Btw – people having been asking us when can we see the film? or any of our films? – Please understand that the way this works, usually after producing and then post-production (where you grade and sound mix etc) the work on the film is not yet done – not if you hope to get the film into festivals and eventually find some kind of distribution for the film.
First you usually have to get the film into festivals, so that you can be shortlisted for potential selection / consideration. The whole process can take the better part of a year from the point when you start submitting the film, and easily up to 1.5 years, depending on how wide a spread of the film festivals that you’ve submitted to, to wait for them to announce their selections. Usually the better festivals prefer if they are getting the premiere screening. This is different to the premiere that you arrange for the film yourself. But it means that some festivals prefer to have first dibs on your film, before anyone else can include it in their festival. So you’ve got to be really careful how you plan things.
The reason for the film festivals, is that having your peers tell you your film is worthy, means a lot. It’s partly to reward the cast and crew / team behind the film; to reward them for their hard work, but also have something good on their CVs to help other creatives / agents etc take note and consider them for more future productions. But also, if your film picks up a number of awards, it means that the film might be worthy of being picked up for distribution. Such is the case for DFTB, which I think has been picked up for screening on Latin American TV. I think that this means sadly that we can’t really show the film for up to 3 years. The TV channel have exclusive rights to show the film during that time. But eventually when those rights expire, we want to get that up onto a streaming platform for everyone to see it.
In the case of the recent films we’ve produced / shot, like MR CLEAN and SVEN GUNNAR – those are soon to be entered into festivals. Then we’ve still got to finish editing and post production on LOVELY TO MEET YOU (intended premiere in April in Barcelona) and MAI PIU etc. So I hope you can appreciate that it could be a long time before anyone gets to see them. But again the dream is to get them up onto streaming platforms. We do very much want people to see and enjoy our work. As do the entire team behind each film. Sadly the whole business of filmmaking doesn’t really make sense and takes a long time to usually see any benefit from it and to be able to show the films – unless you aim your sights a lot lower…
This is why I am shooting COMFORT HIM, a film which I am mainly designing to be seen on the internet. It may go into festivals etc. But I just want people to watch it, hopefully like it and share it. We just want to be able for you to see something of ours. It’s why I will also be releasing some older short films for viewing.
However, what we would very much like to do is – we want to see how many people want to see these films and to see if we can arrange a special (limited time period) online premiere for them. If you like the sound of that – please comment / like and share this post to spread the word. Give us an idea of numbers and tell us where you are, so we can work out if the online thing is a good idea.
I didn’t have high hopes and huge demands for this year. At least not when it began. Just having a functioning website was a key goal, after the last website was stupidly wiped out and needed to be rebuilt and repopulated… and I lost nearly 4 years of [luckily poor] activity. But beyond that… just getting through the year was also enough – well that and constantly expecting some epic global meltdown / armageddon. But thanks to SBC IT for sorting me out with a new website. Nice one. But this is the first year when I feel that I have properly used the website for what it was intended and used it regularly. Go me. And I think that this was a positive year creatively.
Loss – the previous years were overshadowed by loss and bereavement. So did I lose anyone? – Felix (my feline companion of 15 years), and a few friends sadly. That and some relationships ended… but I also gained some new friends and a new cat. Not a replacement by any means, but a welcome addition and helping to fill an empty space in our hearts and a great character he is. So not the best of years, but better than the preceding two years.
My health – could be improved. I’m still suffering daily with Shingles pain. However, I largely maintained the diet, despite my usual battles with depression. I’ve been mostly free of back pain, training smart and even got corrective foot insoles specially 3D printed to exactly match my feet and correct them, reducing some foot pain… but the last two months of MR CLEAN [colour grading] stress saw me drinking more than I’d like… But I made a point to get light every morning to help regulate and improve my sleep and it has been better over all.
Travel – any interesting trips? – Barcelona twice, Tallinn, Hälsingland and Cornwall. Two for pleasure and the rest for filming / film related trips.
