Monday, 29 April 2013
Cold and it's 98.46 % completion, or something
It's been hard to write about Cold until it's almost finished. I did originally say that I would post regular updates charting the film's progress, and I haven't exactly followed through on that, but for those of you who have been asking and patiently waiting for some form of progress report, I will claim a form of temporary anti-blogging madness.
It's been quite a journey to bring Cold this far, and I'm actually a little overwhelmed at how it has gone and how it managed to get here thus far. At this present moment, the time of writing as it's appropriate to say, the film is about 98% complete. The film has been written, organised, shot, dragged through post production, edited, re-edited, re-re-edited, had a sound design, been graded, been re-edited, had a score written, then been graded again, and had the sound design and final sound mix completed. Now all that is left is for the final sound mix to be synched up with the final image and then for the credit sequences to be designed with some little VFX shots. Then of course, we have the trailer, the posters, the marketing promotional materials, the festival circuit to navigate, the right distributors to excite, the festivals, the screenings, the cinema.....oh dear.....
This blog is interspersed with random stills of behind the scenes. There is no coherent pattern. Just so you're aware.
There is a massive amount of work that goes into making a film, that is making a film in the correct manner. Previously I have done the vast majority of the film's workload myself, from making the actual film to the editing and grading and sound mix, with the exception of the music, as my good compadre Kevin Whyms, and the lads from Evora, namely Alan Rickard have always created and provided exceptional music. This film is very different, I got the pleasure of working with a wonderful editor in Vicky Tooms, who painstakingly spent over 3 months editing the film's scenes to a tea, and you would be surprised (if you have never been involved in a film's process), how much of a difference an extra second or two of a look, or an extra line, or removing a line, or speeding up a scene, can make. In the context of a 90 minute film all these tiny subtle differences add up to something huge. Vicky put her heart and soul into the film to the point that I think she may know the film as well if not better than I do at this stage, and together I think we created an edit which is pretty much as perfect as it can be for this film. It took a while, we went through some early edits that were over 2 hours and 20 minutes long, and after some test screenings (more on these later), we managed to get the right pacing and balance within the film and cut it down to just shy of 85 minutes. The remarkable thing is that initially I was aggressively opposed to the idea of cutting certain scenes, such as one of my favourite ones with myself and Tom, and a whole entire plot strand with a wonderful actor and dear friend, and other scenes and actors and friends and musicians who did me a huge favour in the first place, but once they were cut the film took shape and you wondered how they might have actually fit in to the story in the first place. Which means that we found the right balance. I did have to make hard decisions, and there is over 60 minutes of film and scenes that is simply not in the film, so I will find a way of getting them onto the deleted scenes. Anyway, I have digressed again. Vicky did a remarkable job, and so a few days ago when I showed her the final film with grade and sound mix she was blown away and ecstatic with joy, which was a huge relief as she had not seen the last 7 weeks of work since she let go of her edit and passed if on to the sound, music and colour grading....
The wonderful thing about making films in my experience, and this one has been no exception, although it has been the most enjoyable project that I have ever had the fortune to make, is the people you meet, work with and become friends with. I never knew Vicky, the editor, Ian Di Bri, the colour grader and post production man of extraordinary capabilities, and Nicolas Paul aka Chips who has done such a remarkable job on the sound design.
It is at this point that I have begun to realise that this blog is in danger of becoming a eulogy to those involved in making the film so if that holds no interest for you then I suggest that you skip to the last paragraph, have a gander at a few photos and watch myself and Tom's little video. I will judge you eternally if you do that however. So don't.
Ian, has now become a good friend of mine, he doesn't know it yet of course, and he may disagree but he's actually not a bad bloke and grows on you like a solid stale pint of lager. You just don't quite realise how much you actually enjoy it even though you fight it a little. Ian has done a wicked job on the colouring of Cold, adjusting the aspect ratio, and all in all polishing the film until it actually looks like a film, and without his expertise the film simply wouldn't be what it is. It helps that he listens to me sometimes, or least pretends to. Either way we seem to get on well enough and with his help the film now looks like the beautiful piece of art that I think it should be, and hopefully is. I think so anyway, and that's all that matters. Seriously.
