That’s a WRAP on our first Feature Film!


Aaaaaaaaaaaaaand… that’s a wrap?

THAT’S A WRAP! We’re finished principal photography on our independent feature film, working title ‘Chronesthesia’. It’s a very lovely feeling, kind of like stepping back from a well cooked meal, knowing you organised all the ingredients, friends came in and operated the stove, chopped vegetables for you, donated marinade, and now it’s time to present it.

Well, to eat it.

Hayden J. Weal and Simeon Duncombe happy before filming underwater for film
The last weekend of shooting involved me jumping into the freezing cold ocean in full clothes

What I’m saying here is there is a long road ahead. Post production always seems to take longer than expected on any project, and I’ve never made anything this big before.

We made sure to consider future Hayden and future Simeon while we shot though. The footage is well organised, digitised, transcoded, optimised and proxied for ease of cutting. I’m taking a hard drive with proxy footage on it over to Europe for a trip with my girlfriend for five months and I plan to return with a completed cut. Simeon will hold test screenings while I’m away and send through the feedback. He’ll also start working on the slew of visual effects shots that somehow made their way into the film.

Who knows? There could even be a few days worth of pick-ups to get into once I’m back in October. I will be keeping the blog up to date with our travels and the film’s progress. One thing that is continuously playing on my mind is the question of score. Do I compose it myself (2014 Grand National Best Score Winner last year for Dick Off I’ll have you know) or do I endeavour to plead my case to much more experienced and skilled composers, like the amazing Tom McLeod who scored Hot Rob and Jack and Chops? Tom is a busy man, dedicated partner and father, and I wouldn’t want him to do it unless he was being paid.

Hayden J. Weal jumping in the cold Wellington water for film
Ah, feels good. Simeon operated sightlessly with a GoPro. Poor guy got his feet wet.


So where does the money come from? Because I also want a quality colour grade (IMAGINE getting the grade done at Peter Jackson’s post production facility Park Road Post like Hot Rob was!) and a quality sound mix and design (IMAGINE getting Phil at Underground Sound onto it like he did for Hot Rob and the upcoming short from Simeon Duncombe Trick Meter!). These facilities and people cost money. There’s one film funding body in our beautiful country of Aotearoa: The New Zealand Film Commission. I will show them the film and they’ll be so wowed they’ll jump on board to help finish it. Right? That’s if I get it into an A list festival.

Therein lies the plan. Finish the film to a good enough standard it gets into an A list festival. That seems easy enough, right? *David Brent face*

However, dreams can be achieved. For example, this:

That’s a lot of scenes…

It looked near impossible. It nauseated me to schedule the next weekend, seeing the looming wall of scenes left to shoot. But last Sunday, before the final scene, the wall had transformed.

Production schedule on the wall for Hayden Weal's film
Like Frankenstein’s monster, the film was patched together, altered and improved along the way. Although hopefully it’s sexier than Frankenstein’s monster.

With pick-up scenes making themselves apparent, scenes being dropped, cut in half, postponed, major alterations, and more colour coding, we reached the end of our journey.


Our last day brought us to sunset. Me, Simeon and Michelle. Cleverly planned, the last thing we’d hit record on would be the last shot of the entire film. When we got it, an enormous sense of accomplishment washed over us and we cheered and clapping and hugged. Then we went and watched Michelle perform a monologue in a play for charity, then we went and had a good meal with some good drinks.

Simeon Duncombe, Hayden J. Weal and Michelle Ny on the beach after wrap
We asked a friendly passerby to take a photo of us. He didn’t know why we were so excited.

I’d like to extend a very heartfelt thank you to everybody who came to the party and made shooting this film possible. It’s a strange feeling, kinda feels like it can’t possibly be finished, and I can honestly say I’ve never ever had such a great vibe in my life than filming with you all. Every weekend was exciting and I woke up with a smile already creeping onto my face, looking forward to creating a story with you all.

To Simeon especially, thank you. Simeon never complained. Even in ridiculously cold/cramped/windy/uncomfortable/smelly conditions, he stayed professional and his priority was to get the story told on screen in the best possible way. We had many laughs and have grown to be close friends from the experience, and the partnership is just getting started.