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Wednesday, December 11, 2002

So. The film�s done.

27 minutes including end titles.

I showed a video (taken from the AVID editing machine, so not of the best quality) last night to a very small audience of friends � Jonathan Ross (who is interviewed in it), his wife, the writer Jane Goldman, and author-performer David Baddiel (who knows his stuff and wasn't going to be polite if he didn't like it), and they laughed in all the right places, had all the right reactions, and when it was done and I heard what they had to say I felt incredibly happy (which might have been because I�d nervously managed to dispose of two large glasses of red wine on an empty stomach while they watched it, but probably wasn�t).

It�s a very odd thing, directing, or it is for me. Previously, when a script of mine has been done for the screen I�ve always had a feeling of �Well, yes, but...� or, sometimes, �Well, no...�. The best thing about �A short film about John Bolton� is that everything in it is the way I want it to be � the tone of voice is right, the performances are right (and if they weren�t, they were by the time we were done in the editing suite), the pacing is right. The jokes are either funny or they aren�t (that�s up to the person watching), but for the first time ever I feel like the things that are meant to be funny are being delivered on the screen the way I wanted them to be delivered. And as the ground starts to collapse under us, the story goes to the places I wanted it to go.

And it�s not about doing everything yourself � the whole point of filmmaking is that it�s all about teamwork, listening, accepting suggestions (or not). The best suggestion in the editing suite yesterday came from one of my producers, David Reid, who was also the 1st Assistant Director on the film (ASFAJB not being a big film, and David having been 1st AD on many cool films over the years) when he suggested losing a bit of interview and moving another bit to let two scenes that had previously been separated rub together. We tried it and solved a bunch of problems at once. But it is about taking something from the script stage to the screen on your own, and getting it better rather than losing things, and for the first time I feel like that's what happened with my script.

So next comes film grading and doing the dub of the sound, and then I�m going back to the USA because there would be days of waiting for the final print, and I�d not really be much use..

So, now we�re pondering things we can do with the film now that it�s made. We�ll stick it in for the BAFTAs next Thursday...

I don�t think we�ll necessarily get into showing it at film festivals because I don�t really want to have to sit with a stack of applications to film festivals around the world and filling them out, and because many Film Festivals have rules that say the film can�t be broadcast first, and I hate to have that option closed off until late 2004, as most of the 2003 festivals have already picked their films. (I could be talked out of this. It�s just how I feel this morning.)

So unless there�s someone out there with a major film about to be distributed who really fancies the idea of reviving the B-picture with a 27 minute short to go out with it, which is marginally less likely than me sprouting feathers, it won�t be showing on a screen near you any time soon, so I suspect we may go the DVD/Video route. If we do, I�m not sure exactly how people will be able to purchase it, but we�ll figure all that out as we go.

If anyone has any bright ideas or suggestions about any of this, feel free to submit them on the FAQ line...
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