The score. The music. I don't know what to say about it actually, I just want to post one of the songs, or even 30 seconds of it, which I maybe will do just for the Cold Supporters, because Kevin Whyms has created a truly exceptional soundtrack. I mean this with absolutely no exaggeration. When we were editing the film we found it very difficult to find the right temporary music that would fit the tone of this film as it veers from beauty to violence, to mystery, to sadness, to fear, to intrigue, to cold blooded disdain mixed with deep love. So finding the appropriate musical score was, suffice to say, fucking hard. I had planned on using much of Evora's new album, which is a work of art itself, but once Kevin began writing, the entire tone changed. We re-edited sections of the film based on his music such was it's power and beauty. He has created a film score that really has to be heard to appreciate how good it is, and as always I am indebted to his genius. Maybe I will put up a little something for you guys soon....Of course in addition to his music, there are the best songs from Evora there too, which will hit the spot....just wait.
It is the sound design which I am most excited about however. I had never met 'Chips' before, despite the fact that he worked on Merlin doing the sound design for the last few years. It's a strange quirk of acting that you never actually really mingle or meet the post production side of the screen, which is actually the biggest part of it. Once the filming has been done the hard work really begins. So in a bizarre twist of fate I was drawn to Chips via his wonderful wife, Carmen, who found me on twitter. We began communicating on blogs and eventually I gave her the script, she loved it, brought Chips on board, who thankfully also loved it, and so began a journey that began with me meeting the two of them for the first time last Autumn for a drink - myself and Carmen had only ever spoken on email or twitter up to that point - and culminated in a final sound mixing session in a studio in Soho last friday. It really is remarkable when you think of it like that, and for me that epitomises how this film has come to fruition. I have been lucky enough to now count Chips and Carmen as good friends, although like Ian, and probably Vicky they may dispute that publicly, but I know deep down that they harbour a vague soft spot for me as I do for them, much like an over ripe peach. Anyway. Carmen has cleaned up the dialogue, painstakingly fixing any aberrations, and creating a foley bed with Chips, who I should mention is her husband, that has given the film a breadth of depth and richness that I had never even imagined when we were filming. So I am still in shock as to the job that they have done. Chips then went a bit mental. He was a being respectful and careful initially with the sound design until I informed him that I wanted the crazy to be brought into the film more. He really took that to heart! The result is a sound design, that has needed no ADR (additional dialogue recording - which is unheard of in making a film, and this is because the sound recording of Henry Milliner is simply perfect, he has no peers this guy), and is quite simply perfect. Chips and Carmen have created a world of sound that has brought the images to life in such a way that I can only describe as excitingly exhilarating.
I actually don't feel that I have gone overboard here to be honest. I may have to commend them all some more.
So to finish this rather epic blog - just wait til I get to the actual blog on filming and post some more behind the scenes stuff - the film is almost done. So close, and yet from a cinema and viewing perspective, so far....I know that this will simply whet your appetites and make the anticipation worse, but trust me when I say that it will be worth it....and by the way, THANK YOU, for all your support from the beginning and to this point with your enthusiasm at the conventions, and on twitter....it has meant an awful lot, and from the bottom of my heart it has been genuinely inspiring to not be on this film journey alone but to have you guys along too, and I am really excited for you all to finally see it....
The bizarre thing about all of these photos that you see on the blog, is that they are all from the initial filming block in August, which was prior to the Indiegogo campaign and before any of you reading this had any knowledge of the existence of Cold. The interesting thing is that there is never any photos of the people behind post production, so unfortunately I don't have any to post, but I will get some! I will do another blog about the actual filming itself, and throw some more photos and stories related to it and all the wicked crew, and cast that were involved, from the indomitable Alec Moore, to Henry and his crazy boom op Miles, the Barry Doyle who just never stops, the crazy Spaniard Tess, super happy Sue, happy chappy Steve Daly, little old Aoiffe Hewson and of course wicked Eimear Ennis Graham.....who shot the damn movie....very well it must be said...
Much love all...