Chronesthesia Love and Time Travel Shanghai International Film Festival

Shanghai International Film Festival – Chrono selected!

Chronesthesia got into Shanghai!

 

We first got the email in February, 2017. I was in the South Island on a voluntary tour of primary schools for a charity organisation called Duffy Books in Homes.

“Congratulations!” it started. “Chronesthesia has been selected for the 20th Annual Shanghai International Film Festival.” In the body of the email was this little nugget: The festival will cover in-country costs for a representative to attend the festival.

 

Well, there you go! My collaborator Simeon Duncombe, being so swamped with work, couldn’t commit to a festival that wasn’t happening for another four months. Same with producer Kelly (job + kid), while producer Steve Barr had business in China so was flying back and forth a bit. We decided to send the director, writer, lead actor and editor (me!). Obtaining a visa was the only thing that gave me pause for thought. And lo, this did take a few weeks.

 

Chronesthesia Shanghai

Preparing to go

 

Our first challenge was to secure subtitles for the DCP of the film. These were to be in English as the festival would translate them into Mandarin. Our amazing distributor here in New Zealand Madman sent through subtitles for the hearing impaired. With the help of a post production guru in Wellington, I was able to write the subtitles into the DCP. I have since spoken to filmmakers who’ve found this process a lot easier than I. Again, Academy Cinema who helped out so much with our journey making the DCP, allowed me to test the subtitled DCP in their gorgeous cinema. After two attempts, we got it working and sent it to China!

 

June arrived and my Visa hadn’t been applied for yet. I was working on a TV show and the hours didn’t lend themselves to me skiving off and getting errands done willy nilly. However, thanks to my lenient and helpful bosses, I was able to sneak away and stand in line for an hour and a half. A week passed, another hour and half wait, $140 paid and I received my passport back with a shiny China visa printed inside.

Going to Shanghai

 

The flight was only twelve hours direct with Air New Zealand. The festival was covering some nights accommodation in the Ritz Carlton Portman hotel (FLASH!) but the flights and additional expenses were on me. Luckily, in our beautiful and small country we have a tax funded governmental organisation called the New Zealand Film Commission. One of the many incentives they provide is the Talent Development Fund. It’s a pool of money the commission grants to up and coming filmmakers for career development.

 

Tourist stuff

 

Substory:

Last year, when we found out we got into Austin Film Festival and the American Film Market, Steve and I applied for the Talent Development Fund. They granted us funds for the trip, but due to visa complications I couldn’t make it. There followed the darkest two weeks of my year. Everything I’d worked toward, everything I’ve ever wanted to do, filmmaking on a global scale as my end game, and I had an incredible opportunity in front of me due to a film that Simeon and I had made. And I couldn’t go! Heartbreak. Fast forward six months and the NZFC granted me funds to fly return to Shanghai and live while there. Legends!!

 

I checked in, I saw the great Steve Barr, we had breakfast, then it was time for the festivities to begin. First things first, I needed to register for the festival! I had a free pass with thick lettering on my lanyard underneath a photo of my handsome face reading: FILM REPRESENTATIVE. This got me into any films I wanted to see, as well as events.

 

Steve and I bought some fruit and beer from a small shoppe down a side street. We paid $2NZD for 500ml cans of beer. We bought quite a few… Then we high tailed it back to the hotel to make our night’s plans. We consulted the hefty program book and found there was only one event that night. It was sold out. No tickets available. We couldn’t go. Then, what could we do? Sit around and drink in the hotel room all night? Not such a bad idea, definitely not the worst way to spend a night, but my first night in Shanghai? My first time ever in China? No way.

 

Sneaking into the gala

 

We were in Shanghai to celebrate a film that we’d spent a long, long time making. I had written this thing in the wee hours before work, we’d shot it in the weekends forgoing any chance of relaxation, and I’d struggled with the edit over countless hours on my 13″ screened laptop. Phil at Underground Sound had put in weeks of evenings, Conor had worked through the nights on the score, and Madman had backed us for distribution in Australasia. No, we wouldn’t aimlessly drink in the hotel room. We’d find a way to get into the event.

 

The event was the SIFF gala. A flouncy event where everyone would be dressed up watching interviews with stars followed by performances on well lit stages. Steve and I dressed up. We downed a few beers and got excited. We caught a taxi to the venue and were surprised to find a police presence outside. Reticent, we approached the barriers. And were waved through. Nervous, we approached the door. And were waved through. Tense, we rode the escalator to the third floor. And we smiled at by security guards.

 

Admiring the view in the hotel robe

 

We were wowed upon entering the main hall. Camera swooped overhead on cranes. Lines of chairs faced the long stage where lights blared down on presenters. We hurried down the aisle and found some empty seats. Not an easy feat but we were an hour into proceedings so there was opportunity. We realised the entire thing was in Mandarin. We couldn’t understand it. Thirty minutes passed. Still in Mandarin. So we left, giggling like schoolboys at our blind courage.

 

Meeting other filmmakers

 

We decided to take a taxi home. But before that, we wanted to walk it off. The night air was warm and wet, and we were still buzzed. A handsome white man stood speaking to a gorgeous Chinese girl at the outskirts of the event. I swung around and chanced a question, “Excuse me, are you a… do you speak English?”

“Ah, yeah, how are you man?” His accent was singsong.

“Irish?” He nodded. “Hey, we’re doing great, did you check out the event?”

Conversation flowed from there and ten minutes later we found ourselves in a taxi heading across town to join the couple (he a director, her a producer) and their younger friend (crew on their film) for a drink at a bar near their hotel. A plethora of international filmmakers also at that hotel joined us. Macedonia, Estonia, France, Germany, Israel, China, America and New Zealand were all represented in the form of drinking, chatting directors and producers and actors.

 

Our first night and we’d found our people.

 

We got caught in the rain a lot

 

The Chronesthesia Screenings

 

The screenings themselves – and perhaps we always knew this would be the case – were the highlight of the trip. A car picked Steve and myself up from the hotel and drove us an hour through traffic to the multiplex for our most important screening: the Q&A screening. A lady in clicking high heels ushered us into the building and into the crowded elevator. Up to the top floor… out we get. Led down a corridor. Into a room. A VIP room. Wow.

 

The festival had printed our Chronesthesia posters of multiple sizes. The table was covered in them. Three festival representatives were in the room with us and told us to help ourselves to the coffee and water and would we please sign the posters? Of course we would. We’d love to. This is what I live for. Our translator Sapphire was a gorgeous and sassy lady who tried her best to intimidate us and make us nervous for the screening. But it didn’t work – we were too excited. With the signings over, it was time to enter the cinema.

 

Signage about the festival covered the corridor. A large Chronesthesia poster with Chinese translation printed on it sat at the opening. More photos were taken of us, including an adorable polaroid, then we entered the cinema. It was larger than I expected. 400 seats. All full. Feeling very honoured, Steve and I watched from the staircase as the film was introduced in Mandarin. Then the MC held her arm up – our cue – and we walked to the front. Applause! Wow, that was easy.

 

Feeling very important in the Very Important People room

 

We gave a quick introduction of the film and how it was made. It’s a strange feeling to talk to an audience who doesn’t understand your language, knowing they don’t know what you’re saying. After our spiels, Sapphire stepped forward and spoke in rapid mandarin then we saw recognition and understanding spread across the cinema. Right before we were due to start the film, I grabbed the microphone and spoke the phrase I’d been practising for the past few days: Wo xi wang ni men hua xi huan wo di dianying: I hope you enjoy the film.

 

The film played. It went great. The Q&A was busy. We ran over time. I could’ve talked for hours and hours to this audience. They were attentive and smart and genuinely interested. We were gifted a bouquet of flowers and a plush toy each, then we posed with the audience for a photo. Coming out of the cinema, I had a lot of things to autograph. This made me feel like a rockstar, which was a nice feeling.

 

Hayden Weal signing Chronesthesia

Feeling like a rockstar

 

All up, we had an amazing time. I could write on and on about Shanghai and the various tourist things we did, but that’s not exciting. I want to do more festivals! What a blast!

 

Also, check out my vlog about the trip!

 

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We got an international sales agent!

 

 

How ridiculous is that? Chronesthesia is now being represented internationally by WPE, operating out of the United States of America, selling around the world. As many territories as possible, as much money as possible, getting seen as far and wide as possible.

 

Hold up – what’s a sales agent and why do you need one?

 

A sales agent is a person or organisation who represents a film and filmmaker in the marketplace in order to secure the film’s distribution. They develop market strategies, negotiate deals and in return for a percentage of profits, work hard to make as much revenue from the product as possible.

 

As for whether or not you need one, that’s arguable in this day and age. Traditionally, yes, having a sales agent is preferable. They take a lot of the heavy lifting away. They have connections and existing relationships that film producers and creatives don’t have time to foster or upkeep, and they have the hard nosed hustle to work the best deal. However, with the rising accessibility to platforms like Amazon, various Video on Demand platforms and self distributing to cinemas, many filmmakers are deciding to self distribute which has varying degrees of success. Check out this awesome article to see if a sales agent is best for you.

 

How on Earth did we score such a feat?

 

It’s been a long road. For sure. I didn’t expect the film to be finished in six months, but I didn’t think we’d still be working on it two years after shooting. That’s what’s happened. I’m exporting different versions, I’m exporting single shots, I’m exporting still frames from the raw footage, Phil from Underground Sound is exporting new audio stems, and the most interesting update of all: we got a new poster made.

 

Love and Time Travel movie poster

Chronesthesia’s international release poster: renamed Love and Time Travel

 

Hold on, a new title?

 

Big time. It’s part of the international push. Turns out a lot people can’t remember, pronounce or spell Chronesthesia. Go figure. How did we settle on the name Love and Time Travel? Let me go back a few months and explain how we scored a sales agent step by step.

 

Step 1: International festivals

 

Austin, Texas. The Austin Film Festival 2016. Chronesthesia was selected in the Narrative Feature category, one of only seven films to receive such an honour. This was huge news. It’s expensive to submit to film festivals when you’re coming out of nowhere (like we were), so we were strategic. Kelly and Steve, Chrono’s producers, made a wish list of film festivals to get into, then we considered what was realistic to hope for and set about spending the money and sending the screeners.

 

Lo and behold, Austin selected us. Which meant that our American premiere took place in October 2016, two weeks before the American Film Market in LA. This presented a great opportunity for the film to be seen by a lot of people and also for Steve to attend and work some of his American magic (he’s American).

 

Step 2: Film Markets

 

The American Film Market. Early November saw Steve landing in LA for AFM. There are thousands of films up for grabs at this thing. Stalls are set up everywhere, garish promotion screams why their films are the best; everywhere you look are distributors and agents and marketing and promo and flyers and seminars and meetings and bullshit. The most important skill you need here is hustle. We are incredibly lucky: Steve has impressive hustle.

 

Steve (middle) schmoozing (or ‘networking’) at AFF2016

 

Again, Steve made a list, an Excel spreadsheet even, listing the potential sales agents we could get in touch with. Then he set about meeting them. He used cold call emails, he used existing connections to garner introductions, and old fashioned handshakes in person. Steve did it all. After a full on week, the spreadsheet was filled with large red mark-ups. People weren’t interested. The film doesn’t fit into a simple genre. It’s indie, it’s romantic, it’s funny, it’s dramatic, it’s thrilling, it has time travel… how do you sell a film like that? On top of that, it has no cast! Julian Dennison from Hunt for the Wilderpeople counts as a name, but even still… Americans could barely understand our kiwi accents!

 

Luckily, we had step three…

 

Step Three: Persistence

 

Back in NZ, we had a few sales agents express interest. They watched the trailer after Steve bleated a few sentences at them about the film’s charm, and wanted to know more. We sent out a six minute sizzle reel I cut together showcasing the film’s multiple facets of beauty. After watching that, the sales agents’ interest either increased or dissipated. For those who were keen on more, we sent an online screener so they could watch the whole film and after a month we had three offers for representation.

 

Crazy. That blew my mind. We were coming up a year since shooting the movie, and finally we were getting somewhere closer to eyes on screens. All we’ve ever wanted is for people to enjoy the story and be touched, give them something to think about, and getting a sales agent is a huge step toward that. The hustle continued. Emails flowed back and forth. We researched the companies and decided the WPE is a good fit and the head honcho Phil Gorn has a fantastic reputation as a just and honest person.

 

Step Four: Deliverables

 

Contracts are fun. Not really. Good god, not at all. Thank goodness for Steve and Kelly. They read everything, translated it so we understood it, discussed it with us, and took care of the heavy lifting. I think I iterate often how grateful Simeon and I are to have them, but I’ll say it again here: Good producers rock.

 

Contracts aside, there’s a lot of deliverables you have to provide to a sales agent. They need:

  • Every shot with text in it to be re-exported, so they can re-do the text in different languages.
  • A music cue sheet, which is the title and rights information about every music or score track in the film
  • A dialogue cue sheet, which is the timecode and line of every single piece of dialogue in the film
  • So many stills. We didn’t have a photographer on the shoot so I pulled stills from the footage
  • Credit lists
  • Poster files
  • Different codec exports of the film
  • Any Behind the Scenes footage (of which I have plenty)
  • Electronic Press Kit, which is a simple document that explains what the film is and anything interesting about tit
  • Reviews, awards, festival info

 

That took a little longer to organise than signing a contract. Because we’re independent and not part of a studio, we don’t have employees to sort these kind of things out. We just had to do it. It was our first time, and all things considered, I’m very proud we managed to deliver on everything. I transferred everything onto a hard drive, then couriered it to the USA with a wink and a kiss.

