You know what they say about the future...
The "What's New?" area of this site is a listing of news items, press sightings, announcements, events, achievements and a catalogue of our milestones as we journey through the post-production process of an independent, feature length, ultra-low budget film.
These news items may be from the Producer or the Director, or they may be from an actor or one of the support staff.
If you have something that you think should be included in the "What's New?" section of the site send email to Todd and he will include it!
Check back here often! We'll update the what's new when there's news to report! Thanks for visiting!
2001 Update - "A Finished Film! - or is it?!" - Todd Howard, Producer
After getting our rough draft together, there was a certain amount of somewhat ill-timed satisfaction about it. There was a bit of a feeling that we had "arrived." All the while, we still had so much more work ahead of us. There was a period where we watched the film a number of times with temporary music, and very little final sound design, and when you see a film so many times a certain way, sometimes it starts to seem like it's always going to be the way you are seeing it. You forget that not only is the pile of work that is ahead of you going to take time and effort, but it's also going to actually yield something. The amazing thing, is sometimes you don't even know how you will be affected by the new form of the film until you actually watch it.
It became time to get the final music and the sound design happening, as well as begin preparations for the negative cutting process. The better part of 2001 was spent with these two principal tasks. Someday, when we write a book about all of this, or maybe on the DVD extras, we can tell this whole story. For now, in a brief update, it suffices to say that the music composing, recording, mixing, mastering and editing process was a two-year intensive process - an entire project worthy of a website all its own. Hugh and Jesse worked tirelessly to perfect the compositions (an essay about which can be read inside the liner notes of the soundtrack CD - available soon!) while Don spent countless hours recording musicians and bands for the soundtrack. The end result was fabulous, and it came with great sacrifice and enormous amounts of passion on the part of dozens of talented musicians who played on the pieces. These include Jesse, Hugh, Don, myself, the Kings of Swing, the Kentridge High School String Ensemble, Zazou, Del Re and many others.
In the meantime, Paul began the detailed process of cleaning up the location audio files based on exported quicktime files from the Final Cut Pro editing system. In addition to refining, editing and mixing all of the dialogue in the film, Paul was also creating all of the soundscapes and auditory environments of the film. This area is Paul's favorite, and one of his best skills as an artist. The Tommy's World soundscapes and the use of the old phonograph brought the story alive to such a level, that when we first heard it scratching out the old tune - and when we first actually heard Tommy trying to play along on his mouthharp - it made us reel with the thought that we had even shown the movie to ANYONE before these vital storytelling devices were in place. Without them, the film simply does not work. Paul's work came together within 3 or 4 months, and we had a truly amazing soundtrack. After the design and mix were all complete, the process of preparing the audio to be mastered to an inferior, sub-acceptable format like 16mm mono optical sound (which is the only option for a 16mm film print) began in earnest. After a few attempts, a few new EQ's and a few trips to the Alpha Cine Labs screening room to listen to the Peanuts scene mixed a variety of ways, we settled on the right EQ and the right mix for what would become our mono optical soundtrack.
In additional news this year, I left my job at RTSe/Synchronicity, and went back to full-time freelance web design work, and was able to spend more time at home working on preparing the film for the negative cut. This involved preparing a detailed (200+ page) document that acted as a blueprint for Andy Pratt to physically cut our negative. This was a very costly process, given some of the extreme uniquenesses of our project, more costly that we had planned. So in an effort to raise more money to finish the negative cut and make a print, we decided to announce a screening and gala banquet for May 12, 2001, and pre-sell $60 tickets to the event. That money would go toward finishing the very film that we would be showing at the event itself! It had to work! Man, did we get lucky. It really demonstrated just how blessed this whole production was. the money raised on the tickets was barely enough to cover the actual cost of the event, but what it did do was buy us time. The money came in when we needed it so we could get the negative cut and strike a print, and once we had the print we were able to look for additional funds to cover our costs and go back to the workbench on fixing a slew of things that were still not just right. We had come this far, we had to get it just right.
After many near catastrophes (and some actual catastrophes - ask one of us what happened at midnight on the 11th of May, 2001 sometime...) we held the cast and crew premiere, and the Home Movies gang got all dudded up in period garb (40's attire mostly) and I, in a zoot suit and hat, introduced an audience of nearly 250 to the film. It was a splendid day. I think I even got up to pee during my own film. The film was very well received by everyone, and we had a grand time. Sitting in the beautiful Majestic Bay theatre with all of our family and friends was a day I will never forget.
The next item on the agenda was that we needed to fix some timing issues (brightness and darkness within the film), fix a few edits, and tweak the soundtrack, and that would require striking a whole new print of the film. Following that, we needed to get the film transferred to video so we could send VHS tapes of the film in to film festivals for submission. We were blessed once again with a few investors that came through in the clutch and made it possible. We fixed the problems with the print, made a new one and had another invite screening at Wiggly World's Little Theatre and it was very fine.
