Monday, 19 November 2012

The coming together

And relax.

What a weekend… Saturday was as much fun as I’ve had in as long as I can remember, as we welcomed an insane amount of people to the cast and crew screening of Zombie Resurrection. Cast, crew, zombies, post-production guys, people from the various locations at which we shot the bugger, the guys that did all our set catering, investors, IndieGoGo supporters, mentors, friends and family. All in one place to enjoy 76 minutes of gore-laden sweary silliness.

And it was terrific. 180 people laughing in mostly all the right places, with the freshly-graded film looking and sounding lovelier than it ever has done before. And we got to hang out with a bunch of pals that we hadn’t seen in fourteen months.

Not that anything ever goes completely smoothly. The cinema was hosting the thematically-perfect Third International Death Day Conference beforehand, and when we arrived to set up at 6:00 they were showing no signs of letting up. And bitter experience insists that you’re never beyond the mercies of technical fuck-ups until you hear the last strains of the end-credits.

But when the lights went up at the end of the screening I could almost smell the stress evaporating.

Sure, it’s a wedding audience; a room filled with people willing the best-man’s speech to be that much funnier than it would otherwise be. Someone would have to be supremely un-classy to go up to a couple of filmmakers afterwards and berate them for the idiotic way that they’ve wasted two years of their lives just to turn out “that pile of shit”, but from my vantage point at the back of the cinema people did genuinely seem to be enjoying themselves. Jake and I lost all sense of perspective on the movie a long time ago, but until we get told differently we’re taking Saturday as an indication that we’ve done something right.

And it was at this point that I may have slightly over-relaxed.

As the audience de-camped back to the bar, and with our responsibilities finally discharged, everything inevitably degenerated into the kind of extended session that my body hasn’t been able to cope with since I was 25. Sat in my flat at 4:00 am with the last of the stragglers cracking through the contents of my eclectic booze collection, I should have known that Sunday was going to be a struggle.

But that aside, it’s a massive Charmed thank you again to Christian for organising the cinema, and to everyone that turned up on Saturday night; we wouldn’t be here without all your support and generosity over the last couple of years. You’ve made two happy people really old.

Sadly, photographs from the evening are in short supply (and if you have any good shots please feel free to post them on the Charmed Apocalypse Facebook page), but I did get sent one truly disturbing MMS from my brother yesterday. Blog readers with extraordinarily good memories may remember a rather foolish bet that Jake and I made with each other in January 2011, a bet that we were finally able to make good on last Friday.

So, so wrong; please don’t this be the only record of an otherwise excellent evening. Muted.

Tuesday, 13 November 2012

Picking up the pieces

The only thing that you can be 100% sure of in post-production is that no matter how much time you set aside to do something, everything will only come together at the very last moment.

It’s been three weeks since we arranged Saturday’s cast and crew outing to the nicest bit of south Hampshire. Three weeks, then, for the very last tweaks to the picture and sound. Extending a zombie growl here, making an exterior shot slightly bluer there. Plenty of time.

And yet, with four days to go, we still haven’t received the graded copy of the film or the final stereo mix-downs. Or, in non-techy speak, ‘all of the pictures’ and ‘all of the sound’.

There must be a secret post-production union somewhere that has guidelines to ensure that movie producers are never allowed to fully de-pucker, funded entirely through donations from the manufacturers of Gaviscon and Immodium. Let’s see how badly these filmmakers really want this. Enough to cry on the phone? Enough to open an important artery?

To be clear, it’s not enough to get all the constituent components through on Saturday afternoon and then wander straight in to the cinema. There are a couple of days’ work at our end piecing everything back together again, and this supposes that everything we get in works perfectly first time. It’ll take a good eighteen hours just to crunch the film into a format that the projector likes using my Mac, which the local Apple store recently euphemistically referred to as ‘vintage’. No amount of prayer, whip-cracking or sobbing is going to boost the processor speed.

But we’ve still got four days. Plenty of time. *Clenches*

On the plus side, if everything goes to plan, Saturday night is going to be an extraordinarily entertaining evening. 180 guests, all the principal cast members back together again (with the notable exception of Rachel, who is on tour with a show), and loads of our crew, zombies and investors. And if you’re expecting an invite but haven’t had one through, check your spam directory and get in touch.

And Plan B? Print out ten copies of the screenplay, dig out the costumes from Jake’s attic, boil up a gallon of honey-blood and re-enact the movie live.

Thinking about it, that may actually be quite a lot of fun; Zombie Resurrection – The Musical, anyone? Strained.