STEP BEHIND THE CURTAIN...

AND JOIN US ON SET!

Watch as we carefully plot the controlled trafficking of cat turds and listen as I discuss the importance of pillow arrangement continuity. Set life has never been more gripping! In all seriousness though, we had a blast that weekend thanks to our generous kickstarter backers, so come relive the moment with us as we burn the midnight oil doing what we love. Making movies. Below is the 1st "Making Of" FEATURETTE from my talented friend and fellow filmmaker Ned Hurley. There will be a longer version included on the MEOW BLURAYS and DVDs that details even more of the film, and some of the more exciting and involved scenes, but I can't share that now because of spoilers. Until you pick up that disc, click on the image below and marvel at the fact that my landlord put up with these shenanigans!

THAT THING I MADE...

Is almost ready...

and in case you missed the Official Trailer, shared on the MEOW Facebook and Twitter page, you can take a look at the bottom of this update and share like crazy. I'm really proud of it.

We're in the final stages of post-production. The music is being finalized next week, as well as the sound design. We're also going into a color session next week with one of the midwest's best colorists who is graciously donating their time to our project.

Also, as I type this, T-shirts are being printed, Postcards are being scribed, and Discs and Packaging are being inked and prepped for the authoring of the final film.

I'd be lying if I said I wasn't dying to hold the finished product in my hands. Filmmaking is such a multifaceted and collaborative art form that branches across so many different platforms of expression that it's easy to get lost in what you're doing. First you're simply ruminating on a little nugget of an idea, and then next thing you know you're outlining said idea and writing, writing, writing, then you're storyboarding, casting, makin schedules, crunching numbers, set designing, buying weird props, and shooting, shooting, shooting, sleeping, sleeping, sleeping, editing, rendering, rendering, rendering, emailing, talkin about music, listening to music, talking about sound, listening to sound, emailing, makin websites, emailing, and then writing some more! (not always in that order) It's incredibly easy to get lost in all this and forget what the hell it is you're even doing. And even though in the end, you consume it with your eyes and ears, there's something about holding the finished Bluray, DVD, VHS, or LaserDisc in your hands that snaps you out of your stupor so you can appreciate a moment of clarity with you and your weird little baby you made with a bunch of odd friends.

Well I'm damned excited to bring this weird little baby into the world so he/she can meet all of you (due date: winter). Stay Tuned.

PLAYTIME

There are 24 hours in a day.

          People with office jobs like myself, spend 8 hours of that working. When you add in an hour getting ready, eating breakfast, an hour of exercise, eating lunch, an hour commuting, an hour cooking dinner (and eating yet again), two hours of quality time with my wife, and finally seven hours of sleep, you're left with 3 hours that may or may not even be there since days don't always go as planned. 

For a person that values their creative downtime, much like a grade-schooler values recess, those leftover 3 hours of my day are a vital source of joy and self-worth, and I'm constantly trying to figure out how to gain more of them; and maybe more importantly, not be so mentally exhausted when I get to them. The obvious solution here would be to turn those 8 hours of work into 8 hours of profitable creative playtime so that I can make money while playing and continue living this life I've grown accustomed to living. However, making any kind of art form profitable is no easy task, and in most cases, seems to happen unexpectedly over the course of one's career. So for now I'm left with that small fluctuating window of playtime that comes and goes with the passing of the days, and that's fine. 

Working creatively around a 9-5 desk job has taught me to be proficient with how I mentally spend my time. I often find myself developing stories and outlines in the shower, on a run, sitting in traffic, or over lunch at my desk job. My screen is covered in sticky notes with character arcs and plot lines. I've found that the most important thing for me is to, despite the seemingly oppressive nature of the 40-hour work week, just keep on playing; to keep on writing scripts, and to keep on making movies. Finding time to create will never be easy around work, marriage, and will indubitably get even trickier if and when my wife and I decide to have kids in the future; but if creativity is a priority, the time and energy seems to find me. Because creative stimulation is essential for my well being and my wife knows this. 

While shooting MEOW she spent the night at my parent's place because we shot all night and our apartment was so full of film equipment that there was literally no place for her to sleep. When she got home that morning and found me splayed out among the wreckage, after the hurricane of light stands and bounce boards had decimated our apartment, she just sat beside me as I awoke from my stupor and smiled saying, "how'd it go?" I grinned groggily and replied, "awesome." Several breakdowns about the state of our apartment and the importance of our impending wedding would follow in the next few days but still, she knows what makes me happy and I hope I can be as selfless as her someday. 

So on paper this 12 minute movie about a young woman and her possibly demonic cat is exactly that. A short and silly horror movie. Simply meant as a short vacation from the seriousness of life where we can poke fun at some of our fears and anxieties and gasp and laugh at how ridiculous they can be. Still, spending countless hours, days, weeks, even months, crafting this thing amidst our wedding and forcing my wife from the comfort of her own home to sleep at my parent's house for the sake of 12 minutes of cinematic escapism is surely insane, right? I assure you that my landlord definitely thought it was. So it has to be more than that. 

After making this movie and many others I've learned exactly what I stated above. Making this movie is my chance to play as an adult; and not just play, but to flex those creative muscles and get better at playing. For me it's as important as physical exercise, and I think the rest of the crew would agree. They would have to value the importance of making creative work as much as I do, otherwise lord knows why they would agree to work 3 back to back 12 hour shoots over a weekend for no pay. Creative expression for the sake of creative expression is important for ourselves and our community. It's our break between the commercials. 

