One of the hardest parts of filmmaking is knowing your own limitations. When it comes to doing audio work, I’m smart enough to know someone else needs to do that job, because it’s the place for skilled craftspeople, and where sound is concerned, that does NOT describe me.
It DOES, however, describe Mark Edward Lewis, our fantastic sound designer. Yesterday, I sat in on the final mixdown of the audio for C&E. With all the dialogue edited, the sound effects laid in, the music properly mixed, it was a fantastic experience. For all intents and purposes, the sound is FINISHED.
Even though we’re still missing several VFX shots, and the graphics in the movie are just temporary placeholders, for the first time, watching Cowboys & Engines, it felt like a film.
Big thanks to Mark and his team for all their hard work.
More than a few people have pointed out that a status report is long overdue, so I’m posting this EVERYWHERE. The status of Cowboys & Engines is it’s freakin’ AWESOME! I know it isn’t fair to gloat when I’ve seen the film and you haven’t, but I’m excited!
Before a film goes off for its final sound design, scoring and audio mix, it’s necessary to “Lock the picture.” As a director, this means stepping back and committing to no more tweaking of the cut, no more editorial changes. From the standpoint of flow and shot-by-shot juxtaposition, the movie is done.
I spent the last few days making little tucks and adjustments, and putting in temporary versions of some of our big establishing shots for timing purposes. So, even though I’ve seen the film (500 times? More?), I got to spend a lot of time seeing it as a whole, rather than focusing on its individual parts. And I’m so incredibly proud of what we accomplished, I want to shout. The impulse to share C&E, even though it isn’t done, is SO STRONG, that I feel more certain than ever that we have a winner.
You have to recognize that every director has largely gone cold on a film by the time you see it. It’s new for you, but for the creator, you’re sick to the teeth of it by the time you release it into the wild. You know every crease, line, wrinkle & wart on the old girl. The most you can reasonably hope for is comfortable affection.
But… once in a great while, you get a film so special that you rediscover it again on the other side. The blemishes fade, and what’s left is a magical piece of art that gives you chills and you think, “I helped create this.” This weekend, I learned that Cowboys & Engines is one of those projects.
So, there will be no apologies that we’re so late in delivering, or that we’ve taken so long to finish. The decision not to rush was the right one. What we’ve made has simply taken time. Because it’s special.
Enough ephemera. I know you’re hoping for some nuts and bolts information. On our current schedule, the film should be completed around the first week in October. Once it’s completely done, we’ll release a new trailer online, and schedule the premiere screening (which some of you may well be attending).
Post-premiere, password-protected download links will be emailed out to everyone. That will, hopefully, keep ya’all sated while we prep the physical packages. Discs have to be authored, artwork printed, t-shirts made, there’s the matter of a small book I have to write… etc.
Realistically, expect all the physical goodies to go out very early in the new year. I’d promise sooner, but, y’know, I’d be lying.
Yeah, this has all taken a lot longer than any of us imagined. And you know, I’m so very glad that it has.
- Bryn Pryor