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