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Saturday, April 30, 2005

Of Monks and Macs

It may be a cliché, but sometimes truth really is stranger (or at least more interesting) than fiction.  As some of you know, there are several key scenes in RED DOORS that take place at the Chuang Yen Buddhist Monastery in Carmel, New York.  The monks and staff there were incredibly gracious to us during production, providing food, housing, wardrobe, authentic extras, and an oasis of sanity in the midst of our crazy shoot.  Naturally, we were very excited to share the finished product with them – so when we got our schedule for Tribeca, we called to invite the Chuang Yen residents to one of our screenings.  After Georgia assured the head abbot that there is no “passionate” material in the film (at least not of the R-rated variety), they accepted our invitation and sent three monks to the Big Apple for Tuesday’s screening.  A few things to keep in mind about our cloistered friends: 1) They do not speak English.  2) One of the monks hadn’t seen a movie since he took his vows over five years ago.  3) They think Georgia, Jane and I are nice, well-behaved Chinese girls (no idea where they got that impression…).

On Tuesday, the three monastics drove down most of the way from the monastery (in what we lovingly refer to as the “monk-mobile”), then caught a train to Grand Central Station.  I met them there at 2:30, accompanied by Freda Foh Shen (our amazing “May-Li”).  Everyone squeezed into the back of a taxi, while I sat in front and gave them a mini-tour of lower Manhattan.  As we drove by a giant, homoerotic billboard for Calvin Klein, I tried to distract them by explaining the plot of the movie.  Realizing that I wasn’t sure how to say “lesbian” in Mandarin, I moved on to asking them about monastic life.  Apparently, it’s just like Hollywood, but without the sex, drugs, rock & roll, immorality, egotism, delusions of grandeur…okay, so it’s nothing like Hollywood (thank goodness)!

As we arrived at the theater, we were greeted by throngs of people and a barrage of noise and activity.  The monks took this all in stride, moving slowly but deliberately through the melee, stopping to gaze at the poster kiosks.  I dove in front of the “Gay Sex in the 70s” poster, featuring a huge, bare ass, and smilingly directed them toward our nice, tasteful RED DOORS poster.  The cast came over to greet our friends, and we escorted everyone into the theater.  As the lights dimmed, I looked around the audience at the beautiful diversity of faces and said a silent thank you to the universe for the opportunity to bring them together in a communal experience. 

Because the screening started 45 minutes late, the monks had to leave quickly afterwards to get back in time for their evening meditation.  On their way out, however, they paused to tell Freda how much they enjoyed the film.  Robes flowing in the breeze, they glided serenely off into the Tribeca sunset.

Meanwhile, I’ve been trying to maintain a modicum of Zen over the past few days, during which my computer crashed repeatedly and the monitor suddenly opened up into the mouth of hell – I’m telling you, Dante ain’t got nothing on IBM.  So after five years on the Dark Side, I’ve finally seen the light – iMac, here I come!

Song du jour: Oh My God by Kaiser Chiefs


Freda ushers our Buddhist
friends into a taxi
Georgia and Sebastian escort
the monks to the theater

Wednesday, April 27, 2005

Object Permanence

Wow. I echo Mia's palindrome. Wow.

I am still left blinking 4 days after the premiere and all the ensuing madness. I am one of those people who don't like to write or call until I feel I have a "proper" amount of time to fully devote to catching up, which of course always ends up with my not communicating for months on end and results in annoyed friends and family. So in my earnest attempt to rectify this character flaw, I have decided to at least jot down a brief note, painfully incomplete and meandering as it may be.

So I don't know where to begin except for perhaps with my rather uncharacteristic hair appointment before the premiere. Mind you, a wash and a blow dry are luxuries that I have neither the time nor money to indulge in, but I thought the only way to properly relax before the chaos was to get my head massaged. And as Mia and Jane seemed unwilling to oblige... ;)

So I really don't remember much about anything except that somehow I ended up at the Embassy Suites around 7:30pm and there miraculously in the lobby was my cast from LA all glitzy and glimmering. Jane immediately took charge of the mad ticket situation and whisked Michael B and Peter B (our amazing street team) off to the front of the theater to deal with the insane logistics.

