Paul Hills’ weekly post production blog

Weekly Blog 24 (April 18th)

Monday was a long, long day. It started with a meeting with Jonnie regarding money and the coming post-production details. The problem I face is that we are rushing towards deadlines and soon I will lose half of the production team. Jonnie has sold his flat and is moving to France on the 30th of April. Soon after that he will become a father for the first time. All of this coincides with when I will need him most. Basically I will be stuck doing all the difficult post production things with no co-producer, no post production supervisor, no Line producer and at present no more money. To ameliorate this, Jonnie is now starting to do a lot of the things that need to be done while I am still stuck in the cutting room.

One plus point is that some of the money that Jonnie makes on the sale of his flat, he will invest in the production. As we are still waiting for the VAT money and other investors who have flirted with investing to finally decide at least that will be something. That is of course if the deal ever goes through. Now is not the best time to sell a flat!

After those discussions we met with Axle to talk about the sound post production schedule. I will see her on the 24th to show her the cut and talk creatively about sound. She will start on the atmospheres and SFX before we lock the picture. That is the only way we can gain any time and get ahead.

When Axle left Jonnie and I continued our meeting about test screenings and the timescale. We devised a test screening questionnaire. The screening has to be in two weeks time as we need to shoot an insert on the notebook that will improve the ending. That insert shoot is provisionally scheduled for next Tuesday.

In the afternoon I raced to the cutting room to continue working with Caroline. We continued implementing the trims and things we had seen when we watched it through last Thursday. By the end of the day the film was 1 hour 58 minutes long. Progress! No chance now of the film being too long. It will get there! Under two hours is 6 reels rather than 7. That is a big difference in the cost of post production. Boston Kickout is 6 reels. The Poet is 5. The Frontline is incredibly only 4!

On Tuesday we continued doing the things we had spotted last week and then turned our attention to the mushrooms scene. We must have edited, re-edited and viewed it over and over for maybe 5 hours. It was quite intense stuff. Finally we got a shape and a progression that we were both happy with. The film was reduced to 1 hour 56 minutes.

Grace popped into the cutting room Tuesday. She wanted to just watch the action. After 4 hours in the mushroom scene she laid down on the floor and went to sleep. I think she found the whole process quite exhausting which it can be. As a viewer she must be one of the most receptive I have ever met. She gasped at the moment in the tripping scene where I hope it will have that effect on a cinema audience. That made me so happy, that the moment I had sweated blood trying to get right, had exactly the desired effect. When I played her the end scene she cried like a baby, tears rolling down her face. God, I hope it can work this way for a cinema audience who aren’t involved with the production in any way!!!

On Wednesday we started our second pass, reaching the mid point of the film. It was getting harder to cut things but we still managed to trim it to 1 hour 54 minutes thanks in large part to an absolutely revelatory trim of 30 seconds from a scene that Caroline found. I couldn’t believe it but amazingly the lost dialogue was quite unnecessary. Caroline is doing a wonderful job so far.

Yesterday was broken by me needing to trek to deepest Wimbledon to collect possible music from the music supervisor. We had been waiting for it to arrive for the last two weeks and I couldn’t wait any longer. At the end of the day the film was 1 hour 53 minutes. Our rate of trimming is starting to slow.

In the evening me and Jonnie met Chloe to go through some completely new ideas for a poster. We need to finish it within 10 days. We have also started an application for finishing money from the UK film council.

Today my father had an operation to remove a growth in his bladder. It seemed to go fine. I will visit him this weekend.

Caroline now has two days on her own without me bugging her.

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