WEEK 1: Sunday 26th April
The second life begins… I’ve got use of Markus’ editing room and spend the weekend with Dani digitizing the first six tapes and chatting through the material. It’s the first chance to gain some objectivity and I notice with much amusement how all over the place we were on the first day. But we were doing the bitty stuff so it’s covered well enough. I find watching myself acting easier than I thought it would be and Dani points out that I am maybe being harder on myself than the other actors and that I should watch out for that. She has no time in the week as she has more paid work so I rest for a couple of days then clip the first few hours of material into takes. I feel more relaxed than ever alone with the avid; thank all those editing jobs and especially the teachings of Michael Dörfler two summers ago. I get on my bike and cycle to Schöneberg and back every day which is good as I arrive home refreshed and detached from the editing room. No technical hitches, a calm editing room; very nice shoehorn into the post-production. Me and Conrad start up the blog on the Saturday, takes us but a few hours. I will update it when I can. We are very pleased with how it looks and again it just sort of fell into place.
WEEK 2: Sunday 3rd May
500 hits on the first day of the blog online. Wow. Going to have to stay on top of the blog and keep up the interest. Dani comes in at the weekend and we continue digitizing. She is particularly excited by the acting of Ian and Billy. She also sees a shot from scene 14 and declares it to be the opening shot of the film. And she is right. However it is clear that she won’t have much time in the coming weeks so I decide to continue digitizing and clipping alone and she will find the time to come and and watch stuff when she can. It is what it is. There is no budget so when people have to work they have to. No complaints with that. I could do with a job myself. It’s all mechanical at the beginning. I’m just doing the assistants job which is fine as I can familiarize myself with the material. 15 hours of acted material and about seven of interviews. Not bad for a kipper. Find myself back in the shop for the first time and find it all a bit weird, my whole life is the Spätkauf… still nice to take some time out and see some faces. Still a lot of positive feed back from the street about the filming.
WEEK 3: Sunday 10th May
A week spent assembling scenes. I also had to go back to cine plus to borrow the camera as we have some corrupted material that claims it is pal but the avid says is NTSC. No, I don’t know either. But proves my point of embracing technology with fingers crossed behind back. Still, Markus improvises and puts the material through a couple of programmes and I have the material to edit. Finally got some paid work from Zero Film, proof reading the subtitles for their 24 hour documentary. Yes that is a lot of words. It will be bit for bit over the summer. And very handy. Meanwhile back over at the editing room the scenes come together one after another. I can’t really say I have any objectivity but I just keep working with my instincts and we’ll see what it looks like.
WEEK 4: Monday 18th May
Managed to finish the first assembly by the end of the week but events have taken a change of direction. Markus needs his editing room back so we are going to set up editing facilities at my place. I’m okay with this. The last few days has seen a lot of activity in the rooms where he is trying to produce his own film. I was thinking about maybe moving out anyway because of my need for tranquility. As for the assembly it runs at just over seventy minutes but is still missing the band scenes and all the generic stuff of the shop and the street. My philosophy is to put everything in to see what you got then hone it down. I think it is generally funny, possibly has one too many scenes ending with a punchline but it’s early doors.
WEEK 5: Sunday 24th May
I’ve lost the whole week to the technical aspects of getting the editing room set up at home and setting up a dual boot system. I can smile about it now but the week was a horror trip. Anyone who has ever rejigged their computer and see it go pear shaped will know what I mean. It’s not like a car where you can just open it up and see how the mechanics work. The short-hand version is that I need a different graphic card, sound card and another monitor with the same screen resolution as the one I already have. This means laying out cash that I don’t really have. Still Hotte has given me quite a lot of work at the shop so guess where the pocket money’s going.
strong>WEEK 6: Sunday 31st May
We had been planning to pick up some of the interviews that we dropped during the shoot and penciled in Whitsunday. But the signs pointed the way as one by one people couldn’t make it, so in the end I cancelled. Everyone was ready to jump in again: Stefan, Lina, Ronald and a friend Armin was going to to the camera. But if I have learnt anything from this film so far it is not to force things too much. So much of my energy has been invested in the computer that in a way I am relieved. Instead I spend the day in the shop working. It was very quiet though, perfect for interviews but anyway… My editing room is up and running but not fully functional so I spend the days looking through the takes and reappraising some of the original decisions I made about what was best.
