Archive for June, 2011

June 26th 2011; week 133 of post-production

Sunday, June 26th, 2011

Filmwise: three reels out of five are now prepared for the next stage in the audio journey. I am taking meticulous notes of every second and every frame of change to the picture so that JD our sound designer can adjust the sound tracks. The process of jotting down these changes is time-consuming in the extreme – every second consists of 24 frames..

The good news is I feel the film has been touched with the benevolent hand of time  -  all these delays in post-production have turned out to be a blessing in disguise, allowing me to make a far more honest and less rushed feature film. That’s what I tell myself whenever the day is not sunny and no silver lining is discernible in the cloudy skies :- )

St Katherine’s Dock
An immeasurably joyous discovery for me in the past few days has been St Katherine’s Docks near Tower Bridge. In the two and a half decades since my first visit to this most iconic of bridges, I had not known of this maze of docks, cobbled walkways and pedestrian bridges that have taken over what must have been one of the busiest working docks in Europe. In place of the dock workers offloading and loading ships on the Thames, the place is full of office workers strolling around in their lunch hour, gazing at the seemingly expensive yachts berthed around the docks.

En route to the supermarket, I keep anticipating going past a sea-green boathouse that seems out of place among the white coloured high-tech looking yachts. In fading golden letters, she announces her name to those lucky enough to discern her beauty among her high-priced neighbours: Kismet.

Peace and love,

Ja’far

June 19th 2011; week 132 of post-prodcution

Sunday, June 19th, 2011

Filmwise: I am preparing the five reels of the film in time for the two sessions agreed with our sound designer. JD and I are meeting at the start of the second week of July. My task in the intervening weeks is to generate the film reels that have evolved as a result of all the re-writes and changes I have brought to the script in the past few months.

So far, I have completed two reels; three to go.

Poirot..
Over the past few weeks, I have been corresponding via email with Alice, a filmmaker and producer who is a member of the Mesocafé family. Alice is working on a documentary and needed someone with bilingual skills to help guide an interviewee from my land of birth through 40 or so questions about a historic event that took place in 1941.

Queuing for tickets at Waterloo station, I couldn’t help searching with my eyes for those parts of this great facade that haven’t changed since John Schlesinger made Terminus in 1961. Rather than being fascinated by any columns or the steelwork propping up the roof over this vast space, I was distracted by the number of women walking around beneath a dazzling array of hats. It was only when the PA system announced the destination of the next train that I realized that the crowd were heading to Ascot.

At the entrance to Surbiton railway station, I had to force myself to stop gazing at the Art Deco-inspired station building in order to head to our interviewee’s home. Wonder whether any Poirot episodes have been filmed here?

The shoot went well, and Alice took me out to lunch afterwards at a cavernous pub that turned out to have been a cinema before being converted into a public house.

Couldn’t resist snapping away with my mobile.
Former cinema Surbiton 18-6-11 2

Peace and love,

Ja’far

June 12th 2011; week 131 of post-production

Monday, June 13th, 2011

Filmwise: Had another session of ADR at the studio in Hammersmith, re-recording dialogue and voiceover for our female lead Daphne.

After all these months of mulling over the best candidate to take on the task of editing the re-recorded dialogue files for us, over the past couple of weeks it’s dawned upon me that the manager of this very studio is the ideal person for the job.
Andrew has agreed to join the Meso family as ADR editor. Brilliant.

We have a very short ADR session remaining; so short, that I think Khalid, who plays the role of a journalist in our film, would be able to do the recording within ten minutes at most. In fact, Khalid did kindly turn up at the studio the week before last and we did record these very lines that we need to do once more. I made a mistake by not giving Khalid a more clear set of notes on the delivery of the lines, and when I tried to fit the new audio into the picture, it wouldn’t match what was before and after the scene.

Khalid has generously agreed to come back to the studio. We simply need to align our schedules.

Flowers..
I have had my first full week at my new place of work not far from my old office. The best aspect of the position is the working hours – I get to leave work early enough to catch one of the last trains on the Underground. My new colleagues have made me feel quite welcome, and I have found myself working in the same office with one or two friends and former colleagues from my decade-long service in media monitoring.

All good.

Having organised the audio files, and the script, for the ADR session with Daphne on Thursday night, I was able to wake up at a reasonable hour on Friday morning before heading to the studio. Nevertheless, I was late a few minutes. Daphne had arrived early and found herself a café in the area before coming down to the studio.

