Honest Look Back: Lessons Learnt From Making “The Cellar”

looking back at the creation of a horror short film

image source: allanbevere.com

With the first episode from my horror / science fiction / fantasy web series Shadows of Prey approaching the finishing line it is time to think about what went well and what went wrong.

Preproducing The Cellar (writing the script, getting the crew together, preparing the shoot) went extremely fast and the production (the shoot itself) went fine, too.

Postproduction (the edit, sound and music) took longer than I had expected, even with the great help of very talented composers and sound people (Magnus Sellergren, Manuel Fresser and Richard Lauw did a great job on The Cellar by the way). Why? Well, mainly because I just took too long to get everything done. The composers had to wait too long to get feedback and myself being sick several times was of no help either.

So what did I learn from that experience?
Next time, I will not wait to get in touch with the composers until the edit has reached picture lock. I thought that it would be a good idea to postpone the work on the music until the film has had its final edit (btw: the edit was the one part of my workflow which took by far the longest). I was wrong.
I saw an interview with composer Hans Zimmer some weeks ago on youtube. He was asked at which point he gets involved in a production. “Early on” he said. He would work on the main theme before he had seen the final film and then compose the full track.

Sounds plausible to me. That way the director takes away the pressure of getting things done fast and gives the track the time to grow organically – through several talks between the director and the composer.

Below is the first of four parts of the beforementioned interview. It is in German, but Hans Zimmer always keeps switching between German and English, so you can get the idea. 🙂

Also, during the production of the next episodes, I will note down the names of the video files and their corresponding audio files, which are recorded separately. This will save a lot of time when stitching video and audio together. 🙂

And the last thing I will make better next time is to look for two editors I can trust – beforehand. It is good to know that I can edit my films by myself, but considering my current situation (working on train rides), I think that things will get done faster with an editor on board.

Shit, I want to start the production of episode 2 and 3 so badly, but I have promised Mirjam, Eliss and Georg not to start anything new until The Cellar is completely finished. …Soon. 🙂

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