So, yes object permanence. I believe that this term refers to when babies can remember objects (like rattles) even when they are hidden from their view. Well, I for some reason seemed to lack all object permanence during the premiere. I could only process what was happening directly and immediately in front of me. Everything else was a massive blur.

So, brief images from my very imperfect memory: there was a line of over 200 people waiting outside on door sales tickets; Wellington ushers the cast and myself through the back to the red carpet; I don't know what to do, as I've never walked a red carpet where anyone wanted to take MY photograph. Wellington nudges me like a mother duck to a wayward chick towards the waiting cameras. Click, flash. I almost trip on my heels and yearn desperately for my Converse. A photo is taken of Kathy and me and I mentally note that I would like to get that photo for my dad later. Somehow I end up in the theater. It holds about 420 people and was packed to the hilt. I remember going over to say hi to my grandmother and being extremely moved to see her. So many friends and supporters that I am quite overwhelmed. David Kwok seems uncannily calm for the chaos that is swirling around him as he talks constantly on his phone to mysterious forces controlling the ebb and flow of people entering and exiting the theaters. Sasie (the lovely and spritely director of the short playing before Red Doors) and I stand up front waiting to introduce the films. She is asking me very insightful questions about how I made the film but I am completely unable to focus as I stare stupefied at the huge audience and the confusion of seats and tickets. Somehow the theater finally becomes dark, the music and images begin and I stand nervously with Jane and Mia on the sides. At every scene, I tense wondering if the audience will respond. To my absolute relief, the response is overwhelming. Finally, after about 30 minutes into the movie, I relax a little and try to enjoy the fact that all our hard work is finally up there on the big screen.

Hmmm... so much for a brief update. Well to whiz through the rest of it and bring you up to date: we had a very exciting post-premiere industry event (I finally left exhausted around 3am but folks were still dancing up a storm!). I guess we should try and post pictures from both the premiere and event soon. The next day (Saturday), we continued the festivities with the cast and crew party at Lili's. Oh, and during the day, we actually had a private screening organized by the Lower Manhattan Development Corporation for the Chinatown community. It was really great to be able to share the film with a more intimate audience and see their response. Again, I was so thrilled that the film really resonated with everyone. Monday morning Tribeca All Access began. TAA is a wonderful program that Tribeca runs to help minority filmmakers connect with industry folks in order to develop their feature films. So Mia, Jane, and I began round robin meetings first thing Monday morning to discuss my new script Forbidden City. Same thing today as well but added to the flurry of meetings was our second official festival screening. More madness with the ticket and seat situation which I am sure Mia will update you on. But after that chaos, the film started and played to the most alive and responsive audience yet!

So here I am back in front of my computer, really too tired to do anything. I am sure that I have probably made no sense at all with my update as I have fallen asleep twice already sitting here. Am off to bed and must be up for 9am event. Another packed day coming up. Whew! What I wouldn't do for 8 hrs of sleep.

And a final note: I am so happy to report that Edison is safely back home with my father and sisters. Long story here but will try and write about it when I do have a proper packet of time ;)

Jenny and Mr. Lee
Behind the Red Doors
The Two Eds

Composer Robert Miller with cast
(Jacqueline, Kathy, Freda, and Jayce)

Monday, April 25, 2005


I could just leave it at that. The events of Friday, April 22nd, 2005 could be distilled to a single, monosyllabic palindrome (no, not "Bob"). However, as Jane pointed out, brevity is not my strong suit - so please indulge me in what promises to be a lengthy blog (sounds dirty, but isn't). I will now attempt to walk you through the highlights of my day in an orderly fashion...

12:00 p.m. - I crawl out of bed. This is the latest I've slept since January. The phone starts ringing; I take a deep breath.

