Choose Your Own Blog

Monday, March 29, 2010

January 25th, 2002

I was gonna put up two posts, but the next one is pretty large--deals in-depth with the problems of the contract. 

But the gist of the early information was that if the distributor is going to take out expendables from your end, you should be getting at least 70% from the net take AND you need to be able to limit how much they can take out. (otherwise they'll make a million dollars and say they spent a million-five so they still don't owe you)

More detailed stuff in the next post.

January 15th, 2002

    New year.

    Soon after I received their email, I talked to a lady named Toni at Spectrum who offered to email me a contract to license HH.

    The contract offered no advance, which is pretty standard. They offered a 50/50 split. After asking around, a few of the more knowledgeable folk on the filmmaking newsgroup let me know that was a pretty bad split. 70/30 in my favor was a little more standard.

    Without a lawyer, I wasn’t signing anything. I asked around and got a reference to Michael Saleman, an attorney with offices out of LA and Texas. I sent him the contract, and he butchered it.

    So last week, I sent it back to Spectrum with the changes. Now I’m waiting to hear what they’re going to say.

    Personally, I want to get all this shit out of the way and get on with the next movie. On a side note, having some crappy health problems. Pain in my gut, blood tests show liver problems(which my doctor temporarily called hepatitis, then said it might just be a virus moving through), and my back has never been worse.

    I’ve been to the chiropractors twice in two days. I’ll be going back two more times this week. I’m in pretty bad shape for a thirty-one year old.

Friday, March 26, 2010

August 21st, 2001/November 19th, 2001

To put the budget in perspective, film cost $3900, development and transfer of the film to BetaSP cost $6900, the D.P. and his hotel cost a total of $2700. So between those three things is $13,500 of the total $20,500...

August 21st, 2001

    Rick came over and we watched the movie, noted any final sound problems we had. Once scene was totally out of sync, so I have to fix that. Then, I’ll be sending it out to distributors(I sent a copy with the fucked-up sync to the Copyright Office to establish my copyright).

    All in all, I’m pleased with the movie. It’s got some moments where I literally cringe because I don’t like the scene, but there’s a lot of great moments too.

    What it all boils down to is that it’s better than I ever expected it to be. I’ll put it up against any other under $25,000 flick, especially by a first-time director. The final budget, total cost to make Hunting Humans, was $20,500.

November 19, 2001

    A lot has happened. I’ve fixed everything that had problems. I started mailing out tapes to distributors(nine have gone out) and already there’s good news.

    One of the ones I sent the tape to first, Spectrum Films, called my voice mail number that I gave them and said they’d like “to discuss a possible distribution deal”. This was on Thursday the 15th.

    I figured I’d call them on Monday, which would give me some time to talk to some people and see if I could get my mind wrapped around what I’d say.

    Instead, Friday came around and they dropped me an email which said the following:

Yvette gave you a call yesterday.  Perhaps you're busy or you found a distributor, but I just wanted you to know that your movie was so "different" it had to make the rounds.  I saw it first and that started the rounds.  Unanimously, it is a good film and we would like to distribute it.

Please let us know either way.”

    It was signed by one of their acquisition guys. All of a sudden it’s not “We want to talk”, it was “We want to distribute”.

    Understand, from all I’d read, it sounded like finding a distributor for an independent movie with no known stars was a little like looking for your contact lens in an in-ground pool.

    And here we are, three weeks after sending out tapes, a distributor has already offered to distribute it.

    I keep my wits about me. First, never celebrate until someone’s signed on the dotted line. Second, I don’t know much about Spectrum. Their web site shows they’ve distributed other small movies, some with small stars and some with no stars. But do they pay well? Do they get behind your movie and try to get it out there?

    And there’s another part of me—the same part that was saying “When are the distributors going to call?”—that’s now saying “Why’d they have to call so soon? None of the other distributors have even had a chance to see it yet?”

    See, no mattter what happens, I’ve always got reason to complain.

Monday, March 22, 2010

Aug 14th/20th, 2001

See? Can you believe how much shit I had to do just to get this movie done? Problem after problem.

August 14, 2001

You know, the shit just can’t go right, can it? I put the pieces of the movie together and rendered it, then tried to play it. The picture stutters after about three minutes, loses audio sync too.

To quote Aric Blue, I mean, what the fuck? This worked before, why is it screwing up now? I haven’t changed anything that I can remember.

So…I’ve pulled out the 900 mhz monster. Would be nice if I could just hook up the hard drives and tell it to have at it, but the hard drive controllers are completely different, so it won’t recognize them. So I have to create little 650meg pieces of the movie, burn them onto CDs and then copy them onto the new hard drive that’s been set up for the computer.

It takes FOREVER. I shit you not. The movie has to be done in about 15 parts. Each part takes 1-2 hours to render. Burning the 15 CDs takes about a ½ hour apiece. Then copy each file from the CD to the new hard drive, which takes 10 minutes apiece. That’s roughly a minimum of 25 hours, and that’s if I sat at the computer non-stop without getting up.

