It's a difficult step to call a film done. My inclination is to let all of the raw and project files brew on my hard drive for a good long time, in case I feel the need to make changes at any point. Cleaning all of that stuff off and keeping only the final AVI file is a painful step. What if I realize one last change just after hitting the delete button? Really, it's an unhealthy obsession. I just cleared off AGTC about a month ago, for goodness sakes!
I'm getting better at nailing down a project and clearing out the old. Rendezvous was in an out in under a week. Also just finished is Leonardo. We always knew it would end up longer than the Screen Wars-mandated 3-minute limit. The final cut is a shade over four minutes. No new material, just longer shots, longer transitions, longer credits. More to the intended European pace. Hey, wait, there is one new shot: a single domino bouncing in super-slow-motion.
To get the final version done, though, required a lot of rework. The audio in the first scene was always lacking, captured from an on-camera microphone fifteen feet away from the action. For the final cut, I ditched all of the location audio. Joe re-recorded his dialog in-studio, we recorded foley for the whole scene on Saturday evening (sorry Brock, wanted to bring you in for sound design, but had to get it done), and I got some traffic sounds as a bed off the Internet. Before, the technical failings of the opening scene really failed to sell the seriousness of the film. Now, I think it's there.
Some of the proposed changes ended up not making it after some review. There was a lingering panning shot across Leonardo's workspace that felt out of place. There was the sound effect of blaring horns rushing by Leonardo's car in the first car scene (the consequence of his staring at a picture and not keeping his eye's on the road), but that disrupted the brooding mental aspect of that scene.
It wasn't all me, though. IFC wants to bring the film to the SxSW Film Festival in a showcase, but they need all sorts of clearances. Every actor, every location, every prop not owned by myself personally, needs to be accounted for in writing. I've been bad enough so far in keeping all the wonderful people that helped Leonardo come together in the loop on when it was playing on TV, that I felt I couldn't just go ask for signatures empty-handed. Therefore, the impetus to get the final cut done, get it on DVD, and have copies to hand out in exchange for signatures.
We worked out the DVD packaging last night and made a Kinko's print run. It's not perfect and thoroughly thought out, but it does look pretty slick. I'll try to get a picture posted later, but the cover is the photograph of Isobel at the bottom and Leonardo looking at it on the top, with the title across the middle. The back has three stills along with the title, tagline, and synopsis, all the laurel wreaths, and full credits. The credits are movie poster-style in appearance. On the spine, Micah suggested we put those tiny little images of the leads, so we have Marco and Angie. That was a masterstroke.
So, they are all set, and I head out around the valley this afternoon and tonight to distribute them and collect signatures. I hope I can make the Thursday deadline to IFC!