This already being the longest post on the what's new page, I hesitate to even start this paragraph, but what begins next is one of the darkest periods of the film's long journey. The transfer. I need to keep a brief and concise perspective here, because this is a very detailed, involved process, and that's not where I want to go with it. I just want to say that if I knew then what I know now... We ran into some of the most insane technical difficulties that I could have ever imagined. One more time were industry professionals telling us things like, "In my 20 years of doing this, I have never seen this kind of problem," and "well, this 2 million dollar machine hasn't reacted this way to any other film we have ever tried to transfer on it..." There came a point around Christmas (3 months into the process of trying to transfer our film to video) where things got so difficult to fathom, that Jesse turned to me and said, I can't talk about the movie any more right now. I will let you know when I can talk about it again." and 4 months went by and no one even spoke about the film. That took us to March 2002.
It is there that I leave you off for the 2001 update. I will complete the 2002 update very soon, and post it here. Thanks for reading.
11/17/00 - "Rough Cut Version 6 Complete!" - Todd Howard, Producer
Kudos again - to Jesse H for getting through another revision of the picture edit. That makes version 6. He's really fast. Jess has embraced a self-imposed deadline of November 26 (9 days!) to have locked picture. We are scheduled to go into Negative Cut on December 4th at Andy Pratt's Negative Cutting outfit. They're the best anywhere.
That's when the lion's share pf Paul's audio work begins. We also will begin work on a new draft of the screenplay that will more closely match the final cut of the movie. My friend from work, Kate Scott, will be a big help on that project. That should be done by December 1.
Doesn't "The Grinch" come out today?! Excellent.
11/11/00 - "Finishing Funds Sought!" - Todd Howard, Producer
Now that we have a final development plan laid out, the only thing that remains is the finishing funds we need to do the work. We are working out the exact budget at a planning meeting later in the week, but it looks like we need between $25,000 and $35,000 to complete this project.
The funds will go toward Negative Cut, Audio Mastering and Mag Transfer, Music Recording, Titles, Timing, An Answer Print and 3 Release Prints. The costs for blowing the film up to 35mm (which we may not need to do right away) is not included in that number. We will still have to research that.
Home Movies is a General Partnership with fiscal sponsorship through the Northwest Film Forum (a 501(c)(3) non-profit), so any donations made between $25 and $5,000 can be taken as a tax write-off. We also have a Limited Partnership Agreement that we can meet with you about if you wish to come on-board in a more substantial way ($5,000-$50,000).
If you are interested in becoming a financial participant in this project, we would be very interested in speaking with you. Please email Todd, to set up a meeting, or arrange a screening of the rough cut.
11/06/00 - "A Year's Worth of Catch-Up" - Todd Howard, Producer
Without making a post to the What's New page in over a year, I feel like I want to apologize for not keeping the site updated, but I won't do that. For one reason: we have been working so hard on post-production, that I simply have not had the time to pay attention to the site. The upshot is that we have made incredible progress on the film. In fact, we are right around the corner from being completely finished. I want to give you a rundown of the last 12 months in a quick set of briefs.
That is a basic overview of what has been going on in the past 12 months or so, thanks for getting caught up!
11/01/00 - "New Website - New Title!" - Todd Howard, Producer
Long time, no post. The amount of involvement with this film that we have all personally had over the last year has been astronomical. Keeping the website up to date has literally been one of the lowest priorities out of necessity. I have more to say on this, and will save it for the "Catch-Up" post that I will write later in the week. Stay tuned...
The biggest new news, is that we have changed the title of the film. From this point forward, the film is called "The Trouble With Boys And Girls." We are all really happy with this name change, and what can I say: it feels "true." It cuts to the essential question of the film and asks a question. We think it sparks interest, and it bespeaks something that almost every person alive can relate to on one level or another. We hope you like it. We got tired of this conversation:
"Oh, cool, your producing a feature film... what's it called?"
"The last the end."
"The Last The End."
"The Lasting End??"
"THE LAST THE END!"
"The last of the end???"
So we had it on the brain for a few months (longer perhaps) to change the title. It came to Jesse - and he typed it on a page and handed me the typed page as his way of "running the idea past me" and when a small but significant tear began to form in my left eye, I knew we had our new title.
http://www.thetroublewithboysandgirls.com/ is registered and I will be "porting" this site and all it's contents over to that server in the near future. I also registered http://www.trouble-movie.com/ because it's a hell of a lot shorter. They will both work to take you to the new site. I have a new logo a few shots from the movie - they have been rotating in and out each week or so. Check it out. If you have any questions about the title or its significance, you may want to direct your questions to Jesse.
07/05/99 - "The trailer for THE LAST the end comes to the site!" - Todd Howard, Producer
Here we go! The trailer for TLte is finally up on the web! As of this posting, the lo-bandwidth version is available (it clocks in at 4.3MB) and while it looks good, is a little choppy and blocky. The 12.8MB version (coming soon!) will be a lot smoother and the sound will be stereo, etc. Head over to the video gallery to have a look!
