The Way You Turn My Head is a fragmented, dark and murky protrait about a man who maight not be what you expect him to be.
Film: Tom Løberg
With: Stian Sandersen
And: Malin Bratlie, Vibeke Lie, Rikke Runde, Dominique Hardy and Lene Kleven
Musical manipulation: Jan William Fines, based on Frederic Chopins Nocturnes.
Original Sound Mixer: Tom Chimichurri
Make Up: Hilde Solbakken
Producer: Tom Løberg Hovinbøle.
The shooting wrapped on November 15. 2008.
The premiere screening took place on November 5. 2011.
This is Pastiche Films Production No. 15.
Getting There With No Direction
Or: Making films the guerrilla way in a world run by files and formats
Or: How to use procrastination as a tool for finishing a movie
The production diary for «The Way You Turn My Head»,
by director Tom Løberg
I wanted to make a nasty film.
The idea behind this concept was that I talked to actor Stian Sandersen about making a film together and we both wanted to make something dark. Add to that that I wanted to make something scripted and more story-oriented after my last short movie, Remembrance, being an improvised effort.
We talked about it for quite some time before I started getting ideas for a story. My previous films have been open and abstract works. Now I wanted to do something very concrete, something with a strong narrative line and a well defined character.
The film ended up with no real story, though, rather a repetition of scenes where each one makes clear the development of the character and hence the story being his development and the audiences gradual understanding of him.
I wanted to have a distance to the subject, underscoring the point that ths character is not quite in tuch with the world around him. And therefore the film is completely without any graphic scenes; it moves slowly and gives up its points drip by drip.
I’m shoothing this on a small Hitachi HD camcorder; I know it will not get me the best image qaulity and I could easily lend high end cameras but I go for the gritty and dirty and murky images on this film as it suits the main characters personality and the subject matter. And a camcorder gave it to my straight up.
The film could quickly have bcomed too staged and flat. The character could easily have ended up as a monster. Doing everything my self on absolutely no money also meant that this necessarily would have to get a bit guerilla. But that was the idea. Being «one-take Tom» – catching the spontanous action, the unrehearsed movements. Short work days. Actors imropvising within closely defined areas. One of the films key moments happened when one of the actors didn’t realize she was being taped but Stian did. The scene defined a relationship and became the turing point in the story line. Lesson learned: The only thing that matters is what ends up on the screen.
Stian S. was very easy to work with and understood the process perfectly. I like him because he has this ability to turn from being totally ordinary to being extremely intense just with a look. And besides he looks very calm and relaxed in front of a camara, which was very important for this film. For the girls I asked those I know. It was a bit type casting involved. Having no dialogue the scenes calls for types, immediately perceivable and fitting the location.
To a large degree this is typecasting. The manuscript was written to fit Stian and his ability to turn from «nice» to «nasty» just by raising an eyebrow. For the others I went for type. Lene – the girl in the last part of the film – told me she felt honoured to be thought of as «a the opposite to darkness».
Some people have a natural precence on the screen. Per Erik W. from the Letter and Remembrance had it; Stian definitly has it. They are there and you look at them. It is that simple. Many people does not have this ability; you can never learn it, which is why some peoole get to be stars and others – never mind the fact that they often are far superiour actors – never get to be stars. And that makes it so much easier for me. Because this script – as Stian put it – is a lot about «sitting there staring out into the air»… This relly is a film where the single parts constitutes a bigger whole.
I had a somewhat bad concience because I can’t pay or even treat the actors to proper accomodations. But then the guerilla mentality kicks in and with red numbers on both my personal accounts I swollow my pride and just march on as if this was the norm.
The task of selecting the music was an arduous one. From the start I wanted classical music and went through my own collection. I wanted something beautiful but which also had a deeper melacholy character to it. I spent quite some time choosing the music, a process greatly helped by the fact that my back went out on me, making me bedridden for the most part of two weeks. It did not make the choosing any easier with a broken back but it gave me time to do it in peace and quiet. That and going thorougly thru the script. Of course it also postponed the shooting with a month but there you go. Time is a luxury and when you don’t have the money at least make sure you have the time.
