly 100 minutes, not counting the end credits. (Those will probably add about two minutes to the running time.) That was our target length all along and while Jim and I had to cut a couple of my favorite scenes to get there, I think the right choices were made. The eventual DVD will have eleven deleted scenes ranging from ten seconds to three minutes.

Next up is sound editing and music. I'm not going to spend any time talking about it right now. (Trust me. You'll hear more about it than you ever dreamed over the next seven weeks.)

We've basically got 53 days from the time of this writing to finish the film. That's a ridiculously short amount of time to color-correct and post sound for a feature length film. Should be fun, right? Right?!?

You've seen the new trailer for Women's Studies, haven't you?

We premiered it at Horrorfind Weekend last weekend to a pretty enthusiastic crowd. At least they seemed to ask all the right questions, so I got the impression they were interested. The response to the online trailer has been pretty positive. We even got a couple film festival invites out of it. (No, I'm not saying where. More on festivals come June.) I have high hopes this film will find it's audience.

Once we get it finished, of course. Let's not put the cart before the horse.

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Just about everybody who knows me knows that George A. Romero is pretty much my filmmaking hero. I'm not exactly sure when it happened. I rediscovered his zombie "trilogy" about ten years ago. (That's back when it was still a trilogy.) That was right around the same time that my mind really started to shift from just writing scripts to actually making movies.

The admirable thing about Romero that has always struck me is his fierce individuality and independence. He makes the movies he wants to make. Yet, it's not out of stubbornness, but rather a persistence of vision which is awe-inspiring. He gets what he's doing, and I think a lot of filmmakers don't. They just feel their way through the process hoping to make the "big time," whatever the hell that is. Hell, I might even be one of them as much as I like to think otherwise.

Romero's persistence of vision and ability to be present is what I aspire to. His indefinable type of filmmaker is the kind I want to be.

Anyway, I got to meet Romero in the flesh during Horrorfind Weekend. We didn't talk long, only about five minutes, but he was present the entire time. We talked about his Season of the Witch a film I think is highly underrated and one he would like to remake. We talked about Women's Studies and working with Judith O'Dea. We even for the briefest of moments talked about our worldviews which was pretty cool. The whole time, he was present. He was talking not just to me but with me.

It was a pretty huge moment for me, one that's going to see me through to the end of the Women's Studies process. Hell, I might even find me some big assed trademark glasses to wear when it's all said and done.

Women's Studies

Tuesday, April 01, 2008

New Women's Studies Trailer Online!

You don't care what I have to say, do you? It's the new Women's Studies trailer!

(***I know. I've missed a bunch of blogs. Getting this movie where it needs to be has been absolutely insane. Next week, I'll catch you folks up on the trailer, the movie, Horrorfind Weekend, and meeting George A. Romero!***)