Deadlines

Oh, blog, how I’ve neglected you.

With Baby Steps entered into the Zone Horror Cut! competition in its two-minute form, it’s time to look ahead to what happens next. I’m reasonably happy with the two-minute version, but there are some shonky cuts in there, it could do with a proper spit-and-polish grade, and the music we used was cannibalised from A Stitch In Time (and thank heavens we decided to use spooky electronic music for that one, and not the jaunty acoustic stuff I’d originally had in mind…).


So we’re going to completely recut Baby Steps from the ground up, ignoring the two-minute time constraint, and create a more polished version to send out on the festival circuit.

It’s easy to let things like this slip, so we’ve decided, my producer and I, to impose some deadlines on ourselves. Deadlines are good, they force you to Get Things Done. So we’re looking to have the Extended Special Edition version of Baby Steps finished by the end of October/first week of November - and get the promotional work on Stitch properly underway in the same timeframe. Busy, busy!

Chopping and Changing

Well, with a magazine deadline week and two days of editing out of the way, I finally have some time to sit down and blog.

The first two days of the edit were… a little fraught. It turns out that Wilmot’s old Macbook, while fine for cutting SD video, really struggles with HD. And when I say “really”, I mean “20-hour rendering times”. A few tweaks brought the speed down to manageable levels, but it’s still running like a crippled snail swimming through treacle. At this rate, we wouldn’t make the deadline.
Fortunately, there was one time-saving measure we could resort to - instead of using specially-composed music, we could pull the music from our previous film. Luckily, it’s quite ambient and spooky, so should work well in a zombie film.
That saved us a couple of days, but another thing became increasingly clear over the course of those two days. The film, which can’t be more than two minutes long, is looking like it’ll run to three or four minutes. There’s plenty of fat we can trim, but it’ll feel a bit truncated to me.
The solution, we think, is to cut a two minute version for the Zone Horror competition, using repurposed music from A Stitch in Time - then we cut a longer version, properly graded, with original music, and send that around the festivals.
Either way, tomorrow’s crucial - a full day’s edit, sound mixing and music, which will basically determine whether we can make Zone Horror’s deadline. Wish us luck!

Monster Mash

Our zombie, Lea, has blogged some more about Baby Steps and her other current projects here.

I find myself playing the waiting game at the moment; Baby Steps is in the can, but we won’t be sitting down to edit it until the weekend. Of course, my natural response is Oh Sweet Jesus We’re Going To Miss The Deadline, but there’s plenty of time to cut it together yet. And on the plus side, it gives me a few days to punt out some festival applications for A Stitch in Time (oh, Stitch, how I’ve been neglecting you…).

More pressing is what to do with the piles of baby toys we used as props, now cluttering my bedroom. I’ve managed to find takers for all the magnetic letters and the rattle, but what to do with Giggling Baby Luke? Anyone in need of a dead-eyed plastic ghoul-child in possession of an electronic giggle that will Haunt Your Very Dreams?

Zombies!

Well, Baby Steps is in the can - the shoot went pretty smoothly, on the whole. Our star Lea blogs about her experience of being made over as a zombie here - luckily I’d given her the zombie contacts earlier in the week so she could practice with them; even so, she was suffering for the first hour of shooting (sorry, Lea!). Something to bear in mind in future.

Things over-ran by a couple of hours, but we’d anticipated this, given that we were shooting in a flat whose inhabitants were around during the day. We even had time to get a few “interesting” shots above and beyond the stuff I’d storyboarded (though only after we’d sorted out the safety shots - my director-paranoia kicking in).

On to post-production - and the race to meet Zone Horror’s September 18th deadline!

Mad Props.

Pre-production progresses apace, with the morning spent meeting up with producer and cinematographer bods to sort out the shot list and schedule. I fail wretchedly at film schedules; I can stare blankly at a sheet of paper for a good ten minutes and fail to impose any order on it. Thankfully, producer Mr W was there to work out the timings - remembering, of course, to allocate time for the flatmates to wander through the set and get their breakfast. Steven Spielberg doesn’t have to deal with this - still, it is their house, so thanks guys!
Spent the rest of the day hunting down props in the Early Learning Centre and food to fuel the engine of the crew. Quite what I’m going to do with the electronic rattle, doll (“Share giggles with Baby Luke!”) and pirate wallpaper border I don’t know. Actually, maybe I’ll leave the pirate wallpaper up…