I went thru my record collection with different ideas in my mind: Type of music, a specific period, solo music or only chamber music, or perhaps all music from just one composer? baroque music being to complex, modern musik having to much resistance, most composers not enough.
The first answer was Franz Schubert; melodically beautiful but with a melancholy undertones. Perfect. The more I thought about it the better it fitted. The idea being that a torn mind will seek what is whole and beautiful, not chaos and/or challenging in its form. Then I changed my mind and went for many different types of music but ended up with a something striking in all directions. Until I ended up with Chopin; the simple, beautiful melodies of his Nocturnes was enough. And besides someone else would develop the music further and mess it up.
That goes for the visual style as well. Murky and noisy and filthy. The beginning shot on tripod and still, the end handheld and jumpy. Like the main character. But no graphic scenes. Only the implications. The aftermath. It can be as ugly as anything.
(November 2008 – November 2011)
PART 1 – PRE-PRODUCTION
Almost everything is now fixed and we’re more or less ready to start shooting. I still have problems because the wide angle lens I’ve ordered haven’t arrived but I have a backup plan.
First day of shooting is Thursday at eZ Systems, with Stian and Malin. I’m counting on their improvising abilities. The script is very open for this very reason – letting the actors «fill in» the character and make them happen on the screen. My plan is to place as few leads as possible except for where the esthetical implications are concerned…. Another reason is that we’ve had no time to rehearse; hence no time to go through the scenes or to draw out the characters properly. But then again, I’m really going for spontaneity in this film.
So, I feel confident; they are good actors and the whole concept is founded on this way of working – not because of lack of preparations, as the previous statement could be taken to imply – but because I know that all the preparations are only the safety net if everything else fails on the set. The script is like the piano score for Mozart’s concertos – only there to make him remember the basic themes; there for him to improvise over.
What I want and believe I’ll get is what I’m not prepared for. Hence the trust in my actors; daring to trust that what happens then-and-there gives you more that you hoped for. And that is what will give the film it’s character – and make the characters come to life.
I must not get to caught up in the chronology of the script; it will only lead to a flat film. I must let the scenes find its own form withing the confinements of the technical aspect, i.e. use of camera.
I plan to not direct the actors tomorrow; I’ll tell them what to do but not how to feel, how to be, what to be. I’m going to let them play. And film the result.
As the shooting tomorrow is the first for the film it will set the tone for the rest of the work; so I’m going for an as open attitude as possible.
PART 2 – SHOOTING
30.10.08 – 1. Day of Shooting
The first day of shooting and it went so smoothly that I’m certain something is horribly wrong.
We shot all the footage for the office scenes at eZ Systems, with Malin Bratlie as the woman playing against Stian.
They perhaps wanted more direct personal direction but I got what I wanted while they waited for me to tell them what I wanted. Several times I simply let the camera go when they didn’t know about it. Nothing beats realism as reality itself.
The final shot for these scenes I didn’t really know how to shoot, but then they both went for coffee and I simply filmed them; Malin turned and walked away from Stian and the action perfectly encapsulated what the scene should be about. They could never have repeated that for the camera if it was «conscious» acting; it was totally spontaneous and exactly what I wanted.
The shooting was over in mere two hours – lunch included. Problems with finding a wide angle lens continuous and meant that we didn’t get to shoot at the library as planned. But this was still a very good start for the production and I’m very anxious now to continue.
I have given up my search for a wide angle lens. It is amazing that it should be so difficult to obtain a simple video lens in the year 2008. My backup plan failed as the ring diameter to the one I finally obtained didn’t fit any of the cameras I can use. We shot the office scenes using Stians HD-camera, with no extra lighting, as the location is very open and spacious. This is guerrilla film making, and the basic aesthetical premise for the film.
The loss of the wide angle lens will have a quite large impact for the film, though. For some scenes I need to rethink the whole setup, for others it means that I cannot solve the problem with the camera but only in editing. But the more I think about it the more I like to cramped style an ordinary lens will give on small paces. It somehow fits what the story is about better. Anyway a valuable lesson in that using what you have will give you what you want if you only let it.
