We finally had our Swedish cast and crew screening premiere for MR CLEAN and SVEN GUNNAR! After a very long wait indeed to find such a venue, we finally got to have our premiere at the Zita Folkets Bio, here in Stockholm.
I had already managed to go to the venue and test the DCP for MR CLEAN a few days earlier, So that was done. And I’d taken an order of posters, so my one main mission of the day was just to get those posters signed by the cast and crew that were in attendance. Weirdly I just wanted the screening to be over before it began. I don’t know why. I’m guessing that It has been so long since we made these films and been hunting for a venue to hold this screening, that It was just a thing that I was helping put on for others. I’d even considered not attending myself, which is crazy. Selfish I guess. But gatherings are stressful to me generally. Was it pre-show nerves?
However, I am so glad that I did attend. And it was so nice to see all that came and to spend a night celebrating what we achieved with the cast and crew of both films that could be there. But it was hard work, trying to say hit to everyone (apologies if I was all over the place) and conduct interviews and make sure I collared everyone to sign a poster and also arrange the screenings themselves. Never mind, then trying to introduce the films in the best way – especially to those who were not involved in the making of them and also those who don’t know what to expect. Thanks to Johnny and Hasse for also doing their bit to explain the films.
It was amazing to spend time with all of these amazing individuals together, to reminisce and discuss the future; as well as to share that with our friends, outside of the filmmaking world. I genuinely wished the entire teams for both films could have been together, but sadly that wasn’t the case. But there was a great showing nonetheless. However, it was a hot, tiring event and I was really exhausted the next day. But everyone seemed to enjoy the event too. 🙂
The thing that I would have really liked to have gone better, was coordinating getting people into the screening. There were only a small number of seats. Luckily I think only 4 people didn’t get seats / to see the films. All they had to do was ask and we would have put the films on for a third time, but we did only screen both films twice, to full screenings, including a few standing throughout. It was just a bit messy when I got distracted and let a few too many try and get into the first screening, so they all had to wait for the next one.
It was nice that I think around 76 people were there – which is amazing for short film previews. But if there wasn’t any coronavirus concerns, it would have been interesting to see how many might have shown up otherwise.
And for those who were not in attendance, here’s what I tried to say about the films, before they were screened:
Thank you all for coming here tonight to see two short horror films made in Sweden. Both self-funded – with talented teams, working for free! MR CLEAN is first. SVEN GUNNAR is next – showing back-to-back.
MR CLEAN is my fun, weird, short, based on real news articles about people breaking into houses and cleaning them. A tribute to HP Lovecraft, designed to be shot, with no budget, a tiny team and limited resources.
SVEN GUNNAR is the real Midsommar Murders, shot in Hälsingland, a serial killer film with a twist. Just who is kidnapping girls and murdering them… and why?
Firstly, it’s ok to laugh! They’re meant to be fun.
For MR CLEAN – Thanks to:
Darwin – for making me do it – and not letting me quit.
to Rinat – who did any crazy thing we asked!
to Terese – for doing the things I asked Darwin to do,
Also to Sofie – the entire cast and crew – for trusting us.
And to Suss, for letting me cover our house in fake blood. 🙂
The whole cast and crew and special friends helped me get theough it
For SVEN GUNNAR:
Thanks to Johnny – my snuskit murdering cocktail drinking friend – and Darwin / maestro for seeing the film through, no matter what!
Thanks to Hasse for being the real life and soul of the shoot and a true horror fan
Thanks to Emma and Alicia for trusting that we weren’t really killing people… for real
Thanks to Sven and Mirja for welcoming us and looking after us – and showing us the real Hälsingland hospitality
And the entire cast and crew – you were so generous
Everyone made huge contributions! They were great teams and they’re now great friends.
These films will always be special. A lot of blood sweat and tears to finish them. Thanks to all that helped make them, to those who couldn’t make it and for those that came to see them tonight – thank you all! Enjoy!
Oh and thanks for my Rose 🌹!