Ye Gods.

August 20th

    Mark it down, baby. I have a completed movie, and it’s on tape now. Words can’t describe how psyched I am. I called Rick at home at 12:30 am to wake his sorry ass up and tell him.

Friday, March 19, 2010

August 7, 2001

Hahahaha, a "900 mhz beast" of a, technology changes fast.

And yeah, the credits are certainly pretty laughable compared to what I can do now, but that's how it goes...

August 7, 2001

Finishing up the “mastering”.

The scene where Aric finally kills Dark bothered me. The music just wasn’t enough of a payoff. I didn’t feel Aric’s victory like I wanted to.

Listening to the title credits music though, there’s a piece of it that would fit perfectly. So I cut it and moved it and listened to it to see whether it works. Boy, does it.

So I told Evan in an email. He went ballistic, sent me a three-page email about how he didn’t want me to change it. He offered to give me back all the money I’d paid along with the points if I left it alone.

I replied, trying to calm him down, then phoned him last night. After letting him hear it, and tweaking it a little, he agreed that it’s fine. I’m not sure if he likes it better than the way he had it, but he sees what I was going for.

I’m rendering the movie now so Rick and I can watch it, make any final adjustments that need to be made. We’re also going to redo the last scene’s narration, ‘cause I don’t like it the way it is.

I’ve got the other computer(a 900mhz beast) rendering the final credits, which I’ve done with 3D Max, which is a little bit like using a cannon to kill a roach, but it gives me extreme control and lets me do professional-like credits. Hopefully, there’s nothing that needs to be changed in them, as it takes about 16 hours to render.

Friday, March 12, 2010

JULY 24th, 2001

This was the beginning of learning just how much work goes into is immense and time consuming, and while the tools have become easier to use, the time it takes to tweak things to where they need to be is still LOOONG.

July 24th

Is the month flying by or what? I’ve laid in the music and am trying to lower it in certain parts and raise other pieces of the soundtrack. I’ve discovered that what I should have done is export the dialogue, the narration, and the M&E(music and effects) tracks separately from each scene.

So I went back and did it. Took a lot of time, exporting each, then laying them all back into the entire film. Luckily, I had kept all the sound elements separate in their tracks so it was easier than if I’d just dropped stuff in the timeline.

My buddy Rich Herard, who’s kind of a sound guru happened to come by  my house(he needed help setting up a laptop), so I played him a bit of the movie I had tried to master.

He liked it, but he said “You gotta do something about the narration. It sounds flat.” Then he said something about pumping up the mids, taking out the highs, or maybe I got that backwards. I don’t know what the hell he’s talking about.

I have a nifty program installed on my hard drive called Cubase VST that I know nothing about. I figured one day I’d mess with it.

Well I boot that up and Rich starts playing with it, proclaiming it to be “the bomb”, and starts making my narration sound good. So now I gotta go through all my narration tracks, fix them with Cubase, export them again, reinsert them into the timeline. And it’s time-consuming.

Ugh. Just one more thing. I’m wondering whether anyone is going to realize how much went into Hunting Humans. I guess that’s what this diary is for.

Thursday, March 4, 2010

July 19, 2001

So the Ransom was a big pipe dream. I finished the script and I think it's pretty good, but it's not something I could do on the cheap cheap. 

I even did a mock poster with Rick, Marsters, and Lance Henriksen as the other main character. I'd show you but it's godawful. I had zero idea of what I was doing graphic design-wise.

JULY 19th

The entire score for HH arrived at my house today. I’m ripping it from the CD, then I have to insert it into the soundtrack in sync, then remaster everything. That’s mixing all the different tracks(dialogue, score, effects) so that they all sound correct in relation to each other.

It’s a long process. I’m gonna have my work cut out for me. The first thing I did was log online and do some research. Found a great site( has a lot of great articles, but none go too deeply into the actual nuts and bolts of mixing.

I’ve been doing CGI work with my brother on a few scenes in the movie that need touching up, but I’ve put them on hold. The movie holds up okay without them, but the sound has to be done.

Got final permission to put VAC in the movie. I’m going to use two of the four songs I asked about. A nice guy named Athan at Metropolis Records is sending me a contract. It stipulates that for every $100K of profit HH does, Metropolis gets $1000, but it’s a fair price to pay, since we’re getting the songs so cheap.

Anyway, I’m defragging my hard drive right now before I begin the sound mastering.

 The end is near, so I’m alternating between this and what could be the next movie we shoot, tentatively called “Ransom For A Psychopath”. I’m telling you, I’m going to establish a serial-killer genre. I’m hoping to get Bruce Campbell in a small part, and maybe James Marsters(Spike on Buffy, The Vampire Slayer) as the psychopath. Rick would co-star as the detective hunting him.

Yeah, I’m already aiming a little high. But as Jack Burton says, if you’re not gonna aim high, don’t bother aiming. (Okay, so he never really said that, but he could have...)