Holidays

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Last Updated on Wednesday, 30 November -0001 00:00

 

I recently got back from two weeks' holiday in France with the family. After the insanity of the trailer shoot a few weeks before, here was an opportunity to relax and unwind after what had been a manic couple of months with the film. As well as the trailer shoot itself, which were three of the most inspiring, illuminating, exhilarating and terrifying days of my life, there was the paper edit to get in place before we went away. For this, our editor Verster du Plessis had timecoded all the rushes and send them over to select which takes I wanted to use, and then which specific section(s) of the take. Thus my notebook slowly filled up with masses of painstaking notes as the trailer gradually came together on the page. 

Whilst this process crawled along, we all began to think about maybe some kind of launch event for the trailer. Until now, our film has only featured in sidebars in the news pages of the music press and online, it hasn't generated any features (except for one - thanks Martin Horsfield at the Guardian!), which is understandable, since without anything to SHOW, the project has up until now been purely conceptual - we've been a website and some visuals: good fun, and with plenty of incredible support from around the world, but you could still call us just a folly. With this forthcoming trailer, however, all of this should be about to change. We will have product. We will have shot some film. We will be fundamentally exposed for all the world to see. This, frankly, scares the shit out of me. But I guess that's how it's meant to be. Nobody rides for free. 

Much rides on this edit. I've read a lot, and will repeat here, that you make a film - or indeed a film trailer - three times: 1) on the page, 2) in the shoot, and then 3) in the edit. And it's in the edit where the alchemy takes place - where one's helpless raw vision ought to come together and BECOME ART. Or so they say. 

So with the trailer safely in the hands of our editor, away I went on holiday for a fortnight. We went to Brittany. Ferry. Portsmouth - Cherbourg. You don't want to hear about this, do you? MAYBE YOU DO. 

Anyway, there we were, in Brittany, having a very relaxing time indeed and with no internet access and thus zero distractions, when we arrived at a new campsite this time with internet access and BANG there was an email from Vertser our editor saying sorry, but because he was suddenly swamped with other (paid) work, he was sadly unable now to edit our trailer after all. My subsequent mood quickly led Faye to loudly regretting our newfound internet access and we argued bitterly about this all the way to St Malo. 

This unexpected news was especially devastating, as literally on the ferry on the way over to France, Helen our facilities manager and myself had confirmed and booked our trailer launch for 3pm on Friday October 19th. This was a done deal. So here we were, with just over a month to go until our public trailer launch, but without anybody now to actually put together our trailer. And here was I, stuck in the middle of nowhere in France, unable to do anything other than SEND PANICKY EMAILS TO OWEN IN CAPITAL LETTERS, and passive-aggressive emails to poor Verster, who doubtless felt bad enough about this already. It turned out Owen was also on holiday in France without internet access too. WHO ALLOWED THIS TO HAPPEN??

Fortunately after a bit of late-night email crisis management while Faye was asleep, our 2nd Unit DOP Clive Tagg suggested his own trusted filmmaking partner Mike Peter Reed, and, well, to cut a long story short, not only is Mike now our new editor, but he's a stand-up gent and lovely, multi-talented fella too, so all I have left to say is: thanks Mike - it's great to have you on board!

All's well that ends well. Isn't it, Mike? ALL'S WELL, RIGHT? THIS TRAILER'S GOING TO KICK ASS, RIGHT??

I am currently consumed with fear that it's going to be terrible. 
I am currently consumed with fear that we are going to assemble 100 hacks in a Soho screening room and they are all going to burst out laughing at how terrible our trailer is. 
I guess this is the way it goes. 
Mike tells me that by this time next week he ought to be in a position to be able to show me a rough cut. And we'll be able to move it forward together from there. 
And I am frightened. 
I feel vulnerable. 
But we must remain strong! 

If you have been wondering about the music in the trailer, allow me to put you out of your misery. We will not be using any KISS music in the trailer, as we can't afford to and it would be inappropriate. Instead we are using W.A. Mozart. Almost the same thing, really. And who is dead, so we do not have to pay him. 

Through an illuminating chat with my old friend and classical music producer Craig Leon, (who also, fact fans, produced the debut Ramones and Blondie albums), I learned that if we use a pre-1957 European recording of Mozart's Requiem (the piece we're using in the trailer), then we can use it without paying, as it will be entirely clear of copyright. So after a little research (thanks, eMusic), I managed to locate a pretty good one.

But it sounded old, and scratchy, and slow, and thin, and frankly pretty shit. If only, I thought to myself, I knew an expert classical music engineer who might be able to tart this mofo up. It was then that I remembered one of my best friends, the legendary Trapper Ragg from my awful teenage heavy metal band The Trash Can Junkies, was in fact these days employed as an expert classical music engineer at the world famous Abbey Road Studios in London, England. Trapper and I had not spoken for several years, but I phoned and he picked up immediately and said: 'You either want me to do something for your stupid film or you want to reform the band YET AGAIN for some stupid fucking "special occasion". Which is it?'
These were his exact first words. 

And well. Within the time it takes to boil a kettle, Trapper had cleaned up the piece, edited it, stereo separated it, sped it up, EQd it, mastered it, changed its underwear and cleaned its teeth and read it a bedtime story. The 50+ year-old Mozart death mass recording suddenly sounded amazing. I was seriously impressed, but did not tell Trapper this, as his ego is bad enough as it is. 

And in fact I had also wanted Trapper to come and play bass for the reformed Trash Can Junkies at my sister's wedding in a month or so's time, but he simply told me to fuck off. Which I was secretly delighted about, as he can't play the bass for shit. 

So we were all happy. 
For the time being.

Next week: a bit less name-dropping. Featuring legendary KISS album designer (1974 - 1987) Dennis Woloch.

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