Friday, October 15, 2010

The Night Shift: Lots of odds and close to the end

The Night Shift is the production diary of Fighting Owl Film's new independent supernatural-adventure-comedy of the same name currently in "post" in Mobile, AL. Over the course of the next several weeks and months, you'll get an insider's peek at what it's like for filmmakers to craft a new entry of paranormal pop culture from Erin Lilley, a producer and actress on the film.

Lots of odds and close to the end

I think my highlighter may be permanently stuck to my hand. I've been carrying it, a steno pad and my tome-like distributors guide around for a couple of weeks now. I even put up my cute little handbag and pulled out the Mary Poppins carpet-bag that my chiropractor hates, just so I could carry everything with me, in the event of a little downtime. Some red lights do take longer than others, after all.

Thankfully, after a couple of weeks of searching, highlighting, notetaking, lathering, rinsing and repeating, I can now announce that I've made it through the domestic distributors. And by that, I mean, I've made up my full list of places I should check out online. That's right, folks.  I've only made it through phase one of researching domestic distributors. Once I make sure all these places exist (already found one that didn't!), are legit and check submission requirements, I get to move on to international distributors and start all over again. Joy.

After that, I will sit down and type up address labels, personalize and print out cover letters, and mail off these press kit puppies. We are going to sell this thing, by gum. 

The rough cut of the movie is almost done. I think, at last count, Thomas had about four or five scenes to go, and some transitions to add in. Of course, this does not mean the movie is almost finished. No, sir.

We still have sound, effects, color-correcting and music to contend with before we can call this "finished." What it does mean, however, is that we will have something we can sit down and watch, steno pad in hand, and scrutinize for continuity errors, timing issues and anything else that we can fix to make the movie flow as smoothly as possible.
It also means that we'll have a cut to send to distributors.  It won't be perfect, but it'll be enough to give them an idea of the story, the characters, the tone and what the finished product will look like.

We're so close, it's making me dizzy.  Then again, maybe that's just the highlighter fumes getting to me.  

If anyone out there is considering DIY filmmaking, I have one very important piece of advice for you:  Don't move. Before you even pick up a camera, look at your living situation, make sure you are happy as a clam right where you are, and don't even consider relocating until your film is completely, and I mean, completely finished.  

Heck, make sure it's already on DVD and screening before you pick up change-of-address forms. If that's not possible, find a nice self-storage place, rent a unit and shove all your movie stuff in it for as long as it takes you to get your new place set up. I know you're probably thinking I'm overreacting right now, but trust me, you'll thank me when it cuts your moving time in half.

See, Thomas and I are actively moving right now, and we didn't really think about all the movie stuff we still have in our apartment. We packed a lot of it up into storage boxes, donated some things to charity, and threw the lights and dolly into our utility shed. We couldn't get rid of everything, because there are still some pick-up shots that Thomas knew he would need to get, but we couldn't pinpoint exactly what they would be until after he'd edited the rough cut. I mean, we knew we still needed Herbie for a few shots, so he was definitely staying (plus, who could ever get rid of Herbie?), but we didn't know if we'd need cutaway shots of hands or feet, so some costumes needed to stay close by, as well as shoes and a little makeup. Things come up, so we had to be prepared.

Well, now we're moving, and we still need this stuff, so I've been packing up china, photo albums and severed limbs. I actually tripped over the bottom half of a dismembered corpse while trying to load up the back of my car. I looked over, and my little brother was using a decapitated head as a football. It's taken five days, so far, and here are boxes upon boxes of props, costumes, lights, tapes, microphones and makeup that I have no earthly idea where we're going to put. There's only so much room in the guest room closet.  Herbie has been absolutely no help, either.  He just sits there and stares at me. 

For added fun, the cable guy came by to hook up our Internet, and had a tough time finding the modem. He said there was too much stuff on our computer. Well, duh. There's a huge external hard drive hooked up to it, and so many film-related icons that you can barely see the desktop, which is our movie poster, by the way.

I think the strangest bit about this move, though, is the deja vu. It was just a couple of months ago that I was loading zombie makeup, costumes, sound equipment and the camera into my car on a daily basis, and here I am loading all that stuff up again. I think I'm just as tired unloading them, too, as I was back then. Of course, now when I unload boxes, I find things like the framed photo of Thomas and Soren, taken the first day of shooting and I smile.

So, for now, there's greasepaint in the pantry, and a corpse by the door. It's almost Halloween. I might just leave everything like it is and tell people it's a haunted house.   

In other news, color correction on the film is almost done, and the shot you see here is one of the very first to be shown to the public. It's not much to go on, but if it was, it wouldn't be called a "teaser" then, would it?

We're still plugging away at this thing. In the meantime, you can follow The Night Shift at www.thenightshiftmovie.com. You can check out the poster, trailer, cast and crew, and some fun downloads. Heck, if you like, you can even be our friend on Facebook and Twitter (@NightShiftMovie), where you can follow more of the progress of the movie.

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