As I get older I'm constantly becoming more conscious of how I spend my time and I've developed a compulsive will to constantly be making something. Anything. And I think it's all in hopes that I could eventually turn that 8 hours of "work" into 8 hours of "play". For now it's a fantasy, as I have no idea If I'll ever find a way to get paid to make movies. There's countless talented individuals making standout films, and while I do believe I have developed at least some level of what you may call talent, not everyone has the privilege to be "recognized" by the so called "movie gods". Besides my life is pretty great the way it is; even if I constantly feel like there's not enough hours in the day for me to do what I want. The truth is though, I wouldn't be able to live with myself if I didn't at least try. I need to be constantly learning and getting better and with everything I make that's exactly what happens. I learn something new and find a new piece to the ever evolving mind-fuck of a puzzle that is filmmaking and creative expression in general. 

So 8 months after launching this kickstarter, getting married, working my desk job, and continuing to live life, here I am still working on this 12 minute film about a girl and her potentially demonic cat. Slowly chipping away at it between all the essential tasks I'm required to perform to keep me from dying or going bankrupt. And I'm loving it. In terms of what I was aiming to accomplish, it is the most successful film I've made thus far. It is an amusing and amiable genre exercise, and it has scratched the creative itch I've had for years that had me dying to make an 80s-era-inspired fright-fest. It's not without it's faults, at least in my eyes, but I don't think any creative person is ever one hundred percent satisfied with what they've created, and that's what strengthens me as a storyteller. Now that this itch has been scratched, I'm wanting to tell a story that's equally surreal and improbable but told in a more serious manner. More personal and character driven. I'm even writing something new that I'm excited about, because it means more progress and another piece of the puzzle yet to be discovered. 

The reason I even bring any of this up, is because I want to thank all of the supportive people in my life for giving me, and everyone who worked on this movie, the chance at another recess.

Thanks for giving me the chance to play, I think you'll enjoy what we've created.

-Chris

BUILDING A HORROR MOVIE PIXEL BY PIXEL

It's been a while...

Due to a number of reasons: I got married, moved into a house AND had to custom build a PC specifically equipped to handle the large 4K RED footage MEOW was shot on. After all these life milestones, I'm excited to be at my new workstation doing what I love; revisiting the headspace of 80s horror comedy while reaping the benefits of those crazy awesome shoots we had a few months ago.

I'm a little over halfway to reaching a full Rough Cut of the film. For those unfamiliar with the filmmaking process here's a condensed lesson: A Rough Cut is basically my (the editor's) 1st pass at assembling the story; usually with temporary sound and music thrown in to mimic what the final cut may feel like. Once the rough cut is reached, I will screen it for an audience of my well respected filmmaker friends and crew and will tighten it up and refine it until it's the best story it can be; which is what we call the Final Cut also known as Picture Lock. Once we have Picture Lock, we add any Visual Effects that are needed (which is not much since most of the FX in this film were done in camera) and after that we move onto SOUND.

YES, all of that work was just for the picture. To bring you even deeper into Samantha's world though, we have to imagine what her environment sounds like, which means developing the sound of her creaky apartment, the seedy alleyway, the approaching thunderstorm that leads us to the climax, and of course, our star feline. When it comes to cinema, as important as picture is, it's really only about 40% of the experience. The rest is all sound effects and music, which provides context for the images. Without the sound, the picture loses all believability.

After sound is wrapped, the picture is Color Corrected. The color process basically unifies all of the footage and gives it a uniform "look" that heightens the tone of the story. In this case we will likely cool it down and deepen the shadows for that moody Noir look we had in mind while shooting.

Then we stick the Final Color Corrected Picture against the Final Audio Mix and hit Export. And there you have it, all of our time and hard work compressed and digitized into one little video file made up of 1's and 0's sitting on a hard drive.

(*SIDENOTE* I am only responsible for a small part of the above work, namely the editing and providing guidance in all other areas. It is damn near impossible to make a good movie alone. It requires a team and I am very fortunate to know and work with a talented group of friends who share my passion.)

After the film is done, we SHARE it. We'll create a press kit and send it around to dozens of film festivals and media outlets; hopefully gain some press from said press kit, as well as some fans. Then, finally, we release it on the interwebs. First privately for niche blogs and short film sites, and eventually to everyone.

Here's my current TIMELINE:

END OF JULY: Picture Lock

AUGUST-SEPTEMBER: Sound Design and Music

OCTOBER: Visual Effects and Color Correction

WINTER: Private Screening for Backers, Friends and Family and Rewards sent out

I'll try to stick to this as best as I can. I am beyond excited to share the final product with all of you.

Talk Soon,

-Chris

THAT'S A WRAP

Well, we did it...

We shot 3 back to back 12 hour nights and it was one of the most creatively fulfilling experiences of my life. The footage looks incredible and perfectly captures the moodiness of the classic noir films and genre pictures we are referencing; shadows, thunderstorms, stark moonlight, and seedy alleyways rich in rain and fog. It's all there. The cast delivered fantastic performances and our crew was relentless in executing all of the complex setups. All in all, a huge success, and only possible thanks to our supportive community of family, friends and kickstarter backers.

KariJo Skogquist, a talented filmmaker friend of mine, captured some amazing 360 degree photos and videos that I will preview here before sharing on our fan site (click the links at the very end of this update and then click and drag on the images to view in all directions.) Also, in the coming months you can expect a short documentary that chronicles the shoots of MEOW, put together by my longtime friend, erstwhile roommate, and talented filmmaker, Ned Hurley. Below is a small collection of some Behind-The-Scenes stills from our DP, Kevin Horn. (MORE TO COME)

Cheers,

-Chris