Watch Me Watch a Movie

Part Two... 7be15dbb9c8740662068b7a60c81463b103352f5-1359240422

Sold out. People turned away at the door. Me and the producers gave up our own seats to cram more people in. The lights went down, the festival sponsors' ads went up, and then HAROLD BLUMENTHAL SPEAKS! I need write a whole other post about how the whole world shuts up when Brian Cox opens his mouth to start off a movie.

The picture was there, the sound was there, and most importantly, the audience there. I had no interest in seeing a movie I've watched hundreds of times, believe me. But, I must confess that today was like the first time I'd ever seen it. It was pretty awesome. I don't know what more to say, other than that. Although we still have a ways to go with this thing on the festival circuit and distribution etc, this was the whole point: People crowding into a theatre, turning off the lights, blasting awesome music (thanks Noah and the Megafauna), and watching a movie. It's as simple and as sweet as that.

I'm tired and tipsy and producer Garrett and cinematographer Zak are still texting me. Here's to my awesome team!




Almost There

805995a1db68caf1cd47d35f5ff0c5b49589b66b-1359352311 Where to start? There is so much to tell, I'm going to break this up into two posts.  Part One starts now...

Remember all that drama with our DCP (digital film print)? Well it arrived on Friday, just enough time to make sure everything worked for our Sunday screening. Altogether now, "NOT SO FAST!"

At approximately 10PM last night (Saturday) just as I was settling in for an early night, I received an email from the Santa Barbara festival director. It read:

"Just got word that the DCP for BLUMENTHAL is not working.  Not a KDM issue.  We received it yesterday afternoon.  It is scheduled to screen tomorrow at 2pm, theater 4."

Ouch. I'd love to say that we all sprang into action, but that would be false. Ryan and Garrett sprang into action while I, Mr. Director, curled into a fetal position on my bed and tried my hardest to hide from the angry film gods.  Garrett ran to the theatre to confirm that this was not a practical joke, while Ryan desperately called everyone at the post-production house in NY, where the DCP was made. Keep in mind that it was 1AM in New York on a Sunday, and everyone was either asleep or drunk or both. Naturally, no one was answering their phone. Eventually, after confirming the problem with the DCP at the theater, Ryan managed to get someone in NY who got someone else who got someone else who eventually woke up someone else who could begin to trouble-shoot his problem.

After an all-nighter, Garrett and Ryan managed to get someone to get someone in NY uploading the movie file (HUGE) to their Burbank location beginning at 6AM Pacific Time. The plan was to get the file to Burbank, make a new DCP (yeah, our third one) and courier the thing up to the theatre by 12:30PM so the projectionist could load the film into the system. Fingers crossed, everybody nauseous.

As we all waited by the phone, at 10AM we got the update that the file has been downloaded to Burbank and that a new DCP would be ready in an hour, putting us at 11AM. Enter E. McCabe Walsh. This young man and old friend of Garrett's answered the Red Phone in his bat cave, and came to the rescue. There was no way we would trust a random courier after all this. McCabe, fresh from a Saturday night on the town in LA threw on some flip-flops, hopped into his car and headed for Burbank. From there, he strapped our new DCP into the passenger seat (seatbelt and all) and drove like a madman up Highway 101.

Meanwhile in Santa Barbara, we were pacing outside the theater, handing out guest tickets to family and friends who had no idea that they might be watching Blumenthal off of a DVD of which 20% has messed up audio. Then, McCabe arrived at the curb blasting "Ride Like the Wind" by Christopher Cross. It was 12:20pm. A line for our movie, BLUMENTHAL, was already long and steady outside.

After handing the drive to the projectionist, he told us "I can't promise this will load in time." Apoplectic us, we walked down to the theater lobby and waited. "What a fatalist," I said. "Don't listen to him," said Garrett. "He's from Jersey."

Then we  stood in silence and waited and I took this photo of two exhausted men.


Blumenthal Bandwidth

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!Image

Blumenthal Poster and Trailer Unveiled!

Our poster is up! We worked hard on this and I'm really proud of the final product.  Check it out! Blumenthal_Poster

Additionally, you can view our trailer on the exclusive press release on Indiewire!

Screen Shot 2013-01-25 at 3.41.05 PM

I'm hoping to do a post on the trailer-editing process. The credit for this one goes to Art St. Germaine. Maybe I'll even have him do a guest post on the art of trailer editing. Art...get it?

