BACKER SONG REQUESTS
Song 1 – A Beatles Song for Maria
Song 2 – An Unforgettable Song for Kevin
Song 3- A Horrible Song for Gavin
Song 4 – Another Horrible Song for Gavin
Song 5 – A Wonderful Song for Ronald
Song 6 – A Horrible Song for Gavin’s Eyes
Song 7 – A Ballad of Serenity for Gavin
Song 8 – A Midnight Train Song for Barton
Song 9 – A Freeze Ray for Gavin
May 2 - Kickstarter campaign successful. Made contact with Ken Lampl to discuss next steps. I still need to lock the cut but he can get started on scenes I know won’t be changing. He’s going to contact the orchestra to check scheduling and also touch base with Joe Schermann to get the music for the songs.
May 3 – just spoke with Ken on the phone. He mentioned that someone in his network saw our Kickstarter campaign and talked about wanting to keep the work here in the US. They are offering to do the score for the same cost that we were planning to pay the European company. If this happens, the cool thing is now Ken, Joe and I will be able to attend the recordings in person (instead of having to monitor the European recording session via the web). Plus any “on-the-fly” changes could happen more efficiently if Ken were there with the orchestra! I also told Ken that someone in LA was very generous in their offer to help score and keep costs down just to keep the work here….it’s pretty amazing and generous for these talented people to offer to help….and sad to hear that a lot of the work is going to Europe for cost reasons. If it can work out, I’d much prefer to pay local musicians to do this for us.
May 6 – Joe turned in all the sheet music (for the song work) to Ken last night. Now Ken can send the estimate (number of musicians and hours needed) to the local contractor to see if the numbers can work out. If the budget can match what we were planning to pay the European company then we’re definitely keeping things stateside. It would be amazing as I’ve learned some of the local musicians would be from Broadway! We’re looking at a late July recording.
May 10 – We have booked a recording date – July 25th – Monday! Looks like we can keep the work here in the states (New Jersey) for the exact same costs which is amazing! Ken and Joe will also schedule an additional date prior to the orchestra session to re-record his piano work — while adding a live bass and drums to the mix (instead of the Garageband temp track we were using). Uh….yeah I’m psyched!
May 18 - Just set the date (June 6th) to head over to Ken’s place with Joe to cover all the orchestral arrangements for the songs in the film. Then I’ll have a separate meeting to watch the film with Ken to discuss the score and what our approach will be. Luckily, I’ve already included an entire temp score (from at least 20 different sources) in the film that sets the tone for when I’d prefer an orchestral score vs. a keyboard/electronic driven piece. With his input, it’ll be great to really figure out how things should sound and when.
May 31 - just locked the edit! What began in early August 2010 is finally done in May 2011. What an amazing experience it’s been….weaving a narrative story with song numbers. It’s funny that in my initial assembly cut I had decided to remove the opening number “THE PLEA” because I just wasn’t sure it would work directly following our opening overture….it turns out in my very last cut that putting it back in makes all the difference. It definitely helps set the mood from the very start that we’re in a musical and makes the second number “I WANT” (more of a ballad) work much more effectively. The final cut is 12 minutes shorter than the first assembly cut. It runs 1hr 41mins without the end credits. The film is now officially ready to be scored!
June 2 – met with Keith Ukrisna (sound designer) yesterday to watch the locked cut and to discuss the sound work needed. There are a few scenes that will need some audio clean up….really hoping ADR isn’t needed as I hate it. The sound design should be fairly minimal and if anything won’t draw attention to itself….yeah sound work can be a thankless job — as one only really notices it if it’s bad. To get techy, we did the OMF file transfer and had a few stumbling blocks that we ran into. I keep forgetting FCP doesn’t allow you to export an OMF larger than 2GB – so we had to export 2 OMFs (dividing up the audio tracks). Keith has a shiny new Mac and we made sure his Pro Tools session could open and have everything transferred over correctly. He’s all set. We talked about schedules and timeline/due dates…as well as how we plan to communicate and track our conversations as to not mix up what scene and revision/draft we’re talking about…..no more GOOGLE WAVE. We’re thinking email is still the best way to go…..1 separate thread for each individual scene. If we find a better way I’ll share it. Or if you have suggestions please leave me a comment or send me an email.
June 12 - met this past Monday at Ken’s place in New Jersey. Joe and Ken’s orchestration assistant (Mitch) were there as well. We went through the songs and the arrangement ideas which were mind-blowing for me….to hear these musicians and their ideas on how to bring the songs more to life than they already are was definitely an experience. Music terms went flying around that I’ve never heard of before. It felt great that they allowed me to be able to give my 2 cents — as the songs still lend to the overall cinematic experience that I have to maintain as the filmmaker. Now the fun part comes when I get to hear sketches for the cues over the next 2 months as we close in on the recording day! Looks like we’ll be having 2 separate sessions….one will be Joe re-recording his piano tracks (on a grand piano!) along with live bass and drums. Then on 7/25 is the day the orchestra records.