We are moving through the preliminaries of editing the feature, and hope to have a rough cut completed by the end of summer! Keep watching for more news and info about the film! Thanks for your enthusiasm and patience. Many people have written and said that they really are enjoying the site, and I am doing my best to keep it lively and changing. Sometimes the demands on my time supercede my ability to make constant updates, so bear with us! -Todd
01/25/99 - "Welcome to the New and Improved THE LAST the end Web Site!" - Todd Howard, Producer
Welcome! THE LAST the end web site version 2.0 is finally ready for public consumption! There are some areas of the site, such as the Video Gallery and Photo Gallery, which will be expanding and filling in as this process continues on. In all honesty, this site won't be absolutely finished until the movie is. Even then, it is my intent to continue to post information pertaining to any film festivals that the movie may show in, and the times and places that you can go to see it.
I appreciate your patience more than I can say. I know that many of you have been waiting to see the new site - and the never-before-seen photos from the shoot! I will be adding five or so new pictures to the gallery each week, to keep you all coming back!
Thanks again for your patience and the continued support of the film and of the web site! Those of you who were involved in production in any way - if you want your picture to be accompanied by any kind of bio, or link to another web site, please email that to me. I will get it right up.
09/23/98 - "The DEMO REEL comes to RealVideo." - Todd Howard, Producer
Finally, we have something for you to see on the web!! It's a Demo Reel - which is to say a pre-trailer - with four scenes in an extremely rough state, presented to you in a streaming video format known as RealVideo. It is an offshoot of RealAudio, the web's first streaming audio technology that allowed web site visitors to listen to broadcasts in real time without having to wait for the entire thing to download. The first thing you have to do is get the RealPlayer software downloaded and install it on your computer. If you are running Netscape or Internet Explorer you will have no trouble whatsoever installing this thing - it is trouble free.
Go to the Progressive Networks web site, and download the version for your computer, and then run or launch the file on your machine - you will be walked through the whole process. If you have trouble - email me and I'll walk you through it.
The quality of RealVideo still leaves a lot to be desired, and believe me when I tell you how crisp and perfect this film looks - it just cat's show it's true self over the web yet - the technology isn't quite good enough. Still, in the spirit of sharing and of pushing web software developers toward a better and more pristine streaming video protocol, I give this to you now!
09/07/98 - "2nd Unit is planned..." - Todd Howard, Producer
Well, yesterday afternoon the Home Movies partners got together (sans Ethan - he was away for some weddings on the long weekend) and began discussing 2nd unit. 2nd Unit is the phase where we finish up everything we didn't get to during our three week shoot in August. We still have around 30 pages of the script to shoot (we have already shot over 100 pages)
We plan to begin on September 18, and will shoot Saturday and Sunday for that weekend and three more. The final weekend of four, we will use our own 16mm camera to do everything that doesn't require sound (a process referred to as "MOS" - the legend says it means "mit out sound!" (i.e. without sound said in a thick German accent) so that fourth weekend will be quite simplistic comparitively. So three big weekends of shooting ahead of us - and we need to raise some more money to make it happen.
More soon on that!
09/04/98 - "Strike My Key plays at Seattle's Bumbershoot 1-Reel Festival" - Todd Howard, Producer
Friday, September 4th at 4:00 PM at Bumbershoot (Seattle's Premier Annual Arts Festival) there was a segment of four short films from Seattle filmmakers. The films were "Progress," "Strike My Key," "Common Ground" and "The Reasoning of Arrangements." Jesse spoke briefly to the crowd of some 300 people and plugged THE LAST the end and Organic Family, and made us all laugh a few times. The showing went wonderfully.
It was the biggest screen we've yet seen Strikums (as we affectionately call it) upon, and it looked beautiful. The sound could have been turned up a little louder, but we're artists, we have to bitch about SOMETHING!
Anyway! We want to thank Bumbershoot for inviting us to show our film, and Ann and all the hospitality folks there at the 1-reel festival. Vote for Strike My Key for the audience award! It was a thrill.
08/07/98 - "The Production Journal begins..." - Todd Howard, Producer
To me, one of the most important aspects of making this movie is the idea of sharing the process with you. Someone on the other end of the web, vicariously partaking of the adventure that this film endeavour has become. It is my hope - and my plan - to have different members of the cast and crew write daily journal entries here on this web site to bring you along with us.This will include myself, Jesse Howard, Jesse Moore, Kate Castanino, Paul Westfall, Ethan, Erika, Quinn, Samantha, Cassy, Katherine, Michelle, Jason, Sam, Alexis, Eliana, Geor... oh my, there are so many people involved in this!!!!
Do you know, there are over 50 people involved in this production to date? That's not including extras, bit actors, and people who have contributed financially. All told, I'd wager that there are well over 200 people whose love and generosity and time and effort have touched this picture, and we have barely begun its oddessy.
You can link to the Production Journal from here if you like, and continue following the progression from there - play by play. This "What's New?" section will be abandoned during production so that we may focus on the Production Journal, and the production itself! Feel free to drop us a line! And welcome to a dream.... (oh yeah, I think I just turned 29 a few minutes ago!)
Thank you - you know who you are... : )
p.s. pssssst! Jesse Howard's birthday is August 11th!! That makes us a coupla Leo brethren! (As in "Rar.")
08/07/98 - "Directions to the location - Snohomish, WA"