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Archive for March, 2010

If the blogposts seem a little sporadic at present, it’s because the director and I are on holiday – currently holed up in bed late morning while she reads a novel and I update the blog. Luxury. But it’s a bit of a busman’s holiday. Yesterday we spent several hours working our way through the film and doing a paper edit. That means identifying things that need changing, noting the time code of them, and writing detailed notes on what needs to be done. In doing this we were drawing on a huge range of comments from a diverse group of people who have seen the rough cut.

From here the paper edit will be reviewed by the creative team before we get around to actually making any cuts. We made some radical decisions yesterday, resulting in some 5 minutes being cut from the film. We feel they will all tighten and enhance the story, and make it both clearer, more focussed and better paced. In reviewing the multitude of notes received, there’s always an editorial process goes on – a deep listening but also a strong sense of what the story is and what the essential elements are.

We’re wanting to keep the momentum up as we aim toward late June for the finished product. Many things need to happen to make that deadline, and they need to happen in the right order. Meanwhile, we’ll take it easy on a sunny day in Hawkes Bay…

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Getting it out there

We are staying with Tom Burstyn and Barbara Sumner for a few days. What a wonderful inspirational couple they are. Their devotion to filmmaking includes not only making some of the most original and evocative work ever to be produced in New Zealand, but they are taking control of the entire process of getting their work out to audiences. While many in the industry think their job is done once the film is made, Tom and Barbara are entering new indie territory by also tackling distribution.

Their approach to it is completely motivating. Distribution is the missing link in the new age of filmmaking – way too scary and involved for most people. But as I write, they have This Way of Life on 25 screens in NZ, with another 5 shortly to come on stream. They are up against films with huge P&A budgets, extensive newspaper advertising, and yet are giving them a run for the money – up to 13th in the country this last week! It’s not accidental – they have a carefully thought out strategy, identifying interest groups, promoting web awareness, and building word of mouth.

It’s a new way of operating, and a necessary part of the Frugal Filmmaking philosophy. While requiring a new set of skills, the approach is the way of the future for taking on the big boys with quality material. Audiences don’t arrive without some thought given to attracting them. As we plan a strategy for the release of The Insatiable Moon, we’re taking great encouragement from those who have gone before us.

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Feedback

Since the screenings on last weekend, we have continued to receive hugely encouraging feedback regarding the film. Thanks to all those who have taken the time to email or complete test cards. Some of the best responses have been from people who love the movie, but have reflected on how it might be made even better. We are very keen to pick up the lacks and flaws at this stage. From here we’ll be moving on to fine cut, and needing to lock the images so that we can get on with post production. Already we have emerging consensus on the areas we need to concentrate on improving. Rest assured that the director, producers and writer are constantly evaluating with a view to making the film fly.

This week copies of screeners have gone out to potential distributors, one film festival, and some possible funders. These constitute a tougher audience than those at the screenings, jaundiced as they are by exposure to thousands of would-be films. We remain confident that we have something special here however, and that handled properly it will be very successful.

In a few weeks we’ll have a trailer for the film – keep an eye out on this site to see it.

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Sometime very soon, like maybe tomorrow, this blog will be moving to The Insatiable Moon website. There it will continue its life untroubled, and all you have to do is remember how to find it. For a while I’ll update both sites, but eventually this one will cease. So best to get with the programme and navigate your way to www.theinsatiablemoon.com

The new web address will be home base for the film, where you can learn everything about it. In a few weeks we’ll have a trailer up there – exciting!

After our very successful screenings in both the UK and NZ, we are chasing funds and distribution deals to get us through the next stage of post production. Anyone who might be interested in investing in the film should write to us here. Better than burying money in a bank or squandering it on the stock market 🙂

Let’s keep the magic flowing folks…

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Moon on the Horizon

Two screenings of the first assembly of The Insatiable Moon on opposite sides of the world: one in Birmingham and one in Auckland (see pic above). What did we learn?

1. We have a serious movie on our hands.

2. The film makes people laugh and it makes people cry – fortunately, in all the right places.

3. People love the acting and directing, and many spoke of performances that deserve awards.

4. While it may be a New Zealand story, it plays superbly across cultures.

5. While there is still the fine cut to go, the film is in pretty good shape for this stage of the game.

Some comments:

“We believe this is one of the best films that I have been involved in 30 years. A very big message in the scripting and superb acting, must win awards!”

“What an amazing experience watching Moon was this morning. You have told a fantastic story in a very credible and moving way. Its beautifully crafted.”

“A fantastic little film. I understood and loved it all. Wonderful!!!”

“I thought that overall it was fantastic – the story and the acting were excellent.”

“I enjoyed the kiwi-ness of the film! The guys were fantastic – authentic and engaging and funny! Rawiri was fantastic.”

“Liked how I was so moved to emotion. Was so involved in the movie that I moved from crying to laughing. It is remarkable. Felt elated/challenged/disturbed.”

“Everyone should be very proud of this – acting is amazing. What a great story! Beautiful photography. Very very good.”

“I though it was a wonderful film – very touching and heartfelt – good script, acting, etc etc”

So all in all, we’d have to say we’re quietly confident about where we’re headed with this film. We’re still collecting comments and evaluations from audience members, so if any of you who saw it on either side of the world have reflections, please email them here.

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Website Live!

Hey, check out our new website here – it should become a regular port of call. Share it around. This will be home base in cyberspace as the buzz about the movie grows. Thanks to the great guys at qubethree who designed the site for us and put in huge hours to get it up in time for our screening.

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Okay, so there’s a pile of important people coming to the NZ screening of the film on Saturday, and another lot attending a simultaneous screening in Birmingham. It’s just the rough cut, but we’re hoping to pick up investment/distribution deals to get us through the vital next stage of post-production. Last week was consumed by making sure the guys in the UK got delivery of the digital file in time for them to burn a bluray to project off. I was relaxed about this end, because we had a week longer, and all we had to do was get a file from the production house down to the cinema. What could possibly go wrong?

1. On my way up to Auckland Wednesday I get a call from the cinema. The high end digital projector has blown a lamp overnight. They’ll get another one. No worries. At least it didn’t happen during our screening!

2. I arrive at the production house to find the file has been output, but they’ve just checked it and it drifts out of sync progressively through the film. Major problem. After much investigation it turns out the RT settings were wrong. They can re-output, but it will take more hours than I have left in the day in Auckland.

3. At some point it strikes me that maybe the file which we rush-couriered to the UK has the same problem. Does it? They have no way of finding out.

4. My file is output and the drive couriered to the cinema. Great!

5. The UK boys get their drive, and their file is okay. Double great!

6. A phone call from the cinema. They can’t find the file on the drive we sent over. The very helpful cinema owner John Davies whisks it back to the production house where it gets reformatted.

7. The file is put onto the drive again, and it’s couriered back to the cinema. Phew!

8. Another call from the cinema. They have the drive; they’ve found the file; they’ve begun to ingest it. Only one small problem – there’s no sound on the file…

9. I’m getting a little frantic. The production house check their file, and it definitely has audio. There’s nothing for it but to do a test run on the projector tonight.

Why worry? After all, there’s a good 39 hours before everyone assembles expecting to watch the film… what could possibly go wrong?

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