Diaries of Making The Movie Finding Joe

So sorry for not updating in a while, I was feeling like the same old boring things were being repeated.  Here is where we are: At this time I’m about two weeks from mastering.  Still waiting for music to be completed, it’s taken longer than expected(story of my life at this point) but it is TOTALLY AWESOME!! Couldn’t be more pleased.  The final mix is scheduled for May 16th and that will mark the end of a production that started 2 and a helf years ago. Wow!  Was my ADHD ass really able to stick to something for 2.5 years? Shocking!However, I have to say, this “ending” is really very anti climactic as I still have to figure out how this thing is going to be seen (and how it’s going to make any money).  The film distribution process is very laborious and littered with great films that never saw the light of day.  So, the immediate goal is to find a winning release strategy that will guide us through the forest with a minimum of dragon slaying and successfully on to the pot of gold… a map if you will.

On that front I’ve been having loads of meetings with potential partners both distributors and marketers.  I’ve learned more about the film distribution business than I ever cared to but I’m a better producer for it.  I actually have been enjoying the process and the map is starting to get very clear.  Can’t give the details yet but it’s going to be a September release with some sneek peeks over the summer.  More to come!Quick update: I’m one week into the On-Line with a week to go. Music is still happening. It’s all sounding great but it’s not a speedy process. Don’t know why I’m surprised at this you’d think I’d know better by now. The sound mix just began today. The plan is to sweeten all the dialogue then wait for the music to be completed for the final mix. That only leaves the final color correct then assembly. Everyone is sick of hearing me say it but “it’s so close I can taste it!!!” Final master in hand by end of April!! – Posted 9 months ago

Retrospective on Bali. The very first shoot for the film was in Bali. I wanted to interview Brian Johnson http://philosophersnotes.com/ who, according to his website, was in Topanga Cyn(L.A.). when I contacted him he said he was in Bali. So, of course, I said to myself “this must be a sign that I’m supposed to go to Bali”… I swear surfing never entered my mind!! Anyway, cut to the following year and I realized that those 8 days, 40 hours of awesome footage and thousands of dollars was not going to make it into the movie. Except for Brian’s interview(which was worth the trip alone!). The same was true for the Jerusalem shoot… wasted. Why? The movie that I set out to make was no longer the movie I was making!! It took a year to figure that out and a couple more months just to get the courage to admit that all of the time and money and effort was a waste. But now, 2 years later, I can see clearly that far from being a waste it was necessary. There is no possible way I would ever have the film I have now with out “wasting” those resources. I wouldn’t have discovered what the movie would become without going down the wrong path… no way! So, I guess the lesson here is to keep taking steps towards your goal no matter what. Even if it seems like the wrong one at least you’ll know. It’s way better than sitting idle. To put it in Campbell terms: “ you must be willing to let go of the film you planned so as to have the film that is waiting for you”. – Posted 10 months ago

The distribution game. Yes, I wanna play the theatrical distribution game. Does anyone wanna play with me? I promise to play fair and follow all the rules. Yeah… Not quite sure about this one as I’ve never done it. I have friends who have and not one of them had a good experience. I’ve read a lot articles and blogs about it. Again, the vast majority of the news is very negative. Still, I wanna play. Not for the vanity of seeing my creation on “the big screen”(ok maybe a little) but because I believe very strongly that this film will change your life…and if you watch it in a dark room, on a large screen, with a bunch of other people, it will be 10 times as effective. – Posted 10 months ago

Unlock Picture. Wait a minute. I just heard a new term- “picture un-lock” I guess it means you can go in, even after you’ve locked and mess with the edit. Which kinda defeats the purpose of locking it. What’s the point of locking picture if you can just go unlock it? Not that I would ever do such a thing. I would never have the urge to mess around with a couple scenes that still kinda bug me…no way…this picture is locked baby!! – Posted 10 months ago

Music. Music is half the battle. I’m failing miserably!! I seriously don’t have a minute of usable music and I’ve been at it since November!! More than a little frustrated!! I was standing at the finish line a second ago…now it’s moved again! – Posted 10 months ago

The meaning of picture lock- I used to think that the term “picture lock” meant that your movie was finished. As with many things I found out while making this film, that’s not really the case. Picture lock means, simply, that the editing is pretty much done. You still have to add titles, graphics, visual effects, music, sound mix…bla bla bla. Where does that leave us? This picture is locked… the FX, graphics and titles are complete. That just leaves music, sound mix, final color…. What could possibly go wrong? – Posted 10 months ago

Now What? I’ve spent so much time and energy on creating this thing that I totally neglected the obvious. What the hell am I going to do with this movie when it’s done? Hmmmmm. I don’t see it as a festival film. More importantly, I think it needs to get out in the public, the second it’s done, where it can start doing some good Hmmmmm…what to do? Gotta be smart about this one. – Posted 11 months ago

