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.

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