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Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Stepping Up.

Busy week following the 140 screening, which went great by the way. Good turn out, warm reception, good Q&A, live music afterwards, good conversation - so I was happy! And the Droichead is such a great place, I love screening there. I've screening three films there now and had one photo exhibition. The staff are a pleasure to work with. I hope I can always bring my films there.

After the screening I got talking to a few people who seemed eager to help on Derelict, which was a bonus. A friend, Mark Kearns, who screened Slán agus Beannacht and Bill, For Short when he owned and ran Boyne Books (great store, sad it's gone) talked about ideas for fundraisers, as did my friend Kieran, who was once a prominent comedy promoter. So I think there'll be a couple of fundraising events on the way.

I also spoke to an old friend, Richard Quinn, who's always shown interest and support in my films. He offered his services a producer, stepping to help organise the shoot and to get the things I need to make it happen ie. location, crew, equipment etc. He's been on the job a couple of days and has already booked a location viewing, which we went to see last night, great place, Millhouse in Slane. It's ideal really, exactly what I was looking for. Just some details to check out to see if it's suitable, cost, distance for commuting and the like. But even if it doesn't work out I know he's on the job. So that's a load off my mind.

Our prodigal producer returned with some good notes on Iscariot. The reader seemed to like it and the notes were mainly with regard to tone, characterization and some plot holes. Nothing that can't be fixed and a adjusted. So Thomas and I may get back to work on that i the Summer. There'll be nothing doing until then of course, Thomas is stuck into college and I'm working on Derelict, but that's OK. At least there's potential there for something to happen.

So it's all good, all moving forward. What I thought was a stall on Derelict only happened to be a speed bump, all systems go now and looking good. I'm sure there'll be plenty of complications leading up to shooting, but aren't there always! That's what makes it interesting.

I set my cast some homework, to watch 'The French Connection' again. And you dear reader, the same. Such an amazing film. And a big inspiration for this, in terms of tone and style, raw and documentary like. I love it. I'll be looking at it again a couple of times in the lead up to shooting Derelict. It blends the traditions of noir and cop procedure movies with the ragged unruliness of 70s filmmaking. It breaks alot of the rules, but never disrespects what's gone before, just brings a new energy that is still blistering to watch today, far more than most film now, 40 years later! 40 YEARS!!! Come on! We need to get some of that energy back. Hackman is just brilliant as Popeye Doyle, the quintessential anti-hero leading man. He's detestable, unruly, a borderline criminal himself, relentless, a womaniser, authority hater and you love him for all his faults. A great character. Watch it!

Saturday, February 19, 2011

Hometown Screening.

OK, doom and gloom aside for a second. 140 is screening tonight in the Droichead Arts Centre. Hometown crowd. Always slightly daunting, especially as everyone's been hearing about this film for nearly 2 years and finally seeing it tonight!


Should be a good event, it's free, there'll be a Q&A, hosted by my wife, Maryann, which should be fun (we met at the Heartland Film Festival of course where she worked as Film Researcher and Co-ordinator for 3 years, so she's well experienced in this kind of thing) After the Q&A there'll be live music in the bar from Eoin McCabe and Tadhg Murphy, playing song from the film, so that'll be great! I'm also going to try and sell some DVDs and T-shirts, see if I can't raise some funds for Derelict!

I'll hopefully be able to film the Q&A so I'll post it at a later date. OK, I'm off to quell my nerves with some stiff drinks!

Monday, February 14, 2011

The Breaks.

I had hoped to counter the last moany post with something a bit more positive this time, but alas, that was not to be. With only 6 weeks to go I've decided to postpone the Derelict shoot by several months. It's frustrating and a little disheartening but in my view necessary. Too many things haven't come together to risk pushing ahead and falling at the final hurdle. I'd rather stop now and move the race dates!

At the moment the script has yet to be finished, equipment needs to be sourced and paid for. I still don't have a location or the key crew and of course - there's no money. It occurred to me that when I was shooting 'Slán agus Beannacht', it took me 6 weeks to organise the bloody fundraiser! And that was a short! I'm talking about doing a feature from scratch in 6 weeks! I have the cast, yes. By by the time I started the run down to the fundraiser on Slán, let alone the film, I had the script finished, the entire cast and crew, half the budget and all the locations (of which there were about 10, not just 1!). When I remembered that I made up my mind fairly quickly after much back and forth.

I want the film to be good. I'd like it to do well and for everyone involved to be proud of it. I'd like it to get into festivals, be well received, sell and be distributed. I want people to see this film, enjoy it and not feel like they're watching some inferior work that could have been done so much better. I fear if I kept going the way I am now that's how it would end up. I would just let myself down and everyone else involved. I don't want that, especially when I know that just a bit more time is all that's needed to get it right.

Sucks! But them's the breaks I guess. My energy is still high. I'm still excited about the script, the project and working with the actors and everyone else involved so far. I still believe it's going to be a unique film. This is just a set back. I still hope to have the film shot, cut and heading out the door by the end of this year.

Meantime - money, crew where for art thou?

Thursday, February 10, 2011

May Contain Moaning.

Moan Alert: This blog may containing moaning.

