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 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.

 

More Behind the Scenes

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
Sing Street, Beautiful Ruins, My Dad Wrote a Porno

Winter 2016 Media Picks

 

Winter can be a bastard

 

Rain getting all over your shoes and making your socks wet? Oh fuck that noise. Waking up and feeling the chill of the air as you walk to the bathroom. A nice hot shower is a temporary reprieve sure, then what happens when you turn the stream off and the mist clears, leaving you to tiptoe around the bathroom, drying yourself as quickly as you can so you can put on the underwear you’ve left draped over the heater? The small frustrations and discomforts of the cold season can be thwarted and overcome by the clever consumer. No, not a heater, although those help. A crackling fire in the grate will always do the trick but that luxury has become rare.

 

To warm the heart, a romance is needed. To warm the brain, an intellectually stimulating idea or discussion. To warm the torso, a comedy. I can do you two for three.

 

FILM: SING STREET (2016)

 

Sing Street poster

Directed by John Carney. Starring Ferdia Walsh-Peelo (who?), Lucy Boynton (who?), Jack Reynor (some people might know him).

 

Carney, the writer and director, has written and directed two other films, both featuring romance and music at the forefront. Once (2006), made on a very small budget, and Begin Again (2013) when he had a big more clout. Enough clout to get Keira Knightley and Mark Ruffalo to star. Both of these films are charming and have great tunes, but Sing Street is a massive step ahead of them. There’s something irresistible about the enthusiasm and fearlessness of the lead character Cosmo, a high school kid who starts a band in order to get a pretty girl to hang out with him.

 

The film looks great too. Set in 1980s Ireland, there are plenty of muted tones during scenes at the uniformed school, but when the makeshift teenage band film their music videos out in the streets and by the ocean, the film is filled with blues and oranges and wind in hair and clothes, making things feel alive and exciting.

 

 

And of course, young love. Who can beat it? The chemistry is great between the actors. The dialogue made me laugh every minute. The story of Cosmo and his dysfunctional family going through hard times compliments the coming of age story as he finds out what turns himself on. Music. Pop rock music in the 80s.

 

I rated Sing Street 10/10 on IMDb, something that took a great deal of thought as I take my movie rating very seriously. When it comes down to it, this film made me feel love. I felt nostalgic for a time I haven’t even lived in, nostalgic for a group of friends I never had, and a girl I’d never met. And the music! I like 80s pop sure, but it’s not my favoured genre. Despite this, the Sing Street single Drive It Like You Stole It is quickly becoming my most played track of the year. I can’t recommend this film highly enough.

 

 

BOOK: BEAUTIFUL RUINS

 

 

Beautiful Ruins Jess Walter

 

Written by Jess Walter.

Jess Walter is an American writer who’s written six novels to date, over a dozen short stories and plenty of poetry. He runs a podcast with an author friend where they discuss literature, music and other art and have guests perform poetry and music. Beautiful Ruins is currently being adapted into a film.

 

Beautiful Ruins was released in 2012 and I have sentimental history with it. I was in Bali with my partner at the time and she was suffering from a fever. I had borrowed the book from a friend with her high recommendation. I started reading it in the cheap hotel we were staying, pausing every sixty seconds to run hot water over a flannel for my poor girlfriend. Facing the full night in the hotel room, I bought a pack of Guinness and settled in. I absolutely devoured it.

 

Four years later, I’m struggling to enjoy reading. I put down my third book in a row that I can’t finish. I’m bored. Nothing is getting to me. I can’t seem to enjoy prose or character or plot, choosing to swipe through Facebook instead of finishing the chapter. I decide, like any good reader should, to reread something that touched me in the past. I choose Beautiful Ruins. I’ve bought this book a few times for gifts in the past, intending to read it again but never getting around to it. Of course, part of me is concerned. What if I don’t like it as much as I remember? Will the memory of reading it beat out the actual experience of reading it?

 

I needn’t have worried. Without giving away anything important about the plot, this book is about love. Spanning over multiple continents and decades, the cast of characters as they weave through each other’s lives ensures you’re never bored. Walter has written in a variety of forms. You’ve got your usual third person narrative, then we have a chapter of first person thought, a stream of consciousness movie pitch in Hollywood, the opening chapter of a character’s autobiography, an opening chapter of another character’s unfinished novel.

 

Beautiful Ruins Pasquale Dee

Pasquale and Dee as portrayed by cover art

 

The story is about Pasquale, an Italian hotel owner in his twenties on a remote island, who meets and falls for American actress Dee Moray during a short stay of hers. I really liked it when I read it the first time, but the second time I read it I loved it. Passionately. I was bawling, tears streaming down my face and blurring my vision so much I had to take a break, breathe through it, before I could continue reading. It’s a fulfilling book.

 

PODCAST: MY DAD WROTE A PORNO

 

 

Belinda Blinked My Dad Wrote a Porno

 

Recorded by James cooper, Jamie Morton and Alice Levine

 

Whether you’re big on podcasts or not, this is a must listen. It’s a phenomenally funny piece of pop culture, quickly gaining more and more listeners world wide. It started off simply enough. Morton, upon discovering his father had written an entire erotic novel, enlisted his friends James and Alice to listen to him read it, chime in with thoughts and feelings they experienced, and recorded it.

 

The book itself is at once hilariously cringe-worthy, explicitly sexual, anatomically misguided, poorly written yet strangely addictive and absorbing. The story follows Belinda Blumenthal as she’s hired at ‘Steeles Pots and Pans’ and attempts to rise in the business world while having a vast amount of strange and colourful sex with an eclectic mix of partners.

 

Jamie Morton, James Cooper and Alice Levine

James Cooper, Jamie Morton and Alice Levine

 

The friendship of Cooper, Morton and Levine makes the podcast what it is. Levine is often disgusted but always quick to joke, Cooper enjoys the lurid details of female body from the safe vantage of homosexuality, while Morton reads on, playing Devil’s advocate when necessary to salvage what he can of his father’s reputation (pen name Rocky Flintstone). The camaraderie and quick wit of the team combined with the icky and outlandish source material make listening to the latest episode of My Dad Wrote a Porno the funnest hour of your week.

