Well, it’s almost a year since I started this blog and released Raiding the Lost Ark, so to mark the occasion, I checked out my domain stats for the first time.
To be honest, I am blown away.
Thanks to all of you for your faithful support and encouragement. Doing these projects takes a lot of time and effort outside of my work and real life, so it’s really great to see that so many of you visit this site. Even if you ignore what I’ve written and go straight to the videos, thats fine by me!
In this past 12 months I’ve been invited to write for Empire Online. I’ve been interviewed on radio and numerous podcasts. Part of Inside Jaws was shown in Sydney, Australia thanks to the wonderful PopcornTaxi. Ain’t is Cool News ran a story and Movies.com showed an exclusive clip of my forthcoming project.
Furthermore (and most importantly to my bank balance), I’ve also finally managed to convert the skills I’ve learned on making these filmumentaries to get a one day job editing a Force India F1 car launch, which I enjoyed immensely.
The next big news is that Inside Jaws is almost complete. Just a few more weeks so go (I hope).
So what ever you are doing, keep at it, you never know what might happen!
Today, I starting adding credits to the end of Inside Jaws.
It soon became apparent that I should have been doing this since I began the project. I thought I had compiled a list somewhere (on my phone maybe). But no. So today, I made it my aim to trawl through my emails, facebook messages and tweets, as far as they would allow to find the names of the individuals who have helped me along the way.
If you have helped me and feel you deserve a credit. Please do get in touch. Its been a while since I began this project and without my notes, its easy to let one of two slip through the net.
Following the loss of about 70% of my files during the creation of Star Wars Begins, I clearly understand the importance of backing up. So, for both Raiding the Lost Ark and Inside Jaws, I’ve had a fairly regular regime backing up not just the FCP project file, but also the media files. I remember the hours of relinking media to a semi corrupt project file quite well. Something I didn’t want to repeat.
Earlier this week, I was happily editing away on Inside Jaws when the Mac OSX beach ball remained on screen for a little too long. It soon became apparent that dropping the drive on the kitchen floor the week before had in fact been more damaging than I had originally thought. After trying to remount the drive a dozen times, it was clear that I was in trouble.
I had made a backup a fortnight before, meaning that about 10-20 hours of work would be lost. However, fortunately and after 6 hours of tinkering, the drive came back to life in fits and starts and long enough for me to copy the smaller files across to my system disc. Voila, the media files, apart from two which only took a few hours to re-rip, were all back!
The only problem I have now, is that I don’t have a fast drive to actually do the editing on anymore. The system disc is no place for video editing. So, along with the wedding, my fiance leaving work due to ill health and my lack of work at this end of the year, I have to find the funds to by a new RAID. Two very kind individuals donated some money that has gone straight in that pot! THANK YOU! So, by the end of March, when the F1 season is back in full flow, I should have enough money to keep this project swimming along nicely.
As you know, or should know by now, goodness me I’ve been banging on about it for long enough… I do not make any money on these filmumentaries. That was never my intention and never will be. “What about the site donation button?” I hear you ask. Ok, I have accepted a few donations over the years totalling enough to run this blog domain for just under one year, but never any more than that. I also turn down every single request to buy copies of my filmumentaries. In fact I go further and report anyone trying to sell them on ebay.
What I am here to say, or more to the point, ask of you, is that I’d be very grateful if you consider donating to one of my chosen charities. Particularly if you have enjoyed my work and feel compelled to show your love.
Yesterday, I added a donation button to a charity that I think does really great work for those with autism. “Ambitious about Autism works to improve the services available for children and young people with autism and increase awareness and understanding of the condition”. Now who can argue with that?
So, again, if you have a sudden need to be grateful for the work I do (remember its for fans like you), then please do think about a donation.
Thank you for your time.
One of the great things about creating these filmumentaries is making contact with the very people that starred in the films or helped to put them on film as a member of the crew. I’ve been fortunate enough to be in contact with the likes of Carl Gottlieb, Robert Watts, Wolf Kahler and Howard Kazanjian to name a few. What I love is being able to have an ongoing relationship with these people, even if it is only via email.
This week I was thrilled to hear back from Colonel Dietrich himself, Wolf Kahler in a warm message of new year wishes. He went on to tell me that he’s recently worked on a film (I won’t give it away just yet), using his wonderful voice doing lots of ADR for multiple characters. It’s a film I’ve been waiting to see for some time and actually has a connection to another part of my life. Now of course I am looking forward to it even more.
Two nights ago I watched the first third of Inside Jaws (so far). It is clear that this is once again a different kind of filmumentary. Whilst I’ll be using all the available material in a constructive way, there just isn’t the amount behind the scenes footage available.
I reckon I am at about 60% or so complete at this point. Perhaps the end of February 2013 deadline is a little over optimistic. I am still to make a trailer actually so there is nothing firm about that release date.
Last night I edited for an hour or so and promised myself I would do another five or six hours this week. I’ll keep you posted.
