Wow… I never though — especially after the past few days, weeks, hours, not sure, time is lost on me — that I would ever be able to say “I’m done”. Technically it’s still rendering, but in all intents and purposes, it’s done! Do Not Disturb, my first film, the thing that I’ve put my everything into, my heart, soul, my savings account, and the last 9ish months of my life… is over. Well this stage at least. It’s yet to be copied onto a bunch DVDs and sent off to festivals and god forbid SEEN by anyone… but that’s it. The making of the film, all of my “work” in creating it is done.

And the oddest part is that I feel very little about it. Here I thought I would be ecstatic, jumping off the walls, possibly even shed a tear, but either because of the serious lack of sleep that I’ve had for… I don’t remember how long or the fear of the question “What’s next?”….  I just feel rather blaise, almost numb… definitely tired. I guess this is a common feeling. I asked someone about it and they said, “yeah, and here come the post blues.” Great!

I understand why so many films are shelved, shot but never scene, or are perpetually on hold, post-production is by far the most stressful, grueling, and exhausting part of a film. Pre-production is filled with so much hope and stress combined that you can make miracles happen. Production is by far my favorite, everything is in motion and everyone is there to make it happen and there’s so much energy in the room that you couldn’t stop it if you tried and most importantly you know one big thing, you can always fix it in post…

Then there’s post, when you’re trying your best to fix any mistakes, cut what isn’t 100% necessary, and sit very patiently while every computer in the world will crash mid-render and lose whatever you just did. While in post-production, you spend most of your time with one other person in a room, maybe two analyzing the difference in a cut, a beat, or a sound 2 frames earlier or later, you make HUGE decisions on what one little thing should do and it all feels so important and so final…

Then there’s the music… For those who don’t know my father is a well-known composer. I’ve grown up listening to him in the studio, watching him work, and seeing him make something amazing out of nothing, but never before have I respected him as much as I do now after trying to score my own film, or rather take his extras from his past films/projects and some new pieces make and them work with my film…. I sat with our music editor Alistair South who had to take what I had and remix it, place it, watch it fail, watch it fit perfectly but not be quiet right, massage it into place, watch it be cut due to a sound design, have a composer re-write something brilliant, have the director hate it and start over again… Luckily Mike Einziger and Oliver Hecks both came in to save the day with some extra music, but trust me only to strong survive music.

The hardest part about post-production is that….

  1. You can only work with what you have – you can remix it all you want but what’s there is there.
  2. The stress of knowing that every tiny little choice will effect the way your film is taken in by its viewers.

I can tell you for a fact I can play this movie with different music/sound options, ones we highly considered and you will watch a different movie. You can have a big music cue or you can hope that the drama between the actors is enough – neither is “wrong” but what’s best? You go with your gut and you don’t look back because… well aside from the fact there’s no time or money… you just can’t, it will eat at your soul and hold you back from ever pushing forward.

I showed my Grandma some clips last night of the film and aside from being rather upset that she couldn’t see how certain scenes played out (how awesome is that?) and telling me how amazing I am (she’s my grandma, it’s an easy audience), she asked me an important question, “how are you going to handle people watching it and receiving it.” I know that this isn’t a film that will be loved by everyone, it’s for a certain specific audience, people who like odd, weird, entertaining things.

I will say this, I’ve seen nothing else like it. I go to festivals, see almost every film that comes out and I have nothing to really compare it to. I think the only thing I care about at this moment is that people can sit back for the short 72 minutes that it is and enjoy it. And although there is no “meaning” to the film, it will not make you re-evaluate your life or learn something new, there is something to it. It’s fun to sit through and even I after seeing certain scenes a 1,000 times, knowing what’s going to happen, knowing what shot I WISH I could have got and knowing all the problems in my head, I still squirm or laugh at the appropriate moments (I hope others will too!).

So that’s it. I’m done with pre-production, production, and post-production on Do Not Disturb. What will happen next? I’m not sure yet. Stay tuned and in the meantime check out some photos from the many computers we all sat behind, sound booths we all found ourselves in and photo shoots…

In case you’ve missed any of the the making of DND, here’s a little something to help you catch up…