Saturday, 20 October 2012

Glimpses of a brighter beyond

Oh, we are close.

I mean so close that we can almost smell the finish line. It’s a bizarre feeling, like reaching the final chapter in a book that’s taken two years to read. But it has cheered us up somewhat.

On paper, the day-job hasn’t changed too much. We’re still taking daily receipt of the remaining CGI shots, and trading finesses to the sound, music and title sequence with our post-posse, but we are close enough now to the end of the tunnel to know that the light wasn’t a train rushing towards us after all.

The tally – only four remaining CGI shots, 48 tweaks to the sound mix and three minor changes to the titles. By this time next week we should actually have a finished movie; I know I’ve said this before, but this is the first time that I’ve actually believed it myself.

And to think that our initial intention had been to take the finished film to Cannes last May. Only five months late, Phelps; I’ll leave it to you to decide whether this represents poor project management, staggering naivety or thoroughly unwarranted optimism on our part.

We crossed an important threshold last week. There were four bastard CGI shots that had been lurking in the wings for a couple of months, which involved taking out green legs and replacing them with a knotted stump. Despite our best efforts on set to collect all the useful footage of empty frames and replacement elements, making these shots look good was always going to be a “challenge”. A challenge not improved when the compositor that was working on them suddenly upped and left for Australia, leaving behind only a set of undecipherable scripts on a flavour of software that no one else in the team was using.

So, the shots have sat on a back-burner for a while, thwarting all attempts to plan for activities beyond the end of the film as they waited for someone with the requisite chops to come along.

And then, as if by magic, along he came.

Suddenly the light in the tunnel gets that much brighter. An end is in sight, and for the first time the track ahead is pleasingly bereft of kind of shit that might trip us up. Christ - the shots look so damn good now that people are going to be surprised when they find out that actor Joe is actually bi-pedal in real life (and people blessed with the Horror Channel can check this out for themselves tonight at 9:00).

And we relax. Finally.

And we start making plans.

Our initial approaches to the world’s finest horror festivals have yielded a pretty shameful return: no takers from all four submissions (as an aside, the organisers of Toronto After Dark, Sitges and FrightFest could do a lot worse than taking a leaf from the Texas Fantastic Fest playbook in how they let producers down gently. Finding out that we hadn’t made the cut by checking the festival programmes for whether Zombie Resurrection had been given a mention is oddly reminiscent of how my former employers broke the news of my redundancy to me. I mean, it cost us $85 to submit the bloody thing to Toronto; surely a quick email is not too much to ask for?)

But in any case it does mean we can start planning the most important screening – showing the bugger to the cast, crew and members of our zombie hordes. There are still some logistical issues that need to be ironed out, but what I can say at this point is that it can’t hurt to keep the evening of 17th November free. And be in Winchester.

That said, the last two years have been a valuable lesson in the perils of counting chickens… better pop it in the diary in pencil, eh? Hedging.

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