The disappearing finish line…Why does the finish line keep getting further away? Can someone please explain that? And don’t say a word about setting realistic goals because that’s definitely not it. That little sucker was right in front of me a week ago and now it’s wayyyyyy over there. It’s not fair. – Posted 12 months ago

More screenings… WOW! I think we got a winner! Last night’s screening was a smash hit! People were openly weeping and I was getting calls and emails telling me how moved and affected they were…really, really, great. – Posted about 1 year ago

The final strech… It’s the final strech. I have a “to do” list a mile long but I can see the finish line. It’s close. The edit now is all about little annoying details. Which portrait should we use the girl or the boy? Which movie clips represent “the call” best? Is the speaker on screen for one frame too long? It’s endless and it all takes hours. But at least there is a clear path. At the beginning of this thing I didn’t even know where I was… hell… I didn’t even have a map to tell me I was lost. All I have to do now is check off items on the to do list and it’ll be done in a few weeks… what could possibly go wrong? – Posted about 1 year ago

The final shoot… whew. Just finished shooting the last story! Three days working with the kids. We just load em in the van with a loose shot list and figure it out as we go. It looks great! But, even as I look through the lens, I’m saying to myself “god, I hope this works”. It’s a big gamble if it doesn’t pay off. Of course, if it does “I planned it that way”. I guess the point is that even if you’re not 100% sure of the outcome, you have to try. At the very least you found out what not to do. – Posted about 1 year ago

Portraits: Just shot a heap of portraits in and around Venice (beach). They look amazing!! I was shocked at how many people said “no problem” to having a camera stuck in their face. How many shop owners just let us in. I think we need a couple more days of portraits. – Posted about 1 year ago

Successful Screening!!.. So I’ve been screening a few different versions of the rough cut. Partly to get feed back and partly to get a much needed pat on the back. Anyway, the response has been overwhelming! Most people seem genuinely moved and I’m getting calls days later saying how the film had inspired them in some way. It really feels like this thing could be a “big”. I mean I have this sense that it has the potential to inspire a very large audience. – Posted about 1 year ago

Murder Your Babies- So says Campbell!! It’s a wonderful image. It means you have to kill precious things to create. In the case of creating a movie it’s all about editing. This movie started out as 5 hours long! Wow! At that time I thought we might be able to get it down to 4 but certainly never down to the 85 minutes it is now. We had to kill a lot of precious babies. We had to be ruthless. It was horribly difficult and I think that is what film makers (and all creators) struggle with the most. It’s this clinging to your precious ideas…this falling in love with your images… this thing that says “I can’t lose this scene or the movie will suffer”… it’s total BS. I think what makes a good artist great is knowing what baby to knife in the throat and what baby to tickle. If you aren’t on trail at the Hague then you should go slaughter some of your babies. – Posted about 1 year ago

Murder your babies II- It’s getting really tricky because in the beginning there are so many of the damn things(babies) that your odds are pretty good that you’ll kill the right one. But as you clear more and more the things out, you get to a point where they all seem sooooo precious. How do you even know what to keep and what to kill? The odds of taking out the wrong one are greater and greater. Hmmmmm. Gonna have to think about this one. – Posted about 1 year ago

I just screened the rough cut for the final time, until the next version, and I don’t think I have ever been as happy or as proud of anything I’ve ever done in my entire life. Although it’s still very rough I can see the diamond there. I know I have something almost everyone can relate to and certainly everyone can use right now. It’s a little bit philosophical and a lot inspirational. However, I feel a little bit like a crazy person that is pointing to a piece of coal and saying to every person that passes by “look!!! It’s a diamond.. can’t you see it!!” Seriously, I’m not crazy… – Posted about 1 year ago

So, where are we? That’s a damn good question. Let’s see, I started in Feb. of 09 and I’ve been telling friends (and myself) that I could finish by February of 2010, exactly one year from when I started. OK, so I’m a little past that deadline. It turns out that making a feature length doc takes a lot more time (oh and money) than I anticipated. So, where does that put us? Right now I have a complete rough cut. The plan is to shoot the remaining B-roll in June and finish in July/August. – Posted about 1 year ago

Editing forever: It’s like re-arranging the furniture in your house. You move the sofa from one wall to the other and you love it. Then the next day you hate it and move it back. I think at some point you just have to say enough already, the sofa looks great nailed to the ceiling. – Posted about 1 year ago

The goal of this blog is to give you a first hand and honest accounting of my personal journey on the road of Finding Joe. I’d like the reader to experience what I am experiencing as I make this film. As we all know, film making is very easy and very predictable so it should be a very boring blog. Why don’t we end this first entry with the following boring update: I spent thousands of dollars and many months planning and shooting in Indonesia and Jerusalem. I’m just now coming to the realization that none of that footage will be usable in the movie… Ahhh…yeah. Can’t wait to tell my wife a.k.a. Executive Producer. More on this disaster, a.k.a. “opportunity” later. – Posted about 1 year ago