Saturday, September 26, 2009

140 is Hatched

140 is getting it's first sneak peak screening this Thursday, October 1st at 5pm in Bozeman, Montana, USA, as part of Hatch Fest!

This is an exclusive sneak peak at a rough cut of the film. While 85 minutes long it is not yet finished. It's close. But I still have some clips to include, music to add, sound mixing to do and editing to finish. That's not to say I'm not happy with it as it is, I am, or I wouldn't be screening it!
I'm excited to be screening at Hatch, it's a festival I've been keeping an eye on for a couple of years and I think it's a good fit for this project. They seem to encourage and support new and diverse filmmaking. I'm only sorry I can't attend - and being as Bozeman happens to be my wife's hometown it makes our inability to go all the more disappointing. But I'm looking forward to hearing how it went. I hope we pull in a good audience and I hope they enjoy the film.

I will continue the cut soon, probably next week sometime. I expect some more clips in, some more music and I'll get down to a good sound mix and start trimming the fat. There were a couple of little things i wanted to do for the film but I ran out of time, things with the credits and some graphic stuff. I'll be able to get all that done for the premiere, which will hopefully be late November/early December time. I'll keep you posted of course!

Frank out.

Monday, September 21, 2009

First Cut Finished

That's right, the first cut is finished and will be winging its way to Hatch Fest tomorrow. Pulled an all-nighter last night, 20 hours straight on the computer, from 12pm on Sunday to 8:30am on Monday. I'm feeling fatigued! But it was worth it, and it needed to be done.

At the moment the film stands at 85 minutes. There are still some clips missing. So while unfinished, the Hatch preview will be close to the end film. The final film will feature the remaining clips, ten or so. But I'm happy with it. I think it works. I think I have what I set out to achieve - can't ask for more then that! But I had great footage to work with. Everyone involved did all the work, I just set the stage.

The music was a big and welcome surprise. I didn't think it was going to come together, but serendipity intervened and along came Johnny Crean, Eoin McCabe and Dermot O'Mahony! Johnny and Eoin provide several songs, which are great and Dermot came along with what ended up being a full score for the film, which is what I had hoped for! So the credits read: Music by Dermot O'Mahony, Songs by Johnny Crean and Eoin McCabe.

I had originally intended asking a known composer or band, but then the idea of using Independent artist dawned on me. It makes complete sense, the essence of this project is one of Independent filmmakers creating art together for nothing, stands to reason that the music should be by Independent musicians.

It's not finished yet, still some work to do, but it's a milestone. From an idea one sleepless night to this in such a short space of time is pretty amazing!

OK, it's late and I'm in need of sleep! More soon.

Ps. Here's an interesting link! Turns out I'm one of 7 fascinating filmmakers to follow on twitter, in a list that includes David Lynch and Michael Moore! Fair enough! Pretty cool though. Thanks Fast Company!

Saturday, September 19, 2009

Would I rather be in the pub?

No, is the answer! I'm living the dream baby!

3:13am in the very early morning of Sunday the 20th of September. Outside my window the neighbours return from the pubs and clubs, drunk and merry, back to their home to their beds to their waiting wives, husbands and hangovers. I, on the other hand, am tucked up by the warm ambient glow of my Mac and the ever decreasing rendering bar that has become the bane of my existence.

I have 1 hour cut, perhaps a bit more. Still a ways to go. I still about 30 clips yet to tackle. Tomorrow will be full on, no question, and me thinks a day without sleep. I'll be hitting the hay after the current cut renders. Hence this post, killing time, 12 minutes and counting.

Music is coming together. As mentioned Johnny Crean dropped in a couple of tracks during the week. A nice swingin waltz called 'Dublin Blue Sky'. Works well with a couple of clips. Met with Dermot O'Mahony on Friday, the gave me a few tunes, I think I took 2 from the disc he gave me: Glacier and Proximity Flight 1 (which I was able to break into three usable sections - that's value for money!). Both instrumental pieces, all work really well in the segment I found for them. And Eoin McCabe dropped in today with some songs. Eoin's a damn fine singer songwriter and has a lot of nice tracks. I picked two from the disc, 'New Day' and 'It's Not Right', with more to come.

