Running around State street looking for Wi-Fi to upload a screener for press reviews. Starbucks Wi-Fi might as well be snail mail. I am now writing this from the local Apple Store where their excellent free Wi-Fi is uploading the video file nice and fast. Jesse and Garrett also just went to every computer in the store and loaded WatchMeMakeaMovie. In fact, Garrett is taking a picture of me right now!
After a humongous day of phone calls, emails, moving (I'm moving), meetings, and packing, I fueled up my car with gas and my belly with a Fat Burger and drove up to Santa Barbara just in time to make the Opening Night Gala for the Santa Barbara International Film Festival. Ryan was in the car too feeding me french fries. That's just how we do it. The gala was a crazy huge party in this big shopping square just off of State Street. There were about fifteen hundred people there, all very well dressed. There was music, drinks, food, and shmoozing. In general, it was just a huge celebration to kick off the fest. These Santa Barbarians love their movies and are very excited to welcome all the films and filmmakers.
Tomorrow, the plan is to do some grass-roots promotion for Blumenthal. That means posters in coffee shops and hyping the film to strangers. I'm anxious to share the official poster with all of you. That should be released very soon, so stay tuned.
In the meantime, check out BLUMENTHAL's newly minted website! Click on the image above or visit www.bluemthalmovie.com. Check back often for new media, press, and info on screenings. Also, don't forget to "like" us on Facebook!
***UPDATE*** Our print arrived in Santa Barbara this morning. The eagle has landed! Our DCP has been completed and was sent via FedEx overnight to Santa Barbara. Apparently "overnight" can mean "over two nights" because the damn thing still hasn't arrived. Ryan assures me the tracking info estimates it arriving in the morning, only eight days after the festival's deadline. Hey, as long as it's in the projection booth by Sunday, I'll be happy as a clam. Which are allegedly always happy.
I am pleased to report that Blumenthal will have its world premiere during the opening weekend of the Santa Barbara International Film Festival! You can see the official press release here and read more about the festival here. We are all super crazy awesome excited about it. Although we had submitted a rough cut of the film to some festivals last year, this is the first festival that had received our final cut since finishing the film this past fall. This also marks the very beginning of the festival season, so we are off to a terrific start.
I owe the world an apology for such an epic gap in between blog posts, but much of what transpired the past several months has been waiting, waiting, and more waiting for festival technical polishes to finish and festival responses to come in. (Would you have read a blog post about waiting?) I suppose if I still lived in NY where the film was being finished, things might have moved a bit faster, but oh well. Here we are!
There are a million billion things to do between now and the end of January when we premiere, so I will keep you all updated fairly regularly. This is the beginning of a whole new chapter in the filmmaking process: getting the film out there. Most of our immediate concerns are press related such as posters, post-cards, websites, trailer release, and sales reps. Each one of these things deserves their own blog post, so I'll aim for that.
In the spirit of making up for lost time, here is a look at a poster for the film that did not make the cut. The general consensus was that people might think the film was a cartoon of weird looking people. Actually...now that I've typed that it might make a good tag line! Let us know what you think.
The sound edit, foley, and mix for Blumenthal is being be handled by Josh Berger over at PostWorks New York. I had met Josh several months back when we were just getting our first assembly of the film together. On my last trip to NYC, we took the opportunity to screen the final cut of the film for Josh at the facility and discuss some of what lies ahead of us for post-production sound. Josh was an instant fan of the film and we were all instant fans of him.
Thanks to co-editor Alex Kopit, our temp sound from Final Cut Pro is actually pretty darn good. Tracks are organized quite well and we've squeezed about as much sound quality as we could get out of the editing suite. That said, their is still plenty still to do.
Much like the color grading process, the sound design will really take the film to another level. From foley sound effects to mixing music with dialogue, there is so much shaping still to be done. Seeing as our dialogue is all well-recorded, the real benefit will come in the sound textures of environments, the integration of voice-over (where dictated), and the ultimate final mix in a theater.
I've spent much of the past week breaking the film into reels, generating reference quicktimes with timecode, and portioning and exporting OMF files. I'm sure there are many assistant editors out there that know all about academy leaders and tail pops, but there has a been a slight learning curve for me. I've spoken more to Alex Kopit in the past few days than I ever did when we were working at the same desk!
Understanding and managing how all the departments of film interact has certainly been beneficial, but some of this stuff I do not care to mess with ever again. Wearing many hats has its upsides, but for the most part I think I'd like to get just one really well-fitting hat that looks great on me.
