Monday, February 8, 2010

Rough Cut --> Music Additions

This weekend, Annie Beth (AB) and I are going over the film's music needs. She's a wonderful woman! We went to high school together, and I'm a big fan of hers--this is one smart, motivated and talented lady!

Since AB studied music therapy, she has a knack for picking out what music should make you feel a certain emotion. Being a big fan of all types of music, I cannot wait to add it to our rough cut. It feels like one of those uber critical milestones in the making of a film, and to think that we're meeting about it this weekend is incredibly exciting. We've been talking about it for nearly two years!

The flip side? Her arrival means we have to hustle up on the rough cut! Before the end of the weekend, we need a list of what types of music are needed to tell the story so that AB can do her work. That can't happen without a rough cut of the film: the harshly edited, talking heads version of the film. It'll be bare bones: no added images, well thought out transitions, animated graphics, etc. Just the rough cut of the film as it stands. This way, we can figure out where the music will go, and what it will add to the telling of this story.

AB has been talking with independent artists, gathering samples, and thinking about what type of music should go in the film. She's so self-motivated--the type of person you really love to work with because she brings a lot of energy and ideas to the table. Recently she sent me an email with some song lyrics, and I am just about to jump out of my skin to hear the samples she's gathered.

Working with independent artists is ideal to me because it means you get to support their creative efforts. Music is such a splendid thing! I love to celebrate the talents of other artists by using their original music and promoting them.

To have someone equally passionate, knowledgeable and motivated to make this happen? Such a dream come true. I'm so grateful to have AB's help on this project and can't wait to celebrate her.
Music washes away from the soul the dust of everyday life.
--Berthold Auerbach

The Short Circuit Film Festival

On Saturday I was lucky enough to attend The Short Circuit Film Festival at The Clayton Center, just a few miles outside of Raleigh, N.C. They showed 12 films, many of which I really enjoyed. The Clayton Center is wonderful, too.

After the films were shown Todd Tinkham shared a preview of his film Southland of the Heart. Then three of us--Todd Tinkham, Ken Peterson and yours truly--were invited to talk on a filmmaker's panel, taking questions from the audience. After the panel discussion, a number of us went to dinner just down the street at Mulberry on Main.

It was such a wonderful afternoon/evening! I am so honored to have been on a panel with Todd and Ken. They had wonderful things to share about their filmmaking careers and lessons learned. After having worked on Abandoned Allies for so long, it was a delight to listen to fellow filmmakers talk about their current projects and the challenges they've faced. It seems small, but it's quite rewarding to nod your head when a fellow filmmaker talks about a similar challenge--especially where I am right now as a first time filmmaker.

One of the questions was about the difference in the industry here versus somewhere like Hollywood. Honestly, I haven't lived there, so I cannot make a direct comparison, but I must say that I am in love with the filmmaking community here in North Carolina. It's a small-town feel, where people are willing to lend a hand one each other's projects to help everyone more forward together. The process of making a great film--the journey--is the fun part. Sharing it with people afterwards and perhaps getting paid to make another one? That's icing on the cake.

Those that planned the event, Heidi Stump and Jessica Hammettand did a wonderful job. I am also a big fan of Lisa Sullivan, who introduced me to the festival. My thanks goes out to all three of them for giving me such a wonderful Saturday!


Abandoned Allies Website

Our website is still under development, but there's a bit of information available right now for anyone curious or willing to give feedback: You can see a few pictures and learn about who's helping us with the film. We'll keep adding to it as we move closer to the release, which I hope will happen this summer.

James Burns, of CMS Website Services, has been kind enough to help us with the site. Brian Thacker, a man of many talents, is helping add content to the site bit by bit. I'm grateful to both of them for their help with the site!

Right now our main focus is finishing the film, but once we have a rough cut (and then a cut of the film with music and animated graphics) I will be able to focus more attention on the site. I'm really looking forward to developing it!

Garrett Scott Documentary Development Grant

Last week I applied for the Garrett Scott Documentary Development Grant. According to the Full Frame Film Festival's website, the grant:
"funds first time documentary makers for travel and accommodations at the Full Frame Documentary Film Festival, April 8-11, 2010. For four days, grant recipients will be given access to films, participate in master classes and be mentored by experienced filmmakers. TWO filmmakers will be chosen for the grant in its third year."
This sounds amazing! I would be so thrilled to receive this grant, not only because the few hundred bucks for tickets to attend is not in my film's budget but because of the mentoring opportunities that could make Abandoned Allies even better. What an incredible four days; oh, I just dream of how much fun I would have at the festival.

To apply for the grant, I wrote a three-page letter and edited together about five minutes of footage. Because Chris Moore sent me a reminder, I was able to apply. Months ago I read about the grant, but have been recently focused on editing a rough cut of the film so we can get it finished. I'm so grateful to Chris for the reminder! Thank you, Chris!

Thursday afternoon, Josh Steadman gave me the external hard drive with our footage on it. He has been incredibly encouraging, and I am so grateful to Todd Weeks of GypsyQuaker for the introduction. You should see some of the work both of them have done--just incredible!

Thursday night I spent several hours editing together the five-minute piece. It is hard to find a stopping place because you want the application to be as great as you can make it. So, I finally gave in around 3:30am. Friday afternoon Josh Mills helped me burn the footage to DVDs. I'm so thankful for his help!

With the help of Surry, Chris, Josh S., Josh Mills, and the fine folks at Full Frame, the application was in the mail and on its way before 5pm Friday. Ever the perfectionist, I didn't have the footage ready for The Short Circuit Film Festival on Saturday and have been kicking myself for it since. We live and learn, though, hey?

Here's to keeping my fingers crossed. The website says applicants will be notified via email in early March, so I'll be sitting on pins and needles until then! In the meantime, on to finishing the rough cut! Annie Beth and I will be reviewing it this weekend so she can start working on music.

More updates to come, my friends.