Filmmaking – editing MR CLEAN, doing the trailer and post production for the premiere was hard work. But a valuable learning experience. Then there was SVEN GUNNAR and LOVELY TO MEET YOU, two other films that we wrote and produced this year. I am also planning to film another short very soon as well as help a friend on a film in Rome. In the process of doing SVEN GUNNAR I learned how to use the BMPCC 4K and learned enough to shoot it for Darwin (first time doing Cinematography for anyone else). But I do need to learn Da Vinci Resolve and Colour grading as a goal, to get the best out of the footage myself without having to always rely on others. I also made 7 music videos – when shooting background visuals for MEIPR, a friend’s band, for their gig. 6 of them were made in a matter of weeks, back-to-back. I was impressed I got it all done! Despite the tough / insane tasks I set myself, I achieved everything that was within my power to do. Sadly only ZOMBIE MINTS didn’t get released. But it will be a side project. Also we did not get to do a Swedish premiere for the shorts. It’s bonkers. We have to crack this!
Writing – I wrote five short scripts this year and started work on rewriting an old feature script… enjoying the challenge of trying to work out what someone thinks they are trying to say in a rough form script and reinterpret it more to the goals of the narrative and polish it and fix it – more of a problem solving / jigsaw puzzle in some ways for three of them. But I also learned to take charge more, when collaborating, when the original narrative is not fit-for-purpose. Sadly I didn’t finish the feature script rewrite due to work and MR CLEAN getting in the way. It’s on the list for next year. But I still need to devote myself more to writing each day again.
Self-development – I completed quite a few training courses. And started some new ones. But MR CLEAN later stole a lot of my time there. I upped learning Swedish every day, to trying to learn Spanish also and devoting a minimum of an hour a day for it. but I have made good on reading every day and reading at least one script a week…. in fact, by my calculations, I’ve actually read 60 (admittedly 50 of them were TV scripts, so average 60 pages, rather than the usual 110-ish, but still…)… and I finished the entire John Connolly Charlie Parker book series, as well as the entire Stephen Hunter Bob Lee Swagger series. I also read my first entire book in Swedish, and in Spanish (although didn’t understand all of them) …as well as many more – how many books? Who knows, but it was a lot. But with the languages, I need to speak more and reading books aloud is really helping.
Workwise – I delivered my first course end-to-end entirely by myself, save for a few commissioned graphics… constantly wondering if under this economy I still have a job? Worst year financially for us over the last 5 years…actually demanding that my boss “just go and fire me already”, because I got so sick of wondering day to day about it. I still don’t know. But I’ve resolved myself to just focussing on me and letting what will happen with work just happen.
Temperament – Lost my temper a lot…. I still want to work on being calmer and appreciating my successes. I want to be kinder. Thank you to Bob, the dummy, for taking so many beatings and helping me stay calmer. But meditation will be a focus for 2020.
Visualisation – I built a ‘vision thang’ – a mood board to help me focus and it worked. I will construct a new one for next year, although mostly it will be the same – but new visuals will help me focus anew and help me to manifest something I actually want to happen.
The original premiere in May for DON’T FORGET TO BREATHE, and later for that film (post award) in December, as well as SVEN GUNNAR and MR CLEAN, complete with three TV appearances
DON’T FORGET TO BREATHE not only getting into 15 festivals, but also winning Best Narrative Short in Vegas
Getting a diploma for my work on DON’T FORGET TO BREATHE
Shooting SVEN GUNNAR and LOVELY TO MEET YOU and making some lovely new filmmaking friends
Releasing the trailer for MR CLEAN and finishing the film
Seeing the trailer for SVEN GUNNAR get 18K views
Spending two weeks with family and friends
Not doing my secret project
Seeing the MR CLEAN trailer get less than 1K views
Not getting ZOMBIE MINTS done and released, as planned
So what about 2020:
Obviously I’d like things to be sorted out around Brexit, one way or another.
Impeaching Trump, and unfucking the planet would help. Ok. Pls thx.
I want to do a Swedish premiere for MR CLEAN
I want MR CLEAN to get into some festivals if possible
I’ll release ZOMBIE MINTS
I want to finally make COMFORT HIM and SEPULTURE
I want to finish the writing of and make a feature film.
I want to sort out publishing my old short stories and get back to working on one of the novels.
I want to continue working with, but also repaying the kindness of those who helped me make MR CLEAN and our other films. So Rome will be first on that score
I will read other books in Swedish and Spanish and improve speaking more of both languages
I will complete my secret project.
There’s more, but that’s the stuff that counts….
Q – What are your goals? How did your year go in review?
If any of you silent, lurking readers do come back here and have been following me over the last year, thank you for visiting and I hope that you have the best year that you can in 2020.
