Short and sweet: we're now 75% done rebuilding the edit.
For those of you screenwriting nerds out there, that means we're starting work on the third act, when things get really interesting.
Back to work.
Short and sweet: we're now 75% done rebuilding the edit.
For those of you screenwriting nerds out there, that means we're starting work on the third act, when things get really interesting.
Back to work.
We're at the halfway mark at last: 50% of the assembly edit is rebuilt! Progress! Feels great! Big yes!
Also, welcome to the new concept artists that we met at Comic-Con at the end of July! We're excited to see their work in the coming months. Very talented and creative crew.
Thanks to everyone who stopped by to meet us at Portfolio Review this year.
By the way, congrats to In-World War Asst. Director Lena Khan for wrapping production on her feature The Tiger Hunter! Can't wait to see it.
We'll be at Portfolio Review at San Diego Comic-Con 2014, July 23 - July 27.
We want to see your portfolio!
Working on In-World War is a great way to build your portfolio and hone your experience, besides the excitement of working on a smart independent sci-fi feature film.
Studio Lo Mismo Portfolio Review schedule:
Sails Pavilion Portfolio Review area
Thu 7/24 - 3pm - 6:30pm
Fri 7/25 - 3pm - 7pm
Sat 7/26 - 3pm - 7pm
Important: you must sign up after 9am each day at the Portfolio Review area.
If interested, please see: detailed information about Comic-Con Portfolio Review
If you have any questions or cannot make it to the Comic-Con Portfolio Review, please send us a link to your portfolio or reel: firstname.lastname@example.org
Students and recent graduates welcome.
Hurray! We're officially done rebuilding the entire first act of the assembly edit of the film: 25% of the full show.
That's the good news.
The bad news -- obviously -- is that we've still got 75% left to rebuild.
It's taking longer than originally estimated because we're doing more than just rebuilding the corrupt edit. Instead, we're taking a creative scalpel and reviewing each shot choice and often making different editing decisions now that we've grown intimately familiar with all the footage (re-organizing your footage three times has a way of doing that).
In the VFX dept, we're starting on new concept art for the animation for the front of the Griefers Ball invitation and for the Ethereal Woman (who welcomes Mary to the Griefers Ball), besides continuing design work on concepts for the Griefers Ball itself.
Okay, back to work.
Apologies for the long delay with no update.
Frankly, the last year and a half has been pretty frustrating. We hit a lot of technical brick walls. Rather than post vacuous "rah-rah" updates, we decided to just focus on fixing the problems and then report on progress when we had some progress to report.
At long last, we're ready to share an update. Things have been happening.
If you've been following this blog, you know about our massively-corrupted editing project file. We spent much of the last 18 months figuring out the problem and then trying to fix it. At one point, we were processing all the imported clips and edited scenes through a painful 18-step process that involved two separate editing programs and hand-hacking raw XML. Some of that "progress" was mentioned earlier on the blog.
Then, over the summer, we hit a problem that we couldn't get around. The file was too messed up and just couldn't be saved. The corruption existed in all archived older versions of the file. Perhaps it had lurked there like diseased DNA, ready to replicate as our file grew. Regardless, we were stuck.
So we had no choice but completely start over our editing project file from scratch. U. G. L. Y.
That's right, roughly 2500 video clips (and hundreds of audio clips) needed to be re-imported, re-organized, re-named, re-tagged, and re-synced.
So we just went to work. And over the last five months, that's what we did. That's why you haven't heard from us.
And now it's all done!
We have a completely new, completely UNCORRUPTED project file on a new (more solid) editing platform.
In case you're wondering, all of the actual footage is fine. We've got at least five copies of everything, including two copies of the video and audio files that are offsite.
A huge shout-out to Sam Mestman of FCPworks.com, our Post-Production Consultant. He's amazing and if you're finishing a film you should talk to him. Better yet, talk to him before you shoot it so you don't end up in a mess like us. His help has been crucial.
Unfortunately though, we also lost our entire edit. All we have now are unedited clips -- though beautifully organized.
However, that's not as big a loss as it sounds. We only lost our assembly edit (it was not yet even a rough cut with temp music) which needed considerable revision and countless scene-by-scene tweaks.