1:00 p.m. - Our street team leader, Michael Bartholow, arrives for a brief powwow on the big event. We load him up with RD buttons, light-up necklaces, fortune cookies, and postcards. Dressed in a RD t-shirt and hat, he is a walking RED DOORS swag machine.

2:30 p.m. - It's beginning to rain. I perform an anti-rain dance involving peanut butter and gouda.

3:15 p.m. - Jane calmly writes her blog. I have a brief panic attack when I realize how much I still have to prepare for our post-premiere industry event.

3:30 p.m. - I tell everyone I absolutely MUST leave the apartment by 5:30 p.m., or I won't make it to the premiere at 8:45. I wonder if I have just jinxed myself.

3:45 p.m. - I field yet another desperate phone call requesting tickets. I'm beginning to think we should have booked Yankee Stadium.

4:00 p.m. - Georgia leaves for her "creative meditation" (i.e. hair appointment). At least one of us will look presentable.

5:00 p.m. - My parents touch down at LaGuardia.

5:30 p.m. - Rossif calls; he has forgotten a few lyrics to one of his songs. I email him an mp3 and pause to marvel at the wonders of technology.

5:31 p.m. - I realize I forgot to finish the rest of the music mix for tonight. "Jenny from the Block" on repeat ain't gonna cut it.

6:15 p.m. - I leave RED DOORS headquarters, 45 minutes late. I head to the Polka Dot Cake Studio to pick up birthday cakes (nine of them) for our guardian-angel-cum-music-supervisor, Sue Jacobs. The bakery is locked and has one of those annoying post-it signs on the door declaring "back in 5 minutes" (the gentleman waiting before me has been there for 10). I start to leave, but I notice dark chocolate cupcakes in the window and am inexplicably drawn back by an invisible tractor beam. I guess this is what the French mean by "leche-vitrine".

7:15 p.m. - Cakes in hand, I arrive at Salon. I discover that our PA system has blown a speaker and that the lights, which are supposed to be red (as in RED Doors), are actually yellow. I consider throwing a diva tantrum but decide against it when I realize I probably won't have any time to apply makeup (or shower) before the premiere. During sound check, I hyperventilate a little and try not to faint. Rossif and Seth exchange worried glances behind their guitars. They are used to "Mia, reliable-producer-woman-with-nerves-of-steel", not "Mia, weeping-mess-of-female-neuroses-curled-into-fetal-position-on-the-floor".

8:15 p.m. - Having "sorted things out", I arrive back at the apartment and race to the bathroom.

8:20 p.m. - I walk out the door showered, fully clothed, and slightly made up, setting a new world record for women everywhere. Never mind that I'm wearing men's deodorant.

8:21 p.m. - My top falls off in the taxi. Tourists point and laugh. I shoot them looks of pure evil.

8:25 p.m. - I call Jane's cell phone to tell her that I won't make it in time for the arrivals. I can't believe I'm going to miss walking down the red carpet at my own premiere.

8:30 p.m. - My taxi is sitting in standstill traffic on Canal Street. Damn you, Holland Tunnel! I officially freak out (again).

8:35 p.m. - I arrive at the Battery Park Regal Cinemas and sprint to the entrance. Wellington Love, our publicist extraordinaire, gracefully flings me onto the red carpet. Bulbs flash. Amazingly, my top stays on.

8:45 p.m. - The official start time for the movie comes and goes. There are still dozens of people waiting outside in the cold and semi-rain to see if they can get in. Over a hundred have been turned away already. Georgia, Jane and I give up our seats - gotta give the people what they want!

9:00 p.m. - Utter chaos. An angry mob stands in the lobby, brandishing their tickets and demanding entry. The ushers bring in folding chairs. The house manager frantically dashes about, sweating puddles - I keep a safe distance and try not to slip.

9:15 p.m. - I see three friends from LA at the door, unsuccessfully attempting to argue their case to the theater employees. I try to intervene, alternating between vague threats and inappropriate offers - the Regal worker bees are unmoved. Apparently, I have no mojo. I guiltily slink back into the theater, trying to ignore the indignant cries of my erstwhile friends.

