Friday, May 27, 2011

Semester is over! Films are finished!

It was very stressful and sleep deprived near the end but I have survived my overloaded schedule and I am free. Freeeee!

I completed two films this semester. Oh that was a disaster. I had to edit a music video for a local band that is currently in the process of signing up for a record deal (or something like that, but basically it now means I can no longer put it online for the public to view as the copyright issues may get tricky pretty quickly) and I wrote/directed my own narrative film entitled "Memory" (which you can go view here ). Oh boy that was a terrible production... so many things went wrong.

But first: let me talk about the music video. It was for a band called Bastian's Happy Flight which you may have heard if you like the local music scene and actually go outside... which I don't, so I hadn't heard their song until when I was asked to edit the footage which I hadn't seen to it. But don't worry! I had instructions from my director in the form of a few dot points and this lovely storyboard:

Interesting... interesting... I don't think I actually looked closely at this at all. I didn't read it all I just looked at it briefly and went "...uh huh..." The input from the director was pretty minimal but at least he contributed more than anyone else. I'm pretty sure the other 3 people involved (who also made their own documentary then quit and came up with a new production 2 weeks before end of semester) were the most dysfunctional group in the entire unit... oh well.

That's done. I'm going to redo the edit later for the radio edit of the song probably...

So anyhoo, Memory. Oh no not Memory... a film about a man who wakes up with no memory of who he is or how he got there. All he has on him is a cryptic message and 2 mysterious pills. As he wanders around familiar settings trigger flashbacks that eventually reveal a shocking revelation... dun dun dun!

Production was a nightmare. The actors availability was terrible so they were free once or twice a week, on the weekends, normally only once. It was horrible trying to organise everyone together. We kept having to push shooting back further and further so we ended up filming one scene on the 12th and everything else on Friday the 13th. (Dun dun dun!) We also changed locations to over 40kms away from where we had originally filmed and subsequently reshot the entire film. We had to redo the entire thing (minus that one scene) from the beginning in only one day. Needless to say we were forced to exclude a few things like shots for the montage or an entire scene or two... oh well. No, 3. We didn't shoot 3. The film became less than 4 minutes long when we edited if it weren't for me thinking up of a whole new thing we could put at the end from existing footage (our editor had a similar idea, but I forgot it, then came up with it again a few days later... I'm so original.) It was horribly stressful...

The assignment was due midnight on Monday, and on Monday the editor had given me his finished edit and then I got the cinematographer to come into Uni. The editor had gone off to do something so he wouldn't be home until about midnight, then go off and do something else until 7am so he was effectively done with this production and out of any further help. That was terrible seeing as how when we opened the project file it was an earlier edit! Oh no! It was before it even made sense so it was a disaster! I ran out of credit and had to use someone else's phone to repeatedly call the editor urging him to drop whatever and come back so we could do something because you can't colour grade an unfinished work! We're screwed! Aggghhhhhh!

The network crashes the previous day had then led our Tutor to extend the submission date by 12 hours for everyone. That might've been enough for us had we actually got the right things but no! We were screwed! I quickly emailed the tutor asking for even more of an extension as everything was currently going to hell and got another 12 hours. Yes! I got up at 5:40am to travel into Uni before 8 so I could get the project that the editor had put onto two USB's and left hidden in the computer labs at 7am or something and the cinematographer colour graded it.

Too bad the sound was atrocious. It was terrible! The sound guy hadn't responded to any of my texts or messages and was basically fallen off the face of the planet, still haven't heard from him days afterwards the submission date. Oh well. I had to start doing his job for him, (note: I never want to do someone else's role ever and I doubt anyone else does either. Group work on films is not like group presentations, if you slack off in your specific role then the entire production suffers and you will not be carried by other people) but I am not a good sound guy so I got my friend Eleni to work on it. She did sound for her films and was more adept at these things than I am. I basically got her to do an entire production role in under a day, on the day, with no incentive of extra marks. She was happy and fine at the start and then by the end tired and going "ugh... can I go home yet? Can I go home yet?" and I'm like "Nearly! You're nearly done! You're my favourite person ever!" She finished the sound and then I had to put in the music...

OK so I composed over 40 minutes of music this semester, and nearly none of it actually fit. Seriously, it all turned out too sci-fi electronic, some of which sounded really awesome and a little bit Tron Legacyesque but alas! That was not what I wanted! And choirs or orchestral musical didn't work either... ugh... so Eleni also composed a song for it too. I used 3 of the songs I had written, one for another film which fitted the mugging perfectly after just a little tweaking.

Done! Yay! Exporting takes 15 minutes yay! Everything is good and then... then I realise I have to export the music video for submission again. Why? Because at the start there's a little bit of singing which is ever so slightly (barely noticeable unless you look for it) out of sync... guess how much? By 2 frames! 2 FREAKING FRAMES!!!

I had to sit and re-export it for over an hour just because of that one clip being out of place by 2 frames! Halfway through I realised I wasn't going to make the last train out if I sat around waiting for this so I asked the only person left in the building to log me off once it had finished and I ran. I ran to the train station, 1.5 miles (for you Americans) from the University (a bit more actually, as I ran from inside campus, and google maps measured the distance from the edge of it on the other side of campus. Yes I checked with google maps) to get there to see the train say it was due in 27 minutes. WHAT!? I RAN ALL THE WAY TO WAIT FOR HALF AN HOUR? Then the ETA went  up. Well I don't know about you, but I firmly believe that ETA's should steadily go down. Turns out that the train was delayed... then the train was cancelled... and I was in the middle of nowhere, south of the River and mum is annoyed that I've missed the train but isn't driving all the way south to pick me up in the middle of the night.

What do I do? Well I go to the lower floor of the library to sleep of course. If I am to spend a night being homeless I might as well go somewhere familiar that one can only access after hours with a student card (which I don't think homeless drug addicts with knives and lustful urges to rape people have... unless the students were too slow and overpowered quickly by surprise). There I am, sitting in a surprisingly populated room at 2am on the bad uni computers on Facebook thinking "there are no places to sleep in here... damnit to hell."

I still wasn't finished! I had another assignment due that day! I attempted to get some done while I thought about the practicality of just staying awake for another 6 hours until I could get home... Guess what? Someone has been hired to clean the library in 3am. Why on earth does someone clean the library at 3am? With a noisy vacuum cleaner!


He stopped... eventually... and I slept uncomfortable on some chairs put together near a table. I got 3 hours sleep and kept waking up during it and seeing the same people as before, still not sleeping... some dark magic fueled them to stay awake until the early hours of the morning. It's amazing how much you can get done on an assignment with only 3 hours sleep and a desperate want to go home and not have to come back just to hand in 2 pages when you live over an hour and a half away. I got my final assignment done! YAY! FREEDOM!

So after a lot of frantic work during the last 2 weeks ending with barely any sleep and a night of homelessness I got things done! I can relax! I went home and slept. Then I watched TV. I basically haven't done anything productive at all since Wednesday morning. I started watching Community season 2 and it is awesome!!

So now I can relax for 2 months. I will do so much these holidays! I will read so much, write tons, and hopefully make a few films in my spare time. Things are going to be great and next semester I only come into uni for 2 days lectures included! Best timetable so far! And one of my units is "Popular literature and science fiction". Awww yeaahhhh.

So that was my long blog post on that then. Have a nice day while I go and just not do things while others have exams. Hahahahaha exams!

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