Last night, Tim Duck, Lou and I sat down and listened to the finalised sound mix for The Real. It was a momentous occasion, one of the final stages of post-production. As we near completion, I’m really trying to savour these moments.
I first blogged about The Real in April last year. The script went through a couple of re-writes, we built up a cast and crew, filmed in December and have been in post-production since.
By my standards, it has taken forever. In the same time period, I’ve also shot five music videos, participated in the You Are Here festival, set up a whole new band that’s signed to a record label and has 19 original songs (and is on to our third drummer…), and travelled to Peru/Argentina/Chile/Brazil/Iceland/Netherlands/USA. I like to work quickly, and move from one thing straight to the next – in addition to all of the technical and management skills The Real has taught me, it’s also teaching me patience.
Photos by Louise McGrath
And this is just the first stage – once the pilot is complete, the more challenging next phase is to present it to industry. But right now, after hearing what Tim and his class have done, I’m going to be on a high all week.
Here is the first (of five) videos to be released for Nick’s EP In A Day adventure.
I turn down most offers to film live music, but when Nick asked and explained the concept, I had to say ‘yes’. When he told me he had also brought Shane Parsons on board I suggested we go all out and get as many cameras as we could. We wrangled a couple of extras (with Sam King’s gracious assistance), and were good to go.
On the day, filming was surprisingly straightforward. Adam Thomas was brought in as photographer, but ended up doing double duty, manning our static cameras. Shane is an Energiser Bunny when it comes to filming, constantly on the move, picking up shots from any angle he can find. I prefer to concentrate on focus shifts and steady panning shots, letting the edit provide the momentum. Between the two of us, we get the best of both worlds.
The split-screen effects and widescreen aspect ratio make the edit for me – it was a chance to use more of the footage, and to present it in a cinematic context. Nick and I are discussing other approaches for the remaining videos, but for this initial foray I tried to leave the footage as close to how it looked in the room, to preserve the intimacy we had on the day.
Thankfully, the release schedule isn’t Heartbroken Assassin pace – we’ll be releasing a video every week or so from now.
Here are some candid snaps I took of PROM’s latest recording weekend. Not pictured: me cutting vocals with a chocolate milk in hand.
This was our second time at Linear, but our first time working with engineer Nick Franklin, who you might know via his own group The Metal Babies. Nick was a dream to work with and a great help when it came to massaging the arrangements for our next two singles, Number and No-One Can Here My Love.
We were a whole bunch tighter than our first hit-out in the studio and the two days gave us plenty of time to sweat the details. Recording Number was a particular thrill for me as that song is years old, finally having a fully-realized version on my Ipod will be totally sweet.
We recorded to tape, which was a first for me. I’m nobodies’ audiophile but I liked how ‘mixed’ the initial takes already sounded, it made the overdubbing a breeze.
PROM now have our next three singles ready to go. Julia will be living in Berlin for pretty much the rest of the year which gives us plenty of time to plan and stagger launches, as well as get some videos done. Watch this space for all your PROM news!
Like camping, the last couple of weeks have been intense. I’ve been running on coffee and to-do lists scribbled on post-it notes.
In addition to prepping, recording and overseeing a 10 song EP for Faux Faux Amis, we’ve also had to find a new drummer and bring them up to speed for the upcoming launch. If that wasn’t enough on the FFA front, we are making videos for all ten, so I’ve been meeting with and coordinating artists, filmmakers, writers and animators to bring on board. Oh, and I’ve been working with Paul Heslin on a remix for Holiday Inn (now with added saxophone!).
During this same period, I also took on two filmmaking projects – a promo for a magazine, and a music video for another band (which, in many ways, was our most ambitious yet). Both were more challenging than I anticipated – there were cancelled shoots, wardrobe calamities, re-shoots, and lots and lots of editing. This weekend, I’m going to Sydney to colour-grade The Real. After that, I’m hoping things will quieten down. I’m in the enviable position of having to say ‘no’ to things in the latter half of this year, so that I can concentrate on progressing a few longstanding projects (mostly I’m aware I haven’t been writing enough).
All of which is to say there’ll be a lot of stuff coming out from me soon. I like to use this blog to talk process and catalogue triumphs, but this time I want to record how overwhelming it sometimes gets pursuing so many creative endeavours (I work full time too). I love my life and thrive on being busy, but like the runner who forgets the agony as soon as he crosses the finish line, I won’t remember this feeling soon. I want this post as a reminder next time I say ‘yes’ to too many things at once.