Make It Happen

Film Producing in Wales

Archive for the ‘Post-Production’ Category

Five Completely Unrelated Pieces of Information

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I haven’t had time to update this week, and as of tomorrow I’ll be offline for a while, so here’s a short post to keep the blog awake.

  • Screenwriters take note – if you have a feature screenplay, you’ve got a few days before the deadline of Final Draft’s Big Break contest, and if you have a TV script, then there’s a few weeks to polish it before the Peter Ustinov deadline.
  • Hollywood is awash with superhero films at the moment, but here‘s a trailer for one you won’t be seeing in cinemas, or anywhere else for that matter.  Digital is making anything possible.
  • From Hollywood to Wales, for Shannen Doherty at least.  Good luck to the Welsh filmmakers behind this – this project has been around for a while and it looks like it’s getting off the ground.
  • The Film Agency for Wales is still looking for applications to co-finance a short film scheme in Wales.  They have £50k on offer – I don’t know if they’ve had (m)any tenders, but let’s hope so, as Wales needs more than just It’s My Shout for short film directors to find their voice.

I’ll be back next week.

If We Knew What We Were Doing, It Wouldn’t Be Called Research

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Back with Avoiding Christian Bale, and we held our third and (most likely) final test screening this week – I definitely think it’s a better cut than the one we had at the previous screening. Bosses from Boomerang were there, which was a little nerve wracking as it was the first time they’d seen the film, and as they’re the ones who put the money into it, we want them to be happy with it. Vivien will soon be moving to Spain to take part in the Media Business School’s Mega Plus programme, so I’ll be running things at this end for a while on the film, but the majority of the work behind the scenes is done now. Distribution-wise, we’ve had interest from sales agents and distributors, but until we complete the film there’s not much more to do there.

ACBstill

As with previous screenings, the majority of people we chose to attend the screening were members of our target audience – people aged 18-30 who have graduated from university or are still studying. People aged between 15 and 34 make up 59% of the cinema audience in the UK (some info on this is here), and fairly recent research suggests that 37% of people aged between 25 and 34 in the UK have graduated from university. This suggests to me that an awful lot of cinema goers in the UK can relate to the student experience, and seeing as our film is firmly entrenched in that culture, we should have a market to aim for.

What this also leads to me wonder is why we don’t have a thriving ‘college movie’ genre in this country. Despite being pretty hard to watch, the 2007 British comedy I Want Candy actually grossed £730,452 theatrically in the UK after opening on 250 screens, so there’s a recent example of the genre working successfully here. So why don’t we have more of these films being produced here?

You Just Can’t Stay Seventeen Forever

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’17’ is finished. The short film that I shot back in September 2007 has now been completed, and I’m about to run off a load of DVDs to send out to the cast & crew, along with my thanks for their patience. I’m sure a lot of them had written off the prospects of seeing this film a long time ago.

The online & grade in Mwnci went as smoothly as I could have hoped, unfortunately Jamie couldn’t make it and so I took Matt with me. There were a lot of problems of our own making, ranging from missing footage to incorrect timecode (and everything in between), but Al did a fantastic job with the grade – the film now looks as bleak as its dramatic content. It’s a tough film to watch, but hopefully for the right reasons. There’s kids getting up to some pretty nasty things, it’s no American Graffiti.

There’s obviously things in the film that I would change, but considering we completed it nineteen months after we shot it, I’m very happy with the final result. A lot of the plot is based around happy slapping, and while we’ve lost an element of topicality as these days it’s knife crime that occupies British youth, it’s still a relevant parable on the cycle of violence that asks questions about today’s society.

The picture is of Christopher Conway, the lead in the film, taken by our stills photographer Garfield Richards. Chris did a fantastic job alongside Sean Bridgeman, Erin Richards and other great young actors we met at Atsli Casting. There’s also a strong performance from Gavin & Stacey’s Margaret John, in a role that’s in huge contrast to her recent TV comedy appearances, opposite Cardiff theatre legend Michael Kelligan, both of whom were an absolute pleasure to work with.

Some stills from the film soon. I’m off to copy some DVDs and finish typing in the information into shortfilmdepot.

Paying Peanuts, But Getting Mwnci

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The line up for the films in competition at Cannes was announced today. I don’t think I’ll make it to Cannes this year – I was lucky enough to have my two previous trips paid for, the first after winning a pitch competition at the Screen Academy and then last year’s trip paid by CYFLE as part of my film traineeship. I never took too much notice of the films in competition in honesty – I was more interested in checking out the market, the pavilions and the various events that go on. Anyway, this year’s competition sees entries from respected Europeans including Pedro and Ken, and also the latest from Quentin – let’s hope it’s a return to form after the miserable Death Proof, which had only one scene that I’d consider vintage Tarantino. The full list of competition films is out there if you google.