I'll share more details on the post-production sound as we move forward, but I expect to be back in NY in a month or so for a mixing session with Josh as well as some more color work with Seth Ricart.
It's been a busy week in New York with lots of exciting headway. First up after landing here, we went right into our first color session with Zak (DP) and Seth (Colorist). We spent a long day at Buck, a commercial post-house in Soho, sitting in the cool, dark room of the coloring suite. After so many months of editing, I can't tell you how good it feels to not be the guy sitting at the computer. Our colorist, Seth Ricart, is doing a terrific job with everything. As I discussed in an earlier blog post, final color for a film can do so much to set the tone for the movie as a whole and from what we are already starting to accomplish, the movie is developing really well.
Most of this first color session was about spotting trouble areas and marking any scenes that would likely need remedial work for color matching. After going through the film once, we then discussed overall looks. That means a lengthy conversation about saturation, contrast, hues, and temperatures. We also looked at several references which included movie stills, photographs, and even a random album cover painting.
We are in the last stages of defining the aesthetic for Passing Harold Blumenthal and I find the process to be very refreshing. When I wrote the screenplay over a year ago, it was a story imagined and told on paper in only black and white. We used as much production design, costume design, and makeup as we could afford in order to control our palette, but when you shoot a small film in New York City, other elements of color sneak their way into the frame as you shoot. From green leaves of trees influencing the skin tones to the colorful accents of the city's streets, you are a slave to the palette of your environment. Luckily, with some careful skill, we can enhance or mute any color to suit the overall feel for the film.
The film is being colored on a DaVinci and VFX will be done in After Effects. We are sticking to planned workflow that we laid out several months back and so far everything has been beautifully streamlined. I'm back in NY in a few weeks for more color sessions and can't wait to see the progress. The rest of this NY trip has been all about sound mixing. In the meantime, we are beginning to prepare our sound media for editing, foley, and mixing. More on that to come....
On New Years Eve, I drove to Los Feliz to pick up the media for Passing Harold Blumenthal's main title sequence. I'm working in New York next week and will be able to drop off the titles media in the process. In addition to the main titles, I needed a "fake" title sequence created for a TV program that one of the characters in the film watches. Both of these elements will be added into the film in visual effects stage of the online edit. When I drop off the new titles with Seth Ricart in NYC next week, he can integrate the media and do the monitor comps with the original media. The titles look terrific. Simple, clean, and with some subtle movement for added character. Aaron Nee and Alisa Placas Frutman at G.R.O.W. did a terrific job. Everything in terms of picture is on track to be completed within the next couple of months (perhaps sooner). That just leaves sound mix and music score. Noah and the MegaFauna have recorded new material and are finishing the mix in the next week or so. From there, we can pass off all audio work to our sound mixer/designer who is yet to be determined. Nailing down a sound design is another thing on my to-do list for my trip to New York.
After the sound and picture are polished, then we will output the final film and be ready to roll with festival screenings. Between now and then, most of the work to be done will be more producery in nature - meaning I will be doing more supervising and organizing than anything else. We also need to get the poster for the film done and put together an electronic press kit for all the festivals coming up over the next year. Somewhere in there will be a developed website as well. Lots to do, lots to think about. Lots of help needed!
With Blumenthal driving itself a little bit over the next couple months, I'll be able to start looking ahead a bit more and tackling my next project(s). Something tells me that a good portion of my days will still be mostly consumed by PHB. Hopefully, I can begin the weaning process soon. I'll be sure to check in from my NY trip next week once we start our color session.
It's been a whirlwind 2011. In some ways, the months have flown by like lightning. In other ways, it feels like a lifetime ago that I was blogging about how to make a movie cheaply. A lot has happened since then, from crowd-funding on Kickstarter to scrambling for a new location at the last-minute during our shoot. I've had the pleasure of collaborating with some amazing people from producers to actors to blog readers. This has been a monumentally massive group effort to see this film made. With the loyal following of this blog, we managed to finance the film, start shooting, and spread the word about Passing Harold Blumenthal.
I am immensely grateful for all of the support we've had from our reader base as well as the actual producing team and crew who realized this film with me. An extra special thank you to my producers in the trenches with me. Garrett P. Fennelly and his awesome team at Act Zero Films deserve a medal or something, I want a Nicole Ansari app for my iPhone, Jesse Ozeri is a lesson in the value of chutzpah, and Alex Cendese could probably encourage me to move a mountain. It's a good year's work, everyone. Congrats.
I am so excited to share this movie with the world. Just a few more finishing touches over the next couple months and it'll be good to go! Thank you all for being patient. We will be releasing some press stills later this month, so stay tuned!