Tag Archives: post-production

Post-Production for Palm Springs

There is always one more detail to debate: how do we feel about the color of Diggory’s coat in this shot? – is the CG flag fluttering in the wind at the appropriate speed? – can we add more rust to the train car’s surface? – how should the fog evolve in this scene? It is precisely such details that our VFX team, Perry and Bryce Kroll of Studio Free Radical, and our colorist, Vladimir Kucherov of VladLab, are addressing throughout the “Sheol” post-production process. I’ve had the privilege of working with these guys over the past two weeks while Ryan’s been preparing for Palm Springs. Our sleepless sprint to update the version of the film included in Palm Springs’ Film Market was exhausting – I ran to the FedEx location on Wall Street and mailed the DVD just half an hour before the office closed – but the insanity has paid off. Thanks to our collaborative push in the final hour, “Sheol” will look incredible at Palm Springs. And more generally, the film is worth the wait, folks: post is bringing it to life.

Why You Must Vote for Us NOW

Hello and welcome!

To the March edition of “help us finish up The Sheol Express!”  Yes, that’s right, we’re still trying to wrangle up enough votes to win $5,000 through Pepsi’s Refresh Everything contest.  And wait… I know what you’re thinking!  Please see below as I read your mind, and respond to your questions:

But wait, I thought that contest ended in February?

It did.  However, Pepsi has set this up to let the projects that *almost* made it into the top 10 (to receive funding) in Feburary – but didn’t – roll over into the next month’s contest.

Pepsi's Refresh Everything

Pepsi's Refresh Everything in NYC Bilboards

Okay, so, what’s that mean?

It means that The Sheol Express has a very real chance of securing some serious funding that will help us get this film finished and onto the film festival circuit.

But I don’t want to get all excited again… and then have the film end up at #34 again this month.

Yes, this is a concern, but here’s the deal: as you may have seen, the top 10 “ideas” are displayed on the www.refresheverything.com home page.  If we can break into this top 10 in the first few days of the month – when every project has a lot of mobility – we feel confident that “one time”, casual visitors to the Pepsi site will see it and vote for us.  They may not be loyal, but the overall effect is staggering – that those projects that start in the lead stay in the lead.

So, this means that we need YOU to TODAY – and especially for the next week – to give this site a voting blitz.  We’re going to try to get in the top 15 in the next 48 hours, and I really think that we can do it!

The outpouring of support, Facebook posts, tweets, mouth-to-mouth buzz, random connections, comments, and people that have contacted us about how this movie has already affected their lives is a huge encouragement.  We’ve had people all over the world discover the film and contact us, though this grant and blog, and it’s awesome to speak with all of you.

Thank you all for your support so far, and I would be eternally grateful if that support continued through the next week as we ROCKET this project to the top of Pepsi’s “refreshing ideas”.

Another Day, Another Cut

Good morning, loyal fans!

What’s going on with “The Sheol Express”, you ask?  We’ve been doing lots of behind-the-scenes post-production work that’s not quite blog-appropriate, but we wanted to drop a line and update what we can.  We’ve been slowly raising the money that we need to complete the film through post-production, and our editor Evan Derrick is relentlessly refining the cut of the film:

Something very exciting that’s happening this weekend is that we’ve flown Evan to NY to be with us as we try to “picture-lock” the edit, so it can move on to the audio and visual effects stages of post-production.  We took a look at the third cut of the film earlier this week, and we’ve recently placed our collaborative changes into a “fine cut” – v4.0.

Tomorrow, we will be screening this cut of “The Sheol Express” for the first “audience” (that isn’t limited to our selves and our moms).  We’ve got about 15 friends coming over to our house in Harlem, NYC, to view the film.  We’ve invited a few of our trusted film peers, a couple of them editors, some people who have been involved with the production from day one who know the story, members of our post-production team, several people who have no idea what the film is about, and one who has never even heard of us before.

The idea is to be able to get a good read on how the story is being communicated to the audience – if it’s too ambiguous, too simplistic, if all the fart jokes carry or not, etc.  We’ve spent over 15 months on this, and we want to make sure that we’re not “too close” to some of the material to be able to edit it objectively.

So, this means that tonight, we’re working on refining audio cuts, adjusting volume levels, putting in temporary music, and generally making the cut palatable for our audience tomorrow.

So, wish us luck, and if any of our actors are reading this, Evan does accept bribes in the form of financial compensation, strong mixed drinks, or babysitting his kids for a weekend, in return for more screen time.

Second Cut is HERE

So, we received the second cut of the film, and we’re pleased to say that we’re making progress!

