Paul Hills’ weekly post production blog

Weekly Blog 12 (Saturday 26th January)

Really back in the swing of things now after my holiday, back in life, being a film-maker, the endless process called development which is really just trying to get films into production…

Now I’m heading out of town again to push forward a project that I am developing / trying to make into a film. The possibilities for this year realistically are either “The Cult”, a kind of Bressonian horror film or “No More Heroes” about a newly qualified psychiatric doctor at the NHS coalface. So many of my other projects are in a kind of purgatory waiting for people to read them / people to agree to become attached / others to finally agree their contracts etc!

I have another 5 months to see if this year will be successful or not as actually getting a film into production is really my only standard of evaluation. On that barometer last year was certainly a success! DEP was a wonderful experience, creatively fulfilling and rewarding. It seems always that I actually make a film in autumn. The four feature films and many of the shorts I have made so far have all been shot during autumn. Strangely, of course, it is my favourite season! Which of the two I have mentioned will be the one I  do not know. Of course it may actually be a different one from those that I am developing that spontaneously accumulates the necessary critical mass.

The problem with development is it always seems endless. It goes on forever. It is hard to stay focussed. The key as I have said is getting a film out of development and in to production. Production is about momentum, forward motion that propels it into the shoot. The films I have made all hit production by a decision being made that no matter what shooting would commence on a certain date. In some ways the date is random but really it is just a marker in the sand, a point of no return.

This week has been split between doing producerial financial and marketing things on DEP and directorial development things on other projects.

At the start of the week while in the middle of a mobile telephone conversation I bumped into Pete Stevenson on the street. He seemed well. On the 73 bus, I thought that he, like me, has a similar problem now – but possibly a more acute one. I think he has shot over 40 hours of footage for the “making of” and probably hasn’t yet started really moulding it. For me the moulding, once we start properly editing, will be a little simpler. The aim of the editing of DEP is to tell the story of the script as well as addressing the subtext and themes that I am interested about. For Pete he must make from the footage a “making of” that tells the story of making the film but the focus is so much more a matter of deliberation and choice. His choice. He could make any number of films in terms of focus. When we wrote Pete’s contract, like with the guy who did the documentary “Do you really want to wrap here?” about the making of Boston Kickout, we agreed that he would have final cut. If we were a big company we wouldn’t have done that – in case we were filmed doing something discernibly evil – but somehow, I think, as a fellow film-maker, it would be hypocritical to do that. What the finished documentary is like will be truly a surprise!!

Tuesday was my monthly poker tournament. So many of the crew of DEP came that I had at least 5 more people at the tournament than ever before. Matt Blackmore, Daniel, Katie, Marina, Chloe, Jonnie, Matt King were all there. Despite being more than a little tipsy(!), Dougal Porteous won against expectation!

In terms of the debts outstanding and reclaiming the VAT (which we need to do desperately), there was a small amount of progress. Max has agreed to accept a small amount now and the rest when the VAT comes through as has another of our major creditors. I finally met Williams yesterday and he gave me a portion of the receipts. Probably a third. The rest he promised will be delivered to me tomorrow which is also when Lewis Partovi returns to iron out some IT problems I have been having with my laptop etc since the shoot in France. If we can submit accounts to HM customs and excise next week we hopefully should have money to pay the outstanding costs in 8 weeks or so.

Apart from the financial concerns on DEP, I have had half a day in the cutting room looking at rushes and a couple of meetings regarding the poster design which should be printed on Monday. We need a poster and also a trailer for the Berlin film festival so we can show sales agents what is coming. It is impossible and impractical for the producer to sell a film all around the world. You need a sales agent to do that and thus getting the best one possible is important for the film.

Steve Norris texted me again this week, presumably after seeing Boston Kickout. He texted “what a great film bko is what great eferrt”

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