Paul Hills’ weekly post production blog

Saturday November 17th

10.36am Saturday

On a plane to Mallorca. I’m spending a couple of days with Neil Harris, one of the Executive Producers who is providing post production facilities for the film. We did a handshake deal before the film started shooting and haven’t actually worked out all the details yet let alone put them in writing. I’m sure we will do that over the weekend.

Last night was the reunion crew poker tournament. Marina won although I can certainly claim a good bad beat story from my finish on the bubble! Jonnie had a shocking game yet again, with what I can imagine was no cards whatsoever.

The trip to visit the writer in Cornwall last weekend was amazingly perfect in more ways than one. A script that I have spent four years on will now be finally finished. That is the third one this year that I have overseen completion on. Development, unlike shooting, goes on forever and there are rarely any highs to counterbalance the lows.

The trip was punctuated with a number of Eureka moments. Misunderstandings were banished and everything is wonderful now. When some things are working well, everything is working well…

It even dawned on me on the train back that Cornwall and Brittany were both originally populated by Celts and that the languages are the closest on earth. It was right that I should have to visit Cornwall straight after Brittany. The Bretons are descended from Cornish people who traveled across the English Channel. Unfortunately the Cornish langaige is nearly extinct while Breton lives on, just…

Last week I called Jeff Gross, another writer I have collaborated with, to tell him I was sorry for being angry with him. I hadn’t spoken to him since Cannes. Five and a half months ago. The five and a half months, of course, since I said to Jonnie “Let’s make it”. It came to me that I should call him and say sorry. I have been close to him since 1993.

The reason for the disagreement was that I didn’t think he cared about a project I’d brought to him. Anyway, that is forgotten. Especially as I can see his point of view now and thus actually resigned from that project yesterday! Why? Nothing has happened on it for ages. The producer who brought it to me, is lacking in time and seemingly in commitment to it too. Also she is the only writer or producer I am currently working with or have worked with who couldn’t be bothered to at least send me a good luck text or e mail when I started shooting DEP or even to congratulate me on the completion of filming. Some did both. Her insensitivity is staggering!

Also I need to streamline my existence, cut the fat, concentrate on finishing DEP and getting my next project into production. I couldn’t see that one happening. It had become just unneeded inertia.

On Wednesday I met Grace Vallorani for lunch to talk about the post production schedule, how we will divide up the different jobs that need to be done as well as talking about future collaborations. She will take on the Film Festival liaison task as well as other things as our plan is to premier the film at the best film festival possible.

A little more investment trickled in on Monday allowing us to write some cheques to pay more pressing things, if the meeting with Williams doesn’t keep getting postponed that is! Then on Thursday morning something amazing happened. A card arrived with handwriting on the envelope that I recognised immediately. I opened it to find in addition to a card congratulating me on finishing shooting, a cheque for £500 from my old English Teacher, Margaret Fisher. The generosity of people never ceases to astound me. Now Margaret is retired, living on a pension. She is not wealthy. Not at all. A cheque for £100 would have been surprising but for £500 is utterly utterly astounding!

When I was at school I had the most sadistic English teacher imaginable. He wouldn’t let me progress from set 4 no matter how hard I worked. He hated me, just like he did with all the working class oinks that populated his class. When I wrote a 37 page essay on something where 1 page would have sufficed he gave me a C-. That’s it. Not just a C, a C minus! Talk about discouraging…

Because of my low set I was excluded from English literature and couldn’t even take an O level, just a CSE. After leaving school, at age 18, I decided to jump straight to A level English Lit in a one year evening course. Enter Margaret Fisher, one of the most wonderful people I have ever met in my whole life. Apart from introducing me to Joyce, Hardy, Proust, Mayakovsky and Leonard Cohen (!) amongst others, she inspired me beyond belief and gave me real confidence. She was also, I feel, truly, the first person who ever believed in me. That is a huge thing. HUGE! Everyone needs that person in their lives when they are young but not all find them. Thankfully I did. Now she has sent a cheque for £500, an investment in the film. I am humbled by her generosity.

After two weeks of post and five weeks of filming we are currently about four weeks behind schedule (an improvement of one week from last Friday). All the rushes still aren’t synced up. Sonrisa has finally been elbowed and Caroline is doing them herself. It is a laborious task, especially when there is so much to do. She is up to slate 200 out of 590, so just over a third of the way through. The holdup now is that not all the sound has been transferred yet. She seems to be able to sync up about 40-50 slates a day so by this time next week hopefully it will finally be all synced up and thus we will only then be two weeks behind schedule – let’s see if that happens!

Next week we should also have even more investment I hope. Two new investors are interested and not insubstantial amounts either.

Anyway, the plane is still in flight to Mallorca. I look forward to pulpo a la galega, peus de porc and the local speciality of Ensaimadas, and indeed a little sleep as I am still far from recovered from the shoot…

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