Long Time Coming

I’ve been a part of a film project since late 2011. Here it is mid-2014 and the project still isn’t completed. We are getting closer to being done, and most of us are really excited to see it finalized, but there are many others involved who gave up a long time ago. I can’t say I blame them for not being excited for it anymore. Everyone was helping on a volunteer basis, and after a while, it’s easy to get burned out when you aren’t seeing the fruits of your labor. The project has definitely been a long winding road.

In the beginning, I was brought into the project for a really small job. The crew was creating a music video teaser, and I just happened to stop by at the right place at the right time. They put me in charge of queuing the music and keeping track of time. I guess I impressed in that position because I only moved up from there.

The project didn’t start out on a very high note. The problems started very early on. The writers were intending on creating a 45 minute pilot episode, seeing that they wanted the whole idea to be seen as a television series rather than a short film. They took a couple of weeks to work together on writing the project, and when they came back, we were all surprised to find that instead of a pilot episode they had written six episodes.

Almost everyone was pretty excited to start filming for the six episodes that were written. They had definitely provided an interesting story, although some areas were way beyond our budget and resources. This was most of ours’ first project, so we had no idea how long filming actually took. Within the first couple of shoots, it was apparent that we weren’t going to be able to film all six episodes with a cast and crew made entirely of volunteers.

In response, the writers started taking large chunks away from the script. Characters were eliminated and story arcs were condensed. In the end, this has left us with a 45 minute pilot. This would seem fine, but really this leaves the final project with a lot of unfixable plot holes that we are hoping no one really sees.

Before the story was cut down, we had almost entirely filmed episode one of the six-episode story arc. For the final product, this leaves us with a whole lot of scenes that hold no real importance to the overall message. It’s a whole lot of unnecessary fluff. Characters were introduced with no real significance since they were cut after their first appearance. Important information is forced in and seems too rushed. In reality, the story doesn’t make too much sense, and nothing really happens until the last 10 minutes when the ball really starts rolling.

Editing the final product has not been an easy task. This was really where we had to make all of this footage that didn’t run cohesively appear to be cohesive. It’s taken months. We’ve been in post-production for a year now, and the edit is just now seeing the light at the end of the tunnel. That’s just a basic edit too. This isn’t including our best attempts at special effects, color correction, sound editing and music composition. We can only hope that the hardest parts will be over once the basic edit is out of the way.

I won’t completely knock this project as a failure though. We were all beginners when it started, and we’ve all learned a great deal through all of the mistakes that we made. I don’t think we’d all be where we were now if not for this project. I’m still looking forward to seeing it all finished.

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