In other words, the previous edit needed to be re-edited and this gives us a chance to start from a blank slate.
Okay, maybe we're trying to make lemonade out of lemons, but dammit we're pretty thirsty for something positive to come out of this whole damn editing nightmare.
Regardless, we're finally editing (again).
Our goal is to have picture lock (a final cut) of the film by end of July.
And once we lock the picture, we start work on the VFX work. We expect that to take at least another year.
How will we get it all done on this schedule? Where do these dates come from?
Allow us to introduce our....
We're thrilled to announce that the extremely talented Gordon Wittmann has been promoted to Producer for the film!
Gordon was already onboard as our VFX Producer, but as we talked further about steering the film through post-production and into distribution, it became clear he was the right man to help us get it done. Gordon is easily one of the best-respected VFX producers in the Bay Area.
Gordon's worked at ILM, The Orphanage and is currently at FotoKem's Spy Post in San Francisco. His IMDB listing includes some of the most high-profile FX films in the industry: Iron Man, Star Wars II, Narnia, Terminator 3, Grindhouse/Planet Terror, Van Helsing and many many more.
Already, Gordon is kicking things into action, setting deadlines and taking names.
Despite the setbacks with the editing file, all along we've continued creating and revising concept art for the many VFX shots in the film. Amazing weird stuff, like you've never seen in any film, sci-fi or otherwise. Here's a quick sampling of concept art from a few of our talented artists for the most VFX-intensive scene in the film.
Still, there's more to be done and we're always interested in talking to upcoming artists and UI designers who want to break the rules and create something great. Get in touch.
We've started the concept work for the most ambitious VFX of the film: the Griefers Ball sequence. We met some exciting, hugely-talented artists at Comic-Con this year and are eager to see their designs over the coming months.
As for the issues with our editing project file....let's just talk about something else. It's not pretty.
Oliver McQuillan played the role of Mary, while in Dublin.
How would you describe In-World War (the film itself) in no more than
Ambitious, quirky, multi-faceted science fiction.
Why did you get involved with it? How did you hear about it? What
interested you in this film in particular?
I was originally invited to play in Brant’s [DJ Bad Vegan's] intriguing Gameplay. Then there was silence, broken by the news that this project had evolved into In-World War. Once again, I was invited to play the part in the Dublin sequence of a man called Mary.
Did you enjoy working on the film? What was the best part for you?
Yes, I did. The best part? Getting around transport by-laws to film on public transport! There was also a pleasant pub scene with a charming and attractive lady.
How long have you been working in film/involved with film?
I returned to acting about ten years ago after a career in business, mainly because of my interest in writing. I did a course in writing for screen, and followed up with a series of courses in acting for the camera with the Irish Film Actors Studio (John Cantwell). This quickly led to roles in both short and feature films, as well as television work. I also studied the Stanislavski method with Ireland’s leading acting teacher, Tim McDonnell, who is the Studio Director with Dublin’s Focus Theatre. Theatre roles followed.
What is your goal in filmmaking generally (director, writer, director of
photography, key grip, etc.) and why?
See above. My main interest is in writing primarily for the stage, although I have written two full-length screenplays and a 15-minute short which I hope to see produced. I have also written and performed in my own stage works.
In your view, why is filmmaking and making art important to society as a
There was a happy period of my life when I went to the cinema 3 to 4 times a week. Those years left me a cultural richness that I still treasure. It is an astonishing art form.
Did helping make an indie film leave you with a positive or negative
outlook on this type of ultra-low budget filmmaking (and why)?
It left me filled with admiration at the levels of creativity, inventiveness, courage, and persistence of those involved. There is also a residual regret in the experience of working on some excellent low-budget films to learn that there is such difficulty in getting screenings for the work.
How do you feel about the genre of science fiction? Is sci-fi just
for fun or can we tell serious stories that are culturally relevant? (Okay,
that’s a loaded question....but still, what do you think?)
I have always loved science fiction. As a schoolboy I devoured J. Jefferson Farjeon's Death of a World, and as an adult, Asimov. Relevant stories? My God, is Kubrick's 2001: A Space Odyssey relevant? For the fan of science fiction, it is fascinating to see how the mysteries of quantum physics ("where everything that can happen does happen") make the most extreme plots of sci-fi seem everyday.