 

Bring on Spring

Those three things have been lifesavers during this cold blue season. All things considered, we are lucky people to be alive and able to consume media at such a time that these three exist.

 

I’m looking forward to the second season of My Dad Wrote a Porno, as well as Carney’s next film and Walter’s next book. In the meantime, we can busy ourselves with rereading, rewatching and relistening to the magic that is Beautiful Ruins, Sing Street and My Dad Wrote a Porno.

 

Cheers and enjoy your winter!

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

 

More Behind the Scenes

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
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
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!

 

More HJWBTS

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

<a href="http://www.haydenjweal holland apotheke viagra.com/bts/chronesthesia-premiere/”>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 […]

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Hayden J. Weal holding Chronesthesia hard drive

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Silhouette Hayden camera with Nova sunset

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Hayden J. Weal in front of computer editing

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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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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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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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 […]

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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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Chronesthesia Love and Time Travel Shanghai International Film Festival

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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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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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HJW’s Top 20 Movies of 2014

Best 20 MOVIES of 2014 as voted by HJW

 We had some absolute crackers this year. A lot of sequels, remakes, films based on novels, and a few originals. Having gotten free movies all year and being a massive movie fan, I’ve been privileged enough to have seen the vast majority of theatrical released films in New Zealand.

In reverse order, here are my top 20 favourite films of 2014, rated using a complex emotional algorithm of enjoyment.

Please note, because I live in New Zealand, there are a number of fantastic films I haven’t seen this year due to them not being released here yet, like Birdman.

20 to 17 best films

20. Magic in the Moonlight

Director/Writer: Woody Allen
Starring Colin Firth, Emma Stone

Some people took the piss outta this one because of the age difference of the romantic leads. Granted, Woody Allen married his adopted daughter, so I kinda get where they’re coming from. But the film is charming. Colin Firth seems as if he’s trying his best to speak louder in every scene than anyone else, and Emma Stone, in my opinion, is at her most beautiful in this film. Cute, light, easy with enjoyable dialogue and an interesting pro-atheism undertone.

19. Predestination

Directors/Writers: Peter and Michael Spierig
Starring Ethan Hawke, Sarah Snook

I’m a sucker for time travel, and I loved the Spierig brothers last vampire film Daybreakers. This drama action thriller period piece sci-fi film dealing with chicken and egg time travel paradoxes was a breath of fresh air in terms of structure, having a forty minute dialogue scene drawing you in with a lax smugness. A sunny, stylish look with Australian actress Sarah Snook playing a convincing man. Ethan aswell, you’ll see him pop on the list again later…

18. Whiplash

Director/Writer: Damien Chazelle
Starring Miles Teller, J.K. Simmons

Many friends have this film in their top five. The tension, the music, the chemistry. It’s a great film. Developed through the Sundance program (like Taika Waititi’s Boy), Whiplash was a wonderful sidestep from the usual Hollywood paradigm.

17. The Trip to Italy

Director/Writer: Michael Winterbottom
Starring Steve Coogan, Rob Brydon

In their foray to Italy, it’s Rob Brydon who gets to fiddle with the locals, cheating on his loving wife. There’s something about older people’s constant search for happiness that I find intriguing and a great source for humour and pathos. Steve Coogan and Rob Brydon’s bromance really make the film, with their constant bickering and occasional genuine love for each other compliment the ambling plot.

16 to 13 best films

16. Mr. Peabody & Sherman

Director: Rob Minkoff
Writers: Craig Wright (screenplay), Jay Ward (original series)
Starring the voices of Ty Burrell, Max Charles

I laughed, learned, and teared up. There’s something really attractive about films made for a family audience. Something unapologetic. They ride out there, crossing the line of cheese, getting away with dialogue and plot twists that a more ‘mature’ film could never.

15. Gone Girl

Director: David Fincher
Writer: Gillian Flynn (novel and screenplay)
Starring Ben Affleck, Rosamund Pike

I read Gone Girl when I learnt it was to be directed by David Fincher. I LOVED the book. There were constant twists and turns and the characterization is terrifying. People’s inherent desires are fucked. The film was really enjoyable to watch despite having all the substance of the story already given to me from the book.

14. Interstellar

Director: Christopher Nolan
Writer: Jonathan Nolan
Starring Matthew McConaughey, Anne Hathaway

Oh man. What a ride. I saw this in the third biggest screen in the world, Melbourne’s SEVEN STORY HIGH IMAX. Good god I thought I was gonna have a panic attack in some scenes, it was glorious. There has been so much said about this film, so many different opinions, and the most common (and the one that I share) is that it was a beautiful mess. Overly emotional too quick, it had some incredible effects sequences and some pointless tension building, but was a helluva ride.

13. St. Vincent

Director/Writer: Theodore Melfi
Starring Bill Murray, Jaeden Leiberher

Another father son story. I’m a sucker for those. Like Mr. Peabody & Sherman, it just got to me. It’s the father son stuff. It was funny too. And it went to places I didn’t think it would go. An overlooked gem.

12 to 9 best films

12. The Interview

Directors: Seth Rogen, Evan Goldberg
Writers: Dan Sterling (screenplay), Seth and Evan (story)
Starring Seth Rogen, James Franco

After all the hullaballoo, I wasn’t let down. This is an insensitive, offensive romp filled with sex jokes and poo jokes. Loved it. Seth Rogen and Evan Goldberg are filmmakers. They know their craft. They’ve written hit after hit, and this second whack at directing proves they can craft killer sequences and pay offs. Not for everybody – definite not – but I’m the target demographic and I laughed a lot.

11. Nightcrawler

Director/Writer: Dan Gilroy
Starring Jake Gyllenhaal, Rene Russo

Oh man, I was not prepared for this film. It felt like the 2014 version of American Psycho, Jake Gyllenhaal’s gaunt, brooding, fiercely ambitious anti-hero serving as a much more entertaining watch than Christian Bale’s. The music, the editing, the tension, all of it made the film pack massive punch. Loved it.

10. Neighbours (Bad Neighbours)

Director: Nicholas Stoller
Writers: Andrew J. Cohen, Brendan O’Brien
Starring Seth Rogen, Zac Efron

With his second film in my top twenty, Seth Rogen is really impressing me this year. Last year his directorial debut This is The End blew me away with laughs and action, and this year he’s smacking it outta the park with juvenile humour that has a strange heart to it. Rose Byrne is one of the funniest and most loveable characters ever and Zac Efron topless gets a big thumbs up from me any day.