WEEK 7: Monday 8th June
Alright. New graphic card arrived new monitor too, I’ve got full screen playback and am back in the groove. In hindsight – fuck are we wiser after the event – the break from the material was actually a good thing. To quote John Lydon – I am a one man army – editing my film alone so objectivity or attaining objectivity is important. Dani hasn’t got back to me in a long time and I have given up any thoughts of her returning to the project. Instead I have found my rhythm. I put out feelers again about the archive material. This will take some time. People have material but it’s buried in the cellar or they know people who have material or they have a number of somebody who might. It is important not to overlook this aspect: if we regularly talk about how the neighborhood once was then the audience also needs to see how it once was. Preferably moving images. Conrad has vowed to make it his main task upon his return form working in Munich.
WEEK 8 : Sunday 14th June
I go jogging early morning, edit all day and go to bed early. Every day. I feel as if the rough cut (as it is now becoming) is really coming to life. I actually have two endings and I prefer the one that wasn’t scripted as such. I talk with Herbert and we start making a small time-line. We are going to watch the rough cut next week then start delving into the interviews to see what we can use to bind or segue the acted scenes. We have decided to work together and then see if we can bring in an editor later for the fine cut to turn some things around and maybe bring some fresh dynamism to scenes. We also talked about who or where we could go for post production money. I have been offered this or that favour but sooner or later we need to mix and grade and hopefully transfer to 35mm. These things will not be for free. Still the plan was always to work up a good cut of the film and let it do the talking.
WEEK 9: Monday 22nd June
Alright. First rough cut. Spent the first half of the week putting the rough cut sequences together, adding music to bring a bit of atmosphere to the shop and smoothing out the sound a bit. Comes in at 72 minutes. Watched it with Herbert on Thursday. We are both pleased . We think the acting is uniformly very good and the scenes all work. Most of all we agree how wonderful the shop looks and that is all credit o Martin who has provided us with wonderful images. And Ronald too of course. We started discussing how the film works and it soon became clear that without the interview sequences the back part of the film doesn’t quite work and that without a voiceover at the beginning, the film starts a little flat and Tommy remains a bit of a mystery. This is all okay as we shot the film knowing there would be a voiceover. So I decide not to show the film to anyone yet. It would just not be very helpful at this stage. Instead I am going to sift through the interviews and select what relevant material I deem fit. Next week me and Herbert can watch this clips and experiment a little, using them as chapter introductions or to underline or juxtapose the scenes that precede or follow. Sounds like fun. Conrad has returned and has good news about possible archive material which we can hopefully get our excited mits on soon. My plan is to have a worthy rough cut with all the elements by the middle of July. Then I can show it to a select group of trusted people to see how it works. We are also missing the introduction that will bring the audience into Berlin and to the street corner, plus a few other establishing shots. Martin me sent me a mail ensuring I did not feel alone. Think I’ll bring him over in August. Next up is a first teaser to maintain our internet presence. This is what Martin wrote:
This is the deal. Im going to view the film when it turns up – then if need be I’ll come back to Berlin and we’ll work on it together. The fire is back in my belly.. Is it in yours . Come on..!
This is gonna work.
Take no prisoners. ‘The future is unwritten’
WEEK 10: Monday 29th June
Another week in the editing room bears fruit. Sifted through the seven or so hours of documentary interviews and brought them down to 71 minutes. There are many many moments of affection, wisdom, insight and humour, not all of which are relevant to the film storyline. I intend to do a teaser from the interviews that won’t be included. Sat through the selection with Herbert. He has more objectivity than I, not knowing the people or the shop. He is delighted and thinks we have a enough material for 90 minutes. He also thinks the film will be roughly 50-50 acted and documentary. I think it will be more 70-30. We shall see. Lina has dug up some potential nuggets regarding archive material. Conrad has returned and is making up a Facebook account for the film. I finished the first teaser, uploaded it to youtube and embedded it on the blog. Should do wonders for our click count. Aiming for a complete rough cut by the middle of July. Next up I have to set the documentary moments between the acted scenes. Joy.