9:17 p.m. - Lights out. Georgia, Jane and I stand in the aisle and nervously hold hands ('cause, y'know, we're girls and stuff). The Tribeca Film Festival logo appears onscreen, and...

9:18 p.m. - I exhale.

Song du jour: The Gary Jules version of "Mad World" - because right now, it is.


(hover over the images for captions)

Friday, April 22, 2005

Last time before college

Jane. Again.

We had a little bit of a debate about whether it was kosher for me to blog twice in a row. But Mia has a bunch of errands to run. Georgia is getting her hair done. ("Don't!!" she squealed when I told her that I was going to tell the whole world that she was getting her hair done. I obviously don't take direction very well.) I think it's important for our reading public to get into the minds of the filmmakers just scant hours before our world premiere. So I'm taking one for the team and blogging again.

I expected to be more nervous than I am. I got up this morning, spent a few hours dealing with ticket lists and ordering more postcards and other random assorted RED DOORS duties. Then I had lunch with my mom and my in-laws. Now I'm down at RED DOORS HQ in SoHo patiently waiting for the mayhem to begin.

Georgia at least seems to have some premiere night jitters. I think she was feeling a little queasy earlier but Nick very helpfully offered her a piece of his half-eaten bread. Georgia actually ate it so maybe she's queasier than I thought.

Mia claims she's not nervous but she's already warning me that she's going to be so late it's not even funny. Georgia and Mia tend to be the less-punctual ones in our triumverate so I guess if she's worried about being late, we should expect her to turn up on Thursday. Mia wants me to say that she's the picture of poise and calm. She's being awfully talkative. But that's not really indicative of anything when it comes to Mia.

It's kind of sort of raining outside. As of this morning, rain was 50/50. So of course it's raining. Maybe it will stop in time for the screening? Gotta love a soggy red carpet. Rain is lucky right?

Tuesday, April 19, 2005

Maybe he's really going deaf

It's Jane. It's Big Tuesday. The first day of the Tribeca Film Festival.

I'm sitting here in swag central. I've got a box of Red Doors t-shirts in girly and manly styles. There's a leaning tower of boxes standing precariously just inside my front door filled with 3,000 fortune cookies. Well, 2,992 because I got hungry dammit. That's a lot of fortune cookies, by the way. I've got fortune cookies coming out my wazoo. I don't know where my wazoo is, exactly, but if you're near me, stand clear. Because I've got fortune cookies coming out of it.

No more anxiety dreams. It's all about anxiety reality now. Of course, just as our fledgling filmmaking ship is about to launch, everything technological is falling apart around us. Georgia's phone won't charge. My phone looks like it went a few rounds with a lawn mower. Half of the keys on my laptop (including the spacebar) now work part-time. Mia's laptop has yet to meet a wireless connection it likes...

Georgia and I were summoned down to the Regal Cinemas at Battery Park today with a very scary message that went something like this "eh, we were spot checking your film and noticed some audio problems. It gets real loud and then the audio gets distorted." I got the call this morning and after I scraped my heart off the parquet floor I called Georgia and we went down to see what we could salvage. G and I held our breaths as the video check woman played the scene in question for us. It was the first Katie hip hop dance sequence. The music comes on, high schoolers in camouflage dance in synch. At this point I've stopped breathing and my jaw is clenched waiting for the cataclysmic moment.

Waiting. Waiting. Waiting.

Then the video check woman hits the pause button and turns to us expectantly and says "It's not the machines, the audio levels are only at midrange, I think it's in the audio mix." Georgia is silent. So am I. I don't know why G is silent, but I'm just trying not to make an ass of myself. Because, dude, I couldn't hear the beep. "Audio anomaly" whatever. I think the woman takes our silence for shock because she decides to cue up the scene and play it again. I lean in closer this time because, you know, standing 6 inches closer to a blasting speaker makes a huge difference. The scene plays through again: music, dancers, camouflage, box of chocolates... She hits pause again. She waits for our response. Silence. She prompts us this time "so there's this crackling at the higher registers..." G and I nod dumbly. I really don't hear it. Well, after a few more play-throughs, she's convinced Georgia that there is "crispiness" in our audio. I still don't hear it. Suffice it to say we were fine with that little imperfection and we thanked Tribeca profusely for their diligence. I didn't need those 90 minutes of my life anyway.

