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
More animation test updates. Just 8 seconds long but it gives you an idea - the Judge running into a tree! Thanks Ashleigh - we're getting excited!!! Read Ashleigh's blog updates to find out all about the trials and tribulations of this kind of animation
All of the elements of the animated sequence seem to be coming together really nicely and our animation genius, Ashleigh, has uploaded another couple of tests. If you thought the last one (7 seconds see 24.12.11) was short then you'll be gutted to know these two clips are 2 and 3 seconds long! But bear in mind this is stop-frame animation - one frame (individual picture) at a time and there are 25 frames in every second! Anyway James and I are really happy - check the clips out below. Ashleigh says this,
"The first test piece is a quick close up scene of where the judge first comes across the rabbit- they stare and blink at each other before the judge breaks into his chase of the rabbit. The test just shows a still image in the background of the ink but the final version will have the ink drop footage flowing behind it throughout."
"The second is another test piece this time of where the rabbit sticks his fingers up at the judge, mocking him in his effort to catch him. Again this just has a still image in the background which was composited in using a green screen effect on Adobe After Effects. The final will have the proper ink footage with a range of colours. From doing the test, its obvious the hand needs change for when he's sticking his fingers up, it didn't work quite as planned but I know what changes need to be made as well as changing his facial expressions."
Really early in the process of prep for the film James and I decided that the sequence in the film that describes the Judge's trip should be animated. There were a number of reasons behind this decision - some pragmatic (we wouldn't have time to do this justice in principle photography) and others creative (stylistically how would we shoot this to show it's a dream/ trip?)
Because we had such a short amount of preproduction time, we didn't even look for animators or discuss styles of animation until after principle photography. But once we started asking around we came to our decision quite quickly. Our animator for the Judge's Trip is Ashleigh Hutchinson who I met a few years ago when she did some work experience with us. We're going for a hand drawn 2D cut out stop motion style and Ashleigh has come up with some great drawings for the Judge character.
Judge Character Design by Ashleigh Hutchinson
Here is one of the images showing what he will look like! A proper little pocket rocket! I just hope Bill Fellows (who plays the The Judge) is as enamoured with his cartoon self as I am! It must be quite odd to see an artist's impression of you/ your character in a film.
I think I might ask Bill to write a little blog about it! Anyway I've put a gallery together that you can watch from this page by clicking below. I'm really enjoying seeing this segment come together and I can't wait to see the finished sequence and then actually put it in the edit timeline!
The edit itself is coming together really well and we are just about to start the compositing, there are no visual effects as such - but there were a few sequences that we shot in front of a green screen and that's what we're about to start working on. As for filming, we have another scene that we have decided to reshoot basically because of where we set it up last time.
It's the scene in the Cock's Inn when Pob is booking the stag do; due to time constraints and key crew being off set, the scene was set up in front of a wall. So instead of seeing the scope of the location and getting a real feel for what the Cock's Inn is like inside, you just see a wall! Haha - hardly ideal. We will then have only two scenes left to shoot - the opening flashback scene, which again like the Judge's trip was always going to happen outside principle photography as it involves two kids and we wanted to take our time casting them. And finally we have a new scene that we have devised that will go right at the end of the film and will hopefully provide a really nice bookended coda.
Will try our best to keep this busy during the shoot and post-production.