Big love ❤️
Please note: I don’t specifically mention other key people in the team, only because they weren’t present at the time. They were very much in my heart, and time was limited. But without them, we would not have pulled this off.
I really want to thank the staff at Zita for a great event. Thank you so much for allowing us to hold this event and allowing us to display our posters and fill the place with people. it was a great event and the films looked amazing on your screen. 🙂
Thanks to Rinat Iljin for filming the event. Thanks to Sami Arous and Moa Liverstam for all photos. Thanks to Darwin and Johnny and Dana for collectively helping to pull this off. And thanks again to all who came and to all who praised the films. 🙂
It would be amazing if one of the coming fests also felt it worthy of another award. But it feels greedy to even think so, as it has already done better than expected. But we can only hope for continued festival success.
Apologies for being a bit quiet lately. It’s been a busy time. Since my last post, I’ve been in a deep rabbit-hole of research and trial and error. I’ve been proudly failing daily. Failing is learning. But I’ve been failing to find the answers I seek, figuring out new ways to google or people to contact for various details that might help unlock the next lead to try. So what’s been going on?
Firstly, we have started submitting MR CLEAN to festivals. This usually means using sites like FilmFreeway or FestHome to try and create a project, and then search through the thousands of listings for film festivals, to try and match their requirements and themes to your project and budget – ala some crazy film dating game and some routes can work out quite pricey from what I’ve read…. One of those requirements is to create a DCP – or Digital Cinema Package, for the festivals that require that as a deliverable, to be able to screen your film in the way it was meant to be seen / provide the best screening experience. But when I first saw that most established, big fests needed one and usually post houses or expensive software was involved, and hiring out cinemas just to check the results, sounded like a pain. So I avoided those fests… until Darwin revealed that despite the fact he’d told me originally an MP4 or MOV was fine, we needed one for our cast and crew premiere screening after all! He did reassure me that he’d take care of it. But I guess I needed to learn about it after all – to be self-sufficient. And to be able to create any future ones on demand.
Secondly, in order to create said DCP, I was doing research into creating a 5.1 surround sound screener, as up until now I’ve mainly been focussed on the web and TV viewing experience. But although I had a mix provided to me by Luca, our ace Sound Mixer in Milan, I had not done this in FCP X before. So then I needed to do a deep dive into tutorial articles, FCP manuals and videos, in order to work out how to do it in my case – as most other articles seemed to mainly focussing on doing the actual mixing and not what to do when you get a mix from someone else. So I had to learn how to create a cinema ready screener ready to be converted into a DCP. Fun times….
It’s been 8 long days and nights. Doing the day job and having a life, and then spending any free moment researching and playing around. Often almost falling asleep at the computer. And yesterday was the big day, where we went to try out our DCP files for SVEN GUNNAR and MR CLEAN, for a coming premiere event at Zita Folkets Bio in Stockholm, and I realised I’d gotten almost everything right… except for one important thing!…and luckily I wasn’t the only one…
I am not an expert. I did a lot of googling and reading various articles. Some of them out of date. I discovered why not to do this yourself. Why some DCP creation software plugins and tools range from 499 euros to 2,000 euros and what free options were out there. As far as I can see you can do it all for free. or you can buy the tools… or you can pay someone to do it for you. But you can do it for free… however, if you want to be sure, a little investment in validation and transferring the finished files is worth it.
A DCP is essentially (and I’m expecting lots of technical arguments against my over simplified and non-technical layman’s explanation and I’m ignoring Blu Ray creation – and that’s ok. I am not professing to be an expert. Just explaining it in the way I know how) a media server-friendly version of your screener. Essentially you can export out all of the images / frames of your video to the file size heavy TIFF format for best visual quality, convert them to JPEG2000 and export the audio mix into individual frames. Or (as I did) you take your MOV / MP4 etc and convert the sound and images into a DCP friendly format. Once you’ve created it, you then typically transfer said files onto an EXFAT formatted drive. Now this last stage I had heard can be problematic on some Mac systems.