04.11.08 – 2. Day of Shooting
First day of shooting in my own apartment. I had this idea that shooting here would make things easier for me – and the apartment anyway fitted the character perfectly. But for one thing I was sadly unprepared due to having two jobs next to being responsible for the technical setup at this Fridays «Filmnatt». Not much time to think about my own film, in other words.
I also made a mistake in that shooting in my own apartment gave me a sense of having everything under control. Which was not, as it turned out, the truth. Forgetting to buy the characters toothbrush was one thing, not having cleared away personal stuff another, and not really having looked at the lighting situation the third. We did, however, get a lot done. And it looks fine. Stian did a lot of good detailed work in scenes that in them selves gives him close to nothing to act on. Which is his problem for the whole film.
We did find that many of the scenes needs to be shot in the evening; you can’t fake night in the daytime and make it look good with candle light and a bed sheet in front of the window. So we had to schedule a new date for all the evening shots. Next week will be even more hectic that this one is.
I also felt the loss of the wide angle lense to day, as several of the shots in the script required one and made us spend time on finding workable solutions. And the day began with the make up woman calling me to tell me she had to pull out of the production. I wasn’t to saddened about this as she didn’t really have that much to do. And besides, all the supporting actors in this film are women and I count on them to be able to do their own make up. Not the best day on a set I’ve had.
But all in all we got a lot done and I look forward to tomorrow’s shot – a long single take shoot for the last part of the film.
05.11.08 – 3. Day of Shoothing
Today we shot the crucial last scene of the film with Lene Kleven against Stian.
A tricky scene as it is a long single take with not very much action. We went through it a couple of times to find the right tempo. Already on the sixth take we had it. I felt so sure it was what I wanted that I didn’t even want to shoot another take. Perhaps I should have. But I’m willing to live with some minor mistakes if only the energy of the scene is right.
Here’s the shooting plan for the final scene of the film.
The shot ended up close to 5 minutes long in one single take. I’ve had this idea of the film ending up between 12 and 15 minutes long; I now hope it’ll end up under 20. Some of the images I have in my head will take time…
09.11.2008 – 4. Day of Shooting
After one of the worst days in my adult life – rigging and being responsible for the technical setup for Filmnatt 08, where absolutely everything that could go wrong did – I felt extremely tired and unfocused before today’s shooting. But so did the others. Stian having served at Brygga and then nachtspiel, and Rikke Runde celebrated the premiere of «Jeg ser ingen vinger», a film she did together with Jack Revheim, having partyed the whole night. So we started the work with coffee and a cigarette.
The shot it self is under 20 seconds long but requires full backside nudity. That was the plan, at least, but due to the lack of the wide angle lens I only got from the waist up. It doesn’t give the same startling effect in the scene but still I believe the image works well. I had some problems getting a girl to do the shot because of the nudity but Rikke said yes even before I got around to ask her. Luckily she was in town for the weekend, for the premiere, otherwise it would perhaps have been to much to ask for that she should travel from Oslo to Porsgrunn for two takes when she will be seen on the screen for less than a second. Thanks for being a sport!
10.11.08 – 5. Day of Shooting
Shooting the café scenes at Friisebrygga Mat og vin, where we the evening before saw HODIAK with live comments from both director and the two main characters. An inspirational evening that I had in the back of my mind as we got thru the two different setups for two different scenes, one for the beginning of the film, the other a setup for the films final scene.
The closest we’ve been to being a regular film set, with me on camera, Hilde on make up (yes, she could make it after all) and a handful of extras at Friisebrygga Mat og Vin shooting the café scenes. Thanks to the lovely people there who opened the café for us on a closed day! And thanks to Grenland filmklubb, that supports the film and hence paid for all the drinks!
Trying to get good images with a handicam without proper manual exposure and in low light gives you not very good images. But then again, choosing to use this small camera and not borrowing one of the semi-pro cameras that is available to me was a conscious decision. I wanted for this film a rough and murky look and I’m getting it with no effort.
We set up small scenarios, and let Stian play out small hey-there-how-are-you type of meetings, flirting first with Lene Kleven (as a set up for the final scene shot last week) and then with Vibeke Lie, for the first part of the film, where we don’t yet know what is going to happen.
