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?
We've had a further week and a half or so's editing since I last posted and all in all we're very happy with how the film is coming together. We are picture locked bar a few After Effects shots and the animation - so that's amazing! The rest of the week has been spent working on a trailer for the film and after a couple of false starts I'm happy to say that the trailer is just about done too. Pob came by today to record his voice over, which David and James will position on the edit tomorrow. I'm just trying to get some branding done for the film to incorporate into the trailer then we'll release it for your delectation - or not.
The next major phase of post production will be the sound edit and mix. James and I went to Jerry's (pictured above) studio in the shadow of the Stadium Of Light last week. He showed us his set up and talked us through the way he prefers to work. So I have been creating the exports he needs from us to make this work - David commented that I was doing a 2nd assistant editor/ assistant editor's job by undertaking the exports and up-rezzes that I'd done the other week! Such is a producer's job on a nano-budget film! We left Jerry's feeling very confident that the sound post will be in good hands - Jerry didn't seem overly concerned about the sound edit and he had some great ideas for the music too!!!
The third part of my week involved hooking up with Amazing Ashleigh the Animator and getting my grubby little hands on the animation. Now if you've been keeping up with Ashleigh's blogs you'll know that she has had a technology nightmare on this project with snafus left, right and centre, if you haven't been - then why the hell no? Because of the aforementioned snafus we still have to composite the shots - but that shouldn't take too long, and we need to edit the animation to get it to flow exactly how we want within scenes 50 and 51.
Altogether a rather busy but ultimately very satisfying week or so. Onwards and upwards (and a little bit of sideways.)
Will try our best to keep this busy during the shoot and post-production.