So the music has actually come together quite well, and quite quickly. I was worried about it. But it's worked out really nicely. The tracks certainly pull it all together. And it's really nice to be able to give room to indy artists too, and to friends. People I've known and listened to for years and who've entertained me in local pubs and club, nice to be able to give them a world stage of sorts.

I'm confident it's going to come together to be a really interesting film. I hope everyone involved agrees and I hope it finds an audience.

Well, 12 mintutes are up. Better trim this scene and then off to bed. I'm on the Pets sequence at the moment!

More later.

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Another late one!

1am and still plugging away on 140. It's coming together. I'm happy with it so far. I have about 45 minutes down. It's tricky, no question.

Trying to find clips that match, that can sit side by side has been easy enough. The difficult part has been moving from theme to theme. The power of split-screen has been invoked, be warned! But I think it works, and I think the clips that play on screen at the same time are complemented and indeed enhance by one another.

Music has difficult. I have a temp track of popular songs that works well that will of course be impossible to use, even for non-profit/non-commercial festival us we're still talking €500 a song for one year! It adds up.

I wont have time to put the call out to indy bands before Hatch Fest, but at this stage I'm not worried about that. Hatch will be getting a working version. It's too close to have a finished film ready. The late clips and August ruled that out.

I'll keep cutting after Hatch (so for the late late filmmakers who thought they missed out there's still a chance send send send) and pull in as much on the music side as possible. I'll still have a decent cut for Hatch, it will feature all the clips I have and will be the best editing job I can do with the time I have. Have no fear there! But I wont consider this screening the world premiere, it's a preview of a work in progress. What I want to do for the premiere is something altogether more exciting and ambitious.

140 premieres around the world on the same day!

Yup, you heard me (read me!). As promised I'll send everyone involve a disc. That disc will be you master, so I suggest making an instant copy, putting it on your hard drive and then keeping it in a safe place... because I wont be sending replacements, I'll tell you that now! - Then I'll set a date that works for everyone and on that day I want you, the filmmaker, to organise your own screening in your hometown.

It can be as big or as small as you want it to be. You can have a party, do it in a club with guests. In a local theatre, roll out the red carpet, invite the local press. Or screen it at home with your family and/or friends. 140 premieres for 140. We'll make it a world event!

But that's all in the future (the not too distant future) first I have to finish the cut! So I better get back to work. More soon.

Friday, September 11, 2009

Ten Thousand Thank Yous!

I've reached 10,000 hits on this blog and I just wanted to say thanks for everyone who reads it.

I hope you find it interesting, informative and even inspirational in some way. I set it up three years ago as a kind of online journal about my own journey as a filmmaker. I've tried to be candid and honest and offer as much advice as possible.

I divided the blog into three some time ago, here, frankasides for links and tips and my photography, but Celluloid Journey as always been the main stay and I'm happy so many people have stopped by. I hope you will continue to do so.

Thanks again.


Thursday, September 10, 2009

Must be morning, because 'Night' is finished!

Well, we did it, 2 and half years since the idea was first mentioned and 14 months of sporadic writing, Thomas and I finished Night today.

It was a surprise, especially after losing a draft, having to write another new scene and figuring we would have to rewrite the ending, which as it happen we didn't, we thought there would at least be another two full days in it, if not more. But no.

The scene today was fun to write. It was something really old school, as the entire film is. Taking it's ethos from 30s and 40 s American cinema. Giving the audience something plenty to figure out, revealing only what's needed and no more, not being gratuitous with the action (although you might disagree if you read it!) giving the characters a dark and sinister past which is never entirely revealed, except in tantilising morsels.

I have to admit, there were times when I thought this script would never get finished, and I'm sure all the people who are waiting for it probably thought it too! I remember talking to people last summer about it, thinking it would be finished in a couple of months! One summer later, and into Autumn, here we are finally.

Tomorrow is for typos. Next week is for family members. The week after - trusted friends and then it goes out into the world and we begin the journey of trying to get it made. So hopefully this blog will be full of news on that front.

