I feel very unproductive this week. I don’t seem to have achieved much. I took another pass at the edit yesterday and shaved two or three minutes out. Art imitated life as a certain couple’s cameo hit the cutting room floor. Colin came over this morning to get the background plates for the ghost ascension effects which he’s contributing. I’m still trying to firm up personnel for the various other effects.
I was watching one of AJ’s Hi-8 tapes (dominant content: actors sitting around boozing and smoking) and was highly entertained by one of the cast recounting a dream in which I appeared as a theatre director with a script written on the inside of a tobacco pouch. Other dreams were also recounted, but I can’t write them here otherwise I won’t have any blackmail material, should I need it later on.
Yesterday went very well. Thanks to everyone who came. There were some good questions from the audience, particularly Mike Jackon’s “How did you get everyone to work under such appalling conditions for no money?” Everyone really liked the documentary and said that I should use it as a promotional tool, which I hadn’t really thought about (too busy actually making it). The props display in the foyer kept blowing over every time the door opened, but nonetheless attracted a fair bit of attention.
For me the whole thing was something of a watershed. With the relatively short and easy “making-of doc” tunnel successfully navigated, it’s back to the big long “whole film” tunnel, and that light at the end is so very far away.
Fergus and I finally settled on twisting a redhead power cable for the umibilical cord. We need to come up with something better for the film itself, but for the trailer it does the job.
AJ came over yesterday to record his narration for the documentary and provide me with a few extra behind-the-scenes shots from his camcorder. No AJ, Hi-8 is not coming back.
This afternoon I set up the props display at The Courtyard (though unforunately I didn’t get time to do any touch-up work on the goods, ahem) before heading to Cinderford with AJ and Chris, where the three of us did a live interview on Forest of Dean Radio. It went very well and I hope to be able to put it on this site in a couple of weeks.
Well, I’d better go. I still have to paint out a tape glitch on Ray’s interview and master the documentary. Still, I will actually have time to go to bed tonight, which I wasn’t expecting a few days ago.
In The Making of Jurassic Park, physical effects meister Michael Lantieri recounts the trouble he had trying to find a way to make those now-infamous concentric ripples in the glass of water as the T-Rex approaches. Various methods were pursued, long conversations with wave tank specialists were engaged in and much furrowing of the brow was seen to occur. In the end he had a brainwave the night before they shot the scene: he placed the water on his guitar and plucked a string.
I’m reminded of this story as I’m about to begin my second evening with Fergus trying to work out how to make a string, cable or long thin object of any kind ripple in the serene, flowing fashion I want. Last night’s efforts included gently blasting some string with a hairdryer, attaching threads to our fingers and puppeteering a cord, and finally twisting an audio cable into a spiral and letting it unwind. This latter method currently holds the most promise, though it still has a trembling quality to it which gives away its small scale and destroys any illusion of ghostliness. The quest continues.
Saturday lurks nearer with trouser-browning stealth. I still have AJ’s narration to record for the documentary and a few shots from his camcorder to cut in. The trailer, of course, still lacks for some umbilical cord effects and whilst I got a great score through from Scott just now, it does need some changes making to it. But rest assured it will all be ready for Saturday. Don’t forget, folks – 12 noon at the Studio Theatre, The Courtyard, Edgar Street, Hereford, UK, The World, The Solar System, The Milky Way, The Universe,
The Curse of Soul Searcher continues. Even a simple task like popping over to Lara’s place to record a brief interview and some ADR with her and Jonny falls foul of changing schedules and screwed-up tubes. House prices in her road have now probably dropped to a record low, due to some crazy woman who hangs around in her drive making faintly pornographic noises for the benefit of a shifty-looking man in headphones.
I received the Borderlines Focus Day programme today. Soul Searcher‘s on from noon till 1pm. The festival has lined up a highly varied group of speakers, covering shorts, features and even reality TV. Should be a really interesting day.
The last few days I spent working on the sound design for the scenes in the Borderlines doc. Oh the fun you can have laying footsteps onto a scene one by one. Cliche though it is, working on this aspect of the film opens up a whole new dimension. Again, I’ve been plundering The Beacon library. Today I borrowed Rural Media’s sound kit and wandered around for a short while trying to find the right kind of traffic noise. I ambled into Doodies and asked the mildly surprised but generously co-operative barman if I could record the noise of his cappuccino machine.
This evening, when the traffic noise permeating my flat had dropped enough to make sound recording feasible, I gathered together a few props and crouched in the corner of my living room, already too full of light stands, fishtanks and cinematic miscellany, to record some more basic effects. I made a reasonable dent in my ten page list. (That’s for the whole film.)
Chris H put me on to Forest of Dean Radio, who are going to run a piece on the film the night before the Borderlines screening. Me and Chris and maybe AJ are going down to the studio and they’re going to play some dialogue scenes and bits of music from the movie.
In the world of effects, I’ve been speaking to a few people about making the Banshee puppet. Ideas have ranged from stop motion plasticine to full animatronics.
It’s surprisingly difficult to get a piece of string to ripple in a fishtank, or so I’ve found. I’ve been filming little bits of weird stuff to build special effects from. Some things are working better than others. I pillaged The Beacon rushes for incendiary FX. (Dave, the AD, and Chris Jenkins, pyromaniac and owner of large garden, spent a day burning things with me for the napalm sequence at the end. It was funny watching the rushes again since all you see is a black screen with occasional bursts of fire, but you can hear Chris continually disrepecting Dave’s flame-throwing technique.)
I got the Borderlines Festival programme today, with Soul Searcher in, but still no indication of what time of day it might be. I heard Ken Russell pulled out and now they’re trying to find other filmmakers to take his place in the Focus Day.
The other night I had a midnight epiphany and recut the whole trailer, fortunately before Scott had got too far with the music. I have Fergus to thank for that, pointing out it had too much plot and not enough action.
Great news: my Creative Industries application was successful, which means I will shortly be receiving a cheque for 2,800 odd squid for the publicity and promotion of Soul Searcher. Yay for Herefordshire Council!
Since writing the last entry I’ve finished editing the nightclub scene. It is good, and it does look like there are lots of extras, but some of the cuts between the Crystal Rooms and the other locations look ridiculous to an almost Naked Gun degree. I am slowly getting worried about this.
I finished the trailer for Borderlines, which took a long time. There’s so much going on in this movie it’s difficult to condense into two minutes. The documentary is pretty much done, except that I need to get an interview with Lara and maybe Chris too. Now I have to record all the sound effects I need for the trailer and the scenes in the doc. The trailer’s also got a few FX shots in which need doing. Fergus is coming round to help with that on Wednesday.