The End of the Beginning


I’m so tired right now. We’ve been sitting in Spooky McPhee’s dining room at a table full of laptops for over 50 hours this week. 50 hours. 15 minutes of the film, including entire scenes, have been cut in order to make the pace quicker. We manually corrected every single piece of audio in the film. Everything from dialogue, to sound fx, to audio levels, to you name it. We had to create and foley our own monster sounds. We had to redo entire cg fx sequences. We had to write a score and then go back through the movie again to make it fit. We had to create credit sequences and redo our work multiple times because Premiere would mysteriously crash while saving. It was a grueling nightmare of a week and many times today we wanted to strangle the life out of each other. You wouldn’t think something like this would be so hard. But sitting at a table, staring at laptop screens and having to deal with 50 hours of the most tedious bullshit you could possibly imagine is enough to drive anybody nuts and we were both stir crazy by the end of the day.

But it’s finished. Mostly…

Technically, we have a full movie. An absolutely, positively, 100% no doubt about it take it to the bank bonafide movie. It just so happens to be in color right now.  But we’re leaning towards a black and white film, meaning we’ll need to switch it this weekend. Luckily, that isn’t such a big deal since it just entails changing the image. The main focus of this hell week was the audio, which was a complete and utter disaster last week. So much so that the film was practically unwatchable in my opinion. As I mentioned before, we systematically went through every single freaking frame of this movie, fixing every problem we could, and correcting to the best of our ability anything that was too far gone to completely right. The music probably isn’t as good as it could be, but it’s serviceable and conveys the right moods. It certainly doesn’t detract from the film at all, in my opinion.

In other words, our film is as good as it can possibly be. We no longer have a mess on our hands. It’s cleaned up, polished to hell and back, and ready to be show at the Drunken Zombie Film Festival next Saturday the 7th (8:30 pm. with a Q&A session afterwards with the cast and crew. Be there or be rhombus). If it fails miserably then all we can say is that we did our absolute best. Nothing more can be done to help Outpost Doom. It is what it is and is our best punch. If it misses then we have to just accept that we lost this round. I doubt it’ll be a knockout, but hopefully it will at least connect.  Maybe we’ll win on points at the DZFF next weekend :)

I’m probably posting this too soon. We had to buy a terabyte hard drive from Best Buy an hour ago in order to hold the sheer power of Outpost Doom and to backup all of our files. Our Premiere timeline’s audio tracks, for example, numbered in the double digits because of all the sound fx/music/fixing we did. Any number of things could go wrong while transferring, I suppose. Spooky’s house could be smited by a thunderbolt from Zeus, or something, frying all of our hard work. In the event that happens, somebody get me some scotch because I’ll need it. In the end though, Outpost Doom is a massively superior film today than it was last Friday. Whether or not that is enough for people to like it, we’ll see next weekend. I, for one, love it but I need a long break from my Outpost Doom relationship. I’ve seen this movie too many times and after this horrifyingly difficult and tedious week of perfecting the most mundane of low budget bullshit, I need to kick Outpost Doom out of my bed for a couple days.

See you next week at the Drunken Zombie Film Festival, Outpost Doom.

(exhausted in Lincoln. Time to play L4D all night and release a lot of stress and tension)

A 10+ hour Outpost Doom workday. #2


The hard work continues.

Another ten hours down and our status at the moment is that nearly all of the audio is finished! We still have a few sound fx to throw in but we’ve fixed practically every sound/audio problem that plagued the screening this past Saturday! On top of that, we even chopped out some more of the film, including an entire scene, to make the film a couple minutes shorter.

Though we didn’t get everything we wanted to do done today, we finished the night with a sense that we accomplished a lot; that we didn’t waste any of our time. We’re beginning to see the light at the end of the tunnel.

On the docket for tomorrow: add in remaining sound fx, redo visual cg fx during climax, begin writing score, and convert film to black and white (a couple of people have asked about that, I’ll explain on Monday’s Splattercast, of which a large portion will be all about Outpost Doom, in detail).