WEEK 11: Monday 6th July
The beginning of the week saw me edit and upload the first teaser. We redesigned the blog and Conrad set up a Facebook account. So far the reaction has been very favourable, many a compliment making it’s way to us. It has certainly achieved the object of making people hungry for more. The rest of the week saw me reducing the interview clips to a manageable 35 minutes and they are all represented by index cards on the huge pin board in the editing room. I shuffle them back and forth finding common themes or links to the material. By Friday I was splicing them into the rough cut. The opening needs a good old recut to incorporate these statements and my voiceover while still making sense and remaining dynamic. Much to do. No complaints there.
WEEK 12: Monday 13th July
An intensive week in the editing room. I spent two days placing the documentary interviews between the acted scenes only to throw the whole lot out and start again. We have different elements in the film and the important thing is to introduce the film as a drama first. I had too many interview clips in the opening and it was just too confusing. One thing after another. I have been putting my European flat-rate to good use. Every night I upload scenes for Martin who watches them the next day and then we talk through them. This is the first time he’s seen any footage of note as we were so pressed for time during the shoot plus he left straight away. He has offered a few excellent suggestions to the acted material. We agree we are still short of a few shots and so we are planning an additional two days of shooting at the end of August to address these issues. This coming week I have two rough cut screenings and we shall see what comes of them. We have plans to apply for money/strive for glory at the end of September so the next month will be crucial in honing the rough cut. I am a little tired and will take a few days off from editing after the screenings to recharge my batteries and gather some fresh perspective.
WEEK 13: Monday 20th July
That was the week that was. We’ve got our first real complete rough cut. Perhaps a defining week? It combines the acted scenes, the documentary interviews and a voice-over. It runs at 97 minutes without any titles. That means it can lose twenty minutes. Can, mustn’t, might. Lina and Ronald come down to view the film and chill with the family on the balcony. They are very happy and offer nothing but praise. Not surprisingly as they are team members but support and praise is always welcome. The next morning Herbert watches the cut and his first reaction is exactly the same as mine. He says that for only a second rough cut the film is well developed; we see what it is for a film and where it wants to go. We discuss a few ideas about moving scenes around or combining scenes to add weight or emphasis to the story. Martin is sent a copy on DVD and Andreas – editor on my two previous films – is coming by to offer his view on the film. I am taking a break with the family and will collect all the ideas and opinions and crack out another version in the middle of August. Martin is returning for two pick up days at the end of August and for a couple of days in the editing room. So by the beginning of September we should be pretty close top a fine cut. Suddenly things feel like they are moving faster. Bring it on.
WEEK 14: Monday 27th July
Andreas took a look at the rough cut and offered a couple of valuable insights. He also corroborates what me and Herbert are thinking, namely that the beginning needs some more weight especially in introducing Tommy and Kalle characters. My mind turns to maybe writing and shooting some new scenes for when Martin returns. I am pretty sure what it will take to advance this film but am waiting to hear from Martin whose opinion is everything. He is my concilieri and if he says we go to war, we go to war…
WEEK 15: Monday 3rd August
Having returned from England I spend hours on the telephone with Martin who finally got to see a rough cut via DVD. We have very similar thoughts about what we need to lose what we need to add and the main themes of the film (especially regarding the documentary elements) come into focus. We start planning for the pick up days, what shots we need to collect and run some ideas up the flagpole to see which way the wind blows vis-a-vis new scenes. I talk to Stefan Lochau and Megan about stepping up to the camera again. Conrad, Ronald and Lina all sign up apart but Stefan Gollhardt will be on location in Turkey, so I’ll have to find a new sound guy. I feel the energy rising again, a chance to improve, expand and embellish on what we already have.
