So it's been a long while since we've spoken, so let's get straight to the nitty gritty. We have a lot of good news, a lot of bad news and a lot of in between. Here's the skinny:
The Duelist is fully shot! (You can have that glass of wine...)
After over 4 months of fight training, huge builds, crazy shooting schedules and big obstacles... We're done with the first few rough cuts! We're planning some re-shoots and working with a few different CGI teams to work through the show. It took a tremendous amount of work to get this film over the finish line, but it's there. Now begins the process of making it pretty enough to go to the dance...
The Duelist had so many massive complications it was ridiculous. As the backers of this project I think you should have full transparency on all the goings on. Here's most of the craziness that went on:
- Drones. Steve Preeg (the amazing co-director on The Duelist) constructed a drone that was going to be able to get us some massively cinematic shots. This would allow us beautiful flyovers, pull out shots and things that we were really excited to bring you. It would also be able to do some really great things that most drones can't. However, three days before we were to begin shooting at The Huntington Library we were notified by FilmLA and the FAA that they were grounding all drones. They only allowed 6 exemptions which were pretty much large studios and helicopter companies that already had a big infrastructure in place. This was a massive hit to us and sent us into a mad scramble to cover as many shots as we could with the equipment we had and to get supplemental equipment on crazy short notice to cover what we couldn't. This sucked.
(not our actual drone, but you get the picture)
- Fire. At one point we literally had the cast and the production team separated by a fire. Nuff said.
- Data loss. We had a massive data glitch and lost an entire 10 hours of shooting fight footage. Reshoots had to be done to cover the loss, which meant a huge added expense in order to finish one of the main set pieces of The Duelist.
- The Studio. Due to a management shift at one of the studios, we went from having a free day to shoot to having to pay full studio rates. You can look them up. This was a nasty hit.
- The 10k. This was downright hilarious, if it wasn't so downright awful. We were set to shoot on a big studio backlot, but when we got there, there was a 10k for charity running through our set. This set us back and into overtime.
There were a bunch of other minor hiccups that were huge at the time, but all told this pushed the production way over budget and almost shut down the whole affair. However, it got done and we were able to move into post.
THE GOOD: The Duelist is running about 43 MINUTES! Which means that we will be able to break it up into 3 episodes (at the original planned 15-20 min length) once the additional CGI, sound and ADR are added. We're going to keep it towards this length as it's full running time, although we are still planning on future episodes to be shorter.
THE GOOD: We were able to use our time really well on the studio Backlot and get some exterior shots for the third episode Mrs. Whitaker's Hat. Annnnnnnd...
THE BEST NEWS: GINA TORRES (Firefly, Matrix, Suits) SIGNED ON TO PLAY MRS. WHITAKER!!!
(here are some shots of Gina from that day's shooting)
THE BIGGEST BAD: The Duelist ate the budget for the next 3 episodes. Including Mrs. Whitaker's Hat. We are incredibly disappointed by this because Gina was really excited to play the role and even flew down to us from Canada to fit our shooting into her busy schedule. But the facts are that with the tax hit that we took earlier (SEE UPDATE #59), I've already shoved a ton of my own money into the project to cover the shortfall and I can't push the project beyond 'The Duelist'. I feel it's my obligation to follow through on a first season since that was one of our stretch goals, but that season will have to come in the form of The Duelist and perhaps if we are able to do a quickly written single location piece of some kind. =(
ADDENDUM to the BIGGEST BAD...
A lot of you have approached me about contributing more (quite a few of you have mentioned Patreon - which I am unfamiliar with). I really love you guys. I couldn't have asked for a more supportive and helpful group of backers. Thank you so much. If you want to reach out and help us with the process, we would be happy to have the help, but currently all of our energy is concentrated on bringing the most cinematic and beautiful episode that we can create.
Which brings me to...
THE GOOD: POST PRODUCTION!!! We are currently working through the Post Production process. This includes:
- Color Correction. Everything that we have put out so far is pretty much straight out of the camera. We'll be coloring and tweaking with a really wonderful Post house here in LA.
- Editing. Tommy Aagaard has been working his butt off on The Duelist all in his spare time from working on Avengers 2. Tommy has really been killing himself and we can't thank him enough.
- CGI. We've been working with a few teams of CGI artists to cover all of the shots that we have in the show. We've enjoyed a great relationship with Academy of Art University in San Francisco and they've been really amazing at creating some of the assets for the show:
(the steam airship)
(the mechanical horse - based on the work of Andrew Chase!)
And of course...
the steam carriage - based on the work of Chad Weatherford
and the flame test...
So, we're cooking with gas! We still have a ton of distance to go, but we have a great start.
Bear is still on board! Despite becoming one of the most sought after composers in LA (Walking Dead, Agents of Shield, Outlander, etc) Bear has kept on with us and is still engaged in the project.
Bear is stupid crazy ridiculously busy. Getting him on the phone is well nigh impossible, let alone getting into a studio room. So we are a bit tethered to his schedule (and therefore to the schedules of Dead, SHIELD and Outlander) in order to get music out.
So with all that said, I thought you guys deserved a clip of the piece since it's still a long way from being done (and you read all the way through this post).
Here it is! Enjoy!
Thanks so much! Talk soon!