Paul Hills’ weekly post production blog

Weekly Blog 26 (May 2nd)

David Gamble saw the film last Saturday. I was very nervous. He said he liked it and I could feel my eyes moisten. At the end of the tripping scene he said “Wow!” and was still commenting on it as he walked out the door much later. At the end of the film he said “I certainly feel like I’ve been on a journey!” He told us the end worked, that the structure and pace overall worked. He had some small but constructive ideas. These ideas actually added 5 and a half seconds to the film but I think improved it. He made us think about other things too especially – are there too many music tracks in the film?

On Monday we did some more trims after cogitating over the weekend. We ended up cutting another 30 seconds by reducing a scene by three quarters and trimming another. The film was then just under 112 minutes. At the end of the day, at my behest, we took another look at the final scene. Three hours and many cuts, re-cuts, viewings, re-viewings we settled on a version only little different from the one before. A total blind alley.

On Tuesday, while nervously waiting for the screening, time seemingly standing still, I sent a copy of the rough cut to Marcel Barsotti, the composer I am desperate to have on the film. He has so much on now but I am desperate for him to do the music. The guy is a total genius, a revelation. Jonnie asked me what the contingency plan was. I said “Pray.” I hope we don’t have to.

In the afternoon I was gutted to find out that some sound things I had asked Axle to sort out before the screening were not done in time. This added more to my fear and worry about the screening. I was less than impressed. It was the same story with the new poster. All at the last minute. We had started the ball rolling 3 weeks ago to avoid a last minute rush but all to no avail.

At the test screening 78% of women liked the film but only 55% of men. I guess the film will be more divisive for men as a higher portion of men either loved it or didn’t care for it. No women at the screening disliked the film. Both figures are very positive as the film currently looks and sounds terrible without grading or any sound design. There was also a glowing endorsement for the end, for the story, for Malika and Callum, for the humour in the office, for the direction and the photography. The end being liked and understood was especially pleasing as me and Caroline are more happy with the end than elsewhere, having done more work on it. Having the leads as most liked characters is also very good news. The opposite would have been catastrophic.

Criticisms were laid at the door of the beginning and early middle (63% felt they were too long) and some of the office characters although Marrlen and Sark were also some peoples favourites!

I was very nervous at the screening. As I was getting myself an Armagnac (the cheapest one on the menu), Grace said to me “You should put that in the film.”

I replied “Maybe that would be a little unethical!” thinking she meant I should charge it to the film as a necessary expense.

“No” she replied “Invest that money!”

I was speechless. I’ve been working on this film almost solidly now for 10 months, raised a large proportion of the budget, put my own money into it, raided my friends bank accounts, raised additional but desperately needed further funds for it every week over the last month at the same time as being in the cutting room 24/7 and also lost so much work through needing to work on this film that I am now totally penniless. Not that I am alone in that, Jonnie’s commitment has been total as well.

Instead of finishing this film, if I my priorities were personal, I would be doing the script re-write assignment I had been offered for a £10,000 fee! Instead I am working on DEP so that it can be finished before its creditors finally lose patience and push the company into insolvency which would mean no-one ever gets paid a penny of the money that they are owed. Not even Cristina Corazza’s telephone bill!

Anyway, I wasn’t even actually paying for the Armagnac myself. I was charging it to another company!

After the screening and subsequent discussions, I got home at 2am and spent 2 hours pouring over and computing the figures until I had formulated a battle plan on how to improve the film. The next day was a bit of a wash out but we started implementing that plan yesterday and today. I can see the end of the picture editing process is in sight now. I hope to lock the picture just before Cannes.

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