Monthly Archives: December 2013

Hopes for LOVE COVERS ALL in 2014

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Well the new year is upon us.  2013 was a big year for LOVE COVERS ALL.  I saw the script work itself into better shape in Q1-2, then in Q3 the funding was found and the movie was shot and in Q4 I concentrated primarily on editing.  The film is now in a very good position.  The edit is in very good shape!   Feedback has been wonderful and I’m very confident that the film will be well liked upon release.  So what’s next?

Getting the edit locked soon and into my composers hands is important so we can start talking about spotting (the process of figuring out where the film needs music), then he can get to work on his side of the process while I put the film in the hands of my sound-mixer to begin his process.  A final sound mix can’t be completed without the final music, but a lot of the clean up work and other things can be done in the meantime.  On my end comes the color-correction and visual effects which I’ve started already.  There isn’t a ton of effects in the film, but enough to keep me busy for a while.  By mid-April I would like to have the completed film in hand if I can…ambitious but necessary to start the distribution process.  The biggest job on my plate is the trailer which needs to be fantastic.  I could use some prayers of support for that end of the process, as well as the others I mentioned.  A new and distribution/marketing ready website is also required, along with the marketing material like the DVD Cover, Web Banners, etc.

Marketing for the film needs to get in gear as soon as I can get my plan in order.  If I release in the fall I have about 8 months to build up enough buzz for a success.  Compared to the long process of Standing Firm’s completion, this one is like a bullet-train, so I need to have a very good plan in mind.  I have a long list of things to gather together and organize, and I currently have no investment to pay for marketing which will be a challenge.  Filmmaking is always a fly by the seat of your pants adventure.

My goals for this next film are vast and ambitious, but I’m confident in the product, much more then I was last time.  It’s a better film, without question.  I just have to get my ducks in a row, and on time.  If anybody out there wants to pray for the films success, please pray for solid distribution opportunities, post-production and marketing investment, successful marketing efforts, etc.  I’m sure that lots of people will be impacted by this movie, but I need to get it out there first!  Who knows how this next movie could snowball.  If the last movie has shown me anything, it’s that anything is possible, and with a better film on my hands this time…I’m hoping to burst through whatever ceiling I may have found the last time around.

If I could offer some encouragement to any filmmakers out there.  Go make your movies!  Get off your butt, toss the fear aside, or even embrace the anxiety if you have to, and spend yourself on a story worth telling.  It’s worth it.  It’s worth the insanity and heartache.  The tools are there, and the counsel and information is available in amounts never before seen.  The excuses are gone.  The only person holding you back from making your movies is you.  If you can’t find X dollars or can’t make X story yet, then make another.  Make whatever you can make.  Make something smaller that uses the resources you DO have, and make it a viable and profitable product, then move up onto the more ambitious project.  Everyone has to start somewhere.  If you’ve yet to get started, make 2014 your launching pad.  What have you got to lose?

Happy New Year!  LETS DO THIS!

- Kyle Prohaska, Director

Speed Of Completion

Bob played by Rusty Whitener

Bob played by Rusty Whitener

There are days that feel “off” making this film, like I’ve done something wrong.  I don’t mean morally wrong, it just feels like I’ve forgotten something sometimes, or there should be way more to do to get the film into the state that it’s in.  We barely snuck the budget for the film into the bank before we started spending it during pre-production and leading up to production.  Since pre-production started and some of the crew started arriving at our home (we housed 7 of them during the shooting period), it’s only been 5 months.  The last movie Standing Firm was filmed in 2008 in a very scattered and sporadic schedule, reshooting scenes, experimenting, and filming the last official scene in November 2009.  It was a long and laborious process but I was working with volunteers from my church body and filming in locations that weren’t necessarily film friendly.  By all accounts the last movie didn’t feel like a movie at all.  It felt like we were making a really long Youtube video that was going to be turned into the movie by myself on the post-production end.  The way we did it then isn’t how you should ever do it, but we got the project done.  Going into this next film I was determined to do things the proper way as best I could.  We’d have a paid cast and crew, they’d be paid a fair wage that they were satisfied with, we’d film a scheduled number of days properly planned out, we’d have official set food, etc.  After 19 days in September the movie was over and everyone went back home leaving our house empty after being packed with people for weeks and weeks.  We even filmed in our home so seeing scene edited together from our bedroom or living room is bizarre.  Due to the lower budget it was also easier to use certain props that we owned already.  The main character of Michael wore my wedding ring, drove my car, and used my phone as props.