My Spanish is bad, so I can’t translate it for your. However, there will be a discussion panel, exploring the themes of the narrative of DFTB, with abuse survivors and a psychologist / expert, discussing the topic before and after the film. The event will be hosted by Tony Rovira (of TONY ROVIRA Y TU fame), there will be bands playing music, and last but certainly not least, we will also be screening SVEN GUNNAR (also directed by Darwin Reina) and MR CLEAN (by yours truly).
I know it’s a bit hard to travel there just to see a short film, or even three short films. But watch this space, because we might be able to arrange a special temporary online preview of the films… but you need to let us know now if you’re interested in that sort of thing… – so tell us in the comments below.. or email us…
But now that I’ve finished my rough colour grading, I’m just waiting on the sound mix and then we’ve got something to show them! And also we’re currently working on the Swedish premiere event in Stockholm also, as well as getting ready to shoot our next film LOVELY TO MEET YOU around the time of the event. So busy, busy, busy…
We’re all flawed… Very much me. Very much whatever I produce. But isn’t that what makes us unique?
I think if anyone ever consciously creates anything it usually doesn’t match what the original idea was, once executed. Even a child. I doubt anyone truly conceived the thing that has become me. It’s all one happy accident – a combination of numerous random factors and lots of added road miles and chemicals.
It’s very rare that the film you set out to make is the one you release. It’s no surprise that the editing process is often described as the third stage of the writing process – you write the film, you rewrite it in pre production and during the actual shoot (problem solving and adapting to reality) and then you rework and refine it in the edit, based on what you actually shot. Often compromise is heaped upon compromise and small changes reset the whole, as a result of the effect of collaboration with others.
This film is definitely not what I set out to make at the start. In fact it is bigger and more ambitious. Plotwise, it was a fun way to make a simple short, which could give Darwin and I something to do. Technologically, it would be a useful test of the Gh5 camera I purchased. Scopewise, it was simple – shoot it at home, mostly in a controlled environment and with a limited crew. We didn’t know anyone. We wanted to establish ourselves in Sweden as filmmakers and build a small network of likeminded collaborators. As with many endeavours, our desires overtake our ability in some ways and soon the plot became more ambitious, making the radio DJ and Studio a much more significant part of the film. Then I thought “why not throw in some FX in to the mix?”. This all impacted the Scope, the duration and the budget and the time to get it all done.
The shoot was chaotic at times, but mostly went well for our first shoot working together, despite cinematographers not showing up and not having enough people. With enthusiasm we shot stuff we hadn’t planned on getting. Brief moments became much longer scenes. And we also didn’t get stuff we planned to shoot – partly due to losing control at a few brief but significant moments. All of this added to the complexity of the edit task and once it grew beyond the script it became much tougher to reshape. But it’s all in the past now…
For my part, I inherited the edit, 4 months after having shot the film and having to start it from scratch, due to cross-compatibility issues with files across Premiere and FCP X. Mainly because I refuse to keep paying monthly fees for a buggy sluggish editing programme. Darwin had realised that our estimated 3 week edit timeline was unrealistic and then he’d begun to doubt and move on to other things and it was clear he was not moving forward with it. But I then had to pay the price of a blank slate and try and make up for lost time, when I took it all over. And in that time, the 6.5 months that followed, I had to first identify every shot I liked, then get that timeline down from 33 minutes of footage that told the story I wanted to tell, to the 6.45 mins of finished film that I have now. Constantly trimming and rearranging clip orders and trimming some more. – While also having a day job, writing a new script and shooting that film this summer…
Throughout, I’ve doubted myself constantly. Am I making the right choices? why didn’t I shoot X? How can I weave a narrative from this? Have I weaved a worthy narrative from this? Am I going insane? I must be insane to try and do this for an October 31st premiere? etc. And will anyone even care?
I’d like to think that there are less flaws with each successive project that I work on. That’s definitely what I aspire to – to improve upon everything I do. I think in many respects, this is my best film yet. But despite this, I am well aware of every flaw. How could I not be, after seeing the same shot hundreds of times and each one in a gamut of variations? And all while knowing what my original vision was for each tiny moment.