July 11 – music cues for scene work are coming in fast and furious for my review. Just 2 weeks left before we hit the studios and I’d say we’re only about 50% ready. I know everyone will be putting in some long hours to prep for the sessions. I’m still anxious to hear some mockups of the orchestral scoring that will happen…..it’s all coming down to the wire so quickly now! We’ve locked in ours 2 recording days: 7/19 is to record live drums – then 7/25 our strings, wind and horn players get their turn. Yessss!!
July 19 - What an amazing day! We recorded our live drum session today with the uber talented Tony Tedesco. He banged out over 11 cues….doing all our songs and dance sequences in need of his touch. It was so fitting that as he was drumming to our tap piece that we self-titled “42nd Street” for reference…someone pointed out that Tony was the drummer on the Broadway revival of “42nd Street”. I’d say that was a bit of nice serendipity. I must admit that just having his drums playing to the temp music brought a whole new level to the songs. It was like I’d never heard them before. I literally sat back in a chair, listened to the drums and could only think about how thankful I was for all of our Kickstarter backers who made this possible for us.
And now I’m told that on Monday we will have 14 string players, 2 wind players and a horn player. I can only imagine what the songs will be like when they’re through with it. I filmed a lot of today’s session which should show up in a special feature eventually. Until then check out Tony in action!
June 22 – Went to Ken’s house in New Jersey. 2 hour drive with all the traffic. Spent about 10 hours going over the orchestrations for the cues. 2 hour drive back.
Filmmakers: I highly recommend having your composer act out all the instruments playing in an orchestration cue. It’s highly entertaining.
There was a moment when he finished an amazing cue when I said “Ken, you make me a better filmmaker…” — He laughed and responded “you make me a better composer!” We’ve got a great rapport and were able to bang out several cues on the fly. I simply can’t wait to hear when the orchestra takes what he has created and brings it to life. Just a few more days. Not sure I’ll be able to sleep. It’s like Christmas Eve and I’m eight again.
July 27 - It happened. We did it. A 12-hour recording session on Mon (7/25). I took tons of video and will be sharing it as soon as I can. It definitely was an experience I’ll never forget — and the songs and music for the film have been taken to another level that I never could’ve dreamed of. Simply put I’m in awe of the talented people who put it all together. It couldn’t have been more organized and professional (and I wish I could re-live the day already). Huge thanks to Steve Jankowski of Jankland Studios for his amazing recording space and talent to help make the day run smooth as hell. Now comes the race to the finish….we still have sound editing/design, vocal mixing, music editing/mixing, additional scoring (without the orchestra), color correction and final mixing to do. More later.
August 8 - We are coming down to the final weeks of post-production. This week we actually will have to surrender and do a quick re-recording of a line from the film. I detest ADR so I’m going to meet the actor back at the actual location and record him saying “Hey Evey….Evey!” — and that’s it. The only line in the film that won’t be original production audio. Not bad. Next week we will be heading into the final mixing session…..lots of sound work and music cues to review before then. I’ll be heading to Ken’s place this week to review some score cues…so I should have another update by the end of the week.
August 18 – so it looks like our schedule to final mix on August 19 has been delayed by about 3 weeks. I set up an aggressive timeline for Keith Ukrisna to complete the sound design/editing/mixing and Ken Lampl to finish all the additional music cues on top of mixing the vocals/score for the 9 songs in the film. Not to mention, I thought I’d be much farther along with color-correction (my first pass is about 50 mins into the film so I’ve got another 50 mins to go). Everyone is working their butts off — and at the end of the day I’d much rather have the team not feel rushed…as the last thing I want is the quality of the work be compromised. With the additional weeks, now everyone has the time to really give the TLC each element needs.
The new date set for the final mixing session is Sept 9-11. Keith and I will head over to Ken’s place in New Jersey and crash there for 2 nights as we mix all the sound and music into a final polish. Keith is actually starting to come to my place to use my Mac workstation for his final weeks of work as my speakers are better than what he has at his place (which of course is crucial since he’s working on the sound). So now I’m working my color-correcting sessions in between his sound-work sessions….I figure when he’s here I can actually spend time finishing up some film treatments that I’ve been developing over the past few months. I can’t tell you how excited I am at the progress of all the new sound work and music. The songs are sounding so alive now! It’s going to be a special day when we head in to final mix and assemble the project elements with everything (sound, music, color corrected footage) together for the first time! Okay…back to work.