So last year I wrote this snarky blog entry, because my movie Tex: Vampire Hunter didn’t get into SIFF.
Well, this year Love and War is playing on closing night of SIFF ShortsFest.
We’ve got an official website up. Check back soon for updated news and info on future screenings.
This is not the glamorous part. The actors have taken off their costumes and makeup and gone home. The cameras and lights have been put away. The cables have been wound. The wrap party drinks have been drunk.
Now it’s just a lot of technical stuff. Mostly guys tinkering around on computers in darkened rooms. We are editing, adding digital effects, composing the score, and recording ADR. Then comes the final sound design and mixing.
Someone once said, in response to a filmmaker’s whining about how long editing takes, “Why don’t you just plan and shoot very carefully? Then you won’t have to edit so much.“ While that view is more or less true, it’s not very realistic and fails to grasp what editing is really about: assembling the story. It’s not so much about cutting out all the mistakes. This is the part of the process where you sort through all your footage and build the movie.
I strongly believe that the director should not edit the movie. The editing process often requires an objective opinion when there are hard decisions to be made. I think that, as the director, I can fall in love with shots and want to hang on to them beyond their use in furthering the story. A good editor who can see what needs to be cut is invaluable. I found just such a collaborator in Fred Beahm.
I honestly have no clue what I’m doing here. There’s a picture in my head. There is software that makes pictures. It’s just a matter of looking up tutorials online and tweaking them to suit your needs. And then the movie has more blood and bigger explosions.
Let’s define some terms.
Sound design is the way sound effects interact with the music, dialogue and foley. If something needs to sound distant, or underwater, or an explosion comes from the right, this is all done with sound design.
Foley is sometimes used to mean “sound effects”, but more strictly it means the sounds associated with human movement: footsteps, floorboards creaking, clothes rustling. If all the sound in the movie is being replaced, foley is essential to the realism of the scene. Without it, it feels lifeless. Even though we were lucky and most of our production audio was useable, audiences are used to hearing foley, even if subconsciously, so we have to put it in.
It’s astounding how much stuff we do only because audiences expect it.
Mixing is analogous to mixing music, and just as crucial. All the tracks of dialogue, music, sound effects, and foley have to be balanced against each other and blended in a way that is pleasing to the ear, and conveys the desired aural effect of the film.
All the post production sound duties were handled by Microsoft Studios, and foley artistry was done by Austin Healy.
Even films shot on actual film do digital color grading to look more like film. So movies originally captured on a digital format, like ours, have to do a double catch-up in order to have that professional look.
Luckily we have a genius on our side. John Davidson is a 30 year movie industry veteran and we recruited him to bring that final extra punch to the images captured by our cinematographers.
The post-production process on this film was a lot more involved than any previous project I’ve worked on, and I learned a lot from it. If there’s any lesson I can impart, it would be to plan ahead and budget adequately for post, as it’s an absolutely crucial part of creating a film.
“Love and War” will premiere at Seattle International Film Festival.
Now enjoy some tasty boilerplate:
Now in its 36th year, the Seattle International Film Festival plays host to a stellar array of films from around
the world. SIFF screens an eclectic selection of the best new international features,
documentaries, and US independent films and is the largest and most highly attended
film festival in the United States with an audience of more than 140,000 attending in
2009. The 25-day Festival presents more than 400 films from over 60 countries. Programming
also includes industry seminars and panels, awards, tributes, retrospectives,
and educational outreach programs. With extensive local, national, and international
media coverage, the Festival is one of this country’s most accessible and highly publicized
We’re deep into the editing process. It’ll be a few months before we have a finished piece. In the mean time, here some new stills from the footage.
And time is running out to donate! Do it now!
The above link is our new Kickstarter page. It’s also currently the only place you can see the trailer. Click the link, check out the video, skim the page, and if you are so moved, donate a little money to the completion of this film.
Kickstarter lets us offer rewards, NPR-style. You can pre-order copies of the DVD and Blu-Ray, or get props and costumes that were used in the film itself. At the higher end of the rewards are producer credits that will get you listed in the IMDB.