 

Step Five: What Now?

 

With the dialogue cue sheet and the textless shots, Phil at WPE has the ability to prepare the film for any territory around the world. Eventually, money will come in and we can give that straight to all the people who worked so damn hard on this film with no up front fee. Our cast and crew signed contracts that grants them a percentage ownership over the film, while Steve, Kelly, Simeon and I have pledged that we won’t accept any monetary payment until we’ve paid an agreed amount to these people.

 

Basically, we wait.

 

Wait, what about the name change?

 

Oh yes. That’s quite straight forward. Phil at WPE was confused by the name. We never say the word Chronesthesia in the film, so why settle on such a complicated name?

 

I spent a few weeks pondering whether or not titling the film Chronesthesia was a good idea or not. The pros is that it’s unique and meaningful. The cons are that it sounds like a Japanese horror film, it’s impossible to spell or remember upon first hearing, let alone type into Netflix. The tagline for the film was, ‘Love, sex and time travel of the brain.’ This was suggested as a title, as it’s what the film is about, but it’s quite a mouthful. We considered that when boiled down, the film is about two things: Love, and Time Travel. And there’s the title.

 

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To play in cinemas

 

Completing a feature film under the age of thirty. That made me feel pretty damn good. Sometimes I wake up and remember it, in the same way that you often wake up and remember it’s a Saturday, and I feel fuzzy. And warm. And inspired to do more.

 

But to have the film play in cinemas? That is achievement in a whole other realm. I grew up going to the cinema. It’s a magical place with a big white/silver screen and loud sound that transports you to another reality. A reality where dinosaurs are alive (Jurassic Park) or sisters are in love (Frozen) or boy wizards defeat the Dark Lord (best series ever). It’s not typically the place you see your own face and body. Saying words you wrote.

 

Chronesthesia is a film we made with a very small crew. A crew of two, with a lot of help. Actors worked for free, people gave us use of their locations for free, and post production was carried out on my laptop, then for deferred payment to a big sound company. We played the New Zealand International Film Festival and enjoyed sold out sessions. A couple of months ago we got some pretty big news.

 

BIG NEWS

 

 

Chronesthesia has been selected for Austin Film Festival 2016. In the Narrative Feature category. Only SEVEN films out of 4,500 submitted are selected. And they chose ours. To play again on the cinema screen. In front of an audience who’d experience it as a collective conscious. WHAT A DREAM!

 

Seven Sharp, a NZ news show on primetime national television, interviewed me about it. They did a nice long piece that was seen all over the country. Word gets around and people realise they want to see this film. But how is that possible when the film isn’t playing in cinemas? It’s not available online either. So what’s the next step? How you can get your product to an audience? More than that, how can you have them experience it the way it’s meant to be seen?

 

THE OFFER

 

 

Paramount cinema called me and told me they were pleased with the turnout of Chronesthesia playing at NZIFF. We were proud too. Still are. But this was different. Steve at the Paramount cinema was so impressed with its performance that he wanted to give it a general release. Now, this is great news. To have a cinema request to play your film. I received that phone call and I felt like I’d wrestled an alligator. Beat the odds!

 

I called my producers and they didn’t jump for joy right away. Confused, I asked them why. They explained to me that by agreeing to a general release at a single cinema, we’d effectively be self distributing the film.

‘Why is that bad? Why did you make that sound like it’s not a good thing?’ I asked.

‘If you self distribute your film, you’re giving up theatrical distribution rights.’ 

A-ha. That makes sense. And getting a distribution deal is the pot of gold at the end of the hard work rainbow. It means that someone else (a distributor) does all the promotion and marketing work. They have the money to get the word around. They have the know how and experience to be able to push your film to the right audience.

 

Okay, so we need a distributor

 

 

Let’s set about getting one. Well, easier said than done. How do you get in touch with these people? Especially in a small country like New Zealand! They’re well guarded behind layers of emails and assistants, surely. Not so. My producers had already contacted and forwarded a screener of the film to those in charge of making distribution decisions.

 

I’m sorry I can’t give more information about how to do this than that. Having not done it personally, I will raise my hands, back away and claim ignorance. My best advice to get in touch with distributors is to attach yourself to people in the know. Like I did. Thanks Steve and Kelly.

 

However, we had premiered at the film festival to overwhelmingly positive audience reviews and a strong reception. The iron was hot! Distributors weren’t biting. A few were humming and ha-ing about DVD release and VOD (video on demand) release, but there was nobody sitting in the front row extending their hands to grab the opportunity to put it into cinemas.

 

To be honest, this didn’t surprise Simeon or I. Or the producers. We never set out to make a big screen film, we set out to make an experience. Hell, Simeon even said in an interview that his reason for making the film with me was to see if we could pull it off. So this left us with a decision to make:

 

 

Wait for an answer or self distribute?

 

Waiting for an answer

Pros:

  • If a distributor took Chronesthesia on, they’d use their resources. Which means MONEY.
  • Experienced distributors have knowledge we could only dream of. Demographic, marketing avenues, contacts. They’re people who know people.
  • Time off. We could relax. The work would be getting done for us.
  • An upfront fee. We get payment for the film rights which means we can pay some people back for their time and effort! The dream!

Cons:

  • The iron grows colder every day. Word of mouth will die without a release strategy.
  • Lack of control. The distributors, as they know better, have final say on decisions being made.
  • An upfront fee means the distributor gets a hefty chunk of profits.
  • Costs. Marketing, printing, distribution itself; these things cost. Expenses have to be recuperated before any profits roll down.

 

Self distributing

Pros:

  • We choose the cinemas we get in touch with.
  • We make the deal. We make sure we’re happy with the deals being made.
  • We know where every cent goes.
  • Full control of marketing and promotion.

Cons:

  • Work.

 

Our decision became pretty clear. Work doesn’t scare us.

 

 

Contacting cinemas

 

 

 

 

While still holding on to hope that a local distributor would see enough promise in the film to invest time and money into a VOD or DVD release, we started contacting cinemas. Paramount was a done deal. Academy cinema in Auckland where I tested the DCP, they were on the list (spoiler: they said yes!). A number of other boutique cinemas around the country were also on the list.

 

We made a spreadsheet (I love spreadsheets) about which cinemas we wanted to contact and what stage of communication we were in, and we set about emailing an calling. Well, I say we but I mean Kelly. The result means that we are releasing Chronesthesia in a select few cinemas around the country. This doesn’t harm any international deals we are yet to make. Once the Austin Film Festival happens, word will start spreading through North American about this incredible independent film from New Zealand about love, sex and time travel of the brain. The American Film Market in Los Angeles is in November and Steve, our producer, is attending.

 

In the meantime, New Zealand audiences get the chance to enjoy Chronesthesia in cinemas before the rest of the world see it, and before it’s available online, which ever film inevitably is.

 

Who knows, maybe we’ll even make a few dollars to start paying back the hard working souls who had belief in us from the beginning. They deserve it.

 

#HJWBTS #ChronoMovie

BONUS VLOG ABOUT THE SEVEN SHARP INTERVIEW

 

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CHRONO HAS A PREMIERE!!   Big news dropped today. Chronesthesia has a premiere. It’s playing for the first time in the world in the city is was shot in – Wellington, New Zealand.   We are stoked to be screening on the big screen, obviously, and Wellington at the NZIFF (New Zealand International Film Festival) […]

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Chronesthesia Premiere!

PREMIERE!

 

It’s been a long road and a lot of work. Chronesthesia played to a sold out cinema audience as part of the New Zealand International Film Festival on Friday 29th July 2016. The positive response and reviews we’ve been receiving have made every single minute of hard work on the film worth it.

 

[Chronesthesia] is fantastically presented with a multitude of frankly spectacular match-cut sequences, the tension they create heightened even further by an excellent soundtrack. The writing is superb, with a lot of good humour, well-done interconnecting storylines, and a bunch of really clever recurring motifs that blew my mind – Fish and Swallow review

 

Having the film premiere in Wellington, the city in which it’s filmed, was a special honour. Myself, Simeon, Kelly and Steve were all in attendance, as well as Phil Burton and Conor Cameron, the geniuses behind the sound and music respectively. A large amount of the cast were there also, including New Zealand’s current star Julian Dennison.

 

Julian Dennison Chronesthesia

Julian Dennison posted a pic of him at the Chronesthesia prem with the hashtag #thebestfilmever – a big call

 

Chronesthesia is a thoroughly enjoyable movie and a big success for not only New Zealand cinema at large but also local independent filmmaking.

 

Special thanks go to Paramount cinema for hosting us. We packed out the lobby beforehand and staff members stayed working for an extra three hours so we could all hang out partying afterward.

 

Hayden Weal Michelle Ny Chronesthesia Premiere

Michelle Ny (Sophia) and Hayden J. Weal (Dan) at the Chronesthesia premiere

 

In the day leading up to the premiere, I didn’t feel nervous at all. It was a strange feeling knowing a bunch of family and friends and strangers would be watching 90 minutes of me on screen, in a story I’d written, directed, edited and produced with a small amount of crew. Simeon wasn’t nervous either, just excited. I don’t know whether this is because we were confident about how it was going to play or being overwhelmed with the event itself.

 

I couldn’t fault this movie. For a film created with no budget, it blew my socks off! Can’t wait to see what these guys do next.

 

Simeon Duncombe, Hayden J. Weal

Director of Photography Simeon Duncombe and director Hayden J. Weal (photo courtesy of The Residents)

 

The next day, me and Simeon had interviews lined up. The press tour! I love it, I could talk about myself and our work for hours, so I was in heaven. The Residents did an especially in-depth interview with us about our background. I kept checking twitter, keen to see what people thought. And they loved it!

 

tweets

 

The fantastic response after the premiere spurred me on. The team we’ve assembled has continued to grow throughout the making of Chronesthesia and I can’t wait to work with everybody again on future projects.

 

Also, I made a vlog about the premiere.

 

 

Read The Residents blog piece

Read The Stuff article

Read The Fish and Swallow review

 

#ChronoMovie #HJWBTS

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Chronesthesia, our first feature, is Finished!

Finished?

 

 

Yes, completely finished. Visual effects: check. Colour grading: check. Sound: check. Score: check.

 

Weird, weird feeling. Early last week I took the final finished film into a cinema and tested it all the way through. It was a great experience watching what we made out of nothing. A year ago we had a rough cut with no sound, score or effects. Two years ago Chronesthesia wasn’t even an idea in my head!

 

I have so much gratitude for the core team. Simeon, Kelly, Steve, Phil, Conor. We’ve got a new guy on, Tim Hope, who’s already been pulling strings all over town to get some sweet social media coverage going on. All the actors that came along for free and gave their time and talents, I hope you’re proud of the film when you finally see it. It’s a beauty.

 

The final delivery of the film has to be made to cinemas in the form of a DCP. This means Digital Cinema Package and is how films around the world go around the world to be played. A DCP consists of six files on a hard drive. Those six files include the picture file, the sound file, and four other weird files that projectors understand and I don’t.

 

Here’s a video of the crazy process of making it.

 

 

How interesting was that?

 

NERD STUFF is what it is. And I loved it. I especially loved that it worked. If it didn’t work, I’d be crying in a ball in the corner still. There were setbacks and emotional rollercoaster times, but we got there in the end.

 

So what now?

I’m blue. I’m down. I’m blurred. I don’t know what to do with my life. Chronesthesia is finished and I’m writing the third draft of a film we wanna shoot next. The premiere of Chronesthesia is in two and a half weeks, that’ll be an exciting and nerve-wracking time.

 

Stay tuned for the reviews and the premiere photos/vlog. The culmination of a lot of hard work is about to be released. We’re super proud of it.

 

#ChronoMovie #HJWBTS

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Big Announcement – Chrono has a Premiere!

CHRONO HAS A PREMIERE!!

 

Big news dropped today. Chronesthesia has a premiere. It’s playing for the first time in the world in the city is was shot in – Wellington, New Zealand.

 

We are stoked to be screening on the big screen, obviously, and Wellington at the NZIFF (New Zealand International Film Festival) has always been our number one dream. Lots of celebrating going on right now.

 

I went down to Wellington for the final screening with the team. We made sure everything was in order for the premiere, every frame in its rightful place and every note of score, sound effect and piece of dialogue hitting the mark. And it was great. It was the first time the whole team was all together in the same room. Amazing.

 

Conor Cameron at computer scoring film

Composer Conor Cameron finishing the Chronesthesia score – rocking the all nighter!

 

The Final Slog

 

 

The week before final sign off, I sat with Chronesthesia’ Conor Cameron and watched him pull an epic all nighter to finish the score. The premiere will be in 5.1 surround sound so Conor worked really hard making sure the score utilised all the power the speakers would have. That sub woofer’s going to be working overtime.

 

 

score-in-my-hand

Beautiful Wellington sunrise for the completion of the Chronesthesia score!

 

I walked from Conor’s house to Underground Sound in the city to spend the day mixing the score in with Phil Burton, the absolute legend behind Chrono’s huge sound design.

