2017 In Review
What a year 2017 has been so far. A lot has happened: good, bad…all the things in between. However, we are still as enthusiastic as ever with the project. With principal photography in the bag, the post production process continues. New challenges come with any project; after running our successful Kickstarter campaign, we continued to pursue additional funding for I/O, but it hasn’t gone exactly to plan. A great deal of time has been spent on learning how to write grant proposals, something we are new at. We’ve applied to numerous film grant foundations, such as the BC Arts Council, National Film Board, The Theatrical Stream of the CrossCurrents Doc Fund, among others. Unfortunately, we have not been selected for funding. In reality, $40,000 was only the start of raising enough money to make the film we wanted to make. For documentary filmmaking at the lowest-budget level, “$1,000 per finished minute” (shortest typical feature length film is around 90 minutes = $90,000) is the cheapest starting point. Usually more often than not, it ends up being more like $2,000 – $4,000 per finished minute as a beginning point or ball park. Why? There are many elements which come into play when costing a film, and we’ve cut corners as best we can to get the budget for this project as low as it can be without sacrificing quality. And THIS, is what I personally struggle with the most.
Many filmmakers before me have all felt the same feeling….we all want our films to be the best they can be, no matter what. But there also has to be an end to the journey. At some point you just have to let go, and let your art just be. The film will inevitably turn out differently than what you originally intended. Whether or not I receive the final funding to make the I/O I wanted to make, rest assured I will finish it regardless, to the best of my ability with the resources I do have. Whether or not it’s as shiny or crisp as I intended it to be, it will be I/O. It will be unlike any film ever seen about electronic music.
So here's what's currently going on with I/O: An Electronic Music Documentary:
My face is glued to the edit every chance I get. With so many changes to the film's story structure, scenes have been moved around a lot, or totally discarded/added. I have learned so much from my story editor Fernanda Rossi, from trimming the fat on the movie/zeroing in on the real message of the film, to what aspects of I/O that could be misinterpreted. The film I have now versus what I had before Fernanda has improved by 110%!! On the other side of the coin, getting in my weekly hours working on I/O can be difficult. Life, personal health/well being, and the day job can get in the way of dreams at times (especially all three at once), but the important thing is to evolve and find a way to keep moving forward. Since the Kickstarter, I have prioritized making a living over making this film. Well…that’s not really working for the film's sake, so I’ve decided to take a hiatus from my day job as a film editor (editing other people's projects). How will I survive and pay the bills? I’m getting an unrelated-to-filmmaking part time job. Doesn’t really matter what it is…it just needs to pay my expenses just enough so I can put in the time to get this film to you. Something had to change, so I think this course of action will get us clear to the finish line.
Principal Photography: Complete!
The Cut: I find it difficult to share anything interesting about the editing process - it's just me, my screen, and the script spending quality time together. A LOT of quality time. Hours stretch into days, days into weeks, new segments are added, and entire scenes are thrown out. What counts is I end up with the best possible film. How I get there is a murky process that is sometimes teeth-gnashing and sometimes triumphant. When the muse fails to visit, I've found that the absolute best motivator has been the success of the Kickstarter campaign. You are all responsible for the outpouring of support that gets me past the speed bumps along the way! Thank you again and again!
Story: Fernanda certainly made me see some new things that I couldn’t before. The story I had originally planned has evolved. The core thesis is stronger than ever now. I thought the script I had at the time of the Kickstarter campaign was good, but now it is a lot more focused, clear, and direct. The assembly of the story structure makes considerably more sense, and has finally achieved the much sought after accomplishment in filmmaking, flow. Each scene follows the previous with ease and connection, weaving together facts and theories like a well oiled machine. Kind of like your favourite album.
Animation: Because of you, I was able to acquire images that not only did I full on SEE in my head, but images that put my own imagination to shame. Ever wondered what it really looks like in your head when you hear a sick bassline on the dance floor? Now you can!
Sound FX: Sound is everything with a film like this. Creative SFX add and enable one to do sooo much more with an edit...you can’t put a price on how crucial they are in a film about electronic music. Once again, you the backers have provided me with new, incredible sounds that will stimulate your eardrums beyond comprehension! I have been relentlessly training and playing with the marriage of SFX and images for years, but now my sound library is truly a force to be reckoned with.
Score: Good music is hard to come by….AFFORDABLE music is even harder. One of the hardest challenges making this film is trying to take the viewer on a high quality musical journey without breaking the bank. And believe me, we have broke the bank on this aspect. Also, it can be super difficult to get djs and record labels to cooperate especially when I finally do get close to closing the licensing deal.
Colour Correction: As the possibility of additional funding remains up in the air, I have added this ginormous task to my to do list, as its budget needs to go into score. The program I edit with actually has some very decent CC capabilities, so I have created diverse look up tables (LUTs) and abstract colour schemes that will make all those glow sticks POP.
Marketing: At this time there is 0% budget for this. Hopefully this changes.
Legal: Even after getting a supposed deal from our entertainment lawyer, legal costs for all legalities concerning I/O were in the thousands. Incorporating, contracting, licensing, errors and emissions insurance….it all adds up. The good news: as long as we don’t get sued, there shouldn’t be anymore budget spent on this.
I want you all to know that I think about my backers everyday; I think about I/O everyday. Yes, I thought I would be at the point of sharing this mammoth of a film with you all at this point. It kills me that I’m not there yet, but I’m doing everything I can to get it to all your eager eyes and ears. It will be worth the wait!