Monday, 16 July 2012

Beaten into submission

Jesus H Ripe – that was harder work than I had imagined.

To save you any angst and stress, I should reassure you all up front that the screener did get finished, and was submitted in time (just) to Fantastic Fest, in Austin, Texas. The US’ largest horror film festival would be an awesome place for a world premiere.

Well, I say “in time”; actually, by the time that the film had finally successfully uploaded to the extraordinarily flaky WithoutABox site on about the eighth time of asking, it was about 36 hours past the deadline, but a severe amount of apologising and mea cuplae to the organisers later and we are officially locked and loaded.

But this was no easy ride. I haven’t had so little sleep over such a long period of time since the bloody shoot.

The division of labour broke down something like this: Matt-the-VFX was pulling together the last of the VFX shots through till Thursday lunchtime, and then FTPing the buggers across to us; meanwhile Ads-the-grade was making the whole movie look pretty and FTPing his bits across in stages. Glen-the-sound was tidying up the last bits of problematic dialogue, and Tom-the-foley was manufacturing some deliciously sick zombie noises. Andy-the-dog’s-body was downloading everything as it came in and putting the jigsaw together, while Jake-the-actually-knows-what-he’s-doing was grading the bits of the movie that Ads didn’t have time to get on to, adding muzzle flashes where appropriate, and plastering over as many cracks as we could. 

An insane amount of juggling. But by the time that I left Jake’s hive at 5am on Friday morning, we had all the right notes in the right places.

Friday’s activities were to be so much simpler – one final quality check viewing, render the bugger off and fill in all the submission forms. And we had until midnight before the deadline ran out. Masses of time.

And relax…

Ah no. Not in Charmed-land. Nothing ever goes that smoothly. The forms were simple enough, but getting them a copy of the movie in the format they wanted was an exercise guaranteed to confound even the most patient of filmmakers. It was the initial promise of 36 hour render times, and a website that just wasn’t interested in accepting our film, no matter what browser, broadband provider or OS we tried.

But by 4 am on Sunday morning it was there, courtesy of Jake’s girlfriend’s parent’s broadband, and via an enormous amount of industrial language.

And it’s my sincerest apologies to Nik-the-zombie-extra, whose fortieth birthday party on Saturday night was the final casualty of the enterprise. Sorry, mate – I’ll make sure I’m at your fiftieth, if you’re still talking to me.

So, it’s a couple of days to catch our breath, and then we get to go round the loop again with a couple more festivals; let’s hope karma takes stock of the credit that we’ve amassed over the past few days when determining how easy a ride that’ll be. But, when all’s said and done – I’ve got to tell you that the movie really does look and sound lovely. Sure, there’s still the odd green sock, and we have gallons of digital gore yet to throw about the place, but it doesn’t require a leap of imagination to see the finished film that’s hiding in the mist.

Hell – it’s not like we haven’t made it easy for them. Invisible.

Now you see it...

Now you don't...

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