During production I had been editing but mostly manually syncing the film.  There wasn’t much edited by the time filming was over, maybe 5%.  I had to dive into the editing process right away and thankfully by the end of this year the film is getting really close to a polished state.  There are some shots I still need to shoot like inserts of cell phones, and some exterior car stuff on the highways, but the film is in great shape.  Thank you to those who were praying about the editing process.  The runtime of the film is shorter then I anticipated, but I’ve come to accept that.  I’m sure any viewer would appreciate a shorter/better movie then a longer/worse one.  It’s nearly the length of the last film, but better all around in pace, structure, etc.  It’s just a better film, without a doubt.  Editing your own film that originated from your own script makes some people pessimistic and nervous, because not everyone can be confident enough to kill off things that they created, but I have no issue with that LOL.  If the film needs it, then it’s gotta be done.  Thankfully, I was ruthless with the scripting process.  It was a very tight script.  There wasn’t a single thing we shot that isn’t in the edit.  I know how that sounds, but truthfully, I did a lot of my editing with the words on the page, getting into the scene as late and possible and getting out as late as possible.  In fact, the tightness of my script was sometimes an issue in the editing room, having made some of my hard choices in the script, then on set, then having to live with them in the edit suite.  That’s a lesson learned, to give myself a tiny bit more breathing room just in case, but otherwise it’s worked out very well and resulted in a film that practically fell together in the edit.  The only thing causing editing difficulties (rarely) were days we filmed and some of the material was just “off,” or where we didn’t have as solid of a day as others.  Beyond that, it’s been a piece of cake!

I sent the film out to over 60 people to see what sort of response I would get.  There were a few common notes that I worked into the edit to fix some things but some of the negative comments were against elements already embedded into the story…no alternative takes or edit changes would change things much.  Beyond that the comments were very positive.  I was relieved seeing that people genuinely enjoyed it, caught the theme of the film, appreciated the performances in the movie (which I think are quite good all things considered), and thought it would do well in the marketplace.  But even with all of that, it’s hard not to look back and feel like you’ve been thrown into a time-warp.  5 months from money in the bank to a movie in my hands to watch is quite something!  As a filmmaker, it’s great to have worked hard on a script and made 10,000 decisions during production and only a few months later get to see a pretty close representation of what the film is and what went right/wrong.  It makes me want to get this thing out there so I can move onto the next and improve some more!  But, there’s still lots of work to be done.  I just realize that after the long process of finishing the first, this film feels like a whirlwind.  What I really can’t wait to get to is the locked edit I’m confident of where I won’t touch the film anymore, and I can really start getting going on the marketing side of things.  I need a great trailer for the film which believe it or not is more difficult then cutting a film.  I appreciate prayers regarding that issue.  A bad trailer will kill a film, even a good trailer could hurt.  I need something fantastic!  Nothing short of that will do.  I have a list a mile long of things to accomplish on the marketing end as well.  I’m just one guy, so I do what I can but I need the energy and stamina that I had last time to push this thing to the finish line and beyond.  I really do think we have something good here, and I’m a hard man to please and satisfy, especially with something I made. ;)  I’m just very thankful that all the goals I set out to accomplish with this film so far have been accomplished above my expectations.  That’s an encouraging thing to see.

I have another 3-4 months of post-production left, with my music, final sound, and color correction yet to be done.  There’s still plenty of work to do, but after how quickly the last few months went, I’m sure I’ll have a finished film in my hands before I know it!  Then it’s off to the races (ie: stores) to see if you all like what I’ve been slaving over! ;)

Thanks for reading!  If you’re a filmmaker out there, GO TELL YOUR STORIES!  If I can do it, you can do it.  Get out there!

- Kyle Prohaska

The 1st Cut Is Completed

It feels good to have a first cut to look at.  Now I can see what the film is and how it turned out.  It’s not fully polished and there are plenty of tweaks to be made, sound issues to deal with, not much music throughout, VFX to complete, etc. but I can now sit down and see the movie for what it is.  There are days I feel like I’m in a time warp.  My last movie shot on/off for a year and a half with volunteers.  Whenever schedules lined up is when we would film and I was cutting and recutting and rewriting as we went along.  I didn’t have an official first cut for a long time.  This time I wrote a tight script, put financing in the bank in August while we were prepping, shot 19 days in September, and now about 4 months later there’s a movie to see.  Pretty amazing!  It feels like something is wrong, like I forgot something LOL.  Overall I’m very happy with how the film has turned out.