9. Dawn of the Planet of the Apes

Director: Matt Reevs
Writers: Mark Bomback, Rick Jaffa
Starring Andy Serkis, Jason Clarke

It’s not often I see blockbusters twice at the cinema where I have to pay, but Apes was worth seeing on the Embassy’s massive screen twice. Cranking music, awesome effects, genuine heart and an interesting play on the development of language and the issues of pack mentality, Caeser and his son’s story brought this one into the top ten for me.

8 to 5 best films

8. Pride

Director: Matthew Warchus
Writer: Stephen Beresford
Starring Ben Shnetzer, George MacKay

My favourite Uncle died of AIDS when I was twelve so this story hit me hard. I saw this with my mum and her husband and couldn’t help but be brought into the story by the charm and irresistible flamboyance of the characters. Also, it’s a true story which makes it more weighty emotionally.

7. X-Men: Days of Future Past

Director: Bryan Singer
Writers: Simon Kinberg (screenplay), Jane Goldman (story)
Starring Hugh Jackman, James MacAvoy

Hugh Jackman is huge. Even though Wolverine has the most screen time and the most plot, he’s also the character with the least development and lacks an arc, but that’s okay coz his muscles are massive. Great to float back to the 70s, see James MacAvoy rocking out some tears again, and bring back so many well-loved characters. The only thing that let me down was the music. I miss Henry Jackman’s themes he set up so well in First Class.

6. The Equalizer

Director: Antoine Fuqua
Writers: Richard Wenk, Michael Sloan (original TV series)
Starring Denzel Washington, Chloe Grace Moretz

Violent, loud, over the top – the perfect movie to see with friends. It’s a remake of a TV show, but really it’s a simple premise. Denzel kicks arse. Chloe’s barely in the movie, which was fine by me. Ever since rewatching Man on Fire and Deja Vu, and seeing as Tony Scott has left a gigantic hole in action movie production over the last few years, I was looking forward to this and wasn’t disappointed. Big loud fun.

5. 22 Jump Street

Directors: Phil Lord, Christopher Miller
Writers: Michael Bacall, Oren Uziel, Rodney Rothman
Starring Jonah Hill, Channing Tatum

These directors know what they’re doing. They seem to love films and enjoy playing with cliches, foreshadowing, MacGuffin’s, Red Herrings, and other plot devices which the cop action genre lends itself to so well. With a bigger budget comes bigger scope and Jonah Hill’s performance is more fun to watch than the action. Had to see this twice at the movies and rewatch at home too.

4 to 1 best films

4. How to Train Your Dragon 2

Director: Dean DeBlois
Writers: Dean DeBlois, Cressida Cowell (book)
Starring the voices of Jay Baruchel, Cate Blanchett

Since seeing this a second time, I realized I’ve put it this high up on the list largely based on nostalgia. John Powell’s incredible themes is half the reason I love these films so much, and the Kid and his Pet story harks back to films I loved as a kid like Free Willy and E.T. Every frame could be a painting and every sequence could be a carnival ride, the only thing marring this film (in my opinion) was the fact the family dog kills the father. It’s kinda full on.

3. Edge of Tomorrow

Director: Doug Liman
Writers: Christopher McQuarrie, Jez Butterworth, John-Henry Butterworth, Hiroshi Sikurazaka (novel)
Starring Tom Cruise, Emily Blunt

Mission Impossible III is my favourite action film (big call) so I was very disappointed and saddened by the Tom Cruise backlash of recent years. However, he really brought things back with MI4 and now, after Edge of Tomorrow, you can almost physically feel the public opinion of the Cruise sway back into his favour. This film is smart, exciting, and had a lot of people scratching their heads and being forced to use their brains. Always a good thing.

2. The Grand Budapest Hotel

Director: Wes Anderson
Writers: Wes Anderson, Hugo Guinness (story), Stefan Zweig (inspired by the writings of)
Starring Ralph Fiennes, Tony Revolori

It’s almost as if all Wes Anderson’s previous films have been leading up to this one. The score is perfect, the production design is perfectly fit, the acting, dialogue and story are really firing on all cylinders, making this film the most well crafted piece of art of the year. Ralph Fiennes had me in hysterics with his love of old women and sporadic outbursts of anger, and the sweet relationship between his character and his protege made the film climb to number 2 on my most enjoyed films of the year list.

1. Boyhood

Director/Writer: Richard Linklater
Starring Ellar Coltrane, Ethan Hawke

Everything I can say about this film can be summed up in my review I wrote after seeing it. What a deep ride from such a committed and enthralling filmmaking team. My favourite film of the year, Boyhood.

HONOURABLE MENTIONS

honourable mention

 

 

Begin AgainBest Indie Vibe Film

Mark Ruffalo and Keira Knightley are secondary stars to the music in this film, and it’s message about how an audience respects and will appreciate genuine heart in a product over money-making ideals inspired me. Also, any film where you’ve got a scruffy haired scoundrel waking up in New York apartment with an empty bottle beside the bed and smoking a cigarette on their balcony gets points for effort.

 

Teenage Mutant Ninja TurtlesMost Fun Film

The turtles had character and made me genuinely laugh. The sequence at the end where they come out and tell each other how they really feel made me tear up, and Megan Fox was in the movie too, however overshadowed she was by the masterful visual effects sequences.

 

Housebound and The Dark Horse | Best Kiwi Films

Wow. What a year from New Zealand films. These two are already slated as kiwi classics in my mind. Hilarious micro budget horror comedy Housebound and dark dramatic true story biopic The Dark Horse.

 

Reading back and remembering all the joy filled hours I had sitting a darkened room with light splayed on a white screen, I feel very fortunate to be in a world where such entertaining stories are created.

I came out of each of these films with a wide smile and something roaring inside me; a yearning to be part of that world. The world of movies. This year, 2015, I’m joining that world with my no budget feature. Please subscribe and follow my journey at HJWBTS.

