Soul Searcher: March 31st 2005

The Comic Expo in Bristol has agreed to screen the SS trailer – see the screening page for more details. I’m trying to tap into the whole fantasy/sci-fi fandom thing. Impact, the action movie magazine who gave us some coverage at Christmas 2003, are planning a big piece on the film. I heard a little whisper that they loved the screener.

I’ve shown the nine page treatment for my next movie, Nightland, to a few people and they got excited. I’m gonna take it to Cannes. I guess I’ll have to start up a website for it before long.

Soul Searcher: March 31st 2005

Soul Searcher: March 22nd 2005

My head is now the size of a VW camper van. Here is a record of the Ego Puff Points I acquired this weekend:

Got up on Friday morning and did live phone interview with BBC Hereford & Worcester – 1 Ego Puff Point

Headed to Hereford, picking up The Guardian on the way. The article was massive and extremely positive (“Soul Searcher is a fantasy action movie in the grand style… It looks great and moves beautifully… As a statement of potential, Soul Searcher must be one of the best value movies ever made.”) – 5 points

Arrived in Hereford and did an interview for ITV Central News which goes out tonight at 6pm – 1 point

Introduced the first screening and fielded questions afterwards. It sold out – 1 point

Saturday morning – checked my e-mails and found I already had some distribution interest as a result of the Guardian article – 1 point

Discovered the second screening had sold out – 1 point

Introduced the second screening and again fielded questions. One guy in the audience told me he had hiked across half the country to be there, and had camped out in the leisure centre car park the previous night. After seeing the film he said it had been worth it – 4 points

Met Hollywood film director Stephen Frears (responsible for John Cusack/Jack Black-starrer High Fidelity, My Beautiful Launderette, Dirty Pretty Things, etc.). Stephen had seen the article in The Guardian and said of me in an interview with James for post-festival publicity: “All you can do is admire him. If he’s got this much focus he’ll be alright.” – 5 points

Monday – gave a talk to 150 teenagers at the Borderlines You-TV3 Conference about how to get into film-making. One of the kids who came up to me afterwards told me I was the coolest speaker – 1 point, but lose it immediately for caring that some kid said I was cool

Generally had praise heaped upon the film all weekend from all quarters – 2 points

Got home, checked my e-mails and discovered that Soul Searcher has not been selected for screening at the Cannes Film Festival – lose 3 points

Grand total: 18 Ego Puff Points

So here is the beginning of a whole new wave of work. On my to do list at the moment are: finish first draft of new script so I have something to pitch at Cannes; send screeners of Soul Searcher to a whole bunch of people; make enquiries with publishers about turning this journal into a book; edit electronic press kit; begin work on DVD extras; investigate festivals and distribution opportunities…

Soul Searcher: March 22nd 2005

Soul Searcher: March 16th 2005

The arrival of spring has coincided beautifully with the completion of Soul Searcher, somehow reflecting my mood. I’ve spent the last couple of days cutting and mixing the final trailer, which is now available on this site in place of the old one. You’ll like it.

Yesterday I did an interview for The Western Daily Press, a paper based in Bristol I think, and on Friday morning before I leave for Hereford I have to do a phone interview for BBC Radio Hereford & Worcester.

Soul Searcher: March 16th 2005

Soul Searcher: March 13th 2005

Wow, that was an anticlimax.

Neil and I completed the stereo mix at about 2pm on Friday, but we still had concerns that we weren’t going to get the sub-bass at the screening, so Neil researched the subject on the web and tried to produce a Dolby 3.1 mix while I got an hour’s kip. Sadly the Dolby mix did not work.

So the premiere happened. I was half asleep. I made a surreal little speech and it was on with the show. The picture looked pretty good on the big screen, much better than I had expected, but the volume of the sound was pathetically low, despite the projectionist insisting he couldn’t crank it up any more. Never fear, I know the sound system at the Courtyard goes VERY loud because some people walked out of my screenings of The Beacon in 2002 because of the excessive volume. So Borderlines attendees can expect to experience the full power of the mix, albeit a mix that has a few tiny mistakes in it due to us having to rush it, but most people wouldn’t even notice them. (Don’t worry, it won’t be loud enough to make people walk out, I promise.) Big thanks to Neil for going way, way, way above and beyond the call of duty to help me get the damn thing finished on time.