 

We’re working at such a breakneck speed that as soon as the score was mixed in, it was time to get together and watch the film all the way through.

 

 

Once we’d finished watching it (a few beers down of course – you gotta do that to get a comfortable remove from the film), we made a list of tiny changes to do over the weekend before we submitted it to the censorship board of NZ. The censorship board had to give us a rating in order for us to premiere.

 

So we went straight from the mix to the ADR booth to record one last line, Simeon went home to scrub up the last visual effects changes and colour grade, and Conor went to tweak a violin harmonic sound on a particularly emotional scene.

 

Phil Burton Chronesthesia Underground Sound

Phil Burton doing finishing touches in Underground Sound’s cinema

 

So what’s the big news?

 

 

Oh sorry, I mustn’t have been clear.

 

WE ARE PREMIERING AT THE COUNTRY’S BIGGEST FILM FESTIVAL IN THE CAPITAL!!

 

Couldn’t be happier. The dates are:

29th July @ 9:30pm – Paramount cinema
31st July @ 3:30 – Light House Petone
3rd August @ 3:45pm – Paramount cinema

 

And I get to be there to introduce the film and hold a Q&A after. I love talking about the film and the process of making it so I’m really looking forward to shooting the shit about it. Please come along and ask some questions.

 

#HJWBTS #CHRONOMOVIE

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Delivery Deadline Looming!

Deadline: 5 weeks!

 

 

That is how long we have to finish the film. That’s not a lot of time. I was under the impression our premiere was our deadline, but of course that’s not the case! There’s mixing and DCP making and testing and ingesting and censorship boards and ratings to do…

 

DCP making? A DCP is a way of transporting your movie. It stands for Digital Cinema Package and it’s how projectors at cinemas read your film. Creating the DCP of your film is a challenge in itself that I’ll tackle in a later post when I’ve done some experimenting.

 

What needs to be done?

I’m glad you asked. The answer doesn’t make me so glad:

Quite a lot.

The visual effects. VFX are time consuming and take a lot of energy and brain power from our uber talented multi-string bowed Director of Photography Simeon Duncombe. He’s currently finishing up a big show at WETA and his time is precious! Chronesthesia has a few sequences, most are mild but there’s one sequence in particular that is quite large… it’s the climax…

 

The colour grade. Simeon is also in charge of the grade. I’ve smashed a temporary grade for watchability’s sake, but it’s nothing compared to the control Simeon has over the image. And the eye. That guy has an eye for images, hence his successful career at WETA Digital, and he’s going to make sure Chronesthesia looks great.

 

The Sound. I say ‘sound’ and I mean Additional Dialogue Recording (ADR), mixing, designing, EQing, spacing, balancing, and the final master with score. A mammoth job. Phil Burton at Underground Sound is our head honcho for this. He’s a genius, that’s all I can really say about him. He has the tools, he has the know how, the only things he lacks is the time and the money, and that’s 100% my responsibility and the blame rests on these heavy shoulders. Despite that, Phil is putting his nose to the grindstone and getting it done!

 

Check out this video about my last trip down to see the team:

 

The Music. I’m a big music fan. Music in movies is often what makes me see a film repeatedly. If it’s not the awesome soundtrack, it’s the original score that makes me pumped and gives me goosebumps. Thanks to years of making smaller films and meeting talented people, I had Johnny Barker to call upon for pop music. He’s in multiple bands and also records solo and he gave me free reign on his entire discography. I chose four tracks that kick arse and they’re in there, playing in the background and forefront of scenes. Me and Barker recorded one original track that plays as live music in the film and there’s a vlog coming soon about it.

 

The Score. SCORE! What an integral part of the proceedings. We have a composing prodigy doing Chronesthesia’s score named Conor Cameron. He’s a fellow 48hour filmmaker and we’ve admired each other’s films for many years without having any genuine face time. It’s exciting to have him aboard, working his sweet little tits off to make his outrageous deadline for four weeks… for a feature film… I’m in love with what he’s done and we’re about 30% of the way to a finished score.

Check out this vlog about Conor and the score, as well as our FINAL RECORDED PICKUP:

 

Will we make it?

Are you kidding me? Of course we will. There’s no alternative. The film is playing to an audience in July and it has to be the best possible film it can be. People are working hard, through the night (Conor’s up at 2:30am to rock a full day before his usual day-to-day), and through their weekends. Chronesthesia is going to blow people’s minds!

 

Keep your ears and eyes out because things are really heating up. Time travel of the brain, an indie romance with time travel: CHRONESTHESIA

 

#HJWBTS #ChronoMovie

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New Team Members and a Locked Cut (VIDEOS)

 

New Team Members?

 

 

As we progress from the editing stage through to the REAL POST PRODUCTION world of colour, visual effects, sound, music, marketing and promo, we need more people. More power. More genius. Which leads us to these new team members:

Welcome to our new producers Kelly Kilgour and Steve Barr.

Welcome to our composer Conor Cameron.

Welcome to our sound engineer Phil Burton.

Welcome to our poster designer Jeroen ten Berge.

And guess what? Simeon Duncombe will be taking care of the visual effects (this is his major strength).

Here’s a video of it

 

 

Locking the Cut

 

 

Next up is another milestone of the film. Locking the picture cut FOR REAL. Terrifying and exciting all at once, because it means we can’t really change anything now. The pacing and tone of the film is solidified. All the scenes are in place, all the cuts are locked in.

Watch a video about it

 

So yeah, it’s been a busy couple of weeks, and it’s just going to get busier. Steve and Kelly have started sending the current cut of the film out to some important people in high places, Simeon is finishing up a particularly demanding gig, Conor is sending through some music for me to listen to (the most exciting emails to receive ever), Phil has made the ADR scripts (of which there are many) and we have Michelle, who plays Sophia, lined up for the first recording session.

 

More to come!

#HJWBTS

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Locking the Cut (VIDEO)

 

It’s official – we’re locking the cut

 

Terrifying. Exciting. All of those great emotions are flitting and bouncing around in my warm fizzing heart. I shot a video today (it was raining – perfect activity to do stuck inside) about the process of locking the cut.

 

Basically we’ve cut the film into eight equal portions as better to work on. Critiquing a twelve minute sequence as opposed to a ninety minute film allows us to be a lot more discerning and meditative. It’s how I originally cut the film, splitting into twelve page segments. That way, I had a guideline for each reel. Each reel should edit to roughly twelve minutes, and if any reel went way over that, I knew the pacing was off seeing as each page should roughly translate to a minute of screen time.

 

This is the stage we’re at now. Signing off on the cuts. The colour grade, sound and music can’t really start until we’ve all agreed that the cuts are in the right place.

 

Check out this video about our process!

 

 

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Hayden Weal Simeon Duncombe windy beach filming movie

Shooting Pickups (VIDEO)

Need to fix holes? PICKUPS

 

Every film, so far as I know, shoots pickups. I feel that when I describe to people what pickups are, and why we need them, I’m admitting to a certain failure in the film. But that’s definitely not the case. We’re pushing the ceiling of the film’s story to the highest it can be as opposed to polishing a shitcube.

 

We’ve finished the second cut of the film. Simeon’s been cranking on the visual effects and good gosh, I can’t tell you how exciting it is seeing the shots starting to be finished. There’s a sequence in the film’s climax that’s responsible for 50% of the film’s effects shots… and it’s looking gorgeous. Very emotional and exciting.

 

We screened the film for a couple of test audiences and questioned them after. A couple of the same questions were asked and we found that people felt a certain way at a similar part in the film. Which wasn’t what we were wanting at that moment. Sometimes people were figuring out the twists ahead of time which isn’t cool, and sometimes people were too far behind the eight ball, which isn’t ideal either.

 

Fine tuning the edit can get us so far, adding in additional dialogue for characters who are off screen, and re-ordering certain lines or scenes. Same with speeding the pace up throughout certain sequences, and slowing it down in others. Holding on a character for longer, or editing it so a character cuts another character off – these things make a huge difference in the audience’s perception of those characters, and therefore their expectation and desires for where the story is going.

 

Man filming on a windy cold beach

Simeon lining up a shot that I was dreading performing

 

While editing gives us massive control, there’s only so far the footage we have will take us. There were some questions being asked, and some thoughts people had, that we could’ve fixed with some heavy handed cutting, but we always knew there’d be a time to shoot some more scenes, so we decided to get it done. We gathered all the feedback we’ve received and I rematched the film twice back to back, on the second watch I’d pause and jot down what I thought might help shepherd the audience onto the track we want them to be on.

 

It was time to fly to Wellington. Nothing else for it. I booked a bus, then a plane, asked my friend Andy if I could stay with him again (legendary friends are imperative for this kind of filmmaking project), and organised where we’d shoot, when, and Simeon set to work prepping the gear.

 

One man filming another man swimming in a beach, yelling from the cold

Early morning dip on camera! Makes for fantastic footage

 

The beginning of our film opens with a scene that occurs later in the story, then we jump back in time to meet the characters before they’ve been affected by the story’s premise. The first time we meet Dan (the character I play, the sexy leading man), he’s in a very lonely time of his life. It’s not clear to him how isolated he is, he’s merely going through the motions and considers himself an ordinary person, free of the pesky moorings that relationships bring.

 

Coupled with a water motif, we open Dan’s story on a pier, with him looking into the water. Nice slow motion shots of water splashing over rocks and Dan looking moodily into the abyss, consternation playing on his perfectly sculpted face… It worked. It worked okay. It was satisfactory. But the original draft had Dan underwater. Swimming, alone on the beach. This way we’d work in some Wellington scenery and it’s a lot more visually interesting seeing your character doing something. Pickups! Perfect opportunity.

 

Of course, this meant I’d be getting in the water. And it needed to be early in the morning to work timeline-wise, and the lighting is great at that time. As a committed filmmaker and actor, I’d have little to no problem doing such an unpleasant thing. Wellington water is rarely warm. And film is forever.

 

Camera looking at a man from afar at a beach

The view from Simeon’s vantage point. A nice big wide shot.

Man with camera on a cliff

My view of Simeon’s vantage point

 

After drying off, we had a couple of close up shots to shoot of props, things we missed in the busyness of our principal photography shoot. Then, we picked up an amazing actor called Ralph Johnson, and had the beautiful Kelly Dentice join us to do makeup, and we got our only dialogue pickup scene.

 

We filmed it in the middle of the Wellington city, at Frank Kitts park, on a Saturday, while a market was going on. Families were everywhere, buskers were out in full force, and a large misty cloud loomed nearby. But like what happened throughout the entire shoot, our ducks lined themselves up in a uniform line and BANG BANG BANG, we were able to get exactly what we wanted.

 

Grubby man holding camera on a cloudy day

Ralph Johnson as Vagabond, a timely messenger character

 

Ralph took a train into the city wearing his own costume he’d organised. He looked amazing. A real trooper, and a fantastic actor. We loved working with him.

 

We got one more very important pickup too… but I can’t say what it was. It’s what the featured image on this post is of… at the waterside, of me, it’s an effects shot. Gosh, it’s exciting.

 

All up, pickups are a fantastic tool to help lift the film even higher. Our plot deals with psychological time travel and because of this, rides a fine line between an audience understanding and second guessing what’s happening or will happen. I’ve already edited in all the footage we got, and it’s given the whole film a fresh vibe. That’s something I really love about filmmaking, with every step of the process, the product transforms into a new beast, always stronger and more interesting.

 

Here’s a video of our time shoot pickups. I’m already nostalgic for it.

 

 

 

HJWBTS

 

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Hayden Weal and Simeon Duncombe

Releasing in Cinemas

To play in cinemas   Completing a feature film under the age of thirty. That made me feel pretty damn good. Sometimes I wake up and remember it, in the same way that you often wake up and remember it’s a Saturday, and I feel fuzzy. And warm. And inspired to do more.   But […]

Read More
Steve Barr, Hayden J. Weal, Simeon Duncombe, Kelly Kilgour, Conor Cameron

Chronesthesia Premiere!

PREMIERE!   It’s been a long road and a lot of work. Chronesthesia played to a sold out cinema audience as part of the New Zealand International Film Festival on Friday 29th July 2016. The positive response and reviews we’ve been receiving have made every single minute of hard work on the film worth it. […]

Read More
Hayden J. Weal holding Chronesthesia hard drive

Chronesthesia, our first feature, is Finished!

Finished?     Yes, completely finished. Visual effects: check. Colour grading: check. Sound: check. Score: check.   Weird, weird feeling. Early last week I took the final finished film into a cinema and tested it all the way through. It was a great experience watching what we made out of nothing. A year ago we […]

Read More
NZIFF selected Chronesthesia premiere

Big Announcement - Chrono has a Premiere!

CHRONO HAS A PREMIERE!!   Big news dropped today. Chronesthesia has a premiere. It’s playing for the first time in the world in the city is was shot in – Wellington, New Zealand.   We are stoked to be screening on the big screen, obviously, and Wellington at the NZIFF (New Zealand International Film Festival) […]

Read More
Happy Man with Projector Flare

Travelling for Post Production Meetings (VIDEO)

 

Travelling for meetings

 

 

What a time to have moved away from Wellington! Have a couple of meetings scheduled? It’s no longer a scooter ride, now it’s a nine and a half hour overnight bus then a hire car to come back up. On the other hand, absence makes the heart grow and grow and grow, so when me and Simeon catch up it’s like seeing a long lost lover.