WEEK 16 – Monday 10th August
I’m back in England for another week with the family, supposedly taking a break but I’m actually just sitting in the kitchen working on sub-titles for money. Megan now won’t be available for the pick-up days so I’ll have to come back again with another cameraman and shoot her scene sometime in late September. These must be the first days since February when I haven’t worked on the film. I’m sure the rest will do me good. It’s good to hook up with old friends here who fuel me with energy and enthusiasm for the project and life in general. Checked out the Mick Jones Rock n’ Roll Library with Uli and an old friend Ben. Fantastic – just to hang out around Portobello Road and Brixton. You can take the man out of England but you can never take England out of the man.
WEEK 17 – Monday 17th August
Back in Berlin and preparing the pick up days. Good news came in on the wire; Stefan is no longer going to Turkey so he is back in and we have the complete original line-up, which bodes well. I wrote to a number of record labels who deal with reggae reissues about the possibility of using a few choice cuts. One has got back to be saying it would be possible. Wow. Nothing is ever for sure but at least they didn’t say no. I return to the editing room and continue reducing the rough cut. Talk with Martin and we decide to concentrate the documentary sequences to just personal stories of the shop. These sequences are still moving around the film looking for their rightful places.
WEEK 18 – Monday 24th August
More good news. Megan’s trip has been moved back and she is back in for the pick up days. Conrad is out and about looking for rooftop locations where we can capture natty shots of the Berlin skyline. I have now ripped out 24 minutes from the rough cut leaving it at a lean clean 73 mins. With the new material to come we should be bang on the 80 minute mark. I knuckle down and write two new scenes, one each for Megan and Stefan, which should strengthen the beginning of the film. Me and Martin also plan to pick up a few close-ups and establishing shots from other scenes too. Helene and Majo have agreed to cater for us again and Peter at the Schwarze Pumpe has agreed another coffee deal with me. Free rooftop locations are proving hard to find but there is time still. I pick up equipment from Lutz again and my work space smells of his cellar again. Herbert pops by the editing room; what is very satisfying for me is that he and Martin – who have never spoken let alone met – both have the same opinions about the direction of the film. Roll on next week.
WEEK 19 – 1st September
Today me and Martin are on R&R after the pick-up days. Swimming in the Lido, chilling in the park. So how did it go? An action packed few days full of lots of little bitty things; filming from rooftops, out of cars, from churches. Lots of cutaways plus a couple of new scenes and a new interview with Flizzi and Kyrill. It was a bit boring for the crew but me and Martin were working down a list and that is what we did. The end result will prove how vital these days were. Nevertheless it was great to get together and shoot. We have a strong new opening scene which will further showcase Megan as an outstanding actress and Stefan got a new scene which further cements Kalle as the cult character you wouldn’t trust as far as his Gran could throw him. Ian let us shoot from his rooftop flat and laid on a barbecue for me and Mart. Fantastic. Patrick got us on to the roof of the Cubix cinema on Alexanderplatz, where Martin filmed me cycling around. We are delighted with the shoot and will spend the next couple of days preparing a voiceover to be recorded before he leaves. So, okay, we shot 80 minutes in 11 days now but with the extra costs still only for about 700 Euros. Rock on.
WEEK 20 – 7th September
What a week it was. Me and Mart in the editing room with oodles of creative energy. It’s what we got into this game for. Niklas came over and recorded a new voiceover which Mart directed. We tried to make it as lively as possible and include a few “Strummerisms”. Niklas was my sound recordist and sound designer on my last film “Land’s End” and hopes to do the sound editing and design in October, time permitting. Me and Mart digitized the new material, mapping out what to use and where. Before he flew off we had a celebratory wrap party at an Indian restaurant in Kreuzberg. I also turned him on to the incredibly brilliant “Deadwood” series from HBO. If you haven’t seen it then you should. And “The Wire” while you’re at it. This is what Mart wrote back upon returning.
Man ‘o Man….! Fidel, What a great week on the revolutionary road. Had a great time shooting/drinking/eating/cutting… Felt like old times again hanging out in Berlin with my old ‘compadre’. Think we got the film on track with the new scenes and knockout V/O. Gonna be big or at least get the next film made. Say thanks to the family for having me. Che.
No Doubt say I.