When I got home after the premiere I was deprived of sleep a little while longer as I ran off a tape of clips for ITV Central News, who are interviewing me and Borderlines director David Gillam on Friday, and a screener for the Cannes Film Festival.

I then had to get up early on Saturday to travel to Hereford with Leo Benedictus, who is writing an article on Soul Searcher for The Guardian. Leo had attended the premiere and was really impressed by the film. When we got to Hereford we had lunch in Doodies (it was a strange experience for Leo to see the place in real life after seeing it in the film) and Leo quizzed me about the film, my ambitions and all that jazz. He could scarcely believe it when I told him how little the film had cost.

Then a photographer arrived and snapped loads of pictures of me in Doodies, in High Town (perching precariously in a flower bed and getting strange looks from the crowds of Saturday shoppers) and on the roof of the Courtyard. Lucy Maslen, a.k.a. Clubber Girl 2, was working at the Courtyard box office. She told us that there are only eight seats left for the Friday screening and that Saturday is also selling well. Leo took the opportunity to ask Lucy a few questions, then he and I visited Campions where I regaled him with tales of frosted lighting stands and imaginary homeless people under the bridge.

The article will appear this Friday, the 18th, in the Friday Review section of the G2 supplement.

When I got home from Hereford I went to bed for fifteen hours.

Soul Searcher: March 13th 2005

Soul Searcher: March 10th 2005

Just over 24 hours to go until the premiere, and of course the film is not yet finished. The last two or three days have passed in a blur of pixels and sound waves uninterrupted by such trifling concerns as sleep. That’s not entirely true, actually. I did get two and a half hours’ kip last night. I’m unable to drink caffeine (my heart is once again feeling the strain as zero hour approaches) and I’m spending a lot of my time slumped on the sofa at the back of Neil’s studio, occasionally issuing commands along the lines of “a little bit more” and “the Kurt Russell’s not loud enough”..

We just finished premixing the final reel and are now rendering off the files needed for the final mix, which will be done live with a real mixer. Then, if you can believe it, the film will be finished. Except for all the tweaks I’ll make at a later date.

So the question is: can we do the final mix, master it onto DVD and sort out the problems we’ve been having with the sub-bass in time for the screening? (We burnt a test DVD and went round to Lara’s yesterday to try it on her surround sound system and the bass was sorely lacking.) It’s going to be tight, but we’ll make it.

And if we don’t, it’ll probably be because we took five minutes off this afternoon to search the internet for the answer to that perennial question: “What were the first three words of the intro voiceover for Knight Rider?” The answer, for the record is: “A shadowy flight… into the dangerous world of a man who does not exist.”

Soul Searcher: March 10th 2005

Soul Searcher: March 8th 2005

Four days to go. Neil and I reached the end of the film yesterday lunchtime and immediately went back to the beginning to start tidying things up. By the end of the evening we had reel one done and dusted. Today Neil will work on it alone for most of the day. I’m at home waiting for the post to arrive, which should include David’s completed smoke effects. I’ll then composite these in, thus finally completing the picture side of the film, and set off to Neil’s for what I’m sure will be a pretty intense 72 hours of mixing.

Soul Searcher: March 8th 2005

Soul Searcher: March 4th 2005

I feel like crap, having worked nights on the mix all week. At a certain point in the wee hours of Wednesday morning I realized that of the preceding 44 hours I had only slept for three. That explained why my head kept nodding as I sat at the keyboard, and why I could barely see or remember what I was doing five seconds previously. I was in serious danger of accidentally erasing an entire hard drive or something similarly catastrophic.

The good news is that we’re now firmly back on track. We have only twelve minutes of the film left to go through, which leaves us two days to go back over everything and tidy it up, and a day for the final mix.

David Markwick is hard at work doing all the train smoke effects as CGI, after the cell animator I brought on board utterly failed to deliver the goods. Hopefully I will be incorporating those into the film on Tuesday, which will finally put the picture side of things to bed. I’m very disappointed that I won’t get the quaint, shaky look of hand animation that I wanted.

Soul Searcher: March 4th 2005