 

Simeon Love

How could you not love him?

 

Things are really starting to heat up in the post production train. Simeon has been working on the visual effects in the film, in particular the climax sequence (which has 50% of the film’s effects). I’ve been having meetings with various producers and filmmakers about the current cut, finding out what works and what’s not quite hitting.

 

Here’s an awesome video about my latest trip down to Wellington:

 

 

 

The biggest issue with the film right now is the dense plot. Most people can tell what’s going on character-wise, but because it’s a twisty, turny time travel plot, some of the important plot points and clues are being missed, while others are obvious. It turns out we are gonna have to do some pickups. We’re scheduling them for early in the New Year.

 

Pickups means I’ll have to cut my hair and don the Dan costume again. Get back into the character. However, Michelle Ny now resides in Auckland, Nova is a year old and it’s noticeable, Shane Rangi is overseas, Cohen is busy as heck, which means the pickups will feature myself and possibly a new member of cast, or one of the supporting cast.

 

HJWBTS

 

More BTS

Chronesthesia Love and Time Travel Shanghai International Film Festival

Shanghai International Film Festival - Chrono selected!

Chronesthesia got into Shanghai!   We first got the email in February, 2017. I was in the South Island on a voluntary tour of primary schools for a charity organisation called Duffy Books in Homes. “Congratulations!” it started. “Chronesthesia has been selected for the 20th Annual Shanghai International Film Festival.” In the body of the […]

Read More
Chronesthesia Love and Time Travel

Securing an International Sales Agent

We got an international sales agent!     How ridiculous is that? Chronesthesia is now being represented internationally by WPE, operating out of the United States of America, selling around the world. As many territories as possible, as much money as possible, getting seen as far and wide as possible.   Hold up – what’s […]

Read More
Hayden Weal and Simeon Duncombe

Releasing in Cinemas

To play in cinemas   Completing a feature film under the age of thirty. That made me feel pretty damn good. Sometimes I wake up and remember it, in the same way that you often wake up and remember it’s a Saturday, and I feel fuzzy. And warm. And inspired to do more.   But […]

Read More
Steve Barr, Hayden J. Weal, Simeon Duncombe, Kelly Kilgour, Conor Cameron

Chronesthesia Premiere!

PREMIERE!   It’s been a long road and a lot of work. Chronesthesia played to a sold out cinema audience as part of the New Zealand International Film Festival on Friday 29th July 2016. The positive response and reviews we’ve been receiving have made every single minute of hard work on the film worth it. […]

Read More
Hayden J. Weal holding Chronesthesia hard drive

Chronesthesia, our first feature, is Finished!

Finished?     Yes, completely finished. Visual effects: check. Colour grading: check. Sound: check. Score: check.   Weird, weird feeling. Early last week I took the final finished film into a cinema and tested it all the way through. It was a great experience watching what we made out of nothing. A year ago we […]

Read More
NZIFF selected Chronesthesia premiere

Big Announcement - Chrono has a Premiere!

CHRONO HAS A PREMIERE!!   Big news dropped today. Chronesthesia has a premiere. It’s playing for the first time in the world in the city is was shot in – Wellington, New Zealand.   We are stoked to be screening on the big screen, obviously, and Wellington at the NZIFF (New Zealand International Film Festival) […]

Read More
Silhouette Hayden camera with Nova sunset

Delivery Deadline Looming!

Deadline: 5 weeks!     That is how long we have to finish the film. That’s not a lot of time. I was under the impression our premiere was our deadline, but of course that’s not the case! There’s mixing and DCP making and testing and ingesting and censorship boards and ratings to do…   […]

Read More
Smiling Hayden with Phil Underground Sound

New Team Members and a Locked Cut (VIDEOS)

  New Team Members?     As we progress from the editing stage through to the REAL POST PRODUCTION world of colour, visual effects, sound, music, marketing and promo, we need more people. More power. More genius. Which leads us to these new team members: Welcome to our new producers Kelly Kilgour and Steve Barr. Welcome […]

Read More
Smiling man thumbs up in front of white car

Making Some Moves (VIDEO)

Wellington to Auckland

 

This month has brought with it a major change in my life. Moving away from Wellington. I’ve spent nine years living in New Zealand’s capital city, and I’ve loved it so much. It’s a creative place, filled with awesome cafes and progressive forward thinking, friendly people. The next stop will more than likely be Auckland… a subject that elicits differing reactions.

 

I’m currently staying in my hometown of Te Awamutu at my mum’s place, biding my time until the inevitable move to the biggest city in Aotearoa, Auckland. More people, more opportunities, more space. I’m excited about it. I made the trip up with all my possessions in a hire car that I scored free of charge. I made a video about it here.

 

 

Where exactly is Te Awamutu? It’s a rural town 20 mins south of Hamilton, smack bang in the centre of the North Island. It’s a cruisy drive to Raglan (where Raglan Roast is!), or Mount Maunganui, and only two hours from Auckland supercity. Where exactly am I sleeping?

 

Here, on the floor. In lieu of a mattress... temporary, I hope.

Here, on the floor. In lieu of a mattress… temporary, I hope.

 

Since being here, I’m shocked at how damn cool this place has become since I left. Did me moving to Wellington help improve Te Awamutu? There’s an amazing cafe on Walton Street in the township called Walton St. Cafe (I might have to do a post on it, actually), and we even have a Pita Pit now.

 

Another thing I took for granted when growing up here and have come to really appreciate is the sunsets!

 

This beauty isn't a one off - it's nightly

This beauty isn’t a one off – it’s nightly

 

Feature Film Progress

Simeon is due back from LA and Hawaii in a couple of days, and once we’ve allowed him the bare minimum relaxing time, I’m sure he’ll be itching to get back into the visual effects from the film. Right now the second cut is in the hands of some smart and creative people. Hopefully they like it enough to give me some guidance for the next few months of post production.

 

Wonderland Progress

editing-wonderland

I’m editing. Steve and Casey are aiming for a three minute long teaser, but good gosh it’s so difficult. For the best reason; there’s too much gold. Right now, the problem is length. I’ve got a couple of pages of notes from Steve and Casey and we’ll be getting a cut locked pretty soon.

 

Health Progress

Being around mum’s cooking and consideration is a blessing and curse. This morning I got home, hungover and tired, and she had bacon already frying in the pan.

To counter the potential weight gain, I’ve been running a bit, and climbed Mount Kakepuku!

Mount Kakepuku

Sweaty work

 

Killer view of the surrounding townships, and the hour long scale to the summit does a number on your heart rate. Highly recommended.

 

To concluded, 2015 has been an experiment in extremes. It’s been my favourite and least favourite year of life, and this transition from capital to supercity will be a fitting way to close it. I wanna get into vlogging more – subscribe to my YouTube channel for new videos.

 

#HJWBTS

 

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Chronesthesia got into Shanghai!   We first got the email in February, 2017. I was in the South Island on a voluntary tour of primary schools for a charity organisation called Duffy Books in Homes. “Congratulations!” it started. “Chronesthesia has been selected for the 20th Annual Shanghai International Film Festival.” In the body of the […]

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To play in cinemas   Completing a feature film under the age of thirty. That made me feel pretty damn good. Sometimes I wake up and remember it, in the same way that you often wake up and remember it’s a Saturday, and I feel fuzzy. And warm. And inspired to do more.   But […]

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PREMIERE!   It’s been a long road and a lot of work. Chronesthesia played to a sold out cinema audience as part of the New Zealand International Film Festival on Friday 29th July 2016. The positive response and reviews we’ve been receiving have made every single minute of hard work on the film worth it. […]

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The Inevitable Post Production Slump

 

No posts for two months?

 

 

It’s a slump. Let’s call it what it is. A slump. A big, great dirty slump of life.

 

The good news: The film is cut.

Hayden Weal Simeon Duncombe Film

 

The bad news: Work has temporarily ceased on it. Here’s why:

 

It happens to a lot of people after travel. Seeing other countries, relaxing in the sun, something new and exciting every day for five months, then back to the place I’ve been for the last decade. Wellington is colder and windier than I remember, and while seeing my friends and family again is a really great feeling, I can’t help feeling like my sails suddenly lack wind.

 

Also, Simeon Duncombe, the DOP and Visual Effects Supervisor, has gone to Hawaii with his partner for a month! Hard to do anything when the director traipses over Europe for five months the DOP is gone too.

 

I am unemployed, I have no flat or residence, and there has also been other personal hurdles in the mix. I’m currently staying with my amazing friend Andy Campion, who you’ll recognise from 2 Point 21 fame, director of Hot Rob and Jack and Chops. I’m directing a teaser for a comedy pilot (can’t give any more details) and I have plans to move back home for a couple of months then move to Auckland. To fight this feeling of stagnancy, I got a tattoo.

 

 

I've loved Harry Potter for 15 years, that won't change... right?

I’ve loved Harry Potter for 15 years, that won’t change… right?

 

That’s right. It’s the symbol of the Deathly Hallows and it’s incredible. It’s a daily reminder that I want to be a Gryffindor and to make decisions Harry Potter would be proud of.

 

Please excuse the pubes, by the way.

 

All that said, the film has been screened to some important people at a respected production company with hopes they’re interested in helping with the accounting and sales side of the filmmaking process. Because let’s face it, I have no idea what I’m doing when it comes to distribution and marketing. That’s a big game. I’m a storyteller and I am great at making films, and I’m open to all the advice and assistant I can get when it comes to the business side.

 

So while progress has felt slow, it’s still trickling along. There is a lot of visual effects work to be done, and there’s a lot of grading and sound work to be done, then there’s the score. My gosh, I’m excited to post the first BTS post about the score. It’s probably my favourite part of the whole process.

 

I’ll leave you with this gorgeous still. Get pumped! The film is coming!

 

Hayden Weal Michelle Ny Film

 

HJWBTS

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Chronesthesia got into Shanghai!   We first got the email in February, 2017. I was in the South Island on a voluntary tour of primary schools for a charity organisation called Duffy Books in Homes. “Congratulations!” it started. “Chronesthesia has been selected for the 20th Annual Shanghai International Film Festival.” In the body of the […]

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To play in cinemas   Completing a feature film under the age of thirty. That made me feel pretty damn good. Sometimes I wake up and remember it, in the same way that you often wake up and remember it’s a Saturday, and I feel fuzzy. And warm. And inspired to do more.   But […]

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Read More
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CHRONO HAS A PREMIERE!!   Big news dropped today. Chronesthesia has a premiere. It’s playing for the first time in the world in the city is was shot in – Wellington, New Zealand.   We are stoked to be screening on the big screen, obviously, and Wellington at the NZIFF (New Zealand International Film Festival) […]

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Relaxing While Others Work (VIDEO)

Simeon’s working; I’m relaxing

Collaboration is key in this filmmaking venture, and I truly appreciate finding a collaborator as passionate and dedicated as myself. While I’m relaxing here in Tenerife, Simeon is back home gearing up for pick-ups and a huge slog of visual effects.

 

Not only is the film coming along great, but we are starting to see progress with visual effects shots and temporary colour grade decisions. The sound is also slowly moving forward, and having a temporary score on there makes the film really feel like a film.

 

Check out Vlog numero dos shot here in the Canary Islands.

 

 

#HJWBTS

 

More Behind the Scenes

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Shanghai International Film Festival - Chrono selected!

Chronesthesia got into Shanghai!   We first got the email in February, 2017. I was in the South Island on a voluntary tour of primary schools for a charity organisation called Duffy Books in Homes. “Congratulations!” it started. “Chronesthesia has been selected for the 20th Annual Shanghai International Film Festival.” In the body of the […]

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We got an international sales agent!     How ridiculous is that? Chronesthesia is now being represented internationally by WPE, operating out of the United States of America, selling around the world. As many territories as possible, as much money as possible, getting seen as far and wide as possible.   Hold up – what’s […]

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To play in cinemas   Completing a feature film under the age of thirty. That made me feel pretty damn good. Sometimes I wake up and remember it, in the same way that you often wake up and remember it’s a Saturday, and I feel fuzzy. And warm. And inspired to do more.   But […]

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PREMIERE!   It’s been a long road and a lot of work. Chronesthesia played to a sold out cinema audience as part of the New Zealand International Film Festival on Friday 29th July 2016. The positive response and reviews we’ve been receiving have made every single minute of hard work on the film worth it. […]

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Read More
NZIFF selected Chronesthesia premiere

Big Announcement - Chrono has a Premiere!

CHRONO HAS A PREMIERE!!   Big news dropped today. Chronesthesia has a premiere. It’s playing for the first time in the world in the city is was shot in – Wellington, New Zealand.   We are stoked to be screening on the big screen, obviously, and Wellington at the NZIFF (New Zealand International Film Festival) […]

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Day in the Life vlog Hayden J. Weal

A Day in the Life: Editing in Tenerife (VIDEO)

Vlog Day in the Life

 

I caught up with a good friend the other day and he asked, ‘Have you been editing Chronesthesia nine to five?’

My output of work on the feature film front has been rather high of late, so it was a fair thing to ask. But I’ve also been doing other stuff, as we’re officially traveling. Swimming, running, eating a whole lot of food, activities of that ilk.