The extras were patient, the game was on, the camera said «beep» – which is very annoying but I haven’t bothered to turn the function sounds off, and I let them just figure it out for them selves, waiting for those small, precious moments were they would forget that they were in front of the camera.
11.11.08 – 6. Day of Shooting
10:48: The sixth day of shooting; on The Letter we spent three or rather two and a half days, and on Remembrance only one. Of course, when using the term «day» for this film we talk about one-two-three hour days but still. Shooting the scene with Rikke took us 12 minutes. And that includes the costume change. Both before and after the shot. As Stian commented, These are good working hours.
My would-be production assistant, Luis, suddenly got a job. Good for him. But I lost my production manager. To day he served as an extra in a short take at the library. Three men in a public lavatory with a video camera; I know exactly what went thru the head of the fellow that walked right into the second take!
After this Stian and I went back to Skolegata to shoot the evening scenes we didn’t get to do last week, with a new round of ready-to-serve dinners from Fjordland on Stian’s plate. Again problems with the lighting. Doing it the guerrilla way meant I used all available light – all three lamps in my apartment and add to that some candles.
Several times during the shooting of this film I’ve felt sadly as the Amateur, just me and a handicam. Still, it’s what ends up on the screen that matters and I really don’t care about what other people might think about the way I make movies.
I am very uncertain about the quality of the footage shot during the two last days. I’ve really pushed the camera beyond its limits and not before having worked with it I have no idea how it will react.
This feeling of uncertainty deepened as I tried to import some of the footage from the camera onto my Mac – only to find that it didn’t work. So now I have that problem to solve… but not before everything is on the camera’s hard disc.
If something goes wrong or doesn’t work we’ll simply do it again. So why worry? Right?
15.11.2008 – 7. Day of Shooting
It’s a wrap!
It started out with a Dry Martini not dry enough, getting the “nightclub material» at Wine & Dine while actors and extras chatted idly at the bar; went on with having to abort the exterior scene because of lack of light and me forgetting to recharge the battery for the camera; this only to give us what I wanted in a different location – on the first take.
Due to our improvisational mode of working we ended up getting a very nice and sharp bridge from the night club scene to the exterior scene by simply cutting a lot of the setup.
Forgetting to recharge the battery was quite embarrassing but as stated, I really don’t care about what people think about the way I make movies and anyway it turned out for the best, since we could go to Friisebrygga to get a beer while rethinking the setup. Once on the new location – twenty meters from the old one and with Dominique freezing here a.. off – we nailed it in one take, much to everyone’s delight. Perhaps not technically perfect and if we had not run out of cigarettes we would have shot another take but is has what it needs to have – spontaneity!
And now for what’s fun – cutting and pasting and making the movie!
PART 3 – POST-PRODUCTION
I uploaded the material from the camera today. Hard disc cameras – you’ve got to love ‘em! Pulled the material straight from the camera onto my PC at work. No hassle, no problem. Took me an hour to see through the material and make a back up on a secure server as well. A simple operation I could not get done on my Mac – for reasons to incomprehensible to fathom.
Then I tested the material on Final Cut on my boss’s Mac. Works like a charm. I go home happy. Installs my external hard disc on my own Mac, opens Final Cut and – “Wrong file format”… and my version of FC is legit, thank you very much!!
Am I surprised? No.
Am I disappointed? No.
Do I get angry? No.
Welcome to the wonderful world of Mac magic – where nothing happens the way you expect it to.
I have yet – after 15 projects – to experience not having the weirdest problems using Mac and Final Cut. Files on my hard disc going missing, the sound turning to insane noise, the text suddenly garbled, effects not working for export, exported MPEG-files not workable for making DVDs, and once a film suddenly went out of focus in the middle… And now Final Cut not recognizing the very file format that it uses as its own standard!
Am I flabbergasted?
Not even the least!
I don’t give a f… what the ads says; when it doesn’t work – and it really doesn’t – there is not a god damn thing you can do about it. It’s not logical, it’s not intuitive. With a PC you can restart. With a Mac you can go out and buy a sledgehammer.
If I had the money I would have gone for Vegas a long time ago!