WEEK 21 – 14th September
So left alone again in the editing room, I waste no time. The scenes are cut in, the new sequences are spliced together with appropriate music, other existing scenes are embellished with additional close-ups or establishing shots of Berlin to help the passing of time and the film to breathe. I add the new interview with Flizzi & Kyrill. The voiceover goes down as do the English subtitles and by the weekend I have a complete rough cut. The pick-up material has made a huge difference to the film. I am sure this is it now. Of course it needs a fine cut but the film is there and nothing will be moved around or put in/out. I mix the sound a little and think “Wow. Fucking hell. It really works”.
WEEK 22 -21st September
I spend the week converting the film to DVD, which takes nights to do. I am running the shop alone for the week as everyone else is awol or working. By the middle of the week I have a DVD which I test at home and then at my friend Ralle who not only has a wonderful grasp of English but also a huge flat screen. He too says “Wow. Fucking Hell” which puts me in good stead as I then splash the cash and send the DVD with UPS to a well known American Independent Film Festival. They won’t reply until December but we have nothing to lose. Copies also go out to Martin and Herbert. I spend the rest of the time editing two new teasers for the blog to re-awaken our internet presence. By Sunday evening Herbert has seen the film and also thinks it is there, just in need of a fine-tune. He says (I paraphrase) that it is just the right kind of film for festivals; no budget, personal, unusual style, unexpected. Right on. Everyone who has seen the film in it’s embryonic form says how vital the music is. Time to get on the licensing rights case, put a call in to Universal…
WEEK 23 – 28th September
A quietish week on the Atkins Blues front. A great response to the new teasers. Especially number two which offers the first glimpse of the documentary elements. I got given lots of translation work to do which timing-wise was just perfect. A quick top up of the coffers before the final cut which starts this week. Just got to trim the scenes and I think we will have a picture lock. Universal got back today which is a start at least. This has become our quest at the moment – to try and obtain these great reggae tunes which give the film so much. We have also decided to to a German subtitled version of the rough cut to maximize our chances when we go out looking for mixing and grading deals here in Berlin next month. Ho hum. My good friend Jutta has offered to do the leg-work as it were. So plenty of work to do before we go into the sound edit which is now pencilled in for the last week of October.
WEEK 24- 6th October
A very quiet week on the film as I am doubling up as an AD on another project. I did have the chance to screen the film to friend and colleague Ruth Hetzer who was very taken by the film in the fine cut version. She offered a few choice suggestions for the final cut but otherwise thinks it all works well. I am waiting on the final words from Martin but his DVD got waylaid in the post. We have also submitted to two more festivals, one more in America and another here in Europe. So it looks like we are almost there and after the AD work is over I’ll spend a couple of days polishing up the final cut then hand it all over to Niklas for the sound editing. Hopefully by the 18th.
WEEK 25 – 13th October
Busy on pre-production for another project but did find time to put in a fine cut session with Andreas and trim another 3 minutes out of the film. I think that is more or less it now. Am still waiting for some last comments from Martin and Hugh in Edinburgh.
WEEK 26 – 20th October
Have had no time the last week to do anything on the film as I was on a shoot all week. Money or time, that’s what you got.
WEEK 27 – 27th October
Am working the shop alone and honing the film during the days. The comments came back from Scotland with one really great suggestion about how to introduce the documentary element. Nice one Hugh. So that really is it. Or probably it. I think I will go through the film just one last time to put my mind at rest before I hand the project over to Niklas for the sound editing. Universal got back and have offered us the festival rights for 100 Euros a song. I know we are breaking a golden rule here but the music makes such a difference to the film. We are asking people to sponsor a song…
WEEK 28 – 2nd November
Spent the week preparing the final cut for the sound editing, which took a couple of gos to get right. Niklas will now start working on it. I also put together a German DVD of the final cut which will be used to help capture a post-production deal. I fly to England tomorrow for a week for private reasons. The music rights aren’t going one way or the other, I’ve written to the publishers and we will see what they say. Some people have given generously which means I can afford some songs now.
WEEK 29th – 9th November
What’s with this date then? As the world turns it’s attention to Berlin I am in Blighty. Fuck was that 20 years already? Well hopefully we can ride on the shirt tails of this now that Berlin is remembered again. I have been dealing with private matters all week and will be passing through London on my way hope for some friend seeing and a bit of culture maybe. More on the film soon.