UPDATE: I’ve started working on a Storyboard Comparison sequence much like the ones in Building Empire (asteroid scene) and Raiding the Lost Ark (in the map room). This is all thanks to the very generous Joe Alves, who has kindly sent me great scans for use in Inside Jaws.
You can buy a limited print of Joe’s incredible storyboards at his site.
Many of my fellow fan editors feel an absolute imperative to preserve. Whether it’s Garrett Gilchrists restorative edits of Star Wars or Puggo’s 16mm and 8mm restorations or Adywan’s brave and successful efforts to preserve the feel of the original Star Wars films, there seems to be a real feeling amongst the community, that if the studio aren’t delivering, its up to us to do it. Many are turning to OriginalTrilogy.com and FanEdit.org.
Indeed after making Star Wars Begins and particularly Raiding the Lost Ark, in which I interviewed Wolf Kahler, now 72 years old, I felt almost an obligation to start interviewing more of these unsung heroes of the movies. Whilst my contact with Michael Ford, the Academy Award winning set director didn’t lead to an interview, it did lead to many chats with him over email and in person. The stories him and his colleagues told me over lunch, the names they dropped, were all absolutely fascinating and I am sure, would be to many others. Unless we start preserving these tales of movie making, many of them will just disappear, forever.
Whilst making my current filmumentary, Inside Jaws, I was fortunate enough to make contact with a fellow film maker who had interviewed many of the local actors and extras for a documentary that was never finished. He was very gracious in letting me use this interview material for my commentary track. Whilst I was editing several into my timeline, it occurred to me that at least two of these were probably the last time these people were interviewed about their experience of working on Jaws.
With this imperative to preserve comes a certain obligation. Not a begrudging one of course, but a certain self imposed contract to get the job done and to do it well. Jaws has been a difficult one to tackle and for that reason its taking longer than I had intended. Having said that, I’ve made a promise to myself that it will be finished by the end of February 2013.
A while ago, my family and I decided that we should do the secret Santa thing at Christmas. Rather than spending a fortune on each other and on the kids, we now pick a name out of the a hat and can spend up to £35. My sister was always good at buying presents for me. The kind of item that made me say, “I didn’t know that even existed. If I did, I would have bought it myself”. This year I was lucky enough to get a great retro Jaws poster by a rather talented chap on Etsy. And guess who bought it for me? My lovely sister!
I am chuffed to bits with it. In fact, as soon as I get home from work tonight, I am hanging it up!
Tomorrow, 3rd December 2012, marks my first day of work on Inside Jaws for a couple of months. My (paid) work has taken me around the world for the past thirteen years. It’s difficult enough trying to balance life and work at the best of times. But this year in particular has been a busy one. Not only have I had to head up a department (along with my colleague), but I started to do some directing and producing. In short, my hobby in the form of Filmumentary making has taken the brunt of this busy period. I’ve barely done a minutes work on Inside Jaws in the last quarter of the year. But tomorrow, I intend to reignite the project. I have already made a list of what needs working on, so I should be able to work quite quickly.
I have several previously unreleased interviews to listen to. I’ve already logged a couple of them and there is some great material in there. And I have my graphics guy James Bruhl to chase up (he’s been busy too!).
My aim is to release it by the end of February 2013. The second month of the year is a good luck charm for me. Both Star Wars Begins and Raiding the Lost Ark were released on that month in 2011 and 2012 respectively. My fingers are firmly crossed. Between tapping the keyboard and moving the mouse that is!
Remember you can also follow daily progress on Twitter
One of the only other areas of Star Wars that I’ve always loved is the range of vintage action figures. So I recently dug out my collection from the loft and thought about a way to display them that didn’t dominate the house. Within a few days I found a “shabby chic”, glass fronted case with little compartments. Just enough to display twenty or so of the little fellas. So I took the risk they would fit and placed a £25 bid. A while later it arrived so I selected some figures and purchased some brightly coloured card from the local stationary shop. I then combined the three elements to create a pretty cool looking, Empire Strikes back cardback inspired display case.
I’ve had quite a lot of positive feedback, so I contacted the guy I bought the plain case from to ask where he got it. His reply – “I have no idea, I’ve had it in the garage for years”. So the only advice I can give is – keep your eyes on ebay for something similar.
Want to own a signed Inside Jaws poster? They are on sale at £5 including postage in the UK. Send money via PayPal. This link is just to the right. Mention whether you’d like the portrait or landscape poster. If you are out of the UK, please contact me first.
Once again, thanks to the power of social media and the coverage which Star Wars Begins and Raiding the Lost Ark received, I was contacted from ‘down under’ by Popcorn Taxi. They are a Sydney based film event group that screens films both classic and modern, often with Q and A sessions. They wanted to screen Inside Jaws side by side with a 2k screening of the newly restored Jaws. I quickly told them that Inside Jaws would not be finished in time, but that I would happily send them a few snippets that I’d been working on.
So on 15th August, 2012, that very thing happened. Here are a few snaps from the screening.