Long Day's Journey Into Night

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.

Screen Shot 2013-01-25 at 1.41.03 AM

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 Check back often for new media, press, and info on screenings. Also, don't forget to "like" us on Facebook!

Not So Fast at all...

***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.

Not So Fast

FastCheapGoodMy last post ended with a cute "not so fast". Now, all I can think is how not cute it was for me to end with those words. If none of this makes sense, please read the previous entry here. Yesterday, the guys in NYC screened our newly minted DCP in a super sweet screening room in Soho. Immediately after the screening, I received a phone call from co-producer Ryan Young. "Give me good news" instead of my usual hello. I was terrified that something might be wrong with the print. "It went great," Ryan said. "It looks great and sounds great."


"There was just one thing. In the climax of the movie, there's a sound issue."

"That's awful."

"It's not awful, you just can't hear the dialogue."

"So it's awful."

"No. Well. Just that part. Yeah."

"Can we fix it?"

"Sure. For about a thousand bucks."


I've talked about the golden triangle of filmmaking before, right? Fast, Cheap, and Good.  The only rule of the triangle is that you can only have two of these things at a time. If it's cheap and good, it takes a long time. If it's fast and cheap, it probably won't be good. you get the idea.

We are now in a position where we are one week away from our premiere on the other side of the country. We have to go back into the mixing theater, tweak the sound mix on the HDCAM SR, get the HDCAM SR to another post-house where they will create a new DCP, view it, and overnight it to Santa Barbara. We are in desperate need of Fast and Good. That means cheap is out of the question.

I shouldn't complain too much. It's not that expensive in the grand scheme of filmmaking, but for our movie, Garrett said it well: "That's like a whole day of shooting!"

There's no one to blame here. Well there is, but dammit I'm only human. I signed off on something and missed a part. It's done. It's over. I scrounged together some change and we're getting it done. In fact, it'll all work out for the best, because  it gives me an opportunity to tweak a few other minor spots I had in mind. After this, that's it though. I hope. Josh, Alex, and Ryan will tweak the mix on Monday, the DCP will be made Tuesday and Wednesday, and Santa Barbara will receive it on Thursday in time for their opening night on Friday.

There is no room for another "not so fast". We need fast now more than everFast and Good!

Technical Difficulties

cinemaIt wouldn't be an indie film and it certainly wouldn't be this movie if there weren't a few minor hiccups as we inch forward towards our premiere. For those of you curious as to what sort of tiny details can suck up a whole weekend of work keep reading. Back in September when we "finished" the film, we laid the final picture and audio onto an HDCAM SR. An HDCAM SR is basically a super high-resolution digital video tape from which all subsequent screeners (DVD, Blu-ray, etc) are reproduced. Naturally, that should mean we were ready to go once we received an invite from a festival. Not so fast...

For Santa Barbara, we could have easily and seamlessly created an HDCAM from the original and screened it there, but sadly that would have meant that we'd only be able to screen in stereo audio. Basically, it would have sounded like a really loud TV. We don't want that. Especially, as Josh Berger and post team went to such great lengths to do a Dolby 5.1 sound mix (which sounds like a movie should, in surround sound). To screen in Dolby, we would have to create a DCP. Now, a DCP is a  is a collection of digital files used to store and project a movie at a high quality of picture and sound. Easy shmeezy right? Not so fast...


Getting together a DCP is expensive. It is a drive with a proprietary key that permits a projectionist to show the film. Making that takes knowhow, which means a serious post-production house must do it, which means that takes money, which means we are $#!& out of luck.

Enter Jesse Ozeri. Hustler extraordinaire. As Ryan and Garrett called everyone on both coasts to get the lowest quote possible, Jesse called everyone on both coasts  scraping together some funds (Kickstarter-style). In the end, everyone came through! Not so fast...

As a favor for some free services, we promised a certain company a logo in the final credits. That's fairly easy to drop in there, but apparently not free. Ultimately, it's getting done and it's getting paid for and no one is going into debt...that much.

The DCP should be ready to review on Friday with a screening at Deluxe post house in NYC. Everyone but me will be there, which is probably for the best because I'm sure I'd find some issue with it and create more trouble than it's worth. After the screening, it will be shipped off to the festival and we can all breathe a sigh of relief.

Not so fast...