With the recording session over, Daphne had to leave for the station, while I chatted with Andrew about ADR and the finer details of overseeing the dubbing corporate videos for different markets – Russian, French, German, Bulgarian etc, whilst having only a rudimentary understanding of these languages.

En route to the station, the heavens opened and I found myself taking refuge in a shopping centre on Kings Street. The rain was so bad that I invested in an umbrella from a supermarket at the centre.

Waiting under the canopy covering the entrance to the shopping centre, I found myself surrounded with families with children of all ages, with a sprinkling of office staff caught short on the trip back from the supermarket – we were all waiting for the rain to subside.

The florist at the entrance to the shopping centre seemed to have had enough of this situation that had his merchandise blocked from view by so many people crowding by the doors. So, in a Sunday market voice..
“I say, everyone should buy flowers! Hands up those who say yes!”
Looking at one or two of the children there, I thought it would be quite comic if the little ones started raising their hands :- )

Peace and love,

Ja’far

June 5th 2011; week 130 of post-production

Sunday, June 5th, 2011

Filmwise: Another hectic week of preparing the ADR (dialogue re-recording) files, and working the newly re-recorded dialogue into the current cut of the film.
Indeed, the week began in the early hours of Monday morning, when I posted last week’s blog. I was so immersed in the delicate business of replacing location dialogue with newly re-recorded dialogue over the whole of last weekend that I didn’t leave my place from Friday night until Monday afternoon.

We have a further session at the studio this week. Then, we will bid farewell to all things ADR, I hope.

What still needs to be done for the film to be “completed”:
Edit the freshly re-recorded dialogue.
Sound mix – stereo or cinema Dolby.
Colour grade the picture.
Create a screening master and copies.
Send invites to cast and crew for private screening.

As you can see, the boxes that are yet to be ticked are tiny in magnitude in comparison with what has already been achieved in post-production (picture edit, special visual effects, sound design, music score, recording of foley, editing of foley, almost all of ADR).

Another productive week.

“Nail varnish remover..”
It seems like yesterday when I had my first day of work at my most recent employer. It was in the last week of May last year, when I pushed to the back of my mind any regrets I had for having missed out on the trip to Cannes, due to work on Mesocafé, and did my best to learn the new house editing style of my new employers.

Four weeks ago, I was offered a job at a competitor.

So, on Thursday last week, my colleagues threw a feast of fruits, cake, peanuts and soft drinks as a farewell gesture to me and to another colleague who was moving to another department.

People are so sweet to me.

My last day at the office was on Bank Holiday Monday; being on a fixed-term rolling contract, my Bank Holiday allowance is pro-rata.

The fact that I’d spent close to three whole days locked in my place working on the film made the journey to work on Monday feel like a reward of fresh air.

With the electrician scheduled to start work in my abode, I left home early on Tuesday morning and headed to Soho.

Breakfast for us indie filmmakers is a two-stop business: somewhere cheap for food, and a nice cafe for coffee and a long session of writing down a few scenes from one’s next feature film.

The former part of the process, was devoured off Wardour Street. The latter part..

Coffee - Soho May 2011

While working on the script, I could hear the chatter around me – Public School English, Italian, Spanish, and American.

En route to Trafalgar Square, found myself joining a man in a suit taking shelter from the rain beneath the scaffolding outside a clothes retailer. It was only when I turned to the shop front that I realized that this was no place to buy clothes for my first day at my new job.

Fortunately, the rain subsided and Shaftsbury Avenue was bathed with the glow of sunlight falling on wet theatre signs and London Taxis in the morning traffic.

The two hours I spent at the National Portrait Gallery could have easily been five or six hours, had I not had to catch the next screening of a movie at a multiplex nearby – I hadn’t been to the cinema for a whole week :- )

On the way home, I dropped by at my local supermarket – the electrician had warned me that they would be turning the power off and that any food in my fridge would be ruined.

Having laid the contents of my basket all too neatly on the conveyor belt at the checkout, I couldn’t help but notice the tell-tale signs of “10-minute meals” on my shopping items. Attempting to explain to the two young ladies standing behind me in the queue the reason for the level of focus that must have appeared on my features as I scanned my shopping with my eyes, I blurted out something like, “I am not sure what my shopping list says about me!”.

One of the two ventured in an American accent, “better than what ours says about us!”

We all laughed as I saw their shopping basket: two bottles of wine and a bottle of nail varnish remover.

Peace and love,

Ja’far