Today’s probably the most important day for “Rocks In My Pockets”, but it surely doesn’t feel that way – it’s overcast and sort of gloomy. Inside I feel a bit like a partly deflated birthday party balloon. The fun times, the party was in May when the studio was full of quietly focussed people who knew how to tell good jokes at a lunch hour. Today it’s only Wendy and me – Wendy is putting the locked picture together with the final sound mix and that will be it.
The film is done.
Yesterday I went to Yessian to have the final sound mix session with Weston Fonger, “Rocks” sound designer. I was feeling down because the film didn’t make another round of big festivals – if by now we haven’t heard from Sundance and Slamdance it means it didn’t get in. The doubt was eroding the last of the delicate optimism I had managed to save despite of months of rejection.
We chitchatted before the session. I like those professional chitchats, they put me on the same emotional and mental wavelength with the person am about to work with. The chitchats force me to get out of my head, to connect with the person in the room.
I complained to Weston that film is not doing well with the big festivals, that we have to solve the distribution and marketing puzzle ourselves and it might be a good thing but it would be better if the film was somehow recognized by the industry.
– Am starting to think maybe I haven’t made a good film, – I said, while biting my fingernails.
– But the film is beautiful, – Weston said soothingly. – Don’t despair. It’ll go to places.
Then we re-recorded the opening scene’s scream. I screamed my head off 12 times. The 12th attempt was the best and so Weston put it in. After that I had to sit in the middle of the room, watch the movie with the final mix and take notes.
When the film started I was not looking forward to it. After all it was the source of my recent agony – how could I enjoy something that has been rejected so many times? But as the film went on I perked up more and more. The sound mix was excellent and the sound quality through the speakers was superior to any other experience with the film I had had before. I was thrilled. Proud and amazed that I got to work with the talented smart people like Weston and Kristian, the film’s composer. The effort that the production team lead by Wendy and Rashida put into the project have paid off. The film looked great. And I started to get a burning desire to see the film in a theater, with good projection, as a shared experience. Maybe I shouldn’t give up the festivals yet? Or perhaps we should hire a theater booking agent?
After the session I thanked Weston, we chitchatted again a little.
He said that maybe because he comes in the last part of the process he gets to see the filmmakers in despair, or depressed, or in panic mode. But in the end, all the films he had worked with do well.
– It’ll be good, – he said encouragingly. (I guess by working with filmmakers so near postpartum he had to develop his nurturing side. I appreciate that.)
And so I took the sound file back to the studio and Wendy (who now works for Bill Plympton and comes to my studio only as necessary which is once a month) came today to put the picture and sound together. Wendy knows how to tell a good joke, but she has a lot on her mind too – working for two directors on 4 different projects cannot be easy. So we are both serious and focussed. Not too many jokes today.
She is about to finish and we agreed to go out and CELEBRATE!!!