Essentially, I guess you could say that I am now in the Fine Cut stage. Which means that we have locked picture. We are now working on sound mixing and scoring and colour grading the film for its premiere screening. Is this merely like rolling a turd in sparkle and trying to make it something better than it is? I hope not. I hope the film is well received when the cast and crew see it. I hope that it doesn’t get a drudging by the critics and viewers and I hope that festivals treat it kindly. I hope for all of these things. But even if it gets a kicking from all quarters, I know that I am proud that I have seen it through this far and also will hopefully soon do so to the very end. And that is what I set out to do. I needed to finish this film. I have much more to make. And getting this film done is key to boosting my confidence to tackle more ambitious projects. It’s not perfect, but what films are? I will love it, despite its flaws. I will love it because of its flaws…
So far only a select few have seen the film in its current state. Darwin has suggested edits that have helped (especially one that revealed a continuity error) and others that sought to make the film more linear, until it then highlighted other shots we never got, that would have made that plan work. But it did highlight the fact that two shots I’d considered getting since the original shoot, were still needed to provide a more pleasing ending. As soon as Darwin came back from the US, we got the crew together again to do a fun pickup shoot and snag those shots in true guerrilla style (pics below).
The Composer (Flora) and Sound Mixer (Luca) obviously need that locked cut / edit in order to help them achieve their roles. The VFX Designer (Albin) needs them to work his magic etc. The only question for me is will I have to colour grade again or can I get some much needed professional eyes on this? Oh and the bonus question is always – will we get it done in time? The timeline is ridiculously tight. I am well aware of that. And it’s all my fault. If I had been quicker, the pressure would definitely be on me and not on others. I apologise profusely. But sh*t happens. But let’s hope that something marvellous happens under that pressure and things come together. And let’s hope that no one is broken because of the pressure of this deadline.
And regarding speed. How can you rush your way through an edit, where you essentially don’t know what the final point needs to look like – because the story you shot is more complex than the one you wrote? You can’t. Not really. And not when you have a job that has overly ambitious deadlines you also need to hit. Because. Wages… and then factor in a laptop needing a completely new keyboard and having to go away for two weeks, and software updates breaking the software – which took time to fix – and crashes, not just for me but also while Albin is rendering VFX. oh and having to edit a trailer you never knew you were expected to produce – because who puts trailers together for short films? – apparently it is a thing now. Lesson learned. All of this slows things down.
But there is always value in this process. You learn. All through the doing and failing, you learn and you improve. The lessons learned on this film helped make SVEN GUNNAR a much smoother shoot and edit I am sure. And, the way I feel about this short, is that the effort I have put in is akin to that of what working on a feature must be like. So why not tackle something bigger and more ambitious in the future? it certainly hasn’t put me off – although in the darker periods I’m sure I felt very differently about the struggle I was going through. …
In fact yes, there have been some very dark times. There has been sickness and stress, tears and self-recrimination and illness. There has also been laughter too, sometimes giddy and hysterical or drunken. And the metre has swung from abject loneliness to feeling like I belong to a tight-knit group of co-located professionals and also wondering why no one gives a shit about this epic one-man struggle of creation? Who will see anything other than a flawed, odd, film just shy of the 7-minute mark?
In the scheme of things, does any of this matter? No. Do I matter? No. You are always the only one that cares about your own movie. No one else will ever love it as much as you. And in this time of short attention spans and scrolling timelines, who can get anyone to really care anymore? So why do it? God knows. I only know that despite all the pain, it is a damn sight more interesting than the rest of my life and at the end of it I’ll have something to show to mark the time. And thanks for all the fish…
If you want to learn more about the film editing process, to understand why I’ve taken so damn long, READ MORE.
And as always, if you read all of this, thank you. But why? What makes you tick? What flaws do you obsess about?
And let me know if you want to watch this film when it’s finally done? And tune in after the 31st to find out if we made our premiere and if so, in what form?
Sometimes what we must do for love, can kill us. That’s the realization that Tim must come to if he is to stop Sven-Gunnar. Tim, a father and husband, is forced to commit the unspeakable in order to save his family; he must realise that the man holding his family hostage has done this before, if he is to stop them all becoming victims of SVEN- GUNNAR and prevent others falling victim to the same fate.
Hasse Brontén … Tim Darwin Reina … Beachgoer Johnny Vikeväkorva Johansson … Sven Gunnar Alicia Mörtsell … Julia Emma Karadottir … Anja Isabella Ahlberg … Beachgoer
Produced by Lee Bailes … producer Johnny Vikeväkorva Johansson … producer Darwin Reina … producer Rubi Rios … executive producer Julio Moran Suarez … executive producer