The film takes an unusual sci-fi approach to issues around the so-called
“war on terror” (specifically racial profiling and Islamophobia) and the
consequences of massive personal debt -- how have these issues impacted your
life and your work?
I haven’t had a chance to see how the film deals with racial profiling, or the "war on terror." As to the question of "massive personal debt," we in Ireland know only too well how individuals who never incurred debt personally are now personally saddled with massive debt due to the greed and dishonesty of bankers and the incompetence or corruption of politicians.
Before you started with IWW, what did you expect it to be like working on
A little more conventional. That it wasn't was what was interesting. But ...
How was it actually, compared to that? What was exactly as you expected
it? What was very different?
... my participation only gave me a limited view of the total. Looking forward to the finished film.
DIY filmmaking can be rough. What was the worst moment? If you have one,
share a painful memory from making the film, to give a taste of how tough it
Being screamed at over a loud-speaker system at eight on a Sunday morning at a deserted suburban railway station, when the crew produced photographic equipment without having got permission to film.
What did your experience of working on IWW tell you about humanity and
people in general?
Where there's teamwork and mutual respect, the job will be a pleasure to do. But I suppose we knew that anyway.
Why should people get involved with, donate money and/or help out on IWW?
So that impoverished actors like me can see the finished movie.
What else would you like to say about your experience on IWW? Any
funny anecdotes or behind the scenes stories?
Met old friends and some new ones.
To learn more about Oliver’s work or just to say hi:
Email omcquillan [at] mcq.ie
Also visit his page on the Irish Artists Network online at http://www.theatticstudio.net/atticprofiles/Oliver/
We're more than a third of the way through the process of rebuilding the editing project file.
After living so long with a corrupted project, it's wonderful to have every single media file simply appear properly with no obtuse errors or bizarrely unlinked media.
Ah. The simple joys of a project file behaving properly.
It's finally feeling like we're about to get ourselves out of this freaking pit of quicksand and back on the road toward solid edit of the film.
Donavan Sell is the Cinematographer for the film.
How would you describe
In-World War (the film itself) in no more than seven words?
Indie sci-fi to its core.
Why did you get involved
with it? How did you hear about it?
I jumped on board after meeting Brant Smith [aka DJ Bad Vegan]. After seeing his passion and drive, I knew this was a film that was going to not only get made, but also finished and shown to people throughout the indie film world.
Did you enjoy working on
the film? What was the best part for you?
It was fun. My everyday work is in corporate and commercial production, so it was nice to break loose and get creative. Having an impossible schedule every day and then making it through was the fun part for me. It was a challenge every day, but it’s what drove me; it left me feeling like we really accomplished something everyday.
What interested you about
this film in particular?
Really it was Brant that I was interested in working with. The story was like nothing I have worked on before, and I wanted to get more long-form work on my reel, so it was a great chance to kill two birds with one stone.
How long have you been
working in film/involved with film?
I have been working in film and video since 1996. I began by working at a television studio; while I enjoyed the work, I found that I was not impressed by the quality of video at the time and wanted to create better images. This began my foray into film and shooting on 16mm and 35mm. I was never a "film guy" in the sense that I had no hero directors in mind – or cinematographers, for that matter. I was just really focused on obtaining the best image possible, and film was that medium at the time. Naturally I began shooting short films and music videos, and then worked my way into features. After a few features in Korea, I came back to the States; with Silicon Valley in my backyard, corporate video became my main stay in terms of easy days, good pay, and good recognition. After a few years in the corporate video world, I found myself getting bored with the content again, so I sought out a project that I can shoot locally that would also be a fun break from the humdrum world that is corporate video. And then I found Brant and In-World War.
What is your goal in
filmmaking generally (director, writer, director of photography, key grip,
etc.) and why?
Cinematography is my passion. I say I don’t have stories to tell, but I enjoy helping others tell theirs.
In your view, why is
filmmaking and making art important to society as a whole?
First off, it’s important for me to have a job – otherwise I think I would be an engineer or a bicycle shop owner. As for society, I think it’s good for people to express themselves and make something that inspires others to get up and do something. It keeps us driving to make better work and up the ante for generations to come.
