Color and Sound

The edit is complete. Time to send your film out into the world, right?

Hang on there, speedy. You did mix the audio & music and adjust your color, yes? Oh, in the timeline of your editing software? Really? So what is going to set your film apart from the other hundreds made this year?

You’ve come this far with the help and funding of so many people, you owe it to your team and your movie to spend the extra time on color and sound. Don’t put out another micro-budget film with over-warm low-contrast DSLR colors and a few cross fades on your dialogue.

Besides, handing off your creation to another creative person lets you relax for a couple weeks as they do their best to serve your vision. It is liberating, and you deserve a little slack right now anyway before the grind of festivals, marketing, social media and outreach demand your every minute.

What I’m actually saying is that we’ve been busy doing all that post work and maybe it appears that things are quiet over here. Far from it. We are thrilled to be partnering with Splice on our color grading and credits and with Undertone Music on our foley, sound, and music mixing. The teams have been coming up with great looks and great sounds and the very fun credit sequences.

I’m also saying all you other indie filmmakers should find ways to ensure you can work with such talented teams on your movie projects. The benefits are immense (you will learn many new things) and you do deserve a little break once in a while so your brain can focus on the audience-building and distribution.

Vehicular Challenges

Rene and his JaguarMany movies feature their characters traveling about in very signature vehicles that help establish their identity. What isn’t always obvious is just how much of a hassle this can turn out to be for the indie filmmaker.

In Death To Prom our lead character Rene drives about town in his gold vintage Jaguar sedan. Looks good, right? Tells us about what kind of guy he his without uttering a single line of dialogue, right? But what a pain in the neck this car turns out to be. It is more temperamental than any crew member and if not handled quite particularly it holds its breath and won’t budge from its current location like a bad-mannered three-year-old child.
Continue reading “Vehicular Challenges”

Visits and Tests

Sundance 2013 detail
Time to catch you up on a few things, it appears. We’ve been busy.

In mid-January I, Jeremy, spent a week out at the Sundance film festival. Matt and I attended last year and met a lot of people that we’ve stayed in touch with over 2012 and I was able to reconnect with them, as well as meet a whole new group of amazing folks. The iPad was loaded with a rough cut of the film and our EPK and I had a stack of postcards always on my person. It was a busy time of meetings, premieres, snowboarding and maybe a few parties. If you haven’t ever been, you should give it a try. You don’t need to be a big shot famous person to have a good time at Sundance. Heck, I even was interviewed on the street by the IndieFlix team.

Speaking of the rough cut, we had our first test screening last week. It was a small group, more technical in nature, but it was our first sets of outside eyeballs on the movie and it went very well. We learned a lot. Some things we’ll be tweaking, some things we’ll be adding or removing, some things are good as they are. Everybody agreed we had an actual movie, so that’s something (ha ha!), and everybody really loved the soundtrack so far. We’ll be doing another screening for a larger and younger audience next week and look forward to find out how it plays with them. We’ve also submitted to our first couple of film festivals.

Butter City 2013Last week we were also invited to appear on the local TV show “Butter City,” which is all about filmmaking in Minnesota. It was a blast and host Joanna Kohler and her team made us feel very welcome. Look for it in the new season on TPT and online.

In the meantime, there is the Best (or Worst) Prom Photo Contest we are running on our facebook page. You can vote on your favorite submissions and submit your own for chances to win DVDs of the movie and maybe even be featured on-screen in our credit sequence. Post those photos now, we love seeing them.

weloveyoux1000000We love you for all the support you’ve shown so far. Please keep posting on facebook, twitter, google+, or wherever. It helps so much.

McKnight Foundation Awards Death To Prom Screenplay

McKnight Screenwriting Fellowship Winner 2012The 2012 McKnight Screenwriting Fellowship award goes to Matt Stenerson for Death To Prom.

Since 1981, the McKnight Foundation has presented awards to more than 1,500 artists in various media. These generous prizes go to support the lives and works of artists all year and to encourage them to grow and explore their art.

Many years after first writing out the story of Death To Prom, and after being a finalist in both the Sundance Screenwriting Lab and Francis Ford Coppola’s American Zoetrope Screenwriting Competition, the arts world has recognized Stenerson for his craft of story just weeks after wrapping principal photography of Death To Prom.

The Shooting Stats

The more we do this movie-making thing, the more I’m getting into graphs and statistics. Thankfully filling that desire, our script supervisor, Aleshia, sent over some numbers about the shooting of Death To Prom.

I was stunned to realize we spent almost 200 hours shooting footage on-location (or attempting to shoot, Day 1 was brutal but that is another story). That number seems so big! But when you break it down into a daily format, I was inversely(?) surprised to find that we only spent an average of 10 hours/day at work. This is a pretty big deal in the film world, where 12+ hour days are (seemingly) very common and even expected.

Our shortest two days were about 6.5 hours each, while our longest day was almost exactly 16 hours as we had a retail location for only a single day while they were closed. That day also saw us cover over 11 pages of script! Insanity. It was a great, but draining, day.

Combined data of the video and audio files and some behind-the-scenes stills was almost 400 gigabytes.

Christopher Straub adds style to Death To Prom

Christopher StraubChristopher Straub, Minnesota-based fashion designer and Project Runway Season 6 contestant, has lent his fabulous stylistic hand to the feature film Death To Prom with three custom dresses.

All the characters in Death To Prom get to show off their wardrobe flair, but Frankie and Kim get the special treatment, showing off the colors, textures and lines of Straub’s fun and edgy creations. From voluminous purple tulle to punky black leather, Straub’s dresses command attention and fit perfectly with lead character Rene’s fertile imagination.

And they fit right in with Straub’s approach to fashion. According to an interview with Lavendar Magazine, he designing for “someone still younger, stylish, looking for something unique, something with a little excitement to his or her clothes… I’m also looking for that girl that’s a little younger than me who really just wants to find something cute and funky, and show off to her friends.”

Follow Christopher and find his fashions on his official website, ChristopherStraub.com.

Joher Coleman joins Death To Prom cast

Joher ColemanJoher Coleman, known for his teen role on the 1980s sitcom Head of the Class, has joined the cast of Death To Prom as Ishan Jain, father of Frankie.

Coleman has also been visible in films, movies and animated shows over the years, from Earth Girls are Easy to Scrubs and more.

“We’re very pleased to have Joher on our cast. His easy-going demeanor and professionalism allowed him to slide right into our production and he brought a fabulous reading to one of our few adult roles,” said Jeremy Wilker, co-director and cinematographer. “It was one of those sweltering Minnesota summer days and he didn’t seem fazed by anything.”

Coleman splits his time between the midwest and Los Angeles.

Production Week One!

You may have noticed a few new faces in the production and you would be a sharp observer. We do have several new cast members now that we are in production and we think you’ll love them as much as we do. Things are moving along very rapidly now that we’ve begun the actual filming so we’ll keep striving to blog and post and the like, but we’ve got to sleep, too!