Sunday, September 21, 2008

In Dutch in Lake Tahoe

Wednesday was a small milestone for me. In Dutch, a film I directed last year for Meaghan Sinclair, was shown to a group of strangers in Lake Tahoe. I've premiered films I've written myself, but when you work on a film which isn't your own passion project, it's natural to feel a little differently about it. Still, I'd be lying if I said I didn't get a thrill when I saw a In Dutch's onesheet magically appear on the Valhalla At Tahoe web site. (You can read all my posts about In Dutch here.)

Tahoe's gorgeous and I loved the drive in this time. I snapped this pic from my iPhone as soon as Tahoe appeared around the bend:

The Valhalla Boathouse is located right on Lake Tahoe (maybe you caught the bit about it being a boathouse?) and reminiscent of a smaller version of Yosemite's Ahwahnee Hotel:

The inside has a nice cozy feel, too:

Because it was a last minute thing, the Producers really didn't have a chance to do much publicity for it. We had a small gathering, but I was thankful. Had there been 100+ people, I think I might have been in the back vomiting uncontrollably. A small crowd feels less like a festival screening and more like a party. Rob and Meaghan and I had a lot of fun introducing the film and doing a Q&A afterwards.

The reactions were favorable. One can never be absolutely certain how an audience feels about a movie, but any unsolicited praise goes a long way to show at least one person enjoyed themselves. One older gentleman commented how great the sound was, which was extremely gratifying—I had lobbied hard to hire the Emmy award-winning Dave Losko as our Sound Mixer. Another audience member lauded the acting, which I also worked extra hard to achieve. Of course, there's no way I could take credit for the acting itself, but the coaching I gave the actors—in fact, they're the first ones to say this—had a substantial difference on their final performance. For me, acting and sound are usually the two weakest links in the chain for any short film, so I chalked up the evening as Mission: Accomplished.

Regrettably, due to scheduling and geographic constraints during post-production (I had a newborn at home last year, and lived 50 miles away from the editor), this cut of the film was not my edit. So I was delighted the producers offered me a chance to recut In Dutch into a version we'd all be happy with. Though the current cut is already quite good, the sound design still needs a little tweaking and some insert shots weren't done because we ran out of time on the day of the shoot. Realistically, I'd estimate the final cut needs another 20-40 hours of work to really make it shine. Why is it always the last 5% the bit which takes 90% of the effort?

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