Since wrap life has been difficult.  We had our daughter a month after wrap so adjusting to child #2 was its own unique challenge.  Along with that was the inability to pay myself on this film.  I just couldn’t raise enough.  Using credit for things and racking up some debt hasn’t been the ideal way to end out the year, but such is the life of an indie filmmaker.  There are ups and downs.  Overall, I’m very thankful that one of my most important goals on this movie was accomplished.  All my cast and crew got paid a decent wage, were well fed, and left having had a great experience.  The producer side of me wanted that more then anything, and in the end we have a better film because of it.  Everyone left smiling, shaking hands, and hugging.  Even if I couldn’t pay myself during production, all the money went to areas that matter, and into people who worked hard to help bring this story to life.

Making a film is always a personal struggle, an emotional process.  There were days while cutting I would flop between my editor and Facebook/Twitter 20 times.  Any time I saw a cut wasn’t working I would run away to do something else.  I would say my confidence level was shattered at the start of this process, but having pushed through it and forced myself to bust through those walls of fear…I’ve come out on the other end with a product I think I’ll be proud of in the end.  It was the same problem while writing.  The always annoying issue of facing the blank page and trying to fill it with something meaningful.  Act 3 for instance was something I was terribly nervous about while editing.  I was looking at it and thinking “Oh man, this is it.  It’s gonna fall apart in the end.  I did all this work for nothing!  People are gonna get all the way to the end here and it’s gonna crash and burn.  What did I do?!”  It was a total meltdown moment!  Not too long after I had something to show some friends.  I’ve had a handful of people who’ve watched the film in pieces and helped give me feedback.  Sometimes you just need another set of eyes to assure you it’s not as awful as you think it is, or to tell you it is so you can fix it. :)  I sent out Act 3 and got nothing but positivity.  People found it to be the most satisfying Act for them or the best which is what you want to hear.  Even with such a compressed schedule on this film I forgot how well some of these scenes turned out while we were shooting.  I remember being blown away on set with some of the material we were getting, but with life being such a whirlwind the last few months, you just forget.  Having someone else’s money on the line is also new to me.  My last film was financially successful, but it was my risk to take.  They tell you never put your own money into a film but I think I actually operate under that sort of pressure better.  I’m a weirdo I guess! ;)

Working through the footage you start to see what mistakes were made during production.  You see moments you wish you had another take of or shots you wish you didn’t cut due to time.  It’s all apart of the process.  There’s little use in beating myself up over those mistakes, as long as I recognize them and can make it right on the next one.  I can’t believe the film has fallen together so easily this year.  It’s been a wild ride.  I look forward to pushing the edit towards and lock and seeing what my composer can bring to the table next.  Thanks to everyone who’s been supporting me during this tough time personally and financially, as well as creatively.  There’s a lot of work yet to be done!

Till next time,

Kyle Prohaska

Technical Details:

For those who are curious, I’m cutting this particular film in Premiere Pro CS6.  I haven’t jumped to CC yet.  I had planned on cutting the film in FCPX, but didn’t have the time to figure out the proper workflow for our dual-system audio or a way to organize the footage in a way that made me happy.  Since I was syncing reels of footage when I got home on shooting days, I just needed to dive into that the way I understood it in Premiere and not worry about learning something new.  Premiere has been a piece of cake.  I think I’ve had one crash since I started the project.  I did a lot of preliminary editing and most of the syncing on my MacBook Air and then transitioned to my Mac Pro for the rest of the process.  I’m working off the USB3/FW800 drives we purchased for the film, and backing up regularly.

Also if you’re curious how I prefer to cut things of this length.  I like to edit each scene within its own sequence, naming it accordingly + a version number (1.0, 1.1, etc.) and then place all those together in a master sequence.  It makes it a lot easier in the early stages to duplicate a sequence and make an alternate cut to throw in the master then cutting the entire film inside one big sequence at first and having to duplicate that to make an alternate version of one scene.  I like getting the cut really close this way first and then consolidating later.