Paul Hills’ weekly post production blog

Weekly Blog 7

Saturday 22nd December.

On a 73 bus again. I am heading in for some late Christmas shopping! Every year I am late but this one seems the worst. I’m still playing catch up on the things that were left high and dry when we started pre-production on DEP. So much to do!

On Tuesday I met again with Jonnie and we went through what invoices and receipts we’ve got at present. We paid the most pressing but our finance is running low yet again. We desperately need to do the VAT reclaim. HM Customs and Excise needed some sales estimates which I have dutifully done this morning, but what they most need is the accounts. That again is something that cannot be done till we get everything from Williams Rodriguez. I planned to meet him yesterday evening but he cancelled again!

On Thursday there were some Post Production results finally. I saw rushes. Caroline and I sat through the footage shot for all the stuff leading up to getting on the Ferry excluding the footage from the office that is the last to be synced up.

So far we are synced up to slate number 447. Nearly all have been transferred so it’s just a case of syncing. What’s it like seeing rushes at last? Well, it’s strangely calming.

The best thing is seeing the uniformity of style and texture. All the colour co-ordination I agreed with Seanne and all the lighting decisions I made with Roger seem to have paid off. Nothing stands out as being out of place. The ‘feel’ of the film is there. A kind of European feel, not at all American or British. It’s not grungy documentary style like FL, nor gritty but cinematic like BKO, nor slick and stylised like The Poet. It’s different to either. That I like.

I once showed «The Poet» to someone and they asked «Who’s the DoP? It looks amazing!!» When I replied that it was Roger they said «Not the same guy who did Boston Kickout?» I said «Of Course!» They had fallen victim to the same old disease, the one that is rife in the world of Commercials for instance. They think because a DoP or director has done one style it’s the only style they can do!! Anyway, we’ve come up with a different one again. Of course there are some DoP’s or Directors that can only do things one way as well as versatile one’s like Sidney Lumet.

On Thursday we made all the choices for scenes in the first half of the film that were done in one shot – all the sequence shots. We might re-evaluate those choices later but I doubt it. As we watched the footage scene by scene chronologically it occurred to me that the first dialogue scene of the film is actually a short sequence shot. Caroline asked me «Did you plan it that way?» Bizarrely, being honest, I hadn’t. It was one of only three scenes in the film where I had to compromise on coverage because of time pressures – at the Tai Chi class. Of course, when you start to get to know a character, that’s the place to let things breathe. It works well here I feel.

What scenes stand out so far? The wine scene where Callum and Malika get drunk. The beautiful swings scene with Roger’s day for night filter and the beautiful mesmeric effect of the sound of the swinging. The scenes with Rosie in Emma’s house.

We also made the first cut in the film. After choosing the final take of the first day scene 48, the 3 minute tracking shot, we choose the cut to the take where they fall to the ground. It works well to cut from such a long and then wide shot in close is the pure essence of cinema. The change of perspective. I love it. It cuts just as planned with Roger’s compensating handheld track around as beautiful and sublime as can be.

It makes me think of the real tragedy, be it a future one. One day I might have to make a film without Roger as my DoP. That will be a very, very, very painful day for me!

I am seeing more next Friday. Hopefully all the film will be synced up by that time.

On Friday myself and Jonnie did final drop offs of bits of equipment and things that had been leant to the production. We also dropped off a big screen TV to Caroline. There’s no way we can edit a feature on the small monitor she normally uses for documentaries and promos. I showed Jonnie some rushes that we had sat through. I only showed him bits that me and Caroline had viewed and talked about. I am Old School in the way I cannot tolerate people seeing rushes before I have seen them. I hate it!

On BKO, Paul Trijbits, who was Exec. Producing the film called up the editor, Melanie Adams and told her he had to catch a plane later that day and wanted to see the rushes. She told him that I had not seen them yet. He insisted. She said «no». He turned up at the cutting room. She pleaded for him to leave. He said that he was the Exec Producer, that he had to get on a plane, that he wouldn’t tell me and that if she didn’t show them that she would be sacked. He convinced her. What did he do after seeing them? Got in a car, drove 25 miles to Stevenage and to set, got out, walked through the whole crew, straight between John Simm, Emer McCourt and myself as we were rehearsing, looked me in the eye and said «Nice rushes». Of course, when I called Melanie she was in tears.

On DEP there has been none of that, no real politics, just the fall out between Jonnie and Williams that rumbles on. Of course, the longer it goes on not getting the paid invoices etc. the more Williams is shooting himself in the foot in every way.

Anyway, now Christmas is here, hopefully I’ll finish all I have outstanding before the day actually dawns!

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