WEEK 30 – 16th November
Jörg at Cine Plus has agreed in principle to help us, the details of which have yet to be ironed out. It mainly involves me doing free translations for his production department in return for very competitive prices… or something like that. I’ve contacted Martin Grube who mixed my last film and asked if he would consider agreeing to a deferred payment and it seems he might well. He is vastly talented and a very likeable man to boot. Showed the film to Megan, her fella Martin and Ian last night. They put the DVD through a projector and the film took up a whole wall. They laughed a lot and really enjoyed the film. So that’s good. I also handed the version into a film festival quite close to where I live. A very long shot but I have to try right? I grow impatient to show this film to an audience but things being the way they are we won’t have it finished before early January. There again if a festival were to take us that would hurry things along…
WEEK 31 – 23rd November
Met with Martin Grube and watched the film in the mixing room. He chuckled his way through the film and is definitely in. On a deferred payment if need be. Started to hear back from music publishers and their asking price is just too high for our no budget. I do understand, I mean composers deserve royalties but I had hoped the publishers would perhaps show more generosity considering we are only asking for festival rights. So time for some backpedalling. I have contacted Ghe, Dirk and Ralf and they are starting work on a new soundtrack. They will probably lend it a bit more jazz, dare I say David Holmes-esque, but it’s what you got. In the long run it will work out for the better.
WEEK 32 – 30th November
A quiet week. I have nothing to do on a daily basis, the work in the hands of others. Spent Sunday in the studio with Ghe and Dirk, watched the film, kicked ideas around. They played some old demos and doodles. I feel even more at ease with them doing the music now. They are from the shop so it will add another personal element to the film. We are waiting on Soul Jazz to see if we can still have four songs for the score. Still waiting for a final confirmation from Jörg regarding the deal. Just a question of keeping the faith.
WEEK 33 – 7th December
So we are nearly through the sound edit. Just missing a few atmos and the foleys which we are doing one evening next week. Waiting on the demos from Ghe. Boy am I curious. Me and Conrad spent an evening with Zazi who is designing us a poster and the press kit. Got word back from Soul Jazz who cannot give us an answer yet, if that isn’t a contradiction. The first of a few festivals should be getting back to us this coming week. I won’t hold out, but you never know. We have to finish the damn thing before we can show it! Me and Martin had a long conversation yesterday and knocked out the basics of a new story for a film we want to start shooting by late summer. I am not going to divulge the storyline here but we want to keep moving with the people we have – both team and actors – and broaden the palette a little. Maybe five or six main locations in Berlin. Lots of different languages with an ensemble cast again. More soon.
WEEK 34 – 14th December
Slow week compensated by extra work for money for me. An AD job outside in freezing temperatures and a translation job. The sound edit progresses in the capable hands of Nicklas and me and Conrad work on the final German sub-titles on the avid at my place. A very slow time for me as we are waiting on post slots for the grading and sound mix, demos from the musicians.
WEEK 35 – 21st December
This week was much more like it. Spent an evening with Martin Grube recording Foleys performed by Günter Röhn, paid for by that diamond geezer Sebi, who not for the first time has dug into his pocket to help us out. Spend some time in the studio with Ghe, Ralf and Dirk and come home with six demos which are sounding great. There is also a photo shoot arranged by Pille for the film poster. Afterwards me, Pille & Conrad chill out eating pizza on the O-Strasse, still the best street in town. So that is about it for this year. Another music session between Xmas and New Year and then hopefully we will have everything graded and mixed by the end of January. Sponsorship has been promised and I have to say that here in Berlin it has been comparatively easy to arrange these things for free. Is it us, the project, the Germans? All three, right. Over the coming days we raise our glasses to all of you who have brought us this far. Here’s to doing it yourself. Because let’s face it (and I quote William Goldman) nobody knows nothing! Big Love, Tom Atkins.
