Monday, March 2, 2009

Festivus for the Restofus

Hey gang, I am SO sorry I have been a totally lame blogger lately, but I have been super-concentrated on editing, as I had some big deadlines coming up. I was working 4, 6, 8 or more hours a day on editing, mostly sound. I would get through the whole movie, painstakingly going practically frame-by-frame (there are 24 frames per second. That is PER. SECOND.), would review it again whole scene at a time before moving on to the next scene, then when done watch the whole thing straight through, and then think, "I can't believe I thought that sounded good!" and would start the whole thing all over again. The hardest part about pre-production was breaking down the shooting schedule. The hardest thing about post-production is DEFINITELY editing sound.

Istarted editing yesterday at about 3:45pm and stopped about 5:30am this morning, slept for three hours while the movie burned to DVD, then spent the next couple hours watching the whole thing straight through to make sure it burned without any glitches and then burning a few more copies I needed to send out in the mail to be postmarked by today. THEN had to scrape several inches of snow and ice off my car before I could get to the post office.

Also spent 7 hours with Michelle and several of my actors one day last week recording ADR for some scenes that the dialogue and/or sound was terrible in. ADR, as you probably already know, stands for Automatic Dialogue Replacement. That is an oxymoron of epic proportions. There is NOTHING automatic about it.

Though it really isn't as hard as I thought it would be. And I even did some Foley stuff. Foley, as you also probably know, is little sound effects you might have to add in. Like, a cell phone ringing, a door slamming off-camera, a beer keg sputtering. Some of that is easy, like just recording a cell phone ringing. Some of it is harder, like shaking up a bottle of soda before opening it to make it sound like a sputtering keg. The hard part was keeping Michelle from talking while recording the sputtering.

The hard part is the layering of sound, which I have mentioned before. Conversation ver roomtone over music over barroom chatter... it is exhausting trying to figure out what levels sound somewhat natural but still allow the viewer to focus on the dialogue.

A lot of you have been following this blog for a long time, some even from the very beginning, over a year ago, and I am really hoping it will pay off for you soon. And by that, I mean, pay off for me :) About a month from now, I should start hearing from the festivals I have been submitting to, yay or nay. And I'm not going to sugarcoat it for you. You'll here about the ones Smalltimore does not get into as well as the ones it (knock on wood) does. Probably some of these results will result in stories of money wasted, either on long shots or in festivals that let Smalltimore in but are far more po'dunk than they tout themselves to be and don't do me any good at all. But the whole purpose of this blog is to give you the behind the scenes of how it does (or doesn't) all work. Who knows? I may have just spent the last 18+ months of my life and thousands of my own and other people's dollars on something that will never bear fruit. But, honestly, I don't think so. There are so many things, adventures, crusades that I have been on or in in my life that I have put a fraction of the time, effort, blood, sweat, tears, etc, into and in them have experienced moderate to great success. Making this movie blows anything I have ever done absolutely away. I have never worked so hard or so long at anything, and have never loved working so much. I know that what I have gotten out of this experience already is invaluable, and could never be replaced any more than it can be described. There is no way that all that was for naught. But send your good energy my way regardless!!!

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