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SXSW Official Selection

© Joe Swanberg 2004-2005
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Wednesday, July 28, 2004

I watched the film all the way through for the first time last night. I know it sounds crazy, but I've been editing in chunks, and only last night did I put everything together. It brought to my attention some things I need to work on, and I'm planning on making those changes tomorrow, and printing out another DVD.

Kris, Kate, and Kevin are going to come over and we are going to order pizza and watch the film together. Kevin hasn't seen a lot of the footage, so he should have a pretty fresh take on some of it. I used to show them all scenes when I finished editing, but quickly realised that it was not a good idea, because I ended up frustrated, and they would get insecure about their performances, or request changes, and it wasn't really helping any of us. So after a while I just started editing and not showing anyone. I would show Kris certain scenes, but I was always nervous that it would end up bad. Now they can see everything put together, and they are free to critique. I'm still not sure how much I can listen to their ideas, since I think they are being especially hard on themselves, but I'm curious to see what they think of it.

I'm thinking about shooting a little more, but I'm still not sure. I'm going to make minor changes and send a few copies of the film off on Saturday, and wait to get feedback from some people who don't know any of us, and can really look at the film from a distanced viewpoint. They can really see us as characters, rather than friends acting in a movie.

Tuesday, July 27, 2004

I am amazed by the support we have been getting from people for this film. I totally believe in the bond of film lovers. People have been emailing me about the clip that I posted online and send encouraging words. It's the best feeling ever to get an email from someone saying they enjoyed something I made.

I compressed most of the film for DVD yesterday, saving two scenes that still need a little work. I plan to watch the film on a TV tonight, with the sound coming through a stereo, and take detailed notes about the levels and other things that might need tweaking. Then I'm going to come back into Final Cut Pro for a few days and make those modifications. Once I have a presentable mix, I am going to show the film to a few people and start to get some feedback. I'm very cautious of the idea of test marketing, and the way it waters a films down, but I really do want feedback from some fresh eyes who are seeing the film for the first time.

I am hoping to use a connection to a video company here in Chicago to get in and mix the film with their equipment and speakers. Sound is so important, and I really want to make sure I do everything I can to get the sound in shape. I can't even try and mix here at my computer, because I have two dinky little speakers, and the sound of my computer is so loud that it will likely throw off the mix.

I'm excited about finishing up, and I'm even more excited about people seeing the film. I have quite a few friends who haven't even seen a frame of the film, and I can't wait to show it to them. I know that I'm probably going to watch the film about 30 times in the next couple of weeks, and I kind of dread that, but I also look forward to this stage, because it allows me to really search every frame and find all the little things that I have missed. I always get to a point where I've watched my film enough times that the thought of it almost drives me crazy, but there are usually a few moments in a film that never get old, and allow me to sit through it over and over.

Wednesday, July 21, 2004

Everything is there. The film still needs credits, and some audio work, but all the scenes are there. It now exists as a rough cut. It's about 77 minutes without credits, which will probably put it right around 78 or 79 when everything is done done. There just aren't that many need to waste time.

I'm trying to get everything totally finished (other than the final mix) by this weekend, so I can start showing it to people and sending it off to festivals. I'm still not really holding out to get into any festivals, so another reason I want to have a cut of the film is so I can start setting up screenings at universities and other venues for the fall. Most places probably have their theatres booked through October of November, so I want to be able to get things arranged for later in the fall or maybe even the winter. If the film gets into festivals, that's wonderful, but I think I have a better chance with film clubs and things like that.

Anyway, back to work.

Thursday, July 15, 2004

I'm nervous and scared and excited because I can really feel the whole film taking shape for the first time. I spent a lot of this morning editing, and when scenes would come together and meet for the first time, I got little electric sparks in my back. I'm been putting everything together in little chunks, and finally some of the missing pieces were inserted and scenes started to flow together, and it was really exciting.

Tuesday, July 13, 2004

The capturing and editing are coming along at a medium pace. I'm certainly not flying through it. I have captured 5 1/2 of the 8 tapes I need, and I have edited one scene. I have work tomorrow, so I can't stay up into the wee hours of the morning editing. It's probably better that way, since I need a bit of a break. I'm feeling the editing zombie mode kicking in. I think I'm gonna order some food and watch a movie for a change of pace. I don't really have money to order food, but I feel like I deserve a treat after all this alone time.

Monday, July 12, 2004

We shot and shot and shot on Saturday, and finished up almost all of the photography for the movie. We shot for about 12 hours, with some small breaks in between. We finished two big dialogue scenes between Patrick and Ellen and a lot of other randon stuff we were missing. I'm going to try and have a rough cut by the end of this week, hopefully sooner, and then I just need to finish the interviews and shoot whatever shots are missing. It's strange to have most of the footage in the can. I haven't watched everything we shot on Saturday, but as long as there are no drop outs on the tape, or audio glitches, then we have about 95% of the film finished, maybe more.

I'm sad that it's almost over, but I'm really excited to have a film to show people. I've been telling so many people about the project, and now I get to show them what I've been working on for so long. I also get to become a salesman instead of a filmmaker, and try and interest festivals and everyone else in screening my film. I'm looking forward to the learning experience, but I'm no good at selling things.

Wednesday, July 07, 2004

There is a new "War on Pornography." When is this going to end? Why do people hate the naked body so much? Since it's impossible to define pornography, will they try and stop KISSING ON THE MOUTH from finding an audience? As a non-pornographer, I feel the need to support the pornographers, because they push the limits and create a bigger breathing space for everyone else. They are on the front lines. They take the flack so that all the other films can show moderate nudity and not seem so bad. They are our friends. Unless they hate women, then they are not our friends. But as long as everyone's getting along, let them make their porno.

Tuesday, July 06, 2004

I conducted an interview on Wednesday, and we shot a little bit on Thursday. Now we are gearing up for a major push this weekend. We are going to shoot all day Saturday, and finish up on Sunday. The film will be done shooting. That doesn't give much time to finish the film for the Denver Film Festival, but I'm going to call them this week and ask for an extension. The remaining interviews and editing should only take about a week, so it won't be too late.

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