Friday, September 12, 2014

Noah Harald & Speak Now - Hanceville, AL, Micro-budget Filmmaking Part III

Another update from Noah Harald, touring his film Speak Now on the Southern Circuit:

As I screen our film 'Speak Now' at the next four venues in the Southern Circuit I'm going to try something interesting and share my thoughts and advice about making a micro-budget improv film as well as my travels here in the South. Next up- Hanceville, AL.

'Speak Now' screened last night at Wallace State Community College. It was quite a trek from Clemson to Hanceville, AL but I've been listening to a book on tape so along with the gorgeous weather, the sequel to The Shining kept me terrified to make the time pass. I also drove a bit off the beaten path to a barbecue spot outside of Memphis that was amazing. Once I got to Wallace State, I was greeted and brought into their massive and gorgeous performing art center and I wandered their art collection in the museum til the crowd showed up. What a crowd. People really came out to support our film here, we had a packed house and a super enthusiastic crowd. The Q&A went well, and I got to speak to a couple of young aspiring filmmakers who I hope will stay in touch with me as their career grows. Super fun. I've got two days off which I will be spending with family in GA and they we have our fourth and final screening in Winder, GA on Sunday. Stay tuned!

Making a micro-budget film, Part III: Post
Some of the best advice I've ever received was from the editor of Dodgeball who spoke at Los Angeles Film School before my classes began there. He told me to graduate in a craft that could pay me when I got out of school, because nobody was lining up to hand paid gigs to directors. Since I was already well versed in post, I majored in editing. Now, I had help editing the film from my talented editor friend Matthew Hickney, but being able to see the film to the finish line is what allowed our micro budget film to stay micro.

That being said- you've come up with your idea, you've shot your film (CONGRATULATIONS) and now you have to turn it from footage to an actual movie. Because our film was improv, we had a very strange process. Erin Cardillo (writer/producer) and I watched all 6.5 hours of footage and wrote down what the major conversation beats were as we went. From there we scripted a rough outline of what we wanted the movie to be. Matthew took the outline and edited the first draft of the film. Now you may be a wunderkind, all-in-one able to do everything person, but it's so important that even when you are editing the film yourself that you bring others in on the process. For us, we were lucky enough to have a core group of 5 producers to weigh in their thoughts. If it's just you, make sure you have screenings for close friends and colleagues of the rough cut. Get their feedback and ask  the tough questions; does it work, what doesn't work, does it make sense, where were you bored, what did you love? Take all of this feedback and your own gut and finish the picture edit of the film. This is what we call a picture lock, and from here you will plan to never alter the actual edit of the film again.

The final steps are to sound mix, score and color correct the film. In my opinion, these are the 3 places where you can't skimp. Find really talented people willing to cut you a break on price and pay them to do these things. Nothing will hurt your final vision more than these three things being executed poorly. And since you have a limited budget, be flexible with people's time. If you're not paying someone enough to make working on your film their full time job, allow them the time to finish it on their own terms. Once you have these pieces together, you bring them all back into the edit bay and create your final movie. You will create HD masters, streaming masters, DVD masters and maybe even audio masters. From here, you send your baby out into the world- but I will talk about that in the next and final blog post. Thanks for following along!