I had a plan. I went back to the office with a handful of memory sticks and downloaded what I could find of FC from various sources. The I went back home. I don’t even bother to cross my fingers as I wait for it to start. Not one single application worked…
Mike Kuchar once told me that when everything goes against you, you should take it as a sign and do something else. This is a sign as good as any.
After close to 10 years working on Mac and Final Cut – with problems all the way – I give up. I am no longer an ardent defender of Apple products. Fuck Apple! Fuck Final Cut!!
I’m putting everything on ice. I’m going to save up some money and buy a PC and run Vegas.
PART 4 – A NEW HOPE
It is a period of uneasiness in the galaxy. Corrupted computers from the Empire, striking with no apparent logical cause, have won the first round against the makers of the short film The Way You Turn My Head.
While the crew try to assemble and get in order, they receive a message of hope. A MPEG Converter – the Empire`s most powerful convertion tool for converting all kinds of movie files into other formats – is to be found on Mac3. The crew decide to procure it by selling their cargo of smuggled chewbacca jerky.
It turns out to be another dead end, thought up by spies from the evil Empire. The crew tried to convert the MPEGs into QuickTime-files and then importing them into Final Cut – only to experience that the aspect ration was warped beyond repair.
Disillusioned the tired crew decides they will be hustled no more. They will believe no more news – be it good or bad. They set out the course to the rebel bases on Vegas. When the captain engage the starburst it is with but one hope: There to restore freedom to all the guerrilla film makers in the Galaxy.
12.12.08 – 01:15:16:09
I have now set up all the material on a trial version on Vegas 9 on my computer at work. Which means that I have to spend not only my working days at the office but most of the evenings in the week and a half to come as well.
The film is now one hour and fifteen minutes long; a lot of the scenes – cleaning the apartment, the cafe scenes and the scene at the nightclub – have not been trimmed. I have the main character brushing his teeth for a minute and a half – way passed the limits of interest even for the most ardent art movie fan…
However, given the time that has passed the plan to have a more or less finished film by the middle of January is of course laid dead. As I see it now the new deadline willl be the day before the final submission date for the short film festival in Grimstad.
On the lighter side, the material is all in place, following the script. This weekend I will start to trim it and at the same time learning my self the finer points of Vegas. There is no better learning than just doin’ it.
13.12.08 – 41:58:15
Ok. So perhaps 20 minutes is overly optimistic. Just like my idea of procuring a wide angle lens in a time of an abundance of electronical equipment was widely optimistic.
After the first trim the film has now been shortened to 42 minutes. I still have a lot to trim down. Or perhaps I should have just left it at 1h 15 min and claimed to have made my first feature? But I follow the words by Godard – just cut out the boring stuff and there is your film. He didn’t say it in those words exactly but that attitude was the birth of the jump cut aesthetics as we know it.
I quickly find I like working on Vegas; the problem is editing on a PC not set up for this heavy work. Another problem is me still having FC in my fingertips and spending time trying to find the effects and the expression I look for in a different editing suite; but then I’m finding all I need from tutorials on YouTube. It just takes a little bit more time now in the beginning.
Also, I think the repetitions of the storyline work. But it’s hard to really tell since I don’t have the patience to watch a short film lasting 42 minutes… not even my own.
I have now come so far as I can editing, since I do not have the music to edit with.The plan is to let the music direct the editing in certain parts, like I did in The Letter, and in other parts cut the music to fit the images.
I have over the past few weeks though a lot about the expression of the film and have changed my idea about the use of music. Originally I wanted music by Franz Schubert, manipulated by Lasse Marhaug, with one piece for each scene. I then went back to the basic idea of having only one piece running through the whole film, thinking more thematically, but using instead different parts of it and manipulating it in such a way as to fit the visual expression and vice versa. I have now ended up with music from only one composer, Frederic Chopin, but only his works for solo piano, from his collection of nocturnes, as several images include the character at the piano. Besides, it’s hauntingly beautuful music.
Since I now have to wait for Lasse’s musical pervertation I guess this means I can take a X-mas vacation after all…
PART 5 – A NEW BEGINNING
A couple of sleepless nights and having gotten the must-be-done-now instructional movie for a client out of the way, I am now back to editing. Finally.