140 is going well. Last three days were long edit sessions, until 1.30am each morning. Writing today gave me a well earned rest so I can go back to it tomorrow with fresh eyes. I'm working on separated sequence, when they're done I'll out them together in an over sequence that works and begin pacing for the over flow.

Wednesday, September 09, 2009

It's late.

The edit is going well. Getting complicated and little tricky now though. Mainly because of the different types of files .avi .mov .mpeg .mv4 and so on. So lots of converting, and a hell of a lot of rendering, which slows the process down to no end.

My hard drive is also filling up fast. I feel like I'm in a leaky boat bailing out water - Hence the loss of the Night pages two nights ago. Luckily enough I remembered the scenes pretty well and managed to rewrite them in a short space of time.

Well, this cut is going to be rendering all night, so better go to bed. Or maybe I should give my computer a rest and render tomorrow while I write.

Anyway, that's Wednesday down. 13 days to personal deadline... will I make it?! Tune in next time kids to find out in an all new episode of "Frank edits a feature length film in two weeks".

That's all for now.

Tuesday, September 08, 2009

Back up Back up Back up

Always back up your files, and not just in one place, on your hard drive, an external hard drive, a disc, email it to yourself. I just lost a latest version of Night, and with it a scene we had been working on for a week. Admittedly the loss is not as bad as I had first feared. I thought I had lost all summer's work, but it was just a weeks work and one scene. Still, it was a bloody hard scene with a lot of nuances that are going to be hard to remember. Live and learn.

In other news, 140 is in full edit. It's coming together nicely, I'm happy with it so far. The opening sequence came in at 1.40 minutes, which was not planned! Must be on the right track then!

I'm still absent music, so will have to temp track and record my own stuff for now. Hopefully I can find someone soon, someone reliable! In my experience very hard to come by on the music front, which is why I've always done my own music.

So I'm concentrating on that entirely. With an aim to be finished entirely in two weeks from today ready to mail to Hatch Fest. Have no doubt. I'll make it. I have no choice. Nothing like a fire to get you moving!

More new soon.

Friday, September 04, 2009

Friday Sep 11 final Deadline for 140 Clips

Still getting 140 clips in, which is great! Shannon Mullen, James Gross and Zach Helm today, thanks guys. I still expect more but as you all know the edit has begun and you may also know that the first screening in scheduled for Hatch Fest at the end of this month. So I'm sorry to say any clips not received within the next week, say - by Friday 11th, are out! Sorry, but that's a 42 day extension on the original deadline and I just can't delay it anymore!!!

Hatch Fest has their new site up, looks great. Click here to see the featured films, including 140.

Slán agus Beannacht is screening as part of the film tent at Electric Picnic this weekend, tomorrow and Sunday, so nice little preview there before the official premiere. I wont be there myself, but for anyone heading that way it's on on Saturday at 3.57pm (why not 4pm I don't know, but there you have it!) and on Sunday at 7.43am (weekend of random times!) so you can watch completely exhausted from not having slept the night before... might help you fall asleep!

The screening is thanks to Brendan Phelan at, Suzanne Murray at the Irish Film Board and of course the wonderful folks at Electric Picnic, thanks all. Also a special thanks to Noel Brady who organised the screener, thanks Noel.

Thursday, September 03, 2009

Tuesday, September 01, 2009

A Day.

You may have noticed (or not) that my production company website, is gone. That is because Pale Stone Productions is no more (as a Limited company at least.) Due to the current financial climate I have been forced to close the company I have been trying to build up over the last 4 years.

Thomas and I set up Pale Stone Productions in 2005 to house our own films. It was a name to work under as a creative team. But I always wanted more. I wanted to work with other people, to produce works by other writers (as I had tried to do with Caroline Farrell and her script Adam earlier this year.) It could have happened, should have, but what has been the best year of my life creatively has also turned out to be my worst year financially. If I had been in this position 3 or 4 years ago, Pale Stone Productions could have benefited hugely and grown a great deal.

It wont effect my creative endeavors, I will write the same scripts I had planned, I will promote Slán agus Beannacht as planned, I will edit and promote 140 as planned, but it will just be as myself, by myself and not under any other name or company.

