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The Making of “The 13th Cross” – Part II

I figured it was time to pen a small update on the progress of the film. “The 13th Cross” wrapped production last September, and all of us who worked on the film went our separate ways. Paige, our Producer from Pre-Production through shooting, decided to quit the movies and go to nursing school, which among other things caused a rift between her and me, leaving me as the sole Producer. Parker, our cinematographer and co-producer, took his plane back to the east coast where he lives, taking with him a backup of the footage we shot. And, I decided it was high time to move to Los Angeles, where movies are made, after all, and I spent most of the last fall getting adjusted to my new environment, as well as looking for a day job.

Just before we ended production, Parker and I agreed that we were going to edit the movie together, and given the fact that Parker didn’t have a job, and I was dealing with the stress of moving, it was decided that he would be the one to figure out how to create “Proxies” of the footage (a low-res version of the footage that’s linked to the raw files, making it easier on computer hard drives during the editing process). In the middle of all the fuss of us going back and forth, figuring out how both of us could edit the film simultaneously on opposite coasts, my big expensive gaming laptop, perfect for video editing, was stolen.

Christmas Day.

Welcome to L.A. right?

Anyway, now all of the editing was up to Parker, and the last few months have consisted of Parker doing a large assembly (the film at that point was a sluggish 2 hours and 22 minutes long), and us widdling the movie down back and forth, having a new cut of the movie every 3 or 4 days. My replacement laptop (I did not, and do not, have the money to replace what was lost) would never be able to handle the load of the premier file, thus forcing Parker to export the movie in 480P on a private Youtube link so that I could view it. Needless to say, this back and forth process has made the movie’s edit take about twice as long as it should have.

Obviously, Parker is the one doing all the actual work, but I’ve been stuck feeling like my baby is always in someone else’s hands, and never in mine, which is frustrating in its own way. Luckily, the end is near. Five days ago Parker and I tied a bow on our cut of the movie and showed it to a handful of our film-savvy friends.

The response was better than we could’ve ever hoped for. The budget of this movie was about $4000, and I ended up paying another $2500 of my own money towards its creation. In reality, a movie that cheap should never work, but every person we’ve shown the “Director’s cut” of the film to, has given us a positive review. One person admitting they “didn’t expect much”, but were surprised by how hooked they were by the film. This is all very nice, and good to hear. We can only hope that when this movie makes its way out into the world that the audience at home will feel the same way.

This morning, Parker and I had a phone call discussing all of the various notes we received from our friends, arguing out which of the notes had merit, and which should be ignored. We ended up agreeing to cut five lines of dialogue, experiment with trimming two scenes a little bit, and add a couple of shots to another scene to make the motivation of a character’s following action more clear. Tonight, he’ll make those changes, and upload that version to youtube. Tomorrow, I’ll review it, note what changes were correct, and what needs to be reverted to the previous cut, and then by Wednesday make those changes, and lock the film: this week, the edit should be DONE.

So what happens next? Well, Greg Troyan, who gave me some good score ideas a little over a month ago, will be working on the music of the film. Parker will switch roles to Color Correction, making the fantastic-looking footage we shot pop, and I will be looking for someone to do the sound mix (I’m in talks with someone as I type this). Oh, and the movie is gonna cost me another $1000 in post. Parker and I will be signing a profit-sharing agreement soon, so we’re both covered (hopefully), but the sound work needs to have some kind of compensation.

Thank you guys for helping support this movie. The props that I’m sending out to some of the bigger donor’s are in their envelopes, ready to go. I’ve been working out a Film Festival and Distribution strategy, and have been bouncing ideas back and forth on the next film project. It’s probably going to be an intense melodrama called “In Search of Amber Grey”, and I plan to write the first draft of that baby in July after my wonderful, but currently very time-consuming Podcast, “Ultima Final Fantasy”, goes on a temporary hiatus (after being a juggernaut weekly show for five years, that never missed an episode–it’s time for a break).

More updates incoming. Peace out.

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