I Really Like You paired with TIFF comedy, Guidance, at Image+nation. festival cinema lgbt montreal film festival Nov 22, 19:00 http://bit.ly/1skEAZ3
We're releasing the teaser for the film on YouTube. Special thanks to Mesa Luna for their song, Shutting Down, which is available on 7" vinyl here.
Interesting to see the evolution of the queer works. I'd like to see more sincere portraits of people in our community and it is cool to see more works coming up through the ranks that reflect this quality. LOGO just posted on their site a web series titled Montreal Boy: Some String Attached. It has a docu-style aesthetic with romantic undertones. Montreal has never looked more chic; the story takes place in locations that are both nostalgic and bohemian in nature.
One thing that I noticed in this series is their use of a score. The topic of music and placement of tunes is still fresh in my head recently from editing I REALLY LIKE YOU. Email discussions have been exchanged between composer Neil Clements and I about the use of a score. Neil is extremely talented and an amazing resource provided by Cineworks. We played around with music reminiscent of Hitchcock and I even went on a tangent digging out old classics such as Bali Hai from South Pacific. The latter tune, played as radio music in the restaurant, evoking a nostalgic quality; Peggy Lee's cover was sultry, a perfect metaphor for a siren calling on the lead character to his doom... However, the reality is that licensing such a song would cost hundreds if not thousands of dollars. After going through the film, I felt it was not necessary to have score in the film. Having music played too much to the result. The atmosphere created by the sound effects of Brian Lam and Justin Aucoin was sufficient, and the neutrality of their sounds allowed audiences to make their own choices, helping to build tension as the narrative progresses.
You got to make sure these two images are from the same film. That was a comment thrown around our colouring session not long ago. It's a comment I've heard before and colouring is the meticulous process of matching shots in a film so that they are consistent. Locked in a dark room on a sunny day, our veteran colourist, Dermot Shane, prepared for our session by making sure "blacks sit on black" and that our "highlights were not clipped".
The Arri Alexa camera is a beautiful piece of hardware and with the talents of our colourist and Director of Photography, Stirling Bancroft, not a lot of preparation time was needed for our colouring session as the images were ready to go "right out of the box". The best part of the colouring session is when you have a chance to play around with the grading and experiment with different looks. How do you set up elements in a story through colour and light? I think this involves stepping back and looking at other elements at play like performances, editing, sound and music. Striking a balance between all makes for an engaging story. For example, making a film too saturated can take away from an actor's performance or having too high of a contrast can imply something prematurely. North American audiences have come to expect a big reveal in the films that they watch. Setting that up well is the challenge of any filmmaker looking to connect to a wider audience. We just have to make sure that people don't feel cheated or angry at the end, and colour is an important part of our tool kit to help us tell our stories.
It's been just over 2 weeks since we last wrapped; a time filled with editing (both picture and sound), colouring and in depth conversations about music. We achieved picture lock in 4 days, a feat only possible due to the concerted efforts of our DIT technician James Goodman and our editor Andrew Russell with assistant Steven Roste. Having them organize and assemble a rough cut near the end of the shoot sped up this process. There are so many file compatibility issues today that having a dedicated and knowledgeable team take care of it is almost necessary for a quick turnaround. I was able to recollect takes, and stay robust with my editing choices without having to worry too much about logistics. It's a significant evolution in filmmaking whereas in the past, production and post production remained relatively separate stages, today with digital technology they are overlapping. However, there is still value in a good night's sleep and final decisions were not made until the last day to provide time for reflection. Having storyboards also helps; they provide the editor a map allowing me a reprieve from the story.
Sound edit took us 3 days to flush out. Again, this quick turnaround would not have been possible without a team of forward thinking people comprised of Alex Shamku (Production Sound), Brian Lam (Sound Effects editor) and Justin Aucoin (Dialogue editor). They say that the best sound designed movie is one where you don't even notice the sound. It was an interesting process to think up of all the sound elements that could heighten the experience or take away from it. When do we use diagetic and non-diagetic sounds? An important element for me when making a film is not playing the result or the film becomes predictable. It's a careful dance of not giving away too much, but providing just enough to set up for the big reveal so that the end result feels fresh. I think keeping things simple is a great rule, and finding that moment early in a scene where the story or characters can evolve from is important.
Below is a great scene from American Graffiti showing the evolution of the characters through camera movement and editing while using diagetic and non-diagetic sounds. Everything works in concert to allow audiences to follow the characters along their emotional journey.
We wrapped shooting back on March 23. Principal photography was 3 days and involved shooting exteriors, 2 night shoots and a choreographed fight scene. This project dealt with darker themes and involved a level of violence not seen in my previous works. It was challenging to write about and prepare for - the tight timeline meant a steep learning curve. Leading up to the shoot, I devoted my entire attention to this project to prepare for every possible contingency. Surrounding me was a team of professionals (infront and behind camera) who were not only experts in their field, but share the same enthusiasm for filmmaking as I did. I assembled the A-Team and it was with great sadness when I yelled "cut" on the window shot (the last shot before we wrapped). This was also the first time I scheduled night shoots. Despite countless cups of coffee on the first "day" of the night shoot, I felt the onset of fatigue and drowsiness at 4 am. I found myself inarticulate and thinking about compromises when I shouldn't have. Fortunately, the second and last "day" of the night shoot the crew was better prepared physically, and we made up for lost ground.
I also learned the value of tags, moments where you can pick up inserts at the beginning or end of a scene. Often inserts are the first to be cut on your shot list because of time, but with digital filmmaking you can quickly pick them up before, after, or sometimes during a scene, while maintaing the energy of the scene.
Looking forward to seeing everything come together.
We finished our rehearsals yesterday. This is always the best part of pre-production; you get to see your writing come alive. The past few weeks I've been managing production and making sure crew is in place. The time to do character work is always limited so when the opportunity arises I ask actors to be off book. In this film project, there's some stunt work (a first for me) and I'm learning to be open to what the actors bring to the moment. I can't possibly plan every single move with respect to an imaginary location so allowing the actors to bring life to a scene is a necessary part of the process.
Another day of epic meetings, discussions and emailing has passed by. Planning a film production is a full-time job. Fortunately, I have the help of Producer/Production Designer Steve Menchions. Steve and I worked on 2 previous projects, Kimchi Fried Dumplings, and Up and Down. He loves throwing options at you - my head sometimes spins at the end - but at least you think about every possible thing that can happen. It's better to do this now than on the day of principal photography.
Stirling Bancroft has taken over Toby Gorman as Director of Photography (DOP). Toby has been offered a position on a Movie of the Week (MOW), and I totally understand the opportunities available on MOWs. We wish him well in his new position. Stirling was recommended by two cinematographers, Toby Gorman and Naim Sutherland. After discussions with industry professionals and watching the showreels of other DOPs, I chose Stirling because he's a good communicator, talented, approachable, and eager. Welcome aboard!