The Night Shift: Day of the Distributor

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.

Day of the Distributor

Well, guys, today's post takes us into the next chapter of our little movie journey. So far, we've covered pre-production (casting, costuming, props, locations, etc.), filming, post-production (editing, effects, ADR, etc.), marketing, reviews, and getting shown. Now, we move into distribution ...'cause we can. That's right, we have a distributor now! Yay!

What that means, really, is that we have a wonderful company representing us to retailers, broadcasters and other companies that might be interested in showing The Night Shift. Honestly, I don't think I've ever been more thrilled or relieved in my life, and our representative is now my new favorite person on the planet (sorry, Thomas). Of course, for the distributor to be able to do his job, we needed to supply him with the necessary materials. All movie, sound and effects files had to be in place and able to be shipped. They also needed an exact shooting script - every line of dialogue, with all ad libs, ums, uhs and stutters - and a list of what are referred to as "time codes." That's a shooting script with the exact time a line of dialogue was said marked, and is for foreign language translation and dubbing.

None of this was difficult, but it was time consuming. Thomas sat at the computer with a open script document, while I worked the remote control for the DVD player, pausing whenever he needed to change a line or fix something in the stage directions. Honestly, I had no idea, up until then, just how much Herbie ad libbed. I swear, that skeleton made up half of his role, the ham. I'm also proud to say that I managed almost 100% accuracy on my lines. Almost. We now know that, in the future, we need to mark down ad libs immediately, and make any other changes to the script during editing. That should save us a lot of time in the long run.

Time coding ran a little differently. Thomas marked a hard copy, and I entered the times onto a computer file of the script. Basically, any time a character spoke, it needed to be marked with the run time (hours:minutes:seconds). Also, anytime the speaker changed, or a single character spoke for 30 seconds, that needed to be noted. Again, this is something that we can do during editing on any future projects, and something that any beginning indie filmmaker can go ahead and take care of during post. It will make getting the files to your distributor a whole lot quicker and easier, and that helps them start showing you movie around sooner.

Once all of the files and documents were ready, everything was shipped off to our awesome rep. Thomas and I, and the whole Fighting Owl Films group, are beyond excited at the prospect that more of you guys might get to see our movie, and grateful that it could be sooner rather than later. I'll keep you posted as things develop.

Now, if you'll excuse me, Thomas is working on a new script and needs an extra set of eyes. In the words of Jason and Grant, "Onto the next!"

We're still plugging away at this thing. In the meantime, you can follow The Night Shift at 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.