I figured it might be fun for you to watch, so I made my first vlog in the form of A Day in the Life. Please enjoy and subscribe to my YouTube channel. I’ll be making more videos in future.

 

 

 

#HJWBTS

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Chronesthesia got into Shanghai!   We first got the email in February, 2017. I was in the South Island on a voluntary tour of primary schools for a charity organisation called Duffy Books in Homes. “Congratulations!” it started. “Chronesthesia has been selected for the 20th Annual Shanghai International Film Festival.” In the body of the […]

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We got an international sales agent!     How ridiculous is that? Chronesthesia is now being represented internationally by WPE, operating out of the United States of America, selling around the world. As many territories as possible, as much money as possible, getting seen as far and wide as possible.   Hold up – what’s […]

Read More
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Read More
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To play in cinemas   Completing a feature film under the age of thirty. That made me feel pretty damn good. Sometimes I wake up and remember it, in the same way that you often wake up and remember it’s a Saturday, and I feel fuzzy. And warm. And inspired to do more.   But […]

Read More
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Chronesthesia Premiere!

PREMIERE!   It’s been a long road and a lot of work. Chronesthesia played to a sold out cinema audience as part of the New Zealand International Film Festival on Friday 29th July 2016. The positive response and reviews we’ve been receiving have made every single minute of hard work on the film worth it. […]

Read More
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Topless man on computer Chronesthesia Second Cut

The Second Cut

 

You must be doing the second cut from somewhere boring

 

Aha, you’d think so, wouldn’t you? Working on the first cut is akin to a rockstar’s lifestyle, nights spent drinking and partying, experimenting with scenes and music and sound effects while coked-up supermodels anxiously clamber over your shoulders, hands grasping for your belt, eager to please the editor of a feature film.

 

But the second cut? Surely that’s a dank, dark basement, stinking of mildew and forgotten dreams, falling apart like a preloved car or used bedsheets. The second cut is about fixing problems, battling with alternate takes to squeeze more emotion out of a beat, lamenting over every camera jiggle and unwanted extra in the background. Right?

 

Tenerife

 

Wrong. We’re in Tenerife on the African Coast for a month while I toil away on the second pass of Chronesthesia. Now, that’s not to imply there haven’t been any issues. I’ve had to buy another hard drive (7200rpm, USB3.0 in the absence of Thunderbolt drives here on the island), spend a few hours transfering all the footage then relinking it all. I battled with FCPX crashing for four hours straight, three days in a row. But why do we fall, Bruce? So we can learn to pick ourselves up (Batman reference for my friend Andy).

 

 

FCPX relink files

I watched this for a long time

 

I got a sheaf of feedback from approximately a dozen viewers, ranging from directors, producers, sound mixers, scriptwriters, visual effects artists, and friends who watched it purely as an audience. Everybody has been highly complimentary, they all know how much time and effort has gone into the project compared to money, and they’ve all offered constructive criticism too.

 

 

The most commonly brought up issue

Yah, shouldn’t really talk about this here, in public, but this is what the behind the scenes blog is for.

 

The most common issue people found was a core issue: Dan’s emotional journey. Dan is our main character, an emotionally isolated chap whose world is changed when he begins receiving messages from the future.

 

Chronesthesia Dan Richard

Richard (Nick Blake) and Dan going for a stroll

 

Without spoilers, suffice it to say throughout the course of the successive 90 minutes, Dan learns a lot and changes for the better. However, does this change elicit an emotional reaction in the audience? Not really, at the moment. Why not? Because it’s not clear what his issue is in the beginning.

 

This is relatively easy to solve. There are scenes I left out of the first cut in the interests of pacing, and plenty of opportunities to elongate shots of Dan (making his life feel lonelier), or use more wide shots of Dan alone in frame (symbolising the fact he is alone in his life – genius). Making small changes like this throughout the film, with a few well placed off screen ADR lines emphasising Dan’s problem, has really made the difference already. By playing up his isolation in the first half of the film, we deepen the effect of his emotional integration in the second half of the film.

 

Another thing I love playing with is…

 

 

The Temp Colour Grade

 

 

I know, I know, the cut hasn’t even been locked! How can I colour grade when I don’t even know what the finished film feels like?

 

Totally hear what you’re saying, however, I’m too excited about this second cut to leave the colour controls alone. I’m finding myself distracted by the blandness of the current image, and I can’t help thinking how much a colour grade will add for the audience.

 

It’s a temporary colour grade, more of a colour correction than anything else. It doesn’t take long thanks to Final Cut Pro X’s remarkably user-friendly interface and speedy controls. Look at the difference between the raw footage and under 20 second’s of colour correction.

 

 

<a href="http://www original viagra online kaufen.haydenjweal.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/08/michlle-before-web.jpg”>Michelle Ny Chronesthesia

Raw footage pulled straight from the Sony FS7 (shot in Castlepoint)

 

Michelle Ny Chronesthesia

Lift the highlights, lower the blacks, add a purple sunset to the highlights, add orange to skin tones and cyan to the blacks

 

As you can see, it lifts the film a lot. This is a far cry from what the finished film grade will look like of course, but it gives my test screening audiences more of a feel for what we’re going for, as opposed to seeing a raw image straight out of camera.

 

 

Due to Simeon’s incredible Sony FS7 camera and his expensive lenses, we’ve got a raw image rich with information before touching anything. The downside of this: the blacks look milky, the highlights aren’t really highlights, and the saturation is dialled way down.

 

 

Wait, what’s a colour grade? (for the un-filmy folks)

 

I’m glad you asked. Wikipedia says: Colour grading is the process of altering and enhancing the colour of a motion picture, video image, or still image either electronically, photo-chemically or digitally.

 

Colour grades add a lot to the film watching process, and can change the way an audience feels about a story, or even a particular character. Some filmmakers do it more than others. You’ll notice Hollywood blockbusters often use orange skin and cyan shadows (once you see it, you can’t unsee it), and romcoms often saturate their images and lighten everything so skin is flawless and the settings feel like fresh, enlivening places to be in.

 

It can be used in very clever ways too. In Pan’s Labyrinth, Guillermo del Toro uses colour to great effect, using a different palette for each ‘world’. Blue for reality, Red and gold for fantasy, and green for Pan, the faun. Read more about it here.

 

Perhaps my favourite use of colour grading is Jean Pierre Jeunet’s masterpiece Amelie.

Amelie colour

Amelie with a ‘normal’ correction

Amelie with Jeunet's golden grade

Amelie with Jeunet’s golden grade, as seen in the film

 

 

Jeunet uses this technique in a lot of his films, and back in the days before digital intermediary made grading easier (when they’d use chemicals to alter the physical makeup of the film stock), he’d have his actors wear white make up, so when their skin was colour corrected to look like normal skin tone, the rest of the image would warm up drastically. More about the Amelie look.

 

Other comments about Chronesthesia’s First Cut

 

  • Dan’s too handsome
  • Dan couldn’t pull all those beautiful ladies
  • I don’t understand what’s happening with the time travel (working on that!)

 

The list goes on and on, but I won’t bore you. Plus, what a stupid thing to do, telling you all what’s wrong with the film’s first cut! I don’t want to spill my heart out about what the film’s lacking then have you watch it, nod sagely and mutter, ‘yeah, it’s missing *aforementioned problems*,’ that’d suck.

So it’s in your own interests that I withhold that information.

 

Take my word for it: The second cut is going well. I have finished five of the eight reels and have sent the XMLs to Simeon. He’s already finished two effects shots, and is working on a look for the time travel sequences we have throughout the film. I should be editing now instead of making this BTS post. Onward!

 

 

HJWBTS

More Behind the Scenes

Hayden Weal and Simeon Duncombe

Releasing in Cinemas

To play in cinemas   Completing a feature film under the age of thirty. That made me feel pretty damn […]

Read More

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PREMIERE!   It’s been a long road and a lot of work. Chronesthesia played to a sold out cinema audience […]

Read More

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Chronesthesia, our first feature, is Finished!

Finished?     Yes, completely finished. Visual effects: check. Colour grading: check. Sound: check. Score: check.   Weird, weird feeling. […]

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Big Announcement – Chrono has a Premiere!

CHRONO HAS A PREMIERE!!   Big news dropped today. Chronesthesia has a premiere. It’s playing for the first time in […]

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HJW BTS HJWBTS rough cut done

Rough Cut Finished

The first rough cut of Chronesthesia is complete!

 

 

What a feeling! After assembling the footage every week after the weekend’s shooting, every week for four months, and editing here in Europe every day, we have a full rough cut of the film in just under two months.

 

Very quick work. Editing on my MacBook Pro on Final Cut Pro X using an external hard drive with proxy footage worked an absolute treat. If I could go back in time, I’d change one major thing. I should’ve known better in hindsight.

 

Storage options: When you’re transferring and working with your footage from an external hard drive, RPM speeds are important when buying the hard drive.

 

This will dictate the speed in which the drive sends and receives information to and from your computer, therefore its a major contributing factor to your editing speed. For me, I was more concerned with price. I chose a sturdy and affordable drive, not bothering to check the RPM speed. It used a USB 3.0 connector so I assumed that would be fast enough.

 

Wrong.

 

If I navigated out of FCPX for any reason, whether to check a file or send an email, it would take upwards of a minute for FCPX to become responsive again, due to reconnecting to the hard drive. That might not sound like much, but when you’re in the juju and you have a good cutting flow, that minute can really destroy momentum.

 

The real salt in the papercut is, I have a very fast external hard drive at home that Samuel McSweeney gifted to me. It’s a very expensive Lacie 1TB thunderbolt drive and I’m very grateful to him (Sam’s also the legend who bought me the Marty McFly figurine who watches over me editing), and the full resolution footage is being kept on that drive in a safe place back in Wellington. But if I could time travel, like our good friend Marty, I’d back up to another drive and move my proxy footage to the Lacie and bring that with me.

 

Griping aside, we got there in the end! The full cut is currently at 94 minutes, a healthy duration for a story that never lets up. From the first minute it’s go, go, go. Very proud of it.

 

Where to from here?

 

 

I exported the XML and sent it to Simeon who reconnected it with his backup of all the full resolution footage, and he’s been able to put it all together and watch it. He’s even started holding a couple of test screenings of trusted friends and colleagues.

 

This week he’s using the website application Shotgun to list all the shots that need post production work. There is a rather large effects sequence at the end which will take a lot of elements and time, then there are minor effects like sky replacement throughout, and some very cool ‘dreamy’ sequences that Simeon is cooking up something special for.

 

Keep in mind we are talking about the Animation Supervisor for Batman vs. Superman, a very talented WETA asset who has so much creativity and drive that he’s visual effects supervising another entire feature on the side. He’s been a bit busy with two other major Hollywood productions this last month and is looking forward to taking a step back onto this modest film.

 

The dream is to have the film professionally sound designed, scored, graded and mixed. To do this, we need money to pay skilled people for their time, talent, and gear.

 

Getting money, that’s the query. How does one do such a thing? Luckily, in this beautiful day and age we live in, there are many ways. Ideally, we’d strike a deal with the New Zealand Film Commission. They are the chief funding body for New Zealand film, so it only makes sense. To get their financial support, the film has to have legs. There has to be a promise of return. Or it should be internationally recognised. A good way to do this is to get it into a renowned international film festival. We’ve decided that’s what we’re going to do.

 

Here’s the cheesiest video I’ve posted here so far. It’s celebratory and also has some nerdy information in it.

 

 

#HJWBTS

 

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Chronesthesia got into Shanghai!   We first got the email in February, 2017. I was in the South Island on a voluntary tour of primary schools for a charity organisation called Duffy Books in Homes. “Congratulations!” it started. “Chronesthesia has been selected for the 20th Annual Shanghai International Film Festival.” In the body of the […]

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HJWBTS, HJW editing, Chronesthesia

Editing Update

I am basically halfway through EDITING the film!

 

Editing is a blast. It’s not all easy going fun times however. A lot of details are making themselves known to me. Problems with sound, issues with continuity, performances that aren’t up to scratch (mostly me), and parts of the story that aren’t flowing well, to name a few. The saving grace: the majority of these issues can be fixed with time and effort. Good old fashioned hard graft.

 

That’s a challenging fact to get your head around: sitting down and banging your brain against a brick wall (metaphorically) is often the only way to further the edit and therefore further the making of the film. Trying different cuts, different temp scores, a MULTITUDE of different sound effects, and sometimes when I’m lucky, it comes together. If it doesn’t come together, guess what? That’s right. More hard work. Try trimming shots, try a whole different sequence, try putting things in front of each other, try this and that and the other thing.

 

SOME GOOD NEWS

I keep rubbing my face with excitement throughout this edit. When I finish a particularly effective sequence and watch it back, I feel euphoric. Rapturous, even. Those are the feelings I want more of, so I’m endeavouring to do a great job with every beat of the film. Makes sense right?

 

Something I’d recommend all filmmakers editing their own stuff: cut more. I don’t mean make more cuts between shots, I mean trim more of the beginning and end of clips. Most of the time, pacing issues come down to excess flab in a scene. The first ten seconds can often go, so can the last ten seconds of a scene. You don’t have to see someone walk into a room, it’s better to just have them there. The audience is very good at connecting the dots. People have seen a lot of films.

