Thursday, 28 March 2013

Body of Christ?

“Moist”. Now officially my least favourite adjective.

It’s a convoluted story that starts with a simple request from our Sales Agents, and ends with me in trauma counselling. However, persist to the end of the posting and you will be rewarded with the link to our brand new trailer.

I say “brand new”, but it’s more “variations on a theme”. But for those of you that watched the trailer that we stuck up last January just after our first pass on the edit, and were concerned by an absence of gore or people running about, this might just be your lucky day.

Anyway, I digress.

I mentioned in my last posting that Jake and I came away from the meeting with the sales guys with some homework. An updated trailer and a copy of the poster art for them to take to Cannes as bait for the Zombie Resurrection distribution mousetrap. And it all seemed so straightforward at the time – swap out the shots from the original trailer with the shiny graded ones from the movie, and send them the best quality JPEG of our picture of the zombie Messiah crucified on a cross of blood.

20 minutes work and the price of a first class stamp. If only every meeting was so simple.

That was until we got the details through.

Our poster art was prepared originally for a bunch of flyers and DVD covers to make ourselves appear slightly more presentable at last year’s Cannes festival. It had to look arresting and intriguing; it had to give potential sales agents and distributors the warm glow that there was a way that they could eventually market the movie; and it had to look presentable on an A5 piece of card.

But our Sales Agents have bigger plans. A1, to be exact.

I’ll save you the trip to Google - 841 x 594 mm, in new money. Movie poster size.

And immediately anyone that’s ever printed out porn from the Internet expecting it to look like a glossy top-shelf mag knows exactly what the problem is. The cracks start to show.

So, while the face of our zombie Messiah was lifted from a suitably detailed image shot by Rob-the-photo in his on-set studio, the rest of him is appropriated from a screen-grab from the film. High definition, sure, but not movie poster definition.

Bugger. It needs fixing.

And the quickest fix – sorting out a replacement shot of the Messiah’s body to overlay on top of the unusably pixelated torso. And that means digging out the costume that my brother wore continually for three weeks under hot set lights for some proper photos.

This is where being the person in the group with the least technical aptitude really sucks. Jake is the camera guy; Andy gets to be the stunt double.

Eighteen months hermetically sealed in a plastic bag in Jake’s parents’ loft later, and the bloody costume was still damp.

And it stank. My Christ, did it stink. A potent combination of mould and re-animated sweat; I never knew I could trip my gag reflex so hard and often without actually crossing the expulsion threshold. Although I did come dangerously close when I stuck my hands into the pockets and inadvertently gushed into a collection of my brother’s old tissues, their summer 2011 payload maintained in a perpetual state of liquidity.

Jesus – it’s making me retch just typing this.

Anyway, by 2:30 am last night, it was done. A poster fit for a wider canvas, and I can’t say that it wasn’t good to feel a little bit like a movie producer again after months in an office. A sensation that persisted up until my alarm went off this morning and I realised that I still had to go to work.

Only our mother can tell us apart, although I always imagined that the Son of God would be taller. Stunted.

Wednesday, 6 March 2013

So, where’s our bloody movie, Phelps?

Fly free, my pretty.

Today almost felt like being a filmmaker again. No alarm clock, no creased shirt, no office peer-pressure to have a shave. Just a cheeky midweek trip to London.

I should start this posting with an apology. To everyone that has gone to the blog vainly trying to find out what’s happening with the movie; to everyone that has called, texted or emailed me this year – sorry. It’s not because we’ve been distracted by too much suckling at the teat of "the man"; it’s because we’ve not had too much positive to report.

I blame HMV. The arse has apparently fallen out of the UK distribution market since HMV went into administration; the distribution companies are all, one imagines, creditors of the ailing high-street DVD stockist. And some companies, such as Revolver, are faring worse than others.

Besides, I’m a sucker for making the whole movie-making process look easy. Easier, at least.

But today was an important day. Today we answered the question “what happens with the movie now?” Today we handed the whole shebang over to a Sales Agent.

Yup. As of this afternoon, responsibility for the sale of all UK and international distribution rights finally lies where it should – with the experts. And, rather incongruously, this is where the real hard work starts for Jake and me.

Anybody that has been through the process of engaging a Sales Agent to secure distribution for their movie will tell you all about “the list”. The exhaustive list of a hundred things you need to sort out to enable the movie to get sold. A 16:9 version of the film on HDCam; ditto a 4:3 version and a 1:2.35 version; both PAL and NTSC equivalents on DigiBeta; music cue sheets; a hundred pictures; an MPAA certification; E&O insurance; re-written screenplays and every combination of music, sound effects and dialogue delivered on ten different flavours of digital media.

It’s genuinely horrific.

However, this is early in the process, and certain things are more important than others at this stage. For them to take the film to Cannes and start the selling process, we really only need a trailer, a poster, a whole bunch of DVDs to give away, and a short synopsis.

Oh, and to be clear here – they’re talking about our existing trailer and poster art.

Yeah – the trailer that we cut together last January before we had any sensible gore or grading. That one. I had, naively, imagined that this would be useful only to break the ice with industry professionals, and, to be fair, it did that fairly admirably; the Sales Agents that we are going with were people that we met and auditioned at Cannes last year. But, at some point in the process I did think that responsibility for a proper trailer and key art would be passed over to someone that knew what they were doing. It may look like art, but it’s all craft and experience.

Oh no. It turns out that this is up to us.

And this is where our hard work starts. A complete re-working of the trailer to improve the picture, sound and blood content. Oh, and losing the swearing and adding in more running. And if we can come up with an easier-to-understand tagline, that might be helpful too.

But at what point in the process do we get relieved by the professionals? Is there a possibility that whatever trailer Jake and I pull together by Easter will actually be used to coax unwitting members of the gore-buying community into purchasing the DVD? And will Amo’s temporary poster art be on the box?

More importantly, what’s going to happen to the 18,000 hits that the last trailer has already amassed? Don’t think that you’re not going to be expected to help out once the new trailer is up on-line. Counting.