I'm stressed. And it's starting to take its tole on my body. Woken up by the baby crying this morning at 4am, once fed she went back to sleep. I, on the other hand, did not. I lay awake thinking about all that has to be done and all that's not getting done. The location I don't have, the money I don't have, the crew I don't have, the equipment I don't have, the fact that crew I've worked with before aren't returning calls and new crew aren't answering the call to aid! I became so tight and tense I thought the tendons in my neck would snap!

I've always been a one-man-band on my films. I've had to to get them made. But there just seems to be a lot more to do on this one, and for some reason people seem to be a lot less willing to get involved. Maybe it's because it's a feature film, perhaps there's more at stack, maybe people are sick of my asking for help and freebies! Seems more likely. Fair enough I suppose! I guess there comes a time when you have to start making something that pays or just hang up the gloves. Accept that I'm actually no good at this otherwise someone would have paid me by now! I fear I've reached that crossroads. Make or break... again!

Me as I'm writing this blog

Of course every film feels like make or break. I suppose this one is different because it's the first film I've made with a family in tow. Finding the time to write, make phone calls, sit down and make schedule, think about budget, organise a fundraiser... all that stuff is near impossible. Plus there's the Guilt Factor. Before I never had to worry about not eating for a day or missing the rent. I can't do that now. And I can't find any satisfactory reasons that makes it OK for me to drag my family through poverty anymore. For Art? Yeah, whatever! Art me arse!

I don't know why doing what you want has to be such a struggle? Why it has to test you and stress you and make you feel so miserable before paying off, IF it pays off. Do you think it works the other way too? What about people who just want to have a few cans and watch Eastenders of an evening, do you think they're struggling to do that, while being miserable billionaires in Bel Air?! "Why is so hard to be poor? Stupid Aston martins!"

Oh I shouldn't moan. I'm on the path I chose. I wanted to make films, no one forced me to. For me it's a vocation. A calling. I'm compelled to do this. And even in these stressful moment, when it's full of doubt and questions, there's always the knowledge that I will continue, there will be another project. Even though I'm stressing over this film and wishing everything would just click into place and wondering why the hell I'm doing this to myself, I'm still thinking "I'd love to make that werewolf movie... I wish I could get back to that script... You know what make a great film..." so it doesn't go away.

And some good people have of course stepped up, Caroline Farrell, a writer I let down a couple of years ago on a short I promised to make and never did, remains true and supportive. Colette and Darren at Calipo as always make a donation, friends in LA, Elliot, Trampas, Robert are always on hand with whatever they can muster and encouraging phone calls and emails. And of course my wonderful wife, who wouldn't let me throw in the towel no matter how much I fussed and griped.

It's all part of the process unfortunately. I guess I've gone through it to a lesser extent on all my films. I remember Emily's Song was quite a stressful process with a lot of set backs. I think we had to push the shooting back three times before we were ready to shoot. Then people kept delaying us, letting us down and pulling out at the last minute. There was a lot to deal with on that film, but we got their in the end and we had a good film after all the struggles. Hopefully the same will happen here.

Right. Better go do something constructive with my day. Not much point in sitting around here moaning!

Friday, February 04, 2011

Going For A Song.

Sorry for the delay since last I posted. I've been busy on things other than Derelict! Among them a Kelly Family reunion (first time all my Uncles and Aunts, 12 in all, have been altoghter in 35 years) I got roped into doing the photo slide-show, so that took up a few days! I didn't think putting together a slideshow could get so complicated... or maybe I just made it that way!

There are a couple of screenings coming up for 140. On Tuesday 8th it's screening in Shebeen on George's st. in Dublin as part of the Shebeen Flick series of Irish films, loved and unseen! Hosted be Fernanda Parente. I'll be there for a Q&A (hopefully with some of the other filmmakers). It's free in and all are welcome, so pop in if you're in the area.

Next is the Drogheda screening at the Droichead Arts Centre on Stockwell St. Screening is at 8PM on Saturday the 19th and again I'll be there for the Q&A. Plus some pints afterwards in the local no doubt! Looking forward to that, two years since I came up with the idea it'll be nice to finaly screen the film in my hometown!

Derelict News:

I'm happy to announce that Tim Hanan has join the crew as Script Supervisor, Dave O'Sullivan as Production Assistant and Behind the Scenes Videographer and Eddie Quinn on Continuity. I also have a couple of runners lined up but need to interview and comfirm that. And still plenty of important positions need to be filled - Sound Recordist, Lighting Technician, AD, Production Manager, Art Director, Costume and Make-up Artist. I'm sure we'll get there!

I'm still working on the new draft of the script. But should get that out in the next week or so. Also still looking for a main location. Started thinking outside the box, derelict buildings are proving to be difficult to come by, strangely, so thinking of new and empty buildings, factories, churches and abandoned building sites in the middle of nowhere! We'll see, I'm sure something will come up... a location manager would be nice too now that I think of it!

Fundraising too needs to be looked at. I honestly haven't put too much thought or effort into it, just been distracted really. So I need to get on that. Will most likely hold a benifit concert of some kind, comedy perhaps, music no doubt, a raffle, perhaps a table quiz or something similar. Might even have a car boot sale, god knows I have a ton of stuff I could sell. Years worth of baby clothes if anyone's interested?! Films, mags, book, clothes, posters and much much more... all going for a song ;)

But things are moving forward at least! So that's good. Hopefully more news and announcements soon.