 

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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

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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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Do you ever feel embarrassed admitting you like Iggy Azalea and Ariana Grande’s song Problem? Greeted with furrowed brows when confessing to rereading the Harry Potter series? Laughed at when coming clean about your love for anal?

 

NOT ANYMORE!

 

hayden j weal naked queenstown

FREEDOM!

 

You don’t choose what gets you going any more than you choose to be heterosexual or Asian or have freckles, dimples, crooked teeth, red blood or brown poo. It’s ingrained in our genetic code, meshed and melded by various life experiences . We have no control over it, so why must we have any emotional protectiveness over what other people think of it?

 

I dig The Beatles despite my parents never listening to them in the house. I never listen to The Bee Gees although their hits were on every family cassette tape and played on a constant, screeching loop in the car. My favourite colour is purple and I have no idea why. I’m not gonna question it. Why would I? Why should I?

 

The Beatles. Purple. The dream.

 

Okay sure, I kind of understand certain associations. If you say you genuinely like Justin Bieber as a person, you’re putting yourself out there for scrutiny because you’re saying you feel some level of parallel thinking toward him and the silly mistakes he continues to make. I’d also cringe and jump to assumptions about you as a person if you told me you were a fan of Hitler. Unanimously, the world agrees Hitler’s views were evil so if you feel an affinity for that dude, we’re gonna look at you with scared eyes and you’ll have a hard go of it making friends.

 

Hitler and Bieber

 

However, let me paint a picture and let’s dissect it. This actually happened.

 

I’m at work. Standing behind a counter, serving movie tickets, making coffees, flirting with ladies over 60, the usual. I’m chatting with workmates about films when two young ladies approach us. I turn, flash my winning smile and ask them how I can help.

“Two tickets for the 6:30, please. Students,” one of them says. She’s got straw coloured hair and little stud earrings. She’s pretty.

“No worries. You heard much about it?” I ask.

“‘Sposed to be good,” she says.

Her friend pipes up. “Awesome soundtrack apparently.”

“Yeah, the music is great,” I say. “It’s kinda like Journey 2: The Mysterious Island, you ever see that?”

Blank looks.

“You know, Josh Hutcherson and The Rock team up with Vanessa Hudgens and they go on an adventure…” I continue. “It’s awesome. The Rock does his pec-pop of love in 3D and the berries come out at you…”

An awkward silence.

“Isn’t that film for kids?” the pretty one asks, lip curling in an ugly sneer.

I shrug. “Yeah. It’s good fun.”

Her eyes bug out and she draws in a big breath. “Okay…”

 

Hayden J. Weal About Last Night

Wut…?

 

Alright. What the fuck happened there?

I was made out to feel like I should apologise for not being cool. As if enjoying a film made for kids means I have inferior tastes to someone who exclusively enjoys classics. This is not an okay way to make people feel. Everybody is allowed to like whatever they damn well please.

 

LIKE WHAT YOU LIKE

 

And relax if it’s not synonymous with everyone else’s likes. Yes, I like the song Problem by Iggy Azalea and Ariana Grande. I love the Harry Potter books and reread them often. I rewatch the movies too.

As for the anal thing, I’m actually unsure. But if I had a penchant for it, I’d come out with it.

I also like The Hunger Games and Zac Efron and went and saw The Equalizer the other night and loved it. Denzel Washington kicking arse and taking names in an R18 violent vigilante flick that critics scoff at but audiences love. Some of these things are considered uncool for a 26 year old male to enjoy but I’m stoked! I dig them!

 

WHOA!

WHOA!

 

A lot of people are so concerned with how they’re coming off to the rest of the world, poring over status updates, rewording tweets and applying filters to photos that they have no idea how to react when somebody unashamedly states they enjoy something that’s deemed ‘uncool’ by a ‘cool’ demographic.

 

Same goes for the pressures to like something. Don’t enjoy smoking? Sex? One Direction? That’s entirely up to you and don’t let anyone tell you it’s strange or embarrassing. I’m lucky I have a relatively fortified self esteem so insults about my preferences tend to bead off my feathers onto the dusty ground. But for a lot of people, the ridicule sinks in and they find the best solution is to alter their likes according to what’s acceptable in their social group. Fuck ’em. Like what you like.

 

When you’re watching that cheesy romance film or listening to that guilty pleasure album, what do those people’s views (I believe the modern term is ‘haters’) matter?  Besides, their scoffing faces blur into the background when placed alongside Zefron’s rock hard abs.

 

ABS ABS ABS

ABS ABS ABS

 

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Wednesday | 4:32pm

The edits are coming along fine but the editors have a severe lack of things to do. They are currently sitting around making tiny tweaks on their small amount of footage, waiting for the rest of the crew to shoot something so they can edit more. I’m gonna head back to the hotel at 5pm as I’m getting a little sick of hearing Jerry the editor scratch his hair and body (these things happen when you’re in a small room with one other person for a prolonged period of time) then I’ll come back with Aliff around 9-10pm and stay until morning. It’s gonna be uncomfortable but I’ll manage.

editor sleeps kuching 48hours

Crew members need sleep. 48hour film festival can be detrimental to one’s health

Earlier, I went for a fantastic poo. But sadly – it pains me to relive this -no toilet paper. There isn’t any toilet paper in the whole university despite its 20,000 students. So, I crouched on the soaking wet toilet seat (as the douche next to it must be regularly used) and proceeded to shit all over the back of the seat on accident, not being used to the angle. Only one of two nuggets landed on the seat so I washed them back into the bowl with the douche, the fact dawning on me that this is possibly why the seat was so wet in the first place. Now I wish I at least photographed them as evidence like a national geographic journalist capturing the trials of a traveller aboard.

Afterward, I tried to ignore the fact that the cleaner was in the bathroom and would’ve seen my poo still in the toilet, as the fucking thing didn’t flush either. It sat there, as pathetic as the foreigner it recently escaped from. I hurried back to the cinematography building with a sweaty, shitty arse and a longing for the creature comforts I’m used to.
Hours later when I couldn’t bare the itchiness a second longer, I requested some tissues and excused myself for a well deserved, long awaited wipe.