So this is really it. Our main man michaelb comes into town tomorrow and we kick off our street marketing team. Actors will be flying in over the next several days. Mentions in the press are starting to trickle in. New York Magazine wrote a few sentences on us yesterday. But that's cool because they devoted just half a page to festival coverage. Two sentences on a half-page sidebar is a pretty good ratio in my book. We were called out as a "pick." Go us!

Hither cometh the insanity.

Sunday, April 17, 2005

We're All a Little Bi...coastal

The thing about Los Angeles is that it remains more or less the same. Perhaps it's the incessantly gorgeous weather (except for record-breaking rainfall this year), or the incessantly gorgeous people (thank you, Botox!), but there's a uniformity to this place that is both comforting and eerie. For now, it is my home, and I love it. So yes, I'm back in LA for a few days - a brief return to my faithful, doting partner before resuming my torrid affair with the saucy minx that is New York City.

Truth be told, I'm going through post-production (post-partum?) withdrawal. A few days ago, our superhuman sound mixer, Tom Jucarone, powered through a 24-hour final sound mix so that we could have the film in time for our press screening. It was a surreal experience, watching the sun rise over Manhattan, then set, then rise again as we stared at every frame of the same 90-minute film - at once incongruous and oddly appropriate. The earth turned once, we watched our movie once.

This week, I've moved away from the fun, creative producing stuff into the boring, tedious-but-necessary process of assembling all of our legal documentation. Not that I'm complaining, but it's kind of hard to get excited about errors and omissions insurance. I tried listening to Barry White and everything - didn't help, but you'll be glad to know that I got some serious mirror-dancing in.

Song du jour: "When it Rains" by Tristan Prettyman. 'Cause I'm in a California state of mind.

Friday, April 15, 2005

Edison Update

So thank god we found Edison. It turns out that he escaped the invisible fence and then this woman down the street found him. But she is now accusing us of negligence, etc. and filing a complaint/pressing charges. We tried to be reasonable with her but apparently she has been rather difficult and won't listen. She's got it in her head that we won't take care of Edison. So poor Kat had to deal with the pound, this woman (who made it a point to tell us that her husband is an attorney), and the police.

Anyhow, all of this nonsense is just noise as we are all thrilled that Edison is safe and sound. Kat took him to the groomers today and is showering him with TLC now.

Sorry to alarm everyone (anyone?). But at least it is a happy (albeit legally slightly unresolved) ending.

- Georgia

Thursday, April 14, 2005

This kind of thing doesn't look good to Princeton

Jane again.

Well, we are done-ish. That is, the film itself is done and delivered to the festival folks. After a whirlwind of last minute changes and fixes, we finally finished our HDCam master - sound-synched and beautifully colored.

On Tuesday afternoon we did a quick tech check projection of the film at Tribeca Cinema 1 and it was very exciting to see our little film projected on the big screen. It was actually disappointing when the projectionist had to stop the film about 15 minutes in and usher us out so the next screening could start. Yesterday we had our first press screening. I guess we'll know soon enough how that went. But at least technically, the screening was a success.

By the way, we got a neat little mention in this week's Time Out New York. I hope they don't sue me for reproducing their words here: "Georgia Lee's Red Doors is reminiscent of early Ang Lee: Tensions in a Chinese-American family are explored in full as the dad retires and his city-commuting daughters edge warily toward traditional marriages. Lee's sensitive drama demonstrates a directorial talent worth following." Way cool. So what if it may be slightly factually incorrect (unless a lesbian relationship and a budding romance between prankish teens are considered traditional paths to marriage). It was one of the few (the only?) capsules that had editorial content. Most other blurbs were simply synopses of the films.

