Tuesday, July 24, 2007

"What the Hell Has Guy Been Doing All This Time?" Or, "Shouldn't We Have Had a Premiere By Now?" An Update From Guy

Guy writes:

In order to dispel some particularly nasty rumors from a certain disgruntled screenwriter named V. Z. Montengo (more on this in a later post), I want to take a moment to state unequivocally that a) I'm not dead, b) I have not been committed to the Pennsylvania State Hospital for the Criminally Insane, nor have I, c) run off with Northanger funds to some banana republic where I am currently engaged in the "Import/Export" business. Instead, I'm here to report that since the end of filming "Zorg"-and for those counting at home, that would be the last seventeen months-I've been alive, free, in-country and in post-production on our movie.

Not that there haven't been those moments when I haven't occasionally wished for the blessed release that only death could provide. And there certainly have been times-especially recently during the bliss that is audio editing-when I've felt what little grasp I had to begin with on my meager sanity slowly loosen its hold. But overall, I'm happy to report that editing on the film is proceeding nicely. "Proceeding nicely," as in, "Boy, that glacier sure is proceeding nicely, isn't it?" Still, progress is progress!

I've frankly done an awful job of keeping all of you informed about what I've been up to and here and now beg for much forgiveness. Never forget the motto of Northanger Productions: "We're Sorry." From now on, I vow to do much better at updating you, so expect to see more regular posts from me about where we are in the process overall and what I'm currently working on. I also further promise that those posts will be much shorter than this one.

By posting, I'm also hoping to alleviate some of the tremendous guilt I've been feeling about contributing absolutely nothing to this site. It's time I did something around here to help Quentin out! By the way, Quentin has done an amazing job creating the "Zorg" site, not to mention producing almost all of its content as well. Thanks, Quentin! You're the best!

And so, on to a brief update about what we've been doing since March of 2006 and where we are now. To date, we've gone through three computers used to edit the film, as well as two major software upgrades. We shot the film on HDV, which was a relatively new technology as we entered post. I think at the time, there had only been one or two other features produced in the format, so editing-especially on the Mac side as it turned out-was a bit problematic as we resolved a host of workflow-related issues. But resolve them we did, and logging and capturing of footage took place during June and July.

We also had some additional shooting to do. In September of 2006, Quentin, Ben and Doug flew out to Mesa, AZ (not coincidently, my home) to film the opening scenes at a local archaeological dig site (with much remote assistance from Paula, Marco and Sally). You can read more about Mesa Grande and the wonderful members of the Southwest Archaeological Team who maintain it here. I think the results are fantastic and we couldn't have done any of it without the tremendous assistance of Dr. Jerry Howard, who is the Curator of Anthropology at the Mesa Southwest Museum and who overseas the Team. Thanks for everything, Jerry!

In October, I flew back to Indiana, where we (Quentin, Paula, Ben, Doug, Sally, Bill and David) got some pickup shots at both Earlham and Wabash. The group agreed that we vastly preferred the term "pickup shot" to "reshoot." Scott also joined us for an afternoon of close-ups and a little ADR work.

The rough cut of the film was finished in December of 2006 and clocked in at 63 minutes (that's without beginning and ending credits). Given that Montengo's script was right around 90 pages--and that the general rule of thumb is that each page represents a minute of screen time-you may be beginning to gain some insight into both why Montengo hates me and why writers in general drink to excess. But, as I said earlier, we'll get into all that a bit later. For now, let's just say that the film has a certain energy to it and moves along at a brisk pace.

Quentin's notes on the rough cut arrived in January, 2007 and I began going through the changes. Since March, 2007, I've been working on audio-cleaning up dialogue, adding sound effects and music. This has been by far the most challenging aspect of the production for me, mainly because each one of these disciplines-dialogue editing, sound effects work, music editing, mixing and all the rest-is an art unto itself and requires years of experience and talent to do well. But one of the joys of indie filmmaking is that you do a little bit of everything. In the process, I've learned a lot of humility and developed an incredible amount of respect for the people who do post-production work professionally. From picture editing to final color grading and sound mixing, their contributions are immense and we hope to be able to hire some of them on future productions!

On the music front, Quentin scoured the web and old, dusty record shops for music that we could use in the film. He found a wide array of genres that could have potentially worked, but the one that seemed to click for both of us is called Exotica. Quentin posted a link to some of the music we're using in an earlier post, but for another sample, click here. Right now, we're using the music as a temp track for timing and feel, but we're very hopeful that we'll be able to license the actual tunes for the finished film (one of the many things on our to-do list).

At the moment, we're about a third of the way through audio editing, and I'd hate to try to guess how long the rest will take. I keep thinking my momentum will pick up a bit, but that hasn't happened yet.

Assuming for a moment that one day the audio process will be complete, next up will be working on the film's visual effects-we have about sixty shots in all-and finally, color correction, which will give the film a unified look. And then on to trying to sell the thing! And, of course, that premiere party we're all looking forward to.

I want to thank you all again for all of your hard work on the film, and for your patience in seeing it finished. And I promise to keep you posted on our progress.

Hope you're all well and happy!


Sunday, July 1, 2007

Meet Julie Deitrich

Please welcome Julie Dietrich to the "Zorg and Andy" family. Julie has generously provided the voice-over work for Charlene Ross's answering machine message, which sets the whole darn movie in motion.

At this point, some of you may be asking yourselves, "Has Julie really suffered enough to be a member of the "Zorg and Andy" family?"

Has she stood half-naked in the snow while Guy and Ben discuss lighting? Has she been glared at by Wes for mishandling the boom? Has a light fallen on her? Did she share a house with the crew? Has she Touched the Bugs?

Well, consider this: in high school, Julie went to the prom with one of the producers, an event at which said producer thought it would be amusing to wear a beret.

Oh, yes. She's suffered. Welcome aboard, Julie.