 

Right now, we’re in an apartment in Berlin that has a home theatre setup so I feel very fortunate to be able to watch sequences back on it. Nice loud sound, a good picture and a comfortable couch have made this edit pretty relaxing. Effective!

 

Check out this video!

 

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<a href="http://www.haydenjweal holland apotheke viagra.com/bts/chronesthesia-premiere/”>Steve Barr, Hayden J. Weal, Simeon Duncombe, Kelly Kilgour, Conor Cameron

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European Editing Suite

Post Production Abroad

 

With all the shooting in the can (well, excluding potential pick-ups), it’s time to start what I find the most daunting task of all: editing.

 

As you can see above, I have a Marty McFly figurine from Back to the Future. This was given to me by my Secret Santa at work (Sam McSweeney – legend) and will travel around Europe guiding me through tough editing decisions.

 

SPECS

With 15 hours of footage, 137 scenes, a dozen or so characters, multiple storylines and even timescapes, the first cut will be a very large slog. I’ve almost completed an assembly using every scene and every line that we shot, so we can see how much story we have and what can go. Thanks to editing as we were shooting, a large chunk of the story is already there on the timeline.

 

NERD TIME

I’m cutting using FCPX on a 13″ MacBook Pro with 16gb RAM for ultra speedy video processing, and I’m working with a 2TB hard drive that holds all the footage’s transcoded proxy media. We have three separate backups of the media full res in Wellington, and from here I can send back EDLs, XMLs, and full Library files for Simeon to set up test screenings.

 

For now, check out this epic editing suite I’ve scored. Many late nights spent huddled over this desk drinking cheap dirty Prague coffee.

 

 

#HJWBTS

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Chronesthesia got into Shanghai!   We first got the email in February, 2017. I was in the South Island on a voluntary tour of primary schools for a charity organisation called Duffy Books in Homes. “Congratulations!” it started. “Chronesthesia has been selected for the 20th Annual Shanghai International Film Festival.” In the body of the […]

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Panoramic image of the shooting locations of Chronesthesia in Wellington NZ

Feature Film Locations Map

 

BEHOLD our feature film locations map

 

Our film’s locations in an infographic! Click the image to see the full size render and please feel free to be impressed.

 

HJW locations infographic

 

 

Pretty stoked. We covered some decent ground in Wellington during this shoot. It really shows on the screen, the beauty of New Zealand. Having a locations map is handy for two reasons. It looks pretty, and it serves as a memory trigger when we’re eighty and remembering how things used to be.

 

#HJWBTS

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CHRONO HAS A PREMIERE!!   Big news dropped today. Chronesthesia has a premiere. It’s playing for the first time in the world in the city is was shot in – Wellington, New Zealand.   We are stoked to be screening on the big screen, obviously, and Wellington at the NZIFF (New Zealand International Film Festival) […]

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HJWBTS, HJW, wrap

That’s a WRAP on our first Feature Film!

HOLY SH*T WE DID IT

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.

HJWBTS

One of the scenes from the last weekend’s 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 <a href="http://www.haydenjweal viagra schnell kaufen.com/videos/2-point-21-films/jack-and-chops/” target=”_blank”>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.

 

HJWBTS

Ah, feels good. Simeon operated sightlessly with a GoPro. Poor guy got his feet wet.

 

THE PLAN

 

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...

137 scenes to shoot.

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.

 

HJWBTS wrap

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.

 

THE WRAP

 

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.

 

HJWBTS

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.

 

Here’s a bit of behind the scenes footage from the last weekend.

 

#HJWBTS

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Castlepoint feature image

Shooting on Location at Castlepoint

Castlepoint! Finally!

 

 

 

Something I was looking forward to throughout the whole shoot was us going to Castlepoint. It’s a fun sequence for the characters and I’ve been wanting to film something at Castlepoint for years now. It’s a gorgeous place and there’s something mystical about it. With a long flat beach extending out to a massive peak called Castle Rock, a lagoon with smashing frothing waves, and New Zealand’s second oldest lighthouse standing at the end of a treacherous rocky walk, it feels like another world.

 

But first, let’s do a recap of the last couple of weeks shooting.

 

YOGA, COLLEEN AND CUBA DUPA

 

Check out us filming with a yoga class, Colleen Cleary as Eve, and us amongst 20,000+ people at Cuba Dupa, the Wellington city festival.

 

 

Cool huh? I thought so.

 

Last weekend we shot with Cohen Holloway, a Wellington based actor well known for his constant shenanigans and wicked wit. As well as being hilarious (remember him as the embarrassed computer nerd checking out porn in Eagle vs. Shark and Shogun’s friend in Boy), Cohen blew people outta the water with his performance in Until Proven Innocent. He’s one of those names that when people ask who’s in the film and I say ‘Cohen Holloway’, they say ‘Really? Wow…’

 

COHEN HOLLOWAY

 

Here’s Cohen and us after shooting a long, emotionally and physically draining scene with lots of improv and some grappling on a wooden floor. Wait for the film to see more. Special thanks to Ike Hamon, stunt co-ordinator, for his expertise.

 

Cohen Holloway HJW

We didn’t take any other photos, our minds were on task all day

 

We had our final day with Nick Blake as Richard. Scored some great weather as we walked through the beautiful town belt over Mt. Victoria and rocked three pages of dialogue. An absolute pro and gentlemen, Nick will probably be in everything I ever make.

 

Nick Blake Hayden J. Weal

Nick, Abby and Simeon hanging in the mild sun

 

Castlepoint time!

Here are some photos and a video about the trip. We shot twelve scenes and ten pages in two days. Special thanks to Abby Damen, Amber Varde and Orion Holder-Monk for preparing food, baking pies, cleaning up after us, and the amazing support and company.

Here’s the whole trip in a three minute video.

 

 

Here’s Michelle standing at the view of our cute batch we stayed in

Michelle Ny, Castlepoint

Moody clouds like that make for great footage

 

Here’s Simeon in 100km winds by the second oldest lighthouse in New Zealand.

Simeon Duncombe HJW

The camera is steady, though. Rock solid arms.

 

Later, Simeon roughed up for his cameo as Fisherman.

 

Simeon Duncombe Fisherman

It’s hard to make somebody who spends time taking care of himself look rough, but the ladies managed it

 

And here are some wonderful photos Michelle Ny took that capture the feeling of the place. Beautiful place. Go check it out.

 

HJW HJW

HJW

Taking refuge from the wind behind the rocks

HJW

HJW

HJW taking in the atmosphere

Wandering for a shot

Wandering for a shot

 

After the trip, I felt that same kind of loss you feel after finishing binge-watching a season of your favourite show. Which I think is a mark of a good time had. The footage looks fantastic and I’m excited about editing it.

 

Thanks to all involved. Now we have eight scenes remaining. EIGHT SCENES OUT OF ONE HUNDRED AND THIRTY SEVEN. That’s something to be proud of. Let’s finish this film!

 

#HJWBTS

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Chronesthesia got into Shanghai!   We first got the email in February, 2017. I was in the South Island on a voluntary tour of primary schools for a charity organisation called Duffy Books in Homes. “Congratulations!” it started. “Chronesthesia has been selected for the 20th Annual Shanghai International Film Festival.” In the body of the […]

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To play in cinemas   Completing a feature film under the age of thirty. That made me feel pretty damn good. Sometimes I wake up and remember it, in the same way that you often wake up and remember it’s a Saturday, and I feel fuzzy. And warm. And inspired to do more.   But […]

Read More
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Read More
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Chronesthesia, our first feature, is Finished!

Finished?     Yes, completely finished. Visual effects: check. Colour grading: check. Sound: check. Score: check.   Weird, weird feeling. Early last week I took the final finished film into a cinema and tested it all the way through. It was a great experience watching what we made out of nothing. A year ago we […]

Read More
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CHRONO HAS A PREMIERE!!   Big news dropped today. Chronesthesia has a premiere. It’s playing for the first time in the world in the city is was shot in – Wellington, New Zealand.   We are stoked to be screening on the big screen, obviously, and Wellington at the NZIFF (New Zealand International Film Festival) […]

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Julian Dennison, Nova Waretini-Hewison

Julian Dennison, our young male romantic “BENI”

 

75% done!

Every day we turn up and get straight into it. Pick up cast, arrive at location, discuss the scene, block, discuss coverage, and line up to (usually) shoot sequentially.

Last weekend brought the introduction of a wonderful character, as well as the wrap of Nova Waretini-Hewison.

 

 

INTRODUCING JULIAN DENNISON

Julian Dennison

Julian and his bro, Christian Dennison

 

Julian plays Beni in the film, the crush of Summer, who’s played by Nova.

Nova and Julian met at the 2013 NZ Film Awards where Nova was nominated for Best Actress and Julian won Best Supporting Actor for Shopping.

We didn’t have a Beni cast when we started shooting. When I met with Nova and talked through the script and character, I asked her who she’d like to work with as her on screen crush. A boy her age, somebody she could have fun with and who could act.

It took her probably three seconds to say Julian. They’d met, she told me, but they hadn’t worked together.

 

Julian Guitar

Julian rocking the guitar under a tree

 

I knew Julian’s name from a few places. He was in Taika Waititi’s Drug Driving advert, had recently starred in kiwi feature film Shopping, and out of sheer coincidence, I’d met him before at his school.

About fourteen months previous, I’d spoken at Naenae school about how cool reading is as part of a Duffy Books in Homes tour I did. After the assembly, one of the teachers asked if I could come to her class and meet a particular student.

‘He’s just been in a film, actually,’ she told me.

Shopping hadn’t been released yet, but when this young dude walked into the room with a rakish smile and relaxed confidence, it was clear he was a movie star.

 

Nova and Michelle

Awwwww Nova’s last day!

 

Finding Julian to cast him was remarkably simple. I rang the school but he’d left. I rang his mum and he was there. Done. I explained the project, brought up Nova, and emailed through some excerpts and the film’s outline. I’d have to wait a couple of weeks for a reply though due to Julian and his mum flying to Berlin to promote his new film Paper Planes.

 

I met with Julian, Mabelle and Christian, Julian’s twin, at McCafe. We had some iced chocolates and I showed them footage of Nova. Julian was excited and Mabelle and Christian were keen for a cameo so we made some dates and got straight into it.

 

Well, I say straight into it but bad weather and availability clashes put us off for two weekends. Two weekends isn’t long but it felt like a lifetime to me. I was so excited to get these guys on screen! Finally, we scored a weekend where Nova, Julian, myself, Simeon and Michelle were all free… except there was a catch.

Nova was only available in the morning. Michelle was only available in the afternoon. Julian was only available that one day. In the end, we did some creative scheduling.

We had an hour to get Nova and Michelle’s shots, one hour to get Nova and Julian’s shots, then the rest of the afternoon to get a scene that originally had Nova starring in it, but had been rewritten to feature only Julian and myself.

 

Front row: Nova, Julian, Christian Back row: Hayden, Simeon

Front row: Nova, Julian, Christian
Back row: Hayden, Simeon

 

And guess what? Oh yes. We got it all and it looks … wait for it … AMAZING.

After a beautiful morning in a sun-dappled park, we dined on bagels then filmed our nice simple scene where Christian and Mabelle cameoed.

We had one fantastic day with Julian and got some really, really cute footage. Bitter sweetly, the ‘date’ scene with Julian was Nova’s final scene to shoot so we tearily bid farewell to our wonderful Summer.

Ladies and gentlemen, I cannot wait to show you the beautiful and talented Nova Waretini-Hewison along with the coolest cat in in town Julian Dennison in this film. They are adorable.

 

 

#HJWBTS

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Shooting Obstacles and Serendipity

Something happens when you’re filming outdoors in a public arena. Every time, and I’m not exaggerating here, every time you’re ready to go, you’re presented with an obstacle. The actors are ready, the camera is up, the sound is clean, there’s a break in traffic, the sun is diffused behind a cloud as if expertly placed, Simeon’s finger hovers over the big red button… and one of the following happens.

1. A pedestrian will cartwheel through the background
2. A car will park directly in the back of shot
3. A mentally unstable pedestrian will stand nearby and continuously moan
4. A dozen American tourists will float into the background and take photos
5. People with kids, dogs, cats, or bags will want to walk by really slowly

 

HJWBTS

I’ve got a bunch of laminated cards to hand people if they ask what’s going on

 

All the above have happened to us so far. And it’s one of those things you can’t change or complain about. We’ve decided to set the film 80% outdoors so we’ve brought those factors onto ourselves. And they’re really not that bad, we always end up getting what we need. It’s a matter of waiting. We’ve never asked anybody to move or be quiet.

Actually, we have. Abby kindly asked the children to stop cartwheeling through the background. I kinda sympathized there though, they wanted to be on film, how cool!

 

 

MEET NICK BLAKE

 

Nick’s playing a central character in the film. He’s been in The Hobbit as Percy, Jack and Chops episode 3 as Jack Cannon Senior (my character’s father), and will be seen in the upcoming bio series about Ed Hilary as Sir. Ed’s stepfather. Yesterday was his first day on film (yay!) and he brought exactly what the character needed to the screen. He’s perfect. We had the entire Sunday scheduled to shoot with just Nick. Permits had been filled out, I’d met with Nick and discussed the character’s journey at length, and Nick had packed various costume options for the day. We had eight pages of dialogue planned.