 

7:50pm

Had a fifteen minute sleep in my hotel room. Strangely, today is the first time I haven’t fallen asleep on the way back from the university in Yusef’s hot car. Usually the heat, fatigue and winding roads drags me into a slumber quick smart but not today. Today I was wide awake the whole trip, txting and whatsapping and restless.

After my nap, I woke up and sat on my phone then read with a coffee. I’m waiting for Aliff to pick me up now. We planned to have a big dinner together but he has cancelled this as Team Skywar are still filming and he wants to be there for it. I have rushed out to grab a bite to eat before the final fourteen hours of the competition whack me over the face.

Cats Kuching

Cats everywhere in Kuching. Just everywhere.

I’m the only diner on the top floor of this restaurant next door to the hotel. It smells faintly of human poo – maybe that’s why. That, and the stray cats vying for food.

 

10:28pm

We are crammed in Aliff’s office, crowding around a table with four MacBooks on it. Two teams editing their films side by side, it’s beautiful really. The editing assistants source music and sound while the editors try to put together their masterpieces. I watch, gnawing my fist at their toddler-like pace. No, that’s rough – I’m letting the lack of sleep get to me. I have to remember that for them, this experience is exciting and new. They’re funny. They still call me Mr. Hayden which I secretly love because it makes me feel like a grown up and that I have something to offer the world that isn’t merely a childlike naïvety, the thing I’m most praised for.

We all gathered for the final stretch in Aliff's office. Two teams, four MacBooks, and a whole lotta brotherhood

We all gathered for the final stretch in Aliff’s office. Two teams, four MacBooks, and a whole lotta brotherhood

We are officially in our last quarter, time-wise. Aliff is pressuring Skywar to reshoot shots and I’m not in a place to argue. There are conversations regarding colour grades, sound design, all sorts. It’s heavenly. Exactly my nerdy kind of scene.

 

Thursday | 1:10am

The intervening hour and a half was spent shooting for the crew, and eating for us. Me, Aliff, Chong and Justin went out and got a cheap spicy feed from a surprisingly busy outdoor market. We sat and drank hot milky bubbly tea and slurped our noodles with shellfish and jalapeños, discussing the differences between NZ food and Malaysian food.

malaysian food

Delicious, spicy, juicy Malaysian food and wonderful company.

The plan was to get a Starbucks coffee after, my shout, as they’d never had one before, but midnight ticked over while we sat there and we watched the lights go out. I promised them one in the morning as they are quite expensive and considered a superfluous luxury. Now I’m settling in for a small nap while the editors edit their new footage. Both teams have completed their shooting. Good times!

 

5:48am

The edits are basically locked, sound, music and colour grade being the chief concentration these last couple of hours. Of course, the lecturers have taken control, leaning over their students and prying the keyboard to change what they feel needs to be changed which I can imagine to be infuriating for the students but they don’t say anything.

I slept on the hard floor and am feeling more tired and fatigued than usual. It’s almost welcomed as I felt I wasn’t putting in enough effort before, but now I am. I went through Skywar’s edit with the assistant editor while the editor scratched himself in his sleep on the floor and made small tweaks to sound to clean it up, always taking care to check and explain to the assistant editor so she understood I wasn’t cleaving into her work unduly. This was a lengthy process as explaining these edits to a friend would have taken time, but to someone who speak English as a second language? Despite this, we got there.

Is there a more satisfying feeling?

Is there a more satisfying feeling? The exporting!

I haven’t watched a full cut of Xpress’s film yet because they are constantly bent over two laptops working furiously at it and I don’t want to interrupt, but will have to soon.

Aliff really wants to use copyrighted music so I’ve had to explain that it would render their team disqualified. He finds this unfair. He wants to use the song Killing Me Softly.

Time is ticking away. We have four hours to complete the challenge.

 

10:08am

We have crossed the finish line with roaring success!! Everyone clapped and we all took a whole bunch of photos to celebrate. For that glorious moment, everyone forgets how much they smell and itch and ache. We are all filmmakers! And the films are surely Oscar worthy!

Success! Celebration!

Success! Celebration!

Both teams completed and exported their films with a healthy amount of time to spare. Time for Starbucks then back to the hotel for a lengthy shower.

 

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Boyhood worth the 12 year wait

Alright, alright, alright.

 

Richard Linklater has directed two films in my top ten. The eternally entertaining (and career making) Dazed and Confused, and the beautiful romance trilogy Before Sunrise, Sunset, Midnight (it’s a series, but I’m gonna refer to it as a single entity for the sake of cleanliness).

 

 

Ethan Hawke Julie Delpy

Before Sunrise. A dialogue driven romance. I’ve lost track of the names people have called me for liking these films so much.

 

Because of this, I’ve anticipated the release of Boyhood for a very long time. It was always listed on IMDb as Linklater’s ‘Untitled 12 Year Project’ since I can remember. I used to scour the internet for details like a mum nit-checking their kid, frantic and forever hopeful, and I’d return fruitless. Nitless and dejected.

 

For those of you not familiar with the project, let me summarize:

Richard Linklater, phenomenal director specialising in coming-of-age, existential, poignant and funny films, was watching his 6 year old daughter dancing and singing around the hosue one day.

‘I’d love to capture that feeling of growing up,’ he thought. ‘But how do I do it? I don’t wanna center the story around one particular experience because that doesn’t encapsulate the feeling of growing up, so what do I do?’

His solution: he’d shoot 3-5 days per year for TWELVE YEARS, capturing the essence of growing throughout the life of a modern, normal kid. The good times, the bad times, the times that nobody think matter, a bit of all of it.

So that’s what he did.

 

I was around 14 when they started shooting this damn thing, and I was obsessed with Dazed. I’d watch it every Saturday with my friends. It helped us get in the mood for partying and encouraged us to do something stupid. Fast forward twelve years and Linklater’s given us Before Sunrise, SubUrbia, Waking Life, School of Rock, Before Sunset, Fast Food Nation, A Scanner Darkly, Me and Orson Welles (starring my good friend Zac Efron), Bernie and my favourite film of last year, Before Midnight.

 

Boyhood

Ellar Coltrane, the boy in Boyhood, in his youngest portrayal of our hero, Mason.

 

Then I saw it, in the 2014 NZ International Film Festival program, Boyhood. I bought tickets with a large group and waited.

And waited.

