|Photography by philipbloom.net|
Three years in the making and a huge great big milestone in my filmmaking plans of World domination, or something close to that.
Monday 6th August 2012 was the Premiere screening for three short films that have been made over the last few years – Love Like Hers (2010), Host (2011) and That Day (2012). The first time they’ve been screened in front of an audience.
Back track to Monday 30th July 2012, just one week prior to the premiere screening and my little World was slowly falling apart. None of the three films were finished and ready to be screened. Love Like Hers was almost complete with just the delivery of the soundtrack outstanding, it was Host and That Day that were creating the biggest headache.
Host was becoming a logistical nightmare with 14 visual effects shots that had only just been finished during that weekend. Chris Taylor has worked wonders on the VFX shots in Host and was originally only available to do 10 of the 14 shots but ended up having to bail me out of a VERY serious VFX issue and saved my bacon by completing the final 4 shots. I’m not going to say much more on the main issues as it involves another visual effects person who was unable to achieve the quality I needed for this film. Chris Taylor is a hero!
So, with the VFX shots in the can it was in to the final stretch and the grading. It was the Wednesday before the Premiere and I still hadn’t seen any grading on Host, not an ideal position to be in just a few days before the biggest night of my career so far.
I arrived at the grading house at 9pm on the Wednesday and sat through the first pass of the grade. Just the night before (Tuesday), the colourist had called me with his concerns over the visual effects shots not fitting in to the final film and some real colour grading concerns. Again, not what I need to be hearing right now.
During the early hours of Thursday morning we had finally finished the film, ironing out all of the issues, Host was graded. The time was 3am. I had to be up a short time after that to head to London for a second visit during that same week for some corporate video jobs, technically leaving me with just Monday and Wednesday to finish all three films before delivering to the cinema on the Friday.
That Day was also proving to be a nightmare in the grade, I decided to do the grading on this myself in After Effects (using Color Finesse 3), with the help of lighting director David Beaumont. It was a more complicated set-up with various locations and colour palette’s needed to achieve a certain look. We were constantly back and forth with each shot and then David had to leave for work commitments and I was on my own to finish off a handful of shots. I do not like colour grading!
Let’s not forget that I still have to match up the sound mix for Host and That Day AND make the DCP ready for the 2k cinema projector, which can take several hours for each film.
Luckily, on the Thursday I’d managed to finish the DCP for Love Like Hers, working through the early hours. Love Like Hers was done and ready for the screening.
Friday morning arrived and I still had to add the opening and end credits to both Host and That Day and then make the DCP’s for each. All three films were finally delivered on the Friday afternoon at 4pm, all tested and working fine. A huge relief.
I don’t think I’ve ever had so much to juggle during one week, 2 corporate filming days in London, colour grading and visual effects on two of the films, making the DCP’s, preparing for a Premiere Screening night, and let’s not forget getting ready for a sell-out filmmaker’s workshop on the same day as the premiere.
The Premiere Screening Night
I was incredibly lucky to persuade Hyde Park Picture House to let me use their venue for the screening. It’s not often they hire the place out in the evenings. They were amazing on the night and during the weeks before the event with lots of technical help and advice to ease me through working with DCP’s on a 2k cinema projector (for the first time).
The planning started many months ago and finding a suitable venue was a logistics nightmare in itself, especially when it came to dates and times. We were looking at a handful of dates and in the end we just had to go with one of them, it just ended up being a Monday night.
The venue cost me £200 for the evening, which I think is fantastic. This included staff and set-up times. I sent out 200 invites to cast, crew, family, friends and special guests, sent well in advance of the event (at least 40 days). From which 142 confirmed that they’d be there on the night.
Unfortunately, some of the email invites ended up in peoples spam-boxes, not good!
A limited number of tickets were sold for general public, in which we sold approx 30. Add to that the 30 from the Filmmaker’s Workshop who were all given complimentary tickets.
So prior to the event I had approx. 202 confirmed for the night. However, on the night I reckon there were 120-130 that attended. I received many emails and texts on the day from people who couldn’t make it. I did think that a lot of people wouldn’t be able to make it and was incredibly pleased that close to a hundred gave up their evening to be a part of the whole filmmaking journey.
I think I made a handful of mistakes when it came to the premiere screening, with dates, times, not creating a mailing list to remind guests a few days before and charging general public for tickets. I’ve since noted those mistakes and will use them to my advantage next time. A weird sense of self importance creeps in which can give you a false outlook on why people should come and see your films. Duly noted.
Having said all that, it ended up being a fantastic night and one that I won’t forget in a hurry. It was a great way to end part one of my filmmaking journey and to see in the next phase.
As I keep saying, over and over again – this is a learning experience. My films are far from perfect, there’s always room for improvement, but that’s not the point. The point is, in just a few short years we’re making films that are certainly a step in the right direction – we mean business.
Filmmaker’s Journey Workshop
I thought it would be a great idea to host a workshop on the day of the premiere screening. A way to show what I’ve been through with these three films and to then show the films later in the day, keeping everything in context.
In hindsight and considering everything else I was having to deal with before the screening event, probably a crazy idea. However, it ended up being a successful workshop with lots of positive feedback from those that attended.
For me, the biggest thing was seeing just how interested other like minded filmmaker’s were in my experiences over the last few years.
The workshop sold out well in advance of the day, that’s 30 tickets at £55 each which raised £1,650. Sounds like a lot of money, but once you take VAT and costs out of that it soon reduces. I wasn’t doing the workshop to try and line my pockets, although as a self-employed person, why not! It’s cost me an absolute fortune over the last few years gaining the experience I have now, that has to be worth something. Anyway, the money raised will go towards a small film festival campaign for all three films over the next few months.
This really was a one off workshop, very unlikely I’ll be doing it again.
I could have quite easily hired in a large TV and held a small screening at home for family and friends, but that’s just not the way I want to do things. I want to do bigger, better and boulder in everything I do. It’s about thinking big, being ambitious (maybe a little over ambitious at times) and stopping at nothing to get what one wants.
I hope you found this blog post of some use, there’s plenty more to come.
Also, don’t forget to check out The Filmmaker’s Journey Facebook page.