I’m sorry about the lack of updates, but really nothing interesting has been happening. I’ve been engaged in mundane tasks like burning timecode onto the whole film and compressing it onto CDs for Scott (the composer). I’ve done a little work on the sound design, but tomorrow I’m spending an afternoon with Chris Mayall to record a lot more SFX.
Um, what else? We have a mate of Ray’s who’s starting to design a poster for us. We still haven’t got the 1:18 scale Mustang yet because of a farcical series of cock-ups by Royal Mail and others. (How difficult can it be to send an order and a cheque to a company? On this movie, about as easy as skiing on one leg. And if anyone sends me an e-mail telling me they’ve done some skiing on one leg and actually it’s not that tricky, I’m going to scream.)
Locked the edit today at 94 minutes, 28 seconds and 10 frames. Is that light I see at the end of the tunnel? No, that’s the C train.
Turn-out at the last test screening on Tuesday was poor again, despite Chris’s best efforts. There were however enough completed questionnaires to see that my recent cuts had been for the best. Everyone described the film as “good” or “very good” and everyone ticked the “just right” box in the pacing section. Bizarrely, several people complained that there’s too much panning in the film.
Now barely over 97 minutes, the movie is coming very close to a final cut, but I’m still paranoid that there are dodgy bits in there waiting to jump up and bite me in the ass months down the line when it’s too late to cut them. I’ve therefore decided to put off locking the edit for a few more days in order to get some more qualitative opinions.
Last night I went round to Colin’s house and shot some “rain” against black. I also got the flashing red light shot using a fireglow bulb and a wastepaper basket, which means the only non-miniature shot left to shoot is the pressure gauge.
It’s 4:30am and I’m writing a journal entry. It’s just like the old days. What isn’t like the old days is that we’ve all been wearing t-shirts all night.
“This is the most random night I’ve had in a long time,” observed Andrew, one of the runners, “apart from last Hallowe’en.” But we won’t go into that.
Our evening began with a quick bluescreen shot of AJ here chez Jigawatt, then after a pleasant cup of tea we moseyed down to the leisure pool, where we had the singular experience of taking off our shoes and socks in the changing room, rolling up our trousers and proceeding through the shower room carrying lights, cameras and flight cases. AJ was quite nervous by this time. We had a little trouble acquiring a lifeguard, but by the time we had set up the lights and were ready to roll, three had come along to watch the fun. You will be pleased to know that AJ was not killed upon leaping from the board into the watery depths below. In fact he rather enjoyed it and wanted to do it again.
We came back here, had another pleasant cup of tea, then moved outside to shoot a Pepsi can flying through the air and a scythe going into a scabbard. Not particularly taxing stuff.
Most of the crew then adjourned to Manhattan’s for a couple of hours, before reconvening for a third pleasant cup of tea and starting to move the gear round the corner to High Town. You will have gathered by the narrative thusfar described that the night’s work was of a somewhat laid-back character. At 3am (still t-shirt temperature) we were reunited with Phil the Street Sweeper Driver an astonishing eight months after we first employed his services, to shoot the crane shot. This didn’t work out quite as well as I’d hoped, but nevertheless it will help the production value of the opening.
The final shot of the evening involved AJ flinging Ezekiel’s scythe as far as he could. It had been a deliberate decision on my part to leave this shot until the very end of the shoot, and as expected it did not fare well. With every take another piece fell off.
A few quick sweeper sound effects and we were done. All in all, a night of Soul Searcher shooting completely unlike every other night in almost every conceivable way.
By montaging the training sequence and making some trims which James recommended, I got the film down to 99 minutes. The training sequence is much more interesting now. Funny, it was always written as a montage but for the last six months it’s just been sat in linear form on the timeline. I’m disappointed that I won’t be able to go to the test screening in Cheltenham on Tuesday afternoon to witness firsthand how it goes down.
Everything is sorted for the shooting on Tuesday night. On Thursday I have to shoot some “rain” against black in Colin’s back garden, and I will still need to find a pressure gauge and red alarm light to shoot (I can see that not being shot until a week before the premiere), but I’m still on course for picture lock at the end of the week.
Duane is continuing to develop the umbilical cord effect. Suffice to say that I’m now very glad I didn’t pursue the string-in-a-fishtank approach. James Parkes, an animator based in Cornwall, has taken on the stop motion shots of the Moat of Souls and the creatures which dwell within.
The video playback machinery failed James on Friday and no further test screenings occurred. He then bumped into Chris Hatherall, who was busy putting up posters advertising the test screening next week (at the same university – a little miscommunication there, but never mind).
I’ve eeked another two minutes out of the film. This afternoon I began playing about with possible designs for the main title and wound up with one that looks a little too much like Aliens. Anyway, it gives me a real sense of progress to think that by the end of next week the picture will be locked.
What also gives me a good sense of progress is that I’ve finally found someone to do the spectral umbilical cords. After two or three false starts with other people, Duane Beckett is now working on the effect.
The Green Dragon Hotel are demolishing their car park, which causes a problem for me because I now have nowhere to keep the crane when we’re not using it. Still, with any luck that will be the last production challenge I have to face on this movie.