Paul Hills’ weekly post production blog

Week 4.

This week has flown by. It seems like it only lasted a couple of hours. The opposite of when you are shooting where one day can seem like a month or a year. Some times on a film I will look at the time and be surprised how little has gone by after so much has gone on or more likely with so much more to shoot. The night shoot in the forest sticks out most like that. After what seemed like an eternity I realised at one moment we had only done 2 out of 8 scenes. There were 3 more enternity’s to go!

The problem when time seems endless is keeping focused and not rushing things, still caring about every detail, still being on top of things. Some times when you are in the moment with pure intuition you overcome everything. When you are out of the moment through coldness, tiredness or outside pressures some times you have to even slow down just to get back on top and back in the moment. Of course, sometimes also a shot of coffee can help!

This week has slid by as I have been running about doing things unrelated to the film. They are related to future projects. The process called development. When I did Boston Kickout I assumed I would make my next film straight after, that I was somehow now on the track and could just reel them off. My next planned film collapsed 3 times over the next 5 years and has still not been made. It was a different film I made next in 2002.

Now I feel a little like I did after Boston Kickout, the next one will be soon, next year I hope. Let’s see. But anyway, in lieu of real post production that is what I am doing.

On Wednesday we kept going through the 6000 photos Steve Norris shot and brought them down to 318. Today we hoped to finish the job but we ran out of time. It will probably be next Tuesday now…

Today me and Jonnie met Samantha Crompton, the music supervisor to talk about music. Apart from having a score by Marcel Barsotti and a track or two by Francoise Hardy I also feel we should try out as many new bands and singers as we can find and see what will work with the film. At the moment the more indie, folksy or quirky the stuff is the better I feel it will fit. I certainly want to avoid straight rock or pop music and anything too MOR as I can’t see that working. Of course until I actually put it with a cut scene I don’t know for sure but that’s my idea.

The real story of the week is what has happened to Williams Rodriguez. That’s a question as I don’t actually know. The last time I saw him was the Wednesday after the wrap. That’s three and a half weeks ago now. I got a text two weeks ago canceling a meeting and saying he was ill but that’s all. I have called his four mobiles many times and left messages, texted him many times but all to no avail.

This week I raised some more finance for the film. The problem we have, though, is that I do not have the invoices that are outstanding nor the bank statements and invoices paid. I’m totally in the dark. Short of ringing everyone and getting them to resubmit what can I do? The problem is also that many people have sent Williams the originals which we will need for VAT purposes.

Bizarrely just as we were starting pre-production I also thought Williams had disappeared. It turned out he was in the Pyrenees with a Catalan girl. He surfaced the day after we started official pre-production. Now he has disappeared again.

The other problem this gives me is the relationship between Williams and Jonnie. I’m not quite sure how it started but the two don’t quite get on. I’ve been trying to manage it all shoot but if he really has disappeared then what can I do?

It’s more the typical for the director and line producer to have a strained relationship. Their roles have so many possible friction points. On this film, though, I haven’t had any conflict with Williams except when he said something blatantly untrue at Mont St. Michel on the first day in France. When I REALLY needed something happening I would text him and it would happen. In that he did a good job for me. A very good job as a Line Producer. Also the glowing light is we did it, we shot it, it’s in the can. Many times we could have been shot down but we weren’t. He should take credit for that as much as anyone.

The problem in France was that we didn’t bring enough people in production. Williams wasn’t there enough and there was too much for Julia to do. In retrospect 2 people wasn’t enough in production in France. It should have been 3 as it was at the end after Paul Gernon arrived. The reason we took 2 though was to save money. False economy it was.

Williams took a lot of stick for not being there and the production being flimsy. Some was justified, some was not. His mantra to me was “It’s not a team Paul, people are acting as individuals”. My perception was not this. We were a team and everyone did care for each other. The day after the night shoot in the forest was visceral evidence for me of this if no other day was.

His gripe was that a film couldn’t be made for our lowly budget without everyone chipping in, helping everyone else and not being precious. My perception is we did this. Daniel drove when required. Ian Martin went off sent when he didn’t want to. Williams made soup for the entire crew. Julia covered for wardrobe. Steve covered for sound when needed. Roger helped his whole department. We all gripped and humped gear cast and crew alike. Anyway the film went over budget so maybe both points of view are true?

The other friction point was Stéph. Apart from Julie not wanting to see her, something I absolutely believed right, she also helped us gain permissions, publicity and assistance in France. Williams didn’t quite get on with her also. He liked her but thought her role interfered with the chain of command.

Who is Stéph? It’s occurred to me that she has barely featured in this blog. Her only mention, I think is on the ferry to France. She is referred to as Jonnie’s girlfriend. The truth is she is much more. I don’t just mean the permissions she gained for us on the shoot nor the help she did getting us respect by the local community around Brocéliande. She is the inspiration for the piece. The inspiration for the script. The real life “Malika”.

I’ve probably not mentioned her in the blog for similar reason’s to why Julie didn’t want to meet her while we were shooting. The need to make something fresh. She is not my inspiration nor my muse. For me, “my Malika” is the composite of every amazing and magical woman I have ever met, all rolled into one!

During pre-production, in addition to helping the production I also used her from a research point of view, asking about the Celtic and Druidic belief systems for instance on an ad hoc basis. My mystical knowledge base is more African while Jonnie’s is probably more Eastern. Thus the theo-mystical line in the film is a kind of marriage of all three. Not that they are worlds apart. They are not, as anyone who has studied Theology will know.

I also asked her once to read Tarot cards for the film. She replied “I’ve already done it!”

“What was the result?” I asked.

“You will create the magic” she replied.

Somehow I needed that seal of approval. Ultimately I am trying to do her justice!

If anyone has known someone that their partner doesn’t get on with you will know the friction. Jonnie has been remarkably good to Williams considering. If he doesn’t show up soon though I will start to lose my patience.

Unfortunately no more slates have been synced up this week so effectively we have not gained any time. In fact we have lost. This is thanks to the post house we are using being overloaded with another film. One with a much much bigger budget than ours. Of course that’s not hard.

Am I worried about not being able to start editing. Strangely no. Why? Because I am now gaining something that is absolutely totally impossible while shooting – perspective. When you shoot a film it is hard to have that. You are in the moment reacting, adapting, adjusting, choosing, filtering, creating… Some directors can work with complete perspective, 3 miles away, looking at a monitor. I cannot nor do I believe it is right. No great director ever did that. I have that perspective before, that’s why I shot list the entire film before shooting. Not during.

The time I am not in the cutting room is time to gain perspective. Just as long as it doesn’t go on forever that is!

Anyway, If anyone sees Williams Rodriguez please get him to call me now!

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