Also, all of our screenings are completely sold out. This is great news because it means people want to see our film. It's also stressful because Mia, Georgia, and I are being deluged by cast, crew, friends, and family about wanting tickets. We unfortuately don't have enough to go around.

All of the swag we are getting to promote the film will be shipped to my apartment. We got the first of it today: Red Doors the t-shirt. The t-shirts themselves are high quality (American Apparel) and the screen print looks technically well done. But they botched the colors. Unfortunately, there's not enough time to get new ones made. They gave me a hard time about pantone color matching and crap but all I have to say is that the t-shirts they sent me look nothing like the design I sent them nor the online virtual proof I signed off on. We paid for 5-color printing and what they gave me looks like 4-color. I'm definitely going to try to get a discount at least.

Btw, for those of you who haven't seen our film yet, my subject titles are lines from the film. I find that certain lines from the movie, as innocuous as they may be in context, are pretty damn funny out of context.


Someone stole my dog today. I really don't know what to say. I don't know what to do. I want to run to the roof and scream off into the night and let my whole heart and body release the pain and sadness inside of me... I want to allow myself to do what I know it's been craving to do but has been holding off... go into absolute free fall...

But I am told I will be arrested. Which frankly might be good for me lately... some quiet time... but anyhow, as I am too much of a coward to do anything so bold, I will simply scream into the 01010101 ether...

Why would ANYONE take Edison? He's an old, cranky, skinny Bichon that only, as they say "a mother could love". Or only as a family that's had him for more than 10 years could love. And my mother did love him so much. Fed him home-cooked food, spring water with a splash of milk, washed his paws when he came in, and tucked him in every night. I guess this is why losing Edison is adding insult to grave injury.
Well, if anyone has ANY clue on how to get my dog back, PLEASE let me know. Short of hiring some sort of pet detective, we are planning on posting up signs around our neighborhood in Waterford Connecticut. I will post a photo of him here. I know it's absurd since whoever took him ALSO took his doghouse that was on our front porch. So I believe that they probably took him to keep him.

Anyway, the facts: a kind neighbor reported that he saw a dark green (?) small SUV pull up our driveway around 3pm. Edison is a white Bichon Frise who had two red collars (one with an invisible fence zapper and the other with a Waterford dog tag). He's rather skinny now and has a closely cropped haircut.

Why do people do such things? I have to say that recent events have shaken the core of my rather Pollyanna core. I truly wonder now about benevolence in the universe and if there really is any rhyme and reason to life? Yes yes, the usual nihilistic, existentialist rantings of someone who has just gone through serious loss... but really, why is Edison gone? Why after everything else?

I don't know... I am just very lost and in despair of life I guess...

It used to all make sense... and now... well, nothing does anymore.

Sorry. I wish I could be more upbeat but sometimes life really does just suck.


Saturday, April 09, 2005

The Mama and The Papa

So I just got off the phone with my beloved parents, who are starting to get excited about the festival. My dad mentioned that they're staying at 60 Thompson in SoHo, and I told him that Georgia said it was a "hip" hotel. His response: "What does that mean?" "Hip, Dad. Y'know, cool." [long pause] "There aren't going to be any HIPPIES there, right?" He was quite concerned. Mind you, my parents live in Indiana, which elected Bush twice (okay, three times) and doesn't believe in Daylight Savings Time because it upsets the cattle.

My mother just returned from a business trip to Amsterdam, where she was teaching a few seminars. Apparently, Mom also found some time for sightseeing...she spent the better part of a day in the red-light district, "window-shopping" and attempting to take photographs of the "merchandise" without getting arrested by the Dutch police. (I should have prefaced this by saying that my mother is a 50-ish, devoutly Christian Chinese woman with a PhD in chemistry.) Not to worry, though - she made it safely back to Carmel, Indiana. Tomorrow, she's taking my popo (grandma) and her Chinese senior citizens group to a sheep-herding-slash-shearing workshop called the Fleece Fair. If you know me well, this is where it all starts making sense.

