Tuesday, June 30, 2009
48 HOUR RE-CAP, PART THREE: SEVEN MINUTES EARLY
Previously on the Mental Records blog: Team 7 Minutes Late had escaped from the evil clutches of the sun, completing their filming with mere moments to spare. Now, with the clock ticking, our heroes wage a battle of epic proportions against a slew of footage, in an effort to beat the clock. Will they produce a funny film before time runs out!?
AND NOW, THE THRILLING CONCLUSION!
Yeah, so Sunday didn't start out as slam-bang as that. I leisurely arrived at the Bowmans around 9AM, refreshed, with a 12 pack of Dew on hand, and prepared to finalize the editing with Scott. We had until 7:30PM that evening, and we had a lot to accomplish.
Keith and Jason were off-site, sprinkling their computer wizardry on our handful of FX shots.
A sickly Nicholas (with the assistance of his band, The Map and the Territory) worked from home on our score, the aptly titled tune, 'Hobo Picnic.'
Scott and I began working on the remainder of the rough cut. The film was in a good place, with only a few tricky scenes to edit in their entirety. A good portion of the film was cut together, though, so we were feeling pretty good. Silly us.
Chris arrived, using his extreme allergic reaction to cats as an excuse to sit on the back patio, in the glorious sun-dappled day, to compile our paperwork.
I'd like to say that there were strong disagreements and verbal battles as far as the editing is concerned, but it all went pretty smoothly. As the day wore on, though, we found ourselves glancing at the clock more frequently. Communication with Keith and Jason was tricky, but when we received the first of our FX shots - Dave holding out the sandwich in slo-mo - and proceeded to laugh riotously, we knew we were on the right track.
Morning became afternoon.
Lunch was pretzels and soda. There was no time to waste. Our post-production supervisor, the adorable Jack, was on our ass, eager for the damn film to be finished.
Jason worked tirelessly on the shot of Dave passing through Sam, finally nailing it and then driving his hog over to the Bowmans to assist with sound.
Keith continued to finish the remainder of the shots, completing our title card and end credits.
Nick, the trooper that he is, arrived with a CD of finished music.
TJ, our talented cinematographer, swooped in to sit with Scott for the color correction process.
By four o'clock, after picture had been locked and effects shots added, I found myself bouncing from person to person. Had we crossed our 'T's? Check. Dotted our...lowercase 'i's? Check.
Were we on time? No, dammit.
Six o'clock was nearing. We had told ourselves that six was our stop time, the time we would pull the plug on post and burn our final film. Well, we were just starting sound downstairs (Jason working feverishly on a second laptop), our color correction was not quite finished, and we had not rendered out a final file.
Finally, Jason rushed upstairs with our final sound track. Scott imported it, making sure it synched up.
This is always the time when I get extremely, and justifibly, anxious. With Love Me For My Mind, this was the time we found we had exported the incorrect timeline, thus making our film 7 minutes late. Hell, even with Open House, we did not anticipate the export time, and it almost cost us. But Scott assured me he had run the tests, and knew the export time.
So he converted it to standard definition (I know, ugh! More on this in a second) and set up a Quicktime data file to burn.
Jason revved up his hog, ready to Evil Knievel his ass to the drop-off point, if necessary. He had the paperwork in one hand, his helmet in the other (see, remember kids, wear a helmet), and all he needed was a DVD from Scott.
The disc ejected, and Jason shot out of the Bowman's like a bat out of Hades.
That was when we noticed something.
In the transition to standard definition from high definition, the FX shots were, well, affected. Some of them grew stuttery - not jarringly so, but enough to notice. Which brings me to one problem with the whole experience...
I know this is a competition where anyone can participate. I love that fact. Creativity can come from anywhere. And for those teams who are not as experienced with cameras and editing equipment, submitting a film in standard definition is not only the preferred choice, but the only choice. But the festival only accepts standard definition projects, a fact that is detrimental to teams who are experienced, and who have taken the time and expense to shoot their film in high definition. To not offer an alternative is frustrating, considering that each team pays to join, then pays to make their film (and rent equipment, in most cases), and then pays to come see their film screen. So the fact that the film on the big screen is not entirely representative of the hard work and effort displayed by a particular team is depressing.
Okay, okay, rant over. Stepping down from the soapbox.
We prepped a second version, a back-up version of our film, on DV tape. Jason was to wait until the last possible moment to submit, in an effort to correct our stuttery FX shots with a different entry.
I started my car. Set the GPS. Knew where I was going and when I would arrive.
Then saw Scott with his head on his desk.
Apparently, the DV transfer was creating black frames between certain edits, so he pulled the plug. We would only submit one copy. The stuttery copy.
Jason called from the drop-off point. We were in.
The film was submitted at 7:23PM.
SEVEN. MINUTES. EARLY.
I kid you not.
And that, my friends, is the long-winded behind the scenes story about the making of...
FINAL THOUGHTS: The film screened well. We got laughs in the right places. It was a strong entry. Sadly, though, it did not win the 'Audience Award' for its night, and was not asked to screen as part of the 'Best Of Minneapolis.' Oh well. There were some strong films this year. Do I think ours is as good or possibly better than some I have seen? Yes. Of course, I'm biased. We did receive a nomination for both 'Best Director' and 'Best Editing', so we have that going for us. Did the 48 Hour Film Festival showrunners inform us of our nominations? Nope. We learned that after the fact. The experience has made us a little disillusioned toward the whole process, and we have decided that in the end, we just need to make a film on our own terms, without having to cram a stilted line of dialogue into the film, or have our sound guy driving so fast that, were his motorcycle equipped with a flux capacitor, he'd be playing Johnny Be Goode at the 'Enchantment Under the Sea' dance.
Thanks to the entire cast and crew. It was a pleasure to work with all of you, and I'd gladly do it again. Whether or not you feel the same way remains to be seen.
And thanks to you, Occasional Reader, for indulging me. I will now return to my regularly scheduled blogging.
*If you haven't seen 'Ghost Beef Sandwich,' I will post the film as soon as I can.*