Something that is very interesting about our film is that it’s rather long – we initially wrote a 23-page script, which should translate to a 23-minute movie.  23 minutes is already quite long for a short film, but we decided to work with it, as it was a really good script that we thought would hold people’s attention.

When we received the first cut, it became clear that we were looking at a bit longer film – 27 minutes, in fact, without any of the closing credits!  That’s very long!  The good news is that it feels like 10 minutes – which is impressive for one’s own movie that you’ve already seen a million times.  But, we thought that we’d make some cuts, tighten it up a little, and it’ll shrink right down.  We love the movie, but it’s always better to have a shorter movie, we’ve been told, so we dutifully began looking for ways that our editor, Evan, could cut it down.

Not so fast.

Mike and I screened the second cut, with 1:30 cut off, with Perry and Bryce (our vfx wizards of studio free radical) and Vlad (our colorist, of Vladlab), and it became clear that even minimal trims made a HUGE difference in the story.  It appears that the script is so tight, and even loosing a few lines here and there dramatically alters the story.  A compliment to the script’s tightness and succinctness, yes, but difficult as we try to tighten up the cut.

So, we’ll just continue cutting, and continue updating.  Just as we felt during the entire production process, we constantly find ourselves saying “This film is Amazing!  The people we’re working with are so talented!  But there’s SO MUCH work to be done!”  True… so true, and we’re reminded of both our peer’s talents every day, how fortunate we are to have them working with us, but also the sheer amount of work we all need to do.  The same is true of the edit, which we shall keep taking our “baby steps” on.

We’re trying to have all of the scenes that use visual effects locked by Thanksgiving in order to give Bryce a headstart on creating those amazing matte paintings!

The trailer is HERE!

Ladies and Gentlemen, boys and girls. The moment is finally upon us.

The trailer is here. View it below, or click through to YouTube to view it in HD, full-screen. That’s our recommendation, and of course be sure that your speakers are turned up!

If you would like to get involved and help make “The Sheol Express” post-production happen, or know someone who would be able to contribute, please check out our Post-Production Prospectus and/or contact us at: ryan@thesheolexpress.com.

CREDITS: This trailer was cut by our assistant producer, casting director, script supervisor, and freelance editor Jenn Durrett. She’s amazing. Click for contact. The score was written by Sam Estes, our composer.

An Important Announcement!

After many months of close collaboration with Chloe O’Connor (click for her website) – journalist, editor, and layout artist extraordinaire – we have drawn up a post-production prospectus that both recounts our journey to-date and looks ahead, detailing our hopes and dreams for The Sheol Express. We’re asking people like you – yes, YOU – to get involved!

A slew of challenges lies just around the corner, from pickup shoots to many hours of painstaking visual effects work to sound design and the final score. Bringing all of these elements together will be no easy task, and we need people to partner with us in raising completion funds. Check out the prospectus below to learn more about the steps ahead, and discover how you can join the team and help complete this special film.

If you yourself are not in a position to support The Sheol Express but know of someone else who is and may be interested, please contact us at ryan@thesheolexpress.com, or just forward this prospectus to them directly. Thanks!

Our inspiration for the presentation came from the look and feel of the books from the original MYST video game, released in 1993 by brothers Robyn and Rand Miller. Both Ryan and I have played through it and its successors. A worthwhile venture, especially for us, since their detailed worlds and designs have really informed the aesthetic of our films, The Sheol Express very much included. read more »

Also, Stay Tuned…

Tomorrow, we will be debuting a bunch of important information about how YOU can get involved in helping bring “The Sheol Express” to the screen.

On Wednesday, prepare for the RELEASE of our first OFFICIAL TRAILER!

The First Cut is HERE!

Hello, all! Just wanted to throw out a quick post-production update. Evan Derrick, our awesome editor (follow his writing blog at http://www.brinkof30.com/), has delivered the first cut of the film to us, and it’s beautiful.

Well, not exactly beautiful.

There’s always trepidation for directors seeing the first cut of their material – it’s the first time it’s all really “put together” in something that resembles a movie – except it usually doesn’t look anything like a movie, and you can’t just say “we’ll fix that in post”, or, “that’ll come together in the edit”, because… well… you’re IN the edit and post!  Our teacher at NYU and mentor, Robby Benson, always says something like “When a director is seeing the first cut of the material, be sure they’re not near any high windows or sharp objects.”  It can be that bad.

But, we’re pleased to report that the movie looks great! There is still much work to do, but the performances play, moments that we were nervous about come through, and the world – even without visual effects or color work – has come together.  We’ve still much work to do to realize “The Sheol Express”, but things are looking great, and we’re SO excited to share it with you!