Friday, January 29, 2010

The Premier

"When will the film be finished?" "You're STILL working on it?" "I'm still waiting for my DVD." Yes, I've heard these and many other similar comments in recent days. Everyone wants to know when the film will be ready for release. So... I thought I'd take a moment and answer these questions. Additionally, I thought I'd finally write a post about the premier.

Jeff Rosenbluth and I are meeting next week to finish all color correction on the project. The reason it's taken as long as it has is simple: Both of us are doing this project as a labor of love and must find time (away from our regular 8 to 5 jobs) to connect and work. We've also been researching the best methods for producing a quality DVD. Since our budget is small, we don't have the ability to hire a post-production company. Yes, that would be easy, but it also costs a crap load of dough. Instead, we are doing what we've done this entire project: working on the film ourselves.

So, yes... the film isn't dead. We are doing everything we can to ensure that the viewer gets unparalleled quality when viewing the film.

In addition to the DVD quality, we are also working on finalizing DVD packaging and finding a solution to hosting the film online and uncut. YouTube is great, but it would require breaking our film into several segments. That's just not an option. "Continue" should be viewed continuously without breaks or inturruptions.

Okay... the Premier.

On September 23rd at 8:15, "Continue" made it's local premier at Rice-Eccles Stadium. Guests arrived from 7:30 to 8:00. Refreshments were served and the turnout was unbelievable. Volunteers from the University Hospital spent hours decorating and making sure that everything went off without a hitch. An unbelievable effort. This included haning balloons, banners and laying out the red carpet.

While all of this was happening, Jeff and I were putting the finishing touches on our project. We literally finished color correcting for projection the morning of the premier. Everything went extremely well, however at one point Jeff found an editing glitch. He called me and I ran back to fix the mistake. After compressing a final QuickTme version of the film, we raced up to the stadium to do a test projection. Jeff's friend Nate, who works as a projection expert for Sony Pictures was on hand to calibrate and run the projector.

By the time people began to arrive, everything was calibrated and ready to go.

Jeff and I were nervous. Optimistic. Hoping and praying that the technology wouldn't betray us. Hoping that the 300 plus in attendance would enjoy our film. Especially those with spinal cord injuries.

At 7:55, David Entwistle, the CEO of University Hospitals and Clinics, made some opening remarks. Following David, Elie Elovic, M.D., the head of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation, talked about the film.

At 8:05, Jeff and I took to the stage. Jeff talked about the film and our seven-year filmmaking journey. He also talked about why we made "Continue" and our plans for distribution. I said a few things, but was so nervous about the projection that I can't recolect what I said.

At 8:15, we dimmed the lights and rolled the film. Jeff and I watched from the side, nervous as hell and constantly monitoring the audience's reaction, which was very positive. It was exciting. It's always fun to see something you've created with an audience present. It changes the way you look at your own film. As if you're watching it for the very first time. I believe that once you show a film to an audience, that film is no longer your own.

When the film ended and the credits began to roll, the audience applauded for all of the film's talent. I was overwhelmed by what appeared to be a very positive response. Jeff and I returned to the stage following screening to thank everyone for coming. The audience applauded and I almost burst into tears. I felt that this night was big. Not so much for Jeff or myself, but for individuals with paralysis. The screening was a celebration of adaptive sports. A celebration of independence and recognition for those with disabilies.

Jeff and I were extremely happy with the overall outcome.

So... what now?

Now we finish color correcting the project for DVD and online viewing. The color correction should be finished by Mid-February. Ideally, we'd like to have the DVDs ready by the first of March.

So there's the update. I'll try to keep regular updates as we near completion.

Until then... I want to thank everyone for making our premier a success. It took a lot of work and I'm indeed grateful.