As I put on Facebook the other day, I'm soooo close to have some AMAZING news to share with y'all, it makes me want to wee with excitement! But at the same time - this cursed film of ours has a funny way of biting you in the arse when you least expect it… so I'll stay schtum until the paperwork is signed!
In the meantime, as Steve Miller (and Seal) would say, time keeps on slipping/ into the future and the day of our release keeps getting closer and closer and closer. We have a press release just about ready to go (we'll probably share it here first - coz we're like that) and everything will be revealed there (or should that be here?).
Anyway - enough - I'm even confusing myself now. Over the weekend, we were supposed to be having our cast and crew screening - but as ever - events conspired against us (I really must've been a git in my past life!) and so instead we decided to start some real world marketing and PR. My mate Steve Wraith runs the Number 9 Bar at The Cosmic Ballroom (no not fake Shearers) every home match day and he kindly gave us the opportunity to leaflet the crowd before the Cardiff game.
He also said that rather than just leafleting we'd be better doing a wee talk on the microphone before the host, Joe Allon, interviewed the main attraction ex-Newcastle United striker Malcolm MacDonald! Pob and I nominated (ganged up on) James and made him do the little talk… You can see him in the photo above with Joe Allon and Supermac - he did okay, but he and I really need to work on our public speaking - lots of ums and erms - and let's face it, I bottled it!
As soon as James left the stage we had to jump in the car and fly up to The Parks Sports Centre in North Shields, where the 3rd Annual Screen-Con event was taking place. We actually got there in time, but they were running late, which gave us the opportunity to have a wander around the exhibition space and see what was going on. I got to meet David Warner (who is a completely legendary actor) and to say I was star-struck doesn't come close.
James got to have his photo taken outside the TARDIS from Doctor Who and with KITT from Knightrider. Meanwhile Pob got to fulfil a lifelong dream by punching a Dalek.
Anyway after surveying the room and handing out a few leaflets we decided to "pull" our scheduled Q and A - as the crowd was about as un-Stagg Do as you could imagine. Vicki, one of the organisers, had told me that it was a family event - but even so, I was unprepared for quite how many young children were there… And somehow promoting our tale of titties, beer and drugs felt horribly inappropriate. I mean a stag do is generally not exactly suitable content for a 10 year old. I'm many things but a corrupter of young children isn't one of them!
So all in all it was a mixed bag - we got to soft launch in front of some Newcastle United fans and legends and then we got to bottle doing a Q and A in front of some lovely sci-fi fans. And Pob got to punch a Dalek. This promotional lark is hard work, man!
accept no substitutes.
35 months ago Pob and James went for a pint to The Cluny, there's nothing in that - at the time we were talking about working together on some comedy sketches. Anyway, when I when to pick them up, they were like a couple of kids on Christmas Eve.
"We've come up with an outline for a feature film - something we can do on NO money" they babbled. "It's Pissheads Go Camping - but it's not just a camping trip, it's a stag do. We've even got a title The Stagg Do." You see one of our characters in Pissheads is called Staggy… he'll be the one getting married in the film!
I was instantly on the hook - "yeah this is possible" I thought - it was finally an opportunity to take what we had around us and craft a story and film from that - we already had the characters, they had the plot - we had the kit… what were we waiting for?
Fastforward 3 months, and 6 drafts later, we entered principle photography… which was HELL. Proper old fashioned hell, I could go into detail - but what's the point in raking over old ground? If you're really interested, read the archives from July and August 2011 as it was all blogged about at the time.
Anyway we got through it and then some. I had my right knee reconstructed - we shot new scenes, scenes we dropped and scenes we fucked up the first time around. David (our editor) busted his balls to get us a decent cut, James and I spent hours and days shooting extra footage. Richy corralled some mates to help with a big reshoot/ shoot night and on we went. Ashleigh and The Kid (Chris) slogged their guts out on animations and visual effects, music was found and replaced, musicians were contacted.
We edited, reedited, experimented - laughed, cried, pulled our hair out and generally got stuck in… And finally in December 2012, we had "picture lock". Then we ran out of money. Literally. James and I were flat broke and everything in the house decided to die at the same time.
We had had so much momentum and then we stopped - dead.
We didn't give up though, determined to get it finished and get it out there. As much for our own sanity as anything else. Stephen at Fantomeline kept grading - we kept praying for a lottery win and then came another kick in the teeth. An Irish film - The Stag was premiering in Toronto and it sounded remarkably like our film. How was that possible? What could we do? Without money not a lot… So we cried to ourselves (swore a lot) gritted our teeth and went on with our lives. In January though we learned that The Stag was getting a UK release in March… And we decided - let's beat them. Get out before them.
But there was still too much to do. I reckoned we had 5 weeks, Aris (our sound god) said we needed 6 to sort out the sound - which of course was recorded by 3 different people! He wanted to ADR - I didn't think the lads (Pob and Staggy - non-actors) would ever be able to do it… We STILL had no money.
