Paul Hills’ weekly post production blog

Weekly Blog 30 (Friday May 30th)

On Sunday Lewis won the Monaco GP in the rain from third position. As the horns in the harbour sounded, tears rolled down my cheeks. It had been his dream to win in Monaco, the jewel in the crown, since he was a kid. I was euphoric, a fitting and perfect end to Cannes. Lewis’ story proves that with hard work and dedication dreams ARE achievable!

The night before the race, I had dinner with a friendly French Producer and some other people in Antibes. Afterwards I was so destroyed I could barely get to bed quick enough. As I hobbled somnambulistically, hand on ribs, Jonnie quipped “Soldiers!” mimicking Marc’s Napoleonic improvisation in DEP. The laughter hurt!

Earlier in the night I had overheard Jonnie say to Yoram, who also attended the festival for the last couple of days “Normally I just hang out in Cannes. This year I worked hard. I’m totally exhausted.” It made me think of Grace, the day before, saying “I’ve never walked so much in such a small area!” I nearly said to both “Welcome to my world!” but I didn’t.

I got home at 2am on Sunday thanks to the normal Easy Jet delay and slept 12 hours straight. I have been sleeping 10 hours a night since Sunday to catch up and am nearly recovered now. The pain in my rib I think is also starting to recede a little. I was welcomed back to the UK by all the things outstanding and all the things that should have been done while I was away but haven’t been. That’s quite a lot!

I tackled Amaranth’s e-mails on Monday then did follow-ups to Sales Agents for Elephants on Tuesday. We should know the results in next two weeks. By Wednesday I had done follow-ups for The Power and then started to get a grip on other things for DEP. There was another letter from HM Customs and Thieves asking yet more inane questions that had already been answered months before. I filled in the form yet again, the third one so far and posted it back.

On Wednesday morning Jonnie sent me the following text “Rosalie Triskelle entered the world at sunrise this morning. She has black hair and a beautiful smile for everyone”. The next day he e-mailed most of the cast and crew a picture of her. How cute! It’s amazing to think you can create a baby, a human life, in 9 months and that a film takes 12 months (and counting)!


My major headache now, apart from pushing forward with the picture conform, visual FX and then the grading (the negative was cleaned and prepared while I was in Cannes), is the music. It seems that this whole side of things needs a lot of work. I find myself having to take the reigns against my will in this area. The music needs to be all locked before we mix the film in July. Having to re-mix at a later date will cost a fortune and that we don’t have!

The music score is a part of that problem. Marcel texted me on Tuesday to say he might be free from the 10th of June. He will confirm on Monday. That is one thing I am praying for. The other part is the song licenses. Samantha is starting to be as hard to get hold of as Williams was and I need everything contracted before we start mixing. The unsigned bands I hope she has a handle on, the others I am not sure!

When I was given the hundred tracks or so that Samantha had sourced for us, I didn’t know whom they were by. I chose blindly. As luck would have it, I didn’t choose all the stuff she wanted me to choose. I missed out one band in particular. The reason being is that you can’t choose music for any other reason than, it fits, it is right for the film. What’s right and what fits also depends on what the objective is. It can be to add emotion of one kind or another, to underscore something, to have impact, to play against the images, to complement them, to be ironic. All those things can work. Scorsese is a master at using music ironically for instance.

One of the artists I chose two songs by was called Ellie Lawson. Amazingly, she is the one that when we started talking about music before we shot, that out of all the samples Samantha played to me, she was the one that I said “That’s it! Perfect!!” Once I found out that those songs were by Ellie, I invited her to the test screening.

Before the screening I was lying on the ground, trying to relieve stress, at the front of the auditorium when she walked in. I didn’t see her. When I was told who it was I tried to seek her out at the bar. I found someone I thought was her and told her how much I loved her music. It was the wrong artist – so Samantha’s father told me later!

After the screening I found the real Ellie and asked if she could write a title song for the film that could go over the last scene and the end credits. She agreed to have a try. As a proviso I said I couldn’t guarantee I would use it but “I hoped it would be appropriate and that I would”.

It now turns out that her management company had not been a party to any of the discussions thus far. I didn’t even know they existed! On Wednesday they asked me to pay £500 just to LISTEN to the song!! I couldn’t believe it! How can I pay that blindly!??

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