Clues for the real title of MbM

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I have sent SMSs with clues for the real title of the film to a select few, who I thought were cluey enough (pardon the pun) to work things out. Alas, I underestimated my encryption powers. To make it easier, thought of posting all the clues collectively

It is a two word title
On offer a bottle of champagne to the one who gets the closest.

The Clues:
A compass won’t help you as much as a key
People come to watch
The eyes need it
Mallet and chisel build it in vaulted stones

Bon chance!


The Amor and Labour post

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Just in case you though WTF about my last blog posting on amor and labour – here’s some context - I am stuck on labouring on the administrative hell of post-production: logging etc see previous post.

So I thought to remind myself of what is necessary to overcome challenges – is it love or sheer labour?

Anyway the love quote is a tattoo I’ve got planned for one of my arms – not sure whether left or right – will wait until I finish the film – might change my mind – as I usually do – about fickle things like sticking needles loaded with ink and infected blood in my skin…

BTW – I have received many emails replying to the blog – all positive thank Christ for that – but it would be better if you included your comments in the blog itsef.


Amor vincit omnia — Labor omnia vincit

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Yes indeed - either love or labour conquers everything.

Although in the case of (amor) love - Virgil - who wrote the phrase - was warning of its power - he meant that love in its full expression was uncontrollable and could burn you and destroy you thus overcome you/everything - the labour quote is far less sinister...


Logging and other administrative burdens

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Spent the week-end trying to sort out the project management aspects of the edit (trying the operative word here - since I am not sure whether I've actually succeed - I'll know tonight) – i.e. where to put the files? How to log? Which drive is best? How to access them? What is the best way to chunk the project so that the whole edit doesn’t grind to a screeching halt? Should I buy another drive to accommodate the data?

For those of you who know me – you’d know how much I hate this – it’s against my nature to get bogged down with the minutiae of process – I can accommodate the big picture and think how each piece will eventually fit in the big puzzle – but to stuff around with drives and connectors (USB firewire) - and should I daisy chain this or parallel that and do I edit in sequences scenes or the whole picture at once? And which folder contains what?

Incompatible with my immune system…I'm getting a rash...

Anyway – enough of my ranting bottom line – haven’t started to edit a single frame yet – f#&* me … mea culpa, mea culpa, mea maxima culpa - should have planned the post better…



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I’m going ‘back to school’ for the edit – I’ve been playing with the footage – which is my code for not wanting to take a disciplined approach to the logging and sorting of files/folders (I need an anal retentive assistant editor). But it is against my nature to play by the rules...even mine!

Anyway thanks to my undisciplined playing I got to discover wonderland – isn’t that worth the chaos?

By toying around with shots and music and effects the feel and look is very different from what I had seen in my mind's eye.

At first I was afraid that I needed to edit the film quickly in order to capture the moment but the opposite is true - the time it has taken to sort out the technical glitches meant I got time to review review the material in various formats (with or without audio - slow motion etc) that has give me a distance and new interpretation to it all. Some shots that I thought were dispensable are now powerful imagery.

All in all a wonderful feeling.

At the core of it all are the great performances – to watch them again and again on the screen cannot be described to the uninitiated - as a writer you live with a characters in your head for years, to see them realised on the screen in flesh and blood is spellbinding – like oxygen to a drowning man.

I will be forever beholden to Chris, Luke, Sweeney and the powerhouse Danielle.

I hate to single out actors as everyone contributed to a great ensemble cast - but DB reminds me of a quote about Fred Astairs and Ginger Rogers: when a critic complimented Fred’s dancing skills he quipped that Ginger had to dance in reverse (since Fred was leading) and notably in high heel! So who was the better dancer?

Well Danielle acted her socks off - while being strapped down…

All in all they more than respected the material – or to paraphrase DB ‘did not reduce it’ – indeed they added layers of humanity and truthfulness that are indelible.

And Max! What a fabulous job on set design with a $0 budget – Max – the footage will make you look like a god to your peers – they’ll want you to keep your secret or every other producer will put the squeeze on them to achieve more with less..
It looks rich – it looks real – it looks dreamlike…onyah mate – enjoy Paris with SJ.

But let's not forget CHW and his gang – for capturing it all despite the clock ticking – not to mention JH! for his single-minded dedication to my ‘thousand eyes’ concept and forever firing up cameras – it’s a nightmare of data wrangling John but one well worth it – footage coming out of my ears(eyes?)

Okay - enough thanks yous - you may start to think I want to adopt you - or shag you - now I gotta get the job done - I deliverd the script - delieverd the direction - now the edit - I promise I will be more disciplined – erase all the external hard drives of experiments and start afresh - This week-end I will start the assembly of all the master shots – the task-master has spoken...but if you know any anal retentive assistant editors please send them my way...


A technical virgin discovers desire...

