What’s long and impressive, heavy, made by David Dukes and has spent the last six weeks sat in the offices of Ace Taxis? Luca’s rifle, that’s what. I realised last week that it wasn’t in my hall with the rest of the props. I spent several days ringing people and gradually freaking out until I finally discovered it had been left in the boot of a taxi on the last day of photography. I pity da fool who put dat rifle in dat cab…
The most difficult location of the shoot, the Crystal Rooms nightclub, has come back to haunt us, as the manager won’t let us back in to complete the scene. Edd’s going nuts trying to find one that can double.
Bekka’s working on a new look for the demons, since the old one looked great on paper but didn’t translate well to reality. Certain knarly props and costumes remain obstinately unsortable. A weapons rack can’t be that difficult to get made, after plasma pulse grenades and a giant hotel sign… can it?
I started to get kinda depressed about the movie over the last few days, and I realised it was because I was reading The Guerilla Filmmakers’ Blueprint. Two or three times every chapter the author says something like, “Let’s face it – most low budget films are crap and don’t make any money.” Hardly inspirational, Chris. I have now relegated the Blueprint to the shelf.
Commentaries listened to over the last few days: The Rock (two stars), Armageddon (five stars for the actors’ commentary, purely because of Ben Affleck ripping the piss out of the plot), Men In Black (four stars – Tommy Lee Jones saying “Yeah, that’s cool” every five minutes is somehow highly entertaining), Ghostbusters (three stars), Terminator 2 (three stars), Back To The Future (two stars).
I’ve mostly been trying to make some of the FX look better. I’ve also been trying to help Edd with production stuff for the remaining shooting. The guy is so broke because of this movie. I feel really bad. Anyway, we’ve been trying to get more runners so I’ve been talking to the local college and stuff. We seem to have a problem with this one prop which Ian’s decided he doesn’t know how to make, and I wound up calling my dad to see if he could do it last night and got the expected verbal abuse. Another thing I had to do was rewrite this one scene we’re reshooting. Typing scripts and schedules was weird – like travelling back in time.
Excised from Edd’s biog for this website: “The first time I met Neil was at JFK airport. I had been sent to greet him as most of the English crew had already arrived the day before. On being dispatched I didn’t have a clue what I was looking for. After a phone call I was told ‘Just look for a guy with stupidly spiky hair’, fair description I’d say.”
Yesterday I went round to see Colin Smith, our gaffer from the shoot, who has been experimenting with some spectral umbilical cord effects. What he had was the basis of the something interesting, but needs work. The fact that I shot a lot of that stuff with a moving camera is now coming back to bite me in the ass.
Ian (the production designer) came round to get the pistols and holsters, which need repairing/improving for phase two of the shoot. Ian’s off to NFTS in a week or two, bound no doubt for fame and glory. The best of luck to him.
Today doubt started to enter my mind regarding the quality of my FX work. Maybe what I thought looks charmingly animated and old-fashioned is just plain crap. I guess that’s what test screenings are for. Hey, I heard that someone read my comment on this journal a few days ago that I was thinking about having a test screening at the art college, and this person was a student there and was all like, “When is it? I wanna go see it.” I can’t believe how many random people seem to read this thing. Wouldn’t it be weird if there was no movie, and I was just some poor lonely guy making all this stuff up? You know what – don’t answer that.
And into our third year on the film that wouldn’t die. Ironically.
I’ve spent much of the last two days drawing hold-out mattes round shots of Andy. To avoid zombification during this process, I listened to DVD commentaries whilst doing it. Yesterday I made it through all three commentaries on Pirates of the Carribean and today it was El Mariachi and Bad Boys. If anyone’s interested, by far the best was Jack Davenport and Kiera Knightley’s commentary on Pirates – almost as entertaining as the film itself.
My camera came back today (turned out it was the fourth time they’d tried to deliver it – they’d been going to the wrong building). As before, it appears to be working fine, but as we all know by now that means jack.
I’m about to start animating a scrumpled up piece of paper. Trust me, it’s ingenious. Drink up, me hearties, yo ho.
Edd’s been valiantly trying to schedule something for us to shoot this weekend, but conflicting availabilties mean it just ain’t gonna happen. Also, my camera still hasn’t come back yet, though I’m assured it has been repaired. I hope they lose it and have to give me a new one. Just in case anyone out there still hasn’t got the message: CANON SUCK. But they do make exceedingly good cameras.
I’ve spent the last two days making lists. I went through the rough cut and listed everything that still needs shooting, every FX shot, and every sound effect required. All three lists are frighteningly long. The FX list runs to six pages, the sound effects to ten pages. Guess I know what I’m doing for the rest of my natural life.
Simon dropped by to see how the fight scenes were shaping up. He was very pleased, and so he should be. Everyone who’s seen the trailer and the rough cut remarks on the quality of the fights. Big up to Simon, Chris Jones and the team.
Speaking of fights, annoyingly we’re gonna have to reshoot one of my favourite ones – Joe vs. the demon in the multistorey. I was concerned on the day about the quality of the demon’s costume and despite all three people who’ve seen the rough cut so far saying “It’s dark, it’s quick, it didn’t bother me…” I don’t think I could live with myself if I let it stay like that. I broke the bad news to Edd earlier.
Thanks to Alex Chappell for solving my semantic problem – the opposite of “nocturnal” is “diurnal”. (Good boy, Neil – now use it in a sentence…) I am now diurnal, due to a radical regime of actually getting up when my alarm clock goes off.
Been busy putting together a promo reel for a company that gives out post funding for features. You never know. Also tonight I showed the rough cut to a couple more people. Again, there don’t seem to be any real problems, but then they were friends. Once the rest of the shooting’s done I’ll need to show it to some strangers. A screening at the art college seems like a good plan.
My body won’t let me be non-nocturnal (dacturnal? jourturnal? solturnal?). I slept through most of Christmas Day and spent the small hours of boxing day trying (again) and failing (again) to write an outline for Soul Searcher Part II.
Soul Searcher was in the Malvern Gazette this week, showing lots of pretty photos. Hooray for local press.
The remaining 106 frames didn’t take too long, fortunately. I progressed to other FX today, but I’ve had to slow down a fair bit because all this screen-staring is giving me headaches and making my right eye do funny twitchy things. Plus I had to stop being nocturnal because it was giving me indigestion. Jesus, it’s like being an old man.
There’s a great two page article in Impact magazine this month, available at all good newsagents (and I really do mean good newsagents – you’re unlikely to find it in any shoddy ones). There’s a nice big picture of Ray and Lara just over the page from Kiefer Sutherland.
Merry Christmas, everyone.
Where was I? Ah yes, frame 34 of 140 of drawing round Ray’s arm. Sigh.
Our marks are still on the pavement outside Doodies. Maybe it’ll become Hereford’s answer to Sunset Boulevard.
Just been to see Return of the King and spotted a few shots with dodgy compositing, which makes me feel a hell of a lot better as I slave away in Photoshop. I’m sorry, but what the hell is up with the last fifteen minutes of that film? Cutting room floor, Pete, cutting room floor.
Thanks to Lara for solving the mysteries of the 80s: “D.A.R.Y.L. stood for Data Analysing Robot Youth Lifeform. It was released about 1985″… and for posing another… “I believe it was the same kid who played Bastian in The Never Ending Story wasn’t it?”