27 June 2013
DYS- Day #2: Financing. Producing. Shooting. Post. Everything. (part 2)
I know, I know, the Dys- Day posts were supposed to be weekly occurrences... but I was pulling an editing marathon so it’s a good reason for the delay, no?
To pick it up where I left off in the first Dys- Day post, whatever your financing situation is, it’s gonna end up having an impact on the rest of your production. There’s an old saying that goes along the lines of: “No matter what your budget is, you never have enough money.” So it’s always good to keep this in mind from the start. The chances that you’ll get exactly the amount of money you need for your project are unlikely, so be creative and work within your limitations from the get-go!
Producing: Given the limited budget, I ended up producing the film with the help of a great supervising producer who had previously produced/directed a 35mm feature film on a really small budget, so he was really helpful and instrumental in helping me find ways to work within the limiting budget without sacrificing quality. We were assisted by a completely dedicated production manager who somehow manage to make everything work and kept the production on track throughout shooting.
A lot of aspects worked in our favor: we had access to the main location for free; secondary locations were found through networking and were, for the most part, also given to us for free; my mom and grandma supplied home-made catering which got rave reviews from the crew who would often go for a second serving. Despite the limited budget, we were able to pay everyone a daily wage which, even if it wasn’t a lot, contributed to making their contribution feel valued. Plus, I got to work with a lot of long-time collaborators who had worked for free on a lot of my shorts, so it felt great to finally be able to pay them for a project.
Shooting: We had two main shooting limitations: first, we only had a limited number of shooting days for budgetary reasons and shooting dates were limited by how many days off work (my day job) I managed to get and the dates during which the lead actress would be in town. Fortunately, we had unlimited access to the main location and the rest of the cast and crew was incredibly flexible and worked around our insane 14 days shooting schedule. Aside from a few miscalculations in pre-production which lead to a 20-hour shooting day with special effects (i.e.: you can really stop otherwise it will mess up continuity), balanced out by a 4-hour shooting day the following week, everything else was smooth-sailing during the production and I am forever grateful for that!
Post: The production is the long part that is often filled with joy, wonder and frustration. Since I’m about halfway through this process, I can’t say too much except that, just like the rest of the film, editing is going very well! We now have a first rough cut that clocks in at 135 minutes for an 80-page script. It’s still too long, but hey, better too much content than not enough! That cut still needs to be refined and then will come the exciting next few steps: sound editing, scoring, sound mixing and color correction!
Now, it’s hard to answer the “everything” part of the original question as I could probably write 500 pages on the whole experience! I tried to summarize and I hope I did a semi-good job of answering your question, Lori! If not (or if you want more specific details), remember that you can ask me your question(s) or suggest a topic by commenting!
And yes, I promise a regular, weekly Dys- Day post from now on. :)