The bad thing is that am back to Final Cut. I can’t really explain this. I was happy with Vegas. It’s a long and thwarted story… The good thing is that I know it inside-out and can get exactly what I want. The bad thing is that it is already starting to crack up…
For the last couple of months all of the involved have been asking me about the film; actually it’s been quite embarrassing having to admit to not getting anywhere, even though it’s no fault of mine. The good thing about the unfortunately long pause is that I look at the material with fresh eyes, and have already done some changes to the original set up. And it’s given me plenty of time to think about the visual expression and ponder on the music, thus giving me a lot of new ideas.
The film is now close to a hour long – a bit to long for a short film. But two or three rounds will get it down to a manageable length.
21.02.09 – 57:56:17
I’ve started watching my 58 minute long short film. It felt quite daunting before I began. So I watched an episode of “Zorro’s fighting legion” first. Which ended with Zorry being shot with the Golden Arrow by a Yaqui. So of course I had to watch the next episode as well. Where is plunged into the ocean trapped in a fake water barrel… But then I thought to my self, I only need to watch the first part of the film. Which is only about 12 minutes long. Which seemed a lot less overwhelming. And resulted in pages upon pages with notes. I feel quite pleased now. And thus is the process of going thru the first draft. Daunting. But you also get to watch a lot of serials from the thirties and forties.
Talked to Lasse today – who is to make the music. Have a pretty clear idea of what I want now. Lasse will begin working next week; i’m sending him single scenes for him to start with. I find I have difficulties finding a proper rhythm without having the music to set the pace, and know editing really speeds up once the music comes.
23. 02.09 – 50:06:13
Took some extra hours at work and edited the first two parts down to 08:58:11.
I was doing my job at work when I gradually lost my concentration to a piece of music my boss were playing again and again. Finally I had to ask what it was; it evoked such strong filmatic images in my head, feelings coming from some kind of dark and brooding Blade Runner state-of-mind. It was Guapo – their Elixirs album – and it was the perfect musical expression for my own film. Sometimes when you stumble upon something that fits perfectly with what you are doing – don’t hesitate. Do as Picasso did: Steal it! Now I only need to get Lasse to make me the same kind of emotions with the Chopin material I sent him.
Tip of the week: Check it out!
07.03.2009 – 28:13:09
While the snow softly fell to the ground outside, turning the whole world into a big pool of slush, I sat indoors, being all comfy and warm, and trimmed the film down to 28 minutes. Only eight minutes to go, and they will vanish once the music starts to come. Ay, and there’s the rub! Because I received a mail from Lasse telling me that he doesn’t have the time to do the music after all. This is what having successful friends will do to you. So now I have to find someone else to do the sound-and-music, and pretty soon too, something which isn’t that easy when I have absolutely no money… this was supposed to be so simple…
PART 6 – SEARCHING FOR THE PHILOSOPHERS’S STONE
September 19., 2009
I have asked friend and street artist Jan Fines to do the music for the film. Had a meeting with him and gave him clear instructions to how I want the expression. Hopefully now things can start rolling again.
November 19. , 2009
It’s a year now and I don’t know what’s worse: That the people in the film have stopped asking me when it’s going to be finished? or that I have stopped feeling embarrassed about it? Also a month since I asked for the music and still haven¨t heard a single note…
February 12., 2010
Got a short music piece from Jan today. It is just what i want only way to short with its mere one minute fourty seconds. I need much more. And soon!
July 27., 2010
I haven’t had the time to do anything with the film anyway but nagged Jan F. about more music. Soon, he said, soon. The film is just lying there, dying. I really would like just to scrap it now but can’t get my self to do it. I remember something Mike Kuchar told me in Trondheim, that things happen when they are supposed to happen. This film obviously isn’t supposed to happen now or very soon.
September 18., 2010
Got more music from Jan today, now a total of 12 minutes. Which means that I can finally – with God’s help – finish this film. So much has changes and my thoughts of the film is now completely altered in every way – I honestly don’t know what the result will be. And I just don’t care. I just want to cross it of my list and get on with other projects.
December 13., 2010
Have started editing the film again – for the third or fourth time… If it won’t come together now it never will!
