First off, the bummer of the summer: Dee Dee Ramone died this month. I always wanted to make a film about his life (maybe I will someday). His autobio "Lobotomy" is a great read, check it out. Watched the footage. It's okay. We'll see how it all cuts together. That'll be the trick. Some of this "action" stuff was really tricky to get the right shots. Also we had a lot of zoom shots like in old kung-fu movies that we wanted to do, they were tuff as well. Dan told me he wasn't that thrilled about the lens we used. Oh well. But on the whole the stuff looks good. I had the same reservations when we did "H.R." and that seemed to work out in the end. We still have to shoot the "Can Man off the cliff" bit that we didn't have time for. I was hoping to get it down this month before we start editing but it looks like it'll be July now. Only thing that'll be tricky is now the beaches are all open and the parking lot we're using will be full by 10AM if not earlier. So, we'll have to get out there at like sunrise to get the shot. Kurt & I have said from the git-go the music and sound effects are gonna play a big part in this. So we really need to make sure we got the right music. Phil's extremely busy right now so we probably won't start editing until early July. We'll be on a tight sked but he assures me we can make it. I wanna be done by August so we can submit for the Utah fest's and the NY Comedy Fest. We got some pretty good coverage in the press (check the NEWS section to read the articles). Channel 12 News also did a short piece on us. That was cool. It's all about marketing this thing once it's done. Every little bit helps....
Going through the footage to make edit notes is always the most painful process. Having to watch takes over and over and over. It's really when you start thinking about why the hell you're making movies. It really is that brutal. Cause nothing is ever as good as you think it could've been. And watching footage with no SFX or music makes minor problems stand out even more. But somehow you have to just put those thoughts aside and remember when you first came up with these jokes or when we were on the set shooting and everyone was laughing at it. So me and Phil finally were able to sync up our sked's to start editing. First step, just doing a very, very rough assembly of the footage. Just putting it in order so we can see what scenes are where. From there we'll be able to tighten it all up. There's always some scenes that you thought you got right and when you sit down to edit and piece the footage together it suddenly doesn't look right. There were a couple of those on this shoot. One or two we kinda knew while we were shooting they weren't gonna work but we figured we might as well shoot it...in the off beat chance that it would. So we got through most of the film. And, again, a rough assembly of the film is never there to really be judged. It's hard to tell what's working or how the pacing is until you start tinkering with it. That being said, I wasn't nuts about what I was seeing. It looked like we'd have a lot bigger battle ahead of us then I thought we would to get it all looking cool. But, just gotta keep telling myself "it'll work." So I left with our rough assembly. About a week later I got some bad news. Phil wasn't going to be able to finish the film. Some things came up with work and it just wasn't gonna be possible. Okay, at first I was bummed (no pun intended). This meant we were gonna need more $$ for starters. But the more I thought about it, this might be one of your classic "blessings in disguise". Now that's not a jab at Phil. He's a great editor. He's a good friend. He did a spectacular job on "H.R." But with a new editor that'd be getting paid, we'd be able to edit all day and consecutively. With Phil we'd edit one day and then not work again for a few weeks when he had some free time. So this wasn't a big bump in the road. I placed an ad at Mandy and started weeding thru the applicants.
It's always tough trying to hire someone new. I prefer to work with people that have been referred to me. Watching reels just don't really do it for me. Going through these editors resumes and reels just seemed like a big blur. I knew I wanted someone with their own Avid system and had edited some fast paced action stuff. This one guy Eric Lau seemed to have the set up equipment wise and had been editing a long time. Problem with him was I couldn't get him to send me a reel. He was willing to show me some stuff if I ventured into NYC to his studio. I wanted to see that new film on Robert Evans so I figured I'd make the trip and kill 2 birds with one stone. Eric's place was sweet. He had a great set up. He was cool. We joked around a bit. He showed me some footage he edited of a bike race which was just what we were looking for. I called up Kurt in LA and told him I thought we should go with this guy. He basically was leaving these decisions up to me. I talked to Eric about rates, and we settled on something we could both live with. And that was that. Again, the good thing about hiring Eric to edit was now Kurt would be able to fly in for it, since we'd be editing 3 days in a row. We'd figured 3 days to cut the picture, do the majority of SFX and music and then one last day to do minor music and SFX edits. The last day we'd do in September once we had the rest of the music done.
In the meantime, we needed to do our reshoots. We went out at 6:30AM one morning to get our shots. The thing I was most afraid of was getting the "Rerun over the cliff" shot. When we were originally shooting it wasn't beach season yet. Where we were gonna shoot this shot was in the parking lot on the beach. Now we were at the height of beach season. I was afraid the lot might be loading with cars while we're trying to chuck a shopping cart over a rock wall. Luckily, when we showed up it was empty. We got that shot, headed to Asbury for a few other shots. We had to reshoot the shot where Joe runs thru the glass, tacks and coals. Since Joe was in LA we had Andrew Korzenok double as Joe. Andrew played Crazy Boxhead, Fruity Rudy and really helped out with general PA work. Now he was Joe's stand-in plus we needed him to play another bum (since we no longer had his Fruity Rudy costume). So he's up to like 4 roles in the film. His SAG card must be in the mail.