It's midnight on a Friday - Georgia's on the treadmill, Jane's in hibernation, and I'm eating Ben and Jerry's in front of the computer. All is right with the world.

Song du jour: "Honey and the Moon" by Joseph Arthur. Just because.


Friday, April 08, 2005

A whole planet of people would honorably kill themselves at 30

It's Jane again. It's 6:27am.

I'm here at Postworks about to complete my second all-nighter in the name of Red Doors post-production. Now that I'm on the incontinent side of 30 (and the only one of the three of us to be so blessed) I realize that my body just doesn't quite cowboy-up the way it used to when I was - say - 28. The scary thing is that there are at least a half dozen other people milling about on this floor. At least I think I'm younger than all of them. But they're probably paid more to be here.

I've been here since about 3:00pm when our colorist Eric and I went through the film to look for all those pesky clips that we had missed the first time through. Going through this process has given me a new nightmare. Because of the way we are doing our conform, our online editor laid down the clips that he had (approximately 90% of the film) but left black slugs for the missing clips. I now have this irrational anxiety that we're going to miss a clip and we'll be at the premiere and suddenly... black slug. It doesn't help that I have a real-life visual for how that would go too.

Around 10:00pm we came back into conform. First we had to replace about 16 minutes worth of the clips that had already been laid down because when the film was transferred, someone had the wrong gate setting dialed-in and everything that was captured in that session was magnified and off-center. Now we are manually cutting in the clips that had screwed-up timecode. I'm sitting here with EDL pages scattered across the table and our script supervisor's book on the couch next to me. Every missing clip has to be cross-referenced by timecode, scene, and take number. Then the editor has to eyeball the clip relative to our DV reference (despite the pain and suffering, I'm really glad I made that reference the other day) and drop the clip into its corresponding spot on the timeline. Then it all gets laid down onto HDCam tape.

The bad news is that the special effect files that our graphic designer made for us (including the credits and subtitles) are all formatted incorrectly. The technicians who can fix that won't be in until morning (hmm... I guess that's only a couple hours away). So even after the picture conform, we're still not done because the effects have to come in. Everything. And I mean Everything, has to be done by 6:00pm tomorrow, er, today so our sound mixer can start laying in the audio.

I've developed a very skewed perspective of the film now that I've watched it without sound for 4 days now. I must say, we have made a damn beautiful silent film. I'm relinquishing sound responsibilities to Georgia and Mia so I can catch up on some sleep. So girlz: tag, you're it (you're them? Whatever).

Funky Posters, Funky Broome

Today we met up with the graphic artist who's designing our poster - rather, modifying our poster, as Jane mocked it up in Powerpoint first (all hail the Powerpoint graphic design goddess!). It looks pretty cool, even though I think there should be more of me in it. And by "more of", I mean "only". And by "me", I mean "my killer abs". And if you can't detect irony, you must think I'm completely nuts by now, so I won't bother explaining.

It's hot as a mother in NYC. I stay with Georgia when I'm in town, so we can more easily share a brain and try to make each other laugh during important phone calls. Jane just stopped by in the middle of a marathon soon-to-be-all-nighter at our post-production facility. She showed up wild-eyed and craving red meat - I'm not sure I want to know what goes on over there. So now it's a veritable slumber party up in here, but without the hair-braiding and pillow fights (well...never mind). We ordered takeout from Funky Broome, which is too yummy not to devour like a greedy warthog (which was, coincidentally, my tribal name in Indian Princesses). The last time I ate this much Chinese food, I stayed up all night puking up my weight in eggplant.

I know, I know, I've crossed the line of common decency (again) - so I will leave you with my song du jour: Do What You Want by the incomparable David Ryan Harris. Makes me cry every time.


Tuesday, April 05, 2005

Can you hear the beep?