Week 36 – 29th December
What a difference a week can make. It became clear in the days leading up to Christmas that the promises made were more likely lip service that would perhaps never be honoured. I decided to look elsewhere and have been a offered a deal that while incredibly generous is not for free. This is the dilemma; wait for something that might be for free but might not happen or splash some cash and mix the film by mid-January. Our problem is that we don’t have any money. I spend ages discussing this on the phone with Martin and we decide to ask people to invest in the film with the chance of making money back should the film generate sales. To put out a such a request at the end of the year is not exactly great but we shall suck it and see. I post the request on the home page of the blog and send out a email…
WEEK 37 – 5th January 2010
Back in the studio making music with Ghe, Ralf and Dirk does much to warm the soul. It is freezing cold here in Berlin. The music is really taking shape and all credit to the guys who have shown such a willingness to make the music. On the investment front, money is being pledged and it looks like we might be able to raise the money. Zazi has produced a press kit for the film with a poster to follow. It looks great. We have not been taken by the San Fran festival which is a shame but to be honest I need to concentrate on finishing the film first. We are mixing the film with Martin Grube between 19-21 January. The grading is still open but some other possibilities are opening up.
WEEK 38 – 12th January
Divide my time between the sound edit and the music recording. Time is tight and everybody has day jobs so it’s mainly nights and the weekend. Music has come on enormously and this despite Ghe recently becoming a father. He told me he got up at 6 one morning and put together a track. The dynamics in the studio are constantly moving and changing as we all take turns to sit up front with Ghe. Ralf is the musician, Dirk the drummer and technician and Ghe, well he’s the brain. I chip in with mixing ideas. Meanwhile Niklas juggles jobs and surges on with the sound editing and design. It will be very tight, especially for the music, to be on time for the mix but we’ll be okay. We always have been on this project.
WEEK 39 – 19th January
I’m pretty much exhausted. Sunday was the last day mixing the music, which went on late. Then Monday me and Niklas were preparing the sound edit before I nipped of to record the voiceover which stopped just short of a disaster as I ended up with no direction, or picture, or sound. All just too complicated to explain other than no budget- last minute. I stand alone in the studio trying to recapture the feel of the demo. I think I did all right. Then it was back to Niklas til midnight working in the voiceover and the music. Tuesday early I had to prepare a last couple of things then we set off to K13 to mix the film. I was so bloody knackered by the time we started but the first day is always slow. Martin Grube is the unflappable mixer and we are safe in his hands. Another two days is also very tight. Must get some sleep. More next week.
WEEK 40 – 26th January
Today is Conrad’s birthday. So first of all Happy Birthday mate. We would have been fucked without you. This week it’s all good news really. We managed to raise all the money for the sound mix via our investment scheme. A big shout goes out here from us all to you who contributed. You know who you are. Secondly we mixed the film, in Dolby 5.1 and it sounds great. Of course with a budget we would have re-recorded some scenes but Martin Grube worked hard enough on the street scenes and I think they sound fine. Of course things can always be better but for this film I have no complaints. The scenes in the shop really bring across the vibe, the music and the warmth. Wonderful. So we wait for a grading date. I upload the poster and the press kit to the blog and make inquiries about a venue for the Premiere. If anybody reading this has an idea for a cheap venue with 400 seats and a HD projector, get in touch! I’m applying to a couple more festivals this week; one here in Berlin and another in America. We will see. Fucking hell, we’re almost done!
WEEK 41 – 2nd February
Things are quiet now as we wait to see if the grading that was promised really materialises. I have already made discreet enquiries about alternatives. We now have booked a location for the Premiere. It will be held on Friday 9th April and it will an Official Team Premiere. Location will be revealed in good time when the invitations go out at the end of this month. Martin has already booked his flight. I apply to a couple more film festivals and edit the outtakes a little. But to be honest this thing is done. Apart from the grading…
WEEK 42 – 9th February
Berlin is still frozen over and people who promised things are hard to track down when it comes to the crunch. No names. Still, my old friend Paul Hills is coming over for the film festival so it will be good to hook up. We go back a long way, to those distant days at film school in Bournemouth, what I refer to as my nightmare on the English Riviera. He wasn’t even at the film school but after Andy left in disgust, Paul came down and used the school’s facilities and bedded down in Andy’s vacant room. He has always been an inspiration to me and Mart as he never gives up. Ever.