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I now have the technical specs sorted out – was touch and go for a moment as various FCP and MXF import versions (virgins?) do not compute with each other. And it was looking like I had to recapture everything – it may be a case of both re-logging and importing – but it is doable with the current set up with the addition of 3TB external drive at the ready.


Changes to the film...

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I studied the footage with great focus - there was so much material before and after action and cut (just as well we weren’t shooting film – I gauged 70% of a take took place before I said Action! and the reminder 30% was the actual scripted scene…)

Nonetheless this accidental footage was so gripping that a new story emerged –so I have made a drastic change - the film is now a docudrama about Deep our clapper loader.

It opens with a shot of his feet shuffling out of frame – but the camera rather than stay on our ensemble cast (too obvious choice I guess) – creatively follows him as his tries to hide behind transparent curtains.

The framing is all Dutch/Russian angles - which adds to the otherworldliness of the piece.

The body of the film follows Deep, as he doggedly skips and hops, trying in vain to evade the cameras by ducking, weaving or standing very still in frame – albeit behind transparent curtains – and in his stillness we find poetry.

The middle of the film focuses on his attempts to show the clapper board to a growing array of cameras that are hidden from his direct view – as many voices yell at him – turn here! Go there! Closer! Tilt it! The other way! He takes all this with great humanity.

He looks both confused and befuddled by this turn of events – the professional actors - by now out of focus in the background - become mirrors of his own inner blurred world-view and he becomes our new centre of attention.

He is now a reluctant star in his own drama – but overall his performance is searing and above all genuine - as we see real panic and fear in his eyes – Kinsky would have been proud…

The last shot is the most compelling – I am tempted of not revealing it...

It’s the last day of the shoot and Deep has now gone through a major catharsis - he has accepted his role as star of his own drama. Yet – he retains that air of genuine puzzlement at the turn of events – with Nepalese stoicism and beauty he looks off camera and asks – ‘what is the shot number’ – for a split moment his words hang in the air - nobody pays him much attention – then suddenly - off camera - five masculine voices yell different instructions – a moment of pure cinematic beauty as he writes and erases all the numbers yelled at him - afraid of disappointing anyone – yes I know - I cried too…


F@#$ing External Hard Drive headaches

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So the current hard drives do not work – or rather the content as recorded onto them cannot be accessed by my FCP v6.0 system a tiny, tiny issue really (f@#$%!) – Okay - breathe – in – out – in- out - happy thoughts – happy thoughts…

One solution is to re-log and transfer each single take onto a new drive using the log transfer function of FCP v6.

F*&% me – this is a mammoth task – we have over 2 Terabytes of data - this is 2100 minutes of screen time – now even for those of you with a not so strong math bend you’ll realise that there are 60 minutes in one hour – 600 minutes in ten hours – so 2100 minutes equals to 33 hours of acquisition and logging! Easily three weeks worth of slog - That’s just to re -log the material. Then this material needs to be assembled…Wasn’t looking forward to this…

But let’s look at the bright side (yes ladies and gents – there is always a bright side – or rather if life gives you lemons make lemonade – and god knows I’ve made lots a lemonade) - it’ll give me time to review the material and select the good takes.

Now – where’s my cheque book – I need a very good 2 terabyte external hard drive…


The title of the film is...

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A'll know in time...


The edit suite - Final Cut Studio and P2

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Finally got the edit suite together – Mac book pro, Final Cut studio 2, five drives - all up for a total of 5 Terabytes of media.

The software was very temperamental and spent the week-end learning about MXF files and P2 converters – as much as I get seduced by technology – having to install plug-ins and patches requires the patience of a monk.

On the up side FCP v6.0 is very good. Lots of sophisticated effects and ability to tweak the images to suit the film that I’ve had in my mind for 2 years.

As is my nature (off centre?), I will be experimenting with various approaches to streamline the workflow. Likely to work off sequences. Each sequence a dream - each sequence a colour in the palette of the mind-maze.

The colour palette and the contrast and finished look will be last on the list – otherwise there is the danger of a rainbow effect across the scenes.

But I get ahead of myself - the assembly is not done yet - and it alone could take weeks.


The shoot ends - now what?

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So the shoot has finished.

It's like I've been travelling at hyperspeed and now I’ve come to a sudden stop.

I always feel a great void at the end of a shoot – during the shoot I have the luxury of being surrounded by multitudes of crew and cast with a million questions/problems/issues and the adrenalin-rush I get is very addictive. Combine it with 2 weeks of little sleep and the civilian world takes a new hue. Everything seems slower, duller.

I usually get very sick at the end of a production – like all the bugs gang up on a spent body – this time it was different – I felt stronger physically - I must be getting stronger (?) - but emotionally and psychologically very battered. Is it worth it?

Maybe. The footage is awe inspiring - and will demand much from me in the edit suite.