The situation is increasingly frustrating when unable to acquire paying gigs, unable to find funding from the likes of the Irish Film Board or the local enterprise board, unable to even find a regular part-time job to support myself, and with a wife and baby on the way and bills falling into arrears needing to be paid, I find myself in a loathsome position - I am left with no other option but to sign-on and claim social benefit.

It is made even more frustrating by the fact that I have a company that I work at for 60 hours plus a week. I develop scripts, edit films, promote them, push them, the company and myself out into the world to gain some form of notoriety so I can build something worthwhile, something I can make a living from to support my family with.

But as I have found, there is no support or encouragement for that. The only support available to get out of the hole I am in is to sign-on, and to do that I must first give up everything I have worked for, and prove to them that I have nothing before they will help me.

So I have to strike-off the company. To do that I have to get a letter of no objection from the Revenue, then I have to advertise in a national newspaper that I am closing, cut out the ad and send that with the letter to the Companies Register Office to request that they strike me off. Here's the thing, to place this classified ad in the paper costs between €250 and €360! Which I don't have... so I have to spend money I don't have, making sure I have absolutely nothing, before I can apply to officially have absolutely nothing, before I can ask for help to get something! - Am I missing something here, or is that just Fucked?!

Can't I keep my company and continue to work at it, try to build it up and find an income with what I do best, what I'm trained to do? Can't they help me to do that? - NO. I have to give it up and seek work doing whatever else there is, sales person in a mobile phone store, a supermarket packer, a building site laborer, it doesn't matter what, so long as I find work. Which is fine and understandable, but in my opinion - a waste. I have skills as a filmmaker and as a writer. I have an award-winning company that just needs some more time, that could earn revenue if only I was allowed to keep it.

With the film industry in the country in crisis shouldn't everything be done to help me keep my company? Rather then forcing my to close it so I can claim a miniscule amount from social welfare to look for any old job. I don't want social welfare. I want to work, I want to keep working at what I do best and continue making films and continue working on creating new cinema in this country.

But I can't. There is no work out there. No one is willing to pay for it or to invest in it. So I must go back to where I was 5 years ago, back to square one to continue the struggle because of the choice I made to be a filmmaker. Although, with 14% of the country in the same boat I'm not sure it's just because I'm a filmmaker. This recession has hit Ireland hard and there doesn't seem to be any kind of up turn.

Be assured, regardless of what I have to do to stay afloat financial in this testing times I wont abandon my projects, especially not 140. It's going ahead as planned and I'll be putting the same amount of effort into finishing it as I did into starting it. So I will continue to update this blog as if nothing has changed, and if somehow you have this post erased from your memory then it will be like nothing has changed. I wont let the bastard get me down. I have to much to do.


I must admit I hit a low point today. I was feeling somewhat despondent. So I ventured out, away from the job searches and pile of bills on my desk. First to pick up my photos from Boyne Books (my exhibition ended yesterday) but the owner Mark said I could keep them hanging there for another week and that he would drop them up to my house - great!

Then I walked over town. Feeling somewhat parched I thought I would drop into one of my fav coffee shops when I suddenly remembered I had no money, so I changed direction - and walked straight in a Coke promotion where I was hand a free can - nice!

Then I walked through a mall, where I saw a tiny Nike shoe, and ahead of that, a tiny shoeless person, being pushed in a stroller by an oblivious parent. So I picked it up a ran, eventually catching up to a very thankful parent - good deed for the day!

Then I checked my bank and as it happened I had money in there for once, hurray! So I decided I would go for lunch. On the way back trough the mall, drinking my free coke, another happy free-coke-drinker smiled at me and raised his can, I raised mine back - that made my laugh inside!

On I went for lunch to my regular spot, but for some reason my card would not work - don't know why. So I went to an ATM, but I couldn't take money out!?! Slightly embarrassing. I went back to the cafe, they were already toasting my sandwich, to apologise, but they said it was fine and credited me because I'm a regular! Thanks guys.

I think the universe was on my side today!