Monday, August 29, 2011

Delivering Monsters in the Woods Day 2: The State of Things

I really should have started day 1 with this, but hey…

Like I said yesterday, deliverable requirements vary from distributor to distributor, and once a deal is signed you usually have anywhere from 30 to 60 days to complete the deliverable list.

There are few things that are always the same. So these items should be done before the deal is even signed.

  1. Screenplay and the movie should be registered with the library of congress. Check.
  2. Movie should be checked for both video and audio broadcast quality. That way when you do get the final QC report, you will pass it and not have to spend more cash.
  3. Audio should have the music and effects already separated. Every distributor I’ve ever dealt with has always required M&E on a separate track for delivery. Check.
  4. Paperwork and contracts are all in order. It’s a good idea to scan them all into PDF’s for easy delivery. Check.
  5. Money should be set-aside for Errors and Omissions insurance and all the paperwork to get it.
I'm sure there's more, but I want to get into the issue at hand.

Don't forget to pick up your copy of Trap.

Today, I’m going to talk A little bit about where things stand now. The movie is currently still broken up into 3 reels. There are few things I need to do before combining.

  1. Today and tomorrow I’m finishing a quadruple check on my M&E in order to make sure it’s fully formed. When you’re taking on all of post yourself, it’s easy to miss little things. Especially in M&E. When I did quality control on Edges of Darkness, it took me three passed before I finally licked it. There were some video problems as well, but the majority of issues were with the M&E.
  2. I’ll do a final audio mix on all the reels.
3. Then combine.

Once the reels are merged I’ll finish up my tech deliverables. Most of these things I had to wait on until the reels where combined. Or at least it makes completing them easier.
  1. Music Cue sheet.
  2. Record Audio commentary.
  3. Export full movie uncompressed. (Distributor prefers Pro rez (HQ)
  4. Get the QuickTime file QC’d. Hopefully pass 1st time.
  5. Make digi beta and HD dupes from QC’d file.
  6. Put all deliverables on a hard drive and put them into the distributor’s hands.
Easy enough, right?

Delivering Monsters in the Woods Day 1: Music Cues

Delivering a feature to a distributor should be no big deal. The hard work is already done. The movie is shot, edited and ready to go. Delivery should be simple. However, for many micro-budget productions this is where things get rough. Many of us go into delivery ignorant of the requirements - technical, legal and financial. Monsters in the Woods is the 3rd movie of my own that I’ve delivered to a distributor. I’ve had a hand in delivering a few others for various production companies. It rarely goes smoothly. I’m hoping that the 3rd time will in fact be the charm with Monsters in the Woods, and that I can learn from and use my past mistakes to avoid missteps here. Guess we’ll see.

For my next few posts I’ll be concentrating on the physical and technical deliverables. I usually start working on these at the beginning of post-production and finish them up upon the sale of the movie. On Trap I did them all right after finishing post and ended up not needing a lot of them. Different distributors have different requirements. So now I wait till the movie sells and I see the distributors contact and delivery requirements before prepping most things to make sure my tech spec fit the distributor’s needs. That way I don’t have to redo anything.

For example, today I’m putting each individual music cue in a labeled folder, which is a bit of a pain because my composer didn’t deliver cues. He laid his entire score out in reels. So I have 3 30-minute files with no cue marks. This will also make filling out a music cue sheet kind of a pain, but that’s another story. Anyway, today I have to pull each reel of music into Final Cut Pro then find, export and label each individual music cue.  The distributor wants the cues in order to more easily create additional material for the movie; trailers, behind the scenes featurettes and DVD’s.

It took me 2 hours to export all the cues. This is the 1st time I’ve actually had to do this.
No other distributor has ever asked me for the music cues separately from the movie
before. On the brightside I figured out a pretty efficient way to prepare my music cue
sheet, which I’ll tackle right after I put all three of my reels together for final export.
I’ll talk a little more about that and the current state of the movie tomorrow. (shit, guess I should’ve done that 1st. Oh well.)

 Oh yeah, don't forget to get your copy of Trap.