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friday favourites :: 05.08.11

i seriously can't believe we're in august already. i'd say i feel like i've slept through 2011 thus far, but the fact is that i've had insomnia for a lot of it, so i actually don't think i've slept through very much of it at all. and while i'd love to say that i've accomplished a lot thus far, it doesn't feel like i'm making tons of progress. i'm to blame for my own situation, of course, because the fact that i haven't gotten as much done as i'd like to this point is largely due to the fact that i haven't focused on getting specific things done as much as i should. bad kate. however, this week, i can finally say that, yes, something is finished.

conversion.

if you don't know me very well, you may not be aware of what conversion is. there's a link permanently on the side of this page under the "getting to know kate" listing, which will take you to the blog exclusively about the film, which is a feature i wrote [to impress dom, since he's such a movie buff] and which we shot using a dslr camera [the kind of thing normally used for photography]. you can read my filming diary to find out what happened day by day during the shooting process. i will not be posting a diary of everything that happened before and since the shooting, although it represents about a hundred times the work [spread out over a much longer period of time and involving fewer people, which makes it decidedly uninteresting to hear about].


if someone had told me at the outset how much work was going to be involved in making a film, i honestly would have balked. not that i wouldn't have wanted to do it, but it is a lot of work and, even when you're working on what's considered a micro-budget, you'd be surprised how macro that budget can look when it's coming out of your bank account or being charged to your credit card. when dom and i first started talking about doing this film by ourselves, we met with a producer who flat-out said that we would never be able to make the film without money from some other source. never, ever underestimate the motivating power of spite. there were moments of filming when the only thing driving me to get the film completed was the idea that some smug person believed we couldn't do it.

but we did.

in point of fact, the final version has, in theory, existed for a while, but it's only this week that we were finally able to get our hands on a master copy. yes, the files technically existed on a hard drive, but now, there is a magic disk that has our movie on it and it can be sent to people, people who have power and who can make it so that other people more people can see the film. we haven't had that before.

we did [unwisely- my idea] test the waters of festival submissions with earlier versions of the film, ones that weren't exactly where we needed it to be. we've already had our share of rejection and, i assure you, it sucks. but it still can't take away from the fact that we now have a feature film that we made, under our complete creative control, which is something that is routinely denied people working in a much higher pay scale than we are.

we still have a lot of work ahead, namely getting distribution so that everyone else can see what we've done. after all, there are a lot of films that are made, but never seen. i don't want to be part of that group. what we have is pretty damn good. i say that without arrogance, because what i think most people will notice about it is not the script [which, along with acting, was my contribution], but the fact that it in no way looks like a film that was made for pocket change. that part had nothing to do with me, because i know absolutely nothing about how to make a movie look good. this doesn't look like the typical, no-budget, static camera, shadows-everywhere, just getting started indie film. i don't really know how we did it, but it looks like the film i would have wanted to make.

but looks aren't everything, even in film. two years of post-production have yielded a score that is better than i could have imagined, an edit that managed to rescue even our notable on-set failures and an atmosphere that improves on the "raw" footage. when we were shooting, i felt pretty good about what we were doing. the last two years have taught me that there was much room for improvement through careful attention to detail.

someone who worked on conversion, a person who hadn't had experience on a set before, had, while helping pack up some of our equipment for the day's shoot, mentioned to one of the more senior [meaning, someone who had been on a set before] people that, if he would be happy to help out on any of that person's future projects. the "senior" replied gruffly that the next time he worked on something, it would be "a real movie".

well we do have a real movie in our hands. and other people are going to be able to see it and i believe, whether or not it's deemed a success in financial or critical terms, that the fact that we have been able to do this is in itself a remarkable success story. it doesn't get more real than that.

like i said, never underestimate the motivating power of spite.

so that's what made my week better. this week, it's not a lot of little things [although there were some], but one big thing. one big, crazy, complicated, frustrating, invigorating, confusing, heartbreaking, demanding, rewarding, unbelievable thing.

if you have some time and a theatre at your disposal, i'd love to share it with you.

and it wouldn't be friday without the weekly cat pic, so here's a lovely, artsy photo [if you're a facebook friend, you've likely already seen it] of seth, who, by the way, is named after the main character in conversion.

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