Paul Hills’ weekly post production blog

Weekly Blog 8

Saturday 29th December.

On a train heading back to London from Stevenage. I’ve just been to visit my father who still lives in the town I grew up in from the age of 7 up until I was 18 and gravitated back to London to pursue a film-making career. The town is looking a little better than it did a few years ago when I made my autobiographical film about growing up there. It has grown a lot.

Although the town is looking better, my father is not. He’s well into his 70’s now and is not doing great. He can hardly walk properly and just a few yards are tiring for him. It’s sad for me to see him like that. I remember when he chased a man in a car for a mile to pull him out of it at a roundabout entrance and smack the shit out of him for shouting “Get a haircut!” as he drove by. My Father doesn’t quite believe in hairdressers. His hair always looks messy! Maybe my particular hair routine is influenced by that a bit!

My father asked about “The French film”. I told him we were in post and tried to explain to him what that means. In any event I’m pretty certain it wont be his kind of film. If I had made the Soldier’s story rather than Callum’s it might have been – if it was in English of course. Normally my Father has a healthy contempt for my film-making. He rarely asks but this time he did. That was nice.

The first time I ever had something showing on UK TV was a student film I produced at the National Film School. It was directed by Danny Cannon who remade the film later as “The Young Americans”. Anyway I called him up to tell him it was going to be on TV that Saturday. On Sunday I had planned to go home. When I got back I asked him did he watch it. He said “Nar, there was something better on the other side”. Some TV sitcom!

Later we were out back of the house. He was repairing a car, something he did for cash. His friend came out from a house nearby saying “Roy did, you see that thing on TV last night? The thing about the young boy!”. My Father was staggered for a second then replied “Oh my son made that.” He never let on for a second he hadn’t actually seen it himself.

Anyway, Christmas is done. I just did the necessary shopping in time. On the day itself I went to a friend’s house and ate the best Turkey I think I have ever had – not dry at all! After that I’ve been working, eating heartily and watching films. Amongst other things, I completed final tweaks on a script called “The Cult” on Thursday. That was a relief.

On Friday I was back in the cutting room. I watched with Caroline another whole chunk of synced rushes. We’ve probably seen about half of the film together now. I finally saw the stuff that had been damaged by the laboratory. The best takes are destroyed but I think with a bit of CGI we can retime the bicycle pass by Roger the Druid. We watched all the journey through France up till finding the first camp site by the stream. Things that stand out are the amazing improvisations en route and beautiful stuff around the pregnant tree where she asks permission from the forest. Wonderful!

Another scene I am really happy with is the first ‘faeries’ scene, again beginning with a development style sequence shot. We actually did the edit at the end of that scene like we did with the one from the first day. It was also the first time I have seen stuff in the office with Marc, John and Grace. The panning tracking introduction to the advertising company works well also. Marc’s improvisations in Sark’s office with the mini-globe is the only scene Marc was unsure about but as I knew they are very well covered and thus not a problem at all. It will edit together perfectly.

We are currently up to slate 529 but 30 of them are not done for various technical reasons. Now Caroline has nearly three weeks to finish the syncing as well as start the first assembly before I will bother her again. I go on holiday on Monday and badly needed it is too. I will put down the books I am reading now and will start Finigan’s Wake on the plane!

One final thing happened today. I got a letter from Max Steadi, demanding payment for the money he is owed and saying that now it is 2 months outstanding. I promised him I would text him while I was watching the steadicam rushes from the “Do Elephants Pray?” scene. I haven’t seen them yet. I am still waiting and that is why he has not had any contact. The problem we have now is that two months is nothing. I still haven’t got the receipts from Williams. He cancelled an appointment before Xmas and hasn’t replied to any of my recent texts. Without those receipts we cannot do our VAT reclaim and without that we cannot pay Max what he is owed.

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