And scrolled through twitter, my heart lurching every time it was mentioned. Boyhood sat comfortably on 100% positive reviews on Rotten Tomatoes and some industry friends had seen it at a super-mega-VIP screening to glowing reviews.

Eventually, the day dawned. Sunday 3rd August. Me and my girlfriend (ultra-aware of my excitement – poor girl has become nearly as sensitive as I to nearby popcorn chewers or chip-packet-rustlers or whisperers) walked into the Embassy Theatre. It was packed. People everywhere. Large sweaty bodies milling around sipping Americanos, twiddling their facial hair and nibbling popcorn.

The 12 year progression of Mason (Ellar)

The 12 year progression of Mason (and Ellar)

 

Then the film played. The whole premise is risky. It’s different. The result is beautiful. Just under three hours of naturalistic acting and wavy emotional beats with no distinctive “plot”, but a strong and affecting “story”. Laughs are scattered throughout, especially when Mason is a boy, and there are some heavily dramatic scenes, through the most intense of which I could feel my heart racing in my ears. Linklater nails tension, something he’s not particularly known for.

The films starts Ellar Coltrane in the leading role, the boy whose boyhood we watch unfold and unravel. He’s mega-natural and charming, an adorable kid who grows into an awkward but likable man.

Patricia Arquette (who I’ve never liked – don’t tell anyone) is fantastic in her ‘single mother struggling with bad life decisions’ role. It’s easily the best I’ve ever seen her.

Ethan Hawke plays Ellar’s father and you could feel the audience yearning for more every time he left a scene. I dig him, he’s intelligent and cool (the guy wrote Before Sunset and Before Midnight with Linklater and co-star Julie Delpy and is coming fresh from an Oscar nomination for Best Adapted Screenplay last year!).

Mason’s fast-talking and eye-rolling sister Samantha is played by Linklater’s real life daughter Lorelei, the former 6 year old dancing, singing, kooky kid who inspired the thought process behind the project.

Lorelei Linklater

Lorelei Linklater and Patricia Arquette – the two beautiful women who play the beautiful women in Mason’s life

 

Lorelei begged her dad to play the role when she was 6 and daddy acquiesced. Years later when entering her early teens, Lorelei wanted out and begged for her character to be killed off. Relax, this doesn’t happen, Lorelei regained enthusiasm in the project after those awkward image conscious, breast-growing years and  lo, she seems to be a lot of people’s favourite thing about the film. Particularly as a young ‘un, she’s hilarious.

 

The look of Boyhood is perfunctory but lovely. Despite being shot over 12 years, the colours match almost seamlessly. The first half of the film has that beautiful, muted, slightly pastel patina reminiscent of great ’90s films, pulling me straight into Dazed and Confused nostalgia.

 

Dazed and Confused

Dazed and Confused (1993)
The epitome of teen coming-of-age film. The role that made McConaughey cool.

 

The soundtrack. The soundtrack. It kills it. It absolutely nails every period of time, encapsulating the feeling of that period of your life and pulling you back to it. I’m talking Britney Spears, The Hives, Coldplay, Blink 182, then we get into the indie hits that everyone felt they were original for listening to, Phoenix, Wilco, Kings of Leon, Foster The People… oh, and there’s a Sheryl Crow number in there too, that’s the only one that stumped me.

 

And maybe best of all…

 

Besides the amazing premise, killer soundtrack, gorgeous look and naturalistic acting, Boyhood references Harry Potter and The Beatles numerous times. I was in heaven. One of my favourite directors referencing Harry Potter is like putting crack in the chocolate sauce of a chocolate cake laced with ecstasy. And, as if he needed to push my euphoria even further, Ethan Hawke relishes these lengthy Beatles diatribes as he’s genuinely into them. I felt myself leave my body. Who needs drugs when you have pure escapism like this film?

 

Zoe Graham

This girl is in the film too. Zoe Graham. Truly, go see this movie

 

The supporting cast are flawless too. There’s a wonderful Dazed and Confused cameo, a couple of cracker real world villains and this little number above, Zoe Graham. Linklater has a penchant for casting strange looking girls whose beauty grows on your brain like moss and Boyhood is no exception. But for once, I’m not gonna wax lyrical about pretty girls. Suffice it to say she’s a fantastic actress and plays her part as well as she plays my heart and let’s leave it there.

 

I love this movie. It’s a real head-spinning heart-twister. It comes to cinemas in NZ at the end of the month and I’ll be telling everyone who I respect to see it.

Richard Linklater, I can’t wait to shake your hand and thank you.

 

Ellar and Linklater

Leading man Ellar with legendary director Richard Linklater

 

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Housebound is our new Braindead

I know. Big call. But bear with me.

Okay, I just got back from the NZIFF’s Wellington premiere of Housebound. It’s a NZ made microbudget horror-comedy. It’s a scary movie that’s genuinely scary and what’s more, it’s a funny movie that’s genuinely funny. The crowd (while admittedly being an excitable audience) whooped and hollered throughout. I’m talking screams, guffaws, mass intakes of breath, the whole horror film shebang.

Housebound nz

 

Written and directed by Gerard Johnstone, Housebound was made as part of the Escalator scheme, chosen in 2010 for a measly but significant $250,000. It sounds like fuck all, and that’s because it is. Nobody is paid anywhere near half rate but that being said, without such a scheme, filmmakers on the shy side of experience may never get a shot at it, and the country should rejoice that Gerard Johnstone got the opportunity to craft this comedy milestone in NZ horror cinema.

 

Gerard Johnstone award

Gerard’s won awards and yet he looks so young!

 

Gerard has come into success with The Jacquie Brown Diaries, snagging Best Comedy Show at the NZ Film and TV Awards in 2009 and 2010, so he’s not new to comedy. Also, he won the 48hour filmmaking competition the very first year it was on. This is where his relationship with Ant Timpson (executive producer on Housebound) grew its manlove roots.

 

When the lights grew dim in the cinema, I looked around to see the Embassy Theatre FULL, save for a couple of the shitty rows down the front. A feat in itself, and on a Saturday night? Magic. I hastily switched my phone to Do Not Disturb but not before sending a final tweet.

 

About to see NZ horror comedy Housebound. Go kiwi comedy!