How am I unwinding after 10 hours of staring at a laptop monitor? Heading off to a special screening of This Is It. Shamon!

A 10+ hour Outpost Doom workday.


Indie filmmaking can suck. It’s hard as hell for very little reward. Sometimes you just have days that make you want to break. When the work you put into it just doesn’t seem worth it. When everything goes wrong and it feels like the whole project is imploding. Every indie filmmaker has these kind of days. I talk a bit about this on tonight’s cast, but the Outpost Doom screening this past Saturday was, in my view, a disaster. A bunch of stuff went wrong and because of that we’ve had to hunker down for the next few days in order to get it fixed in time for the Drunken Zombie Film Festival.

I gotta admit, I was pretty down on Saturday. Being embarrassed and angry at every technical issue that happened during the screening contributed to myself getting drunk on scotch (Jeremy is a terrible influence. He corrupts innocence). And when I woke up today, knowing that it was going to be an incredibly tedious day, and not wanting at all to deal with fixing this movie, I can honestly say I thought it couldn’t be salvaged. And in fact, I was pretty pissy all day long.

I’ll give props to Jeff, though. Dude just made me happy when we recorded the Splattercast. It was nice to take a break after 8 hours straight of staring at laptop monitors. There’s something to be said about a nice person just getting your mind off of shit every once in a while. Big hug to you, Jeff. Then, we get back to work on the movie and the final stuff goes incredibly smoothly. We knock out the final edits in no time at all and finish before midnight, which was our goal at the beginning of the day.

Even though I was in a much better mood after the Splattercast and after how quickly the final edits were done, I was still skeptical until we added up the running time. I literally spent over 10 hours cutting the film and then supervising those same cuts a second time. It was incredibly draining and I was worried that this entire day had been wasted. My goal was to cut 15 minutes off the runtime of the film, getting it to 85 minutes. The final tally, after all cuts had been made, was 86 minutes, just one minute off my goal (and that was after leaving in several scenes that I personally just loved but was afraid I’d have to cut for time and pacing issues). So after the hell of today, a day in which it felt absolutely nothing was being accomplished and which I just generally began the day in a shitty mood…we hit on everything we wanted to do.

Tomorrow, starting bright and early, we’ll be doing what no doubt will be another hellishly long day focusing on nothing but audio, which was the major problem during Saturday’s screening. At least I know that when I wake up, I’ll be much more positive about us being able to fix the problems than I was yesterday. In the end, maybe Saturday’s disastrous screening was a blessing in disguise. Better to witness all the faults in front of an audience of friends and family than to have it happen during the DZFF. Gives us a second chance, in a way.  Oh, and we have almost decided to change a major aesthetic of the film for numerous reasons that I’ll explain on next week’s Splattercast. Can you figure it out? 😉

Outpost Doom has finally arrived


Above is one of the action photos taken by Spooky McPhee a couple weekends back when we were finishing up pickup shots and whatnot. Does it get you in the mood for some tentacle-y Outpost Doom goodness? I certainly hope so!

November 7th is the public world premiere of our flick (at the Drunken Zombie Film Festival) but this Saturday we are having a special sneak screening for friends and family at the Grand Theatre (yep, the location we shot The Grand Horror at). We’re essentially going to be using our friends and family as a focus group to make sure everything is in tip top shape for the DZFF. I want to make sure the story is clear and what not before we take it to Peoria. Small, intimate crowd, but it’ll be exciting (and a bit nerve-wracking) to see the reaction to the film.

Anyways, if you are friends or family of anybody involved in the making of the film, c’mon out. Saturday, 2pm at the Grand Theatre, Grand Island, Nebraska. We’ll be congregating at Bonzai around noon, eating delicious pizza.

All the DL folk will be m.i.a. this weekend to attend the screening. It’ll be quiet around here for a few days.