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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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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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 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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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

 

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