Kurt came into town on Tuesday night and Wednesday AM we were editing with Eric. Until we actually sit down and start editing, I'm still thinking "I hope I made the right choice with this guy." Well, any thoughts he wasn't right left soon. He whizzed thru the footage and we basically had totally cut the picture by the end of the day. He even fixed up some of the scenes I thought wouldn't work. It was great. It was the first time I really thought "Hey, this is looking good." The only thing that sucked is that we didn't have all the SFX and music we needed. If we did we would've finished in the 3 days and not needed the 4th. But we knew we'd need extra time for the other music anyway. But I'm very pleased with how it came out. Eric was the shit. He's really good with just timing and pacing. And not to pat ourselves on the back but I think Kurt & I were really prepared walking in. We kinda knew what we wanted. We didn't need to sit and spend 3 hours trying to figure out if an edit worked or not. Eric even said this about us. So that was cool. It looked like we'd make our deadline to start entering into festivals which was the 3rd week of September...
The tag line for our film is "Finally! An Epic film about bums and shopping carts." Now of course that was joke. But it's actually turned out to be true. This 9 minute film is an Epic. We have a cast of about 40. When me and Hicks (Kurt was back in LA) sat down with Eric to finish the film, we had maybe 70 sound effects to add. Plus 8 pieces of music on top of that. Bum Runner has become the "Lawrence of Arabia" of short films. Cecil B. DeMille would be so proud. Until he saw the giant heroin needle dancing out. Before we actually finished the film, we had to finish the music. Ben was working on a crazy deadline for us. We needed to make the Sept. 27 Sundance deadline. Even though we have like NO chance in Hell of getting in Sundance if you have a film you HAVE to submit. It's stupid not to. Cause I guess you never know. Like Lotto says "Ya gotta be in it, to win it." So Ben basically had 2 weeks to create and record final mixes of all the music. Good Ol' Kevin Kolack came down to sing his ass off for "Crackworld Jingle" and "Retire To Crackworld" (which we renamed "The Song You're Hearing Now" cause it runs during the end credits...get it? Comedy Brilliance!). They were fun. I wasn't sure how Kurt would react to what we came up with. Kurt & I basically wrote the songs and then Ben had to create the music from our "humming" to go with the lyrics. Needless to say it didn't come out exactly like what me & Kurt were "singing" when we created it. But it was funny. Kurt was anxious to hear how it was sounding and I basically told him it sounded like a Muppet song if the Muppets all were retarded. And it's true, that's what it sounds like. I was a lil' afraid Kurt wouldn't dig them. But I played them for him via the phone, and he was laffing - so all was Okay. Back to the beginning - Phil typed up our super long credits so we wouldn't have to waste time with Eric doing that. We needed every minute of our last day with Eric that we were paying for to work on the important stuff - the sound and music. By the end of the day we really hadn't finished. We needed one more day. The sounds & music were all in place but they needed a good, good mixing. There were so many Eric felt he'd need a whole day. I couldn't argue, it was obvious. Me & Hicks and Eric came to an agreement. Eric really hooked us up good, considering we were like running on fumes in our budget. When all was said and done the film was done and funny. I think we'd made a step-up from "H.R." which was the whole point. Our first audience member, Eric's son, loved the film. He's 10 - can't complain about those kinda demographics.
This is the period when there's not much to report. It seems. Basically, the film's done so now we just spend our time sending it off to film festivals. My whole rant on festivals when I went through it with "H.R." was: the fees kill you. And it hasn't changed. Some of these festivals are just nuts to be charging a 9 minute short $40 to enter. It makes no sense. I know they have bills to pay to run the festival, but $40 is just a little nuts. One even listed its late fee for all length films at $75! I'd hate to think there was some sucker out there submitting a short film to that festival for $75. Anyway, the big news stories of October, I guess, all involved the TV. First, Sabrina (Bag Lady) was on "The Sopranos." She did a great job, had a nice scene on the show. Hopefully it brings her some attention. I was pretty psyched for her. From that show we got some press mentions, most notably in Mike Starr's column in the New York Post. A little later in the month, VH1 aired the "Where Are They Now?" show with Fred's segment. They aired some clips of "What's Happening!!" and showed Fred playing golf, goofing around. Then, they showed some clips from "Bum Runner" which was cool. Best of all, they showed the title screen and Fred talked about the film. I didn't expect him to, so that was a nice surprise. I sent a copy of the film to my ol' friend Seth who runs the Sick Puppy fest in San Francisco. I just wanted to get his critique. But he loved it and agreed to screen it at their next festival in Spring. Weird. First festival "H.R." got into was Seth's, same now with "Bum Runner." Hopefully, it's a sign...a good sign, that is.
Nothing much is going on right now. All my time on the film goes into submitting it to fests. Unlike with "H.R." I'm not submitting to any and all fests. It's best to concentrate on: a) Festivals we have a chance getting into, b) fests in cities like LA or NYC where a screening can be a boost to our "careers", and c) fests that have no fee or charge a small amount like $10. Of course Park City week looms on the horizon and if we get into something worthwhile out there I'll make the trek. If not, I'll pass and just stick to my plan of making phone calls to producers myself. Last time I found most of the people I invited to our Park City screenings couldn't make it and preferred me sending them a copy. Which I preferred, too. So we'll see. Now the main news of the month. We got our "Premiere" date. The Indianapolis Underground Film Festival. The fest falls into categories A and C from the above sentence (for those of you keeping score). What you quickly learn on the film festival circuit is that your film rarely premieres in LA or NYC. Usually, on this level, it's in places like Indianapolis. And when all is said and done, there's nothing wrong with that.