At the end of the film, I checked my phone to see a flurry of twitter notifications. Quint from aintitcool.com had replied claiming, ‘It’s a good un!’ which, coming from a world class reviewer of all films awesome, is high praise. I mean, I know Quint because he was flown to Aotearoa to hang out on set of The Hobbit for weeks at a time, one of the only film writers to be granted unadulterated access to Peter’s kingdom – because they’re friends.

 

While we’re on Peter, he’s been quoted saying Housebound is ‘bloody brilliant’. So there’s some nice praise too, from the director of NZ’s greatest horror comedy.

 

Morgana O'Reilly

Rima Te Wiata and Morgana O’Reilly – Two funny, fantastic, beautiful leads

 

I gotta tell you about the leading actress Morgana O’Reilly. She’s natural, she’s gorgeous, and she looks great and believable throwing some physical action around. She plays Kylie, a very unlikable, sarcastic, defensive bitch with a permanent scowl. It’s hard to like a character like this.

Sure, it doesn’t hurt that Morgana happens to be gorgeous, but there’s more going on. As the film progresses, Kylie softens to a number of other characters in a very slight way, but that ends up being enough for us to fall for her. Apart from being a superb actress, Morgana looks the part. Rocking stained sweat pants and a loose hoodie, she doesn’t fit the mold of ‘sexy bimbo horror lead’. She ends up giving of a ‘maneater bitch you used to see at parties who steals your weed and humiliates you but goddamn you wish you could kiss her’ vibe.

 

Glen-Paul Waru

A strong supporting cast ensures laughs

 

Housebound boasts the funniest performance by an on-screen mother since Shaun of the Dead, a bumbling but sweet Miriam played by Rima Te Wiata. Every time her face appeared on screen wearing a doltish expression, sympathetic laughter would ripple through the audience. Another huge source of laughs was Kylie’s adorable supernatural-enthusiast sidekick Amos, played by Glen-Paul Waru. It’s like you’re watching three of your best friends banter back and forth – which turns out to be very close to what happened. Waru is an old mate of Johnstone and, by the way Gerard talked about Rima at the Q&A afterward, he adores her. Add to the supporting cast a weathered possum-skinning neighbour, a dimwitted local police duo and a near-mute stepdad constantly draped in the world’s most horrendous woolen sweaters, you’ve got a pretty sweet lineup.

 

The film is shot incredibly well considering the budget. These guys mustn’t have had a lot to play with but numerous light sources in all scenes allows for complex shadows and the clever camera work allowed for effective shocks.

The special effects are good enough that you’d forget they’re even there.

The score is right on the mark, carrying the story comfortably through the suspense building sequences and a surprisingly touching end to Act Two.

But the real hero in Housebound is the art department. The house is ornately decorated with shining wood. Bizarre artifacts line the walls, a creepy basement is filled with cabinets, antiques and toys, and a secret room in a secret place is crowded with … I don’t wanna ruin too much. How they managed it with the budget is beyond me.

 

I was able to completely lose myself in this film because it felt like a film. Perhaps this is why the moments worked so well with an audience. There are plenty of laugh-out-loud moments, cheering moments, and gotcha moments. This was where Johnstone’s talent became clear. The audience were eating out of his hand. The music would build here, everyone would lean forward in their seats, the the camera would whip around, past the massive prop of Jesus (yup, there’s a massive Jesus in there) and the perfectly placed sound effect would do its job and audience loses their shit. Johnstone orchestrates his scenes like a director in control and in full knowledge of what each moments needs.

 

Housebound is a fun film. While horror isn’t a genre I rush to cinemas for, this film was different. It made me laugh and squirm in spades. Keep your eyes on Gerard Johnstone.

Fingers crossed he scores a decent fund for what his next feature film endeavour may be because he’s the kind of talent we should showcase more.

 

Housebound film

Housebound will be getting a NZ theatrical release September 2nd

 

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I just returned from watching The Dark Horse, a new New Zealand film based on the true story about Genesis Potini, a charismatic chess champion with slight mental instability.



The Dark Horse film

 

Uncle Cliff Curtis plays Genesis (or Gen) and Aptent he’s fucking incredible. He scoffed down a whole bunch of pies in order to gain 60 pounds so wholesale nfl jerseys he sports a nifty belly over the top of his trackies. Combine that with a carelessly patchy haircut, knocked-out front teeth and Curtis’ signature droopy-eye-look and we’ve got ourselves a monumental entry into the kiwi character actor’s hall of fame. Curtis, please join the likes of … hold on, that’s right, I don’t believe we have a hall of fame for character actors. Possibly we can count Sam Neill or Russell Crowe… shall we count them? Na, though amazing, I think everyone will agree that Cuzzy Cliff rocks it out on top of the pack. Cliff, allow your fine self to be our first.

 

Cliff Curtis Genesis

Cliff Curtis embodying Genesis Potini

We open in the Gisbourne rain as our lead actor and hero walks down the street draped in a multi-coloured quilt, wanders into a second-hand store and mumbles incessantly to himself over a chess board. Soon, we meet his charming dreadlocked brother of high rank in the violent Vagrant patch gang, and his nephew, a well-meaning but insecure and beaten-down young boy called Mana, played by the boy James Rolleston who played the boy in Boy. James has grown up and looks it with the teenage trademark acne and scowl combo. His character is the most heartbreaking and pitiful of the lot. James plays Mana perfectly, with loads of energy but restraint. There’s a scene where he cries and I immediately lost it. As soon as the credits were rolling, the cinema was alive with whispers praising his presence on screen and I’m in full agreement. Rock’n’Rolleston.

 

James Rolleston in Dark Horse

James Rolleston plays Mana and nails it

 

Emotionally, this film packs a solid punch. It has laughs, an underdog story, intense dramatic status battles, a slice of small-country action, a coming of age tale, a monster-in-my-head tale, and great dialogue delivered with gusto. The only thing it doesn’t have, and it’s inconspicuous in its absence, is a romance. This factor lacking doesn’t affect the film at all. There’s a lot of love, a lot of heart, but no sexual lust. If you’re going to a film about a mentally unstable chess guru coaching unbalanced kids and you’re looking for oder romance, you’ve come to the wrong place. DO NOT TAKE A FIRST DATE TO THIS FILM.

