Saturday, November 28, 2009

Film Progress Update!

Greetings once again to all you patient people out there!

It's admittedly been a long time since I've added to the blog--this isn't due to a lack of interest in the Lost Cinemas--but rather, because I've been working very hard to finish the documentary film of the same name. Whereas this kind of project normally has things like a budget, a set amount of time, and an army of people to work on it--it's been pretty much just me.

When I set out to make this film, I imagined it as being about 22 minutes long, and able to fit nicely into a commercial half-hour TV slot. Upon putting together the rough cut about a month ago, the running time came out to around 44 minutes! (Double your pleasure!) And it didn't feel overlong. Even so, I've been trimming whatever draggy spots and irrelevancies that might make anybody but me bored--and it's just getting better. There's been much work done to animate photos and clean up film--especially since there's so little actual film in the first place. Lots and lots of digital cutting up, layering, animating, and re-dirtying it all to make it gel together!

I've had some wonderful surprises on the way--Cal Bierman and his gang at KRNT Radio provided some smack-on voice over work you'll hear in 3 of the mini-films that pop up throughout the narrative. They did a fantastic job at capturing the period feel of the old spot announcers, trailer voices, and radio columnists.

There are only a handful of missing pieces, which I am actively trying to round up. Several scraps of film showing the late great A.H. Blank receiving his "Exhibitor of the Year" award in the early 50s have finally been located, and I should be able to use them to complete the Blank minifilm in the very near future. And I am hoping that some of my friends back home may be able to locate photos of the Eastown-slash-1536, as well as the eastside's Grand Theatre (preferably with that deadly trolley mashing through its doors).

But what's already there, I think, will be tremendously exciting for those of you who love the old theaters: the Paramount stage shows, the Berchel and the President in all their glory and decay, various fires [reconstructed] that downed their houses, and of course the grand and terrible destruction of the Paramount itself, reanimated from Jerry Tormey's incredible SLR photos.

When can you see it?

Here's my rough itinerary for 2010:
1. Getting the rough cut finer-tuned and mixed.
2. Preliminary panel screening of the rough cut, followed by the final fine-tuning and mix.
3. Los Angeles screenings and entries into festivals--which ones and where are all TBD.
4. Des Moines screenings--once again, locations TBD. Both the Varsity Theatre and the Historical Society have both shown strong interest in screening it, and, legalities willing, perhaps there can be some sort of broadcast showings--most likely cable or public TV.
5. I'm hoping to preserve this as some sort of DVD release, with the requisite bonus materials. There are stories and footage I simply couldn't include because of pace and relevance--such as more State Fair premiere footage than any run time would bear, and tales of vaudeville antics that fell just a little too far out of the realm of the cinema world. Hopefully I can raise the funds to cover licensing for this extra material--most of which has never been seen anywhere.

So--as I cut away and polish things up--won't you please take one more look through your scrapbooks and photo albums just in case you missed finding anything that might fit this film? I won't mind at all doing some last minute recuts and rerecords if you have something really exciting! Let's get it all in if we can!

Once again, thanks for your endless patience with "Lost Cinemas"--2010 should be the best year ever as the main event finally hits the screens!

Best holiday wishes to all!


Ross said...

Can't wait!

Janet said...

Simply amazing, Mark, as always. Looking forward to seeing it!