But after the passing of a partucularly snowy winter…
April 21., 2011
Trimmed down the first day of of the film with almost seven minutes to day, to four minutes. It is – regardless the absolute unforgivable wate of time – nice to now have a genuine distance to the material, so that all feelings for favourite images or ideas for nuances only seen and understood by me are irradicated and I can edit the film free of limitations. I am quite ruthlesss with the material now, I don’t bother with anything but editing for effective storytelling.
Outside it is a warm easter day.
Don’t dare to tell anyone I have started editing again and that my goal is to have the film ready before the start of the theatre festival. No one is reading this journal anyway. But I am – for the first time in a long while – motivated to work on the film! I pray now for some time to get on with it.
And then the theatre festival came and went and with it my time for any editing, being stuck with the marketing hell of it all. Now its the end of July and I thnik to myself, Boy, doesn’t time fly when you procrastinate! But today I trimmed day two and got some good ideas for the sound-work, so this is one of the better days for a while. And when I look at my recent notes the ideas are way better than my original ideas for this film. In other words, there is something to be said for procrastination as a source of ideas!
In av frenzied attack of panic and need for speed I have talked to the communal arrangers of the Kulturnatta (Night of Culture) here in Porsgrunn about screening the film as a part of the program. This will be in the beginning of November. The I have to. Finish. Because now I really have to finish. At the time of the premiere it will be three years since we shot it … stian has begun to ask about it again and it’s embarrasing …
I am ill and so I have the time to work. Have sat up the film and done the first trimming. Starting to think about ideas for the music and sound design. Will trim further as I work with the music/sound; this film is totally dependent upon its rythem.
The summer came and went so fast this year and except for some short days in august I have not had the time to touch the film but with my bad conscience.
I comfort my self in the fact that it isn’t lazyness that has prevented me from getting things done for I have done a lot next to not doing anything on this film – I have done other films, art videos, television shows and written and even played in several stage plays.
I have lately pondered over why I over the last three years never have inished the film.
There is a considrable recistance in me as I work. There has been so much difficulties, so much trouble to get this film done that I now work on it almost in spite and because I forced my self to enter it into the Kulturnatta / Night of Culture program. I almost regret that now. Also, I confess, I am scared the film will not live up to the one i have in my minds eye …
PART 7 – THE ENFORCER
I am editing on a PC that is going senile, turning itself off because it gets overheated. At work I need to have a fan pointing at it to make it work properly. The effetc being that strange things happens with the film that are beyond my will and control. But I have decided to see accidents as part of the aesthetics and rather than get annoyed I will make them work for me – to a certain point, that is.
Have been through the film every day this week. Still a lot that won’t settle in its proper place. Have started to collect sound work; for a long time its been a major hindrance to me – what to do with the sound. My initial thoughts – and I still feel this – was that music/sound work should really carry the film – not just for the expression but also when it comes to the main character. Jan’s music works just fine but I need to spark it up a noch. I need more noise.
Today I found the program catalogue for the Kulturnatta at Kaffe og The-specialen. They gave me a whole page for the premiere … My stomach hurts when I think about the film not being even close to presentable and – this is expreience speaking – everything that can go wrong over the next two weeks …
Editing, adjusting lights and colors in between insanely hectic days at work with editing, television shows that are due on air any second, a mountain of commersials, applications for funding for new projects due to be in the mail in two days, mom is ill, my girlfriend is under the weather, I feel like shit, I am broke and the creditors are on me like killer wasps …
And here I sit, trying to keep my mind on my film. Stuggling with something so banale as having to chose between a large preview window or a timeline giving me enough overview to work functionally, because on this laptop I can’t have both.
The film will be dark and muddled, the story fragmented, the pictures muddled, the sound noisy, the whole viewing experience filled with aesthetical resistance … I can only hope for the audience to get the point that this muddled noise underlines the main characters personality and is to be seen as part of the story.
Mixing sound on a Vegas timeline on a laptop is more than cumbersome. Vegas is not capable of running the clips smoothly, making the effort to make sync very difficult. Add to that that one of the sound tracks lost its playback ability and hence I can’t use it – and I have no idea why…
Still not sure about a number of things.
Stian and I were interviewed this morning about the film at Kaffe og The-Specialen by local newspaper PD. Here we go!
