Yesterday brought us the news that the man, the legend, Bill Murray gatecrashed a stag do (or bachelor party if you prefer), luckily for y'all we are currently running a meme competition and on occasion the director, James DeMarco, chucks a meme online. So we have a tumblr, an instagram, a Facebook (obvs), a twitter, we're on IMBb and of course we have this website and blog as well as Youtube and Vimeo - that's a lot of social media. We've been on some of these sites since 2011 - but what I've learned is unless you have loads of money you're not going to top search. Any search.
Take IMDb, if you go to IMDb.com - the home page and key in the stagg do, like all predictive search it starts searching for matches, naturally at t-h-e s-t-a-g - it thinks it has a match with "The Stag" - the Irish stag do film starring Moriarty from Sherlock - that's fair enough… But keep typing so you've typed in the stagg do - and it STILL fucking suggests The Stag, which incidentally will be called the Bachelor Party in the US. That's just bullshit and shows categorically that new media is just like old media and money talks.
The good news is that I've been doing LOADS of search engine optimisation and so stag do (1 g) film premiere in Google brings up 3 entries for us on page one of Google! People must also be clicking on IMDb and searching for us - because we have risen over 30,000 places in their rankings in the last month. The O2 Academy Newcastle listing is really helping with Google rank too - so it's cool. This blog isn't really a whinge it's more a warning to other filmmakers and small business owners what you are up against when it comes to relying on the Internet for your marketing. You REALLY need some good old fashioned media behind you… Get into your local paper, get on the telly, bung up some posters - get out and meet your audience and customers… AND make it easy for them to buy from you.
PS ★★ WORLD PREMIERE ★★ at O2 Academy Newcastle 26/06. Get your tickets NOW -
Tel: 0844 4772000
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?
And so onto the next ADR sesh… This one was going to be way more tricky! You see Craig Conway (Radgy) isn't based up here in the North East anymore, he's now permanently Darn Sarf. He reckoned he could get into a studio in Soho and do his lines there, and as a veteran of TONS of films we knew we wouldn't have to worry about his ability to match his lines and performance.
BUT… There's always a bloody "but" isn't there? As regular readers of this blog know, we used three different sound recordists with three different sets of kit for the shoot! Poor Aris' ears are bleeding with all of the sound irregularities. Anyway, Craig has been rehearsing a theatre extravaganza at the CAST theatre in Doncaster - which is two hours south of Tha Toon. I decided it might be better for the ADR if we recorded it with Aris' special microphone which is what we're using for the rest of the sessions at Rich's East Wing Studio.
Aris was free, Craig was amenable - and so we booked in the session for Friday; Craig only had a short window but he was up for it and so we were all set. Until a pencil in Aris' diary became an official booking, and he suddenly was no longer available! Jeez this film feels cursed sometimes!!! So some frantic rescheduling took place and finally at 9:30 on Wednesday night we were finally rebooked for Thursday lunchtime.
Aris and I set off for Sunny Donny first thing in the morning made it there on time, after nearly being run off the road by some awful drivers on the A1 and then being confused by changes to the Doncaster one way system that were not on the sat-nav.
What a beautiful theatre, the CAST is - a beautiful, modern, multi-purpose space with fancy fountains outside. We hooked up with Craig, took over a meeting room and then Aris set up his portable ADR system - what a pro.
Craig was an absolute trooper - considering he's been rehearing dance numbers for 3 weeks… He even managed to wangle an extra half an hour to finish off his lines. He said watching the clips made him remember how much the lads laughed their arses off throughout the filming. We showed him a few other clips and the outtakes and then it was time to head back to Geordieland after a quick pitstop in Tesco for a sarnie and a bag of crisps.
I'd like to extend my sincere thanks to Craig and Aris for busting their balls to make sure we got the lines rerecorded and also to the staff of the CAST theatre and the people involved in Craig's show for helping us along the way.
More ADR coming soon… Including - what do you do when one of actors had emigrated to Australia???
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
Will try our best to keep this busy during the shoot and post-production.