 

Nick Blake

Nick Blake as Richard

 

 

 

7am rolls around. I get a phone call. I’m dressed, the make-up’s on and Simeon and I are packing the camera gear into the car. Nick’s on the phone. His daughter in law has gone into labour.

“But we don’t have to drop everything,” Nick said, remarkably calm.

“Nick, it’s a birth, that’s kind of a big deal,” I said.

“She’s two weeks early. We weren’t expecting this,” he said.

“It can’t really be helped, can it?” I quipped, keeping my voice light, doing my best to mask the black cloud of crippling defeat that accompanies news of this ilk.

“But… we can still shoot until things get serious,” he said.

“Are you sure?” My heart lifted. We could still get the day done!

 

We filmed at the bus stop for a couple of hours, then things got serious, and we called it quits. The baby was born an hour or so later. Me and Simeon celebrated with a late breakfast at Scorch-o-Rama and clinked our coffee cups to new life and new plans.

 

 

Simeon Duncombe 2015

Cheers Simeon!

 

 

THE SEARCH FOR A GARDENER

 

We found ourselves with seven hours of light, cameras and permits, but lacking a key cast member. Time to roll with the punches and make a new plan. I txt two of our younger cast members and received a txt that one wasn’t available. Understandable. I was texting saying ‘Drive to the city and shoot a scene with us!’

Michelle was at work where she’d already received a few stern words about her recent days off on weekends (sorry, Michelle!) so we couldn’t shoot with her.

We looked at the wall schedule (which is looking impressively slim right now – not much to shoot!) and found one scene that only needed me and… the character of a Gardener. Time to get on the phone.

Thank you to everybody who answered my calls. I’m started to think, judging by the eternally ringing phones I’m hearing, people see my name pop up on screen and ignore it. Fair enough.

But some people answered. They helped. Richard Falkner gave me the number of Kate Logan who I called and texted about borrowing some overalls and a trowel, to no answer. A few of my favourite actors in Wellington expressed their desire to be involved but were unfortunately not available on such short notice. One was running a dumpling stand at the school fair (hope it went well, Miranda!).

Simon Smith, my very good friend from being Gandalf’s stand in on The Hobbit while I was Bilbo, sent me approximately two dozen contacts that could work. I was sitting on my laptop searching Facebooks and ding, ding, ding, went my iMessage app, notifications appearing on the top corner of my screen. I called a few of the names I recognised, then my phone vibrated.

It was Simon, but for some reason the message came through to my phone, not my MacBook. I checked it. It was the name Lyndee-Jane Rutherford. I thought, ‘aha, Lady Fate has come to the party’. Having promised myself to spot any signs that may come my way, I called Lyndee-Jane despite never having met her.

“Sounds cool!” LJ said (we called her LJ after a while, jumping straight to nicknames. Cute, ay?)

“Yes, it is cool, would you be interested?” I asked, keeping my hopes high and expectations low.

“…” Her silence killed me. “Totes magotes! I have a couple of meetings. Could you pick me up in an hour?”

I punched the air. “Of course! You rock!” Then I thought, shit, I gotta find gardening gear.

I paced. I visited the neighbours. Nobody home. I txt around and asked.

Brrrrrrr – my phone vibrated again. Kate Logan had responded. This is what it said.

Sure thing. Items are on doorstep by garage. I’m about to head out now. Pop over and grab them. Drop them off later when your done. Good luck.

Two people I’d never met endeavoured to help us on the strength of Wellington connections and friendships.

 

 

Lyndee-Jane Rutherford

Lyndee-Jane Rutherford as our Gardener

 

One hour later we were at the location shooting and this sounds cheesy, but LJ brought something magical to that character. The scene is half a page, but we must’ve elongated it to two pages by the time we were done. The improvisation was too good not to use.

It was ten times funnier and beautiful than I could’ve imagined. Lyndee-Jane was hilarious! A director of theatre, she got the vibe of the scene and went to town on it. Me and Simeon watched the footage when we got home and collapsed into tears. Every take is golden.

 

After dropping LJ off, we decided the light was right to get a couple of transition shots. However, what we wanted to get was to be filmed in the Botanic Gardens and we didn’t have a permit. It costs a minimum of $200 for a location fee to shoot there and we couldn’t afford that. That could go toward lunches for cast and crew! So we went a bit guerilla. Don’t tell anyone.

 

After our day, we felt proud, despite not getting what we set out to. Obstacles and serendipity had contributed to another surprising and unexpected day, with unexpected footage being captured.

A very big thank you to Richard Falkner, Kate Logan, Lyndee-Jane, Simon Smith, and Amber Varde (Simeon’s understanding partner, who has put up with me stealing her boyfriend every single weekend of the year so far). I’ve never been prouder of setting up a life in Wellington. These people rock.

 

#HJWBTS

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HJWBTS, HJW

Halfway Through Shooting

HALFWAY. What a feeling.

 

 

61 scenes have been filmed, with 61 scenes remaining. Yes, if you’re paying attention, you’ll notice that 61 plus 61 equals 122 and the original scene count was 137. We have omitted 16 scenes! Cut, combined, altered, so the remaining scenes to shoot are the definitive meat of the film.

 

What’s happened since our last update? Well, we’ve filmed a lot with Nova the superstar. This weekend her voice was fading but she soldiered on like a champ regardless. We filmed her last on screen appearance at dusk, rushed and with some beer drinking residents watching us from their balcony. Ever the pro, Nova performed and nailed her scenes in one or two takes.

 

Abby Damen, Simeon Duncombe, HJWBTS

Abby and Simeon on the set. The Alleyway.

 

We spent three hours last Saturday shooting with Abby Damen, my talented and wonderful girlfriend who is playing a role in the film. The scene is set in the morning so we traipsed down to the location at 9am and had a nice long cafe breakfast as we planned to shoot until after midnight and didn’t want to start too early. However, once we finished breakfast, it started to rain. We waited the rain out for an hour then got prepped to shoot. Alas, now the sun was popping and ruining the light. The sun is too harsh to shoot with – it causes harsh shadows which make people’s faces look like skulls. So we waited. And waited. And finally, we got cloud cover. But then the pedestrians started coming. It’s like they waited until we called action then came down to ruin the shot. Savages. In the end, the sun came back out and we had to give up on the scene. We wasted three hours and were very depressed.

 

On the bright side, on Wednesday we got up at 5:30am and got the scene in the can before work! We only had a nice wee chicken to put up with…

 

This weekend we shot a lot with Michelle, which was a breeze after last weekend where we shot a love scene. Oh yeah. It happened. It was comfortable too, lots of nervous laughter and mucking around, no awkward boners or anything… Yeah, I’m not gonna post a picture of that scene yet. However, i will post a picture of the set of ‘Sophia’s Room’, coz it’s pretty.

 

HJWBTS

Awwwww fairy lights. Out of focus in the background of a shot – gorgeous

 

Simeon set up a cracker of a spreadsheet on Google Sheets, and I entered our scene breakdown in it. The maths behind it all is very exciting, except once I’d finished marking what scenes were done and what scenes were still to shoot, I noticed something rather terrifying. We may be halfway though the scene shooting, sure. But we’re only 30% through the page count. Which means there is still the majority of the dialogue to be shot.

 

HJWBTS

Pie graphs. Wonderful and insightful but terrifying too.

 

I leave for Europe in two months. 8.7 weeks to be exact, and we have to shoot an average of seven pages and seven scenes a week to make it on time. Because we usually only shoot one day a week, that means seven pages and seven scenes per shoot day. That’s a lot. And the scenes we have coming up are tough too, heavy on the emotion and they all involve cast whose availability we are working around.

 

Take into account the weather and the decreasing hours of sunlight per day and you’ve got yourself a frightening prospect. Shooting a feature film with no money, plenty of cast, heaps of locations and a whole lotta dialogue – it might not be for everyone but we’re having a blast.
This coming weekend will bring with it some new cast members. I’ll keep you updated.

 

#HJWBTS #ShowYourWork

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Chronesthesia got into Shanghai!   We first got the email in February, 2017. I was in the South Island on a voluntary tour of primary schools for a charity organisation called Duffy Books in Homes. “Congratulations!” it started. “Chronesthesia has been selected for the 20th Annual Shanghai International Film Festival.” In the body of the […]

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Shane Rangi as Rongo, Michelle and Nova too!

We shot TEN scenes this weekend!

 

Ten!

It was a whirlwind ride, with new cast members gracing us and showing us that the film is going to be a lot better than we expected. It’s a fairly diverse cast. Sure, it’s a got a middle class white male in the leading role but we have plenty of range in colour, age and size with the rest of the cast.

 

Cast HJW

Nova, Simeon, Michelle and Abby hanging on set

 

SHANE RANGI

 

 

Shane Rangi, legendary stunt and motion capture performer, wowed us all with his first scene as Rongo. He’s taken the role from Grant Roa whose schedular conflicts couldn’t be worked around. Shane’s stature ensured that pedestrians left us alone while we were shooting. At one point, shooting at night down an alleyway, we were approached and, in a haughty tone, asked, ‘What are you guys doing?’

Shane replied promptly in his powerful low voice, ‘Filming.’

The subject was dropped and we were left to shoot in peace.

Before we started shooting with Shane, he txt me some options for costume. He knew from the script that his character had to be intimidating, and he felt a leather jacket would work. I explained that due to the nature of the film, I couldn’t pay for items of costume we couldn’t source from friends. Shane replied ‘haha, I’ll pay cuz’ and with a ‘ting’, Shane sent me an image.

 

Shane Rangi, Rongo

Shane Rangi as Rongo

 

Perfect. That’s exactly the look we wanted. Seeing this towering pillar of man stalking down the street toward you with dark sunglasses on and a thundering stride reminiscent of a Once Were Warriors lead, we knew this was the most serendipitous casting we could hope for.

 

As well as bringing a great performance, Shane helped out with stunts, chase scene choreography and ADing, yelling a thick ‘3, 2, 1 ACTION’ for us.

Because Shane’s leaving to flit about the globe on another show in a week, we are hoping to shoot him out this weekend. I’m already trembling to get editing on his footage.

 

 

MICHELLE NY – WELCOME!

 

 

This weekend marked the debut on screen of Michelle Ny, our leading lady! NZ born, Michelle is of Cambodian descent and was described to me by a casting agent friend as ‘the next New Zealand prodigy’.

 

Michelle Ny

Michelle Ny plays Sophia, and looks remarkably Asian in this photo

 

I jumped on that. We’ve been on the cusp of each other’s friend groups for a few years and have gotten to know each other better these last couple of weeks, workshopping and rehearsing scenes, and this weekend we finally called action and saw Sophia on screen.

 

I won’t say anymore here because we’ll be seeing a lot more of Michelle in the weeks to come. Suffice it to say that she’s a great actress, perceptive and genuine and beautiful.

 

 

NOVA – WE DID IT!

 

We didn’t get rained out! Shooting in the same location as last time, we tempted fate, but the weather held out! Blue skies, minimal wind and a scorching sun. We nailed two dialogue scenes (this time with the Ronin steadying rig that almost tore Simeon’s arms off) and retired very happy.

Hayden Nova

YUSSS! The sun prevails!

 

After watching the footage, me and Simeon have predicted the relationship between Dan and Summer (above) will be the most affecting of the film. Acting with Nova is a blast, she remembers lines like a pro with barely any read throughs, and is completely natural.

 

We have seven more scenes to shoot with Nova and I look very forward to seeing her charm the audience.

 

 

50 SCENES DOWN, 79 TO GO

 

 

Not long now. However, we can’t slow down and relax just yet. This weekend marks the first time we’ve had other cast members on screen and it’s really shown us how valuable each character is to the story. Yesterday I marked up the script with my orange highlighter and took great pleasure in crossing off whole pages of the script.

 

Combined with the notes me and Michelle had made, the shooting script is starting to look pretty worn.

 

If the first 50 scenes have been this fun, what will the next be like?

If the first 50 scenes have been this fun, what will the next be like?

 

Enough blogging, it’s time to get scheduling!

 

#HJWBTS

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Rained Out but Powering On

Shoot Day 5 – WE GET RAINED OUT

 

It was our first day with Nova! Our first day with a character that isn’t Dan (me). We were all very excited. Me and Abby picked up Nova from Dean’s house and we met Simeon at the location.

 

It was a simple scene. One and a half pages of dialogue, walking and talking. Dan and Summer become friends and strike a mutually beneficial deal. Sweet. Easy.

 

As predicted, Nova was incredible. At twelve years old, she’s got a stack of experience and accolades to her name and needed barely any rehearsal time. We practiced the lines in the car for fun and she made me laugh.

 

We experimented with blocking and found the nicest frame to show off Wellington. We shot the wide. We lined up for the first 2 shot… splatters. Cold against your skin, dropping intermittently and darkening your hair.

 

Nova, HJW

HJW and Nova, the good sport

 

We took to the shade of a large tree for respite. We waited for the rain to pass but it worsened. Keeping my head high and putting on my best understanding voice, I made the decision to move the shoot onward. We’d count our day as a rehearsal day and surrender without any usable footage in the can.

 

Hiding my disappointment was difficult, and as soon as we dropped off Nova, I lost my shit. Poor Abby had to hear some vehement curses as we drove through the windy, wet Wellington city to Evans Bay where Caleb, our good friend, had lent us the weekend to use his apartment.