Anyway a load more favours were pulled in, Richy agreed to finesse Chris' VFX (he'd now moved to Leeds), Aris persuaded Rich to help us with the ADR sessions and to let us use his studio for the mix - and so the madness resumed…
We're going into the mix next month, and we'll be going for our BBFC soon after and then finally we will be ready to release the film. It's rude, it's crude, it's insanity to the max. It's experimental both in storytelling and in filmmaking - if it were a drama we wouldn't need to explain ourselves - but apparently you can't make experimental (almost arthouse) comedies if they are chockful of low brow nob gags! Who knew?
Sorry I’ve been gone for so long - 14 months or so I reckon… so what’s shaking people? I really must apologise again for going radio silent for sooo long and I’d really struggle to explain what happened. Safe to say, we ran out of money - came close to raising investment twice, only to be disappointed at the final minute - and then as John Lennon said “life is what happens when you’re busy making other plans”. In other words while we’ve been scheming ways to get this film finished - 14 months went by and a shitload happened.
Anyway so sorry for being so crap people. We haven’t forgotten and we haven’t quit - it’s just that 2013 was a total clusterfuck of a year… We even discovered there’s a new Irish film (shot last year) - remarkably like ours called The Stag (I know - WTAF) that’s coming out in mid March. All I can say is DON’T GO AND SEE IT, especially not thinking it’s ours… Remember ours is authentic Geordie cinema - not Irish. And really sweary. Really, really sweary in fact. These delays could help us out though - on February 24th, 2014 the BBFC’s new certification guidelines kicked in; meaning we might yet get a 15 certificate!
So enough preamble and daft slavvering on - let’s do an update of where we are up to:
The grade is just about there - thanks Fantomeline (Steve, you ARE a trooper).
The bits of VFX that The Kid (aka Chris Nicholls) was undertaking have been finessed by our DoP, Richy Reay - without the graft of Chris though we’d’ve been stuffed ages ago.
Richy Reay has also created a couple of other VFX spots for us AND a really FANTASTIC opening credits sequence - seriously he’s a man of many talents!
Next up: the man, the legend, Aris has undertaken the mammoth task of sound post-production. Not an easy feat when you consider that we have 3 different sound recordists on the film! Anyway GIVE THE MAN A MEDAL - he’s cracking on with it.
Last Friday we had our first ADR session - with Sir Billy of Fellows (The Judge) at The East Wing Studio in Byker. It was a great success thanks to the skills of both Bill and ADR Supremo of the North East: Rich McCoull… Now how’s that for a cracking name???
FINALLY: I will be updating frequently over the next few weeks as we hurtle towards our release date (TBA ASAP) and the poster (created by the immensely talented Mark Jobson) will be available for your delectation shortly.
Thanks for not quitting on us.
Zahra, James and the Stagg Do team. x
As the more observant of you will be aware, on Saturday June 9th 2012, we released the promo for the film (g'wan - check it oot again here). We've had TREMENDOUS feedback from people and loads of views, tweets and likes.
Anyway in keeping with the independent, DIY nature of the production so far we've encouraged a word of mouth push using the cast and crew's personal social media channels - anyway I woke up this morning to this message from Staggy on Facebook! I love the simplicity and honesty of the message. LOL.
Anyway after much laughter and reading of the comments I got on with my morning's work; then this afternoon I logged back on to Facebook to see what was happening and to see if we'd had any more views or likes of the trailer and page. And this is what I saw.
Staggy back on fine form. It's great because I had tried emotional blackmail and that clearly wasn't working - I could write all day on how much I hate Facebook - and many of my so-called friends... but I won't. Suffice to say - is it *really* to much to click the fucking like button??? Unfortunately I'm too polite to call people out on it (and I know I am here - but really who reads this shit anyway?) - particularly if you fricken worked on it! Or if we've pushed your stuff - reciprocity anyone??? Aah whatever - it's never been easy - why would it be now? Anyway enough of my rants... Look what Staggy did next!
I have nothing more to add.
Sorry I haven't updated this for a couple of weeks, I've been working on another project since mid November and it's taken a ton of my time. Anyway the edit has been coming together really nicely and the stuff we picked up last month slots in pretty much seamlessly. So now I think there's only two more scenes that we need to shoot - the flashback opening and the newly written coda for the ending. As an exercise David and James have been going through all of the footage for the best outtakes to create a blooper reel - amazingly there are loads of laughs which is always heartening! David also went through the cut and created a mini swear reel - rather like this one from The Big Lebowski.
I have to say I was quite interested to see we have less fucks in The Stagg Do than they do in Lebowski - but then I don't really consider TBL to be a massively sweary film - which of course it is with 287 uses of the f word! The other really sweary film that I have been counting swears in is In The Loop - which has over 136 uses of the word fuck; I think we are more in the region of this number of fucks with a smattering of tits, cocks and wankers! Maybe we'll get a chance to post our swear reel soon - in the meantime enjoy this from the inimitable Malcolm Tucker.
Will try our best to keep this busy during the shoot and post-production.