Luckily, I tried DCP-omatic, and was happy to donate once I knew it did the trick (and followed these videos), using it to create my DCP file from my exported screener. I fed it the Pro res MOV file and it quickly did the job – once I learned how to alter the settings to stop scaling and keep it 1:78 / 16:9 ratio. Soon I had a working DCP, which I could test in the free player that comes with it – although I was freaking out about dropped frames and wondered about bit rates etc. But soon realised a cinema should handle what my iMac Pro couldn’t.
Then I had to figure out how to get it onto the thumb drives I ordered. I eventually saw no other option other than either chancing it, or opting for DCP Transfer, to see if that could get the job done. Although I dislike software as a subscription models, I did a test and it worked perfectly – so that was 50$ for one month’s license and 1 activation fee (as they know they can make money each time you re-activate, after previously cancelling…). But the tool works as designed. It’s simple, logical and does the job of formatting your drives, copying the DCP onto it and validating it afterwards. It is worth the money… but about that subscription model….
Btw Darwin used Premiere to export his DCP. We’ll get to how that worked out. But mostly it went ok for him, with one issue. Well, one other issue than another exorbitant subscription model…. 😉
The 5.1 surround sound:
I had a great surround sound mix. I needed to swap it for my stereo mix. Then work out how to activate surround sound. Then assign each track of the surround sound to a role. Then I had to figure out how to export a multi track quicktime file – as there was no recent video on it since the last big update to FCP X. But it all seemed to work ok in QuickTime. But would it work when in the DCP????
The big mistake / testing the DCP in the cinema:
So Darwin and I met with Johnny (SVEN GUNNAR) and Dana (the lovely guy who helped get the venue for us) yesterday and we each ran into one issue.
Mine was that the DCP worked perfectly on loading into the media server. However, in the test screening I had zero voiceover in the mix! WTF?!?! I later found out that this was because my project timeline was linking to the 13th Dec mix, the one where there was no voiceover, and not the corrected mix delivered on the 14th Dec mix. Weirdly – and I wish I’d taken a screenshot, it had the right file names in the title – as I can’t replicate this error! But when I manually checked the files outside of FCP X I could see what was wrong. So I needed to delete the surround sound mix and do it again. Now it’s all good. But it was weird watching a file with missing elements, just like when we did it in Barcelona the first time. I’d been so focussed on the mechanics and checking certain things worked I hadn’t watched the screener or DCP all the way through! Doh! Do check your files after every export! But the file did look great on the big screen.
Darwin’s issue was that the Premiere file DCP name was not in the right server syntax format when copied onto the DCP. Darwin considered a workaround, which was to just copy the file name my DCP had, and paste it onto SVEN GUNNAR DCP and it worked perfectly, gaming the serving to accept it. But you definitely want to get that right if using Premiere to make sure no other festival writes-off your DCPs if they run into a small error like that. they might not want to try workarounds, if loading hundreds of screeners and might be looking for a reason just to send it back, rejected and fee lost…
Anyway. A stressful day I don’t want to revisit yesterday and a good fail. But now we have working DPC for the screening. Just got to get it to the cinema – because the screening is next week! And we have another film to shoot!… bye!
“MR CLEAN, directed by Lee Bailes – a different take… a new flavour of horror… a twist with horror and guts on what we see is at first a very normal story, but what we later see is completely different… it goes from 0 – to 100 – of violence, and kicks off in a short amount of time. The movie is only 7 minutes long, but you see so much in this 7 minutes…’wow’! …I can’t wait for it to expand on this. It’s wonderfully shot, reminiscent of Misaki Kobayashi’s KWAIDAN, Whilst something so mundane has got a lot more going on in it…. The way the film is narrated is quite cool, seeing two sides to this story. The cinematography is really really slick. The gore effects are really cool. There’s going to be more to this series, and I can’t wait to see the rest of the series!”
“A slick, cool short film with a lot going on!” and “it makes you think twice, next you see a cleaner.”
It’s reassuring that our first review is positive and enthusiastic. I must also share that Hus isn’t the first person that wants to see more of MR CLEAN. And this makes us all (the entire team) very happy.