Paul Hills’ weekly post production blog

Friday November 9th

Friday 6.25pm

On a train to Devon and Cornwall, a journey that used to inspire and excite me in equal measure. I have to see a writer down there. He is the opposite of Jonnie. After having developed his script for four years, made it into something that works, all he thinks about now is how much money he will make out of it, not about making the film to tell the story that MUST be told.

I don’t have any real patience with that stance at the moment. After DEP, how can I?

One additional strain of sadness is that I have discovered that something I had revealed in private in Broceliande to someone has been passed to someone else. Initially, I felt it was a kind of betrayal of that sacred bond between a director and his cast and crew. Many cast and crew members have told me many many many things in secret on this film, personal things, and I have not disclosed a word of them to anyone. How could I? It would be immoral to do so.

As a director you are like a priest at confession. Every actor or actress I have ever worked with, for instance, has told me many things about themselves or if not told, has revealed them. I never discuss those things with anyone. I have no right to. It is my duty to take them to the grave.

At the wrap party Jonnie told people about the child he and Stephanie are expecting. Of course, I had been the first to know but had kept it to myself until he was ready to tell anyone. It is that fact which had the extra significance for him in the final scene at the lake.

In the last week I have had a chance to sleep, to eat properly, to see a film, to read. In the last 6 weeks I had not read a word. I even took Bresson’s “Notes on a cinematographer” to the forest to no avail. I didn’t read a word of it. Now I am reading it thoroughly.

I feel now how I did after “Boston Kickout”‘s shoot. Not sad, but happy, proud. In 1997 “Raving Beauties”, a long cherished project, was nearly shot but folded 8 days before shooting. I was devastated after that experience. In 2003 after “The Poet” I was so angry at the stupid compromises that had been made in what could, I felt, have been a masterpiece. Compromises in the script, the shooting and ultimately the editing. The film I envisaged was destroyed. I was devastated again. Like Peckinpah’s “Colonel Dundee”, for me, it is a shadow of what it could have been, should have been.

With DEP I am satisfied with what we have done, like I was on “Boston Kickout”. Maybe I haven’t been this happy since 1995 to 1997!

Last Saturday I met Marc. I gave him an elephant stone cast & crew present as he missed the wrap party. He bought me lunch, signed his contract and then gave me a new wallet! He told me he was more pleased creatively with the Sunday (day 28) we shot than any other day he has EVER worked as an actor. We shot 9 scenes that day and all were crammed full of creativity. I agree. Although we had some great days on BKO also!

On Monday we started clearing the office, slowly giving Jonnie back his flat. There is still loads of stuff to be reclaimed and also lots of stuff we will need to sell on ebay. We did manage to sell the clock that features in the office scenes to Julia Main and an umbrella to Matt Hymen.

We also tried to fill in the blanks contract-wise, those that are still unsigned. We continued that Thursday and today also. It was back to me, Jonnie, Williams and Sarah. The original four. Eventually it will be down to two again before we expand again for the final parts of post-production.

The main problem this week has been trying to discern how much over budget we are. Williams doesn’t have a final figure yet. In any event, we need some more investment I know but when we get the money from the VAT back it should ease the situation somewhat. A lot of people are owed money. I just hope they have patience. We will get there eventually!

Some of the film is finally synced up. The first 135 slates out of 590! Caroline, having given up on Sonrisa, is doing it herself. The editing process is 5 weeks behind I estimate now! Hopefully we will regain some of that time.

There is no point seeing Caroline until it is all synced up. Then we can go through the the takes, looking at the ones selected and deciding which moments to use. Then I will leave her to do an assembly, a first version of the film with absolutely EVERYTHING in it, nothing trimmed, shortened or excised. Then the work will really start.

Again, though, after viewing the assembly and passing judgment, I will leave her. I could, of course, put together the film myself, how I conceived it, but then what’s the point of having an editor? When I was young I edited all my own stuff. Indeed right up to The Frontline I did that. Now I would never dream of it. If I want I can always have my own way in the cutting room. I need an editor to explore other ways, to see if they are better. If they are then that is an improvement. Any director would be stupid not to embrace that possibility, no?

Earlier today I got a call from Marcel Barsotti who has been following the blog. He composed the beautiful music score for “The Poet”, the only area of that film without compromise. I told him I wanted him to do the score for DEP. I think he is perfect for it as he will give the film heart to complement the soul that we found in the forest. Also he is perfect for the Breton and indeed Arabic undertones in the film as he loves ethnic instrumentation. His house is full of a diverse number of instruments.

Anyway, my hope for next week is that the rushes are finally all synced up and that I can go through it all with Caroline. Let’s see what happens!

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