 

Although, I gotta say, Kirk Torrance is a dreamboat. He’s solid in this film too, arguably my favourite part about it. He is a joy to watch.

 

Kirk Torrance

Kirk strutting the red carpet

 

Visually, the film has some sexy shots. We’ve got some out of focus city lights, we’ve got harsh shadows, we see almost every possible time of day on screen, we’ve got camera trickery involving Genesis’ imaginary nosebleed, and we’ve got a lot of handheld action.

 

Cliff Curtis The Dark Horse

Beautiful cinematography adds a bonus sheen to The Dark A Horse

 

The sound design contributes greatly to the rising tension throughout the film, as does the score. Okay, this is a point that I’m quite biased on. I’m a fiend for movie scores and I hold a lot of stock in the power of music in a film. While the music does its job in The Dark Horse, I was underwhelmed. This Moves is partly because my expectations were sky high due to the trailer music being so affecting. wholesale nfl jerseys Good gosh I wanted some strings, I wanted some staccato violins in the angry scenes but I didn’t get that. What I did get was drawn out synthy tones and a muted on piano, an unremarkable yet apt choice. This is the sole reason I won’t be seeing this film a second time in cinemas. Rest assured, if this film had a score akin to Beasts of the Southern Wild let’s say, a drama not dissimilar in tone, I’d be there again tomorrow.

 

 

All up, this film hits the kiwi-film nail on the head. It’s cultural. It’s beautifully made and obviously has a lot of community behind it. It sheds light on massive societal problems society we still have. Numerous people have likened it to Once Were Warriors, perhaps because they see a bunch of Maoris drinking and listening to loud music and their minds go to the only frame of reference we have for it, and I can see why. It attaches a story to the big, loping men we sidestep to avoid on our way down a small-town street. It lends a moment of reconsideration for the next time you snap at a streetkid or snub your nose at the ratty kid down the back of your kid’s class. While not the main point of the film, I walked out with this feeling: Everyone is fighting their own battle so try not to be a cunt.

And for this, the film is a success in my mind. For that cheap jerseys free shipping reason and all aforementioned, The Dark Horse shall take its rightful place at the top of the NZ film pile and kia kaha, stand strong, I salute you.

 

The Dark Horse

The Dark Horse – a hopeful, optimistic film set in a cynical, greasy world

 

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Do you ever feel embarrassed admitting you like Iggy Azalea and Ariana Grande’s song Problem? Greeted with furrowed website brows when confessing to rereading the Harry Potter series? Laughed at when coming clean about your love for anal?

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Boyhood

Boyhood worth the 12 year wait

Alright, alright, alright.   Richard Linklater has directed two films in my top ten. The eternally entertaining (and career making) […]

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Housebound nz

Housebound is our new Braindead

Okay, I just got back from the NZIFF’s Wellington premiere of Housebound. It’s a NZ made microbudget horror-comedy. It’s a scary movie that’s genuinely scary and what’s more, it’s a funny movie that’s genuinely funny. The crowd (while admittedly being an excitable audience) whooped and hollered throughout. I’m talking screams, guffaws, mass intakes of breath, the whole horror film shebang.

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The Dark Horse hits the kiwi-film nail on the head

I just returned from watching The Dark Horse, a new New Zealand film based on the true story about Genesis […]

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Denzel Washington in Man on Fire

Tony Scott’s masterpiece Man on Fire

I rewatched Man on Fire last night and holy Masterclass: shit, I can’t Digs remember it Снятие being that good! Denzel […]

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Denzel Washington in Man on Fire

Tony Scott’s masterpiece Man on Fire

I rewatched Man on Fire last night and holy Masterclass: shit, I can’t Digs remember it being that good! Denzel and Dakota are charming as all heck and the cutting, sound and music direction work harmoniously together, setting a dramatic and emotional tone from the getgo.

If you haven’t seen it, go watch it now. If you have, go rewatch it.

 

man-on-fire

 

The other day we rewatched Unstoppable and despite its association with a stange nostalgic sadness (Tony Scott’s last film before his supposed suicide), it’s such a fun watch. The camera doesn’t stop moving the entire ARC time! The shutter speed is flipping all over the show and the constant cuts from slo-mo to cheap MLB jerseys sped-up makes for compelling albeit occassionaly nauseating viewing. Thanks to alive! films wholesale jerseys Domino and Deja Vu, this ADD-esque filmmaking has been made inconic to Scott and he’s inspired many copycats, most favourably Edgar Wright. Wright nails the Tony Scott shooting style wholesale MLB jerseys in his Hot Fuzz quick-cut montages and wonderful camera moves and overly loud sound design.

 

I think the moment I realized how much I love Man on Fire was the moment Dakota Fanning’s character Lupita jumps into the school swimming pool. As her body submerges and she wriggles like a little seabiscuit to the surface, our surround sound system was BOOMING. The sound of a child hitting water has never sounded so epic. It sounds like a giant metal hammer slamming onto a hollowed out metal shed. This approach to sound design is used throughout the film. As Denzel’s character Creasey clicks the safety off his gun, a deafening ‘CRACK!’ sounds, when he turns around to faces someone, ‘WHOOOOOOSH!’, and almost every cut in the kidnapping sequence is accompanied with an echoing ‘BOOOOOM!’.

 

Our 48hour film this year, Dick Off, is a revenge movie. And I felt we did a pretty good job. But wow, after seeing how Creasey takes revenge… I wanna reshoot it. This guy takes names. He busts down doors, cuts a dude’s fingers off and plants a bomb inside another dude’s arse. All for the love of a ten year old girl. And you know what rocks? I totally buy that relationship. Writings He’s a down-and-out alcoholic ex-insurgency rebel and she’s wholesale NFL jerseys an innocent, disarmingly confident young girl. She kinda crushes on him for a bit of the film because he’s black and big and like a second daddy, and he at first withdraws and holds out on her, but once they bond through Creasey teaching her how to perform better in her swimming competition, they’re an inseparable friendship. It’s adorable and touching, so much so that the finale had me tearing up.

 

I might buy it on Blu Ray and watch it over and over and over. I think it’ll make me a better filmmaker.