It would be interesting to compare the film I set out to make in 2008 with the film I’m finishing now. How big would the difference be? I know for certain that this film is a lot darker and more hostile than the film I had in mind when we shot it. Also I have deliberately emphasized the characters turning points.
And I have made a print. It is flawed but at least I have a print and a backup. And if everything else fails I wouldn’t bee too ashamed to screen it as it is… Based on my previous experiences I except every conceivable soft ware/technical problem to come my way this week. (One time working on Final Cut the program printed a version of a film out of focus … how the hell is that even possible!?)
The visual style is as follows: The editing is strongly European modernistic, while the grading is closer to 70s porn movies. I feel happy with both choices.
14 hours in Seljord for work shooting a promotional for the «Into the Landscape»-project. Then home to edit. I sure picked a fine time to quit smoking…
You get to a point where you go blind. A point where you are no longer able to see whether the choices you make are good or bad, there seems to be no difference in what you are doing anymore. When that happens ideally you should take some time away from the material and come back to it with fresh eyes and clear mind. But time is a luxury I don’t have and so I have no choice but to rely on my instincts.
Earlier to day we rigged the screening room at the art society. I am flat broke and collected all the coins and pennies Icould find from jars and drawers to buy some bottles of champagne for the premiere. It will all work out nicely if the film just gets finished in time … The clock is now 22.21 and it seems I still have many hours ahead of me trying to get a decent DVD print.
Absolutely everything that can go wrong has gone wrong today. Printed out a copy for DVD-burning based on yesterdays work which turned out to have noise and stripes and strange outlines of the main character … Noise is a character train in this film but this shit rendered the print useless. So I had to make new images on the timeline. Then I finally had something that looked OK only to find that the DVD writer refused to make DVDs with a sound track …
I am so tired now I am close to crying. I don’t deserve this. I don’t deserve all this resistance and shit. I am so tired of having to jerk everything into place, of strange things happening for no reason, stupid things that are not my fault and that happens for no logical reason. Why can’t it simply work the way it’s supposed to work?
I swear this whole film is fucking cursed!
Fuck Sony Vegas!
So here we are.
The premiere screenings took place on a dark and foggy Saturday. I was tired, the film was finished at 1 o’clock the previous night and I was up early to prepare the DVDs and make sure everything was working OK. The DVD had flaws but I could live with those.
The tensionas I walked to the venue came more from wanting a smooth technical screening that about the response of the audience. That you cannot do anything about, I know, and so I focus on what I can do something about instead.
With three screenings I had some chance of adjusting things as we went along but fortunately it wasn’t necessary. A packed house for the 4 o’clock screening, an almost full house for the screening at 5 and an even more packed house for the last screening at 6 made a good impression.
No red carpet and I only had the money for bubbles for the last screening and had invited everyone participating for that one. A bit of an anti-climax, one might say, but there you go. Many came, some did not and Stian overslept as he had misunderstood the time and thought the screening started 8. He came in the middle of the screening and I gave him a exclusive screening when people had left.
As for the response it was as expected. Muffled comments and praise afterwards, but it is a difficult film to watch, both in style and content, made more so by all the news stories over the last couple of weeks of rapes and assaults. But some really took to it and I got a lot of feedback that it was uncomfortable and erie, and that my musical mixing did the trick. I have a nagging feeling Jan the Composer wasn’t quite happy with what I did, though… It made an impact. You can’t really ask for much more.
So I went out drinking afterwards a very relieved man. My friend Espen invited me for dinner and the we went for drinks at Friisebrygga, where we hardly talked about the film at all. A good or bad thing, I really don’t know.
A big hole in my life is now filled up and I can move on.
But three years on a short film? It is madness!
This film cost me 1826 kroner (some 230 euro – and that includes the bubbles served at the premiere screening) and three years of my life. With all the problems, all that stress, anguish, frustration and bad conscience it will be some time before I can look back on this as a rewarding experience.
In the end, am I at least satisfied with the result? To be perfectly honest, I really don’t care.
And here ends this journal and the strange and exciting events that led to the premiere of Tom Løbergs short film «The Way You Turn My Head.»
© Pastiche Films 2011