 

HJW, feature film, Dan, make-up

Dan looking worse for wear

 

Despite the rocky start, we filmed until 1am then got up at 6am for a dawn scene. In total, we knocked off twelve scenes, bringing out total to 36 out of 140. That’s a decent amount in the can. Also, Abby got to play with her make-up skills and make me look nice and messed up for a couple of scenes later in the film. Awesome!

 

The rain really made me think. I realise that the majority of my film is set outside and I’m at the mercy of Wellington weather, weather that is less than reliable at the best of times. I’m gonna have to come up with alternatives.

 

#HJWBTS

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Chronesthesia got into Shanghai!   We first got the email in February, 2017. I was in the South Island on a voluntary tour of primary schools for a charity organisation called Duffy Books in Homes. “Congratulations!” it started. “Chronesthesia has been selected for the 20th Annual Shanghai International Film Festival.” In the body of the […]

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Scheduling a Feature Film Part 2

As you may have seen on Scheduling a Feature Film, there are approximately 140 scenes in our movie.

That’s a lot.

 

Now what?

Now we print the scene breakdowns out, cut them up into little pieces, highlight the scenes with special cast members, and organise them into locations. I blu tacked them onto my bedroom wall (with a lot of help from my phenomenal life mate Abby Damen) and it gives us a visual idea of the film’s pieces.

That's a lot of scenes...

That’s a lot of scenes…

For a little while there, I panicked. I gotta be honest, that is a LOT of scenes. The pink highlighter is for our leading lady, the blue for an older male character, a sort of father figure if you like, the green is Grant Roa’s character, and the yellow for an exciting cast member I’ll introduce you too later.

 

As we shoot the scenes, I plan to move the scenes down onto another sheet of paper, then once they’re in the can and uploaded and safely backed up, I’ll move the scenes to a lower piece of paper. It’ll work like one of those machines in Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory, seeing the ingredients flow down through a funnel and into a delicious re-organized pile on the ground ready to eat.

 

25 scenes already shot!

25 scenes already shot!

 

As you can see, we can already shot 25 scenes. All starring only me. We plan to get all of the fiddly little scenes out of the way before we focus on the emotional dialogue scenes with other cast members. That’ll mean we’re in the swing of things and can attack coverage and camera angles with confidence and momentum.

 

CASTING NEWS

To make matters even more exciting, let me please introduce you to a new cast member.

This is Nua Finau, Wellington based actor and filmmaker.

 

Nua Finau NZ actor

Nua Finau | charismatic, loveable, on board

 

Nua’s on board! He plays Jared, the workmate of our leading character Dan. We are privileged and stoked to have him and will be sure to grab some stills when we first have him on set. He starred in kiwi road trip web series Road Trip by KHF Media this year and is a busy man. I was introduced to Nua a long time ago by my friend and collaborator Andy Campion who was driving him on a show called Paradise Cafe.

 

Ooh, apart from all this exciting scheduling and shooting, I’ve been doing some location scouting! But I’ll show you that later.

 

Hope you dig the updates. Please subscribe for my sporadic and irregular HJW newsletter.

 

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First Day Shooting!

HOLY CRAP WE’RE SHOOTING ALREADY!

It’s the fifth day of the year and why not start now? Me and Simeon met up yesterday for a big talk about scheduling and how we are going to manage the shoot. We thought we’d start with something small, something easy, and we decided we’d start on the shower scenes. That’s right – there are shower scenes in the film.

 

I arrived at Simeon’s and walked into the bathroom where the camera sat atop a tripod facing the open shower. I stripped off and we talked about the scene. As I stepped inside the shower, I could feel electricity in the air. This was it. We did a couple of rehearsals, then Simeon hit the little red button. Visual information sped through the lens, into the chip, and saved itself onto the memory card.

 

First shot. Shower scene. Oh yeah.

First shot. Shower scene. Oh yeah.

 

We used an amazing slating app that Simeon sourced and uses on his iPad mini. You key in the scene, slate and take number, then hold it up to the lens. Apparently, there’s a way you can sync the metadata directly into the clips when you import to Final Cut Pro X preisvergleich viagra generika. Wild.

 

The shoot took just over an hour, and we got three scenes in the can. We’ll shoot more on Wednesday then do the import and that’s where things are gonna get really interesting. It’s imperative we have a clean and efficient post production workflow. Setting up the events, projects and keywords will be where the master plan comes together.

 

Three scenes out of 140 done. 3/8s of a page out of 95. As a percentage, we’ve shot .375% of the film.

OH MY GOD.

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Scheduling a Feature Film

Time to breakdown

 

So what happens when the script is in good enough shape to move forward?

It’s at draft four and there are still many changes yet to make to improve it, but we’re at a comfortable stage where all the major building blocks are in place. The characters won’t change, the settings won’t change, the major props and costumes, make-up and ideas for big shots won’t change. So… it’s time to get the ball rolling.

 

This past week I’ve contacted a lot of people about helping. Actually, the amazing thing about putting the test online meant that people saw it. A few really talented people who I met throughout my time on The Hobbit contacted me and offered their help FOR FREE. This is no small deal and I’m gonna take up each and every one of them.

 

Also, in the time passed since my last post, me and my team went to Auckland to attend the NZ Film Awards. Abby won a table of ten thanks for her Best Actress win for Dick Off in this year’s 48hour Film Comp. While there, I met a couple of huge Kiwi heroes of mine, including Neil Finn of Crowded House (we share small-town hometown Te Awamutu) and Gerard Johnstone, director of fantastic NZ horror comedy Housebound, which I reviewed this year on this website.

 

 

NZ Film Awards Auckland

L to R: Courtney Abbot, Elle Bryant, Andy Campion, Abby Damen, HJW, Jamie Lawrence, Simeon Duncombe, Sophie Wilson

 

A big win to come out of that night was the fact I ran into Cohen Holloway, a mightily talented and accomplished NZ actor. I’d emailed him the script hoping he’d play one of the very important characters and had received no reply. However, in the flesh, Cohen said he’d love to jump aboard. So I’m gonna hold him to that. Plus, it’s in type on the internet now, Cohen, so it’s really real.

 

I’ve also met with Producer Kelly Kilgour many times to discuss script, shooting logistics, locations, casting, funding, and business plans for the future. Currently, the business plan is to get the film in the can so I can start editing!

 

The next step in pre production is

SCHEDULING

 

Scheduling feature film

Look at it all! Gorgeous and satisfying

 

That’s my scheduling software. Pages. That’s right, the free application that comes on MacBook Pros. It works a treat because all you need is a table.

As you can see, each row is a bit of information about a scene that I will shoot. The way I’ve set it out as simple:

 

Scene # | Interior/Exterior | Time of Day | Setting | Location (so many missing!) | Characters | Description | Page Count

 

I’m gonna fill out all the info about every scene in the film, then cut them out, rearrange, and I’ll have a really good idea how long each actor and location is needed. What I don’t have in this is the props or specialist costume and make-up needs. I’ve reasoned that because the film is so small and I haven’t written in many specialist props of make-up needs, I’m listing them in the description cell.

 

Once I’ve cut them out and rearranged them all, I’m going to blu tack them to my bedroom wall and start organising them into Shoot Days. That way, I can see exactly what I need to shoot on every Shoot Day. I’ll meet with Director of Photography Simeon Duncombe and together we’ll ascertain how long we need to shoot each scene based on the page count and plan accordingly.

 

Boom. Scheduling. Piece of cake. It’s weirdly therapeutic and relaxing actually, and it’s illuminated a couple of pacing issues I wouldn’t have found until the edit, such as “Ooh, there’s too many long scenes at once, we need some short montage shots or something,” and “Ooh, this character disappears for three scenes but TWENTY pages, that’s too long.”

 

Oh, and here’s a picture of Cohen. As well as being super talented and intelligent, he’s hilarious, sexy and easygoing.

This is Cohen Holloway, gorgeous kiwi actor, on the Sundance festival red carpet in 2011

This is Cohen Holloway, gorgeous kiwi actor, on the Sundance festival red carpet in 2011

 

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og_image Feature Film Test

Feature Film Test Shoot (VIDEO)

Get your friends and do a test shoot

Alright, so much to learn! Me and Simeon nipped out after work around 3pm and got some shots of me (playing Dan, the lead character) running about through Wellington’s gorgeous Breaker Bay. Then Emma Draper (playing Sophia, the leading lady) joined us with our fantastic friend David Chatterton and we shot some dialogue on the beach.

 

You’ll remember Emma from About Last Night | Nick and Alice, and David from Kind Eyes.

 

 

Simeon Duncombe DOP Test shoot

Simeon Duncombe, our DoP and camera operator (and gear provider), getting a feel for the look of Chronesthesia (working title)

 

The test shoot was used to see how the camera would look in certain places, and also to experiment with keeping the camera static on a tripod and what we could do to make the film look visually interesting. It’s difficult when you can’t do big sweeping movements, but the alternative is handheld which is in danger of looking amateur.

I’ve learned a lot about the dialogue and the vibe of the two lead characters and draft four will incorporate all my new ideas. One thing I’ll relax on is length of dialogue. When the camera is set up and you’ve got a nice looking single shot on a character talking, it takes an insignificant amount of time to pop off an extra page of dialogue. So in draft four, all the conversations will flow a lot freer and longer.

The score was rushed but I feel like I’m getting a feel for the creepy, slightly tense melodies I’m wanting to create for the film. Plus this scene takes place just over halfway through the film where things have started to get weird. All up, test shoots are a very good idea.

 

Please enjoy!

 

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Simeon Duncombe

Introducing Simeon Duncombe | DOP

Simeon Duncombe, a.k.a. Semmo

 

Making a feature film with zero dollars is a stupid idea. It’s a wonderful idea too, otherwise I wouldn’t be doing it, but mostly it’s foolishly ambitious. An indispensable crew member is the DoP, the Director of Photography, in charge of the look of the film.

 

I’m super lucky where I know this man, Simeon Duncombe. Simeon (pronounced Simon or Semmo) is an animation supervisor at WETA digital and has a ridiculously massive project coming up in 2015, but he doesn’t let his mega long days stop him creating independent content.

 

He owns an entire film studio’s worth of gear, more or less. A camera, some rigs, editing gear, he’s nailed it. We’ve made a couple of projects together already, namely Dick Off, and we get on very well. He’s a fantastic collaborator and is on board for this ridiculous project we’re doing.

 

 

Simeon is also an accomplished director. His visually stunning short film Trick Meter (follow the link) has been acclaimed, featured on Short of the Week and hitting hard with not just the skateboarding community, but the filmmaking community too.

 

Simeon Duncombe DOP

 

This is Simeon in Wellington cafe Loretta during a meeting with me about the look of the film, which we are currently referring to as Chronesthesia.

 

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BTS: Draft Three is complete!

After meeting with a couple of really fantastic and enthusiastic readers, writers, producers and directors, I’ve attacked my third draft with a fervour unmatched by any writer to date.

 

There are big changes, subtle changes, and really big character changes. The leading antagonist, who is a sympathetic sufferer of a mental illness, has had a makeover and I’ve approached my first choice of who would play him. He’s a very busy and important actor who doesn’t work for free anymore but the least you can do is ask and hope the content speaks for itself and convinces him.

 

A cover page that says "Chronesthesia (working title) Written by Hayden J. Weal | Draft 3"

A cover page that says “Chronesthesia (working title) Written by Hayden J. Weal | Draft 3”

 

Excuse the crudity of the picture, my iPhone has been struggling of late. Also, see that Windows laptop? As of next week, taking its place is a MacBook Pro with 16gb RAM and a fast processor for video editing. It’s the most I’ve ever spent on one thing before, including plane tickets, but it’s gonna be worth it.

 

Things are coming into place. It’s early December and I plan to start shooting in January.

 

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BTS: Draft 2 finished!!

Oh I’m feeling good. After the trip to Melbourne and falling short of my goal of nine pages a day, I have finished draft 2 of the feature film.

draft 2

Now I’ll send it out to a few friends and get some much needed feedback. I found myself lapsing into vague descriptions for the third act because I’m counting on the location and cast really pulling that whole sequence together. There’s fighting and running and tricky camera work and I’m gonna need a huge collaboration effort there and I feel like writing it all down in detail would be pointless and presumptuous.

 

While it’s a sunny day, the conservatory where I’m writing is cold. I’m in my pink bathrobe, purple cotton pants I bought form Thailand when touristing around a temple ($2!) and my thick ugg boots Abby bought me for last year’s Christmas present.

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second draft feature film HJWBTS

BTS: Second draft begins

 

The first post on my Behind the Scenes page is about starting the second draft. How exciting!

 

 

My first draft was 84 pages. After meeting with two very talented writers, Kelly Kilgour and Steve Barr, and receiving a load of helpful feedback, I’ve began the plotting process of my second draft.

 

The second half of the second act is waffly and boring, that has been completely removed and re-beated from scratch. My character motivation is unbelievable for a good 20 pages so that has been rectified (I hope).

 

I’ve made the decision that I’ll write 9 pages a day for the 10 days I’m here and that’ll steer me in good steed.

 

After the second draft, I’m already excited for the third draft.

 

Wish me luck.

 

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