WEEK 43 – 16th February
Paul takes me to the premiere of a film about Norman Foster and we join the crew back at the Hotel Adlon drinking whisky and champagne til the early hours. Me and Paul still doing the kit after all these years. Fucking hilarious. We say goodbye in the early hours of the morning a little worse for wear. We both have completed films, independently produced, looking for their luck and chance on the film festival circuit. We hope we can meet up somewhere exotic in the coming months…
WEEK 44 – 23rd February
Still waiting for a final decision from Cine Plus about the grading. I complained a lot on the phone last week, no doubt fired up by hanging out with Paul. They have promised a final decision this week. Wanna bet? It’s the devil you know, they owe me a grading or money but to go some other post house will be starting from scratch. Let it be said the grading issues are the only real difficulties we have encountered on this film. Which suggests it was bound to happen. Or don’t deal with over-sized post houses. Or both. Makes me think of a Pink Floyd line… Hanging on in quiet desperation is the English way… I’m only bothered because we have sent out the invites for the Team Premiere and the film still isn’t finished. Oh well, ups the ante.
WEEK 45 – 1st March
So finally we have a grading! Four days split over the next two weeks at Cine Plus. Spent the last couple of days preparing the subtitles and rechecking the titles with Conrad for a few overlooked spelling mistakes. Martin hopes to come over for the 11th and 12th if he can escape jury service. He has also bought the new Canon 7D which we intend to shoot the next film on. When he is over for the grading and the team screening we’ll be doing some tests. We fire the film off to a few more festivals and hope to hear something positive this week from a festival very close to home. A final irony is that Hotte has renovated the shop and it no longer looks like the shop in the film, so we have also created a document too now. I will let you know about our adventures with the baselight grading machine.
WEEK 46 – 8th March
So we are finally in and we start grading the film with Eva. As it turns out I know her from the shop as she used to live opposite Kaisers, which puts everything on a good footing and gives us an additional empathy. Her suggestions are great, the contrast is heightened in the shop, the skins tones balanced out. Unfortunately we have to wait til next week for the other two days but it looks like this time next week we will have a finished film in two subtitled versions in a number of digital formats. We have a long list of festivals all over the world we shall be sending the film to. We shall also be having a private cast and crew screening soon, which will be nice to hook up with everyone again. Maybe next week will be the last post-pro entry. You never know…
WEEK 47 – 15th March
So tomorrow and the day after we will be finishing the grading and adding the sound to a number of video formats. The dates were moved twice but it looks like this is it, finally. However we have not been idle and are preparing a selection of merchandising that will be available in time for the Team Premiere. This is likely to take the form of posters, T-shirts and bags. Zazi and I are working on that with some financial assistance from Ronnie Dee. I like the idea of people strolling about with Tom Atkins Blues on their backs and paint splattered on their fronts. Or is it the other way round? Anyhow they will be available for fair prices that covers our costs and maybe generates a little bit of cash. We are still waiting to hear from festivals in Berlin and London in order to finally unleash this film on an unwitting public. I’ll be setting up a new Blog of News next week.
WEEK 48 – 22nd March
Welcome to the last post-production week. I spent Friday with Eva grading the film and checking the sub-titles. The film looks wonderful, rich colours outside, muted colours for daytime interiors and strong blacks and contrasts for the night time stuff. It is simply quite amazing what you can do these days. The week was greatly enhanced by the Achtung Berlin festival taking the film ensuring a world premiere plus two more screenings in Berlin in April. The timing is perfect. The whole film has been conceived, shot, edited and completed in just over a year, the insistence on quality post-production ensures the film is better than we all could have hoped for both technically and creatively. All that remains is to show it to an audience and see where the journey will take us. There is a news page now where we will post anything relevant or pertinent to the film’s ongoing journey in search of recognition and acceptance. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, a big shout goes out to every one who made this project happen. Whether you supported or contributed or even just offered some words of encouragement… but especially thanks to Hotte for letting me shoot in the shop, to Conrad for always being there and to Martin, whose idea it was in the first place. See you on a red carpet or in an auditorium soon.