FINAL PICTURE AND SOUND UNITED AT SKYWALKER!!
You know it's going to be a special day when Ben Burtt (legendary sound artist and pioneer from Star Wars to Wall-e) gets you a chair to have breakfast with him and asks about your film. And then Randy Thom joins us. If Walter Murch had stopped by it would have been the absolute trinity of film sound pioneers and legends.
Suffice it to say that we had a great day tuning-up our sound mix with the talents of Zach Martin, who worked some special sonic magic for us. Then it was time, after many years of work, to see, for the first time, our final, beautifully color-graded picture, united in marriage with our final sound mix on the most cinematic stage I've ever experienced: Skywalker's Stag Theater.
From the opening, the scenes flowed together and the narrative linked up. Mandorla, the story that has always wanted to be, came to life on the screen and filled the theater. Liz and I knew it in the moment, and look forward to showing it at film festivals in 2015, and then releasing it in the fall.
Stay tuned, with Mandorla now alive on the screen, things will start to happen. If you're not on our list yet, sign up for email updates and event notices!!
It seems creating a movie poster is as much a process as making the film itself. We spent a couple of hours this past weekend working on it. To be honest, it was a fun break away from the clunky title tool, at least I know Photoshop better.
As you can tell, we lightened the poster up a lot more compared to the last version (which now seems heavy in retrospect). The overall feel is meant to convey a sense of "an ordinary guy on a spiritual journey to a magical place." The travel stamps are from my own passport—from a trip to Honduras, mainly to visit family at their hacienda near Santa Rosa de Copan.
The buildings in the center are taken from an opening shot in the film, a view over the Saone river toward St. Jean in Lyon. But you won't see this view in reality, only in the film, and this poster.
Important to leave some mystique in place!
Good news! We're working on the end credits! Putting in and remembering the legions of people who came together to help us make this miracle of a film together is a rewarding experience. Brings up lots of memories.
The other good news is that, these days, we can create a nice looking title-sequence right in our own editing system. The challenge is that this title tool is, like a lot of professional cinema software, very clunky. I should probably say "specialized." You have to get into it, explore it, learn it, and make a lot of mistakes. The mistakes are easy. They burn up a lot of time, and test one's patience, before you finally get a handle on it. It's a process I've come to embrace. Mostly.
The best part, honestly, is designing the look and feel of the credits with Liz, our art director and guardian of colors. Red and black, rouge et noir, along with white and gray have been our theme colors for some time. Notice them on this site?
Working in a sense of light and shadow in the gradient of the font color is, as you might have guessed, reflective of Mandorla's theme.
There's also another element to the titles that we like a lot but you'll have to wait to see in motion at the end of the film--something also "reflective." Look for it right at the start of the credits.
Back to work here, many "paragraphs" of credits to go. Maybe after I work with this clunky title tool a while longer it won't be so clunky? Regardless of the tool, the final credits will look smooth, and a lot of you who worked on and helped the film will see your name there, elegantly scrollng by.
In the film there's a brief scene where Ernesto sends out a potentially life changing email asking for the support he needs to answer his calling.
Naturally, there needs to be a shot of the email actually going out, right? Well, when we shot the scene many months ago we focused on the "bigger" shots in the scene, because we knew a simple screen shot could be done as an "insert" anytime. We have computers in front of us all day, and a camera within reach.
As you might guess, months flew by as we edited and we never got this shot. We had a "placeholder" image in the edit that simply said "video uploaded and emailed." Every time we came across it in the edit Liz, our wise exec producer, would ask "When are you going to get that shot?" And I would always respond, "Don't worry, it only takes a minute, and we don't really need it right now." We finished our sound mix at Skywalker with that graphic in place. Liz asked about it again and I responded "Well. It doesn't matter for sound."
It does matter for color grading. And we started our color grade without it. We finished the main photography color grade without it. On the last day of grading you tend to heap the remaining elements on a "pick-up reel" so that they get the right color to match the film. This email shot had to be on it.
The problem with shooting a computer screen is that it's incredibly boring. I am loath to shoot boring shots, so there's the challenge. I thought about it and then reached for the camera and a common, inexpensive, 50mm macro lens. Macro lenses are brilliant for close-up shots of small things, and not making ordinary things boring.
You could go into a Burger King with a macro lens and make art. Not that you should.
While these shots may not be art (they were shot on the screen I am typing this on) they are at least not-boring to me. And they made the color-grade last week. Thank god. And Liz. It's in the film and will fly by in 3 seconds, probably unnoticed by most people. Except you. YOU, having read all this, probably will notice it!
This is my round-about way of sharing what goes into making an ordinary moment in the film. And how necessity usually throws procrastination out the window!
Truth is, this is also my way of thanking everyone for coming to this blog. We're getting a lot of traffic and interest of late, and our Facebook page seem to have caught fire.
In the last few days our Facebook page "likes" have rocketed from 400 to now 1460, and climbing!!
Truly, that is Mandorla MOVEMENT.
It makes us feel like we are starting to connect to the audience for Mandorla!
Thank you all so much. These are exciting times with more adventures ahead!