Did helping make an indie
film leave you with a positive or negative outlook on this type of ultra-low
budget filmmaking (and why)?
It was an eye-opening experience for me, to say the least. I am used to constraints and schedules in this business – and I like it in a way – but this project kicked it all out the door. It was crazy at times, but it was also fun to just break convention and do what had to be done to make the shoot.
How do you feel about the
genre of science fiction? Is sci-fi just for fun or can we tell serious
stories that are culturally relevant? (Okay, that’s a loaded question....but
still, what do you think?)
Honestly I am not that familiar with sci-fi, and this film was a glimpse into a world that I was very unfamiliar with (there was a lot of terminology that I had to question). But I applaud the creativity it leads itself to – how you have the liberty to get creative with props and to make and realize things that don't exist in the real world. If you say a piece of plastic is a supercomputer and people interact with it as it is, the audience will believe it is.
film takes an usual sci-fi approach to issues around the so-called “war on
terror” (specifically racial profiling and Islamophobia) and the consequences
of massive personal debt -- how have these issues impacted your life and your
Rather than assuming a Fight Club attitude and wishing to destroy the credit card companies, I think the issue of debt was brought up in In-World War in a relatable way. The issue of people around the world getting deeper and deeper in debt was relevant at the time, and still is. When the film was written and made, the whole Greece debt crisis was unheard of, and the prospect of sharia law taking over the United States was not even thought of. But a lot has changed and the world keeps turning. I think it’s good to bring these issues to the forefront, as they are as relevant now as they were then – and the more people know, the more people can learn from their mistakes.
Before you started with IWW, what did you expect it to be like
working on the film?
I expected it to be very calm and structured. I tend to thrive on efficiency and I pride myself in being able to run a set that is efficient and makes our scheduled day. In this sense, IWW pushed me to the limit and beyond. The initial schedule I was given was insane compared to normal production standards – but instead of fighting as I did initially, Brant said it was going to be done, and thus I saw it as a challenge to stay on top of this totally crazy schedule. I think we came pretty close to doing so. There were a few long days in there, but for the most part we stayed on schedule.
How was it actually,
compared to that? What was exactly as you expected it? What was very different?
It was chaos! Just kidding. It was a pretty smooth-running machine, and we really did our best as a team to get our pages every day. There were longer days than others, but I think we had a very good core team and had a good rhythm going.
What did your experience
of working on IWW tell you about humanity and people in general?
It taught me that people involved with filmmaking are some of the hardest working people I know, and that I would not want to be in any other profession.
What have you been doing
since you worked on the film? What other film projects have you done?
I have been consumed by the commercial world. I joined the international cinematographer’s union and am still looking for more long-form production work.
Why should people get
involved with, donate money and/or help out on IWW?
I think people who don’t work in the business don’t really understand what it takes to get that image on the screen. A two-hour feature it can easily be two to three months of work for a whole team of talented people. And without support, these people can’t continue to do the work they do.
What else would you like
to say about your experience on IWW? Any funny anecdotes or behind the
It was a great group we had, and I would gladly work that team again.
To see more of Donavan's work:
Tonight we learned that our new workflow to fix the corrupted editing project file was incomplete.
There was still an oddity in our cleaned project test files. Duplicate Video Sync master clips were showing up and acting like they were subject to quantum entanglement (or as Einstein called it: "spooky action at a distance"...an apt description given our seemingly-haunted project file). Essentially, what happened to one clip affected the other despite that they looked like totally separate (though duplicated) master clips.
After further troubleshooting, we had a solution: take a knife to the XML file that routes between the editing programs and simply cut out the offending duplicates before importing back into the final project file.
The essence of simplicity.
And it worked like a charm.
In-World War, a smart and offbeat indie sci-fi feature, tells the futuristic story of a debt-ridden and depressed beta tester trapped in a buggy virtual reality simulation of the "war on terror".
This site chronicles the making of the film, which is written and directed by DJ Bad Vegan, who (under a completely different name -- perhaps his own) also produced the award-winning narrative feature Quality of Life.
Contact: badvegan [at] studiolomismo [dot] com