Next week, I’ll be at Mwnci in Cardiff for the online edit and grade of my short film ’17’, a revenge tale set in a tough South Wales neighbourhood. Time has flown – we actually shot the film in September 2007, but the week following the shoot was my first week as a CYFLE trainee, and I’ve worked solidly since, so getting the time to finish the film has been difficult. Jamie (the writer/director) moved to London soon after the offline edit (he’s currently working on this), and we didn’t actually have the money raised to finish the film until August 2008, thanks to a bursary from the Screen Academy Wales. Kate @ Mwnci has shown us a great amount of support and I’m truly grateful.

We did have time to complete the sound mix late last year, thanks to a great deal from Curig Huws at Streetlevel Studios. I can’t recommend Curig’s services for your audio post-production highly enough, he’s more than happy to advise you on what you might need and how to make your budget work for you. If you’ve got a short in the works, give him a ring.

So, this time next week, I should have the short completed in glorious HD. Then we hit the festivals – we’re too late for Cannes now, but there’s lots more coming up.

My, What a Gripping Life You Do Lead

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Not much point talking Oscars, as everyone has said everything that needs saying by now. Obviously, well done to Christian Colson and everyone involved in the success of his film.

I’ve been a bit slack on the blog front recently, though not as slack as Freeth, who incidentally has just posted his monthly update. I want to try and post more opinion and less ‘diary’ type entries on this blog, and will make an effort to do so – I’m trying to find the balance really. As per usual, it’s been another busy week, but I have found the time to test out another social networking tool – twitter. I’m not sure how useful it will be for me as yet, but feel free to let me know what you think as I haven’t really sussed it out.

Things are really getting going with the musical, and we’re currently looking for locations as one location will be pivotal to the story, while the workshops are continuing and the casting process is on the way. We’ve brought in Steven Harris, a choreographer from London with a lot of West End & touring experience, and he’s been putting the kids through their paces. Those who don’t make it into the production should have benefited a lot from working with Steve.

My application for the Engage programme was rejected. I asked for feedback and got no response. They’re either very busy, or avid blog readers who have me pegged as a male chauvinist pig.

I’ve also been tidying up some paperwork on Avoiding Christian Bale, whilst the rough cut is being reviewed ready for the next stage.

I’m hoping to bring some news of the short film I shot with ‘award-winning director’ Jamie Bolton back in september 2007, as it looks like we will be grading it in glorious HD soon. It will be fantastic to finally have the film finished and start submitting it to festivals – it’s been a long, drawn out process mostly due to my work commitments, and Jamie moving to London to work for Working Title. Of course, congratulations are due to Jamie and ACB director Paul Howard Allen, as the short film ‘Triple Word’ (they co-directed) won the Best Post Graduate Fiction award at this year’s Ffresh festival.

That’s my week in words.

New Year’s Revolution

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Back in the office after the Christmas break. I now have an A4 length ‘To Do List’ to contend with, but it feels good to look at all the possibilities for 2009.

2008 was a varied year for me, and I learned a lot. I started off the year a third of the way through my Cyfle traineeship, and started working at the Wales Screen Commission. Before long, I was working on Caerdydd at Fiction Factory (I wrote the English language text on the Caerdydd site among other things), then Herio’r Ddraig at Calon and on the Pleasure Park short for It’s My Shout. I also had a few weeks on a feature called ‘Ours’ with Steve Sullivan, which was frankly a disaster for me. Hopefully it wasn’t so bad for everyone else who was working on it.

I also managed another trip out to Cannes and some office work at Boom Films before completing my traineeship and taking a full-time job here at Tornado. December was spent shooting Avoiding Christian Bale (web site coming soon), my first film in a producer’s role. When I was sat in the Screen Commission pixellating dogs’ heads, I didn’t think I’d be able to say that by the end of the year.

My only real disappointment of the year was not meeting Scarlett Johansson, and of course Cardiff City losing in the FA Cup final.

My single resolution for the new year is to try and learn as much in ’09 as I did in ’08. I’m not entirely sure that it really counts as a resolution. I’m not going to bother with a crash diet or anything like that.

2009 is the year of the digital revolution. We’ll be shooting a feature on our new camera over the summer, and we’ve got lots of other plans which will be announced soon if everything works out well. Post on ‘ACB’ is already in full swing, workshops for the musical are about to start and we’ve got fingers, pies, irons and fires coming out of our ears.  Now there’s a cocktail of metaphors.

Happy New Year. Have a great 2009.