It's Jane here.

Cross your fingers.

I'm currently laying the film to DVCam so we can have a reference for our conform. I've been here since 10am and it's now almost 3pm. Theoretically, this should have taken me 90 minutes (the length of our film) but I am having serious hardware issues. Serious.

I had a mini-explosion on the phone with Georgia and Mia because I was 37 minutes into the layback last time and the computer started dropping frames on me. I know I slammed my hand down on the desk pretty damn hard (it still kind of hurts) and I probably cursed up a storm. G & M, if you're reading this, I'm sorry. It's been that kind of day.

So now I've created a new quicktime movie out of our project with no audio. I've shut down all the other applications running. I'm using firewire 800. My bag of tricks is empty. If this doesn't work... well, let's just say that it's a good thing I'm in a soundproof room right now.

On the bright side, the conform seems to be going well. Our effects designer is going to drop off our titles and credits as well as some special effect files to our online editor today. Once I get this piece of crap DV reference down there we will be good to go.

Georgia and Mia are much more eloquent about their anxieties. Me? I'm just not sleeping very well. Right when I'm about to doze off I usually jolt myself awake thinking I forgot to do something. To summarize: I go to bed late, I get crummy sleep, then I wake up early with a craving for peanut butter. Very strange indeed.

21 minutes, 48 seconds and counting... you still have your fingers crossed, right?

Ode to a sunrise

You know that feeling of delirium you get when you've been awake for over 24 hours? Your eyes burn, your teeth feel fuzzy, maybe you start laughing or crying for no good reason... and then, suddenly, you transcend the physical world and enter a higher plane of existence - a pseudo-nirvana in which you can almost see the molecular structure of air. It's sort of like seeing the matrix, or The Matrix (whichever one doesn't get me sued). Whatever - the point is: I'm there. (I think Georgia, Jane and most of our post-production team are there with me.) And I cannot, therefore, be held accountable for anything that I may say or write in my current state. Convenient, eh?

Now that I've absolved myself of all responsibility... let me just say that making this film has been the single most important experience of my life. Seminal, even. In fact, I've decided that making a film is sort of like making a baby (not that I have firsthand experience): there is the rapturous union with a complementary other (or others - hey, no judgments here), the arduous gestation process (complete with bloating and morning sickness), and the joyous pain of labor and delivery. Is it a boy? Is it a girl?? Who cares, as long as it's color-corrected, properly mixed, and makes you cry at the end. Okay, enough bad metaphors for now. I'm gonna go to sleep, and I ain't waking up until I'm good and ready. In the meantime, go check out my favorite song du jour: "The Widow" by The Mars Volta. They do their own thing while evoking one of my favorite artists of all time - the late, great Jeff Buckley.


Monday, April 04, 2005

Dreams and my conscience

It's a strange feeling to not know whom I am writing to, or if there is even anyone out there listening. Writing out into the internet ether... reminds me of Dory in Finding Nemo. "Are you my conscience?"

I am so excited that Red Doors is premiering at the Tribeca Film Festival. This film has truly been a labor of love and was made with that raw, zealous, and wonderfully naïve spirit of first time indie filmmakers. When I started the first draft of the script over four years ago, I wanted to tell a story about family, about how children and parents grow apart and stop connecting with each other. Mia, Jane, and I wanted to make our little movie that we could be proud of, that was something honest and had characters that we could relate to and recognize.

I had my first anxiety dream last night. Jane, Mia and I arrived late to our own premiere and couldn't find seats. I had to go to the bathroom but decided to wait as I was in the middle of the aisle. The film started. The opening credits began as expected but then somehow the film skipped to the middle. A key scene revealing emotional development played and then the film skipped again and then again. I screamed "everyone close your eyes please!". Some woman next to me shushed me impatiently. I almost fainted. Then I woke up and went to the bathroom.

Looking forward to color-correcting and sound-mixing all next week. Mad rush to the finish. Hope we get the film pulled together in time for the premiere.

- Georgia

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